Speaker 1 (00:00):
Um, say what you need to say. Uh, say, be authentic. Um, do that one thing that you feel you cannot do.
Speaker 2 (00:08):
This is the Bold Artist podcast.
Speaker 3 (00:14):
You have answers, and you're expressing them in your art. Your art is important, and it needs to be seen.
Speaker 2 (00:22):
Welcome, and let's get started with today's episode. Welcome back to the Bold Artist Podcast. I am here today with Christie Keels of Southern California. Christie is a bold color artist who also has a long history in the creative arts, and we can't wait to talk to her today and hear all about it. Christie, welcome to the show.
Speaker 1 (00:48):
Hi, nice to be here.
Speaker 2 (00:50):
We're so happy to have you on the show. I'm familiar with your work from inside the Bold School community. You have made leaps and bounds as a painter in the last few years, which we want to hear all about, but first, can you start out by telling us a little bit about your history and how you arrived to where you are today?
Speaker 1 (01:11):
Sure. Um, about 10 years ago, uh, I decided to sit down and fulfill a dream of mine and that was to write a novel. Uh, it took me about two or three years. Uh, I got with a mentor that I absolutely love, and she taught me the ins and outs of writing. And I very much consider that an art. And so there is where it began. It was right before I retired, uh, from teaching, and then that's where it started. And then it evolved into primitive doll making. That was another thing I wanted to do, or it came to me rather all these things that I do come to me. I don't think I choose them. They have come to me, and it makes it more special. And then from that, it evolved into painting.
Speaker 2 (01:59):
Wow. So, can you tell us a little bit about that evolution into painting? Did that come before or after you retired as a teacher, and what did that part of your story look like?
Speaker 1 (02:10):
I started painting, I drew many, many years ago and I wasn't satisfied with it. It was a little too tight and controlled for me. Uh, I started painting before I retired, uh, and I followed an artist that I really liked, but it was realistic painting. And then I quickly realized that I do not want to be a realistic painter. If I continue to be a realistic painter, I didn't wanna paint at all. And so, that is where I really got serious about what kind of painter I wanted to be, what did I want to try? And then I found Bold School.
Speaker 2 (02:49):
So, tell me about your journey into Bold School and how that took the lid off of bold color for you. Because most of our students and even the guests on this podcast show who have gone through Bold School will say that it completely transformed and helped them out of realism and into a whole new world of abstracted color. So, was that a similar experience for you and what did that look like?
Speaker 1 (03:18):
It was a very similar experience. I had started painting in pastel, and I told myself I would paint in bold style. And, uh, actually I didn't say bold style. I didn't come across the, the term bold the terms, bold style until Charla's class, but I thought I wanted to paint unrealistic, uh, face colors, but I could not do it. Every time I would sit down to paint. It would turn out realistic. It would, I would find myself mixing colors that were realistic. And I was lucky if I could get a little bit of a mark in there that was kind of off color. And then that, that felt so strange to me. I would erase it. So, it just never would work. In the meantime, being a Facebook perruiser, I would scroll and I would see Charla's class and it took a while. It kept scrolling for a while, I would say weeks. And then finally I stopped and looked at it seriously another time. And I thought, I'm gonna give this a try. And everything changed after that, everything it opened. My, my eyes, my world, and I haven't painted it still took a while to get out of that realistic thing. You have to give yourself permission, you have to learn the techniques. And so that's where it all started with Charla's class.
Speaker 2 (04:41):
I have this thought that all that you learned as a novelist of finding your voice as writer is probably even playing a part in you, finding your voice as a painter. Do you see the similarities and what's that like?
Speaker 1 (04:55):
I absolutely do. When you write as when you paint or create any kind of art, you have to give yourself permission to be who you are. You have to learn how to be authentic. And when you become authentic, you have to learn how to express it. And so it's a, it's an ongoing process with different elements to it. It's not just what it seems. I'll sit down and write. No, it's about looking inside. It's about getting on paper. It's about saying what you want to say, and the best way you could say it. And for me, it was all for me. Um, and the same with, with the primitive dolls I made, and the same with art. You have to give yourself, you have to learn who you are, honor who you are, and don't be afraid to be fearless that this is who I am, and this is what I've, I've got to give to this.
Speaker 2 (05:52):
Yes, there's a quote that, um, it's a famous quote that I don't know who said, but it sounds something like I don't write to understand, or I don't write to be understood. I write to understand. And I've felt that way about my art that I don't create, um, for others to understand me, but I create so that I can understand. And I hear that in what you are saying in about the authenticity of finding yourself that when we create from that place of being really who we are, we are, we are painting are creating to understand ourselves. And it's a beautiful process.
