About Eric Rhoads

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Eric Rhoads has created 217 blog entries.
3 07, 2022

Living Large

2022-07-02T17:12:50-04:00

This week I received one of those calls you don’t want to get. An old friend was in ICU on life support, and the family was told to start deciding if they want to pull the plug or, if she comes out of her coma, to be ready to place her in a facility for regular treatments and tube feeding for the rest of her life. 

You Next?

When asked, “What would you want?” it got me thinking. Would I want someone pulling the plug if I had a chance of coming out of it? What if I came out of it and had to spend my life on a feeding tube and other treatments? What would I do?

I hope I never have to face such decisions with my family and I hope they don’t have to face them with me, but I also know it’s best to have an answer, and a living will, in advance so others are not burdened. 

More to Offer?

And I started thinking about my friend who, in her late 60s, is mentally alert, sharp, highly intelligent, and has a lot to offer the world. Would she want a chance to do more? Maybe she would be in a facility and not terribly mobile, but what if she could write a life-changing book? What if she could use her brain in other ways, though her body is shutting down? Or what if she could defy the odds and find a way to get her body back to a better state? Though unlikely, we’ve all seen miracles happen.

Then I think of another friend who was in that exact situation: mentally alert but completely unable to function otherwise. He called me one day and said, “Get me out of here. I can’t stand living in a nursing home.” But there was no way to accommodate him. He died of a broken spirit, not even 55.

Moments like these bring more questions than answers, but also temporary moments of clarity. What if it were me? What would I want to have accomplished before that time comes? 

Wasted Days

I get terribly frustrated when I see friends who have lots of life left but who seem to be throwing it away, not making any meaningful contribution to the world. Not living a large life. Spending all their time on video games or television when they could be doing so much more. I wonder if they will look back and wish they had not thrown away their time on meaningless pursuits and substances — or maybe that’s the best it will ever be. Plus, who am I to judge? What’s for me  isn’t necessarily for them.

If Your Lungs Work…

If you’re breathing, there are still contributions you can make. They might be major earth-changing ideas or simply offering lots of love to a child who will make great things happen because of your encouragement. 

Life is fleeting. Moments like what my friend is experiencing really make me take notice. I like to think it’s best to be intentional about our life and the experiences we want to create. That means being deliberate, often creating a plan and following it. Some lives are filled with accidental magic, but what if you could create more magic, and more experiences and memories?

Eric Rhoads

PS: My friend has improved, but is likely to need around-the-clock care going forward. 

This is a reminder to me that I want to live life to the fullest. Sometimes I avoid things because I tell myself I’m too busy or don’t want to spend the money, but I usually regret it. I’m going to seize every possible opportunity to create memories, travel, make memories for my family, and do the things I love to do. My friend was fine one day, then BOOM, she wasn’t. It could happen to any of us. Let’s not get complacent when it comes to living a rich, full life. Live for experiences! Live large!

Hard to believe it’s about to be July 4th. Have a wonderful celebration of this great country. It’s imperfect, but it’s still an amazing place. Enjoy the celebration.

Last week my son returned from a mission trip where he helped Ukraine refugees and others in Slovakia. We’re glad he is home but very proud of him. I’m only wishing the entire family were together. I’ll work on that so I can create some lake memories. 

This week I also held a free webinar about pastel painting with the editor of Pastel Today, Gail Sibley. If you want to see it, you can view it here

Our next big event will be our international online conference for pastel painters (Pastel Live!). I’m already getting excited about it. I hope you can join me and artists all over the world.

Last week I announced that we are cutting off registration for our New Zealand painting trip, but in reality, it’s just because we’re almost sold out and because we want to have time to get the travel plans done before prices go up. But if you really want to go, we can squeeze you in. Just go to www.paintingnewzealand.com

Living Large2022-07-02T17:12:50-04:00
26 06, 2022

Chasing the Dream Life

2022-06-26T01:01:13-04:00

Two large loons are swimming at the edge of the dock. Their cry echoes across the lake, bouncing off the distant shore, where the deep green pine trees are softly covered with morning fog, making them a pale bluish-gray color. A hawk flies overhead, and it’s so quiet you can hear the whoosh of her wings and her loud call as well. Not to be diminished, a tiny dock spider spins its web across the seat of the Adirondack chair next to me. 

Though the birds, the streaks of sunlight, the beautiful views may not be there for my pleasure, they bring pleasure just the same. I can choose to ignore them or to embrace their beauty. 

Type A

For decades I’ve been a hard-charging, “Type A” personality, working endlessly to help others find what I have to offer, and often chasing shiny objects, often in pursuit of the things the media tells us will create happiness.

Five Hot Cars

Looking back, I can recall gurus standing in front of their five-car garages, each door open with an expensive car in every slot. They would stand beside their jets and tell us that this can happen to us, too. And I bought into much of it, often buying a course to refine my skills.

Looking at the Mirror

I too wanted the trappings of success. I even created cutouts of the things I wanted and plastered them on my mirror, looking at them daily. And remarkably, most of those dreams came true. One expert told us to go to the car dealer, pick out the car we wanted and get a picture sitting in the driver’s seat, then paste the picture up on the bathroom mirror. Instead, I took an ad from a magazine and glued my photo onto the car in the ad. Every day, I told myself, if I sell this radio station one day, and if I make at least a million dollars, the first thing I’ll do is to go out and buy that Porsche 911.

A Dream Realized

When that day came, I went to the local Porsche dealer and could not believe how expensive the car was. Not wanting to blow through all my money, I began the search for a used one, eventually finding the exact car of my dreams at a fraction of the price. To this day I can remember the feeling of hitting a goal, the feeling of accomplishment for working so hard, yet being proud that I was practical by not buying a new car and losing 20 percent in depreciation. 

After a few weeks, my Porsche was just transportation, and I soon found I had my eye on the next cool car, the new BMW 7 series sedan. Soon, I had that car too. And before long, it too was just transportation. 

Excess

I used to drive through Palm Beach and see the mega mansions and tell myself, “Someday I’ll own one of those.” I’d see the excessive display of wealth, the spending, the cars, yachts, jets, jewels, and clothes, and I found myself wanting more and more. But I could not keep up. As my dad used to say, “Son, someone’s always got a bigger boat.”

A New Focus

Then one day Laurie announced that she was pregnant with triplets. I was suddenly the happiest I can remember being. My focus changed from being a hotshot to being a practical dad with looming college bills (for triplets). So we sold the nice cars and bought two simple Hondas. That was 20 years ago, and I still have one of them. 

My self-image had been tied to what the media said was success, but I realized that it was an empty vessel.

