26 04, 2020

Our Beliefs Are About to Change


Droplets fall patiently, one at a time, slowly and methodically, thundering loudly like a stick on a snare on the metal roof above my little brown clapboard studio. Wet decaying fall leaves cover the ground as bright, twinkling blades of springtime fight to take over the ground cover as if to say ‘My turn now. You can come back next fall.”

Lasting Memories

As I gaze at the walls inside my studio, my equivalent of a man cave, with paintings instead of posters, and model lights inside of neon beer signs, my life flashes before me with each painting a memory of a time and place in history. A little brown church with a glowing red door, surrounded by fall color which I painted beside friends Don Edic, Rick Wilson, and Frances Pampayen.

Painting in Bruges

Another memory of painting quaint canal-facing homes in Bruges which I painted beside Rick Dickensian, Michelle Jung, Roger Rossi. I remember when a local newspaper reporter talked to me, took my picture and it appeared on their website.

Friends painting together

A distant foggy mountain peak painted at my Adirondack event has been hanging here for nine years, a scene I’ve painted over and over with hundreds of friends over the years. And another of a gushing waterfall painted under umbrellas in a roaring rainstorm with Erik Koeppel, Terryl Gable, Kim Hoerster and Rick Wilson.

Who Needs Gold?

Life is rich for me. My life with artists and painting is more valuable to me than chasing bars of gold. I’m not a financially wealthy guy but my wealth is made up of friendships and painting memories, which are far more valuable and things I’d never trade for financial wealth.

If you were to have asked me to envision such a life surrounded by art and painter friends in exotic locations with a paintbrush in hand, I never would have believed it.

A No Talent Hack

I’m the guy who believed I had no talent, not even the ability to draw a stick figure. You simply could not have convinced me that it was possible to come true. Yet it did come true. But for it to come true others had to help convince me that it was possible and I had to start believing them. 

What Do You No Longer Believe?

Look back on your life and ask yourself how many things you believed impossible or improbable that you would have never imagined that now seem very much a part of who you are. To adopt new things in our lives we have to make constant adjustments to our belief systems, we have to challenge our own beliefs, and we have to trust that others sometimes see things we need that we cannot see in ourselves.


Can you think about something you resisted, were opposed to, or did not believe that was introduced to you by someone else? I guarantee you it did not happen instantly. It’s something you resisted until you adjusted your own mindset and started to believe what they believed. I can think of many things I disbelieved before believing them.

Changing our minds isn’t easy. 

Ingrained Lessons

We grow up with the ideals or views of our parents, grandparents, teachers and professors; we usually believe what we’ve been told. Repetition has that effect. Yet we have to start thinking for ourselves. We have to question everything, never assume that even those we love the most were right. We may find out they were right, but we also may find out their thinking was flawed. 

Throughout my life I’ve watched transformations. I’ve seen my own transformation on many occasions, and I’ve watched friends morph into butterflies and sometimes piranha.

Determination Overcomes All

When people want something badly enough they become driven by their passion or desire. That’s when the impossible becomes possible. There is no force greater than human determination, which explains why average people end up doing extraordinary things. But it can cut both ways. An obsession with something unhealthy can drive people as well. Thankfully, we each get to decide what’s right for us. I’ve never been willing to make the sacrifices to gain massive wealth, but I have friends with jets and choppers and a half dozen homes who are good at it.

It all boils down to our priorities and our personal belief systems.

Can You Change, Really?

Things really get interesting, though, when you try to change your belief systems. A business colleague in radio fell deeply in love with a woman, so much so that he ignored the fact that they had extremely opposite political views. Though I would have never believed it, he started thinking that maybe those views were worth considering. Yet he was die-hard in his beliefs until he had motivation to challenge his own beliefs.

Most of us are stuck in our ways and almost nothing will change our minds.

Beliefs Disproven

Imagine for a moment that you belong to a cult and practiced it with vigor for decades. Then a video was found where the cult leader was talking about how none of it was true and he was manipulating people for their money? There would still be people who would cling to that cult, unable to change their minds even if there was solid proof. They would find a rational way to tell themselves that it was counterfeit or that he was told to say it at gunpoint.

