Creative Habits or How to Summon Continual Inspiration


Today’s blog will cover how to ensure inspiration is always at hand, by doing your work every day.  You can now skip the rest of this article as it goes on to explain this idea further.

Keep moving forward each day with an effort toward your success as an artist. Whether you’re an actor, writer, sculptor, dancer – there are things you must do consistently in order to stay in form and ideally improve your craft.  Doing something art-related every day fuels your success. If not updating your email list, perhaps washing brushes, organizing reference, doing scales or exercises, cleaning up, jotting a list of supplies needed, or dreaming up new organizational tools.

 I don’t believe in writer’s block or waiting for inspiration. If you’re a writer, you sit down and write.


Elmore Leonard


ABANDON 24X30 OIL 2015 720

As long as you make an effort every day, the muses will come. In the past, I felt like the inspiration flowed through me to create some paintings. When asked about a particularly improvised artwork, I’ll admit “Well, I was there when that painting happened.”  But don’t just take my word for it. Twyla Tharpe’s awesomely inspiring The Creative Habit touts this reality.


 Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is a result of good work habits. That’s it in a nutshell.”

 ~ Twyla Tharp from The Creative Habit

Steven Pressfield’s books “The War of Art” and “Turning Pro” offer advice about how to tear down the obstacles in your path.  In both books, he asks you to commit to the role you’ve chosen and get busy. Pros work every day. The end.

As each day dawns you get a new opportunity to confirm your place in the world as an artist. No one can do it better than you; no one can do precisely what you do.  And belief in yourself must start with you, no?

In a typical day, I would do routines such as journaling and coffee, hot bath, some yoga or watching Ted talks. Maybe some meditation. Then knuckle under and so some things on my TO DO list. No one likes a chore. But if you look upon it as a necessary step toward your eventual success, it can take on a new lustre. Do one chore; win one break. One chore; one break.

Some habits involve simply deciding when you’ll work on promotion versus creating, versus resting. I dislike routine, but know I need to stick to some habits in order to be successful.

Painting every day has shown to invite some serious inspiration. To put it another way, great things happen when I paint regularly. I believe that’s where the muses come in, literally. You go to work each day, showing them you’re serious about your work, and they bring you great technique, ideas, consistency, whatever it is you need.

Regarding habits; if you need to have a space set up in your house so that you can walk into your creative space and start doing your thing, then do it. If it takes half an hour to unpack/set up, your inspiration may fizzle out. That’s one trick that can really help you make the most of the inspiration when it strikes.

Not sure what’s inspiring? Take note of when you look upon something and you feel joy, uplifted, happy. Those are the subjects that inspire you. I think I became an artist because I see beauty almost everywhere, and felt I needed to share that joy.

So do your daily habit around your art. Expand into the role of resident artist and know that if you stick with it, everything will improve.




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The Artist Awakens

All That I Need

57″ x 57″ oil
Original sold, but available as fine art reproduction.

As I sat in the leafy confines of the maple tree, my 13 year old self knew I was ‘not your average girl’. I knew there was something different about me. As a teen, I was hardly the one to know what the heck that was, but I knew it might involve some challenges. I somehow knew that my joy in seeing a flower bloom, or hearing the wind rustling through summer leaves, or how hard I’d try to find the bird that goes with that warble, was just not in line with what I knew of my family and friends. But that joy has kept me inspired and feeling like a child through all these years. I am told I manage to convey that joy in my work. I was then, as now, an avid journaler. I love to write outside each morning, coffee(s) in hand, listening to city sounds .

I urge you to pick up that pen, dance that combination, or sing that song– it’s good for you in every way. As you get older, the small voices inside you that ask for such creative outlets become much louder and more forceful. By your 50s, if you’re not in line with your inner desires, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

So, as it is spring, and it’s the season of new, fresh growth, get outside; go and do something that fills your happiness hoppers to the brim and then express it somehow.

Exercise: Buy some fresh flowers. Take a photo of them each day, even beyond their so called prime, letting them age and wither. Always use natural light. Decide which one moves you the most, and draw or paint it. Or write a poem or story about it. Notice how that exercise made you break down the stages of a flower. Write to me and share your outcome, if you wish.

I intend to write in this space once a week and bring you further into my world.
Thank you.

