Why Is This the One E-Mail to Open All Year?
It’s all about how you feel and how to achieve your dreams.
A special ☕️ message from Eric Rhoads

Do you remember the feeling you got the first time you did something new?

For my artist friends, it might be the first time you picked up a paintbrush in adulthood, with the intention of exploring art.

I felt insecure. I felt unsure if I could do it. I felt lost, not knowing what to do or how to use the materials.

I thought that insecure feeling would end, but it didn’t.

My wife bought me a lesson, but it did not help because the instructor was teaching Abstract, and I wanted to learn Realism.

Eventually I found the right help.

Do you remember the feeling you got when you finally felt like you nailed it, you did something you were proud of?

I was beaming ear to ear, my chest was puffed out, I was standing tall, I was confident, and I felt like I had conquered one of my biggest fears.

Our feelings change based on the actions we take.

People tend to get stuck because their fear gets in the way of trying something to overcome that fear.

That’s not you. You took action. You took a lesson. You’ve been working to better yourself constantly, right?

In my art journey, I went from thinking I could never become a decent painter to feeling like I could do a good painting, then progress to higher levels over time. Today, I’m feeling confident.

But confident is a relative term. Am I as good as the greats I know or see in museums?


Will I ever be?

It’s easy to tell myself I could never be that good. But as I look back, I did not think I could be as good as I am today.

Will I get there?

I’m certainly going to try.

What about you? Are you feeling like you can get where you want to be? Hang in there; I’m going to show you how. My gift to you today.

People who are already masters in their field are probably comparing themselves to bigger masters …  to higher standards they want to reach, always striving to get further ahead.

That’s the beauty of what we do. When we reach a mountaintop, there is a bigger mountain range in the distance we have to scale. It never ends. We can always grow.

I remember the first time I went plein air (outdoor) painting.

I almost didn’t survive the experience. I almost gave up.

You’ve probably heard the story by now … but just in case…

My wife was pregnant with triplets, and the smell of paint in the back bedroom where I painted was making her ill. "Please move it to the garage," she said.

But when I moved, she could still smell it.

So she suggested I should probably give up painting because of the smell, and because I would be too busy to paint as the father of triplets.

So I took it outside.

We lived on the 9th hole of a golf course with a beautiful view, so I carried my studio easel out to the edge of the course, with a card table, a box of stuff, a chair, and a small canvas. Can you picture how silly that looks? :-)

The canvas kept blowing off the easel. The bugs were bad. I was not having fun. But I persisted, though my paintings were pretty awful.

The only reason I kept going is because I needed to paint. Otherwise going outdoors would never have been on my mind.

It never crossed my mind that I was doing something historic and that it would lead me to where I am today.

I had forgotten about Monet and the Impressionists who painted outside. Frankly, I did not know much about art history at the time.

Soon my friend Dick Orkin told me it was called plein air painting, and he bought me two books about historic California paintings done outside.

I still remember the feeling I got when I looked at the paintings in one of those books. I got chills. "That’s what I want to do."

The moment I saw that book, I felt like I had found my purpose. It was the best feeling ever.

There wasn’t much Internet at the time, and I struggled to find out anything about plein air, until one day an ad in the local paper talked about an event called "The Scene on the Strait" in Martinez, California.

The feeling I got from the ad was: "I’m home. I’ve found my people."

I met and talked to the painters in the show, who told me all about plein air. I bought my first plein air painting from artist Kevin Courter, who told me to do 100 small paintings and limit myself to 30 minutes. So I did it.

He told me about a workshop put on by the Plein Air Painters of America (PAPA) that had about 50 people in attendance. My first teachers were Ken Auster, Ned Mueller, Matt Smith, and Joe Paquet.

From that event, I had the mistaken idea that there was a movement of plein air painters.

I launched PleinAir Magazine, ran it till I was close to bankruptcy, then closed it. It was awful. I felt like a failure, an idiot, and a loser.

We could not get ad support because galleries told us, "No one wants unfinished plein air paintings," and the art materials people said, "There are not enough people painting plein air to support advertising in a narrow publication like PleinAir."

It was the hardest day of my business life. I was doubled up in the fetal position and cried. My dream had just been snuffed out. I felt horrible. I was not sure I could survive it. I was seriously depressed.

Again, prayers helped me. So I changed the magazine’s name to Fine Art Connoisseur, because I was also passionate about Realism. I refocused the new magazine on collectors and closed PleinAir.

It saved my business.

But I could not let go of plein air painting and PleinAir Magazine. I kept hearing from people who wanted it back. So I waited a few years till I had some meat on my bones again, and decided to discuss relaunching it.

But I was meeting with my accountant, who said this: "You were two weeks away from bankruptcy before. If you bring this back and it does not work, you will be bankrupt. I recommend you don’t do it."