This Can’t Be True

Decades ago I got to know all of the people on the floor of the office building in Salt Lake City. One really nice man turned out to be revealed as a serial killer with dozens of bodies found under his house. It was frightening, and at first no one could believe it was true because he was such a nice guy. But the evidence was convincing. 

Brain Clash

There is a term called Cognitive Dissonance, which occurs when a person holds two or more beliefs that contradict each other. That’s when my belief systems clash with new evidence that cannot be ignored, such as indisputable evidence. It’s a discomfort where we try to find a way to resolve our discomfort. Most of us eventually come around.

I Was Wrong

Because of Coronavirus I experienced Cognitive Dissonance. For instance: I had a mistaken belief that our modern medicine was so good that we would never have a Pandemic like those of a hundred years ago. I also believed that nothing could put our country into another financial crisis equal to the Great Depression, yet both came true. I had to wrestle my own belief systems to the ground to resolve a new set of beliefs.

Now I’m wondering how many more times I’ll be proven wrong and will need to change my belief systems.

Never Again

Am I clinging to the idea that things will get back to normal because I’m an optimist? They might, or we may never shake hands or hug friends again, and we may be conducting life as we know it with facemasks and gloves. 

I’m guessing that as we get on the other side of this quarantine, we will learn things about ourselves and we will have to adopt new belief systems. 

I guarantee that we could be given an “all clear” and no chance of infection, and there will be people who won’t get on an airplane for five years. They simply will not be convinced that it’s safe.

Expect Dramatic Change

My assumption is that our lives will change dramatically. Each of us will end up adopting new beliefs and shedding old beliefs because a new normal will be revealed as a result of these past few weeks of virus. I can’t possibly predict in what ways we will see change, but I guarantee we will. 

What do you think will change?

What do you think will be revealed?

None of Us Could Have Believed This

No matter how open-minded I think I am, my mind is closed to certain ideas. Yet I’ll be proven wrong in the next year or two, because of new evidence that forces me to let go of my beliefs. You may want to consider that it could happen to you, too. None of us would have ever believed that the entire world would be in quarantine lockdown, that no restaurants and stores would be open, and that we would experience weeks or months of staying at home.

Grieving The Loss of Beliefs

With new evidence and disbelief comes grief. We grieve over the death of our beliefs. Loving someone only to find out they were an axe murder is a tough pill to swallow. We still want to cling to the good things we liked about them. And although it’s always best to look at the positives, we cannot ignore truth or evidence. Still, there is a loss when that evidence erodes truth.

You and I are on the edge of this virus. Soon, maybe today or tomorrow, maybe another month or two from now, we’ll be introduced to the need to adopt new beliefs. Are you ready?

I for one am excited about the future. I’m curious what it will look like and I’m ready to take it on. 

Eric Rhoads

PS: Though it sounds strange, I’ll be sad when this forced quarantine is over. In some ways, I don’t want to get back to life as normal. I don’t want my kids to leave home. I don’t know if I want to spend my life on an airplane anymore. I like being able to have time for deeper connections and conversations.

You and I have learned things about ourselves, which we must capture in order to reshape our lives. This is the time to make sure that we redesign our lives to be more in line with the things we’ve learned about ourselves. 

And, be grateful for this time. Use what’s left of it wisely. Make your list of what you need to get done (there will never be a better time), projects that you’ve been meaning to finish and new things you want to do to learn and grow. I’m taking online lessons in things I’ve always wanted to learn. I’m reading more, and I’m using my time to do what I love, thus I’m learning to sculpt and do paintings I’ve always wanted to do. 

I hope you’ll consider doing the same. I’ve listed a ton of online art instruction segments we’ve posted in the past month or longer.

A message for my artist friends (or wannabe artists): 

If you’ve done paintings, drawings, sculptures, or art related to Coronavirus, post it and use the hashtag #covidart, so others can find it and see what you have done.

If you are a gallery or artist, post your website or work and use the hashtag #buyartnow so others can use that as a search term to find your art, so they can buy it.

I’m trying to encourage everyone to do a self-portrait during this time, even if you have never done one. Post it and tag #realismtoday and #stayhomeselfie so others can see it, and so we can find it for possible stories.

If you want to see the art survival webinar I did last Thursday, you can find a replay here.