You Are What You Think

I’m a big believer in positive thinking and manifesting things (along with a plan and the associated work), and though I feel fortunate to have experienced hot cars, and even life on private jets, I’ve thankfully discovered that’s not where my happiness lies. King Solomon even talked about it — as the richest man in the world, he was never satisfied. 

Back to the Birds

That brings me back to the birds on the dock and the importance of knowing what truly makes you happy. For me, it’s about the beauty of nature, about deeply enjoying the people I love, and deepening relationships with others. 

Things happen for a purpose. Had I not experienced the chase and not experienced the things I thought would make me happy, I might still be chasing them. I’m thankful that I eventually arrived where I am.

Service to Others

I’m no longer a hard-driving Type A. Though I work hard, it’s because I love what I do, and my goal is to be of service to others, to help them live their dreams, to be their servant. Since I started with that attitude, my happiness level has soared. It has taken me decades to discover that happiness is found in service to others. 

Where does your happiness lie? I’d love to know what you’ve discovered.

Eric Rhoads

PS: Recently when cleaning my garage, I threw out things that I had craved to own. Mostly cool electronic gadgets, cameras, computers, speakers, etc. I can remember wanting these things, saving the money to get them, only to discard them for the next big thing. There is no better exercise than throwing out the things you once thought were important. Now, before I buy anything, I question my purchase. Do I need it? Will I be throwing it out in three years? 

My joy isn’t dependent on anyone else, but I gain great joy from other people, which is why tears were shed when we said goodbye at my Adirondack artist retreat with about 100 friends and new friends that ended a week ago yesterday. Every time I tell myself I’m only going to do it one last time, but I get such joy from the people that I can’t wait to do it again.

My next artist retreat, Fall Color Week, is coming up in October. I can hardly wait. It’s already sold out (there is a waiting list), so others must also see the joy.

I do have some space on my lifetime bucket list painters’ trip to New Zealand, though not much. That’s happening in September, so it’s already time to book flights. If you are on the fence, it’s best to decide now. 

In case you missed it, we have a brand new newsletter called Pastel Today. The editor, Gail Sibley, has been at the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS) conference this week in Albuquerque (it’s a great organization and event). If you want the free newsletter, join us at PastelToday.com. And if you really want to grow as a pastel artist or learn about it, we have Pastel Live online, coming up in August. It’s a three-day event with the top pastel artists on earth, plus an optional Beginner’s Day.

Chasing the Dream Life2022-06-26T01:01:13-04:00
11 06, 2022

My Personal Secrets Revealed

2022-06-11T22:18:14-04:00

A bright pink salmon-colored sky is glowing, with the black lace of pine trees silhouetted against its brilliant color. The lake is mirroring the sky, not a ripple in sight. The silence is beyond any level of quiet I’ve ever experienced. This is the true definition of peaceful.

In the late 1800s, the Hudson River School painters were criticized for their brilliant sunrise and sunset paintings because the coal-smoke-filled skies of New York made such skies unbelievable. Yet, as I sit here on the dock of my Adirondack home, I’m a witness to confirm such brilliance exists here in this 6-million-acre protected park. The air is so pure I find myself taking deep breaths more frequently.

A Boat Ride Away

Just minutes from now, after coffee on the dock, I’ll put on my jacket and put the first ripples on the glass-like lake as I make my way across to a small, winding river through the weeds and woods to the next lake over, where I’ll pull up to the dock at Paul Smith’s College. That’s where I’m hosting my 11th annual artist retreat I call the Publisher’s Invitational. I’m hosting about 100 plein air painters, who will paint the incredible scenery here for a week.

No More Invitation Required

I started this event after some painters told me they rarely get a chance to simply paint side by side because most events involve a sale and competition. My event used to be invitation-only till the demand to attend made it clear invitations would no longer need to be issued. Now anyone who wants to come can come. (Quietly, I do an actual “invitational” with a small group of high-level painters at a different time in the summer.)

At the beginning of the year, when I was rethinking my priorities, I came to some conclusions about my personal operating system. My priorities have changed since I’ve seen so many good people disappear in the last couple of years. Because I get lots of questions about how I have such energy and how I manage to accomplish so much, I thought I’d share this.

    1. Spiritual health

      If my walk with God isn’t strong, then everything else is out of balance. I make a point to read my Bible every morning before I open any email or social media. I spend time in prayer many times daily. It’s not about earning favor (which isn’t possible), it’s about praise and thanksgiving.

    2. Health trumps everything

      My goal is to optimize health, keep my immune system strong, maintain high standards of mobility, and keep my energy high. This includes walking fast, interval and weight training most days, supplemented by daily walks (up here the woods make for amazing walks). I study nutritional and longevity trends, take lots of the latest supplements (including NMN, which is revolutionary), and I get my blood tested at least four times a year. I maintain a mostly vegan diet along with some fish, and I try to live as stress-free as possible.

    3. Mindset makes a huge difference

      Friends my age and younger are winding down. I’m winding up. I’m just getting good at the things that have taken me a lifetime to learn, I don’t want to stop now. I want to see what’s possible. My friend John Kluge, who became the richest man in the world, told me, “I did not really figure things out till I was 65 or 70. When my friends were retiring, I was just getting started. Keep pitching. Never stop pitching.” I carefully guard my self-talk, and I realize that I have more to give, so I don’t ever want to tell myself there are limitations or restrictions.

    4. Family and friends matter most

      I take more time for my family than ever, realizing that my kids are growing up and leaving home. I have lessons I need to teach them, and they have lessons to teach me. I’m trying to invest in my family more deeply and let them know they are loved.
      I’m also investing more time in friendships. I’ve had too many recent instances where my last phone call or visit with someone was the last time I’d ever be able to visit with them.

    5. Help others

      What can I do to make life better for others? What kinds of experiences can I give them that may become lifetime memories? How can I use what I’ve learned and earned to help others? How can I coach others? How can I help others live a better life?

    6. Live for experiences and play 

      Life boils down to special moments and memories, most of which are created. My goal is to live as richly as possible by creating experiences and moments for my family, myself, and others. I want to travel more and take others along on the experiences. I want to play more, spend more time on the things I love, and experiment more with new things (for instance, I’m teaching myself 3D design and printing, I’m learning other mediums like pastel, watercolor, and gouache, and I’ve been doing woodworking, building my own new easel design). 

    1. Challenge myself


    Unchallenged people become dull and lifeless. I want to be curious, set no limits on what is possible, and push myself to accomplish great things. It’s not about money (though that’s often a measurement device), it’s about doing what cannot be done, inventing what can’t be invented, creating what can’t be created. 

