The Plein Air Podcast has been named the #1 Painting Podcast by FeedSpot for two years in a row.
In this episode, Eric Rhoads shares Part 2 of his recent interview with CW Mundy. Listen as they discuss:
– CW’s biggest tip for artists who are trying to make their painting life into a career
– How, when he had a “menial” job, he knew there was something better for him out there
– The “seven foundational truths” of painting
– The importance of having a strong work ethic (“If you want to get into a professional market, you have to work your butt off.”
– What to do when you feel “stuck”
– Thoughts on entering art competitions and how your mindset plays into it
– And more!
Bonus! In this week’s Art Marketing Minute, Eric Rhoads, author of Make More Money Selling Your Art, answers the questions: “How do you know when your art is good enough to sell?” and “How does entering art contests help one’s career?”
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 CW Mundy here:
– CW Mundy online: https://cwmundy.com/
– Plein Air Convention & Expo: https://pleinairconvention.com/
– Watercolor Live: https://watercolorlive.com/
– PleinAir Magazine: https://painttube.tv/
– 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/
– Submit Art Marketing Questions: artmarketing.com/questions
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 episode number 231. The second part of an amazingly great interview of the plein air podcast with living Master CW Mundy.
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 0:00
Thank you Jim Kipping what a great announcer he is. I’m Eric and thank you for tuning into the plein air podcast today is a special day because we actually have one of the rare two part podcasts. Because we had such a great time with CW Mundy. And there was so much to learn and, and I asked him to get into some technique ideas and some things that would be actually valuable for you to increase and improve your own painting. And he’s done that. So this is part two of the interview with CW Mundy. But before we get into that, you know, it’s Christmas time, I’m loving it. I love Christmas time. I love the decorations. And I know this is kind of really kind of silly. And you’ll see this on my Facebook and Instagram, probably. But I love to go Christmas painting. It’s just like, I don’t know, it’s become a thing I like to go out and paint where I find like really cool Christmas decorations. And, you know, there’s all kinds of them around. And I’ll even put on like a Christmas sweater. And you know, I got my little reindeer on my easel. It’s just fun. I don’t know, it’s just crazy. So you’d be watching for that. I’ll I’ll get out there here and get some more Christmas painting done. Speaking of Christmas, you know, some of us are just people who we just can’t figure out what to buy for us. Right? And, and I know my family is always asking my friends, some of my friends. You know, they’re like, What do you want? Well, I you know, I have a lot of different ideas. But what I really want is, if I’m a plein air painter, you know, I’ve had, I’ve had some people buy me thinks they think I would want and they’re very sweet for doing that. But, you know, like, somebody bought me these paint brushes one time, and they were not paint brushes I would ever pick or use. I mean, they’re wonderful. They just weren’t what I would use, because I have what I use, right? And somebody else bought me some panels that again, they’re not what I would use, because as a professional, you know, we have certain things that we like and want. And you know, so what do you want? How do you give people hints? Well, it depends on who it is and how much they want to spend and family. But here’s some ideas that you might want a hint, hint, hint, or maybe some ideas that others might might, you know, would love to have if you’re willing to do it, you know, and some of us have the ability to do it. Some of us don’t. So all price ranges. So the first one is like the ultimate plein air experience, which is the plein air convention. It’s coming up in May. It is in Denver, when we were in Denver before, before COVID We were sold out or I think we were like 10 or 15 seats from being sold out. But we were like at 1200 people, the largest plein air convention we’ve ever had because of the location. And of course we had to cancel so we didn’t do it so it’s likely to sell out again. But there’s this other thing that’s going on. First off, we got some amazing painters on the stage. Some of the best in the world, you can go to pleinairconvention.com And look, but also we have a celebrity guest and we have been reluctant to say the name yet because this person is checking with this person’s manager. Notice I’m not saying him or her or he or she. But this person is an internationally renowned film and television person. And if you’re a VIP if you get the VIP program at the plein air convention you actually will get your chance to get photographed with this person which is pretty cool, but I mean that alone is pretty cool but there’s you know, a lot of other reasons to do it. We also have this special VIP program where we’re going to some art studios and dinner together and you know, got a lot of other things. So we got a lot going on anyway, plein air conventions coming up 80 Plus instructors for the five stages Expo Hall, pre convention workshop, Laurie Putnam, you know, painting in beautiful places iconic Colorado places it’s just going to be a ball and the great CW Mundy is going to be at the convention. Alvero Castagnet from where he’s in Bolivia, I think. And Daniel Sprick. And many, many, many other absolute incredible painters going to be teaching big screens, you know, giving you a good view. So you can see up close almost better than a workshop view because you’re sitting behind the painter and can’t see. So that’s one thing go to plein air convention.com. The next thing is watercolorlive.com which is coming up this January right after Christmas, you know, kind of the layout at latter part of January. We’re having like 30, instructors, top watercolor people, all kinds of styles all kinds of approaches all kinds of subjects. And if you’re a plein air painter, you really want to learn how to paint watercolor too. If you’re not a watercolor plein air painter, because there are times you’re going to need it times you don’t want to drag the paint, whatever your paint is. And it really rocked my world because I was I started learning it on the first watercolor live and I got enthusiastic, I’ve been practicing. But I’ve taken the stuff that I’ve learned. I’ve watched replays. And I’m actually really happy with the work I’m doing now I’m never completely happy. I’m always wanting to grow and it’s matter of fact, I have one artist I’m really excited about seeing and seeing how he approaches a certain thing, but I don’t want to embarrass him. Okay, anyway, that’s watercolor live.com. And then last but not least is if you’re a plein air painter, you’re a plein air collector, you’re into plein air, you need plein air magazine, it’s it’s been around for almost two decades now. And it’s like the number one selling art magazine in America at Barnes and Noble stores. And it’s a pretty cool thing if you’re an artist or a collector. And so it’s something you probably would want if you live overseas. Or you can get a print subscription and a digital but just know the digital has 30% additional content. And so you can get print plus digital or you can get digital only if you’re like somewhere you don’t want to wait for mail. So that’s pretty cool. That’s at pleinairmagazine.com. Okay, so last week, I started an interview with CW Mundy. And it went really, really, really long. And typically enough for two podcasts. So I split it into two podcasts. And so we’re going to join that interview in progress. If you’ve not heard the first interview, you want to go back to wherever you get your podcast and look at the first one, or listen to the first one, you can actually look at it too, because we put them out on YouTube on video. And also you have the option to listen. So both ways. It’s pretty cool. Here is part two of CW Mundy. I think what I want to go down the path of right now is just a little bit of career advice. And I also want to get into some painting advice. You came out very generously to the plein air convention. It’s been a few years now and you did a pre convention workshop. And you gave us all some incredible tips, some which you could talk about some which you could only paint. But I want to get into those for a second. But you know, you have had what appears to be a very successful career. It appears you’re in a situation where you’re not painting for the purpose of selling. How do you do that? How do you get there?