Once again, I felt defeated. I was confused. I felt I needed to do it, but I was scared.

But I had a plan … the movement could grow if we could get everyone involved in the movement to show up at an annual gathering. So I told my bookkeeper my plan to start the Plein Air Convention.

When we ran the numbers, she came back to me and said, "This is too high-risk. If you don’t get enough people there, you will lose everything. Please don’t do this."

Again, I felt awful. I wanted it back. I believed in it, I believed we could grow the movement if we could get people to a convention, I believed we could convince thousands or hundreds of thousands to do plein air painting.

Speaking of feelings… Do you know that gut feeling when something just feels right and you’re willing to risk everything? That’s how I felt.

Keep in mind, I had zero money in the bank. I had a mortgage and no savings, and my business was already operating on threads. This had to work or I’d be going to work for someone else. And I’d probably lose my house and my car.

Of course, it worked out, and in May we are doing the 10th celebration of the Plein Air Convention ... But, though things seemed rosy, turns out they were not … which I’ll explain.

So why is this the one e-mail I want you to open this year?

If you read what I just wrote … There are some important lessons I learned that I think will help you…

This may take another minute…

Not so rosy after all.

When the pandemic hit, the first week of quarantine…
  • Most of the 1,200 people who had signed up for the Denver Plein Air Convention canceled and we issued refunds.
  • Most of our magazines’ advertisers canceled.
  • People were so scared, they were not spending any money, so our video business suddenly dried up.
  • And we ended up losing $50,000 in credit card fees based on the cancellation refunds we issued because it was the right thing to do.
  • We canceled our FACE convention too, and the hotel sued us because they thought people would show up during the pandemic.
  • We ended up paying the hotel tens of thousands to get out of the contract.
  • Within one week, we had lost most of our income.

I have a lot of families to support, and I did not want to have to lay people off. But if I kept them on for even a month, I would burn through all of my savings. Something had to change fast.

As you can imagine, I increased the frequency of my prayers, and everything worked out because of some steps we took to reinvent ourselves. Though things have never caught up to what they once were.

I wanted you to open this e-mail, because I want to give you encouragement.

I want to point out that things can be awful, they can look dim, you can be at the end of your rope, you can be anxious, defeated, worried, depressed, scared, lonely, lost, broke, or dealing with a horrific diagnosis or disease.

Your feelings are going to get in the way of your success if you let them.

If you don’t like your current circumstances, you can change them fast, simply by taking action. Even health issues in many cases.

It will look difficult, it will seem impossible, and you will look back after all the struggle and feel an incredible sense of accomplishment.

If you fail, you take away a lesson. Embrace failure and grow from it.

No matter what you want to do that seems impossible, you can do it. For instance, if you want to become a successful artist though you feel you lack talent, you CAN do it.

Don’t tell yourself it's impossible.

If you want to get to the next level, you CAN do it. But nothing good happens without putting yourself in a position of discomfort.

If you have a dream, you can do it.

People will tell you all the reasons you will fail. They will tell you all the risks and how you could destroy yourself financially.

Do your homework, be prepared as you can be, then go for it. Don’t let resistance destroy your dream.

Sometimes you have to burn all the ships and give yourself no options but to succeed.

Heed this advice.

You can do pretty much anything you can dream of, if you see yourself there. That’s the key.

Don’t say … "I’m gonna be X."

Instead tell yourself, "I am X."

I am a successful master painter
I am a billionaire
I am a master surgeon
I am cancer-free

You have to see yourself there to help your subconscious mind put you there.

When you do, your mind will seek solutions.

But when you say, "I’m gonna be," your mind sees roadblocks.

We tend to focus on roadblocks. If you tell yourself, "Don’t hit that tree," you’re focusing on the tree, and research says you will hit it. Instead, focus on the clear path around it.

So don’t tell yourself, "I can’t do this because of X roadblock." Tell yourself, "I always find a clear path."

Fact: No one knows how to do something when they first start. Everyone can learn to do something by putting in the effort.

How do you feel about your dreams?
How you feel about those dreams determines if you will accomplish them.

Do you feel you can accomplish it?

If not, ask yourself why not.

What’s in the way? Who’s in the way?

The answer always comes back to YOU ARE IN YOUR OWN WAY.

It boils down to your beliefs about yourself, the limits you place on yourself.

If you realize what is limiting your thinking, you can overcome it.

WHY matters

I discovered something important. It took me decades to realize it.

You will never accomplish a dream until you understand why it's important to you.

For years I focused on getting rich. And I did well, but I never got really rich, because there was no purpose to it other than selfish greed.

But if you tell yourself, "I’m a benevolent billionaire whose main goal is to make it and give it away to charity" … you now have a purpose.

Find the purpose behind the goal. Find the WHY.

