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17 05, 2020

Sifting Our Personal Sand


A glowing, dark yellow sky, along with a stillness in the eerie calm of recently blowing trees and distant thunder and flashes of light, reminds me of my childhood in Indiana’s Tornado Alley. Warnings were issued today, but thankfully we’re hearing none of those sirens we used to fear as children. We knew if one went off, it was time to take shelter.

Storms come in all forms, and we’ve been living in a storm for around 60 days, a storm that ripped up the green trees of our economy, destroyed everything in its path, and leveled households. There was no warning, and no one before has experienced a storm quite like this, the mother of all storms.

How will we rebuild? How will we survive? We feel helpless.

For each of us, life has brought frightening moments and problems that seemed insurmountable, impossible to get over. Yet we got through them somehow.

A Giant Rock

Much like the frustrated rock climber at the bottom of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, it seems impossible from the bottom, but everything seems much easier once you’re at the top. 

 A mountain cannot be conquered in one leap, unless you have a copter, a parachute, or a jet pack, and climbers know that the climb goes literally one rock at a time to the top. Focusing on the top is less important than focusing on the quality of each individual step. It’s the steps that can bring our downfall.

Footing Is Everything

It will be no different for us. We may not see the instant success we hope for, or the return to normal, but if we pace ourselves and keep our footing, we will accomplish the impossible. We simply have to have faith that we can get through whatever challenge we’re handed.

In a time like this, one wonders where to start. Especially when the old ways no longer work. 


If you’re feeling helpless or alone, that’s a very normal reaction. But surprisingly, you don’t have to go through this alone, even if the responsibility seems to fall on your shoulders. 

Instead of running for the mountain head-on, run in the opposite direction. The further you step back, the more you’ll gain perspective, and you’ll connect with your support team, those who love you the most, to help you make a step-by-step plan. 

Rocket Fuel

The best way to stop feeling alone is to surround yourself with others who believe in you — the people who can help you see the possibilities, and those who can encourage you that any mountain, no matter how hard, can be climbed.

By day two of quarantine, seeing the impact of the virus on my business and my income, I was visibly shaken. 

I was afraid. I was concerned I’d not be able to feed my family or the families of my employees.

Worst Case Scenarios

Knowing my kids were about to graduate high school, my mind raced through scenarios of not being able to send them to college, they’re not having a proper graduation, and they’re having to live their lives like masked bandits. 

Dominating My Thought

Yet after seeking the perspective of friends and family, I realized there was a different narrative than the one dominating my thoughts. Once others pointed out ideas and opportunity, it sparked new life, new confidence, and removed all my worry. It set me on a path, knowing I’d get through it, knowing I’d be stronger on the other side, and believing I was up for the task.

I was no longer being controlled by my fear and self-pity.

Learning to Fly

When I was 19, I learned to fly an airplane. Having grown up with a father who flew, I had heard the stories of the importance of letting go. Your mind is telling you a story that you are flying straight, but your gauges are telling you your speed is increasing, you’re in a spin, and your plane is headed for the ground. Pilots die when they don’t read the gauges and react as they were trained. They die when they allow their emotions to cloud their judgment. They die when they try to correct the plane based on their gut instead of following the checklist.

Spiral Dive to the Death

I recall a story my dad tells of being in a spin toward the ground, the plane shaking, knowing that he was probably in the last two minutes of his life. His controls were not correcting things, but his training kicked in. “Just let go and let the plane correct itself.” It’s not an easy thing to do, but the plane corrected and pulled itself out of the spin, and when he emerged from the clouds, he knew he had been just a couple of hundred feet from slamming into the dirt. His ability to let go saved him. And here he is, with us, with decades of memories, because he made the split-second decision to let go.


There are times in our lives when we need to take control, but there are times when something is so much bigger than us, we have to let go. We have to trust that we’ll be OK. There are things we simply cannot control. We do what we can do, but otherwise, we have to wait for the diving plane to correct itself. 

Trusting isn’t ever easy. Trusting our leaders. Trusting doctors. Trusting media. Trusting different opinions and stories. Trusting data. Trusting governments. Trusting God. 

My Hopeless List

If I’m feeling helpless and out of control, I make a list of everything that is bothering me. Then I go through the list and prioritize them. Which is going to make me feel the best if I can change it? Which thing on the list scares me the most?

After that, I mark the things I can control, the things where I can take some action, and the things I cannot control. Then I take massive, rapid action toward the things I can change, and I have to accept the other things I cannot control and get on my knees for the rest. 

What is bothering you that you can’t control?

What can you control and where can you take action?

Do what you can for the things you can control, and trust the rest, because if you could control it, you would.