     

    1. Be a nice guy no matter what

     I self-identify as a nice guy. My goal is to listen better, get to know others at a deeper level, be truly interested, and to be a nice guy. I can’t say I’ve always lived up to this, but I’m trying harder than ever. I want to be nice under pressure. I want to be the person I’d want to meet, someone who cares deeply about others and their stories.
     

    1. Life is about learning

      I’m eager to learn. I want to be better at the things I know, I want to learn about things I don’t know, and I want to discover things from others that can make me a better and more interesting person. I try to read daily, I take courses online (I just got certified in NLP, for instance, and I’ve been learning self-hypnosis), and I’m seeking things outside my lane to keep my life interesting.

    2. Finish well

      My dad finished well. He lived to 92 and died in his own home, and had a lot of people who loved him for who he was, not what he had. His life, family, friendships, interests, and relationship with God were rich up until the end. Upon his passing I heard stories from others of his friendships, where he went out of his way to make others feel special, to help others in need. He never talked about it. I don’t like to talk about what or where I give, who I help, or everything I’m up to. Some things are best executed silently.


Have you ever created your own personal operating system?

Don’t copy mine, come up with your own. Chances are you have it in your head. Put it in writing — it provides clarity and acts as a reminder that life is far from over.

Eric Rhoads

PS: Today is our first day of painting at my event. I’m excited to paint with everyone and start catching up or getting to know them.

Speaking of experiences, I’ve just made our reservations to fly to New Zealand. I’m taking 50 to paint and tour, and I think we’ve got a few seats left, though if you want to go, we need you to book soon so you can book your flights. You can learn more at www.paintingnewzealand.com.

My next artist retreat is in October in Maine, and it’s almost already sold out. I think there are a handful of seats left (we have limits on how many rooms we can get). www.fallcolorweek.com

PS2: Love pastel? Last August when I held Pastel Live online, I got inspired and started painting in pastel. I picked up lots of ideas from top artists at that event and I’m loving the qualities I can get from pastel that I can’t get from other mediums, including high, vibrating color. I’m very excited and committed to pastel and am pleased to announce that we just launched a new, three-times-a-week pastel newsletter with Editor Gail Sibley. You can get it free by going to https://pasteltoday.com/newsletter/. Check it out.

My Personal Secrets Revealed2022-06-11T22:18:14-04:00
13 05, 2022

Two Paths to Choose

2022-05-13T15:20:56-04:00

Massive winds bend the thick trunks of scrub oak trees until it seems the roots will soon rip out of the ground. Birds fly against the wind, working extra hard to move from branch to branch, and the heat would be overbearing if not for the winds.

I love nature, I love lightning, thunder and storms, even high winds … up to a point, until it becomes unsafe. In fact, I once rode out a hurricane in my car, stuck bumper-to-bumper in Central Florida as me and millions of others were trying to escape to safety up North. No cars flipped, but they were all rocking back and forth, bounding on their tires. It was more intense than any Six Flags ride and lasted for a few hours. Other than cowering in a basement corner waiting for an oncoming tornado, I think that is the most frightened I’ve ever been.

The Struggle

Looking back on childhood, I’m grateful for experiences that made my brothers and I stronger. I’m grateful my parents let us struggle and did not solve every problem for us.

As a parent, my temptation has been to tell my kids what to do at every turn, trying to keep them from pain. But pain is healthy, and we should save our controlling nature for those times when their lives or safety are actually at risk. Otherwise, skinned knees and wounded hearts are part of growing up. 

Our job as parents isn’t to clear the path for our kids but to get the kids ready for the path. Letting go is probably more important than control.

Go Ahead and Sleep Late

I want my kids to learn to be independent. For instance, one of my sons has a full-time job, and, like many, has not learned to manage his time. Plus he loves to stay up late, sometimes till the wee hours. Knowing he has to be at work at 6 a.m., I could call him and suggest he come home. And in the morning, I could go upstairs and wake him. But unless he experiences the pain of an unhappy boss because he is late or misses work, he won’t learn. So, in spite of my temptation to help make things smoother, I let him fail.

Do Your Own Laundry!

When I was a kid, my mom did our laundry and cooked our food, but she made me cook every week or two, choosing the menu for the family. We had lots of fried bologna and mashed potatoes. But at least I could survive if I had to (which came in handy once I left home.)

Laurie made our kids start doing their own laundry at about 7 years old. My daughter told me many kids come to college having never done their own laundry. She’s been doing it for more than half her life.

My natural instinct is to answer questions, step in and control situations, and blather on about lessons that need to be learned. But I have to fight my instincts.

What about you?

How were you raised?

Did your parents allow you to make mistakes, or did they control every outcome?

When my boys were in Cub Scouts I read a book called The Dangerous Book for Boys, which emphasized the importance of danger and adventure. Too many of us won’t let kids climb trees because we fear broken arms, but the book says that we need a sense of danger, we need to do things to help us build our confidence. (My daughter was as much about danger as my boys.) So while other moms and dads were preventing danger at the park, I was encouraging it. Though it was against my instinct, it’s important.

We’re not perfect. We paved too many paths and spoiled our kids in some ways. Thankfully, we didn’t try to control every moment. As a result we have confident, independent kids (sometimes too independent).

Are you paving a path or letting them make their own path?

The most important lesson for me as a parent is to let go. 

Step in only when it’s a matter of life or death. If they screw up and get arrested, I won’t bail them out. They need to learn. If we solve every problem, they’ll be looking to our solutions into adulthood.

Eric Rhoads

PS: Winds are pushing wildfires in New Mexico, which has discouraged a few people from attending our Plein Air Convention, which starts on Tuesday the 17th. Thankfully, I’m told that things are fairly clear in Santa Fe and our group is in no danger. If we do get an especially smoky day, we’ll simply paint together inside if we can’t go outside (unlikely). I’m bringing my entire family (triplets and their mom) to the convention this week to work. I hope you’ll come, or at least watch online.

This September it will be springtime in New Zealand (sounds like the name of a movie). I’m taking a group of 50 to the most amazing scenery on earth for painting. (Some come and don’t paint, they just tour or take photos.) I have a few seats left. www.paintingnewzealand.com

This June I’ll be painting with about a hundred friends at my 11th Publisher’s Invitational artists’ retreat in the Adirondacks. We’re going to some of the EXACT spots painted by the Hudson River School painters. In fact, we’re staying and painting in the exact location frequented by Winslow Homer. One price includes room and meals (yep, a week where you don’t have to cook or clean!!). www.paintadirondacks.com

Two Paths to Choose2022-05-13T15:20:56-04:00
6 05, 2022

Your Favorite Lifetime Memories

2022-05-06T17:48:16-04:00

The sun is streaming painfully into my eyes. It’s bright and brilliant orange, kissing tree limbs and the tops of grasses as it makes its way to me. I tip my new 10-gallon straw cowboy hat down over my eyes to find shade.

