Dreama Tolle Perry » Artist and Writer

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Colorful Inspiration! Paint with Dreama online...Learn more > http://dreamatolleperry.com


‘How long did it take for you to get your signature style?’
‘How long did it take before you started selling your work?’
‘How long did you paint before you started making paintings that you liked?’

These are questions that come up with artists. I’ve had them in my live workshops and I have posed them myself in times past. If not out loud, I’ve at least thought them a zillion times throughout the years.
It comes from (I think) a longing inside to “get there”.
To arrive at a place that is our heart’s desire but one that we’re not quite sure is possible.
At least for us.

What do we say to ourselves about the purpose of a question that begins with
‘How long did it take to….?’

Why do we want to know?

Probably need to really look at why we ask this leading question.
Else if we get an answer in the form of   ‘thirty years, 10,000 hours of doing it, worked five jobs while working my way through art school in Paris’…

we may feel the urge to retreat and hang up our brushes telling ourselves that this isn’t possible.
At least for us.

If it took them 20 years of trial and error to get to where they are,
then maybe we are never going to get ‘there’.

You know, not great odds in arriving.
Which leads me to my ‘odds’ story….

A few years back I had a wisdom tooth that needed removed…only problem was it was close/sitting on a nerve. The one that controls sensation from mid lip line to the corner of the mouth and down the chin. Significant if one is kissing. Or dribbling soup on your chin 😉
I’ll always remember that when I asked the doctor what the odds were of nerve damage happening, he said…

‘If it happens to you, the odds are 100%. The others (odds) don’t really matter.’

Yes, just stop and sit with that for a moment.
And then realize this:

Be inspired by what happens for others
but never use it as an odds maker for your life.

Your journey is your journey. Mine is mine. Theirs is theirs. We will all arrive and it will be by a thousand and more different paths. How it came together, to be, for someone else doesn’t tell you anything about how it’s going to work for you.

None of the things that I thought had to happen for me to have a signature look, do paintings that I was happy with, have an art life that I love… happened. 
What had worked for someone else seemed to have no bearing on what happened to me. Life is funny AND wonderful like that.
As Emerson said, “Do not go where the path may lead [or where the odds say you should go], go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
The path is your path and it is not determined by the odds.

When it crosses your mind to wonder ‘how long did it take…’ flip the question.
Ask yourself why you feel like you need to know. If it’s because that you fear the odds are stacked against you just remember this.

For every predictable outcome there are other stories that don’t jive with the odds.
Charlie and Noah Kinney, folk artists from the county I grew up in, made folk art. They lived out their lives in the humble house they were born in. Folks came from around the world to visit them and see their art. Their work is in the Smithsonian.
What are the odds?

Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau are some of America’s finest writers.  They all lived in Concord, Massachusetts and they all knew each other.
What are the odds?

Remember Susan Boyle? A shy, never heard of before 48 year old singer who simply entered a talent contest in Britain. Her album ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ broke the record for the most pre-ordered album, ever, in Amazon history.
What are the odds?

Be encouraged.
Love where you are and your journey.
And remember when you are wondering about ‘what are the odds?’…

The odds don’t really matter 😉


Note: I have had so many things happen that defy the odds.
What are the odds that Justin Platt of Main Street Media would live across the street from me? That’s him with the camera and he’s the awesome videographer for the Dream.Love.Paint Courses!  The sweet gal is Cristina who was our interpreter while we traveled/filmed/painted in France.

Keep scrolling and reading because I want to know…

Colorful Inspiration! Paint with Dreama online...Learn more > http://dreamatolleperry.com

What’s one of your ‘what are the odds?’ stories?  Leave a comment to inspire!

P.S. Once Upon a Time in Provence, my online painting adventure, will be opening again for enrollment September 7, 2107. So much joy and so many great comments! Click here to see and get your name in the hat for the spot in the course that I’m giving away!

