thoughts on riding the wave

Oct 9, 2008 | Entrepreneurship, Life in Progress

first day of teaching at art + soul portland. this was during a demo. thank you roberta for taking these photos of my first ever teaching day!

roberta, wherever you are, thank you so much for capturing a few images of my first class at art+soul last week. here i am demo-ing on the first day – such fun for me. i took lots of photos of every student that day (their works were incredible, i swear), but my camera battery died for my second class later that week (they too made amazing works). i couldn’t bear posting images from only one class….so please accept my apologies for not posting any photos of these dear dear students…i can’t believe that happened. if you were in either of these classes, feel free to comment in this post with links to your projects and blogs (that would be lovely).

heading to the art nest to teach! more info at

speaking of teaching…guess what? i’ll be teaching at the art nest in february, 2009. you have no idea how thrilled in am for this retreat. the snow. the cabin. utah. 25 souls creating together. fire places. cozy spaces. yummy food. oh my. do i really live inside this life? wow. please consider joining us…it will be so dreamy (mati and jane will be teaching as well). all the details can be found here. registration opens oct 18th (next week!) and will likely sell out fast…so get ready and follow your creative bliss to utah!

beloved wings

and one more thing. you guys. oh my. the little sale i hosted this morning…wow. almost 20 paintings sold in 8 minutes. again, do i really live inside this life? who am i to be selling paintings at lightening speed (thank you so, so much)? i have been feeling so discombobulated lately. as this dream life unfolds, i’m realizing that the foundation has been set with a lot of hard work and now the dream is self propelling…that i don’t really have control of it anymore. and i wonder if this is actually a good thing as i struggle to give way to the ride. and the ride? i have no words – it’s every emotion in a span of a few days, sometimes in a 24 hour period. i am feeling things very deeply these days…both in gratitude and struggle…which can be confusing and exhausting. it’s enough to make me wonder if i’m truly ok, if i deserve all of this, if i’m strong enough to navigate the waters of all of this energy coming toward me: heartfelt emails, teaching requests, writing requests, travel, speaking engagements, art requests, not to mention my dear family and friends who i worry may be feeling neglected as i figure all of this out. oh my.

the hard truth is that i am insanely thankful (and really wouldn’t change a thing) but i’m also struggling with structuring it all inside of a typical week/life that still leaves me whole and intact and nourished and %100 still me at the end of that week/life. i’m afraid i’m losing a bit of the things i need to reclaim – small but important things like eating well, stretching/yoga, bike riding, reading, even keeping up with my friends on the phone and gift giving. and the worst part? all of this friction i feel living a pretty awesome life leaves me feeling a tad shameful for even mentioning the mere whispers of struggle. in the end, i suppose i’m still learning how to be brave in sadness, brave in love. i’m trying hard to acknowledge that my creative dreams have indeed taken flight, that i’m in love with my life, but in the same breath, i’m on an emotional roller coaster that seems to be circling my heart lately, waiting for a safe place to land. i want to be really honest about this life, how it feels, how contradictory and heavy it can be, how mysterious and perfect it can be, while also celebrating its gifts of pure spirit and joy. it all matters. and it’s all real.

prior to 4 weeks ago, i had never released a book before. never taught before. never given a speech before. never booked a ticket to italy to teach before. never agreed to more 2009 teaching and speaking before. never missed my husband so much before. never wished for a real home and stability so much before. never knew i could do it before. never knew of my capability and strength inside a heart of tender, tender spots before. i’m learning and leaning into it all…

how are you? are you also feeling it all deeply? exhausted and joyful and struggling and thankful and full of life and love all at once, too? god, i hope so 🙂

Sending much love,

Show/Hide Comments (37 comments)
  1. Blaiz

    Hi Kelly, here's a link to my blog which shows my completed works from your second class at Art & Soul:

    Of the 4 art retreats I've been to, I've only finished one project that I started in the workshops that I attended. I used the techniques I learned in those workshops for new pieces, but never finished the other pieces. Until your class, that is! I just had to finish those girls!

    Thanks for being such a giving teacher.

