As you know, I’m a Sedona resident artist, photographer, Marketing Director of Sedona Arts Center and science aficionado! Well, Great news! I’ve been selected to cover the launch for the next cargo resupply flight to the International Space Station by Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) along side traditional media. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is targeted to liftoff at 4:41 a.m. EST Mar. 16 from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

“A maximum of 50 social media users have been selected by NASA to attend the two-day event on March 15 & 16 and will be given the same access as news media in an effort to align the experience of social media representatives with those of traditional media. People, who actively collect, report, analyze and disseminate news on social networking platforms were encouraged to apply for media credentials. Selection was not random. All social media accreditation applications were considered on a case-by-case basis. Those chosen have met the very specific engagement criteria.”

NASA Social participants will have the opportunity to:

View a launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket Tour NASA facilities at Kennedy Space Center Speak with representatives from both NASA and SpaceX View and take photographs of the SpaceX launch pad Meet fellow space enthusiasts who are active on social media Meet members of SpaceX and NASA's social media teams

My interest in all things science, technology and space exploration run deep within my blood. My uncle worked on the LEM for Grumman and was at Cape Canaveral during the moon launches in the 1970’s. So – I’m campaigning at to cover travel expenses and represent Sedona, Arizona at this exclusive event. A generous matching donation of $750 has already been promised after the first $750 is raised. I’m asking that science and space lovers donate what they can to cover the expenses for me and my family to experience this amazing opportunity.

The launch is only weeks away and I’m asking those with a generous heart to chip in and then follow the entire experience on Twitter and Facebook as I cover the event live. You can follow me at and on Facebook at To donate, visit

Many of you would probably agree with me when I say that this is a wonderful time of year. We all have our reasons, but mine in particular is that brilliant thing called giving. We should do it all year round. There’s something particularly fantastic about seeing a smile on someone’s face, or knowing that you filled a heart with joy, even for just a moment. That’s exactly why I love working for a nonprofit and why the charitable events and immersions are so dear to me.  Sharing the arts has always been a dream of mine and this is a great time of year to do that as well! Here are two great events that I just love…


Middle School Immersion


Last month, the Sedona Arts Center coordinated a Native American cultural immersion at West Sedona Middle School and Big Park Community School. I was particularly excited about this because my daughter was able to participate this year, and she loved it! For many years the Sedona Arts Center has brought a cultural outreach program to middle-school students at West Sedona School and this year they expanded to the Village of Oak Creek. These curriculum-related programs are designed to give students a direct experience of another time, place or culture through art and the engagement of all the senses.


During the immersion, students worked with Navajo weaver Mae Peshlakai, learning the mathematics and patience required to create even the smallest of weavings. Elder James Peshlakai taught the Navajo Butterfly Dance and Eagle Dance as part of the Navajo creation story and Char Kruger related the importance of the Navajo culture, and then led the students in the hands-on production of corn mush using a traditional stone grinder. Representing the Yavapai Tribe was Frieda Eswonia, Gertrude Smith and Reba Franco. On day one, Frieda led students through “Naming and Stories,” in which they learned the Yavapai names and pronunciations for various rock formations in the area, including Montezuma’s Well, which is the birthplace of the Yavapai Tribe. On day two, Gertrude and Reba guided the students in creating their own medicine pouches.


Overall, there were four days of cultural immersion at the schools and a reception at Sedona Arts Center, where parents and students came to hear the presenters from both tribes discuss their process. There were demonstrations and absolutely brilliant words spoken during the reception. I’m grateful that my daughter and all the other children were able to participate in this great event!


Loving Bowls


You don’t want to miss this fundraiser on Saturday, December 14, 2013 1-4 p.m. at the Sedona Arts Center’s Special Exhibition Gallery and Theater Classroom. I love this event; because I get to see the volunteers come in once a week throughout the year, to create the bowls. This year they made over 1000 bowls! The proceeds benefit the Sedona Food Bank, the Sedona Community Center and the educational programs of the Sedona Arts Center. Best part? The bowls are $10 each and come with chili, bread and desert!


