Great State: An Oklahoma Artist Who Found the Best Light in a Month of Mornings

Edmond, Oklahoma — She packs light.

Tripod, paint box, a few brushes, and thermos of coffee are the only items artist Kelli Folsom requires.

“You just feel like this is right,” she says of a sunrise. “I’m just here and I’m alive and good the way I am.”

Her series of paintings started in the Spring when she woke up too late to see the sunrise.

“It’s like the best part of the whole day, and I was missing it.”

The next morning Kelli painted the first light coming over the dome at St. Elijah’s Orthodox Church.

She didn’t plan on getting up early for a whole month, but she did.

“That’s what it’s all about,” she says while painting. “I started doing this to be in the moment, to enjoy it.”

There are moments in every day when people feel better. It might be after lunch or dinner, or after work.

Kelli feels best at the beginning of things when possibilities fill the sky.

“Birds singing, and this incredible sun coming up,” she gestures. “I just feel good. This is right on.”

30 sunrises in 30 days was never her goal to start but each new sunrise added to the other.

Her month-long journey ended with a collection of small paintings she turned into a book.

Folsom says, “It was just like for my own selfish pleasure you know? That was it.”

This morning’s sunrise is a little less solitary than the others.

But in less than an hour she has it captured in a painting.

Her image leaves out a lonely pump jack and an iron fence guarding it.

She leaves in all the qualities that make these times special.

Folsom has a show opening July 26th at the Howell Gallery in Oklahoma City.

If you’d like to see more of her paintings or order her book of sunrises go to http://www.kellifolsom.com