In this episode of the Plein Air Podcast, Eric Rhoads interviews Matt Ryder on what life is like as an artist in Dubai, including painting in excessive temperatures and the landscape scenery; plus, mastering values, using photos, and pushing yourself to the next level.
Bonus! In this week’s Art Marketing Minute, Eric Rhoads, author of Make More Money Selling Your Art, answers the questions: “How can we convert customers to buy original works of art outside of traditional galleries” and “What are some email marketing content ideas aside from images of paintings?”
Have a question about how to sell your art? Ask Eric at artmarketing.com/questions.
Listen to the Plein Air Podcast with Eric Rhoads and Matt Ryder here:
– Matt Ryder online: https://www.ryderscanvas.com/
– Plein Air Convention & Expo: https://pleinairconvention.com/
– Eric Rhoads on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ericrhoads/
– Eric Rhoads on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eric.rhoads
– Plein Air Today newsletter: https://www.outdoorpainter.com/plein-air-today-newsletter/
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FULL TRANSCRIPT of this Plein Air Podcast
DISCLAIMER: The following is the output of a transcription from an audio recording of the Plein Air Podcast. Although the transcription is mostly correct, in some cases it is slightly inaccurate due to the recording and/or software transcription.
This is the Plein Air Podcast with Eric Rhoads, publisher and founder of Plein Air Magazine. In the Plein Air Podcast we cover the world of outdoor painting called plein air. The French coined the term which means open air or outdoors. The French pronounce it plenn air. Others say plein air. No matter how you say it. There is a huge movement of artists around the world who are going outdoors to paint and this show is about that movement. Now, here’s your host, author, publisher and painter, Eric Rhoads.
Eric Rhoads 1:00
Thank you, Jim Kipping. And welcome to the plein air podcast. Welcome, welcome. Welcome. I’m really excited. Because last week, we held our third annual plein air live, which is an online virtual conference about landscape and plein air painting. And we had a huge crowd of people, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds from all over the world, international instructors, international attendees. And we really all got a lot out of it, I got a lot of it, I even though I’m hosting and I’m not able to watch the whole thing, because I’m working behind the scenes, there just is so much learning that goes on. And I’m excited now because I’m getting ready to do a little bit of traveling and some painting. And I you know, that stuff’s now in my head. And even the things that I saw that I don’t even realize that I learned, you know, they’re gonna pop up when I get to a problem. And that’s exciting for me. So, anyway, we have already announced next years, we announced it to the current crowd, we always give the people who are attending the lowest possible price, lowest lower than any published price. And we had a huge number of people sign up for next year. We also made a few faculty announcements, but not too many yet. Anyway, you can see what we’ve announced and you can go ahead and find the dates and block them out, book them if you want to, for next year, which is going to be spectacular. B same time next year. Now I’m going to be I mentioned I was going to be doing some painting I’m heading down right away to San Miguel de en Tae in Mexico. I’ve never been here. It’s an incredible city to visit. Great Artist community. My mum told me about it when I was maybe a teenager, she had gone there and loved it there. So I’m going to see it for the first time I’m going to take my paints of course, and hopefully my wife will allow me a little time to paint. I’ll take a little sketch pad and watercolors with me as well, just in case. You know, we’re sitting in a cafe or something. And I have a little time to do that. I’ll be posting photos on social on Instagram and Facebook. You can follow me at Eric Rhoads. And Eric Rhoads is with an N A and no he or H O A DS. We’re thrilled that this podcast is reaching a huge number of people we’ve had over 1.5 million downloads, and it’s being heard in 90 different countries so far. So obviously the plein air movement is hot. And what I get excited about I’ve been getting emails from people in the UK lately. And there’s a there’s a lot more things happening there kind of started out there was a big painting event in Ireland, we did a podcast with them. And we’re starting to see more and more events cropping up and in UK, in Spain and some other countries. And we’re excited about that because the the movement has been blossoming in America now for a few years. And now it’s starting to really blossom in Europe and we are a worldwide community. And that’s why plein air live is so cool because we have people attending from all over the world and learning and growing and, and communicating with one another. So that’s really cool. The podcast has changed a little bit, the last two or three podcasts that we’ve done starting with the last Kevin Macpherson, we now are doing video. And not just audio used to be only audio. So now if you’re listening, you can listen to an audio or if you want to watch on on video, you can watch on videos. So just go to where the podcast is hosted. You can get it there and watch it. But for those of you who are listening on audio, we try to not talk about specifics of what you might be seeing. So it’s for instance, if our guest is talking about a particular artist that inspires them. We might be showing images of that artists but we’re not necessarily talking about hey, and this slide or that slide you’re gonna see this. So this just gives you a chance to get some visual because we are a visual medium, right? So that’s pretty cool. Now as you know that sometimes we want to try out new mediums and we want to try to enhance our ability as an artist. One of the things that I’m really discovering is that a lot of artists are really using a lot of different mediums and some of them are using all different mediums. Now in my particular case, I sculpt, I paint in oils, I paint in watercolors, I paint in pastels, I paint in squash, and I have some acrylics and sometimes I do under paintings in acrylic, I don’t usually paint in acrylic, but I think that what happens is it informs us we become better overall when we learn a lot of different things. And sometimes, you know, you want to there’s just something you need a particular style or approach or vibrancy. So sometimes the ability to pick up something like pastel is really cool. So we have announced our second annual pastel live virtual online conference. This will be again like plein air live a worldwide audience. And this is pastel and all the different approaches to pastel and there are a lot of them. We learned that last year lots of different ways of approaching it some people paint loose, some tight, some have a you know variation, some use a mixed medium with their pastel and different surfaces and so on. So we had a huge audience last year we anticipate a huge audience we’re already about 50% sold out. So that’s pretty cool. Pastel live will be happening in August and if you want to get signed up for that or at least learn more about it. You go to pastellive.com Now we will be announcing more faculty as time goes by. We only have a few of them up there right now but there will be more and more and more added. We’re very excited. We’re really getting excited about doubling down on pastel here at streamline. So got a lot going on. Faculty members so far. Sandra Bush l Albert Handell, Michael Friedman, Brenda Boylan. Nancy King Mertz, Tom Christopher Carol Peebles, Bruce Gomez, and many, many, many more to come. That’s at pastellive.com. Also, you should know that the plein air convention is going to happen. As you know, things are loosening up around the states. Some of the states have been free for a while, and a lot of the others are getting there. The numbers are coming down, we’re very excited, we’re going to be able to be in person at the plein air convention. We are currently operating under kind of a 50% idea that the people in Santa Fe are telling us Well, right now, it’s probably going to be about 50% Because they’re gonna want a little social distancing. But they’re also telling us they think by May, they’ll probably be opened up 100%. But if you want to be in the plein air convention attending it, you probably ought to get your seat because it’s going to be first come first serve. If we do have to limit the attendance, we’ll let you know. But we’ll let people in based on the order that they they booked and so a lot of people have already booked I think there’s probably five or 600 people booked already and the max we can take is 1200. And the last two times we did it we sold out and so make sure that if you are thinking about coming to plein air convention you do it. Also the hotel is starting to run out of rooms and there’s a special link. And we’ll provide that for you once you register and that way you can get your hotel at the main event main hotel, which is a good place to do it. So just go to pleinairconvention.com We have four or five stages. So we have multiple mediums and a main stage. And we’re going to have the world’s top artists we have right now about 60 instructors. If we end up going to a full full event with 1200 people we’re gonna add more instructors and a lot of those are field painters who work with you when we go out painting. So the the format is basically we we paint together in the afternoons we learn in the mornings we get together and learn more at night. We have parties, we have dances, we have events, we have a lot of fun, and we have ways that we could make you feel acquainted with people even if you’re alone. We have a session in the beginning where we put people together with other people so they can go to dinner and things we even had, you know, it’s like groups of six or seven people. And we even had one group and another group got together over lunch. This couple started talking they really hit it off. These kind of painted together rest of the week. They stayed in touch for the year they started dating, and they ended up Getting married. I think that’s very cool. So not saying it’s gonna happen to you. And by the way, if you’re already married, don’t even go there. Alright, another thing that’s happening I again that I’m excited about it, you know, I like getting out and painting I like being with friends. I like meeting new people. And I have an event that I do every year in June called the publishers Invitational. It used to be by invitation only. Now, it’s no invitation required. And that event is going to be taking place in June in the Adirondacks. It is so much fun because we there’s no workshop, you will have beginners there, you’ll have intermediates there. You’ll have pros there. It’s really cool. Because you’ll you know, you might be set up next to somebody like John MacDonald, or CW Mundy. But you know, there are no stars there. We’re all equals. And we just, we just paint together, we go out to all these beautiful, incredible places in the Adirondack Mountains, which is a preserved million acre park. And we just paint the waterfalls and the lakes and the mountains. And it’s very, very, very beautiful. It’s an area of the Hudson River School painters painted. And we will actually go and stand on the very spots where some of those paintings were done and paint there. So that’s pretty cool. So that’s coming up in June, and you want to get your seats and get booked. Just go to paint Adirondacks, calm. Also, you could go to publishersinvitational.com. And that’s where you’ll also find our fall color week event, which is a similar event, but in full color, which is going to be in Maine this year. All right. Well, I’ve had a lot of discussion about a lot of things. But now let’s get to the most important part. Our guest, Matt Ryder. Now, Matt, welcome to the plein air podcast.