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  • Deborah - August 27, 2017 - 11:05 am

    When I was 27, I looked into what it would take to be a piano tuner. After a few calls, I found a tuner that would teach me with a couple of other interested women. What are the odds? I tuned all of my friends’ pianos to practice while I was working full-time and raising 2 small children. I got a job tuning pianos for a piano store. What are the odds? 15 years ago, I started to paint. I was juried into a wonderful painting group. What are the odds? I have gained so much over those years. After 36 years of tuning pianos, I am retiring at the end of this year. And I can put more time into my painting. Well, that’s in between driving a school bus. What are the odds? Thanks, Dreama. You make us appreciate what we do, what you do, and reach a bit farther.ReplyCancel

  • Kymee Martinak - August 27, 2017 - 9:36 am

    Strange that I would open this yesterday because you see for the last two years I have asked that question in my mind never posed it out loud to anyone, but yesterday it was screaming at me in my head, than your post that answered it. Thank you so much for your contribution to all of us artist I really need it.

    I don’t have what are the odds story yet but I have hope now that I will

    Again Thank you..

  • Judy Jarrett Hoffman - August 27, 2017 - 7:59 am

    Love to beat the odds. Love hearing about so many others beating the odds in so many ways. Positivity & just doing what we are called to do are important first steps. Live your own life-love the life you live. Paint on!ReplyCancel

  • Madeline - August 26, 2017 - 1:15 pm

    Just start and enjoy the journey!! Paint for the love of it. Best advice I ever received .ReplyCancel

  • Andrea Jeris - August 26, 2017 - 11:47 am

    Two years ago I painted a picture of a local diner that turned out pretty nice. I tried to find out who the owner of the diner was to show it to him/her through Google, and thought maybe I had, but didn’t know how to contact him. I wasn’t brave enough to go to the diner and say, “Hey, I painted the diner can I show it to the owner.”

    Two weeks ago he found ME! and contacted me through a website where I sell my work. He bought the painting and it will hang in the diner.ReplyCancel

  • Georgia Jenen - August 26, 2017 - 9:04 am

    What a wonderful & original way to say don’t compare yourself… just follow your heart, doors open and “magical” possibilities occur. Thank you for the post!ReplyCancel

  • Tracy Hamm - August 26, 2017 - 6:53 am

    My “what are the odds” is that I paint. And not only paint but have such a passion for painting. I am 48 and my whole life I have tried to have “a hobby” reading, using yarn of different ways and many other things. When I picked up a paint brush for the first time it just fit. I have been painting for about 3 years now. Thank God for YouTube. It has become my passion. It is a stress reliever, inspiring, calming, happy,sad and really allows me to get out my emotions. And had helped to bring down my blood presure. But I would have never though I would like painting well alone be good at it and love it as much as I do. Thank you for yourwritings I love them.ReplyCancel

  • Trisha - August 26, 2017 - 6:33 am

    It is interesting to hear the answers to these questions, but they come with the caveat, “Your mileage may vary.” This means you may take more time or less time than someone else. It means you may need to exert more effort — or less effort — than someone else. The important part of the answer is that it *IS* possible. Hold onto that. Believing is the first step on the path to achieving.ReplyCancel


Words are like food.
They ‘feed’ us.

They can be powerful, debilitating, liberating, limiting, infused with energy, sorrowful, joyful, expressive and at the right time….


I find I need good words in my life to steer me.  To bring to remembrance what matters, what is real, what is TRUTH.


I’ve always kept quotes and notes jotted in worn journals, within easy reach.
I’ve written affirmations and laminated them to stick around places in my home.
I have some well worn and loved books stashed in various comfy seats around my place to pick up and to be delighted within their pages at a moments notice.


We are all consumers.
With a steady diet of ‘junk food’ on every corner (conversations, headlines and our own ‘voices in the head’ that stir up fears and uncertainties) it really matters to make sure we are getting enough ‘good stuff’ in our diet ;-).


So I’ve been adding words I like, that cause me to pause and look within again, to various places in my home.

They make me stop and think.  I find myself sometimes mid day making my way to one to simply stop and read it.

I have a new one coming in a few weeks (photo below), ordered from SugarbooandCo.com.  I already have a spot picked out for it…just above my tub.
End of day, letting go, resetting for this one wild and precious life we’ve been given.


Note:  I’d love for you to add some words and joy to your life….so I am giving away a $100 gift card to do your own shopping at Sugarboo and Co.! (see below)

I’d like to know….What words do you surround yourself with?