I’m doing a daily art update at 12n (ET) on my Facebook (EricRhoads) and (EricRhoads, Publisher) and on Instagram (Eric Rhoads).

If you’re a wannabe painter, take free lessons at www.paintbynote.com

The following is a list of all the free art instruction video segments and other videos we have produced since this quarantine began. Enjoy, these are free:

Our Beliefs Are About to Change2020-04-25T13:41:01-04:00
19 04, 2020

Why You Don’t Need More Stuff


A blast of high winds is bending the tops of the trees, which are performing a ballet of unnatural yet graceful moves. Their gnarly branches are twisting and turning as spring roars in like a lion. Deeply I breathe in the freshly cleaned air from the past few days of rain, which has also made the sky its purest color, purer still because so few cars have been on the road during this time of rest and resurrection.

When we’re driving down the highway at 70 miles per hour, we barely notice the rapidly changing landscape, but a traffic jam slows us down, giving us a chance to look around and notice our surroundings. This quarantine period has allowed us a chance to slow down, to breathe in our surroundings, and to appreciate where we are and what we have. Though we’re often on a high-speed treadmill, ever faster and with ever steeper hills, seeking to earn and accumulate more, this has helped us to slow, to ponder, to realize that maybe more isn’t what we need.

Feeding My Addiction

Last night I was cleaning up my studio, putting things in their place, when I noticed a stack of art books I’ve purchased but never read. Feeding my addiction, I’m always on to the next art book — some sent to me for publicity, others purchased, yet my unopened, unread pile is growing, and I realized I often buy them and then forget to read them. Just yesterday a new book arrived, yet I’ve not paid attention to the ones I have and I always want more. This addiction is for more and more, and these unread books have made me realize I’m striving but not enjoying. If I never bought another art book for the rest of my life, I’m not sure I could properly read all that I have.

Is Better Really Better?

Maybe it’s a natural instinct to always want to better our circumstances — but why? Are our circumstances not good? In some cases they are not, and we need to pull ourselves up. In other cases, it’s simply addiction-feeding. I think back to cleaning out my mom’s house and how many items she had acquired. They had meaning to her, but in most cases, not to the rest of us.


For years I collected antique radios, which I love. I could not get enough, and one time I bought a man’s entire collection and a 1955 Oldsmobile. Though I thought they would bring me joy (and they did, for a while), they became a burden. A collection of 150 radios has to be dusted and stored, and an old car has to be driven and kept clean. That car was fun when it was my only car for a year or so, but once I got a different car, it sat in the driveway and deteriorated until it had to be hauled away years later.

I eventually sold off most of the radios and realized I could feed my addiction by enjoying the few nice ones I kept. It no longer had to be about buying.

No More Wall Space

I’m also addicted to paintings. Because my job takes me to art galleries, I was always seeing things I loved and on occasion bringing one home. But it got to a point where there was no place to hang them all, and I would put them in storage, meaning to rotate. But like most things in storage, they’ve been ignored. The buying was more of an addiction than the owning.

Maybe it’s my time of life, but I’ve come to the conclusion that rather than buying a lot, it’s best to buy less, and to ask myself these questions before I buy…

What am I going to do with it? Where will it go? Will I use it? How will I feel about it in a year? If there was a fire, would I grab it as one of the few possessions I want to keep? Would I be better off keeping the money in the bank? Do I really want to get into debt over this item?

Valuable Lessons

This quarantine has taught us some lessons — like we go out to shop too much. We buy too much. We don’t need so much. Sometimes the act of traveling to buy is why we buy, more so than needing the item.

Depression Mentality

I can’t say I’m cured, but as we all struggle over money lost, jobs lost, and fear of loss, maybe we will take on the mentality of our parents or grandparents who grew up in the Great Depression. Now I understand why they were so frugal. They know it could all be lost in a moment. Now we know this too.

Life isn’t about stuff. Stuff is nice to have, but I’m wishing I had a Steinway instead of a cheap knockoff. I could have had one if I hadn’t bought all the other meaningless stuff over the years. I’d rather have the best of the best paintings than a garage full of pieces in storage.

A Glance Behind

There was a time when I had nothing. I lived in a small studio apartment without even one bedroom, and I didn’t have enough stuff to fill that space. Looking back at those days, I’d rather have the money I later spent on stuff — not so I could buy more stuff, but so I could just have it at a time like this.