Matt Ryder 11:49
Thanks so much, Eric. Happy to be sat with you virtually. But I can actually see you, which is great.
Eric Rhoads 11:55
Yeah, well, it’s nice to be able to actually see you and put a face to the name. We had you on the podcast about three years ago. And you were already cracking heads and taking names back then. You know, very, very popular but you’ve become in the last three years. You’ve really taken that to the next level. I should mention that Matt is in the is it Dubai?
Eric Rhoads 11:55
Yeah, yeah. I mean, I’m in Dubai.
Eric Rhoads 11:57
So, I’m gonna learn we’re gonna learn a little bit about what’s been happening with your career. But we also want to dive into some thoughts and technique, ideas and so on. But tell me about Dubai. First off, where are you from? And how did you end up in Dubai?
Matt Ryder 12:40
And well, I’m from the UK originally, and literally, slap bang in the middle of UK. So I couldn’t be further away from the mountains or the coast or anything. I was some from the Midlands. And yeah, I mean, I’ve been in Dubai now for it’s coming up 15 years.
Eric Rhoads 13:00
And what took you there originally.
Matt Ryder 13:03
So I moved out here originally with my girlfriend at the time. So her family were living out here. Like I was working in the UK, she was working in the UK. Things were things were fine. But she had the opportunity to come out. And she was asked me if I wanted to come with her. And I at that time, I was just like, I was ready for a change. So, you know, I was 25 at the time. So yeah, so it came out. And I got a job initially working in recruitment and construction recruitment of all things. And we separated like after about a year of being here. And then I just decided I was going to give it a go. So yeah, so I stuck it I built my career here. And I became a professional artist while while I lived here,
Eric Rhoads 13:50
and we’re doing any any kind of art in the UK.
Matt Ryder 13:54
And suddenly not to any kind of professional level. So if I did study up, I mean, I didn’t study painting, I did like a general vocational qualification, which I mean just kind of covers everything, like just skims over everything. So you get a little taste of what it’s like in like the marketing of art and, and, you know, kind of branding and then some techniques or things, but nothing to do with painting. And then I didn’t paint for 10 years or so also, once I got out of college, and so it took a while for me to get back into it.
Eric Rhoads 14:32
Well, you’ve become a brilliant painter. We’re going to talk about that. What is life like in Dubai? First off, I’ve that’s on my bucket list. I want to come there and I intend to paint with you. Coming from a completely different culture. What’s it like immersing yourself in a culture like where you are now?
Unknown Speaker 14:58
And well, I mean, do I have to say it’s a pretty easy place to live, like in terms of cultural shifts. And you know, it’s it’s very very westernized here, huge expat community. So yeah, I mean, there’s obviously there’s certain things which which are different, you know, there’s certain elements of the culture. But, you know, it’s, it’s very similar to what it is by living in any big city. Yeah, I mean, you live by different law, you know, it’s Shariah law, which sounds scary. But, it’s really not, like I said, I’ve lived here for for so long now. And it’s such a peaceful place to live. And everybody wants everybody to do well. It’s a massive expat community. So it’s, you know, everyone is here to work and to grow in their careers. And so, it’s a great place to be. But, there’s elements to it, which, is still catching up, certainly in the art world to to other parts of the world.
Eric Rhoads 16:03
Yeah, so let’s talk about that. What what is the art community like? Or is there one? And I would assume there is because it’s a big city, but and then, you know, how is what’s the attitude about buying art and having art in the homes? And is that impacted by Sharia law, etc.
Unknown Speaker 16:22
So, I mean, so when I tried to talk about the artist community here, it’s, there’s two very different sides to it. So there’s kind of the everybody who moves here is moving here, pretty much to start fresh, right. So they’re the kind of building their lives here. So they come over without all their stuff. So therefore, they need to fill their houses with with things which also includes art, which would make you initially think this is a very good market for selling paintings. But you know, a lot of the work that is sold here is decorative. And there’s a lot of abstract art that goes up here. So in terms of realism, and kind of landscape painting, and florals and figure figurative painting, and this sort of thing, which, which is what I’m doing. The market is much smaller. So I survive on commissions. So where were some hotels here? Yeah, so I mean, like, the gallery scene is, it’s more, kind of, probably the easiest way to explain it is like, I don’t want to use the word contemporary, because, you know, we’re all contemporary, because because we’re alive. This, you know, there’s a lot of a lot of abstract and a lot of kind of high art, if that makes sense. So, you know, certain elements of the New York art scene would would be here and this sort of thing, as opposed to I mean, that there are no realism galleries, but not a single gallery focused on realism. So I mean, that hopefully, that kind of gives you a little breakdown of what it’s like, here
Eric Rhoads 18:03
Sounds like opportunity to me.
Matt Ryder 18:06
I mean, it’s, for me, it’s, it feels like it’s crying out for, for a good realism gallery, this representing, you know, fine artists, potentially from around the world, but actually showing kind of high end work, as opposed to well, I mean, I posted nothing, because I mean, there is that there just isn’t. So yeah, it’s a it’s, it’s both a great market and also, it needs some it needs some development.
Eric Rhoads 18:37
So what is what is it like to plein air paint around there? And I know the temperatures are excessive. And how do you cope with that? And then what what are the kinds of scenes that you’re able to paint?