Many Versions of One Idea

There is a well-known prayer called the Serenity Prayer.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

courage to change the things I can,

and wisdom to know the difference.

This prayer was written by American theologian Reingold Niebuhr (1892–1971) in 1932. 

His full original version:

God, give me grace to accept with serenity

the things that cannot be changed,

Courage to change the things

which should be changed,

and the Wisdom to distinguish

the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,

Enjoying one moment at a time,

Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,

Taking, as Jesus did,

This sinful world as it is,

Not as I would have it,

Trusting that You will make all things right,

If I surrender to Your will,

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,

And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Before Niebuhr, there were others.

Greek philosopher Epictetus (50-135 AD) wrote: 

Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens. Some things are up to us and some things are not up to us. Our opinions are up to us, and our impulses, desires, aversions — in short, whatever is our own doing. Our bodies are not up to us, nor are our possessions, our reputations, or our public offices, or, that is, whatever is not our own doing.

The 8th-century Indian Buddhist monk and scholar Shantideva said: 

If there’s a remedy when trouble strikes, 

What reason is there for dejection?

And if there is no help for it,

What use is there in being glum?

The 11th-century Jewish philosopher Solomon ibn Gabirol wrote: 

At the head of all understanding — is realizing what is and what cannot be, and the consoling of what is not in our power to change.

Philosopher W. W. Bartley (1934-1990) made this rhyme:

For every ailment under the sun
There is a remedy, or there is none;
If there be one, try to find it;
If there be none, never mind it.

And last, in 1801, Friedrich Schiller said, 

Blessed is he, who has learned to bear what he cannot change, and to give up with dignity, what he cannot save.

My best advice for personal peace at this strange time? Let go and trust what you cannot control.

There will be an end, and we will look back on these times in disbelief, and with some fondness, because in spite of the pain and angst, we will have grown, sifted our sand into a more refined form, and will be better off. It’s hard to see it now, but it’s around the corner. 

The sun always sets and always returns. 

Fall always comes, then winter, then spring and summer.

Patience, my friends.

Eric Rhoads

PS: I like the one that says “bear what he cannot change, and to give up with dignity, what he cannot save.”

I’ve been through four recessions in my career. Each was awful, and I did not think I could get through them. The pain of disrupting families and laying them off is beyond horrible. Yet I was left with no alternative and ate from the remaining crumbs after I paid everyone else. One time I cut from 50 people to four and barely survived. And sadly, all the progress I’d made, I had to give up with dignity.

I cannot predict where this will lead me. Though I’ve built what felt like a solid business with lots of pieces, I suspect I’ll have to let go of some of those pieces with dignity. I’ll fight tooth and nail to save every piece and every job, but it depends entirely on things out of my control. I’m controlling what I can. 

I could surely use some help so I can keep people employed, so I ask that you keep me, my team, and my family in your prayers. And if there was something we offer that you were going to someday buy anyway, if you’re in a position, consider doing it now. Even a little subscription can help.

I’ve always resisted using this platform to sell. I often talk about what we’re doing, but I never sell, and I won’t do it now. I will, however, list some of our offerings, and if something feels right, we would appreciate your support. And join me LIVE on Facebook or Instagram (ericrhoads) daily at noon Eastern, and at 3 p.m. Eastern (Streamline Art Video on Facebook or YouTube
) for free video samples throughout the quarantine.

Magazine Subscriptions:

Events (We offer a quarantine money-back guarantee)

Art Instruction Videos and Books

Sifting Our Personal Sand2020-05-16T23:04:44-04:00
3 05, 2020

When Sparks Fly


Bright green backlit leaves are glowing high in the sky as the warm sun filters through them and projects little leaf-shaped shadows on the spring grass. As I breathe deeply, the scent of wildflowers and roses reminds me of my grandmother’s garden. The day is perfect for all my senses. Even Mozart would be inspired by the songbirds singing from every direction. Though the old night owl is safely in his “owl box” atop one of our trees, his occasional question interrupts the songbird symphony as if to say, “Who, who is making all that noise while I’m trying to sleep?”


Last night the warm spring weather inspired me to fire up the grill. I walk across the deck with the lighter in hand, turn on the gas on the grill and click the lighter, sparking a small flame. Suddenly, “Whoosh!” The sound of the gas igniting fills my ears.

Small Spark, Big Result

No matter the size of the container … a small grill, or a gas-filled building … it takes only one small spark to set it off. Our cars operate only because of a small spark in the cylinder. But what do sparks have to do with our lives, our careers?

We are surrounded by sparks.

You Wanna Be a Star, Kid?

As a young boy of 14, I visited my first radio station to watch my friend Charlie Willer do his radio show. I was hooked, and his encouragement and the spark from that day resulted in a 50-year career in and around the radio industry. 

