Prologue 2 - How it All Unfolded

[00:00:00] Because here I was looking at all these outside sources and he is like, You have to paint a hundred paintings. That's how you're gonna know. That's how you're gonna learn. And then after you paint a hundred, you need to paint a thousand.

[00:00:22] You are listening to Unfold with Kellee Wynne. This is an unpolished, imperfect, and totally honest podcast, and I'm talking to all the artists, creatives, visionaries, and change makers who wanna live a life by design and not by default. If you're ready to have thought-provoking, eye-opening, heart-centered conversations that explore the stories that made us who we are and break through the boundaries of expectation than. Are in the right place.

[00:00:55] Well, hello, hello, and welcome to Unfold with Kellee Wynne. We're going [00:01:00] in for another prologue here because I'm trying to beat perfectionism. I'm trying to get comfortable with this idea of talking into a microphone and sharing with you all the crazy ideas in my head and all the wonderful, joyous things that we have ahead of us.

[00:01:16] Okay, my friends today I wanna talk about how. , everything unfolded to this point. You know, all of the things all the way going back to childhood, because there's this little golden thread that runs through our lives, and I'm gonna probably bring this up from time to time. This golden thread is the story of our life and how everything is kind of woven together.

[00:01:39] When you look back over, it's gonna give you clues as to why you do what you do, why you love what you. Why you're motivated, the way you're motivated, and why you dream the way you dream. It's all connected, and I have been noticing this as I reflect a lot on my [00:02:00] journey, how I got here and the business that I have now.

[00:02:03] The creativity that I have now, the relationships that I have now and where I wanna go in the future. A lot has been revealed to me over the last few years. Become a little more introspective about what all of it means. So let's go back pretty far into the beginning, if you will. Bear with me a little bit on the story of Kelly.

[00:02:27] So I grew up in a fairly religious family. Uh, weird to have religion and two hippie artist parents, but that's somehow the magic combination. I was born into oldest daughter of five from my mom and dad, and my father was a potter. He had his own pottery business. Here's your first clue. Creativity and business have always been part of the realm of my life growing up.

[00:02:56] I would have to say overall in my household, I had a pretty [00:03:00] happy childhood. My struggles really came with how I interacted with other children on the playground and whether I had friends. I was the odd one out loud, mouth red head, and sometimes that hurt. Sometimes it made it really hard to make friends.

[00:03:17] to be the bossy one, to be the loud one, to be the know-it-all, if you will. The one who always wanted to take charge, and that was what I was labeled, but hey, what can you do? I was the oldest daughter. I was always put in charge and I always had ideas that I wanted to share with every. Let's move a little bit forward, and my family moved to Utah, where again, interesting oxymoron.

[00:03:47] We moved into an artist community of Mormons. Yes, artist, community and Mormonism, and they were all wealthy. Wealthy, in my eyes, at least in [00:04:00] looking back, I can say that again because. , everyone supported their family through art, through creativity, through their paintings and their sculptures. And they had custom homes and more kids than I can count on my hands.

[00:04:15] And honestly, there was a lot of real beauty and joy in that experience living there in Bull River, uh, nature, all around us and running through. Sculpture gardens, I mean, in and out of studios, and I don't think that I realized how odd that was. It was a pleasure every year to run the big art walk where people from all over the state would come and enjoy.

[00:04:44] The artist studios, you know, it's like an art open studio tour, and I always put together the children's Art Gallery, if you will, and gathered all of the artists, children's artwork, everything [00:05:00] surrounding me. Now I look back and I see how much my life was filled with creativity in a way that I didn't even realize was quite abnormal, to tell you the truth.

[00:05:11] Beautiful. Beautiful, and I'm very grateful for it. But what didn't happen was it didn't set me up for knowing that it was possible for me, at least at that time. I did spend all of my days in high school in the art studio. Yes, I skipped the other classes oftentimes just to be in the art studio, and I had dreams of going off to art college, maybe Louis and Clark in Oregon, and go on some big granted venture that culminated and also learning how to paint.

[00:05:47] I had wild ideas, but I didn't have any concrete goals or direction and, even though I had all of this love of business and art and design and [00:06:00] creativity and freedom and adventure, things kind of crumbled in my senior year of high school when my parents divorced. I know it's not a new story, but it's a story that is part of my golden thread that really kind of helps me understand the direction that my life took from there and from couch surfing to moving across the country to be with friends or boyfriends, leaving my religion behind and even leaving my family behind to move back to California and, uh, kind of strike off on my own. And there I was with hardly a penny. 