Matt Ryder 18:53
So, I mean, inside of the device itself, I don’t tend to paint too much. I mean, obviously, I’m, I’m painting my studio, but for plein air painting, I basically go out of the city. So there’s several mountain areas like around an hour and a half to two hours drive. Once you’re actually out of the city. You need a four by four to access, like the good spots, which which I love to paint like, you know, these these areas, which are behind me here. And yes, I mean, Brasil Cana for Jarrah. And we so I go and paint in these areas, which are the I mean, they’re effectively wadis which is there mountainous areas and Awadhi is like where the the water kind of flows through when it rains and it creates these like almost what they are canyons, but I mean, not to the scale of the Grand Canyon that we have these kind of high canyon walls. You know, we have interesting colors kind of going on big boulders, that sort of stuff, like stuff for me, which is absolutely perfect. So I love painting that stuff. And so yeah, so basically I try and get around. Yeah, hour and a half to two hours. and I am in some amazing spots
Eric Rhoads 20:03
I’m seeing behind you. It looks like a lot of it looks like it could be Arizona.
Matt Ryder 20:10
It’s very, very reminiscent. And I mean, I’ve just got back from Arizona and being in the landscape there and being in the landscape here. It’s it’s very, very similar. I mean, our rock is a little bit lighter. So, you know, in like, Arizona, everything’s a little bit more red has a bit more of that kind of earthy color to it. But in terms of the actual scale, and, you know, some of the scenery that we’re looking at, I mean, it’s, it could be it could be here or there. Yeah. And so in terms of temperature, like this time of year is really good. I mean, it’s starting to heat up a little bit now. But yeah, I mean, my plein air season is limited to kind of end of October through to around now, or at least another maybe two or three weeks from now. And when I say now we’re, we’re in February. So now we’re in March. Oh, my goodness, I’m losing. I’m losing weeks. So yeah, probably up to the end. Yeah. So up to the end of March, and then it’s really gets a little bit too hot.
Eric Rhoads 21:15
So Arizona probably felt cool to you.
Matt Ryder 21:19
It did. I mean, I had to I, nobody had told me it was going to be cold, because I just assumed I knew it wasn’t going to be quite as warm as here. But yeah, that’s my jacket when I got there, because I just I hadn’t packed correctly. So one of the first things I did was go out and buy a jacket and some camsell. You know, so the two things go hand in hand.
Eric Rhoads 21:43
So you when you’re painting scenery in plein air in that area, and there’s only the months that you’re able to paint there, what kind of temperatures are we talking about then? Because it’s pretty hot year round, isn’t it?
Matt Ryder 22:01
Yeah. Yeah, I mean, it’s very manageable now. I mean, it’s, if you’re out in the morning. That is perfect. I mean, it’s done other conversions. I mean, it’s so sorry, 25 to 30 degrees. Somebody is gonna have to do that conversion. For for me. But yeah, I mean, it’s around 25 to 30 up until around just before midday, and then it gets up to kind of 35 and then starts to cool off again, like later in the afternoon. So I mean, it’s still warm. It’s, you know, we are in the Middle East, but it’s it’s very much it’s manageable. And I have like I have a like a Jeep with a Wrangler. And on the side of the Wrangler I have this like awning which which pulls out so it creates, like sunshade so if I’m not hiking, or if it’s too hot, I’ll just I’ll get my Jeep as far as they go try and find a good spot. And then I’ll literally just kind of paint under the shade. So yeah, I mean, it’s it’s manageable. But during the summer, it’s just too dangerous to go. I mean, it’s, it’s impossible. So I get all my like studio work done. Over the summer, I travel over the summer. And I’ve gathered a ton of reference, like over the winter, both photographic and plein air studies, which I then build up into studio work over over the summer.
Eric Rhoads 23:33
And you’ve been doing I’ve noticed and you have behind you as well. You’ve been doing a lot of florals lately. I assume you have access to to a lot of variety, big cities always import things. Yeah, so what’s what’s been driving that interest in florals.
Matt Ryder 23:52
And I’ve always had an interest in it. And so I’ve always, I’ve always attempted florals. And I’m very much at the mindset of you know, once I want to do something, or paint something a particular way, I’m just going to continue to paint that subject until you know, I improve at it. And I got to a point where I could see a clear improvement in my in my florals. And I started to just enjoy them so much and I mean now it’s it’s hard to say which which I prefer more like florals or, or landscapes are very much on par. But I mean there’s similarities between the two as well.
Eric Rhoads 24:32
What are those similarities? What are the things that they tend to have in common?
Matt Ryder 24:40
Well, I mean, it’s if I said to painting a rock is in sunlight is like painting a, you know, a soft flower if you do probably think that’s crazy. But the main thing with painting flowers, the main thing with painting rocks is there’s so much reflection and reflected and bounced light that goes goes around. So In particular, with flowers, like I tend to paint a lot of roses. And I paint kind of lighter colored roses. That’s what I’m drawn to. And the similarities there, I mean, yeah, I mean, you just got all this light coming through. And then when you’re painting rocks in sunlight, which is the other thing, which I really enjoy painting, you’ve got all these like outside elements, which are creating these areas of bounce light, and just reflected color coming up into, into the rocks. And yeah, so I mean, it’s actually strangely enough, very similar, or I find it very similar subject matter. And the other thing, which, which is very close to them is, like, I do a lot of these kind of groups of rocks together, so you know, multi, multiple boulder paintings. And I do clusters of flowers, clusters of roses. And I try to bring in these elements of abstract and abstract elements into into both of those. So the way that I approach in particular rock painting is I’ll Masson area, and then I’ll basically just try and kind of carve shapes within that area. So I’m not painting individual rocks and painting, these kind of mass areas, and then I’m just putting in the correct value in the correct color and the correct bounce light, which makes it feel like it’s rock with flowers, you know, when you’re painting the petals, that’s the exact same thing. So mass, an area. And then I will just kind of work around with these. As I said before, correct value corrects color, you know, all these things to exactly the same painting rocks, and try and like create this illusion that, obviously, there’s something there. So yeah, I mean, it’s, it was a kind of a natural, it’s not transition, because I still paint both, but it’s a natural crossover. For me, I think. And the other thing, which is like an ongoing theme through both of those is I’m always painting things in like bright sunlight. So it’s, it’s really that natural light and, and sunlight, which I’m going after, regardless of subjects.
Eric Rhoads 27:04
Interesting. So I noticed your compositions are very, very strong, and, and strong, both in floral and in rock paintings. It it appeared to me based on what I was seeing that you’re moving a lot of objects around, you’re not painting exactly what you see. But you’re, you’re shifting things around. There are a lot of people who don’t understand why that’s done. You know, there are purist plein air purists who oftentimes will say, you know, paint exactly what you see. Talk to me about composition, and what kind of decisions you’re making.
Matt Ryder 27:42
Yeah, I mean, I, I definitely, I’m not afraid to, to move things around. I’m also not afraid to push color and exaggerate color, if I think it’s going to help kind of lead the eye around a painting or just help an overall feel for the painting. And so yeah, I mean, the first thing that I tried to do in terms of composition is like I have a, have a few kind of go twos, which, which I really enjoy. So I really like a circular composition, which is basically you try and lead the eye in a circular motion around the painting. So you’re kind of kept within within, like a circle of that painting to your eye doesn’t leave, you know, you’ll have a rock, which will keep you in and then maybe a bright color or, you know, some contrast over the other side. And then you know, you kind of bouncing the eye around. And a similar similar thing with triangular compositions and, and that sort of thing. So I always look for elements that I can move around, or blasts of sunlight or glass of like strong contrast that will just lead you around the painting and keep your focus on what what I want to look at. So yeah, I mean, composition is is absolutely, yes, top priority when I’m coming up with with concepts. So I use Photoshop a lot to kind of move elements around. And when I’m actually painting plein air, I’ll just make the decisions kind of there and then as to to what I think is going to work.
