Art Blog


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.