More More More

A friend recently told me he wants to get a new job to make more money. I asked why. He said, “So we can get a bigger house and a better car.” I get that. But I cautioned him and suggested that our tendency is to make more money and then spend more money, and still not put any more in the bank. We just go from one house payment to a bigger house payment, one car payment to a bigger car payment. I suggested that maybe before doing that, he ask himself … why? Why do I want a bigger, more expensive house? Do I need the space? (In some cases, the answer to that is yes.) But sometimes it’s just that bigger seems better. I said, “Would it be better to get the new job or a raise and keep your expenses the same? Not to buy more, just to save more?” He has a big house, two nice cars, and no money put away to survive a time like this.

What about you? What are you addicted to?

I often remind myself that rather than looking forward to all the things I hope to get, I should look back to see how far I’ve come. Do we really need more? In some cases yes, but in many cases, no.

Finding Lessons

I’m grateful for the lessons coming out of this horrible tragedy. You and I will be better off as a result, in spite of the sadness surrounding it. I for one am thankful for what I have, and ready to shed what I no longer need. I’m going to be less of a consumer and more of an enjoyer. What about you?

This time is difficult, but it’s a blessing too. Use it to learn, to grow, to finish unfinished projects, to do new projects, to reconnect with the people you love, and to make yourself a better you. Embrace this moment in time for the blessings we’ve discovered.

Eric Rhoads

PS: I once went to a seminar by W. Clement Stone, a wealthy businessman and motivational speaker. His mantra was “Do it now.” When you think of it, do it now. If you can’t find a way, find a way now. Make your list of how you want your life to look. Do it now. Projects? Do it now.  Now is all we have. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. Do it now.

For my friends who are artists (or want to be) I’m doing a daily art update at 12n (ET) today and every day. I’m on Facebook live on my page EricRhoads, or on EricRhoads, Publisher and on Instagram on Eric Rhoads.

Also, you’ll find our free 3 pm daily art instruction videos there (and previous ones below) on the Streamline Art Video page on Facebook or YouTube.

3.23.20 –  Bryan Mark Taylor The Master’s Mind
3.24.20 – Johanne Mangi The Fine Art of Painting Dog Portraits
3.25.20 –  Joseph McGurl Painting Light & Atmosphere
3.26.20 – Cesar Santos Secrets of Figure Drawing
3.27.20 –  Michelle Byrne Palette Knife Painting  
3.28.20 – Michael Mentler Figure Drawing in the Renaissance Tradition
3.29.20 –  Shelby Keefe Painting From Photographs
3.30.20 –  Daniel Graves Old World Portraiture   
3.31.20 –  Kathy Anderson How to Paint Flowers in the Studio 
4.1.20   John MacDonald Creating Dynamic Landscapes   
4.2.20 – Lori Putnam Bold Brushstrokes and Confident Color  
4.3.20 – Cesar Santos Secrets of Figure Painting    
4.4.20 – Erik Koeppel Techniques of the Hudson River School Masters 2
4.5.20 – Juliette Aristides Secrets of Classical Painting   
4.6.20 – Thomas Jefferson Kitts Sorolla: Painting the Color of Light
4.7.20 – Gregory Mortenson Realistic Self Portraits
4.8.20 – Bill Davidson “Landscape Painting Secrets”
4.9.20 – Stephanie Birdsall “Lemons & Leaves”
4.10.20 – Huihan Liu “Expressive Figure Painting”
4.11.20 – Scott W. Prior “Painting the Urban Landscape”
4.12.20 – Michael Holter “7 Steps to Watercolor Portraits”
4.13.20 – Nancy Tankersley “Painting Figures From Photographs”
4.14.20 – Paul Kratter “Mastering Trees”
4.15.20 – Karl Dempwolf “California Impressionism”
4.16.20 – Albert Handell “Painting in Oil”
4.17.20 – Cynthia Rosen “Expressive Landscape Painting: Palette Knife in Plein Air” 
Why You Don’t Need More Stuff2020-04-18T13:30:26-04:00
12 04, 2020

Coming Back Stronger


Perky little yellow wildflowers are showing their faces in the bright morning sun. Greens are bright and happy after last night’s bucket brigade of nourishment. My symphony of birdsongs is performing from all directions, as if to say, “It’s spring!”