This morning’s heat is intense. Today will be a candle-melter, and not good for the chocolate bar tucked between the seats in my car. I may come back to a bowl of soup.

Walking on the deck in my pointy-toed boots, I hear the sound of cowboys about to go head-to-head in a quick draw. The only things missing are spurs and a six-shooter. I’m not normally a cowboy kind of guy, but I love watching it on Yellowstone. It makes me want to pretend.

Finding the Impossible

In 1980, two days before my first wedding, which was to occur in my parents’ backyard on a lake, I decided it would be cool to surprise the bride with a ride down the aisle in a horse and buggy. “But where can I possibly find a horse and buggy?” I wondered. Nothing was in the phone book, and the Internet did not exist. So I started thinking about where there might be an abundance of buggies. I got in the car, drove out to Amish country, and started looking for farms with buggies. I’d stop, knock on the door, and tell them what I was looking for. Though people were friendly every time, these were tools they needed for their farms or to conduct their lives. And the more doors that shut, the more determined I was to find a horse and buggy. I had set my mind on it, and I was not going to stop looking. 

Down the Road

The next stop, a nice farmer told me that a cousin down the road had just taken delivery on a new buggy that had never been used. Soon I showed up at his door and explained my desire to make the wedding special. I told him I wanted to decorate the buggy with flowers and bring my bride down the aisle with her father. I offered to pay him, though I did not have much money to offer. He started thinking, and I felt a rejection coming, but instead he said, “I have a friend with a truck. I’ll deliver the truck with the buggy and my finest Tennessee Walker to you two hours before the wedding on Saturday. The only payment I want is a photo of the bride in the buggy.” We shook on it. 

A Liquid Chuckle

No one knew about this surprise, so we unloaded the horse and buggy, I decorated it with flowers, and right before going down the aisle, it was sprung on my wife-to-be. Soon, as I was standing at the front, “Here Comes the Bride” was played on an accordion. Next, the carriage with the bride slowly trotted to the side of the crowd, who gasped in awe. She walked up, and we were married by a minister who was an old family friend. After the ceremony, we sawed a log together, an old German tradition to signify working on life’s struggles together. One of the most memorable moments was when the horse took a leak in the middle of the ceremony. Everyone chuckled.

I can remember that day in great detail. 

Dueling ’Vettes

Just this past week, two friends of mine flew from their home in California to Bowling Green, Kentucky, where they picked up two amazing new Corvettes. They then drove them across the country side by side, stopping at all the fun tourist attractions along the way. Not only was it a lifetime dream to own a couple of cool cars like that, they ended up making a memory that they say is one of their best lifetime memories ever. They could have easily bought the cars at a local dealer, but instead they built a memory.

Though memories are often accidental, life is about orchestrating memories. Where would we be without family vacations, celebrations, and special moments?

Thumbs Up

My dad taught me about memory-making by example. My head is filled with childhood memories of camping in our Airstream; getting stranded on a narrow mountain pass to Vail, Colorado, and hitchhiking into town; and having the convertible top slashed and all of our things stolen. We camped along Lake Erie across from Cedar Point, we boated and skied, we learned to sail, we even did Power Squadron courses in severe weather, and we often went to the amusement park. But memories did not stop there.

Sitting in a Circle

Many years later Dad built a tepee on his property, and we would have dessert there when guests were in town visiting the Adirondacks. We would sing around the campfire, bang drums, and tell ghost stories. That tradition will continue now that Dad is gone.

Ring the Breakfast Triangle

My father also built a tiny cabin with a wood stove and nothing inside but a table and chairs. It was called the Trapper Cabin, was decorated with antiques and old animal skins, and the first or last morning when visiting his house (called a camp), he would put on his chef’s hat and cook eggs, bacon, and pancakes for visiting guests. It was a tradition that lasted 30 years and made lots of memories.

Traditions and memory-making are hard work. Looking back, I realize just how hard my parents worked to create memories for us. It was worth it. So many people don’t have a lot of memories.

The Most Important Yet

Consider that this may be the most special summer ever. Many of us have been distanced from our families, unable to travel, and now that we are free and can see them, it’s a time to make special memories. Especially knowing things could change without notice and we might not have a chance to make more memories.

What memories will you make for yourself and your family this spring and summer?
Where can you go? 

What can you do?
What new traditions can you create?

It’s worth the effort. When everything else is gone, our memories last forever. 

Eric Rhoads

PS: Last weekend I made memories with a dozen or so painters, painting together in Utopia, Texas. We painted on private farms and saw some stunning scenery! Thanks to Guy Morrow for organizing it. We’re keeping you in our prayers.

Some of my best memories have taken place at the painters’ events I’ve created. I’ve made hundreds of friends and a handful of best friends at events like the Plein Air Convention, which is a gathering of hundreds of artists who come to learn, paint together in a beautiful spot, and play (May 17-21 in Santa Fe). I have memories of painting in amazing places with them, and memories of silly stage moments like Plein Air Wars, the game show we’re doing on stage this year. We still have seats (highly unusual because normal years were sold out at this point), and for this year, we are providing an opportunity for online attendance since some cannot make it to Santa Fe. www.pleinairconvention.com

When I was in my early 30s I went to the Adirondacks for the first time. The area became my photography muse, and later my muse for painting. Its beauty is unique, unlike any other place in America. There are 6 million protected acres of stunning scenery. I’ll be making memories and friendships there in June when I hold my annual spring artist retreat. There are no lessons, just painting and play with old and new friends all day for a week. We have lots of fun, and at this point we have a handful of seats left. It’s all-inclusive, one price for lodging, meals, and the event. www.paintadirondacks.com

Memories will also occur painting in New Zealand this September. I have a few seats left. www.paintingnewzealand.com

Your Favorite Lifetime Memories2022-05-06T17:48:16-04:00
1 05, 2022

An Out-of-Body Experience

2022-04-29T12:03:41-04:00

Buckets of BBs fall over my head onto the tin metal roof. The sound is deafening as gushes of water drop from the sky and make the roof vibrate with energy. The building shakes as monumental thunder roars overhead, the kind that is so deep that the sky rumbles and the earth moves as if a missile slammed into the ground nearby. Yet I sit here on the porch, covered and dry, feeling secure in my old Texas country ranch house where I can step back and observe the storm from safety.  