  2. amanda

    i long for a life like this, deep and full, life & love, bits & pieces. enjoy the wave ride, but don't forget to breath 😉

  3. Mersea

    I just read through your post and thought about the things I go through on a daily basis which are similar! Kindred spirits, I would say! I have Fibromyalgia and haven’t been able to find a job that would accomindate that illness. I create my art almost on a daily basis except when I get blocked. to support my art habit I do Pet/House sitting and companion sitting. It doesn’t pay as much as a 9-5 job but it helps. I would love to know how you got into teaching and how you sell your work? also, how did you go about publishing a book?

    Julia Ruane-Smith

  4. Marel Lecone

    Thank you for being so honest. It gives a window into what people go through as they experience success/dreams coming true. Hang in there. I’m sure the balance is one of the hardest things. Take a day soon to ride the bike and/or do your favorite things. Take care.

  5. Anonymous

    Kelly. . . taking your class at Art and Soul was amazing! I came away with much more than I ever expected – there are no mistakes! You are such an inspiration and a wonderful teacher! I feeled blessed that I was able to take your class. You deserve all your successes. . . you are the real deal! Thank you for all you share with us! Connie

  6. angelique goudeaux

    Hi Kelly, just wanted to drop in and say I HEART your book (LOL!!) It’s so easy to follow, the graphics, the explanations – It is so user-friendly and visually pleasing. I can’t bring myself to write in it though 🙂 Thanks for helping me grow some feathers (wings are comin!!) Take care!

  7. Sheri

    I don’t think I’ve commented before but I’ve bought some prints and recently finished your book,and have been lurking for quite awhile. It is a true joy to watch your dreams come true. You are an inspiration to all of us who,like me, might be holding back, afraid of “taking flight”.

    Thank you,and I’s so happy for you.

  8. pERiWinKle

    I think your next book’s name has been chosen…
    ‘brave in sadness, brave in love’


    i’ll be your ‘right next to you to help with whatever you need help with / (slash!) friend / PA / whatever you need me to be – assistant. (sjoe!!! out of breathe!) heehee!

    you deserve all this…and know what? there is more where this is coming from!

    love you xx

  9. Leslie

    …just popped in to say I love your book…

  10. PCarriker

    Hi Kelly, I haven’t been by in awhile, but it looks like you are a busy, busy girl! I can relate on a much smaller scale to what you are feeling. I had a couple of articles, my first, come out this summer and I was so excited to see them in print! But soon after was hoping that wouldn’t be ‘it’ for me. I am fortunate and blessed to say it’s not for now anyway. I have three more articles coming out in Somerset publications the first of 2009. I am looking forward and still trying to savor the journey. I’ve been asked to teach some online classes, so that is my next step on the path to who knows where-lol! I will take each step with happy feet and try to enjoy each moment to it’s fullest. Much, much congratulations on your continued and well deserved success. You inspire us all to dream BIG!

  11. jenica

    you are more than enough. you have every right to feel all of these emotions with your success. success can be one of the hardest things to own, we never expect it fully, no matter how hard we’ve been working for it all along the way.

    so looking forward to february. it’ll be a bright sunshiny reprieve for me after a long winter.


  12. eleen

    Wow, how wonderful and exciting and discombobulating it must all be! I’m very happy for you.

    I have a million books I haven’t read, but last night I picked up yours and couldn’t put it down! Like so many others, I love your soft/honest/inquisitive/encouraging/inspiring voice…and the book itself is beautiful. I’m so happy I got myself a signed copy. :]

    I’ve decided to actually take a crack at the 1st project and am headed to the art store today to buy myself some Gesso, which I’d never even heard of until yesterday! I actually hit your blog to see if you had any reader projects posted. I was curious to see what others have created with your tutorials. Maybe that’s cheating?!

    At any rate, congratulations on your sweet successes. I wish you all the best and hope that you continue to savor and enjoy it!

  13. Julie H

    Kelly, you are wonderful and real and funny and inspiring, and I am sure your family are thrilled you are on this journey – just don’t forget to breathe!
    And I am so glad I got my KL original before you were famous, because I cold never figure out time zones and then hurry the dial-up along enough to get one now LOL.

  14. Steph

    Congratulations on all these good things! They will fit into your wonderful life!