Eric Rhoads 29:17
So you’re starting, you’re starting out with a painting, or are you starting out with a sketch?
Eric Rhoads 29:24
Basically, all of my studio work starts off with I mean, that color sketches so the I mean, basically everything that I paint in my studio in terms of landscapes, or or at least, I’d say 90% is built up from plein air work. So my planner work I look at as sketches. And I don’t tend to look I don’t try and finish paintings when I’m home. I thought what I mean obviously we all try and finish paintings but I don’t look to get them to like a gallery, display status. Or when I’m out. … I mean color is color is definitely the main thing. But I also like to get kind of ideas for composition when I when I’m out in the field. And but I also take a ton of photos. So even if, like my plein air sketch, the suddenly and if something isn’t right about the composition, or it was just a complete mess, which does happen, I can still use that information along with the photos that I’ve taken, because I’ll just at least use the color information that there’s there, whether the composition was blown out or not, I’ll have enough photos where I can just work something into a much better composition. And sometimes I’ll take elements of multiple photos and kind of put them together to create the finished the finished composition.
Eric Rhoads 30:51
You know, there are artists out there, and I’m not being critical by any stretch. But there are artists out there who will, you know, who are maybe opposed to the whole idea of using photographs, but you know, the idea is capture the information on location, you know, capture the drawing, and then bring it back into the studio and use it for for studio pieces. How do you make sure that your paintings in the studio from photographs? Don’t feel photographic?
Unknown Speaker 31:21
So the No, I do and like, that’s very important to my work like I do, even with the flower paintings, I want them to feel like they’ve been painted on location. So I mean, that’s, yeah, I mean, it’s really important, I don’t think you can, I don’t think you can get to that point of worrying about that until you’ve, you’ve painted doors, you know, and a lot. So, you know, look, I’m not, I use photos a lot in my work. But every time I use a photo, I will adjust that photo in Photoshop or Lightroom. To better fit what it was that I saw when I was there. I was there, I’m taking the photo, I can remember it, well, most of us can remember. And then you know, I’m loading that photo into Lightroom or Photoshop, and it looks different to what I remember. So then I will just adjust, you know, whether it’s color temperature, or bringing up the shadows or adjusting Color Balance, what whatever it might be, to make it feel more authentic to the experience that I had when I was, but there’s no way that I could do that. Unless, you know, I had been outdoors. And I’d spent the time actually observing what it was that I was looking at. So yeah, I mean, I think I don’t want to be critical either. But I think anybody who rules out working from photos and is a purist and will only work from life, you know, it’s you’re missing out on a lot of opportunity to, to do more work, you know, so I can’t get out all the time, I’ve got two small kids. So we I live in a place that’s incredibly hard, I’m very busy, you know, I can’t get out and paint the whole time. Whereas I do come to the studio five days a week. And, you know, I’m always on the go in here. So, you know, that’s why most of the time I am working from photos, but I have so much information from that time that I’ve been spending outdoors, that, they kind of inform each other. So for me, it goes hand in hand like photos and and plein air.
Eric Rhoads 33:36
There also stolen moments that photos can capture that, you know, you might not otherwise be able to capture, you know, whether it’s a big year for a bird or an animal or something happening, you know, I’m driving down the road with my iPhone or my camera, just you know, hold holding it and taking pictures while I’m driving. And, and I’ve made some of my best paintings from some of those scenes and and, you know, you have to capture them when they’re happening, you know, whether it’s a, you know, sunset or otherwise. And I think you’re right to bring it into Photoshop because of the, you know, the blown out skies, or the exaggerated colors or the darkened shadows that photos tend to make. And it’s something I haven’t done and and I know Photoshop, but I never really stopped down and thought about well, I need to do that. But you know, I think that the the thing I like about it is you’re doing planning, right? And so when you’re working on a big studio piece, there’s a lot more thought going into it than just grabbing a photo and starting out and saying well let’s just try this. Now you’re now you’re really giving some planning in your Photoshop, you’re moving things around so that you can kind of create that circular composition or whatever it is you’re trying to do.
Unknown Speaker 34:50
Yeah, I mean the the other thing, which I find really helpful and I’d recommend anybody to do I mean if you take on commission work or anything like that I always do, whether it’s plein air on us, if I have a commission that comes in, or I have a big gallery piece or a big studio piece that I’m working on, I will always do like a small version of it first. And I do it as well, like when I’m teaching, if I’m doing a demo of a subject, which, you know, I haven’t maybe done before, or an image, which I haven’t worked from before, I’ll always just do a tiny little study beforehand, you know, they only take an hour or a couple of hours. And those little studies can just rule out so much, or inform so much of that painting, you know, it’s, you’re just working out all the color, you’re working out whether the composition is going to work, because you might have a photo that you’ve kind of put together. Or just a photo, like straight from whoever wants you to paint the landscape or whatever it is. But that photo, it might look fine. But once you actually start to paint it, you realize, okay, this isn’t gonna work. So, yeah, so I always do these little, little studies first, and they’re essential for me, like, maybe it’s just because I, I need safety blankets, and I’ve done something first, you know, and then I can just refer back to it. But yeah, it’s another kind of big part of my process.
Eric Rhoads 36:19
So you were just teaching, you had a very successful run your teaching at the Scottsdale artists school, and I think you also did something with Raymar people. Good, folks. Both. What are you finding are the most common areas that students really need a lot of help in? And how are you helping them with those areas?
Eric Rhoads 36:44
And so, yeah, I mean, both of those workshops, so the Scottsdale workshop was, and painting, like desert, mountain landscapes. So I was using references from Arizona, and I was using references from the UAE. And everybody, every single person in that workshop, I mean, it was there was mixed levels, everyone was everyone was was good painting, like there was no amateurs everyone had kind of gone in at a at a decent level. But every single person when it came to painting a desert, landscape, families were just too long. … The values were too too low, everything was just too dark, too dark. It’s yeah, so I mean, it’s, it’s absolutely crazy. And I do it myself, like when I’m painting a rock scenes, in particular, I always kind of go in with my initial value. and 90% of the time, that value is too low. So I build it up. And I just go up and up and up. And it amazes me how high value can go in like when it comes to kind of benched reflected light going into rocks. And that was the number one thing that I’d seen with everybody in, in the class, you know, regardless of level, it was just everything. Nobody was going high enough with the values.
Eric Rhoads 38:13
And my understanding on this, and from my perspective of how I would approach it, it’s better to start out darker than lighter, because it’s harder to it’s, it’s easier to light in the dark than to darken the light. Isn’t that right?
Matt Ryder 38:25
Yeah, exactly. So I always advise, like going in with a, like a thinner, thinner, kind of darker wash. And, and then yeah, just building up and building up and building up. And, yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s not rocket science. But the problem is, if you go in, in that initial wash, that’s, that’s too dark, and you paint too thick, you’re going to just struggle to obviously get lighter on top. So it’s essential if you’re going to work that way to make sure that you’re kind of thinning down your paint, and just almost scrubbing it in, which is what I do. So I just kind of scrub in these mass areas, we’re going to be painting these rocks. And then as I build the layers of light kind of going in, I’ll get thicker and thicker.