So it’s all about giving back to the community and sharing with our children the culture and art that we love. You can’t beat that! But that’s just the beginning of the giving season. Check back next week for some fun and creative holiday art projects that are sure to spread some joy with the whole family!


“Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.”



dreamteamThe 9th Annual Sedona Plein Air Festival was a huge success! Once again, 30 artists from across the country came to Sedona to create their brilliant interpretations of the richness of Sedona. I was lucky enough as co-chair of the event to give myself the role of photographer and social media “buzz” person. This gave me the opportunity to experience every single aspect of the festival on the go while watching the artists create from start to finish their brilliant masterpieces. It was a truly wonderful experience!

I have to say, this was a most spectacular year for the Festival. We had a Native American Legacy Series in partnership with the newly formed Sedona Culture Collaborative, a private pit-firing at Ed Wade’s home and a special talk with Tony Abeyta among many other happenings. The artists this year brought new life and excitement to each event and paint-out and it was truly a memorable experience!  

Here were this year’s big winners:

Best of Show

Tracey Frugoli, "Amongst the Junk"
Judge, Jill Carver

Artists' Choice

Katie Dowling, for body of work
Judges, Festival Artists

Collector's Choice

Carl Ortman, "The Dream Team"
Judges, Public Attendees


2014 Poster Award

Carl Ortman, "The Dream Team"
Judges, Sedona Arts Center Staff


Merit Awards

Joshua Been, "Moonset Over Sedona"
Dave Santillanes, "Day Break Over Dry Creek"
Bill Cramer, "Western Spectacle"
Lori Putnam, "Jerome Gold"
Larry Moore, "Red, Blue, Yellow"
Judge, Jill Carver


Best Main St. Paint Out

Tracey Frugoli, "Sedona Prayer Tree"
Larry Moore, "Old Friends"

Judges, Carl Judson of Guerilla Painter
Scott Gellatley of Gamblin Oils


Best Historic Quick-Paint

Carl Ortman, "Cowboy Up"
Susiehyer, "La Sombre"

Judge, Carl Judson of Guerilla Painter

Best Native American Legacy

Williamson Tapia
"Morning at Montezuma's Well"
Judge, Tony Abeyta 

Native American Legacy Merit Awards

Shonto Begay, "Rim Elder"
Shanna Kunz, "Path to Montezuma's Castle"
Bruce Gomez, "The Sail"
Judge, Tony Abeyta

If you would like to see more, please check out the Facebook page I created for the Festival: where you can check out all my photos from the event!

I would like to thank all our wonderful staff, sponsors and volunteers for such a memorable and rewarding experience. Thanks to all your hard work and dedication, this was one of the most successful and exciting Plein Air Festivals yet!

Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.

About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, teacher, marketing director and free thinker experiencing life in one of the most inspiring and picturesque places on earth with his fabulous wife and children.


“The iPhone is the most popular camera in the world.” – Apple, USA

Now that’s a statement!

I have to admit, I was skeptical about the potential quality of images that I would take with the iPhone – but that changed after the first day I used it.

I’ve been a photographer for what sometimes feels like forever. I have over 2148 images on Instagram, 295 Photos on Flickr, countless images on Facebook and over 31,000 images on my laptop alone. I’ve photographed everything from experimental (and dark) light–painting portraits to fascinating macro images of dragonflies, flowers and water drops. Needless to say, I LOVE capturing the moment. Every moment. I also like to share those little slices of time with you. But what I love more than just taking the picture is teaching you how to do it yourself.

There’s nothing more fulfilling than taking a beautiful landscape or up-close image of a butterfly opening its wings at the perfect second all on your own. Knowing that you were able to freeze time momentarily for posterity is a complete thrill. I know, because I’ve seen it in your eyes (my students).  I’ve also seen it in my family’s photos. I’ve watched my children create absolute masterpieces with their iPods and iPhones just by observing years of me incessantly photographing everything I see. This thrills me to no end as well!