  15. Deirdra Doan

    Kelly I imagine this coming so fast would be very strange…..though wonderful…
    It is Ok to go slow….
    so your heart can catch up with the beauty of it all….
    Love and blessings to you!
    and thank you for the sweet comment on my song and video… I loved your class too!

  16. Charming Sam

    Your post was lovely. I cried. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for your book as well. It has been a source of unending inspiration since I bought it at Art & Soul. The pages already lovingly written on and carried with me from room to room and place to place. Enjoy your wonderful life for it is yours.

  17. Anna M. Rosete

    Hi, Kelly Rae! You know, the coolest thing about you is that you are living this dream life, and people like me who just started this whole journey look up to you, and yet, you speak of the vulnerability that you feel, reminding us all of the process through which we are traveling. It is wonderful to read your blog and read about your process. I find it very inspiring that you share all these with us. Thank you! You are such a generous vehicle for creation…

  18. Helen

    Kelly, from all of us in Australia who love your work please, please, please come over and do some workshops. We would treat you so well and we’d be really grateful. I received your book a couple of weeks ago and have been dipping into it continuously and I think it was fantastic that you included other artists. Hope to meet you in person one day.

  19. One4Joy

    I love the sweet serendipities of life, Kelly Rae! I'd never heard of you before I picked up your book just last week and sat in B&N with an iced tea and looked and then read your words…to say I was touched by your transparency would be an understatement! I pray you will always seek the balance you need to live your life with that tenderness. I almost cried when I read your dedication to your husband, for my DH says the same things to me everyday…he is my biggest encourager and believer.

    I understand trying to hold up all the "plates" in the air. I started a blog in the summer and realized I can't keep it up everyday…too many other tender things that require my nourishment…there'll be a time and I'll know.

    Many blessings to you on your journey…I'll so glad to have had a peek along the way.


  20. Brendalee

    Congratulations on your success! I received your book in the mail last week and I love it! So inspiring. You are an amazing artist. I rushed home on Wednesday from my 1/2 day of work to get to my computer so that I could get to your sale, and was seriously dissappointed to see that everything sold in 8 minutes. I had my heart set on getting one of your originals. Sooo happy for you though!!

  21. kitasmom

    kelly rae – you are TOO all That and a bag of chips! just enjoy. breathe. and do all the wonderful things you taught us at squam…now here’s a zen card for you as you try to delegate space for every wonderful thing (by the way…ever notice that when there are too many Wonderful Things, that the Un-Wonderful Things fall away? cool, huh?) ok – the card: The Center is not always the point of balance. When you find that place where Balance is acheived, peace will result in all situations. There is no conflict, for everything rests without strain.” xox Linda E

  22. Caricature Girl

    Kelly, watching you ride your wave is very inspirational!
    My exhausting, joyful, struggle filled, beautiful, creative life process is:
    ride exhilarating wave…wipe out…tread water till I catch my breath…swim back out…crawl back on board (get all my kids back on the board)…figure out balance…ride another exhilarating wave…wipe out…tread water till I catch my breath…swim out farther…crawl back on board…figure out balance…ride wave…and repeat…

    …sometimes all before 9 am.

  23. Judy Wise

    some days you ride the wave, some days the wave rides you. From a distance it all looks effortless. You are the best. (((((hug))))) xo

  24. Rowena

    What a piece of synchronicity.

    As soon as the kids go to bed, I will be posting last night’s painting which is indeed of Flying Girl and the Big Wave.

    I don’t know what I think about it yet, as I have not yet written it.

    But I do know the metaphor of riding the wave has gotten me through some tough times. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow and trust that you will come out the other side without drowning. However, if you fight the wave, you could very possibly be pulled under.

    Of course, I think I am posting another painting about the lessons to be learned from being pulled under, too.

    I will try to come back with the link to the new post, if I don’t get overwhelmed with toddler duties.

  25. Meg Brothers

    Thanks for being so vulnerable and sharing with your readers where you truly are. When you bring light to your feelings like that, the shame starts to get pushed out of the way. I really appreciate your honesty. Often times I think artists are seen in a way that ignores the struggles of emerging into our own, and I can see that there is work to do when our dream arrives!Give yourself permission to put your needs as a priority again. Your soul will thank you for it! Congrats on another teaching opportunity! So exciting!