Eric Rhoads 39:13
So if you’re if you’re coaching somebody listening to this, who maybe they’re not at the level of the students who had at the Scottsdale artist school workshops, and you were saying, Okay, here’s how you need to learn this stuff. Here’s how you need to learn and master values. What would you tell him to do?
Matt Ryder 39:35
Um, well, I mean, the, the main thing is just to keep doing it, like over and over and over again, you know, that’s, that’s the easiest way to to improve. I mean, that there’s no real there’s no real shortcut to it. You know, I mean, obviously can take workshops and take classes, but ultimately, you just need to get a ton of paintings under your belt and you No, there’s little things which, which will really help you to do a few paintings in, just want one total one color. So you use a transparent red oxide or even black and white. And then you can, you can start to see value a little bit better. And one of the other things, which I do in my my workshops is I will take, so we have the reference image they’re working from, or if we’re plein air, we’re obviously we have the scene that we’re looking at. And we’ll take a photo or take the reference image and turn that into black and white. And then I’ll do the same with the painting that they’re working on. And turn their photo through and, you know, through through my iPhone, into black and white, and immediately you can see the difference in the values. So you can see if one is is too light, or one is too dark, because you have a black and white image. And then you have black and white version of your painting. And you’ve put them side by side and immediately see if your values are off. And so that’s that’s something which we try to do quite a lot. But yeah, I mean, really, it just comes down to, to brush, you know, and it’s like Valley took me a long time to kind of get my head around. I really did. But yeah, I mean, I’ve painted a lot, and, you know, just kept painting and kept painting and kept painting and then eventually just when it clicked, you know, it’s, it takes time. But yeah, yeah, Valley is a tricky one.
Eric Rhoads 41:27
And how do you how do you keep pulling yourself up to the next level your work has, even in the last three years, since we first met, your work has just grown and grown? Is that all just painting time? Or what do you do to push yourself up?
Matt Ryder 41:43
And well, thank you. Firstly, I’m happy to say that, because you know, sometimes when you’re, you know, when you’re in the studio, and you’re just painting away and painting away, it’s it’s hard to see growth. And, you know, I think you get a general sense of when you’ve taken the LEAP or leveled up. But yeah, I mean, it, you know, I keep saying the same thing, but it comes down to brush time, like, I run a very kind of strict studio schedule for myself. And, you know, I do try and paint, I tried to paint every, every day, I’m in the studio. And sometimes it’s not possible. So, you know, it’s at least three or four times a week that I tried to paint five to five days a week, at least for an hour, or a couple of hours. And you know, that that builds up? And, you know, I obviously have a lot of paintings, which which don’t work and a lot of paintings, which which do work. But yeah, I mean, ultimately, it just comes down to continuing to, to push yourself. And also, I think the other thing is having a critical eye, I think that’s really, really important, you know, kind of seeing where the mistakes are, and knowing how to fix them, which
Eric Rhoads 42:55
You have somebody who, who helps you see those mistakes?
Unknown Speaker 43:00
No, unfortunately not. Yeah, I mean, the arts community here is for the type of work, what I’m doing is is very small, you know, so it’s not like I can invite somebody into the studio and, you know, we can have a power over us. And so no, I rely on my own critical eye.
Eric Rhoads 43:24
… struggling with something, I have a couple of friends that I respect to a pretty high enough level. And all I’ll just take a picture with my iPhone, you know, it’s not necessarily about always about brush work or paint quality, sometimes it’s just, something’s wrong and I can’t pinpoint it. And, you know, usually it’s its composition or its big shapes, you know, something’s missing. And I can’t see it, because I’ve been too close to it been working on it.
Unknown Speaker 43:55
Yeah. I mean, I think having somebody that you can share your share your work with, you know, have that kind of quick discussion with is, is definitely helpful. So, I mean, one of the things that I do is I step away from my work a lot, I’m constantly stepping back, and whether it’s physically stepping back, or, again, taking a photo of my work that takes me away from the painting and sometimes I can see something that that I didn’t notice before. And I also you know, especially with studio pieces, I I’m pretty obsessive with them until they’re done. So you know, I’ll be I’ll paint a full day in my studio, for example, and then I’ll take a bunch of photos before I go home and and then I’ll you know, once my kids have gone to bed, I’ll basically spend the evening just kind of looking through the photos like okay, you know what, what needs changed or what do I need to do tomorrow to constantly just reviewing the work? Yeah, so I mean, I’m, I’m very, very critical in terms of like making change do my own work, and I’m not, I’m also not afraid to, to make those changes which, which I, I also think it’s something that’s really important to kind of get across, especially when I’m teaching is, if you see something that’s the wrong in your work, just change it, you know, because otherwise it’s just going to fester for you, and, and haunt you and potentially affect the whole painting. So like, you know, if you’ve spent a couple of hours painting, you know, the back section of a mountain scene, so you’ve got, like, all of your values, feel right, but you know, there’s something just something is off, you know, make the assessment, go through the list and see what it is. And then just make the change. And generally the change is going to be something pretty quick to do. And, but, you know, you end up getting a much better, better painting from it. So yeah, I mean, that’s, yeah, critical, I think it’s essential, and just having the, the courage just to say, right, I’m gonna change that and just paint over it or scrape it off.
Eric Rhoads 46:08
Courage is, is so important. And you know, we all kind of start out with this idea of, you know, especially as beginners, the idea of, you know, we kind of we do something, we kind of like it, we fall in love with it, and then you know, it’s screwing up the rest of the painting, but we, you know, so we’re reluctant to let go. But once you get that, that lesson, that courage, you know, an instructor comes in, scrapes everything off and makes you start over.
Unknown Speaker 46:35
Yeah, that guy. Yeah. Important, but yeah, I mean, you know, it’s one of those things that, like, it’s gonna bother you, you know, and you will always, even if you go on to sell that painting, you know, it’s going to be in the back of your mind, like I probably should have, I probably should have changed that, you know, it’s out in the world now.
Eric Rhoads 46:51
…well, and you can, and unfortunately, you can’t, I remember one time, I went into one of my galleries. And there was a woman who was giving me a tour of the gallery. And she was a kind of a volunteer. And I walk up the stairs, and I see this painting I did, probably 20 years ago, right? It’s just I had sent it to him, because I didn’t want to store it in the garage. And I started to say, rip that wretched thing off the wall. And just before I said that, she said, you know, this is my favorite painting, and I’m making payments to this.
Unknown Speaker 47:34
I mean, you never know. And one person’s trash is another person’s gold. It’s, you know, I think even the paintings that we don’t like it, they can relate to somebody. And yeah, I mean, it’s hard to know what to put out and what not to put out. I think, ultimately, you know, what’s your good work and what isn’t?
Eric Rhoads 47:53
Well, there’s ultimately there’s also the developed mind, right, we change over time, what you’d like to when you first started painting, and what you were drawn to, then might not be the same thing you were drawn to now. And so as we mature as artists, and we, you know, I think the track kinds of kind of goes for a lot of people of being, you know, either very photorealistic in the beginning, and then over time, loosening them up, and maybe graying things down and so on, that seems to be attract for some of the others. It’s, you know, the opposite, starting out overly abstract, and then kind of coming backwards. So it’s interesting to see now you have had, like all of us, I’m sure, people who you were really inspired by artists that that really spoke to you in some particular way. Who are those artists? And what is the one thing that you’ve been trying to figure out that that artist has in their paintings that you’ve been trying to master?