Watching a storm from afar, or from a place of safety, gives you a much better perspective and state of mind than being pelted with wind-driven raindrops. If only we could look at our personal storms with the same perspective.

Recently I heard someone say the difference between successful people and those who are not so successful is how they perceive and deal with their problems. 

Have you ever had problems so big, so thunderous, that they become all-consuming?

I can remember problems that were so big that I could not sleep, that I was pacing the floor, all my muscles were tense and I felt pressure in my chest, and my eyes were tear-filled because of my fear. 

Stress Is Death

Any doctor will tell you that stress like that is a killer. And if I had continued on the same track, it might have taken me early. But once I discovered how to deal with problems, my life changed. 

One word or sentence can trigger major stress, so whoever wrote “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” was a well-meaning liar.  

Dreams Destroyed

I can remember a few choice words from my partner decades ago that threw me into a tizzy. The news completely defeated me and instantly destroyed my dreams. I had big dreams, and a big plan to achieve them, and suddenly a few words pulled the rug from under me. My hopes were gone, and there was nothing I could do. Everything suddenly changed. I thought my world had come to an end. I was depressed for weeks and fully consumed by my stress and angst. Today as I look backward, I realize it was the best thing that ever happened to me in business. But I could not see it at the time.

If you look backward, do those giant all-consuming problems still feel as big, now that they have passed?

Was all the worry and stress helpful?

Can You Read the Label?

Perspective is a wonderful thing. My close friend author Roy Williams often talks about the view from “inside the bottle” versus the view from outside. When you’re inside, you can’t see what others see. You can’t read the label.

I’ve since discovered that one key to problem-solving is to step outside the bottle. If you can gain perspective and distance yourself from the problem, you gain clarity of thought instead of confused, cloudy, frantic, “my world is ending” panic.

Our Worst Day Ever

When my son Brady had a heart attack at age 17 and nearly died, we were frantic, helpless, and of course our minds were taking us to dark places because we were given information that led us to believe he might not live through the night, and because we overheard the paramedics say, “He’s gone” (listening by phone as they tried to revive him). You can imagine our horror. 

During that time, while speeding to the hospital, I remember telling myself, “Remain calm somehow.” It was clear that this was the worst that could ever happen as parents. 

“Remain clear-headed,” I told myself, assuming we might have to make some very tough decisions. Knowing everyone else around me was screaming out in pain, I felt as though I could actually make things worse if I had to make rash emotional decisions. Thankfully he lived and has the prospect of a long, healthy life. 

“Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines.”  — Robert Schuller

Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

After a lifetime of business and problems, I look back on my prayers for help, and I’m grateful that most of those prayers were not answered. Thankfully, God’s wisdom for what we need is better than our own. People ask why bad things happen to good people, and the answer is that sometimes He needs to get our attention, help us trust more in him, and help us understand that what we think is good for us isn’t.

I’ve come to look at problems as gifts, as lessons, as challenges, and in many cases as opportunities. 

How are you looking at problems?

What is your biggest problem?

Take a moment to think about it.

Write it down. 

How you think about problems will define how you arrive at solutions. But also, how long you think about problems is important.

Thinking Time

My mentor Keith Cunningham has taught me to take “thinking time” on every problem, to write down a hundred solutions to every problem — and also write down what I’m doing to cause the problem. Problems are often symptoms of a bigger issue.

It’s easy to come up with five solutions to a problem. But the first five or 10 are usually the easy answers. When you dig deep and force the discipline of a longer list, that’s where major solutions are discovered.

A woman I recently met told me about coming close to death and having an out-of-body experience, looking down on her surgeons. What if you could look at problems like an out-of-body experience, where you’re looking at a problem from the outside?

Try it. It changes everything.

Eric Rhoads

PS: Not only does May bring showers and flowers, it’s bringing the entire plein air painting community together for a much-needed reunion. Now that COVID has been declared officially over in the U.S., join me in Santa Fe for the Plein Air Convention & Expo, May 17-22  (or starting May 16 for those coming to the Kevin Macpherson pre-convention workshop). Can’t make it? We just added online attendance, and we have brand-new details here.

PS 2: As soon as the convention is over, Laurie and I will drive to the Adirondacks to get ready for the Publisher’s Invitational painters’ retreat. This is my 11th, and it’s loads of fun to treat yourself to someone else doing cooking and to go painting every day. Learn more here. 

PS 3: If you’re looking for something really exceptional, join me on a painting trip to New Zealand in September. I’m very excited. So far, we’re a little more than half sold out. It’s limited to 50 people. Here are the details.

PS 4: Pastel Live, our online pastel conference featuring the top pastel artists in the world, is coming in August. I’ve been doing lots of pastel painting lately and I really love the gift of learning something new. Being self-taught isn’t what it’s cracked up to be — learning from top pros is such a time-saver. www.pastellive.com.

PS 5: I hope that someday people look back and say, “Eric and his team are known for providing access to the very top artists in the world and creating high-quality training with them.” The latest is a new video from the legend Michael Coleman. Check it out. It’s soon to be our best seller for the year.

An Out-of-Body Experience2022-04-29T12:03:41-04:00
22 04, 2022

Seeds That Grow Into Oaks

2022-04-22T13:30:21-04:00

Giant oak tree branches are swaying gracefully like ballet dancers, but fiercely, as spring comes roaring in like a lion. As I open the old screen door, the springs squeak like fingers on a chalkboard. Then there’s a loud, abrupt slam behind me, amplified by the wind. 

Green specks of pollen have covered every square inch of the newly painted back deck and the old wicker couch. I dust off the couch, making for a cloud of green and a quick sneeze, and sit here observing dancing-tree entertainment during this gray overcast day in hopes of some sprinkles to feed the wildflowers, which are hiding their beautiful heads just under the blades of grass, waiting for nourishment to come.

Spring always excites me as it leads to summer, my favorite time of year.

One of the great joys of my life was spending lots of the summer at my grandparents’ old clapboard house at 317 West Wildwood Street back home in Indiana. It too had a squeaky screen door that would slam loudly.

Because I grew up in a single-story ranch house, it was a lot of fun to stay at my grandparents’ home. They had two stories, a basement, and stairs, so I used to slide down the banister or run from the top of the stairs down to the basement and back. I’d bang on the keys of the antique Packard piano, then I’d slip into the small kitchen to watch “Mema” making sugar cookies with pink icing flowers and green leaves. I can still taste their sweet flavor.