The world is a different place compared to when I was a child growing up on New Jersey streets in the early 80’s. There were no cellphone cameras (or cell phones for that matter) to endlessly entertain us. We had boom boxes and large squares of cardboard that my friends would throw down when break-dancing fit the mood. My father had an old Olympus 35mm that I occasionally would be allowed to fiddle with and develop some film if I did all my chores. (I still have that camera today).

But today things are much different! Thanks to the exponential growth and the miniaturizing of everything electronic – we’re in a world of brilliant machinery that lets everyone participate. Apple has developed some of the most creative tools for us to imagine, play, create and dream with. The tools are now in your pocket! In today’s technological world, even professional photographers and artists are recognizing the iPhone as a useful (and even practical) photographic tool. We see the quality of images increasing in all our cellphone manufacturers, but the iPhone 5 has surpassed others by far with quality and function.

That’s exactly why I’m teaching a one-day workshop at Sedona Arts Center on Sunday, September 22, 2013 to help others learn how to create amazing images with an iPhone! I want you to learn how to shoot, edit and share remarkable landscapes, portraits and the macro world around you with absolute ease. I’ll teach everything you need to know about basic framing techniques and the editing tools you’ll need to move beyond the ‘snapshot’ and into the realm of stunning photography.

My class is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, September 22, 2013 and costs $75 per person.

A general knowledge of how to use & navigate your device and apps is required!

To sign up and see the required apps and materials for the class, please visit: or call the Sedona Arts Center at 928-282-3809.

Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.

About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, teacher, marketing director and free thinker experiencing life in one of the most inspiring and picturesque places on earth with his fabulous wife and children.


Sedona is mostly known for three things: its beautiful landscape, its art-colony atmosphere and as a place for spiritual discovery. Now imagine wrapping all these into one unique package where art and self-discovery fuse to create a life-changing experience. This is exactly what the Sedona Arts Center has created in the form of two incredible retreats known as the Sedona Art Retreats. They are called Unique Connections and The Power of Words and they are fantastic!

I have to say that I am thrilled to be a part of both retreats!

I’ve spoken before of the many hats I wear. I’m sure you all know of my photography (you can ‘like’ me on Facebook to see more: – and that’s exactly what I teach at the Unique Connections retreat. My segment is called, “Photographing Essence” and it’s one of my favorite classes to teach! One of the reasons it’s so much fun is that I help students to move beyond the technicalities of photography and explore the true essence of composition through emotion. You learn how to photograph feelings rather than just scenes or landscapes. I love seeing my students explore new techniques and challenge themselves. The results have always been amazing to witness!

Photographing essence is just one part of this visual arts retreat. There are a total of six instructors (including me) that explore collage, journaling, life-masks, talismans and ceramics. I look at it as a chance to let go and let art happen in your life. If you are looking for a creative outlet and a chance to view art from a different perspective – this is your chance to share an intimate connection with truly creative individuals. Komala U. Rohde, Libby Caldwell, Vince Fazio, Liz Learmont, Dennis Ott and yours truly (me) instruct this retreat.

But what if you are a wordsmith? What if you’ve read through this simple and quick blog I’ve written and had a dozen complaints on style, grammar and punctuation? What if you love writing, performing or orating? Then The Power of Words retreat is for you!

The Power of Words retreat is based on the transforming and healing power of engaging our senses, creative wordplay and storytelling. Our words have the power of personal magic when grounded in reality and used creatively. Kate Hawkes is the lead instructor and coordinator who, along with three other instructors (me included) “create a unique synergy of influences, a model for writing, grounded in the senses and in spontaneous creative potential”.  If that doesn’t sound fabulous, just wait for my segment:

Aroma-creativity. (Here’s where you learn about another hat I’ve worn.)

I spent a good portion of my younger years exploring the world of scent. I’ve made over 300 incense and oil blends, published 3 formularies and love creating soaps, lotions and anything that makes our world smell better. I even owned my own shop called Spellbound in New Jersey for a good number of years where I made the best smelling scents around. I always loved to fashion new ‘intention-based’ scents to help with creative moods, ease stress or allow love into our noses. I still mix blends today, and this retreat is just another excuse to share the art of mixing unique blends.