Unknown Speaker 49:02
I mean, in terms of artists inspire I mean, I’m inspired by painters who paint light, I mean, for sure. So you know, when we talk about painting light, I mean, the first person who comes to mind is Soria. So I mean, Soria was just an absolute master of of being able to kind of capture just pure natural sunlight, which is something which I really strive for in my work. And so you know, like his work as soon as I came across it, and I didn’t come across it until relatively recently, actually. And yeah, I was blown away. So in terms of his work, I mean, it’s the quality of life and I’ve done a couple of master studies of his work as well. And when you actually get into like, you know, the nuances of color. I mean, it’s crazy. You know, what the amount of color he’s putting in there, and having it kind of feel natural So yeah, I mean, he’s he’s definitely a big inspiration. And Sargent, of course, I mean, who, what realist painter isn’t inspired by Sargent. I’ve definitely more inspired by his, his landscapes. I mean, there’s one in particular, which is called the Marine, which, I mean, that changed spots. A lot of my work, I saw that painting.
Eric Rhoads 50:24
He did two very famous paintings up there, that’s Lake Moraine in, in British Columbia, which I tried to take my group there, but unfortunately, they close it. After we were there, right before we were there because of the weather. And it can be pretty treacherous, right? He that one of the rocks. And then there’s another one he did, which was the wall of the mountain with the lake. And he is these incredible, intense colors. I remember, there’s this big brushstroke of just pure Ultramarine Blue and work. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 50:58
Yeah, yeah, I know, I know, the painting you talk about? And, yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s crazy. And, you know, when you look at a painting like that, and this is something that I try to do my work is when you step, when you step back from it, everything just reads so well, you know, like all of those pure colors, you know, that pure ultramarine blue that you’re seeing, or the or the cobalt blue, or the pure stroke of lemon yellow is somewhere. You don’t notice it when you’re when you step back, but when you go up to it, and you know, when we all know it when artists is in a gallery or a museum, because they’re the ones who are kind of right up, up close. I have studied those paintings, like I mean, unfortunately, haven’t seen either of them in person, but I’ve studied them online, in such detail. And when you’re up close, it’s an abstract painting, which, which I love, you know, and that’s definitely something which, which I try and push into my work. So that Yeah, I mean, he’s, he’s got a few just incredible mountain paintings and rock paintings. And he hid another. It’s a figurative painting, but the iconic carnation, Lily, Lily Rose, which actually was it was one of the paintings kind of got me started with, with flat painting. Because, again, I mean, it was just about the light. And it was it’s very low light in the painting. You know, it’s his, it’s painted over a long period of time, but it was kind of I think it was Deus. He was painting it with all those flowers just had this real sense. I mean, there were abstract forms. So you know, there’s hardly anything there. But they felt so natural, and so much light in there and just so much air…
Eric Rhoads 52:43
… you have it set up and done that painting. Only like 15 minutes at a time for I think, several weeks.
Unknown Speaker 52:55
Yeah, I think it was actually done. I mean, it was over a very long period of time, I think.
Eric Rhoads 53:02
It was staying. Family. And yeah, but what a what a masterpiece.
Unknown Speaker 53:10
He’s informing his studio work with plein air.
Eric Rhoads 53:15
Back to any good museums in Dubai, in terms of the kind of art that you love.
Unknown Speaker 53:22
Not here really, No, unfortunately, not. I mean, you know, what, I want to go and see a Sargent or want to go and see a Sorolla. You know, I, I have to travel. So I mean, there is so we have, there’s one museum in Sharjah, which is another Emer kind of a little bit down the road from Dubai. They do have the shutter Art Museum. And they have a pretty good collection of kind of Orientalist paintings and this sort of stuff, which, which I do really enjoy. And there’s definitely, I mean, there’s elements that I love in those paintings that I certainly try and bring in into my own work. So yeah, I mean, there’s, there’s that it’s that museum, and the only other one which, which is here really is we have a louver up in Abu Dhabi, which is kind of an hour and a half or so from Dubai. And it’s actually linked to the Louvre in Paris. And so they share their collections. So we do get some monies occasionally coming through. They have the whistlers mother was here for a while, which is one of my favorite ever paintings. And yeah, so I mean we every so often we will get some access but yeah, I mean, it’s it’s not you know, you’re not going to the mess or anything.
Eric Rhoads 54:44
Getting something and that’s Yeah. Oh, why do you do what you do? What is it that drives you to spend your life behind? an easel and with a paintbrush
Matt Ryder 55:00
What else am I gonna do now? I’ve committed myself. And you should be. Yeah, possibly. I don’t I don’t know. I mean, it’s, I just love it. You know, I mean, it’s, I’m very lucky, I think to be able to do this full time. Yeah, I mean, you know, I’m driven by just wanting to get better. You know, I see, I see so many artists now, you know, I mean, it’s true social media, through recommendations through books, and whatever else, and of course, online, that are just elevating everything, you know, it’s just the level is just going up and up and up and up. And, you know, for me, it’s like, I, I want to, that’s, that’s where I want to be, you know, I see my work down the line a certain level, and I’m just, I’m driven to do everything that I need to do to, to get to that point. And, yeah, so I mean, I’m just, I don’t know, it’s hard to explain, really, in honestly, but yeah, I’m just I’m just very, very driven to be the best at what I what I do you know, that. That’s it. Really. I just want to get better all the time. Well, you’re doing so that keeps me going.
Eric Rhoads 56:25
Thank you. Well, I want to thank you for being on today. It seems like our time always goes by so quickly. But it was really a pleasure to connect with you again and to. And to learn a little bit more about what’s been happening. You’ve been doing a lot of really terrific things. And so congratulations.
Matt Ryder 56:42
Thanks so much. No, it’s been great to catch up again. It’s yeah, I mean, it’s flown. But yeah, I mean, it’s a it’s good to chat to you. And yeah, I think we’ve got some things coming up as well, which is which is awesome.
Eric Rhoads 56:56
You have anything in particular you want to promote? I think you had a you have a show coming up at Medicine Man Ballery. Is that right?
Matt Ryder 57:04
And it’s not so I have some some work which is going in so it’s my first its first gallery representation in the US. And so yeah, I mean medicine man is galleries is an amazing gallery in Tucson, who had approached and they, they liked the work. And you know, I ended up that was actually kind of why the Arizona trip came around in the first place it I physically took the work over with me. Yeah, I mean, it was it was just a really good opportunity to kind of get out there and meet everybody. So I have some florals going into the gallery, and I’m working on a series of for Arizona landscapes, which I will be shipping out to the gallery once once they’re complete. So yeah, I’m joining the roster of amazing artists there. So yeah, I’m delighted.
Eric Rhoads 57:55
Mark is a legend, not just a legend in his own mind. I mean, he’s actually a legend.
Matt Ryder 58:02
Yeah, it was it was amazing to meet him actually. Because, you know, it’s, yeah. A year ago, I kind of had this idea in my head that like, I’m really gonna, I mean, it’s not it’s been going on for a while, but the US is a massive market for me, you know, it’s like, I really want to kind of penetrate that market. And, so I went after really what I consider to be the best gallery for for my work. You’re looking at Arizona landscapes looking at landscapes here and looking at the roster of advances that they represent. And yeah, so I mean, absolutely delighted to to be a part of that. And yeah, no, it’s it’s great. Free nice guy really nice gallery. Obviously it’s amazing work their collection there. Yes, it’s crazy.