CW Mundy 9:08
I think the biggest tip that I could give to all you artists out there, they’re trying to have a career. You have to have a conversation with yourself. You need to realize that you need to paint what you’re led what you feel, what is what is turning your heart. What are your desires. What do you like to see? And I always tell the students man you got to be in the art books you got to look and see and see what’s being produced and see what you like. See, like Dan McCall says, Well, what flavor of ice cream is that chocolate or is that vanilla or strawberry? You know, what is it tastes like to you? And and those are really because you’re working with your senses again and so what does it feel like? So the best advice that I give you you got Paint what you think you want to paint? And don’t let the GAO rays come in and say, Well, you know, Bob, we sold those, those red roses. And the second day, they’re here, can you do another painting of red roses? And now, those are the kinds of situations you need to stay away with.
Eric Rhoads 10:23
But it takes a lot of courage, especially if you’re starving.
CW Mundy 10:26
Well, yeah, but but the thing is, I think, if you’re honest to yourself, and then you and you’ve got enough skill set, then you’re going to be able to turn that inventory over, you just got to find the right gallery to sell it, and the gallery that loves what you’re doing is not going to try to control you and manipulate you based on sales. I know that that’s why the galleries are there, they’re there to make money, I understand that we had our own gallery for 1010 plus years. So but you got to first advices be honest to yourself, first of all, don’t start anywhere, but But where is your what turns your heart and to joy? When you want to create? That’s what you got to go with? First,
Eric Rhoads 11:18
you know, I can I counterfeit? Well, it’s speaking to counterfeit. So as you know, there are certain Western events pre to west, etcetera, that are very prominent, that if you get a foot in the door, and you get invited, you know, you, you know, it’s, it’s a great opportunity to be seen by some of the top collectors and to sell some, some big pieces at high prices. And I remember, I can name two different people, I won’t, because I respect them. But both of them, I remember saying to me, you know, I think I’m gonna go after that Western market, I’m gonna get out there, and I’m gonna get invited to these events, and I’m gonna make all this money. And you know it logically. And I think probably even at the time, I thought, well, that’s probably a good idea, because, you know, follow the money. But in reality, what ended up happening is their heart wasn’t in it. And it showed, and it actually, I think, hurt them. I remember John Coleman, and I were talking about that one time. And John. He’s amazing. And John said, you know, the people who collect Western art, they know the West, they know the structure of a horse, if you’re not a horse painter, and you’re trying to paint a horse, you’re, you’re going to probably fail, and you’re gonna look like, you know, you don’t know what you’re doing. Or if you’re painting a Native American, and you use a blanket from one tribe and a feather from another tribe, they’re gonna know it. And he said, so you can’t counterfeit that. And I think what happens is that we all oftentimes fall into this trap of, you know, I need some money, I’d like to build my career. And so we start doing something that isn’t necessarily what’s in our heart. If it’s in your heart, go for it. But I think it really, and the problem is, and now you’re calling attention to yourself, if you get into that, and then you know, you’re not doing your best work it’s going to show
CW Mundy 13:28
that’s exactly right. You just got to Nan also, too, I’d like to make this statement very clear, I never got into the art market to see how much money I could make. You know, that would be a pretty ridiculous gamble. Like get into some business where you can really make money at least when I got into the market. I never got into to see how much money I can make. I got into to express myself and I was willing to make myself vulnerable to a public who would either like or discredit what I was doing, and you ever fall flat on your face? Well, I’ve painted a lot of zeros you know, that’s that’s what mileage is all about. But it’s really important you know, if if the money is your a goal, and I won’t mention artists to like you, withheld names, artists that got into and made the, the promises that they were going to be millionaires, which they ended up doing, but that’s a really shallow, dangerous and self serving. And I’m an art because I’ve always loved our I’m a visual person. When I was a boy, I love to go to the movies. I love to see the visuals. I love the first black and white TV. My little heart ever laid eyes on our neighbor, down the block four houses down had the first black and white TV. In this lower middle class neighborhood that I grew up, we watched Hopalong Cassidy. And most people go what was that? You know, anyway, so, yeah, you I know that you have to put food on the table. And that’s realistic. But if you’re true to yourself, and you stick to those guns, and you work at your craft, there are doors that are going to open this is the greatest time ever, as you know, Eric, in the history of the United States. To be an artist, it’s the greatest time ever, there are more avenues and ability with social media, with all the galleries, the collectability today, it’s a wonderful thing, because when I was a little boy, my neighbors are going to watch Jackie, what are you going to do when you grow up? And I go, I want to be an artist. And they go, Jackie, what do you want to do? And a lot of us have heard that story. And they said no, Jackie, artist is for fun. You have to work for a living. Because you know, our parents, your parents do. Well, maybe not your father, but a lot of fathers in the United States had to punch the clock. And you know, a lot of people worked in the factories, they had to do that. To this day, when I was younger, I hated I absolutely hated having to do a menial job that I had no connection with whatsoever. It was like, killed me. I was a bottle washer for Coca Cola when I was a freshman in high school. But and in the summertime, and this is a really great story because after about two weeks, I told my father I said, Dad, I gotta quit my job. And he goes what? I said, I gotta quit my job. And he goes, son, no, son, what’s wrong, is it I can’t sleep at night, he says why? And I said, All I see is 80,000 bottles, crossing the bottle washer that I have to inspect to make sure there’s not army toys, Bebes marbles, cigarette butts, you know, that was my job as far as you know, like, you know, they’ll start counting sheep, you know, jumping over the fence, it was the same thing with me. So that was my menial jobs I hated I always knew, Eric, that even though I didn’t know God that well, but I knew that there was something better for me and God helped me find it.