Not all of life is about birdsong. Sometimes it’s the deadly squawk of a vulture. Horrible, unpleasant things happen to us.

Loss of Love

Looking back on my life, I’ve fallen in love many times, and every time a breakup occurred, I’d be devastated for months, sometimes years. I fall in love deeply, and when it ends, it hits me hard. I feel battered and bruised, as if my parachute didn’t open and I slammed into the ground at the speed of light. But sometimes you have to be pushed or jump out of the plane.

Frequent Failure Miles

I can count the failures, too. I can clearly remember the day my bookkeeper came into my office to tell me, “Eric, you’ll be bankrupt in three weeks.” There was no way out. So I did what any self-respecting businessman would do. I went into my office, laid on the couch in a fetal position, and wept.  I could not see beyond the dark cloud. The business I had been working on for years was out of money.

When I think about the breakups, the failures, the heartbreaks, the failed attempts, and the moments when everything seemed so hopeless, I actually get a physical response — shivers in my shoulders as my head is pushed forward.

Not-So-Comforting Advice

I can also think of all the advice everyone would give me. None of it was very valuable or comforting when I was consumed with the flames and black smoke of worry. How could they possibly know what I’m feeling or going through?

Good Terror

Yet, as I take an inventory of my life, I’m grateful for those moments of terror. I’m grateful for four recessions. I am grateful for losing all my money. I’m grateful for losing a marriage. I’m grateful for every bad thing that ever happened to me.

It’s easy to say it now, looking back. At the moment, it’s not so easy, because we can’t yet see the lessons to come. But they always come.

Grateful for COVID-19

I know this is going to sound awful, but I’m grateful for the coronavirus. Though it has been devastating, has resulted in deaths and financial ruin for much of the world, I’m grateful because it’s making us stronger, it’s forcing us to be more creative, it’s making us consider alternatives we never before would have considered. I dare say it’s even going to make us more prosperous, even though it’s wiped out many of us financially.

Unexpected Response

Every couple of days I’ll get a text from someone: “How are you holding up?” And my response is “terrific” or “fantastic.” These people know my business has crumbled and is barely standing, like the Parthenon, and they expect me to be down. But the good news is that it’s still standing — and the Parthenon is the most visited tourist attraction in Greece. It’s an attraction because it crumbled and was once magnificent, and it stands for what once was, and what could be.

A Big Dark Bag

Yes, I’m wounded, yes, I’m concerned, but my family is alive and healthy, and this forced time together has brought us closer. And the need to take action and find some way to pay some of the bills has forced me and others on my team to reach deep into the bottom of a big dark bag and pull out creative solutions that will end up being fresh, new solutions to old problems.

On this day of resurrection, let us not cling to the bad. Let us cling to the hope, the new life that comes from the destruction of the old.

The End of the Storm

I’m convinced that as we awaken today, new hope will be revealed within each of us. I believe the world will see a resurrection. A giant dark storm has covered the world, and a fresh new morning of bright, shining light will make this world better, make us more loving, kinder, and more aware of the encouraging things we’ve discovered about ourselves and each other.

Sometimes we need to be slapped in the face, kicked in the stomach, and thrown to the ground to realize that something needs to change, and that it would never have occurred without the pain.

Operating on Fear

I refuse to cling to the dark side of the story. I’m sad about it, but I refuse to be controlled by it. And I’m not going to buy into the fear and believe for a moment that this is going to continue for weeks, months, or decades. Nothing will drag me out of the comfortable pool of optimism. I refuse to dip into the stormy sea of doubt and fear. I’ll deal with the reality of each day, and reject any predictions of a future no one on earth can predict with accuracy. As my therapist friend says, “Only worry about the next 15 minutes. You can’t control much more than that. Why torture yourself?”

Your Assignment

I’m going to ask you to do something today. I never ask anything of you. But today, it’s a big ask. I want you to go deep into your mind, reach in, and yank the dark poison out of your head, and spend today … just today … believing in a resurrection from this situation, believing in hope, and keeping your head out of the poison. And, after today, if it felt good, add just one more day, then another.