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  • Sue Taylor - August 24, 2017 - 1:40 pm

    It’s all about the Journey!ReplyCancel

  • Sherry Houston - August 23, 2017 - 10:15 am

    Encourage what a wonderful way to lift up and make someone reach for their goal.ReplyCancel

  • susan - August 23, 2017 - 8:32 am

    “The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”ReplyCancel

  • Melisa - August 22, 2017 - 5:39 pm

    These mountains you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.ReplyCancel

  • june - August 22, 2017 - 11:21 am

    I’ve collected quotes for many years too – I love words and I love collecting words, and have written them in journals or cut them out of books or magazines or cards and made them into art journals over the years.

    A few of my favourites are:
    ‘Love is the answer’
    ‘Today is the first day of the rest of your life’
    ‘It’s all good.’
    ‘Not all who wander are lost.’
    ‘Bloom where you’re planted.’
    ‘Perhaps the dream is dreaming us.’
    ‘Listen to the stirrings of your heart.
    ‘Don’t ask what love can make or do…just look at all the colours of the world.’
    ‘Nature does not hurry…yet everything is accomplished.’ReplyCancel

  • carol craig - August 20, 2017 - 4:15 pm


  • Chris Sutherland - August 20, 2017 - 12:06 am

    Color Outside the Lines!ReplyCancel

  • Christie Foor - August 19, 2017 - 11:57 pm

    This has to do with creativity and giving myself permission to do things that are not conventional. “Doesn’t matter if it really is or has ever been because it is so inside my head.”ReplyCancel

  • Kayley - August 19, 2017 - 9:23 pm

    I like “She thought she could, so she did”!ReplyCancel

  • Maryann Leake - August 19, 2017 - 9:15 pm

    “She is clothed with strength & dignity & she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25
    Love this. It says so much.ReplyCancel

  • McKenzie Leopold - August 19, 2017 - 7:39 pm

    “She did it anyway”
    and, “You had the power all along my dear”. Glenda the good witch in The Wizard of OzReplyCancel

  • Julia - August 19, 2017 - 7:31 pm

    “You’re right where you’re supposed to be.”ReplyCancel

  • Rose HERCZEG - August 19, 2017 - 3:44 pm

    “If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good.” ~ Dr. SeussReplyCancel

  • LeAnn Kalita - August 19, 2017 - 2:52 pm

    Today is the first day of the rest of me life.ReplyCancel

  • Martha Happs - August 19, 2017 - 2:06 pm

    “A divine universal plan exists and….it is beautiful and full of joy”
    by, Paramahansa Yogananda (autobiography of a Yogi)ReplyCancel

  • Judith Foster - August 19, 2017 - 1:45 pm

    Perfection is a long way off, but improvement can be made to happen everyday.ReplyCancel

  • Cher - August 19, 2017 - 1:36 pm

    The purpose of art is washing the dust of the daily life of our souls. – Pablo PicassoReplyCancel

  • Laura S - August 19, 2017 - 12:45 pm

    I love CS Lewis quotes, and my favorite word to have around is vessel, is just reminds that I am the Lord’s!ReplyCancel

  • Donna - August 19, 2017 - 12:30 pm

    “It’s never too late to become what you might have been..” is a favorite of mine!

    “A goal without a plan is just a wish,” is another.. .ReplyCancel

  • Dori - August 19, 2017 - 11:26 am

    I’ve collected aphorisms for decades. Here’s my #1:

    “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. … No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others”
    ― Martha Graham

    For my (young) students I stop after, “Keep the channel open …” — they can deal with the divine dissatisfaction when they are older!ReplyCancel

  • Adrienne Kleiman - August 19, 2017 - 10:44 am

    All that matters in the end is How well did you live. How well did you love. How well did you let go of things that did not belong to you. BuddhaReplyCancel

  • Brenda Manheim - August 19, 2017 - 9:51 am

    and from Romans…nothing formed against me shall prosper.ReplyCancel

  • Judy Donofrio - August 19, 2017 - 9:38 am

    Press on…ReplyCancel

  • Reveille Kennedy - August 19, 2017 - 9:37 am

    I love to tell people “You are profoundly loved”ReplyCancel

  • Kris Teachman - August 19, 2017 - 9:35 am

    Choose JOY!ReplyCancel

  • Beth Nelson - August 19, 2017 - 9:12 am

    Think on all that this honorable, right, true, upright, I can’t remember the scripture right off, but it gets me through the disparaging recordings in my mind, the unkind thoughts that appear in frustration. I am ever grateful for Jesus presence in my mind and heart. Loveliness of mind brings such peace, increases love of others, and in ables me to let it go. I like little plaques with encouraging words scattered throughout the home, reminders of where my mind needs to remain. I never forget beautiful words are meant to be directed towards myself also.ReplyCancel