[00:06:44] I remember going to the coffee shops with my friends and asking for a glass of tap water cuz I couldn't even afford a cup of coffee. I cleaned houses. So there you go. I had to start my own business, if you really think of it that way. I'd much [00:07:00] rather do it for myself. I. Applied to art school. Good news was I got in, but bad news was I did not get any loans or grants right off the bat. And so I sat there scratching my head thinking, how am I supposed to move forward?

[00:07:15] I don't even know what I want. And the, you know, even though I look back now and know that time really wasn't ticking, that was the time to be discovering and learning and growing and getting into trouble and making friends and breaking friends and. Having boyfriends and having my heart broken. And I had all of that.

[00:07:35] And I wouldn't say that there was anything too terribly tragic, but there was a lot of self doubt and struggles with self-worth and feeling alone and lost. And that probably is what led me to choose a most unusual course, which was to go and join the. . You know, I was gonna clean toilets for a life where I was gonna go and put [00:08:00] those boots on.

[00:08:00] And for some reason there was something so appealing about the security and hard work of being in the army. And so for a creative mind to choose that, I didn't feel so alone anymore to have that structure. And I can say that it was a really big moment in my life to make such a decision for being such a carefree.

[00:08:24] Heart, um, to go and choose to do something that's so demanding of you physically and mentally. One thing that was exciting about this adventure though, was that I was learning a language through the military and I went and learned how to speak Arabic. I know, I mean, Arabic of all languages, but it wasn't really that challenging.

[00:08:45] It was the nineties. I skipp. The whole finishing through college thing and exchanged that for going through 18 months of learning a language thoroughly and also learning how [00:09:00] to be disciplined and work with others, and I can, all I can say is that it was such a valuable time in my life. And I learned so much.

[00:09:10] I will always be grateful to the time that I spent in the military to give me a broader world perspective and make me feel really connected to other people. And of course, it's also where I ended up meeting my husband. And I had to make a choice between being a mom who worked 14 hour days or staying home with my child, and because my heart had always wanted to be a mom, I chose the motherhood life over the military life and had an honorable discharge in 1998, right before my very first son.

[00:09:51] Born and hence a whole new chapter opened. I enrolled in school right [00:10:00] away. I had a few months left before Taylor was born, and I went and took art classes at Monterey Peninsula College, art history painting. and I knew I had just enough time because he was due at the very end of the year after Christmas.

[00:10:18] But wouldn't you know he was born three weeks early . So as I presented to my art class, my final masterpiece, I presented my son and that was quite a fun time. But that was the last art class I took. and so began a decade of homemaking, me and my three boys and my husband, and all the wild adventures.

[00:10:42] There was scrapbooking involved, a lot of scrapbooking involved, getting published for scrapbooking companies, uh, doing trade work for them, uh, getting paid in scrapbook, Supplie. There was a lot of bread baking and jam making and gardening and sewing, [00:11:00] and even moving to Europe for a while. That was an adventure, all of its own.

[00:11:06] And deployments for my husband and being alone and being lost and losing my identity and motherhood, anxiety, stress bills to pay a lot of the normal things that happen in. Young Parenthood a whole decade there that Maybe we'll just skip to the good part now. We'll come back a little bit to that traveling part.

[00:11:31] Living in Europe, we can come back to how to deal with anxiety and motherhood and creativity. But right now, I wanted to jump a little bit forward to 2008 after my third son was born, and I remember very clearly laying on the trampoline on a warm autumn afternoon, looking up at the sky and snuggling and playing with him, and just having this absolute aha moment as much as I [00:12:00] was obsessed with scrapbooking.

[00:12:04] I needed to transition and my true roots of painting and creating my own authentic voice needed to come back. I knew it. I knew it all the way to my core, but I also knew the tiny was a little weird. I just had a baby and I have three kids to raise, and I'm in a foreign country nonetheless. I wanna take my time.

[00:12:27] So I gave myself permission and I gave myself grace, and I gave myself time, and I gave myself a deadline. And I said, in two years time, you will put away the scrapbooking and you will pick up the painting. See, look, I ha I gave myself a nice, long transition. There was a reason for that, because when you ask your creativity to pay, when you ask your creativity to perform, , it freezes, and I will be honest, I absolutely love the process of scrapbooking.

[00:12:58] However, I was creating [00:13:00] with somebody else's creations, and I knew in my heart and in my soul that I had so much more I needed to say and express with my art, and I knew it was possible, and I had this really, really, really long vision of creating and painting and making a successful business out of. A career, uh, an entrepreneurship.

[00:13:22] I knew it in my soul that moment, that that was my path, and I gave myself time and I'm glad that I did. I moved home back to Maryland where we've been living now for oh, 12 years, 13 years. So this is going on 12 years and I love it. And the stability has been really valuable for my creativity. When we got back in 2010, that was two years, that was two years from, I had that ha aha moment and I was pretty smart too, to give myself another graceful deadline [00:14:00] of two more years of practicing and playing and taking classes and learning everything I could possibly.

