Home 2018-01-19T11:38:59+00:00

The Suffering Artist

The dark, narrow spiral stairway was so tight that my shoulders rubbed against the walls as I climbed. The surrounding walls were gray, with crumbling plaster that hadn’t been painted for over a hundred years. The thump of my feet on the worn wooden steps echoed against the walls. Looking up, I could see a small landing, an old wooden door cracked barely open, and a blinding light streaming through the crack.


The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Last week I talked about the stories we live … then I saw this Monday Morning Memo written by my friend Roy Williams, which was worth sharing. Listen I am, by profession, an ad writer. I tell stories about people and products and services. You do, too. But because I get paid for it, I spend a lot of time considering — and measuring ­— the impact of stories. Some of the stories I’ve told have made people an enormous amount of money. But the most important stories I tell, by far, are the stories I tell about myself, to myself. Those stories are the source of my identity and the foundation of my purpose in life. But we’ve talked enough about me. I see something good in you and I’m calling it out. Is it okay for me to do that? Let us stare together into the eyes of the truth: Whether good or bad, your current circumstances are temporary. Success is temporary. Failure is temporary. Your future depends on your choices. Your choices depend on what you believe. What you believe is not determined by what you see and hear, but by how you interpret what you see and


Misguided Resolutions

The horizon in the distance looks as though bags of large and small marshmallows have been dumped out in piles, while being lit from the side by an orange-pink light. Shadows of purple, the absence of light, make up their underside. These soft, billowing clouds line the edge of the still, mirror-like ocean and make their way up to the sky, which shows a greenish-yellow glow, something only an artist truly notices. Silhouettes of palm trees pop up in the distance, and a couple of hundred mega yachts surround me in the marina that has been my home for the past 10 days during our Florida visit.


The Christmas Truce

A thin mist is in the morning air as fog hovers over the shimmering water. Distant pine trees are lined up perfectly like proud tin soldiers, though their usual green color appears as a muted bluish gray. In the distance, beyond the trees, the sun is gradually peeking through over the Atlantic Ocean as its pink rays reach out in all directions, as though a chorus of “Hallelujah” is about to be played at the moment of sunrise this Christmas Eve morning.


Wag More, Bark Less

Fog has softened the sage-colored live oaks in the backyard to a slight purplish tone as they fade into the distance, where the view of the mountain is nothing more than a white cloud.


Something’s Knocking at My Brain

A tattered and worn sweatshirt that should have been thrown away years ago is warming me on this crisp morning. Though there are newer and nicer sweatshirts in the closet, there is extra cozy comfort in something old, worn, and tied to a memory. I can’t remember ever being so cold as I was that morning painting at Asilomar Beach in Monterey, California, where I bought the sweatshirt. It warmed me then as it does today.


Life Boiled Down to Two Words

Fog has kissed the long, winding driveway, wet from the dew. Yellow light saturates the giant oaks as the morning sun streaks across the low fog lingering atop the grass, making an eerie effect of yellow light hitting slightly lavender-colored fog. I’m wishing I had a camera about now because I know it won’t last long enough for me to run, get my easel, and set up to paint it. I’ll have to rely on my memory for another time. Mornings make for great paintings.


The Crying Child in the Woods

The air is thick with moisture and the distant mountain in my view is a grayish purple. The silence of the morning is so still that I can hear subtle little sounds, like the baby bird chirping quietly in its nest in the rafters of the porch. I can hear things in the distance I would never normally hear.


Humiliated for Dreaming

The annoying buzzer in my iPhone startles me, and my eyes open to the patio door overlooking the seven-story-high view from the classic Biltmore Hotel in Miami. As I look out over a mist-covered golf course, the birds are singing happy tunes and the gray billowing clouds are decorated with glowing pink edges as the sun emerges from the ocean. Shadows of palm trees seem to extend six times their length across the manicured lawn.


The Warm Hug of Tradition

Shivering as I stepped out of my cozy bed this morning as the sun warmed my lids, I put on my warmest and oldest sweater, a cherished gift from my father at Christmas over 30 years ago. It’s a brown, hand-knitted sweater with a Native American pattern, and real antique buffalo nickels as buttons. It’s soft, it’s warm, it’s a little baggy now, and it’s one of the few things I’d grab if there was a fire, because it’s part of a family tradition. All the members of our family have two ... one brown, one blue. These will become family heirlooms because they were knitted by an artist, Charles Atwood King, in Upstate New York.


The Art of Giving Paintings Away

Half-awake and walking out of my room to brew my coffee, I suddenly jumped at the sight of a frightening mask among the Halloween costumes flung over the back of the family room chairs. The kids, who attended a school party last night, need to tidy up a bit once they awaken. I think I jumped into the next room.


Teaching 1 Million People to Paint

Dark-bottomed clouds fill the sky, ready to spill out overhead at any moment. How the wind moves clouds at such high speed is a mystery, with the weight of a water tower inside each cloud as they move gracefully across the sky like carefree dancing ballerinas.


Eric Rhoads
Entrepreneur, writer, artist, marketer, and speaker.
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