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: Facebook.com/SedonaPleinAirFestival 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: SedonaArtsCenter.org/School/Faculty/kelliklymenko.html 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: Facebook.com/artistkelliklymenko) – 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: SedonaArtsCenter.org/SedonaArtRetreats 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.” – KelliKlymenko.com

June, 2013 - Sedona, Arizona


Sedona Arts Center proudly presents SEDONA PHOTOFEST 2013 from June 4-9, 2013 with a full free day of events on Thursday June 6, 2013. Join John Paul Caponigro, Tony Sweet, Scott Stulberg and Suzanne Mathia and immerse yourself in the world of photography between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m on June 6, 2013. The FREE DAY has outgrown the original venue and has been relocated to the Sedona Performing Arts Center at Sedona Red Rock High School located at 995 Upper Red Rock Loop Road, Sedona to accommodate the overwhelming response.


The free day of presentations is sponsored by the City of Sedona with the keynote presentation by John Paul Caponigro from 1:30-3:30 p.m. and sponsored by Canon. The free day of presentations by master photographers is a rich mix of information and inspiration on technique, process and the hunt for subject matter that all photographers face. Each presenter will be instructing a workshop during PhotoFest 2013. Here’s the complete schedule of events:


9:00–10:30 a.m. Tony Sweet “Textures of Reality”

Presents his photographs from world travels and talks about his processing techniques. He will also present some images that resulted from the Sedona Workshop that took place June 4 & 5th.


10:30 a.m.– Noon Scott Stulberg “Travel Photography”

Scott Stulberg discusses his process for “Travel Photography” and will present his photographs from world travels while sharing his processing techniques.  He will also preview his use of Photoshop plug-ins that will be used in his workshop to bring about stunning finished products.


Noon–1:30 Lunch break!Take a break and explore one of Sedona’s many great places to eat!


1:30–3:30 p.m.  Keynote – “Process” with John Paul Caponigro

Sponsored by Canon, John Paul Caponigro discusses aspects of his latest book on creative photography entitled “Process,” in which he illustrates how the written word, small drawings, and unexpected aspects of creativity influence his photographic process. Caponigro is a nationally recognized speaker offering innovative images. John details the many aspects of his creative process - color, composition, drawing, iphoneography, writing and more.


3:30–5:00 Suzanne Mathia  “Workflow Lightroom & Photoshop”

Suzanne presents secrets of Lightroom and Photoshop and gives examples of workflow strategies used for various outcomes from books to prints and the web.


PhotoFest is now in its third year and is a presentation of the Sedona Arts Center. As part of the event, the Sedona Arts Center is also hosting two outstanding exhibitions opening on June 3rd at 1 p.m. with receptions on June 7th First Friday from 5–8 p.m. In the Theatre Studio at the Arts Center, Scott Stulberg will be exhibiting many of his large travel photographs.  Scott’s years of international travel and his gift for working with people make his photos unique moments in time. In the adjacent Special Exhibition Gallery, the Sedona Camera Club is exhibiting a special member’s juried show. The club has been continuously operating since 1952 and encompasses members encompassing the Verde Valley. Besides monthly meetings, club activities include workshops, programs by noted photographers, one-day field trips and multi-day outings. Guests are always welcome at the meetings. Both exhibitions will run simultaneously through June 12, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. at the Sedona Arts Center.


Visit SedonaPhotoFest.org for the entire spectrum of the program. Online registrations are available for the Free Day as well as the workshops, 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.

It’s never been easier for authors and artists to manifest their works in print. Gone are the days where a writer has to invest thousands of dollars to see their book in printed form. Today, you can publish a book within a matter of hours and have it in your home within days instead of months. Self-publishing isn’t limited to the production of novels and poetry books, either. Artists, photographers and crafters are creating fabulous portfolio, reference, and coffee table books, too. So if you’ve been thinking about publishing your own work read on…


Why Self Publish?


As with anything in life, there are pros and cons to weigh before taking those glorious steps into any new venture. Most authors dream of the big time, scoring a dreamy deal with a publishing company that will do “all the legwork” for you and give you a nice fat check to get you started. The truth is - getting a publisher to read past your cover letter is more difficult than planning a mission to mars these days. Their marketing for you is mostly just piggybacking on their name, as they are looking for more and more authors that have their own following and marketing plan. And advances are a thing of the past with most book publishers (unless you are a brand-named author).


So what do you do when you’ve been handed a dozen rejection letters (or you choose not to write them in the first place)?




When you self publish and design your own books you have complete creative control with your entire product. You can create a unique design that stands out past the cookie-cutter works that are pumped out by the bigger names out there. Oh and did I mention royalties? Take home about 70% or more instead of the 8-15% you would see with a traditional publisher. Personally, I like knowing that I have complete control over a book I write. I can change it any time and release a new addition, or even just put it out of print if I’ve changed my mood. The choices are all yours to make, no contracts to tie you down. Plus, no one cares if Harper Collins or Lulu Press has published you – your creativity shouldn’t be about the bling of a big name, but more about your own creative vision.


The first step to self-publishing is to release all that fear. We all know that we can’t get anything done if we listen to all that fear constantly. Sure you have a lot of questions, but you can do research or take a workshop. The point is to take action! Did you know that you could create a book online and publish it the same day? Did you know that you could market yourself for free? There are no more excuses to putting your creative works in print. Which reminds me – I’m teaching a workshop on self-publishing and marketing with social media May 18-19, 2013. My intensive two-day workshop covers the publishing industry (including print on demand) on day one and then marketing, social media and promoting your book on day two.


Just remember – what you need most is your own motivation. Don’t be afraid to take that step into the world of publishing and make yourself stand out. You can do it – I believe in you!


You can visit http://SedonaArtsCenter.org/School/Faculty/kelliklymenko.html or call 928-282-3809 to sign up for my workshop.


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.