Hot Indiana summer nights were brutal, but sleeping in the middle bedroom with a fan in the window somehow made it tolerable. I loved the humming sound of that old 1940s fan; it was very soothing and is a sound I’ll never forget. Combined with the sound of cicadas outside the window, it was the perfect noise to induce sleep.

Great Taste

Though it was never spoken of, my grandparents must have had a great love of art because their house was filled with art prints, mostly from the 18th century. In fact, one of the first Old Master copies I painted was a self-portrait by Elisabeth Vigee-Le Brun (1755–1842) with her daughter. I never knew why I loved that painting so much, yet decades later, cleaning out my grandparents’ storage unit, I found the prints that were hanging in their house during my youth. One was a print of that very painting. It’s no wonder I was drawn to it.

Real Art

Depending on which cousins or brothers and sisters were staying at the house, I’d sometimes get moved to the front bedroom. There between the windows was a beautiful original oil painting of a deer by a stream. I used to stare at it as I went to sleep, it was so soothing. As an adult, I found out that my grandmother’s sister, Aunt Ruth Goad, was the artist. Suddenly finding out there was an artist in our family filled me with joy. It also might explain why my mother was so drawn to painting.

A Plein Air Pioneer?

I’m told my aunt set up her paints on location at that stream to paint the scene, which, if true, would make her a plein air painter like me. Maybe at some subconscious level, that’s why I became a plein air (outdoor) painter.  

One of the jewels found among the prints and other curios in my grandparents’ storage unit was my aunt’s painting, which probably hung in the front bedroom for more than 50 years — and since I discovered it, has been hanging in my house for more than 25 years. I consider it a family treasure.

Planting a Garden

Whether intentionally or not, my grandparents planted seeds that impacted my mother, me, and probably my brother who became an artist. Art around the house planted seeds. The piano planted interest in music.

The seeds they planted run deep. Family stories, important life lessons, family recipes, how to grow incredible tomatoes, and more.

At Easter dinner last week, I told my family about my great-grandfather Joseph Samuel (Sam)  Garrett. As a small boy I used to visit him and my great-grandmother Lucinda Range Garrett at their farm in Armathwaite, Tennessee, near Jamestown. 

At 8, I’d have to clean chicken coops, shuck corn, and sometimes milk their cow. My grandparents lived in a home they built themselves (my grandfather and his cousin helped as boys). I can remember my grandfather had an old shack on the property, and the inside was filled with canaries in cages, which I assume he raised to supplement his income as a preacher. I can remember the deafening but pleasing sound of a thousand canaries while I watched him care for them.

A Country Preacher

Grandpa Garrett preached down the road at Mount Helen Baptist Church, a tiny white country church. A plaque on the wall with his portrait, painted by Aunt Ruth (his daughter), said that he had gone all over the region on his horse, preaching the Gospel and starting churches. I don’t recall how many, but it was impressive. Maybe 12 or 16 churches, which is no easy task. He is buried near Mount Helen Baptist. 

Sharing Lessons

Over Easter dinner I told my kids about the impact of that one man. Today, my family, my kids, my cousins, their kids, distant cousins and their kids, our families, are Christ followers because of this man. But more impressively, hundreds of lives were changed by those churches he founded and the revivals he held. Now, five or more generations later, the work of a single individual has impacted thousands of lives. 

I reminded my kids that they too can impact thousands of lives, in their own way. 

Our world is filled with stories of people who made a difference. Some became leaders of countries, others wrote books, music, or movies impacting millions of lives, and others made heroic efforts that made a difference. Some simply made their impact by being great parents.I wanted them to know that they should never consider themselves too small to make a difference. That everyone has a contribution to make if they are willing to step out and make it.

Self-Appointed

Thirty years ago, while in the radio industry, I decided some other opinions needed to be expressed about how the industry should operate. So I started a magazine, started editorializing in every issue, and after about a year of being seen, started to see the weight of my words affecting an entire industry. I was not sanctioned or appointed, I simply decided I had something to say that might make a difference and became a self-appointed publisher.

Leaders do not wait to be appointed or noticed, they simply step in at a time when they believe they can make an impact or be helpful. If they wait to be noticed or invited, nothing great will ever happen. We have to learn to speak up for ourselves and share our passions.

Count the ways you have made a difference in other lives.

In what ways have your roles, your ideas, or your contributions made a difference?

World-Changing

People need to know that they don’t need permission or an invitation to step up. When they see a need, they need to fill it. When they see an injustice, they need to point it out. When they see an opportunity, they need to grab it.For some of us, it’s simply making a difference in how we train our kids. For others it might be starting a church or an organization. For others, it means changing the world.

Chance favors only the prepared mind.” — Louis Pasteur

Though we may not set out with specific intentions, there are rare moments that present themselves. A prepared mind may not have a plan, but a prepared mind is always looking at everything as an opportunity to make a difference. So they leap out and grab the golden ring of opportunity when it presents itself. 

Split-Second Opportunity

While consulting a radio station in Utah, the owner and I were discussing the renewal of my contract. The owner said he didn’t think he would renew because he was going to sell the station. I said, “I’m so confident that I can make this station a success, I’ll buy it from you. Name your price.” Though I was bluffing, he called my bluff, and I ended up raising the money and buying the station. 

How Did THAT Happen?

While visiting the editor of a radio industry trade magazine to complain about my lack of advertising success for my Giant Boom Box mobile studios, the editor confided in me that he was not mailing out the number of issues promised because the owner was no longer committed to the magazine. So I went across the hall and requested a meeting with the owner. When the owner told me he wasn’t committed because the magazine was losing money, I told him I’d buy it from him if he would let me make payments based on profitability. I walked out of the meeting with a handshake to buy, and I’ve owned that magazine for over 30 years this year.

None of these things were planned. I never had a plan to go into radio ownership, till I grabbed it. I never had a plan to start a radio industry business publication, till it presented itself in a split second. I never intended to get into the art world or become an artist, until an opportunity was exposed. Yet by always being on the lookout for opportunity, and always listening carefully, I boldly grabbed opportunities, not knowing where they would take me. That’s the key to having a prepared mind.

Where will you carry your influence? 

In what ways will you change the world or those around you?

Are you prepared to grab unplanned opportunity?

I have confidence in you.

Eric Rhoads

P.S. My dad died a year ago this past week. Looking back on the very busy last year, I realize I used the need to be busy to deal with my grief. There is nothing quite like sorting things, moving boxes, and emptying houses and garages to keep your mind off grief. But last week on the anniversary, it hit me like a Steinway dropping out of a sixth-story window. I miss him terribly. I miss his great advice and his great stories. I realize I’m very much the man I have become because of him. I’m sure the same was true of him and his parents and grandparents. It was he who taught me how to be alert for opportunity because I watched him grab it all the time. I’m thankful for such a great mentor.