Why do you want to accomplish it?

What does it mean to you?

More importantly, what does it mean to others?

Typically, if your dream is to get rich, you won’t get rich.

But if you have a good WHY, then often money will follow. If your dream is about changing the world somehow, and you focus on making that happen, the money usually follows.

You may feel you cannot do something because of circumstances…
People tell me…
I’m too young
I’m too old
I’m too sick
I’m too inexperienced
I didn’t come from a good family
I came from a rich family
I don’t have a college education … et cetera.

Pay close attention to your "I" statements, because they drive your subconscious mind.  

How do you feel right now?

Pay attention to your feelings and to the little voices in your head.

If you’re where you want to be, God bless.

If you’re not, what are you going to do to change your circumstances?

You can’t rely on anyone else. No one will pave the way. It’s all up to you.

Want to be happier? Define happiness. Then make a plan.

Want to be richer? Define rich and make a plan.

Want to be a better artist? Define it and make a plan.

Have a big dream? Define it and make a plan.

Feeling lost? Define it: Why do I feel this way, and what needs to change?

I could go on … but I won’t.

Why am I sharing this?

I grew up with incredible encouragement, yet I still had a lot of head trash I had to overcome. I still have some, but less.

There was a time when I was greedy, when I was selfish, when I mostly cared about making money.

When I found painting, my life changed so much that I decided my mission was to help other people find it, help them live their dreams, and try to invent things to help them live those dreams and make their lives more fun and interesting. That’s my mission. If I succeed, money will follow. If it doesn’t, it won’t matter because I’m doing what God has intended for me.

You have a lot to think about.

It turns out that you too have a purpose, and if you are breathing, you have more to accomplish.

Find it. Dig deep for it. Define it. Define the roadblocks. Define the WHY behind it. Think about it in detail as if you are already doing it.

You’ll be amazed at the results. And there is actual science behind these methods described.

If you are thinking something negative about what I’m telling you, your instinct is protecting you. That’s where negative thinking comes from. It’s designed to make you run from an animal or keep you from falling off a cliff. When you overcome it, and imagine you are there now, you increase your odds of it happening.

Go. Do it. Now.

Eric Rhoads
PS: I believe in you. If you don’t believe in yourself yet, just know, you can do this. God has giant plans for you, and asking for guidance is simple. "God, I don’t know if you are real, but if you are, reveal yourself to me and the plans you have for me. Help me discover who you want me to be and my purpose. Show me how to see myself in that role. Remove the roadblocks and open doors, starting with my own belief, because I believe anything is possible with you in my heart. Amen."

PS 2: People have told me that it’s bad business to share the kinds of inside information I shared today. "Never show your vulnerability," they say. "Always pretend things are wonderful."  I guess I’m supposed to pretend to be perfect, but I’m not. And if I can share my pain, and what worked for me, maybe you can get some benefit from learning from my failures.

PS 3: I would love you to consider the Plein Air Convention in May. It might just be the one thing you do for yourself that leads you to painting, plein air painting, or taking you to a higher level. I have 80 of the top artists in the world teaching.

I’d love you to help us celebrate surviving for 10 years. It wasn’t easy. We have some big names like Jane Seymour, C.W. Mundy, and Alvaro Castagnet coming to help us celebrate. And we even have special gifts for the attendees.

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Who Is This Guy Eric Rhoads?
Eric is the founder and publisher of PleinAir magazine, Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine (both on newsstands nationally), author and host six of Art Marketing instructional videos and has a blog on Art Marketing, and is author of the Amazon best seller Make More Money Selling Your Art. He produces newsletters American Watercolor, Fine Art Today, Plein Air Today and RealismToday, Creator of; The Plein Air Convention, The Plein Air Salon $30,000 Art Competition, The Figurative Art Convention & Expo, Plein Air Live, Realism Live and Watercolor Live Virtual art conferences. Art instruction video with Streamline Art Video, Liliedahl Art Video, Creative Catalyst Art Productions, and Paint Tube.TV (art instruction on Roku, Amazon Fire, and Apple TV) and host of several painting retreats: Fall Color Week, Paint Adirondacks and PaintRussia, plus an annual collector Fine Art Trip, Rhoads hosts a daily art broadcast on Youtube and Facebook (search Streamline Art Video). He is a plein air , landscape and portrait painter with works at Castle Gallery. He is also heavily involved in the radio industry as founder of Radio Ink, as well as Radio and Television Business Report, the Radio Ink Forecast Conference, Podcast Business Journal, and the Radio Ink Hispanic Radio Conference. He is the author of a best-selling book on the History of radio; Blast From the Past: A Pictorial History of Radio's First 75 Years. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his bride Laurie and they are the parents of triplets. Learn more at or see Everything We Do.
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