[00:14:10] About the art of making art. So I didn't have this moment one day and said, oh, I think I should paint and tomorrow I'm gonna show up on social media and sell my work. I was. Graceful enough to my anxiety driven, crazy wild brain to say, give yourself time, permission to grow and learn and come back to the thing that you knew once a long, long time ago, and let it fully absorb to be part of you again.

[00:14:41] And so I did, and I don't know that I worked as diligently as I probably could have, but my very first way. Pushing myself to learn and grow again, was to give myself challenges. I would give myself countdowns and challenges. Uh, I [00:15:00] remember doing one that was the leap year, and I did like 28 drawings in 28 days as a countdown to spring or something like that.

[00:15:10] I did a countdown to fall as well and did another. 12 paintings. I also did something else remarkable before the 100 day project was ever a thing. . I did the 100 day project. I know this is gonna sound so crazy, but it's true. And I'm gonna tell you why I did it. And this is a really important story. And also one that's gonna is be so essential to circle around back to.

[00:15:39] Well, because I knew I needed to come back to art because it was burning in my soul. And because I come from this history of art of my father being a painter and the neighborhood I grew up. Artists and painters and my great uncle, uncle Earl. Well, as a painter his whole life, he supported himself as a painter.

[00:15:59] He painted [00:16:00] painting, he taught school, college level classes on how to paint, and I admired him and looked up to him so much. So I got on a plane and I flew out to see Uncle Earl. It was 2011 and it was, um, him and Aunt Eileen were some of my favorite people on the entire planet and spending that time with them out in the Pacific Northwest.

[00:16:24] Just to absorb that energy and that love and that goodness and the creativity. And to be told again, one more time that I can do it. And the beauty was, is that my grandfather and my father showed up for this special gathering as well, and I sat on the back porch of my Uncle Earl's house and watched him paint a painting, a beautiful face right out of his own memory.

[00:16:46] And. He was teaching me a lot, but what he taught me the most at that moment was that I needed to take action. Cause I sat there and I said, well, I was reading in this book about brush strokes and I was looking online and [00:17:00] looking up how to mix the paints. And I saw this on Pinterest and I read this in the magazine and, oh, my Uncle Earl stopped me.

[00:17:11] Cuz here I looking at all these outside sources and he is like, you have to paint a hundred paintings. That's how you're gonna know. That's how you're gonna learn. And then after you paint a hundred, you need to paint a thousand. It was like such an aha light bulb moment, and. The next year, things really started to take off for me.

[00:17:32] I, I took a class in soft pastel in 2011, and so I really worked for the next year in soft Pastel, which was a brand new medium to me. I'm originally, my mediums were watercolor and acrylic paint, so pastel kind of felt. Uh, magical in a way. Like almost like I was cheating cause it came the colors so rich and pure pigment and the marks that they made.

[00:17:58] Man, that's almost making me [00:18:00] feel like I need to pick it up again. and I. Set a goal to join local organization, Maryland Federation of the Arts, and became part of a community of artists that hosted regular juried art shows. And in the fall of 2012, I submitted to my very first juried show, and that was the beginning.

[00:18:27] The end, not the end, I guess. Yeah. That was the beginning of the history of everything else that was to follow because there was no stopping me at that point. There was, there was no holding me back from really wanting to push forward with all those hopes and dreams that I'd taken four years to get there from 2008 when I had that first aha moment on the trampoline to 2012 when I had my first art.

[00:18:54] And I think I'm trying to plant this seed in your mind because I want you to also know that it takes [00:19:00] time. Give yourself grace. Give yourself permission to learn and absorb and really come into your own. Don't push your creativity to serve you. You really need to just allow it to be part of your soul.

[00:19:12] And of course that was just the tip of the iceberg. There was still so much to learn. There's still so much for me to learn now. There's still so many things I don't know about making art and new discoveries that I'm making every day. But from that moment on, I knew that this was the path that I was gonna continue on and the dream of making a career out of my art and.

[00:19:36] and making money off of it. And I knew in my soul that that was possible. I just didn't know how. And of course, from 2012 to another decade past, and now it's 2022, a lot has happened. A lot of ups and downs, a lot of tears, a lot of heartbreaks, a lot of disappointment, um, in. I could say that [00:20:00] from 2012 till probably just in the last year or so, my heart's been broken more times than I can even count on how hard and challenging and beautiful and what a struggle it's been to create the kind of life and dream that I've wanted to build.