Dad read Sunday Coffee every week and would call me with ideas on how to expand on what I had written. He was encouraging and told me to never stop because my job is to encourage others and help them gain confidence in themselves. It’s what he did for me.

I also learned to be prepared for the best and the worst. I’ve avoided a lot of freight trains running over me and my business because of his training. The only reason I’ve survived the negative impacts of the pandemic is because he taught me how to change on a moment’s notice and come up with creative solutions fast. He would always say, “You can’t take a lot of time to make decisions in a crisis.” He would tell me, “Make a decision and move fast.”

Coming up on May 17 I’m holding my first live convention in two years. I had to cancel two Plein Air Conventions and one Figurative Art Convention and a few artist retreats and trips. So I am grateful we can hold the convention in person. And lots of people are coming.

But I’ve also heard from lots of people who want to be there but cannot come because of their circumstances. So last week I announced that you can attend the convention online. We will broadcast our main stage and offer it at a reduced price. Already people are signing up. This is a great example of pivoting at the last minute. I hope you can join us at www.pleinairconvention.com.

I should also mention that I announced a New Zealand painters’ trip, and it’s already half sold out. If you want to go this fall (springtime in NZ), visit paintingnewzealand.com.

Here’s what else is going on….

We’ve just launched our 12th Annual PleinAir Salon Art Competition. Head over to PleinAirSalon.com to see how you can win $15,000 for your art.


Our next virtual event, 
Pastel Live, is happening in August. About 40% of the people who attended PleinAir Live have already signed up. It’s going to be fun, fun, fun! Check it out at PastelLive.com.

Seeds That Grow Into Oaks2022-04-22T13:30:21-04:00
25 03, 2022

There Is No Time Like Now

2022-03-25T12:38:41-04:00

Little tiny buds are peeking out of the flowerbeds and grass. Brilliant green is starting to come out of the otherwise dead-looking trees, and the warmth of the sun and longer days are strong indicators that spring has arrived. Bluebonnets are covering local roadsides, and soon, maybe today, I’ll be out painting them.

Like spring, I love the reckless unbridled passion of youth and its boundless hope as we bud and blossom into adulthood to take us to our careers and our purposes. 

As a young budding entrepreneur in my 20s, I was filled with passion, hope, and giant dreams. But I was also smart enough to know I did not know it all (though there were times when I thought I did). So, to grow my skills, I went to a seminar and saw the legendary insurance billionaire W. Clement Stone (1902-2002) . At the time Stone was probably 70 and filled with incredible wisdom and energy. He was the first motivational speaker I ever saw.

Desperate and in Debt

I remember Stone talking about his plight growing up, his circumstances of being extremely poor. His dad died when he was really young, leaving the family with a lot of debt, so to supplement his mom’s dressmaker income, he started selling newspapers on the corner. But money was tight, and there was never enough. Mr. Stone talked about how he was trying to figure out how to make more money selling papers to survive, and how he had the idea to enlist his friends and get them selling papers for him on commission. At age 8 or 10, he was supporting his family and bringing in more income than his mother.

Before long he started selling insurance, and just about 20 years later, using the same principle of getting others to help him multiply his income, he managed to get a thousand people to sell for him. That gave him enough money to start his own insurance company, which had a billion dollars in assets by 1979.

Leverage Is Critical

Stone told us that he learned about leverage because of necessity. Even though everyone had told him he could not survive and could not support his mom and family at such a young age, he worked smart instead of just working hard. 

I remember him saying that no matter how hard he worked by himself, his income was limited because there were only so many hours in the day and only so many newspapers he could personally sell. And it wasn’t enough to solve his problem. His needs were high, so he had to figure out how to get more money while working the same number of hours. Again, he was a kid of 8 or 10, enlisting other kids to sell papers for him.

A Rare Billionaire

Stone became a billionaire (unheard of at the time) by setting high goals and figuring out how to overcome the time it would normally take to hit those goals. His lessons in youth set the tone for how he did business in his 100 years of life.

Most of us who set goals, myself included, set a goal for five years out, and figure out how to ramp up over the years to hit that goal. Stone said his success was based on compressing five years into one year. 

“Everyone will tell you it’s impossible to hit a five-year goal in one year, and to them, it’s not possible. But you can do it now if you simply figure out how to leverage others to hit it faster.”

Standing on stage in front of a giant auditorium of people, he had us chanting: “DO IT NOW!”

What are your dreams? 

What are your goals?

Is there a way you can achieve those dreams this year?

Are you telling yourself it’s impossible? 

I don’t claim to be as mentally strong as Stone, and I’m certainly not a billionaire, but his philosophy has helped me throughout my career. “What can we get done this year instead of waiting a few years?” I’ve been known to say. And I’m often accused of pushing too hard to get things done early. Now you understand why.

A Series of Questions

When I catch myself saying, “There is no way I could do that this year,” I try to stop myself and ask, “How is it possible to do it anyway? If I had unlimited resources, could I do it?”

Stone taught me that “unlimited resources” is the right way to think about crushing a goal in less time. Start there, then ask yourself how you can get those resources now. Then, if it’s super expensive, ask yourself how you could get those same resources with less money, or no money.

“Most people stop asking themselves questions too soon. They simply stop with the fact that it’s impossible. But keep asking more questions, and more on top of those, and even more until you figure out a way. It’s not easy, but it’s simple. Drill down till you find answers.”

My mentor Keith Cunningham likes to say that all the answers are in the questions, and that if we all spent more time thinking, we would save a lot of time with answers that often speed up our progress.

What about you?

A Major Goal Accomplished

A couple of years ago I declared that I wanted to teach a million people to paint. “But how do I reach a million people?” I asked myself. My answer was to buy advertising. But then I told myself I could not afford it. So, once I came to that conclusion, I asked how I could do it for free or with a low investment. The answer that came was a daily Facebook/YouTube live broadcast, which during COVID reached far more than a million people. (In fact, I was in Mexico last week when I was stopped on the street by a local man who watches me on the Internet.)

If you pose the questions, the answers will come. If they don’t come, ask more questions. Eventually the impossible becomes possible. 

Belief Trumps Doubt

  1. Clement Stone told a room of a few hundred people that some of us would go home and do it now, and the rest of us would never believe it’s possible and may never realize our dreams.

But those who do will live rich lives with a lot of satisfaction, having lived their dreams.