Eric Rhoads 18:10
Well, and you’ve you’ve experienced in a remarkable career success wise, in a lot of ways, not just financially but just in a lot of ways because of the the deep friendships that you’ve established. The the great ability to teach those of us and inspire us and train us. I mean, you’ve just, you’ve been very blessed.
CW Mundy 18:33
I am so grateful. And it’s all because our good lord and savior, how much he loves those who love Him, and He makes ways for them, he opens the door, he, you know, I could talk to this to the audience till I’m blue in the face. And some will say, Oh, yeah, you know, well, if you haven’t experienced that, then you really don’t know what you’re talking about. But if you have experienced that, such as I have and millions of other people, you know, it’s for real and living a life of faith, the unseen is what it’s all about, not the scene, but living in the unseen and then God gives you the pictorial visions to paint the scene.
Eric Rhoads 19:22
Well, it’s, it’s, this is something that a lot of people won’t understand, I think you will. And that is that once you let go of yourself, which is the hardest, hardest possible thing to do, and you push yourself out there to learn and grow and study they the Holy Spirit just kind of consumes you and and all of a sudden everything changes. And then you know it’s it’s not about don’t do bad things or don’t be immoral or don’t whatever. Because you know I want to it’s because all of a sudden this is this is this is the way I want to be. And so I think it’s really interesting.
CW Mundy 20:07
Yeah. Why would you get out of the fast lane and get in the loser lane? When the fast lane you know, I talk about a spiritually, it’s like when you plug into the power of God, you know, the three prong plug that you plug in for heavy equipment, you know, that’s the same thing with the guidance. Notice it’s three God, the Father, God, the Son, God, the Holy Spirit go through three prong plug, you’re plugging into heavy equipment, heavy power, and that’s what I’ve gone with. And, and I am so grateful because I would be an absolute idiot to take any credit for anything.
Eric Rhoads 20:52
Well, you know, and you know that as we track the comments and the podcasts, they’re going to be haters, they’re going to be people who are going to be critical. What would you say to them?
CW Mundy 21:02
I love them. You know, that’s okay. You know, I, my duty. And this podcast is to let people know, as CW really genuine or is he telling us a bunch of baloney or whatever, you know, but I’m being genuine. I’m being as honest, as honest. As the word actually means. I mean, this is me, this is me. I’m not telling those peoples I think, oh, CW is such a wonderful Christian. No, I’m not saying that at all. And I’m not saying against the people that haven’t believed on him. I love them to God loves everybody out there.
Eric Rhoads 21:45
All right. Well, any final things that we need to talk about that we have not touched? Oh, yes, I forgot. I forgot. We’ve got to touch a little bit on technique. And so give everybody a couple of things that you’ve learned that you think may may be kind of universal principles. I know everything’s changing with you all the time. But give people a couple of thoughts that they might be able to use to try out or influence their painting.
CW Mundy 22:14
Oh, first thing that comes to mind is when I Rebecca and I had the luxury of Gone, Dan McCall has been a real good buddy of mine. He and I both started on our Donald pop pop and the greatest painting instructor to ever teach at Pasadena Art Center. And we took lessons from him and but we were all run dance studio with his son, Danny and John, then went over to his house with Dan’s wife, Stacy, and Dan sit there and talk for 45 minutes. And I didn’t say A P I couldn’t. If I would interrupted him, it would have been a blasphemous thing to do. Rebecca came out of that whole conversation that Dan gave us for 45 minutes. So that’s the best most worth while conversation I’ve ever heard discussed about what art can be. And one of the things that Dan talked to me about that I loved and his work was in paint manipulation, and that’s marginalizing a paint and that’s when you have pot colors. Let’s say you’re painting a landscape and you’ve got three values got a value of a sky, by the mountains and the value of the grass, the ground cover, well, you take, you’ve got the ground cover pot, well take that. Take your palette knife and load it up with that, you know, the right amount of pain on the pot color and then stick it into pure Chroma, your red now I’m just using. That’s the only thing I’ll talk about. Remind me to talk about the the I call it the Trinity palette, the three color palette, but you stick it into pure Chroma then smear that on there. And then the unorthodox way in the way that the paint strides because of the palette knife and smears together, you get this marbleized thing of pain. And that’s a wonderful, wonderful thing to to incorporate into your painting because as I said, we get too many things that look alike too many strokes and look alike. We bore people to death, but too much of the same repetition. And so that is that marbleized thing of pain is another way of deconstruction. Only it’s addition. But it’s the same principle. It’s going to give you stuff that you don’t know what it’s going to look like.