[00:20:17] All along art shows, juried shows I've shown in New York City, I. Worked with interior designers. I've been licensed by National Retailer Main Cottage. I've coached other artists locally and hosted art gallery shows. I curated all the shows at West Indianapolis Artworks for about five years. I had a.

[00:20:45] Residency in high end gallery in Baltimore. I'm sure I'm forgetting stuff, and I'm sure that we're gonna come back to this and learn and talk about the lessons I learned from each of these experiences up and down and why every [00:21:00] time I started off on a new path, it didn't always go the way I wanted and I'd pivot again and again until one day I fell upon.

[00:21:10] the next aha. As you can see, it's one aha. After another 2017, I realized that my biggest following on social media, specifically Instagram, was other artists, and I just kinda laughed at myself and I'm like, I'm trying to sell art to artists, which by the way, artists do buy art. But however, I realized my biggest passion was.

[00:21:39] encouraging them and showing up for them and rallying them to make more art and to be courageous. And it was a lot of fun to connect with artists in that way, and so on one spontaneous afternoon, one artist asked me, how do you come up with new ideas for color palettes? I [00:22:00] feel like I'm in a rut just making the same colors all the time.

[00:22:04] And I said, oh, put a pin in that I will be back to you in two hours. . And in that moment, that's how I developed the entire concept for Color Crush Creative. And there it was a weekly palette, Instagram a newsletter, sharing it with the world, and it grew quite rapidly. It was a lot of fun. 2017 was a lot of fun creating the pallets on a weekly basis.

[00:22:31] But one thing that came. With those color palettes over and over again was the question of which colors do I use? Which paints are you using? Of course, I was using a digital product to like create these palettes, so it wasn't like I was mixing the colors in my studio and then deciding I was using images that I found, sharing other people's artwork, and then creating a color palette from.

[00:22:57] And so I had to think, how am [00:23:00] I going to create something standardized? I did some research. I understand color theory enough, red, yellow, blue, and make all the colors supposedly until I came across modern color theory, which is using primary magenta, primary cyan, and primary yellow. And so I began to mix.

[00:23:23] And that's where the whole color theory concept came from. And I learned and taught myself how to look at those colors and come as close as I possibly could using just those three paints, plus white and. True colors was born. And that's when I began running my own online business and finally making an income from the thing that I loved the most.

[00:23:49] And if you take a look at the Golden thread from childhood on, from being a leader and a bossy girl, and a loud girl to [00:24:00] realizing decades and decades later, It's not that I'm a bossy girl that needs to be in charge. No. It's that I'm excited and I want to campaign for others and they're fun and their joy and their learning and every little parade I made as an eight year old girl in my neighborhood was me.

[00:24:26] Trying to make something beautiful for somebody else. And that translated into creating a business where I can create experiences and beauty for you. And I can see these connections. I'm still loud. I still talk so much. Too much, so much. I'm gonna say so much. Just all depends on the moment, and I still speak my mind quite clearly, but it's not.

[00:24:54] Being better than anyone else or knowing better than anyone else, or having to be in charge. It's [00:25:00] just that I am so passionate, I'm so excited, and you know, that oozes out of me when you spend time with me, or if you get on video with me, or if you hear me talk about the things that I love the most. That passion I realized was who I was as a little girl, you know, marching to the beat of my own drum oldest sibling.

[00:25:23] Always in charge, but what it really was was always full of passion and love and really enthusiasm for being, and I don't want that light ever put out. And so I am changing whatever that meaning is of that bossy pants little girl into somebody who just cares so much, is so excited, and really knows that she can create an experience for other people.

[00:25:51] And that's why I do what I do. That's why I've created the business that I've created, is because I am incredibly [00:26:00] passionate and incredibly excited and wanna be able to share with others the things that I've discovered so that you can be incredibly passionate and excited and be all that you can be and make the art that you wanna make and build the business that you wanna build.

[00:26:15] You see how that golden thread ties it all together? Look, where do we go from? Only forward. Only forward, my friends. All right. Thank you again for joining me and the. Little space that I've created here with Unfold with Kellee Wynne. If you've enjoyed this, if you think that there's something valuable in what I'm sharing with you, please leave a review, share it with your friends and artists on Instagram, and tag me at Kellee Wynne Studios.

[00:26:47] That's K E L L E E W Y N N E Studios, and I'll re-share if you've shared this podcast with. And do yourself a favor, get on [00:27:00] my list, get on my mailing list. Go to because the artist dispatch is where I am going to be able to connect with you again more deeply and share with you all those little.

[00:27:16] Behind the scenes snippets and wild ideas running through my mind. It's just a quick little dispatch, imperfect and perfectly ready for you. Thank you so much for your time, and I will see you again on Unfold in the near future.

If you'd like to listen to or learn more about the podcast visit for our show notes and links to the main players.