Eric Rhoads 58:54
Well, and it’s it’s nice to be in a gallery where you can be shown next to Maynard Dixon or Edgar Payne and know that your work is standing up next to theirs and I know you wouldn’t think so. But it certainly is an honor to be in a gallery that that holds you in high enough esteem that you would hang next to the same kind of people
Matt Ryder 59:15
Yeah, no, it’s it’s incredible you know? Yeah, I mean, I was lost for words when kind of he decided to take me into the gallery and then actually went there and sort of thing I was like, Sure about this mock Yeah, yeah. But you know, it’s Yeah, I mean, I feel like it’s a good fit. But yeah, I mean, it’s an honor to obviously hang up with with these guys.
Eric Rhoads 59:42
Well, I would encourage everybody if they want to see your your work, go to your website, which is ryderscanvas.com or you can find him on Instagram at Matt with Two T’s writer or Y D And on Facebook at Matt Ryder artist and so those are good places also go to medicine man gallery, check out what they’ve got there, and buy them. I think they’re probably a real good investment. But more than an investment, it’s an investment in your heart. Right, you’re going to get some beautiful work.
Matt Ryder 1:00:19
I hope so. And I would absolutely encourage anybody to go there and buy those paintings. Yeah, no, I think I mean, obviously buying buying any art. It’s you’ve got to connect to it on a personal level.
Eric Rhoads 1:00:31
Absolutely. Well, thank you. You’ve been an absolute inspiration today. Really appreciate you doing this. Matt.
Matt Ryder 1:00:38
Thank you so much. Lovely to lovely to chat to you again. Thank you.
Eric Rhoads 1:00:41
All right. Thank you. Our guest today was Matt Ryder. And we are excited to have him Don’t go away yet because we have the marketing minute where we’re going to talk about some marketing ideas. Let’s get that started.
This is the Marketing Minute with Eric Rhoads, author of the number one Amazon bestseller “Make More Money Selling Your Art: Proven Techniques to Turn Your Passion Into Profit.”
Eric Rhoads 1:01:06
In the marketing minute, I try to answer your art marketing questions. You know about selling work marketing work, how to get your career going. And you can upload questions to me on video or in email, just go to artmarketing.com/questions. And then it’s all enabled. So all you have to do is record your question and send it in the meantime, what I do is I have our producer Amandine read the questions. Amandine, what’s our first question today?
The first question is from Kelly Dolan: I live in the States that will see tremendous local travel, I want to research creative ways to capture that energy and customer base. How can we convert more customers to purchase original works of art outside of the traditional venues of galleries?
Eric Rhoads 1:01:58
Well, terrific question there. Kelly, thank you so much for submitting that. When you guys submit your questions tell us where you’re from. So we know because Kelly said, I live in a state with tremendous local travel, it’d be nice to know what that state is, you know, for instance, if it’s Hawaii, or something like that. I’ve seen it done a number of ways Kelly. And I bought a lot of art when traveling. And before I even got into the art world. I bought a lot of art when I was traveling because I wanted memories of the trips, right? So I remember one of the first paintings I ever bought was a beautiful courtyard painting of a scene in New Orleans. And I bought it probably if I remember correctly on the Square in New Orleans, but you know, when you have leisure time, when you’re traveling, you do things that you don’t do in your normal life, right? So you go into art galleries, oftentimes you wander in. Now, I got a whole thing, a whole bone to pick with art galleries, because I think they intimidate people. And I think art galleries need to make sure that it’s welcoming that anybody knows that can walk in there. That’s a whole nother story. But we’ll get into it another time. But I think the idea is that the mindset of travel is something that you’ve got to capture. So if you’ve got let’s say, we’ll just use Hawaii as a for instance, if you live in Hawaii, and you know that people are visiting Hawaii. So what is it? What’s their mindset? Well, they’re relaxed, they’re coming to Hawaii to do what? Relax, probably, you know, you go to some cities, you know, you don’t necessarily go to New York City to relax, you might go for a spa weekend, but you’re going for the for the energy for the restaurants for the Broadway shows, etc. Whatever they’re going for, and whatever your market is known for. You want to reflect that and think about this, you know, last time I was in Hawaii, which was a while back, but you know, we did a lot of different things. We went to the beach, we went to the parrot jungle. We went to see the ships at Pearl Harbor. You know, we went and looked for the waterfalls and hiked into the woods and the waterfalls, we went and looked at the you know, the plantations, growing pineapples, all these touristy things. And those are things that are memories that people want to take home with them. So you want to be thinking about do if you’re willing to paint that now some people don’t want to paint that but, you know, if you’re a landscape painter, then you know, you’re painting the mountains, you’re painting the water, you’re painting, things like that, you know, maybe you’re painting some of the things that will represent the tourist attractions. And then the question is, how do you get them to come and find you? I think people are a little reluctant to go into somebody’s house, you know, even if you have a little sign out in front of law A lot of us just walk by because it’s a little uncomfortable. You’re going to walk into an art gallery, you’re going to walk into a square where paintings are shown. So how do you get people there? Well, like all things you’ve got to advertise, you’ve got to promote. And in a tourism situation, because people are in and out one week at a time or a few weekends at a time or whatever, you’ve got to be in a place that they’re always looking. So when I go to a hotel, typically, this is not true for an Airbnb, and that’s changing the world, because a lot of us just go for Airbnb now, instead of hotels. But if I go to a hotel, and I’m sitting around at night, after dinner, or something, and I’m bored, I’m looking through the travel host book. And the travel host book usually says, you know, they have 10 Things to Do in Honolulu. And there’s ads for local stores and galleries, I try to figure out how to have a presence in that and have a big presence in that you won’t necessarily see immediate results from that. But you might, those books tend to get published annually. And they tend to be expensive. But if you broke that cost of your full page or double page ad, and in a good position, you know, which is right up front, or really in the near back, or like back cover or something, you want to be willing to pay for that because it’s going to bring those tourists to you. And you’ve got to make it easy for you to find, you know, you need to be where the people are, you know, if you’re two hours off the beaten path, or if you’re 30 minutes by car, they’re not going to find you as easily and they’re not going to seek you out, they don’t want to go to that trouble. So location location, Roy Williams, who’s the great marketing master New York Times bestselling author many times says that a great location is more valuable than any amount of advertising. I mean, think about this, if if you get 30 people to visit you in a month, at your location, which is five miles out of the tourist zone, for a certain amount of money in rent, you might be getting 300 people or 3000 people who wander in, which is going to increase your odds of selling things. So anyway, think in terms of what you paint, is it iconic landmarks? Is it? Things that will draw them in to you? And then keep in mind that once you’ve got them there, one of the techniques that I talk a lot about is the second sale? The second sale is do you want fries with that, right? You go to McDonald’s, and they you buy a burger? And they say, do you want fries with that? Would you like a happy meal, you know, whatever. Because they’re upselling you and when you have somebody who’s got their credit card out, they’re ready to make a purchase, you can offer something else say, hey, you know, by the way, I just wanted to tell you, I have a companion painting to that, that I let me just show it to real quickly. i These were intended to hang together, no pressure, but you know, look at these two together. And sometimes they’re gonna go yeah, I’d like to have that. And you can say, you know, since you bought this one, at this price, I’d be willing to let that one go for a little bit less, because I really like to see him hang together, that kind of thing. So keep that in mind. But I also think putting a QR code on things these days is really important, especially because if you can get it into their their phone, that way, it’s in there that can go back to their history and find the directions to your gallery. Because people don’t remember things. And I certainly don’t, I don’t remember the names of galleries. If I see ads right away. That’s why frequency and repetition is important. Because, you know, you got to they got to see it over and over and over and over and over again. That’s less so in a tourism situation, but more so in a regular marketing. Anyway, hope that one helps. Ahmed Dean, what is our next question?