His advice: Do It now. Find a way.

Eric Rhoads

PS: The pandemic kicked us all in the gut. In my case, my business was on life support, my live events were canceled multiple times, and I’ve been anxious to bring them back. Thankfully, the Plein Air Convention WILL happen this May in Santa Fe. That is great news because we can get the gang back together. The bad news is, I’m being restricted. I can only have 750 people because they still want us to socially distance. So, by the time we add up the people who are registered, the faculty and staff, as of today, I have exactly 97 seats left. 

If you’ve always wanted to go or are planning to go, I highly recommend you grab your seat and hotel room now. 

Here’s what’s happening at my company Streamline at the moment…

Our next virtual event, Pastel Live, is happening in August. About 40% of the people who attended PleinAir Live have already signed up. It’s going to be fun, fun, fun!

There Is No Time Like Now2022-03-25T12:38:41-04:00
11 03, 2022

How to Put Excitement in Your Life

2022-03-11T12:51:53-05:00

Brilliant lime green blades of grass are popping up among the old dry winter grasses here at my Austin, Texas, property. Little buds are starting to force their way through the dirt, and if we’re lucky, some colorful spring flowers will soon decorate our flower beds. Warm bright sunshine is providing nourishment to my light-starved soul, which is ready for winter and frigid temperatures to take a vacation for about eight months.

An Exhausting but Fun Week

If you see a typo or two this morning, forgive me. I’m dragging. Exhausted from hosting four days of 8-plus-hour days on a live stream for our PleinAir Live event, which had a massive audience of landscape artists. We had over 30 top instructors doing demonstrations, and people tuning in from all corners of the earth. If you were a part of that group, I deeply appreciate your participation. I’m totally ready for a vacation. Maybe I’ll be spontaneous and take one.

You Wanna Go Where?

Decades ago, when my wife worked for an airline, spontaneity guided a hectic travel schedule. Though I was busily starting my business and working 17-hour days, seven days a week, if my wife got a weekend off or a long weekend, we would take an unplanned trip. On Thursday afternoon or Friday we would drive to the airport, look at the monitor overhead, pick an interesting flight to someplace we had never been, and if there was space, we would board the aircraft and fly for free. We could even upgrade to First Class for an extra $50 at the time, and if it was an overseas flight, we could upgrade for $150. (We rarely did that because we had so little money.) We would then arrive and visit a hotel that had discounts for airline employees. We always managed to find a room. When I’ve told friends about this, they’ve often reacted with a gasp. “I could never do that! I plan my travel months in advance.” 

When I was a kid, we rarely took a family vacation because of my dad’s busy work schedule. But one Saturday morning Dad woke us all early and said, “Pack a bag — we’re going to be gone for a week. We’re leaving in one hour.” He did not tell us where we were going.

A Lifetime Memory

We got in the old blue 1964 Oldsmobile and drove east, but he refused to tell us where we were going. My brothers and I kept guessing as we would see road signs, but we were always wrong. After about two days of driving, we saw a sign for New York City, and we drove into Manhattan, pulled up at a swanky hotel, and Dad said, “We’re home.” We then went to the 1965 World’s Fair, which was very cool.

Wanna Move?

I suppose my spontaneity gene came from my dad and our frequent last-minute adventures. Laurie and I had someone come to the door wanting to buy our house, and three weeks later we were living in a different city because we thought it would be fun. We’ve told ourselves we wanted to move about every decade. We get to know a city, make friends, then go elsewhere and do it again. Though we may be missing out on the security of a lifetime in one place, we’ve been invigorated by change.

What about you?

What invigorates you?

In what ways are you spontaneous?

Nuts for Ruts

We all have our routines that become ruts. We tend to repeat the same routines daily — we go to the same restaurants, we hang with the same people, we go to the same church. Sometimes we’ll go weeks in a rut, and I’ll just want to scream, “Get me outta here!” Then I’ll look for something I’ve never done before, just to break the ruts. 

Boredom Drives Me

People sometimes ask how I’ve built so many businesses, and the answer is simple. I get bored and have to find new things to occupy my time. I still love them, I never let go of them or sell them, but if I don’t have a new project every couple of years, it drives me insane. And my team will tell you I drive them nuts because I’ll drop in a few spontaneous projects a year. Sometimes they are a waste of time and a distraction, and sometimes they are a success. But in every case, I’ve broken my boredom and I’ve learned something.

In the last two years we’ve seen more change than ever. “Life is short, then you die” has been a little too close to home. 

What have you never done because you lacked the courage?

What do you have to lose?
How will you feel when you look back from your deathbed, not having completed that dream?

What are you waiting for?

You are capable of almost anything. You don’t even have to know how to do it, you simply have to commit to it and start. The answers will be revealed to you as you seek them. 

I want to encourage you to be spontaneous, to have some fun, to get out of your rut, and to revisit your dreams, and then launch them. You can do this — no special skills, no special gifts.
If we were all a little like Elon Musk, who comes up with ideas and then drives them to the moon, we would have a richer, more meaningful life.

Oh, and it’s not about money (though it can be). What drives people like Musk is the challenge of proving to himself and naysayers that the impossible is possible. That has always driven me.

I can look back on billion-dollar ideas I had that I never acted on, only to see someone else do it five years later. I’m done doing that. I’m going to go for it.

Are You READY to Be Spontaneous?

Spontaneity requires an idea, then a bold move to go forward. Do one thing today that is completely fresh, new, and spontaneous. You’ll get addicted. Trust me.

Eric Rhoads

PS: Years ago I had this spontaneous idea to create a giant dinner party with a few hundred artists. I dreamed we would all sit around a huge table, eat together, paint together, and the best would teach the rest of us. When I awoke from that dream, I pulled the trigger immediately and started working on my dream for the Plein Air Convention, a five-day event of painting, training, and lots of fun and friends. Naysayers were critical and shot the idea down. People told me no one would ever come, yet this May we’ll be sold out, and probably have 1,200 people, our biggest yet. 

Some people have told me, “I’m not good enough to come,”  or,  “I don’t know anyone,” or, “I’m not good at plein air painting,” or “I’m not sure I’ll fit in.” Stop the excuses and be spontaneous. You’ll never regret it.  

I’ll be wearing green this week on Thursday. I think I’ll go paint something green. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

Here’s what’s happening at my company Streamline at the moment…

Our next virtual event, Pastel Live, is happening in August. About 40% of the people who attended PleinAir Live have already signed up. It’s going to be fun, fun, fun!

How to Put Excitement in Your Life2022-03-11T12:51:53-05:00