  • Kathy - August 19, 2017 - 9:01 am

    How will you know if you don’t ever try?ReplyCancel

  • Ruth Roberts - August 19, 2017 - 8:42 am

    it does not mean to be in a place
    where there is no noice, trouble
    or hard work. it means to be in
    the midst of those things and still
    be calm in your heart.ReplyCancel

  • Linda Stolk - August 19, 2017 - 8:40 am

    When I lay down at night and my head is filled with all the crazy noise of the day, this saying/song comes to mind. It is not written on a piece of paper in my house, but is written on my heart.

    “Jesus loves me, this I know
    For the Bible tells me so.”ReplyCancel

  • Deborah Angilletta - August 19, 2017 - 8:20 am

    “Don’t be afraid to try something new.
    Remember, the ark was built by an amateur.
    But a group of professionals built the Titanic.”ReplyCancel

  • Karen - August 19, 2017 - 8:09 am

    Be with God, become like Jesus, bless the world by the Holy Spirit… : )ReplyCancel

  • Marcia McLeary Hodges - August 19, 2017 - 6:35 am

    Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! LIVE the life you’ve imagined.


  • Ruth Carrier - August 21, 2017 - 8:37 pm

    “Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you love. It will not lead you astray” -RumiReplyCancel

  • june - August 22, 2017 - 11:40 am

    One of my favourites, Ruth.ReplyCancel


Colorful Inspiration! Paint with Dreama online...Learn more > http://dreamatolleperry.com

“French Bounty”
12 x 24in oil on museum quality panel


Growing into the Dream

What does it look like, growing into your dream?
Is it glamorous and what one would expect?
Based on what I’ve seen

growing involves awkward, unfinished states of being.

I present for your consideration my daughter Desirée, at age 6.

Daughter Desirée with Cat Blackie

Six years old can be a toothless time in life.  Going from a perfect little smile to…NO FRONT TEETH!

Thankfully, new ones eventually show up, but they are ALWAYS way too big for the tiny face they inhabit.
(Personal note:  My older brother referred to my new front teeth as “refrigerator door teeth”.  Brothers can be so kind… 😉 )

Years pass before smiles and head size match.

Desirée and Ramzy


Your dreams, our dreams, seem to have a similar growth pattern.  Too big and looking way out of place for the space they are currently inhabiting.  Leaving gaping holes of ‘how in the heck is this going to work’ sorts of questions.

‘You want to do what?  With this?  And go where? And be all that???’

We feel foolish and may find others looking away from our ‘awkward’ stage.

Take note and heart!
This is indeed how it (dreams) work.
They can lurch forward in spurts and look half baked at times!

Transitions and growth can feel really not fun
but dreams realized are so worth all those in between stages.

I think you should know:

Your dreams are not too big.  They are placed in your heart for you to grow into.
They appear, fully formed, with promise…awaiting your spirit’s growth.

Say what you desire.
Say it out loud.

The words we speak have spirit and life.

View your life from 10,000 feet.
Allow yourself to dream.
Grow into your dreams.
When one is fulfilled, there are more to follow.

What are those dreams that you are almost afraid to say out loud?  Name them, write them in your journal.  Get ready to grow!

Additional thoughts:  It has been a year of growth for me.  Some things will be readily visible, soon, in the form of a new website for my blog (which shall then be referred to as my journal since I have always thought the word ‘blog’ such an unattractive sounding word, word nerd that I am! )
There will be lots of new additions open to everyone, including one called Resources, being built expressly for you (can’t wait for you to partake of that!), and easy ways to find the inspiration and encouragement you need, and…well, you’ll just have to wait and see!