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Spring 2014 A Season All About Change

 mixed media

Ancestors, 10″ x 10″ mixed media on panel            


It’s been said that I am open. Open to ideas, open to change, just ‘open’.  Well, this image is a surprise. I was open to starting a series of ten singular flower images (kind of like rock star portraits, but of flowers), for my loyal flower loving clientele.  I bought 12 panels, had my son wire them, primed them with gesso, and then some ideas I’d had percolating in the last few weeks, took root and started to bud.  I got out my ready to toss glossy magazines and started clipping out flowers, birds, leaves, textures and colour blocks, with no set purpose in mind.  Before long, I had crafted 6 small collages along the lines of the image above, and am loving the simplicity, playfulness and serendipity of this unexpected series.  To that I say ‘Amen’.  Don’t limit yourself. Trust in the creativity that’s in us all and simply let it be.  I shall name one of these new mixed media pieces ‘Let it Be’.


Now, hop on over to the SHOWS tab and see what’s on for 2014. I’ve lined up a few new shows, courtesy of Jayson Samuel of Artisan Direct, with whom I’ve partnered for 5 shows in 2014. Well, get on over to the Shows tab, and see when and where you can find my works.  As always, studio is open by appointment, daylight hours are preferred.  I’m in Toronto’s east end, with easy parking close by.  I have many more works than can ever be seen on my site, as I do not stop painting.









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Summer Shows and other news, 2013


Summer 2013 is a busy one for me.  Here is a list of shows and timings for them, for the summer:



ART 2555,   JUNE 8, 2013     2555 ST CLAIR AVE EAST (O’CONNOR/ST.CLAIR)

10-6pm Saturday.


Opening Reception, Saturday August 3, 2013 4pm til 7pm

Show runs through August gallery


Bronte Heritage Waterfront Park


On Carlton, near the Riverdale Park  This show runs adjacent to the Cabbagetown Festival, when the entire neighbourhood comes alive with garage sales, music, events. Come on down.  At this show, I’ll be selling Holly Hilts jewellery designs as well as art.


Please see a raft of images, below, and visit my site often as I upload new works steadily. Many thanks.



cite du havre IMG_1105 IMG_1108 IMG_1078 IMG_1079 IMG_1080 IMG_1081 IMG_1082 IMG_1083 IMG_1084 IMG_1085 IMG_1086 IMG_1087 IMG_1089 IMG_1090 IMG_1092 IMG_1093 IMG_1094 IMG_1095 IMG_1096 IMG_1097

10" x 10" 2013 Acrylic $350

10″ x 10″ 2013 Acrylic $350

I’ve got to say, this weather really cheers a gal up. The plants are hugely advanced versus last year at this time because Mother Nature dumped a ton of rain and snow on us.


Now, just a wee headsup as we head into outdoor art show time:  if you come to my show and find that special piece you wanted sold already, I have a tip for you: the experienced buyers may contact the artist before the show even starts.   And they visit the studio, to see what’s fresh and new. Finally, they come to the outdoor shows early, peruse all of it, and swing back to the ones that called them by name.

Thanks to you, I continue to follow my bliss, and my art finds a home. What a wonderful coexistence.  I couldn’t do it without you.

So thank you very much; I really appreciate your appreciation.




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Spring 2013

I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to be able to write to you from my newly updated website.  You can write to me here, ask about paintings, and generally learn all you need to know about the artist.

I had the nerve to declare myself an artist round about 1992.  Then in 2000 I started showing and selling my works.  Since that time you, my audience, have made it abundantly clear:  Keep painting, Rea.  That’s been the steady message since I became an artist.

Now I can say that the more I show, the more I sell. It appears that my work delivers more than colour or texture to your walls. There is humour, pride (in the awesome natural beauty of this wonderful Canada), and joy in the works. It is my duty to deliver to you the feelings I have when viewing the subject matter; majestic trees, rushing rivers, blustery fall winds, or the innocent blooms of spring.

A dear and talented friend once told me, “Don’t paint the flowers; paint how the flowers make you feel.” That was a direct hit to my inspiration center.

In my art classes with kids, I suggest we paint moods, using colour and texture. Or we paint the weather, and end up with a mood.  My classes are very much about jumping straight into painting and figuring out first hand how to draw, paint, mix colours, use negative space, tell a story, create a mood and much more.