Speaker 1 (06:36):
And when you get older, you realize how precious that really is to you, um, to not only know yourself better, but to let go of the feelings, the negative feelings you have about yourself, the negative feelings that you may have had about other people, the, the, the situations that you've been in, in your life that have caused you, grief. It all helps. You can channel it through, uh, your writing, your art making. And it's, it's very personal. It's something that you cannot really even explain. And that is why people create art. That's why I create art. It's not to, it's not for anyone but yourself, even though we, as artists have to get ourselves out there, get our art out there. If we wanna go that route, it's still a very personal journey. I think starting with the novel, it, it freed me up to be even more fearless in saying, this is what I have.
Speaker 1 (07:42):
And some people may not like it, some people may, but it doesn't bother to me because I do it for myself. It gives me joy, and it started there, and it's just evolved into this. And they're all connected. They're all connected. There's, there's not a lot different from when I wrote my novel to what I'm doing now, almost 10 years later. There's not lot of difference, 'cuz it's all that same, and it's all freeing. It, it's, it frees you up to not only be who you are, but to expound on it, to build it, and to continue being who you are. And it helps you to deal with things better in your life.
Speaker 2 (08:25):
Yeah. I hear, I hear so much good that you just said that I wanna talk about more, but you open by saying, as you grow older, which just speaks to me about the maturity that comes with time, and I'm not calling anyone old. Um, neither of us are old. I'm in my forties; you're in your fifties. And, and we are nowhere near old. But with, I have learned in my life that my forties are a whole different sense of being a creative individual than I experienced in my twenties. And I've been creative my whole life, but in the younger years, there's that inexperience. There's that sense of finding your voice and, and purpose. And with that inexperience comes often the insecurity, the people pleasing, the desire to perform better, where some of that, especially if you're always working on yourself and, and being intuitive and inner reflection that begins to fall away with age, at least in my experience, where I have become more secure in who I am. And that is a beautiful place of creating. When you have that kind of inner confidence that comes with age and maturity. Do you have any thoughts on that Christie that you could share with particularly our younger audience, as a word of encouragement that, um, in the place that they are today, they have a lot to look forward to in that seasoning of being a creative individual?
Speaker 1 (10:01):
I believe what I've learned is, um, it truly is about knowing the rules and breaking them, having the, the courage, especially when you don't feel like you have courage, giving yourself permission to listen to that inner voice in the back of your head or in your heart that says, this is what I really want to do. And just do it and do not think about what others may think. The biggest artists, the biggest innovators in our times have not thought about what other people think. They just who they are. They are just who they are. And they, and that is where, that is where the creative process is at its best, is where you can create what you want without wondering about what others think it's, and not let anything, not just what other people think, but that voice in your head that's says, I can't do this, or this is not good enough, or I can't or painting for other people.
Speaker 1 (11:09):
Uh, you ha it has to be authentic and to give yourself permission to break rules. And what I mean by break rules... I really like that. One is, I was talking to you earlier about, I, I had heard that first, when I was writing a novel, uh, to learn the rules and then to break them is freedom. And I believe that. If you look at the work, say of, uh, as a painter, Mark Chagall... We make, we make portraits, and we talk all the time in Bold School about symmetry and getting those facial features. Right. And we wanna do that, especially as beginners and especially with commissions, but in reality, you may have the kind of spirit that says, oh, I don't wanna do that. Now, I do. I have that kind of spirit that says, yes, I'm a to quote, I'm a to quote a, what is it?
Speaker 1 (12:00):
It's um, uh, spontaneous realism is what VOCA calls. And he, he came up with that term. It's the realistic part is the face. The spontaneous is the color. And you can do whatever you want with it. Not there are rules to follow, yes, but he breaks a lot of rules. And that's what makes his art, his art wonderful. But look at say a painter like Mark Chagall, or even Picasso. They, even though, even the symmetry of the face is gone. You may have an eye here. You may have an eye up there. You may have colors that, that wouldn't even fit into what we would call the tones, the, the low, medium and high tones, but it's a beautiful painting. And to be able to do that and be authentic without wondering what are the critics or what are people around me going to say is beautiful. Not take that advice. You don't always have to take the advice given you. You, you, you get to determine, nope, this is how I want to do it.