A Giant Painting

Seeing a painting of pirates sword fighting when I was 12 and on a family vacation was a spark that created a lifetime interest in art, and at age 40, the spark of an art lesson as a birthday gift set me on the path to becoming an artist. That spark resulted in my career in the art world. 

We never know when sparks will fly and ignite a new passion, which is why it’s so important to try new things, read everything we can get our hands on, and visit places NOT on our radar, to spark curiosity. 

It’s also important to be a spark, to help others find and ignite their passion.

Not only can we ignite others or be ignited, we can often seek sparks. My dad always tells me, “Son, you can change everything about your life or your business in just 90 days. You can go from being broke to rich, go from unsuccessful to successful. All it usually takes is one small change.” 

Comfort Is the Enemy

All too often we get stuck and set in our ways, and we end up repeating Groundhog Day over and over, never seeing ways to change things up to keep them interesting, or to make what we have to offer ourselves more appealing. Yet listening to others may give you the one small spark you need. It usually takes removing yourself from your comfort zone, yet it can be so invigorating to try something new.

Think Big

My friend and mentor Jay Abraham was talking one day and I asked his advice on how I can teach a million people to paint, my biggest goal. He told me that the best way to get big fast was to get on national TV with a show (more about that later). He suggested that a TV show could be the spark to reach millions and hit the goal fast. 

Where do you need a spark?

Where can you be a spark?

Gas On

The longer I’m alive, the more I understand that the best things that happened in my life and my career came from accidental sparks I never would have followed on my own. But I also discovered that to ignite at the very second the spark hits, the gas has got to be on. You have to be constantly on the lookout for sparks, and when you feel them, they won’t ignite without your instant pursuit. 

Create Your Spark

And, though accidental sparks will happen through random moments, the longer you’re around, the more established you become, the more it’s critical to create your own sparks. I have to help those on my team find their sparks, I have to push and pull to get people out of their comfort zone to move to a higher level, or else we’ll never do anything new. And I have to get others to step up and offer ideas, and be willing to listen to them. It’s not easy.

What have been the sparks in your life that were accidental but ignited your passion?

In what ways can you ignite a spark in others?

Listen, be aware, and know sparks are always flying, but often go unnoticed. If you’re on the lookout for them, you can change anything in your life, your work, your family, your business, in just an instant.

In an Instant

I received a lovely e-mail from an artist friend this week who said this … “I was stuck … I was one of those people that could do anything well I set my mind to, yet I tamped down my potential with alcohol and fear of success.  Eleven years ago, I said no more. I stopped self-destructing … simply made up my mind and never looked back. I shifted my own paradigm. It was then that I decided I was going to not talk about chasing a dream, but I was going to LIVE the dream of moving through the rest of my life as an artist.  Embrace the hard years of choosing between electricity or food or gas and strive and improve until I could find the other side. What I learned was that the moment I made the decision internally, with no room for inner argument, I became.”

The magic of a spark is that the moment it ignites your passion, you become. It takes a split second.

The split second I was exposed to radio by my friend, I became radio. The split second I was really exposed to painting, I became an artist. Though there were a long and often painful few years to follow, passion overcomes pain because your head has moved to a new place.

Seek to spark and be a spark.

Blessings and Lessons

We’re in a new normal. There have been blessings and lessons learned from these strange times. We might look at the sparks that happened to us over the past few weeks and ask which ones we no longer want to ignite, and which ones we need to pursue and change. 

I’ve had over 2 million views of our samples of art instruction videos over the past few weeks, and an average of 59,000 viewers per video. It has sparked a new path for us, all because we were trying to be a spark to entertain, educate, and inspire others during this pandemic. It will change everything.


I’ve learned I don’t want to return to the adrenaline-driven life of being so busy, spending life on a plane, and being separated from my family.  I want to be home more, I want to have more time, and to not always be doing something to keep me busy, and I want to learn new and interesting things. So I’ll be shedding some of my skin for a new, reinvented me.

What about you?
What lessons, what new normal, will come out of this for you?

What has sparked you?

Eric Rhoads

PS: My initiative to teach a million people to paint is driving me to do a national TV show on a very large TV network. The topic is a plein air painting reality show called The Great Outdoor Painting Challenge. It will reach over 20 million people per episode. I hope it will teach millions to paint or challenge them to explore painting. I’m in the funding process now (seeking big donors) and hope to have it on the air in about a year.

Last week I listed all the things we’re doing, all the videos created. I’m reposting that updated list here so you too can find something to spark you.

When Sparks Fly2020-05-02T22:28:59-04:00
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