Eric Rhoads 24:44
I remember you teaching me that. We ended up at Peter Miller’s house in Vermont, and it was you and Todd drivers, Carolyn Anderson and Peter Miller I don’t know if there was anybody else or not. And you remember, it rained. And I had this painting that I had, we had been out plein air painting, this painting I did, which was, you know, it was pretty inexperienced at the time, but it was pretty awful. And we had nothing else to do. So we set up in the in Peter studio, and all of you guys said, Okay, we’re gonna teach Eric some lessons and and I made each one of you paint on it, and then sign it. And I still have that painting to this day,
CW Mundy 25:28
but I sent me a picture of that, I’m gonna say that,
Eric Rhoads 25:32
I gotta find it. But, but one of the things you were talking about in that was was marbleized thing and also deconstructing, I don’t remember exactly what Carolyn was saying, but we’ll get her on the podcast, we’ll ask her the same question. Okay, so you were talking about Chroma talk about that?
CW Mundy 25:50
Well, I was talking about, you know, you, when you’re marbleize, you take your pot color that’s already been mixed, and you stick it into pure Chroma. And then you’ll still get enough of the pot color on there, right marbleized thing may really work to all different degrees, depending on how much of the Chroma, you know, like the red, the yellow, or bright green, or an orange or whatever, or a bright light blue, whatever, that you’re going to, you know, mix in there. And then that that will work. And if it doesn’t work, then you can always scrape it back off and lay it back down again. But what I what I wanted to talk about was the hits. It’s some ways I feel it’s unfortunate, but it’s not because just the way that God rolled with me. But when I when when he when he gave me the idea to go to start to try the 3d color red, yellow, and blue, the primaries to try that. That’s when a lot of stuff made sense, because I realized that you could paint a painting a lot quicker. And you could get all the necessary color collars that you needed. Based on what reg you used or what blues you used and or what yellow, he is, czar just use a yellow, yellow, black and, and red and white. By but so you know, your painting becomes so much easier homogenized, and so much easier. coordinated. And don’t get the road collar people get way too many colors out on their palette, and they’re mixing and they’re putting that in there. And it’s like a siren, it doesn’t have any relationship to anything else from the painting. And if that’s not the centrality focus, which it would work, then, you know, to a certain degree, depending on how much it was and the relationship and add to the rest of the painting. So but I that has been a big huge discovery in the last year or so. And I’ve been doing that a lot I have added black, I added black with my demos that I just painted for your video accompanies I added black as a convenience color. Because I could gray down and tone down the richness of the red and the blue and the yellow I could tell them that downgrade that down quicker than just using the complimentary and get to a quicker solution. So
Eric Rhoads 28:39
okay, and and talk to me about composition, because you have a composition trick you taught us that has stuck, you want to try and describe that
CW Mundy 28:52
well. And I call it the seven foundational truths, squinting drawing, design, value, color edges, pain manipulation. And but out of all of those disciplines, the seven disciplines, the one that rolls over everything is design, design, I don’t care how well you do everything else, if you don’t have a great design, your painting is going to be circling the drain, it’s never going to be a great thing because you don’t have enough of the out of balance. flat shapes working with the centrality of focus to make it a really great design, you know, I proved and painting that you can have, which they tell you Oh, never put something dead center in the middle. Well, that’s not necessarily true depends on how you design the rest of the painting, and how you do it out of balance and out of whack. And then then the painting becomes balanced even though that it’s you You know, you got it dead center in the metal. So really there are no rules. Yeah, well, once you know the rules, and you’re an artist, and the rules are all there for you to break, but you have to know what the rules are, first of all, before you breaking them, because that doesn’t make any sense to you.
Eric Rhoads 30:17
So best advice, somebody’s listening to this, they’re either thinking about starting painting, or they’re just starting painting. And they want to get to a point of satisfaction in the fastest possible way, whatever that means. You’ve learned a lot about learning, is there a particular piece of advice you would you would lend to those people?
