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Your Deposit Long Spent

“Kelly, we would love another one of your paintings. Would you be interested in painting the Tetons for us?”… “Oh boy, the Tetons…wow, they’re SO big, and SO amazing, and they have been painted by some of the greatest artists out there. I struggle with a flat landspace… and they are the Tetons!! They are daunting, but I would love to try it” I replied.  That was over a year ago.

Life was in a state of instability. Big changes, not pleasant for the most part. I was emptying my studio, selling what I had left, and heading back to the east coast to reconnect with family and clients. It was scary, but I wanted to paint, and I wanted more opportunity. I listened to any teacher willing to share thoughts – and I sought out a few of them too. I was invited to a workshop in Taos, NM with Sherri McGraw and David Leffel. Everything in me wanted to go – but money was already tight, it was only two weeks away, and it was over a thousand dollars. I sold my 1970’s camper “Ethel” to cover the tuition, and with my Teton deposit, booked a plane ticket. I reinvested my assets. It was an amazing workshop, and worth every penny, though the focus was figurative -not landscapes.

My moving date crept up fast, and I left Teton Valley, Idaho in June of 2011 without painting the Tetons. Months went by. I got settled, got the kids in school, set up a new studio, and did FingerSmears as they came up.  I began to teach beginning painting classes, and enter local shows. I made a few new friends and produced my first solo show. Life was moving forward. Still, in my studio stood that image of the Tetons, begging me to paint them. In my mind, stood the fear that I could not do them justice.

My emails assured them that I had not forgotten. Their emails assured me that they were not at all worried.

Once I began, I was consumed. Working to combine my old style with new lessons was challenging, but fun. Days flew by repeating the same rhythmic gesture of dragging paint over a textured surface, watching as the under-painting came forward, and fell back. Over and over, closing my eyes to remember the beauty of the Tetons burned into my brain; the strength and the bigness that my reference material could not catch. They are mighty.

Thank you Mark and Jayne, for the challenge. Thank you for pushing me out of my comfort zone. Thank you for having faith when I moved across the country with your deposit long spent and a box of paints. Cheers.


7 Responses to Your Deposit Long Spent

This is fabulous! Love your style painting this tranquil and majestic landscape….a job very well done!

Posted by Robin Lyra Siano · via · 122 months ago

Thanks Robin. It was a fun project. Now off to the Caribbean landscapes. From one extreme to the other. Kinda funny.

Posted by kelly sullivan · via · 122 months ago

Kelly, This is my favorite of all the paintings I have seen of the Tetons !!!!! You captured them beautifully and with character and flair. Makes me put on my skate skis and head to the Canyon.

Posted by Nancy Reese · via · 122 months ago

HI NANCY!! It’s so nice to hear from you! Thanks for nice post. That’s a pretty huge compliment. Enjoy that ski for me – I miss the canyon.
I hope you are painting too. Stay in touch. Always good to hear from you.

Posted by kelly Sullivan · via · 122 months ago

I feel like I want to crawl into the painting. The sky is so real, and the light amazing. Great Job Kelly! Erica

Posted by Erica Tremblay · via · 122 months ago


You created something beautiful out of what could have been complete chaos. Great job Kelly. Thank you.

Doug Dirkson

Posted by Doug Dirkson · via web · 122 months ago

Thanks Erica and Doug! It was a fun challenge.

Posted by kelly sullivan · via · 122 months ago


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