Can we manifest ourselves out of this difficult time? Maybe, maybe not, but having a full day of peace and no worry is better than a day of worry and angst.

You and I are under observation. Our families, our communities, our friends, our colleagues are watching us, how we respond, and the leadership we can provide. Everyone is looking for hope. Maybe you can provide it, giving them a much-needed day of peace.

Unintentional Purpose

I spoke to my dear old friend Lisa on Thursday and she said, “Eric, I needed this. You’ve lifted my spirit and pulled my head out of my fear.” She was in a black vortex, spinning down into a hopeless dark place. I don’t know why I called her, I did not know she needed to be lifted, and honestly, I didn’t even do it intentionally. But that’s why thoughts come into our minds to connect with others. We have purpose.

The Tale of Rescue

There is an old story, one you’ve no doubt heard before. A man was stuck on his rooftop praying to God for help. Soon a man in a rowboat came by and offered to rescue him. “No, thank you, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me,” the stranded man said. Then a motorboat came by and offered. “No, thank you, God is going to save me.” Then a helicopter came and the pilot said “Grab the rope.” But the stranded man said, “God is going to save me.” Soon the flood waters rose, and the man drowned. And when he entered Heaven and met God, he said, “God, why didn’t you save me? I had faith in you but you let me drown. I don’t understand why.” And God replied, “I sent you a rowboat, a motorboat, and a helicopter. What more did you expect?”

In the Foxhole Together

There is an old saying that “There are no atheists in foxholes” — not in the middle of a war when bullets are flying around your head. You, me, and the world are in the foxhole together. We have to save one another. And we need to be tuned in to grab the lessons this is providing us and the help placed in front of us that we’re simply too blind to see. To everything, there is a purpose. Don’t wait for it, look for it.

And remember: The comeback is going to be greater than the setback.

Stay strong. Stay calm. Breathe deeply. It may feel dark, but the sun always comes up. Look for the resurrection.

Eric Rhoads

PS: I thought staying at home would give me more time to do the things I’ve been wanting to do. Though there has been a little of that, me and the remaining crew have been putting in 12-hour days so we can keep you engaged, informed, distracted, and entertained. Since this began we’ve created and published 21 art instruction segments, at least 21 hours of content. Plus we’ve conducted interviews with experts to help you. Below, I’m listing all the things we’re offering, in hopes you can make good use of them. 

Use this time to grow, learn new things, challenge yourself, and make yourself better. 

Here is a sample of the current issue of PleinAir magazine for your enjoyment: click here. If you like it, we’re offering a 30% discount now! You can subscribe here.

I also go live every day at noon Eastern on my Eric Rhoads Facebook page, which you can follow. (Sorry, no friend slots available.) 

Important for everyone to watch: 

3.23.20 –  Bryan Mark Taylor The Master’s Mind
3.24.20 – Johanne Mangi The Fine Art of Painting Dog Portraits
3.25.20 –  Joseph McGurl Painting Light & Atmosphere
3.26.20 – Cesar Santos Secrets of Figure Drawing
3.27.20 –  Michelle Byrne Palette Knife Painting  
3.28.20 – Michael Mentler Figure Drawing in the Renaissance Tradition
3.29.20 –  Shelby Keefe Painting From Photographs
3.30.20 –  Daniel Graves Old World Portraiture   
3.31.20 –  Kathy Anderson How to Paint Flowers in the Studio 
4.1.20   John MacDonald Creating Dynamic Landscapes   
4.2.20 – Lori Putnam Bold Brushstrokes and Confident Color  
4.3.20 – Cesar Santos Secrets of Figure Painting    
4.4.20 – Erik Koeppel Techniques of the Hudson River School Masters 2
4.5.20 – Juliette Aristides Secrets of Classical Painting   
4.6.20 – Thomas Jefferson Kitts Sorolla: Painting the Color of Light
4.7.20 – Gregory Mortenson Realistic Self Portraits
4.8.20 – Bill Davidson “Landscape Painting Secrets”
4.9.20 – Stephanie Birdsall “Lemons & Leaves”
4.10.20 – Huihan Liu “Expressive Figure Painting”
Coming Back Stronger2020-04-11T17:42:03-04:00
5 04, 2020

Never, Ever Give In


Goosebumps pop up on my arms as cold air blasts me when I open the old screen door to the porch. The long, wet painted floor planks with peeling paint reflect the sky, and the distant fog has turned the mountain a light gray-purple color, barely visible. Wet spring greens contrast brightly against the dark sky. Carefully, I make my way to my favorite experience — sitting under the long porch roof during fierce rain and thunder. As a child, we had no porch, but we would roll up the garage door to sit and enjoy storms, and every time it thundered, we would say that God was bowling.