CW Mundy 30:42
Well, it takes to accomplish what you are saying they’re accomplished. It’s all about mileage. You know, you can theorize and you can intellectualize, you can take my workshop, Scott Christensen’s quantum Hall, Daniel sprek, Matt Smith, whoever you can take those workshops, but if you don’t put all that stuff into practice, and see how it works, and how you work with it, you’re you know, you’re, you’re, you’re not going to really get anywhere. The other thing that’s really crucial that is learning to really study from the great masters, the masters that intrigued you, the masters that you like, and maybe you don’t know why you like you don’t have to know that but you like it, there’s something that that is working within your, your soul and your spirit at that point. And so it’s really great. Ignorance is not bless, you know, ignorance is a big mistake. Ignorance is ignorance. Yeah, and, and so, so looking at all of that gives you a great understanding of what the public has been able to see over the centuries and centuries and centuries, and label as becoming art and all different aspects and forms. So that’s one thing, you know, diligently working hard at it. You can’t get to, you can’t get to a reasonable conclusion, without all the work is the greatest thing that I could say above all of this to design and everything else is you got to have a really good worth at work ethic. I remember when I first started, you know, getting into fine art and stuff, I’d see these these little art groups, and they would get together and paint on a Saturday, or something like that. And they’d have their wine or their coffee, or cookies or crumpets or whatever. And they’d paint once a week, well, they were doing that for fun and joy and that’s an app fill their need, but that’s not going to cut it if you want to get to want to get into a professional market, you have to work your butt off. But for me, it’s not really wasn’t like really, I had to work my butt off. I love every minute of it. I love work, when the work is something that is intriguing to me. It’s like I said, I didn’t like watching those bottles, cross the thing. You know, when I was working at the Coca Cola plant, my heart wasn’t in it. And so it was very laborious. But when you’re if you want to become an artist and you love art, you love doing art, then you you work hard at it. And and that always brings dividends, the mileage, there’s no shortcuts to becoming a really good painter, there are no shortcuts whatsoever. Some will will get it maybe quicker, because maybe there they have that suited in their DNA and their their ability to understand and capitulate and work and work it out. But you know, I think those are really sound. People have this idea that, you know, it’s kind of everybody kind of wants something for nothing. And what they get, they get something for nothing. It’s never meant anything in the first place. It’s all those like those people that win the lotto. All of a sudden now they got a deal, they got $14 million. And what do they do in the next year and a half they spend three fourths or all or all of it or all of it and they got nothing to show for because they were giving it they didn’t have any respect for what it can mean you know how you can take an investment. So yeah, you get what you you get what you put into it, and that’s my best advice and Don’t be frustrated along the way. Because if you’re working hard at it, and you’ve got a reasonable ability of sense, and you’ve got a reasonable mind to work with, then it’s going to come together, it’s going to pull it together. And once it starts, then it starts moving better and better. I can remember telling Kevin person on the phone one time, I said, Kevin, I’ve just got that one leg on almost over that I’m almost over that next thing, I see it, I smell it, I feel it. I’m not quite there yet. But I know. And so that’s like a milestone, when you get that. And then once you’ve got that, you know, then there’s another one, it’s like, you’re never gonna get at the top of the mountain, we’re gonna all die not being the artists that we could be if we still had the desire to pain at an old age.
Eric Rhoads 35:58
Well, you’re doing what you love. Yeah, which is so important. And, you know, the thing that has been very important to me to understand is that when I am stuck, when I’m having pain, that’s when the growth comes. Yeah, you know, you have to persevere through it. I had Scott Christensen and I went to Russia together. And we were looking at all the great masters at the museum. And, you know, I think, you know, we both kind of teared up and, and he said to me, and I don’t, I don’t know, after seeing this, if I can ever pay it again, because I’m not sure I can get there. And so we talked every once in a while, he called me once in a while, he says, you know, I’m struggling, I can’t get there. I don’t know, I may give up a thing. And, you know, I knew he’d persevere through. And then one day, I got a call this probably took him six months or a year, he says, I, I had the breakthrough, you know, it’s like it. And it’s so sweet and so satisfying when you have that. And then once you get that you get comfortable again, and then you have to push yourself out of that comfort zone again, to get to the next breakthrough.
CW Mundy 37:05
Yeah, that’s the key, you know, you, let’s see there, people are really wired differently. And I took me a while to figure that out. Some people paint, they find their love for what they want to paint and they paint the same thing. And they’ll paint the same things over and over again, and never really changed the technique or whatever. And that’s fine for them. Because they don’t want the journey. They don’t want to go off on a limb, they’ve found it, they’re perfectly happy where they are. And that’s fine for them. I used to be critical that but I was stupid, because I didn’t realize CW and not everybody’s like, you know, and so I really got cut to the quick about that and realized no, that’s, that’s fine for them. But I am like a child trapped in an adult body. The child has never experienced hardly anything in his life, because he’s a child. So everything is an adventure. And that’s what I want my life to be at my age at 77. And onward, I want everything to be an adventure, if it’s not an adventure, I’m not in it, I don’t want anything to do with it, I’m looking for an adventure. And that’s why that’s how all these other things we were talking about earlier. That’s how these things get plugged into you. Because you’re like Lewis and Clark, you’re out on an X exploration, you know, and, and if you’re wired like myself, and I think you’re probably wired that way too, because look at all the different businesses that you’ve been involved in, and all the careers that you’ve been involved in, in your life, and then later in your life, then you jumped into painting. Why because it was an adventure still is about it. And and it becomes even more of an adventure. That’s what’s an intriguing to me. It’s like we were I was talking with a friend the other day. And it’s like, you know, what’s amazing is when all of a sudden, like I’m 77 and I hear something coming out of somebody’s mouth, something that I never knew before. And I’m 77 and man, that is something
Eric Rhoads 39:22
it is and you know, when I do these, I do these daily art school live on YouTube and Facebook with a different artist every day and have since the beginning of COVID you know, three 400 broadcasts now. And every single day, every single person no matter who they are, there’s one thing that you go, I never heard that. And how could I have missed that?
CW Mundy 39:46
Yeah, and animate but don’t you just love those epiphanies that have happened? You know, I tell you to me, they don’t arrive as much as I would like to Uh, as I would like them to, but when they do arrive, I’m going, I never knew that I’m 77 years old, and I never knew that
Eric Rhoads 40:12
you’re watching the wrong content. That’s all. We’ll see. This has been a complete delight. I love you, man, you’re one of my great friends, you’ve taught us so much. And, and I think everybody loves you, you’re just you’re such an inspiration and a great teacher. And I just want to thank you, I want to acknowledge you for all you’ve done in the, in the world of art, and for all the inspiration, and, and also for sharing your faith, which, by the way, takes a lot of courage. A lot of people aren’t willing to do that.
CW Mundy 40:46
So, and I would just add to that, too, I said that before. But for those people that don’t have the belief system that I have, I love them, you know, I it’s not my duty to bring anybody to Jesus Christ. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job. I’m just talking about myself, but I love and I hope the people that aren’t believers don’t hold that against me that they can still like me, and and be interested in what I’m trying to accomplish.