And just so you know, my online French adventure painting course, Once Upon a Time in Provence , will be opening once again in September for those who’d love to join our merry band of Dreamettes–and I will be giving away a spot to some fun seeking adventurer 😉


Colorful Inspiration! Paint with Dreama online...Learn more > http://dreamatolleperry.com

“French Bounty”
Kickin’ back on the back porch of the Dream.Love.Paint cottage 😉

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  • Pebble - August 15, 2017 - 5:09 pm

    You have a talent in drawing people into your conversation and paintings. Your writings are thought provoking and inspiring, hence I signed up for one of your online courses, Dream. Love. Paint. and so far even though it seems to be taking me more time to get started, I am hanging on to every post, video, inspiration from other students to find that nudge for me to get started. My dream has always involved art, loved it as a child when I won my first finger painting ribbon in first grade! When it came time to choose my career, I was torn between the medical field and art. I chose nursing as college was close to home and have been a nurse now for 23 years. Still inside, I LOVE art and want to continue to pursue my passion! My dream out loud is to pursue art as passionately as my time allows (in between continuing education in nursing and full time work) to see where the journey takes me. I already feel blessed to have started this painting journey!ReplyCancel

  • Mary - August 15, 2017 - 3:05 pm

    Thank you for the beautiful and helpful journal entry for today! One dream that is in the forefront at this moment is to learn the basics of watercolor. I feel like I’m spinning my wheels a bit as I am trying to learn on my own. I will try to relax and enjoy the spin!ReplyCancel

  • Jan - August 12, 2017 - 5:39 pm

    While my dream/prayer has isn’t about painting, it would definitely affect my painting, and it is a return to good health. So, I’m saying it out loud and putting it here in black and white, with hope it will come to be. I’m also looking forward to your new surprise, Dreama.ReplyCancel

  • Jody Ashley - August 12, 2017 - 10:38 am

    Dear Dreama,
    What a beautiful name Dreama♡ One meaning is “joyful music” and it seems perfect to describe your paintings. They are so lively that you can almost hear joyful music!
    My given name is JoEllen. I have decided to use that name to sign my future paintings. My dream is to become a happy painter developing my basic knowledge into something inspiring. I am crazy for your upcoming class in September♡
    I have been anticipating your class for months. My husband has built me a “She Shed” just for me to realize my dream to paint. I have sold my wedding dress lately to get the money for the class. I have set up my easel and paints in my new “HAPPY PLACE” near a window that overlooks a marina.
    I am so excited about your class and pray I will be chosen as one of your students. Your paintings and writings move me♡

  • Lila - August 12, 2017 - 9:50 am

    Your thoughts and dreams are very inspiring!
    My dream is to do some lucious paintings today!ReplyCancel

Colorful Inspiration! Paint with Dreama online...Learn more > http://dreamatolleperry.com


Come drink from my well.

It is full at the moment.

Next year may bring rains, it may be dry—we share the abundance we have
as we have it

and no one goes without.


My heart is so moved by all that surrounds me.

Can this really be for me?

Beauty everywhere.
The butterfly on my window screen this morning.
In the eyes of Eddie the Cat when I look at him and he peers back—there is a knowing, a higher intelligence that is barely graspable or discernible from this place I stand.

Hills of Tuscany, rolling and covered with silvery olive trees and verdant grape vines nearly bring me to tears.

Sunsets that dazzle.

All here, for me, for the taking?

Painting, such a pleasure, another way to inhabit a moment in time.
Friends and those I barely know…I see their humanity, their hearts exposed and it exposes within me that same sterling beauty that takes the breath away.

Gratitude flows from every part of me. How can this all be?
Such inescapable, unimaginable…beauty.


Come drink from my well.

It is full at the moment.

Next year may bring rains, it may be dry—we share the abundance we have
as we have it

and no one goes without.



Colorful Inspiration! Paint with Dreama online...Learn more > http://dreamatolleperry.com

I couldn’t resist the pleasure of this special place in Tuscany, a well that has watered many a thirsty soul no doubt. Did a bit of drawing with my Kemper tool that I also use for signing just because 🙂

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  • Glen - August 5, 2017 - 11:46 pm

    Your soulful words have blasted me out of my doldrums on this very windy, wet, grey winter’s day in Melbourne. Powerful words, beautiful painting – we need more Dreamas in this world. thank you for sharing your wisdom.ReplyCancel

  • Etta Yeary - August 5, 2017 - 7:23 am

    Breathtaking scenery, painting, and words……..Dreama, it’s amazing how you see, do, and say and share all the joy your feeling at the moment to others so they can feel it too!!! Time after time……..it’s a wonderful wonderful gift you have and share!!!!! Thank you…..ReplyCancel