Counting my blessings this morning, knowing that being cooped up with a wooded backyard and a neighbor with 40 acres helps me cope with knowing others are stuck in a tiny apartment and can’t even go for a walk for fear of infecting or being infected. Last night this masked, gloved hombre risked his life driving three minutes down the road to pick up a bottle of wine to make our Saturday feel a little more special. It’s the first I’ve been in the car for two weeks. Even though I only encountered a clerk behind glass, and washed down the wine bottle while still gloved, it was almost more risk than I should have taken. 

No matter how much disaster preparation I’ve done to be ready over the past decades, I never anticipated this. But staying home is a small price to pay to keep from infecting someone or being infected. 

What good could possibly come of this?

My reaction, my fear, my concern for others, and the sadness of watching Facebook friends post sad news of family members and friends who are ill or worse, makes me want to default to depression. But I refuse to give in — reminding me of the famous Churchill quote about never giving up or giving in.

Important Perspective

When we keep our perspective, it helps. Churchill made that speech while England was being bombed continuously. By September 7, 1940, London had been bombed for 56 out of 57 days, and for over nine months. People were not only stuck in their homes or in bomb shelters, lights had to be out; food was in short supply; factories were not only shut down, most were destroyed; and in the nine months of bombing, 43,000 people died. And though the death toll of COVID-19 is staggering, at least we’re not having the stress of bombs rattling our neighborhoods and wondering if we’ll be randomly killed. I can’t imagine that stress. 

I decided to look up that famous speech … and share a couple of passages. 

“We must learn to be equally good at what is short and sharp and what is long and tough. It is generally said that the British are often better at the last. They do not expect to move from crisis to crisis; they do not always expect that each day will bring up some noble chance of war; but when they very slowly make up their minds that the thing has to be done and the job put through and finished, then, even if it takes months — if it takes years — they do it…

“As Kipling well says, we must ‘…meet with Triumph and Disaster/And treat those two impostors just the same.’

“You cannot tell from appearances how things will go. Sometimes imagination makes things out far worse than they are; yet without imagination, not much can be done. Those people who are imaginative see many more dangers than perhaps exist; certainly many more than will happen; but then they must also pray to be given that extra courage to carry this far-reaching imagination. But for everyone, surely, what we have gone through in this period — I am addressing myself to the School — surely from this period of 10 months this is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. We stood all alone a year ago, and to many countries it seemed that our account was closed, we were finished. All this tradition of ours, our songs, our School history, this part of the history of this country, were gone and finished and liquidated.

“Very different is the mood today. Britain, other nations thought, had drawn a sponge across her slate. But instead our country stood in the gap. There was no flinching and no thought of giving in; and by what seemed almost a miracle to those outside these Islands, though we ourselves never doubted it, we now find ourselves in a position where I say that we can be sure that we have only to persevere to conquer.

“Do not let us speak of darker days: let us speak rather of sterner days. These are not dark days; these are great days — the greatest days our country has ever lived; and we must all thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to our stations, to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race.”

Winston Churchill, October 29, 1941, Harrow School

As we sit quietly in quarantine, it’s important to keep our perspective to manage our fear. We can certainly tolerate the stress of watching movies on Netflix, reading a few extra books, or having deeper, more meaningful time with family members or video calls with friends.

Embrace It

Though I don’t like my station in life at the moment, I’m embracing it for what it is. My business may be crumbling and my laid-off employees are suffering, as are over 6 million out-of-work Americans. We’re all wondering if our world will ever see daylight again, if we’ll ever be able to pay our mortgages or rent, if we’ll be masked forever. 