Eric Rhoads 41:14
Yeah. Well, absolutely. I mean, you’re not judging anybody, which
CW Mundy 41:19
I don’t, hey, it’s scripture. You can’t be a judge and a disciple at the same time. I’m learning that. Yeah.
Eric Rhoads 41:30
All right. Well, CW thank you so much. This has been an absolute pleasure. We have turned this into a two episode podcast, because we went so long, and it’s been absolutely terrific. And so this, this is, has been divided up into two podcasts. So thank you so much.
CW Mundy 41:51
I just want to finish with this. Yes, I am like you. And that’s that. We do this because we love people. And we we you know your ability with all the production stuff that you do. You give so many people avenues to entertain themselves with a tribe, whether they want to be a professional or not. And I’m the same way I want to give as much as I can to anybody. If I can be an encouragement to people, then we both win. If I can’t be an encouragement to people, then I lose. And I know you have the same Mater about yourself. You’re such an encourager to people. And and that is a real gap. And a wonderful thing to have.
Eric Rhoads 42:38
Well, it’s very kind of you. Thank you. All right. Thanks for being on CW best big hugs to Rebecca and, and thanks again for doing the plein air podcast, or the opportunity. Brother, labia. Alright, see you soon. All right. This has been a remarkable podcast with CW Mundy. And as I mentioned, this is the second half of the podcast, the first half, you will have listened to last week. But now we’re gonna move into the marketing minute.
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 43:21
So in some ways, I’ll contradict CW because I you know, first off, I want you to be able to live the life that you want to live the dream that you want to live. And everybody has a different purpose. Right? So some people, it’s about money. Some people it’s about fame, some people it’s about something else. I that’s not up to me to figure that out. It’s up to you to figure that out. And sometimes making money isn’t about making money. It’s a means to an end, right? So it might be about because you want to travel more you want to take your family on experiences or you know, you want to start a charity or whatever it is. So you do with it what you will that’s, that’s just up to you. But anyway, Amandine, our producer from France is going to give us the first question.
The first question is from John Roberts from Oklahoma City. How do you know when you art is good enough to sell?
Eric Rhoads 44:20
Well, John, thank you so much. And I love Oklahoma City. I’ve been there many times. I’ve got great stories, but I won’t get into them right now. I think one of two things happens, John, either you’re feeling your artwork is better than it is. Or you’re feeling it’s not good enough. I go through those moments. I have moments when I’m feeling like wow, I really think I aced it. I really think I did a great job on that. And then you have other moments like you know, I can’t even paint I’m not sure. And so you know the question about whether or not you’re ready for prime time You know, that’s a that’s kind of a loaded question. I remember a friend of mine out in California, Carol, Carol was working with her mentor and her mentor, you know, for many years and her mentor said, You’re not ready yet, you’re not ready yet, you’re not ready yet. And I looked at our work, and I said, I think you’re ready. And so she went out, immediately got a gallery immediately started selling work, and it was selling successfully. Her mentor was looking at it from a different perspective, which was, you know, you can be better. And by the way, you could, you can be better, you’re always going to be better, you’re always going to be growing. And, and you’re not always going to be completely satisfied with your work, I walked into my art gallery, one of three that I’m in, and this woman who worked with the art gallery has kind of given me a tour of my walls, and, and I saw a painting that I had done years and years earlier. And I cringed, right. So I thought, well, that, that doesn’t really live up to anything I do anymore. And I really probably should, you know, burn it. But I didn’t say anything, thankfully, and, and the woman said, This is my favorite painting in the entire gallery. And as a matter of fact, I’m making payments to own it. And I was like, wow. And that really said something to me. And I think it’s an important thing. And that is that no matter what your journey is in art, there are people who are going to come along on the journey, no matter where you are now, maybe if you’re doing, you know, sixth grade quality art, and you’re just really not not doing very well. You know, maybe that’s not quite ready yet. Although we’ve all seen art that makes us feel like that. I think that, you know, the best way to find out is to ask and what do you mean? What do I mean by that? Well, I like to have a panel of people who are trusted experts, you know, if you ask your mother or your father, or your brothers or sisters or your best friends, they’re going to tell you how wonderful you are because they love you. But how do you get somebody to tell you how horrible you are? Now, you don’t want to hear that. But that’s the reality, you need to hear if that’s the case. And the reason you want to have multiple people to ask is because I have three out of four say are wonderful, and one out of four says you You’re awful, then, you know, go go with your instincts on that, you know, somebody, again, may think well, you need to be developed to the level I am. Well, they might not be. So what I would do is first off, I’d say to myself, am I going to sell locally? You know, if I grow up in let’s say it’s Indianapolis, if I’m in Indianapolis, you know, how good do I need to be to be in Indianapolis? Well, I think you got to be pretty good to be in Indianapolis, my my take on it, but I would say I’m going to ask some local people. So I would call a gallery owner. And by the way, or, or curator, I would call somebody who is within the range of what you do. You know, if you’re a modern art painter, and you call somebody who does traditional realism, they’re probably not going to respond well to what you do. So call somebody who’s an expert in modern art, if you’re a traditional painters call somebody who’s a traditional expert. So locally, you know, call a couple of galleries, call curator call a couple of artists and say to them, and I mean this sincerely, and you have to be willing to do this to say to him, Listen, I need some help, I need to understand where I am. And I need some perspective, because I can’t see it myself. And I’d be willing to pay you for half an hour or an hour of your time, if you’d be willing to look at some of my paintings and give me some feedback on whether I’m ready. And if I’m not what do I need to hear. And by the way, I give you permission not to say anything nice. This is not about hearing compliments, I truly want to know where the problems lie, because you can’t see him. Or maybe you can but one, one