Speaker 2 (13:03):
Yes. I like that a lot. I, I feel like if the young Marijanel could have heard those wise words about particularly what you said about people pleasing, would've benefited me as a young creative. And I look back on years of wanting audiences to be happy. It took me a long time to transition to a point of saying, as the artist, what do I want to see, or speak, or create to be happy? And I love that we can have these conversations, Christie, here on the Bold Artist podcast that could sow seeds of confidence into not only young in age, but young in the profession, and ones who are beginning and feeling that little bit of unsteady ground and uncertainty. These kinds of words of wisdom are, I just hope everyone can find a nugget here and just grasp it and, and cling to it moving forward in confidence. So, thank you for sharing that kind of insight. I know it comes with years of being seasoned in creative endeavors, which probably started with your novel. And tell me a little about your primitive doll making and how that might even be playing a role and an influence in you as a painter, as well.
Speaker 1 (14:28):
It's the same with, it was the same with my primitive dolls. It started with the idea that I love dolls. Uh, that child and me is always alive and well. I have my favorite toys that I've always had and, and they're in my world and around me and, and I love the play of, of everything. Um, I'm young in spirit. Um, primitive dolls. Um, I wanted to create something that expressed I was growing older. So, and I did not have same with, with my painting, I did not have the desire to paint something beautiful. I want to paint something real. That doesn't mean it's not beautiful, but beauty is not always the most, what we consider in our cultures, beautiful. It is what comes from within. And so my primitive dolls are dolls that looked old. They look like they may have been found out on a prairie buried for months, and then all of a sudden you're out there and you pick it up and you're going, wow, this little girl's doll, but it looks a hundred years old, and it's holes...
Speaker 1 (15:39):
It's got holes in it. And the, some of the hair may be gone and, and it may, it doesn't look pretty at all, but there's something beautiful about it. And I absolutely loved making those dolls. Uh, we had talked earlier. I am nowhere near where I want to be as far as painting goes. I am nowhere near... When I look at my work, I've come a long way, but I don't, I don't, that's my style, of course, but I, I'm not even halfway where I want to be. And what I envision includes other forms of well, other, um, not just portraits. Um, I'm looking at city scapes night, scapes, uh, even still life things I wanna do. But I want to, what I see in my head and what is in my heart is gonna take a while to get on canvas. I've already given myself permission, but in the meantime, you have to have those skill sets. And so it is a challenging journey. It is something that doesn't come easily for most of us. And even if it does come easily, you still have to learn it, and you still have to pay your dues, and then break those rules. And then, you know, like I was saying earlier, the deconstruction part is the most fun part, because that is where you can envision what you, what, how you see your art, uh, overall. And I wanna add this, um, um, you have to,
Speaker 1 (17:15):
You have to say, you know, people give you, people give you, um, critiques all the time. You follow those critiques, Charla, Axel, Corey. They are the, the, the great teachers, uh, good tutors here in Bold School. And they have taught me a lot. And my, I guess my disconnect sometimes is, here's where I'm at, and I love this. But I'm so far more out there. And I, it's just the journey of getting there that, that, that I'm looking forward to. So, I am nowhere near what I want to be as an artist. It's it. I take my own advice. I have to,
Speaker 2 (18:02):
Yeah. You know, what I'm hearing in that, Christie, is that, well, artists, we're visionaries, we're visionaries, not with just the piece that we're working on in the present moment, but we're visionaries for our life, for our skills. And I hear you describing the kind of vision and passion that you have for your work as a whole, as a big picture. We all can relate to that. And none of us are where we wanna be. And you're describing the kind of patience that, that we all need, and that it takes to be making those conscious, uh, very, um, intentional steps towards the big vision. And it's like, we have to enjoy the moment we're in because we can't step over this moment and completely miss it. And yet we have to hold the vision of where we want to be there and move towards it. And so it's this delicate balance.
Speaker 2 (19:03):
I almost see it like being on a tight rope where you're just balancing. You're walking towards the goal, but you're being in the moment, takes a lot of dedication. And, and in that description, uh, I just shared, it's, it's sort of a reminder to us that we don't just wake up one day as the artist we wanna be. It's not just this romantic, I'm gonna paint and be amazing. It's a real, a real dedication, a real commitment to get better at our skill, which is why I'm so thankful for Bold School, because all of those, all of the, uh, inner workings of the Bold School community is there to support and help grow artists in every incremental step of getting better. But yet, we all have to hold to that big vision that we hope that we hope for our lives and our art.