Our next question, is: I’m Cynthia Cabrera from Canada, what are some email marketing content ideas that could interest potential collectors besides painting I’m working on I have lots of ideas for topics that could interest other artists. But I get lost when I when trying to speak to collectors.
Eric Rhoads 1:09:19
Well, so there’s a principle in marketing, which is Know thy customer, right? And it’s real easy in certain categories to know a customer. Let’s say that the category is gardening, right? So if if you’re a gardener, what do all gardeners have in common? Well, some gardeners are vegetable gardeners. Some are flower garden gardeners, you know, some do other things, but most of them probably do a lot of the same things. And they use the same tools. They’re interested in the same things. And so you can speak to a gardener in a very specific way. It’s a lot harder for the word art collector. Why? Because it’s a very broad interest group of people. Now, the reality is that so is gardening, right? There are people who do gardening who are schoolteachers and grandmas, and never, you know, housewives and doctors and you know, a lot of a lot of variety in that. But the thing that they have in common is gardening. The same is true for art collectors. And most people who are art collectors don’t consider themselves to be collectors. I know people who own a lot of paintings, but they don’t consider themselves to be art collectors, they just happen to buy a bunch of paintings, but they are collectors and you know, and what, what is the number of paintings you have to own to be an art collector, the thing that that people have in common is their love and passion for the things that they’ve purchased. And they may not be people who study art, they may not have read any art books, they may not know who any artists are, they may not know who you are, but they have something that that resonates with them and that they like, now there are people who do consider themselves collectors, those people tend to be people who are going to educate themselves more, etc. So you’ve got to kind of try to determine who it is I’m speaking to. Now, you talked about email marketing. And the most important thing in email marketing is the headline and the subject line. Right? If they, if they see a subject line, and it doesn’t get their attention, or if they see a from and they don’t know who you are, or they don’t like you or they don’t want another email from you, you’ve got to have a combination of a great great from. So I would, for instance, don’t assume they know you, I get a lot of emails from a lot of artists who are sending me their stuff, new, you know, new releases of paintings. They’re sending me newsletters and things like that. And, and a lot of the names I don’t recognize. And so if I’m getting an email, it would be nice if it said, your name, comma, artist, right? Because if it’s just your name, then they might not know from you or it might say you know your name gallery. So that or your name, Art Gallery, be specific. And then the subject lines got to get my attention, right. What is it that I want to know about? Now, most email marketing for artists is newsletters, right? And a lot of artists do newsletters again, I get a lot of them. And all of them for the most part are garbage. No offense, excuse me. So the reason they’re garbage is because they’re talking about themselves. Right. So if I did a newsletter about, you know, here’s my latest release my latest painting, nobody cares, you know, maybe out of all the people who get your email, only that many are going to open it, you know, a tiny, tiny number of people are going to open it, and the restaurant not going to open it and they don’t care. So what are you going to do to make him care? Well, you’ve got to make it about them, and their interest and their narrow niche interest, so that it speaks to them. So the big mistake is sending out a new newsletter that says, you know, the headline subject line says, you know, my latest paintings, yawn, boring. I mean, how many of those are people getting, but if the headline says, How to Know if Your art is gaining is growing in value, or if your headline says, how to take care of the paintings you love, so that they don’t get destroyed by humidity, or you know, something like that, and then open up have a big strong headline about that topic, and then do a story that they can relate to that is about something they care about. Now, they’re going to look forward to your letter. Now below that you can say, Here’s my newest painting. Or you might have you know, a couple subjects, like you know, here’s an artist that I love is John Singer Sargent. And, you know, tell us a little bit about that shows some images, and then now after that you show my latest painting or my travel, etc. You are branding yourself in that environment that they’re opening, and they’re gonna appreciate you a lot more, they’re more likely to open your email if they know that your content is relatable to them. So anyway, I think that pretty much talks about solves that problem. The one thing remember is be specific as you possibly can. So if you’re marketing to heart surgeons, then you know the more specific you can be is, you know, for heart surgeons who collect paintings or who love art that’s really narrow and the narrower you can get the more specific you can get the better response you’re always going to Yeah, but of course, art collecting is kind of broad, you know, it’s it and you know, what is an art collector, there’s a modern art collector, there’s a traditional art collector, there’s people only collect portraits, you know, there’s a lot of different approaches. So be as narrow as you can be that you want to fit into, but give them information that’s going to be helpful. I do a whole lot about this kind of thing at the plein air convention. I do art Marketing Bootcamp earlier in the morning, every morning, and we it’s all new stuff every year, including this year. So I’ll talk about these kinds of things there that those sessions alone are worth the price of admission to the convention. Anyway, just saying, okay, that’s the art marketing minute.
This has been the marketing minute with Eric Rhoads. You can learn more at artmarketing.com.
Eric Rhoads 1:15:50
Alright, I want to remind you guys to come and join me at pastel live in August just go to pastellive.com To learn more about it. Also, we’d love to see you at the plein air Convention and Expo. That’s going to be in Santa Fe in May. And we would love to have you there. Just go to plein air convention calm. And last but not least, join me in the Adirondacks for my painting week. Retreat. It’s a lot of fun. It’s one price includes everything. And that means your meals, the event, opening and closing parties, you know everything and where you stay. It’s all done. It’s fun. You don’t have to cook anything or take care of anybody just roll out of bed and eat your food and then paint all day in a beautiful, stunning location. So check it out at paintadirondacks.com. And if you’ve not seen my blog, where I talk about life and art and other things, philosophy, oftentimes, it’s called Sunday coffee. And I do it every Sunday morning. And you can find it at Coffeewitheric.com. And then you can subscribe so it comes to you every week. All right, so also, I’m on the air daily on Facebook with what I call art school live. I interview artists, I oftentimes have them do demonstrations. We just did one on composition. Lots and lots of artists. And all of that content is available on YouTube. We did it starting with COVID and there’s hundreds of episodes at YouTube just go to streamline art video on YouTube and you can find them all and hit the subscribe button when you’re there and or follow me on Facebook and and on Instagram and you’ll be able to get those broadcasts. Anyway. I’m Eric Rhoads, publisher of plein air magazine. Thank you so much for your time today. Thanks again to Matt for being on what a great broadcast. And remember, it’s a big world out there. Go paint it. We’ll see you soon. Bye bye.
This has been the plein air podcast with Plein Air Magazine’s Eric Rhoads. You can help spread the word about plein air painting by sharing this podcast with your friends. And you can leave a review or subscribe on iTunes. So it comes to you every week. And you can even reach Eric by email [email protected] Be sure to pick up our free ebook 240 plein air painting tips by some of America’s top painters. It’s free at pleinairtips.com. Tune in next week for more great interviews. Thanks for listening.