way to see him is to put your paintings away for a year and then look at him a year later, sometimes you can see him, but I would do that if you’re going national if your goal is to be nationally recognized or worldwide recognized, then go for some people who are outside of that local market as well. And get some feedback from them. Because you know, depending on the level of what the local person is, is seeing, you know, somebody who’s at a national level might see things differently because there may be seeing a lot more artists a lot more work. And so find out from an expert, you know, how do you feel and remember to give them permission to be negative because you’re not trying to get compliments. As a matter of fact, just just rule that out say I don’t want any compliments. You don’t have to say anything nice, tell me what, what’s good or tell me what’s right, what’s wrong. And and that way I know how to improve and then Once you find that out, then you got to figure out, okay, how do I get there? How do I improve? How do I push through this? And you can figure that out. That’s something. The other thing that I would say, is be careful not to call on galleries that you want a foot in the door. In other words, don’t say, Don’t do this pretend thing of, hey, I want you to look at my work, I’m willing to pay you to look at it in hopes that they’ll say, Hey, would you come into my gallery, don’t even go to any galleries that you hope to get into? Because I think that that could backfire on you. And I don’t want you to do that. So that’s just one thing. Another thing is, I learned a really interesting lesson. Because as I went through my painting journey, there were people who said things to me, like, Oh, pretty colors, or Oh, interesting. approach or interesting composition, or, wow, that that tree really is nice, you know, and they’re kind of hesitating, you know, they’re looking for something nice to say. And, you know, we all want to have our compliments. But you know, you’re hearing that hesitation, or you’re hearing they’re not giving you what you would believe are genuine comments, it probably means there’s a problem. And the problem is something you can’t see. And so, you know, you’re trying to get around that problem. But what, what I noticed is, I had picked out a very prominent painter, and spent a lot of time with this painter and said, You know, I really need you to help me work on some stuff. Because I had done that I knew I knew where some of my weaknesses were. And I worked with this painter, and then I kind of stuck to just figuring this stuff out for a year or something. After about a year, I was getting unsolicited compliments that were not pretty colors. But wow, that’s, you know, that’s really a spectacular painting. Who did that? Well, I did it that’s like, oh, wow, I didn’t expect that. You know, there’s so you know, you want to look for things like that. So keep an eye out. And that will help you. Okay, Aberdeen, what’s our next question?
The next question is from Christine, from Denmark, Iowa. How does entering contests help? They’re not cheap. So are they really?
Eric Rhoads 52:22
Well, the first thing you got to get over Christine is, is that, you know, competitions are quote, unquote, not cheap. You know, there is you got to ask yourself, Why am I entering a competition. And I have some very specific thoughts about that. And of course, I have the plein air salon competition. So I understand it pretty deeply. And I’ve been a judge, and many of other competitions, including the art renewal center competition. And I will tell you this, that there are good competitions, and there are not so good competitions, some competitions are just about getting your money. And you want to look at the quality of artwork that are that are getting picked and winning. And ask yourself, you know, is this something that’s living up to the quality that I like, and you know, if it is great, go for it. But you know, you can check it out, talk to people see what they like, and so on. The other thing is, the most important reason to enter a competition has nothing to do with winning the competition. Now, that probably sounds odd, but it’s about your head, it’s about your mindset. It’s about putting yourself out there. You see, if you’re an amateur artist, and you’re deciding to start working towards selling your paintings, or getting noticed or marketing yourself, then you have to have a different mindset. And that mindset changes everything, right? Because if you’re suddenly you’re about to upload a painting that you’ve done, knowing you’re going to be judged by a famous judge or gallery owner or something, and knowing that you’re going to be competing with some pretty darn good artists. Now you’re looking at that painting. It’s kind of like you never noticed the stuff in your own house until you have a visitor and then all of a sudden, it’s like, oh, I need to paint that wall. It’s got dirt on it, right? So it’s the same kind of approach. Once you feel and figure out that you’re putting yourself into the game, you’re going to treat your art differently, you’re going to try harder, you’re going to work to push yourself more, and that’s going to have a positive impact. That is a great reason. The first time I entered an art competition. That’s exactly what happened to me. There was like three or four weeks to enter and I was getting ready to upload it and then I started thinking about it thought, you know, this isn’t really there yet. And I worked on it for three or four weeks intensely until I got there. I didn’t even win an award. I didn’t get an acknowledgment, nothing happened. But I could see the positive impact on myself. Now, that’s one reason that you want to do it. And you want to kind of get yourself into a what I would call a professional mindset. Now, not everybody enters because they’re professional, you know, sometimes it’s nice to know that you’re that other people like your work or that other people appreciate your work, or that somebody who knows Art likes your work, even if you’re an amateur, that’s a beautiful thing. And that’s worth going for as well, because we all need recognition. But, you know, you say that, that entering a competition is expensive. But if you think about it, you know, most competitions are 30 or 40 bucks to enter. That’s a lot of money, I get it. But what if you became a finalist, and you got listed on some of the promotion, and maybe there was a page showing all the finalists and your work is seen and your name has seen that you’re buying basically an ad, that’s probably worth 1000s of dollars for 30 or 40 bucks. And even if you enter 20 times to get to that point, you’re probably still ahead of the game. And because because of that happens, and the more you enter, the better you’re likely to get, the better you’re likely to push yourself. So that’s another thing now. Also, as a marketer, and teaching marketing, there is the marketing aspect, right? If you’re looking for recognition from let’s say, a gallery, and let you want to get invited into a gallery, if if