Speaker 1 (19:55):
And everything in that journey helps. Your, your, uh, uh, podcast has been just phenomenal in my journey. I have, I, I glean little tidbits from every single show. It's a wonderful podcast. It's what artists have been waiting for. I don't know of any others. And I do love podcasts. Uh, and it's also down to earth. It's not, it's something for the people. It's something for beginners. It's something for people, well, like me, who, uh, haven't been painting very long and have a long way to go, but you give them the platform in which to, to talk. And I always learn from that. And I so appreciate this podcast. Like I appreciate Charla's class, you know, it all goes together. It's all connected, and it's wonderful. This community is just precious to me.
Speaker 2 (20:51):
Mm. Well, thank you. And you are likewise, so valuable to the community. And, and I extend that to all of the listeners. Like I am just becoming aware of how many of you are listening every single Friday on release. So, you know, the podcast has now been going for, I think we're around the 30th episode when this is airing. We might be in the early thirties of episode, uh, numbers. And it's been going for, you know, just about eight months or so, and it's becoming a life of its own and an entity of its own. And I'm just, as the host, becoming aware that there are some really faithful listeners tuning in the second that the podcast cast is released.
Speaker 1 (21:39):
Speaker 2 (21:40):
Yeah. And you're one of them. And so, I can't thank you enough. And I'm finding out that there's ones that they just won't miss a show, and they're learning so much from it, but not just learning. They're deriving a lot of encouragement, which is exactly what the heart behind it was when Charla and I decided to launch the Bold Artist podcast. It was to give artists voices, to be really real, and offer something, uh, a, a voice in media that would, would meet artists where they're at, and give them a voice. And I feel like we're doing it even though there's been a learning curve, just running the whole show. There's been a learning curve of its own, but I feel so encouraged that there's ones like yourself, that it really matters and means a lot to. So, thank you. Thank you for being a listener. And now thank you for being on the show. Oh,
Speaker 1 (22:33):
I absolutely loved it. Absolutely. Enjoy it. Thank you.
Speaker 2 (22:37):
Yes. So in closing, is there anything else on your hard or mind, Christie that you would love to share with the Bold School community, the Bold Artist, podcast listeners and watchers?
Speaker 1 (22:50):
I would say, you know, I, I can't remember who, uh, first said this, but, and you see it every once in a while on a poster, or, you know, when you scroll, um, do that one thing that you feel like you cannot do. That, I cannot stress that enough. And I, I go by that in all of my life, all aspects of my life. Um, say what you need to say. Uh, say, be authentic. Um, do that one thing that you feel you cannot do. We all say, you know, I'd like to do this, but I, I really don't think I can. Give yourself permission to get past that. You know, what I, what I like to think of is the times that I said, I don't want to try to put art in that gallery, or they won't accept me. Or I won't, I won't make it.
Speaker 1 (23:39):
Well, I know that last year during the pandemic, a, um, a, a gallery in Laguna Beach here in California, one of the biggest art hubs in the world, uh, was calling artists to put in art. And I thought, you know what, I'm just gonna put this one out. I'm going to submit a couple. And that, now it's online at, at Laguna beach in one of the smaller art, art galleries. And I find that really, really cool. I thought, you know, there was a time when I wouldn't even think of how can I even think of doing something like that. So, be fearless. Do the thing that you think you cannot do. Don't worry about what other people think, and give yourself permission to fail, to stand back up, to keep going, and to enjoy it and to have fun. That's what it is. And this for me, my, my novel, my doll making my painting, and now I'm going to add, uh, piano. I tinker on the piano, and there's always something wanting to come out in me. I don't question it too much. I really don't want to, um, it's my place to go. It's my private place, all, all four of these things. And it makes me who I am inside, and it keeps me centered. And it keeps me looking forward to, to life in that realm. And so that's what I would say: do that thing that you cannot do. If it's, it's a style. If it's a subject, just pick up your brush,
Speaker 1 (25:11):
Just keep going.
Speaker 2 (25:12):
Thank you. There's so much wisdom in that, not just in the realm of painting, Christie, but in the realm of creativity as a whole. You have spoken into our creative beings today. So, thank you so much for being here on the Bold Artist podcast. And I do want our watchers and listeners to know that you can check out the show notes and find Christie's link there. Check out her work. Give her a follow. Her journey is just beginning because we know Christie's vision is big, and I'm excited to see where your vision is going to take you Christie. Thanks for being here.
Speaker 1 (25:49):
Thank you so much. I appreciate you
Speaker 2 (25:53):
And everyone. I want to remind you that you can find us on Instagram @boldartistpodcast. Our YouTube is the Bold School channel, and you can look for the Bold Artist podcast right there on YouTube until next time, keep creating.