Finding Ourselves

I don’t think life will ever be the same. Yes, we will return to a new normal, but we have each grown from this experience and taken hold of something from this that has enriched or informed our lives. We’re seeing how strong we can be. We are discovering things about ourselves we did not know. Those with businesses, myself included, are discovering new ways to do business, which will continue after the all-clear.

Newfound Benefits

Of course, none of us wanted this to happen, but each of us will be better off for it in some way. This has strengthened our marriage, given us more time together, kept our busy teenage triplets at home, and we’re seeing them playing, doing projects, and involved in things they had no time for before. They’ve been forced to be creative, to grow. And while their last few months at home would have been them spending no time with us, off with their friends, we’re getting the gift of time with them. Deep, rich time.


I’m so impressed with human ingenuity, watching friends do things they never would have imagined. Their imaginations are on fire to develop solutions to help others, to expose their enterprises, to survive, and those innovations will make them stronger in the long run.

I’m also impressed with how we are coming together as a people. We share this fear, this problem, this quarantine, with the world. Because of some of the initiatives I’ve been forced to come up with, I’m meeting and chatting with people around the world. They are helping me, I am helping them. I realized after talking with a new acquaintance, an artist in Iran, his issues and my issues and concerns are the same. I’m realizing we have more in common than not. We’re connected by our passion for art.

Advice from a Therapist

We each have different viewpoints on this crisis. Some predict it will never really end, others predict a lull and then a resurgence, while others feel it will all be over rapidly. We don’t know. My friend Leslie, a therapist, suggested I tell people to watch enough news to be informed, but don’t become obsessed with it to the point that you start scaring yourself more than you should be. Worry about what you can change, not what you can’t change, and stay in the present. Are you safe now? Change what you can change in the next 15 minutes. Don’t ruminate about six months or a year from now. I thought it was valuable advice. I would add, find something to look forward to, something to get you excited, something you can learn at home, a project you can take on.

Don’t Look Back with Regret

As I was walking into my office last night, seeing piles of projects I’ve been meaning to get to one day, I realized one day has to be now or it won’t come. I don’t want to look back and realize I had endless hours wasted on social media when I could have been checking projects off the list.

You’ve learned that you are stronger than you realize. You’ve learned so much about yourself. Be thankful for this time because you may never have learned those things. There truly is a silver lining to this dark cloud.

Be strong.

Be creative.

Resolve to make the best of this.

Connect deeply to those around you.

Reconnect with people you normally don’t have time to talk to.

This is a golden hour. It will come to an end. Maybe soon, maybe not, but it will have an end. When that end comes, you’ll be busier than ever.

Take advantage of this time.


Eric Rhoads

PS: I’ve been trying to help in any way I can. Trying to help those in my tribe have tools to get through this, and things to do. I’ve listed them below. Make good use of them.

For those who want to learn to paint, but don’t feel they have talent/can’t even draw a stick figure: free lessons at www.paintbynote.com.

For those who want to watch top artists at work, see how they paint or draw, get into their heads, we’re doing a Facebook Live daily at 3 p.m. Eastern. And all the past content is shown on that page. Go here.

I’m doing a daily update (mostly for artists) daily at noon Eastern on Facebook Live. I’m out of friend slots, but you can follow me to get these. Go here.

An interview done by Jean Stern with me about what artists and galleries can do to survive.  Watch it here.

An interview I did with Jay Abraham, the $100,000-a-day marketing consultant on what artists and galleries can do to survive. See it here. It’s also posted on my ArtMarketingMinute blog and my PleinAir Podcast.

An interview I did with Jay Abraham that every business person and small-business person in the world should watch about the opportunity at this time. See it here.

My art stimulus package. Here’s how it works: Artists and galleries will post links to their paintings or websites on their social media and tag it with #buyartnow. People who want to buy art to help them survive can put #buyartnow into the search on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter and browse through what others have posted. 

On Tuesday I’ll be interviewing business guru Lee Milteer about what she thinks you can do to take advantage of this crisis. Watch for it on my Facebook.

My team is working around the clock to come up with new ideas and implement these things. YAY, TEAM!! Thank you.

If you want to support our efforts, here are some links to products we offer:

Art instruction videos:


Magazines (maybe you need a subscription)

Free Newsletters

Social Media Links



Never, Ever Give In2020-04-04T18:55:09-04:00