  26. The Other Laura

    I am at the very beginning of re-creating my life and my wave is still very small and sometimes comfortable but quite often not.

    Thanks for sharing how this wave might look from the other side…

  27. nina

    kelly rae, congratulations on catching that wave – just remember to hold tight and follow your heart and let the wave take you where it will….x

  28. BelleEnchanted

    Kelly, your honesty is absolutely breathtaking and inspiring. You’re writing the way I have committed myself to writing, you’re living the way I’m committing myself to living. Thank you so much!

  29. Jo

    Hi Kelly
    This is the first time I’ve really commented on your blog, although I’ve been rivetted to it for quite a few weeks now…. your book is flying over to me in the UK as I type…lol!
    You are really such an inspiration, and I love the fact that you are always soooo real and honest too. I’m in awe of all that you have achieved in such a relatively short space of time… but also that you are still soooo grounded, still so passionate about the ‘important’ things in life not just your art. I await new insights into how to juggle all the conflicting practicalities and emotions too.
    Thank you!
    Oodles of luv

  30. Maria

    Hi Kelly! Just found your blog through my blogging friend Serena.
    WOW, I love your work & your blog is so interesting. I'll put your link on mine & visit often. Congrats on your first class & your first book!
    Maria,artist,Central Qld, Australia

  31. BigCat

    I am exhausted and a little overwhelmed. Elated and joyful too. I am wondering how to find time to do all the important things and keep some balance.

    A couple of weeks, after I first started reading your book, I wrote a post on my blog called Taking Flight. When I opened my heart and put my intention out there the world arrived on my doorstep. It’s been amazing.

    I am enjoying your blog so much at the moment. I really look forward to every post.

  32. curious girl (lisa)

    wow! that class looks like fun. I want to check out art nest too.

    enjoy the ride sweet girl. it will all mellow out in time to give you a chance to return to equilibrium and savour how exciting this journey was. (and give you a chance to rest up for all the success to come.)

  33. Roberta

    Kelly Rae, you are a wonderful teacher, and I am so happy that I was able to be there, as one of your students, to learn from you…on your very first day as an art teacher 🙂 The whole class was in awe of you, your warmth, your kindness, those “hope notes” that you shared with us, your demos…we loved it all! I am so happy I snapped some photos for you, because I was really excited that you are reaching some of your dreams! You were “Taking Flight” and giving us the “wings” to make our own dreams. So, thank you! I am looking forward to more classes with you in the future. Enjoy the ride!
    (an artist 🙂

  34. Lexy.

    Oh! Look at you all surrounded with distress inks – that’s me too! Aren’t they awesome?

    Your book arrived about an hour ago!! But I haven’t opened it yet. I’ve told myself I have to get 3 more hours of work done first. THEN I can read it. (And yet here I am reading your blog instead!!)

    I understand what you mean. Creating and being involved in everything creative is your dream, but then you seem to run out of time to just ‘live’ and be involved with your family/friends. And I miss reading too! Audiobooks while drawing are my compromise right now.

    I’m trying to fit about 36 hours work and 40 hours artwork into every week. One moment I feel really confident, the next moment I’m totally drained! But, it’s all stepping stones towards the big art-full-time leap!!

    But it helps to know that I’m not the only one who seems to be overwhelmed at times with too much to process. But please don’t second guess yourself. Here’s to hoping we both get through it in one piece! I’m sure we will 🙂

  35. Anonymous

    you are gorgeous Kelly. You DO deserve it, all of it and more. Dont second guess that.
    Ride the wave high baby…there is so much more to come for you.
    The only thing Im peeved about is that I can never get one of your original paintings!!! LOL
    I cant get these time zones worked out here in Australia!
    Lots of love


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Hello + welcome!

I’m Kelly Rae Roberts

Before I picked up my first paintbrush at the age of 30, I was a medical social worker. I followed my creative whispers, and today I’m an artist & Possibilitarian. I’m passionate about creating meaningful art and experiences that awaken and inspire our spirits.

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