This fall I will host classes out of GAS Gerrard Art Space in Little India in Toronto. If you are interested, please write to me and I’ll send details.




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Russian Sunflowers

Russian Sunflowers

I’m deighted to once again participate in the annual Queen West Art Crawl this September 18th & 19th, in Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods Park. for more info

I’m in booth C60, right down the centre aisle of the park.

It’s a marvellous way to spend a crisp fall day. The park will be filled with music, art and people.  Be one of them!  If you love art and wish to support artists but you’re away that weekend, please forward this to friends who might be interested.

Interior decorators know enough to shop at this type of show because they know they’ll find original Canadian art at affordable prices.

I’ve been very busy painting all summer.  This show will certainly show off all that’s new from Rea Kelly.

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Ten Year Overnight Success

As i sit on a lovely Distilllery District patio on a muggy July evening after a full day of work, I am happy to reflect on this year in art.  It has been an especially ambitious year, taking advantage of every opportunity offered to me, such that I’ve had a show a month since November 2009.

At the core of this success is you; my audience, who consistently encourage my work. For this I thank you. I feel freer than ever to continue to experiment, expand, or otherwise express my joy in the natural world.

The diligence of my practice is paying off.  I’ve read more than once that “if you do your work (as in writing, painting, choreographing, whatever it is you do), the muses come.”  It’s because, I guess, they take you seriously if you show up every day, prepared to do your work.

I have a theory about plants as well. I call it the ‘peer pressure’ theory. It goes like this: the more plants you have, the more they need to succeed, because they’re being watched by their peers.  It feels true.

This is the year I disregarded global recession in favour of investing in me; investing in professional photography of my works, for posterity (not the poster shop, the future)!   This is the year I’ve invested in participation in more shows than ever before.

And this is the year I open up the internet to sales of reproductions of my work.  I will always have them printed and prepared in Canada.  I am putting my money where my mouth is, as it were.

Feel free to swing by my Toronto east end studio by appointment.  416 720 4367

Again, thank you.

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SUMMERTIME and Studio is Open by Appointment

Thank you for all the support you’ve shown me over these past few months; sales have been incredibly good. My next scheduled show is the QUEEN WEST ART CRAWL, Sept 18-19, 2010.

So my STUDIO will be open by appointment for viewing and sales of existing and new works until September.   DAYTIME is best, for lighting, but in summer, the sun’s up until about 8pm so we’re good there.

Give me a call anytime 416 720 4367 and ask if you can come over. It’s that easy.

Hope to see you soon.

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It’s Riverdale Art Walk time: June 5 & 6, 2010

It’s that time of year again, when Jimmie Simpson Park in Toronto’s east end, will host a myriad of artists and their works. 11am til 6pm each day, rain or shine, we’ll be out in force offering original, affordable Canadian artworks. Rea’s in Booth #43. But stroll the whole show. Tip: smart art shoppers come early on Saturday, screen all the works, then make a decision. It’s always a well attended show, and I’m blessed to be in such great company.

My pals, Laura Hains and Hanka Stepanova, fellow East York artists, are also in the show.

Jimmie Simpson Park is at Queen St East at Booth Avenue, about 7 blocks east of Broadview, on the north side. It’s nestled among Leslieville’s great restaurants and bars, and the weekend will be one of celebration of art. It’s a great, relaxed, and very well established show. Bring your kids, your dog, your bike; it’s an easy breezy way to see and buy art. Tell your friends!

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Floating on a Cloud

… of love and support. Thank you to all my friends, family and new friends, for attending and making my vernissage in Montreal’s west end such a success this past weekend. And BIG thanks to Madonna Bailey, owner of Aikawa Sushi, whose chefs served exciting, beautiful and delicious hors d’oeuvres to a happy crowd of art lovers. I met some new friends. Thank you, Paula & Scott Phelan for talking it up and inviting your awesome entourage of friends who are now my friends. Thank you Lynda Granatstein, established artist, for your helpful tips. Thank you, Joanne, of McGill, for loving my art and offering to help connect me to some Montreal galleries.Thank you, Holly & Nate (my kids) for singing all the way home with me. Those iTunes of yours kept me ‘up’ the whole way home!

Now, be good to yourself, and take a friend to Aikawa Sushi (one of three locations in Montreal) for lunch or dinner.

Merci à tous.


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