you could pay any amount of money, let’s say there was a top gallerist. And you were like, I wish I pay 100 bucks, I’d pay 1000 bucks to get that gallerist to look at my paintings, right? Because what if he or she likes it? And what if they pull me into the gallery that could change everything in my life? Right? So you know, you ask yourself, what would you pay for that? And so what happens is, I can’t speak for all competitions, but most competitions have relatively prominent people, curators, editors, gallery owners, top artists, and what would you pay to have that top artists notice your painting. And we have for instance, we always try to get a lot of, of gallery owners and gallery curators and museum curators. And we have had many, many situations where they’re judging a painting. And by the way, they don’t know the names and ever see the names. They’re judging a painting and they fall in love with a painting. And they you know, maybe they make it a finalist or something, maybe it makes it all the way to the end, maybe it doesn’t, but they’re paying attention. And I’ve heard from a number of artists who have entered our plein air salon who’ve said, hey, you know, that judge called me and invited me into their gallery or they called me and said, Hey, do you mind if I introduce you to so and so because I think your work is really good. And when you enter multiple paintings, then they get the impact of a body of work galleries love a body of work, and they’re gonna want something that shows that you’re consistent, you know, you can have one good painting and 20 bad ones. They don’t want that. So if they’re seeing, you know, I judged the aarC competition recently, and I saw several paintings from one particular artist and somehow I could tell it was the same artist. I didn’t know the name. But it was like, wow, this person is consistent and they’re good. I’m going to pay attention once the idol is names are announced. So I can do a feature on that artists in the magazine because I thought, well, this is great. And so that kind of thing happens. So this is gallery recognition. It could be publicity and other things. But you know, prizes and money are wonderful covers of magazines are wonderful. You know, if you enter the plein air salon, and you when you get $15,000 all cash, not pretend cash, but all cash meaning pretend cash is a lot of people will say, Well, we’re gonna give you $15,000 where the value and that’s just a bunch of stuff you don’t care about, but $15,000 in cash, and then you get the cover of plein air magazine? Well, you’re on the cover of a magazine being seen by hundreds of 1000s of people in bookstores and newsstands and all these subscribers and all that that’s a big deal. And I mean, that’s a big, big deal. There are artists who are prominent artists who have strived their whole life to be on a cover of magazine never done it and you get the cover of magazine that’s worth the effort. So, you know, the idea is about instant exposure. You can you know, I teach marketing and marketing is something that is a process that you got to do over and over and over again. But you can have explosive moments that will skyrocket a career. And one of those things explosive moments is winning something, I can tell you that there are many people who were unknown nationally, maybe known locally, who won our plein air salon, who became instant celebrities who all of a sudden, the minute they win, you know, we’re putting their magazine, their picture in the magazine on the website, you’re putting it everywhere. And all of a sudden they’re getting known in their painting is getting known. And all of a sudden, they’re getting calls from Art Gallery, say, hey, hey, we’d like to have you in our art gallery. They’re getting calls from somebody who’s doing shows, I remember one artist said, you know, the first thing that happened is I got called and invited to be a judge me a judge, I’ve never been a judge. And so there’s a lot of value to that. And, you know, it’s great if you win, but it’s, it’s and when you win, when you become a finalist, even in one category, like we have 20 categories. So if you if you were a finalist in the sunset category, and maybe there aren’t a lot of entries there, you know, you’re gonna get noticed, and you’re gonna have something to talk about something to put on your resume, something to forward to your list and your friends and put on social media. All of that is, is career building and marketing. And so, you know, it’s, it’s really not about winning, winning is really sweet. But what’s sweeter than winning, is building a career that is going to last a lifetime. And that’s why you do it. And that’s why we have hundreds of people who enter 5678 paintings every single time. And they will sometimes enter those same paintings, five competitions in a row, because one judge didn’t pick them, but another judge did pick them or another one after that, pick them and we’ve seen this happen. So you know, every judge has different things that they like. So anyway, I hope that you understand that this isn’t about the prize. This is about the journey. Anyway, that is today’s art marketing minute.
This has been the marketing minute with Eric Rhoads. You can learn more at artmarketing.com.
Eric Rhoads 1:02:08
Christmas is coming. Put out a hit that you’d love to go to the plein air convention in Denver in May. PleinAirconvention.com and or watercolorlive.com In January, or a subscription to plein air magazine. And by the way, if you’re a plein air painter and you’re listening to this, you really should have plein air magazine, just saying, you know, and by the way, if you get the digital edition, especially those you overseas, you know, we got 103 countries listening to this, if you’re overseas, you don’t want to wait for the mail. I’ve had people in Australia say You know, it takes six weeks to get here to get the digital. And that way, you get 30% more content that’s not in the print magazine. By the way, if you’ve not seen my blog, where I talked about art and life and lots of other things, it’s called Sunday coffee, you can find it at coffeewitheric.com. Also, I’m on the air daily on the air or on the internet daily anyway, on Facebook, and YouTube. My show is called Art School live. And there are hundreds of artists who demonstrations and talks and things like that we’ve done it every day since COVID. We did seven days a week for seven months now or five days a week we continue we’ve got hundreds of them. The entire archive is at YouTube and you should go to YouTube. Look for art school live, search, search for it and then subscribe and hit the little bell so you’re notified when we go live. And of course, if you don’t mind to follow Eric Rhoads at Facebook and Instagram. That would be cool. My name is Eric Rhoads. I’m the publisher and founder of plein air magazine. Thank you for your time today. Remember, it’s a great big world out there. Go paint it. We’ll see you soon. Bye bye.
This has been the plein air podcast with PleinAir 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.