The retreat starts with a surprise exercise in writing and editing, where students then develop characters from my aroma-creativity session. Then, through a gentle outdoor "moving-meditation" students learn to deeply inhabit a story and ultimately learn to write themselves as a character from a different point of view. Kate Hawkes, Jim Bishop, Tera Klymenko and I instruct this retreat!

You can learn more about the retreats here: or by calling the Arts Center at 928-282-3809.

Now that I’ve shamelessly plugged my retreats, I just want to say that I love what I do. I love to share art, creativity and inspiration any chance I get. I hope we all never forget the importance of art in our lives. I am proud to be a part of the Sedona Arts Center on many levels, where we have hundreds of artists who share their work, their knowledge and their spectacular skills every day.

Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.

About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, teacher, marketing director and free thinker experiencing life in one of the most inspiring and picturesque places on earth with his fabulous wife and children.


Our memory is imperfect. If you closed your eyes after looking around for a few seconds and recited everything you saw in the room around you, you would do two things: you would not remember everything you saw, plus you would add things that weren’t there. If you gave yourself even more time to view your surroundings, perhaps you would recall more – but you would never remember everything. Then, if you waited a day or two and tried again, you would add things that weren’t there and forget even more than before. So now imagine painting or drawing something from memory - your accuracy will be significantly diminished.

Unlike the plein air painters of Sedona or those who work in a studio from models, photographs or a still life – the artist that creates from memory produces a much different work of art. We just aren’t wired to recall accurately everything we see. Instead, our information is consolidated into a single memory link of an event. So if you are staring into the cosmos, watching a meteor shower with friends, all your memories will be stored into that one particular link. Everything you remember will be filed in your consciousness under “meteor shower,” etc. From this single point of memory, all retained information about the particular time you spent is placed into your working memory (under “meteor shower”) and from there we think about the details we have retained about the event. So this is where the details get sketchy at best.

Typically there is no need to pay attention to all the details in our surroundings. Therefore the information that we actually pay attention to varies depending on the experience. This information will be different to everyone. Take my Photographing Essence workshop – students go out into nature and sit, meditate, take in the environment and then photograph what they feel. The experience is so different from everyone and can be seen clearly in the photographs they produce. Is your focus on the creek, or rustling wind, or insects busily fussing over flowers? The details are experiences that even those photographs won’t completely accurately capture of the memory we personally had.

But we haven’t even touched the subject of memory yet.

After an event and the memories that were created in our one memory link, our minds begin an encoding process. Encoding is the process of organizing information that will be stored in our long-term memory. Our minds decide what to keep and what to discard. This is profound because yes – we DISCARD memories that our minds feel are unnecessary. We generally remember important events and anything that holds a special meaning to us, but it’s all limited to only what we pay attention to. (And we only pay attention to a few things at a time, as seen by our exercise early on.) After all this is completed the brain stores the information and develops paths to the stored information. There are cues the mind creates along the way to use to recall the information later. (Such as “meteor shower”)

The final process of memory and the one that this blog is about is retrieval. This is where we pull up the information stored by accessing the cues that our mind created. So through this jigsaw puzzle of stored material, we have our final memory of what took place. Ironically, this could be a memory of something that happened a decade ago to something that happened this morning. When the memory was created, stored and filed away is not relevant, the important part of all of this is the fact that our memories are faulty. We fill in blanks and add, subtract and rebuild our memories of what we experience, see, smell, eat and touch.

So what’s the point of all this?

Artists truly do create from their souls. The artist recalls bits and pieces of information that was stored through an experience that only they could truly interpret through their art. It’s an experience they materialized from their souls in the form of art you’re admiring right now. Of course our memory of this will be faulty, but in the end it will be our own - our very own memory of an experience that was created through an imperfect, inaccurate representation of a feeling that we once experienced. For me, this takes art appreciation to an entirely new level. For you, I just hope you remember reading this.

Kelli Klymenko is an artist, storyteller, photographer, teacher, yogi, husband, father, science aficionado, marketing director and free thinker - experiencing life in one of the most inspiring and picturesque places on earth with his fabulous wife and children. “Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.” –