The Plein Air Podcast has been named the #1 Painting Podcast by FeedSpot for two years in a row.
In this episode, Eric Rhoads interviews colorist Camille Przewodek. Listen as they discuss:
– The “aha moment” she had while studying color with Henry Hensche
– What it was like to make the leap to become a full-time artist
– Why she gives “brutal” critiques to her students
– The reason she does not paint from photographs
– And more!
Bonus! In this week’s Art Marketing Minute, Eric Rhoads, author of Make More Money Selling Your Art, answers the questions: “Should I start an LLC or get a business license before selling my art?” and “How do we engage more art buyers?”
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 Camille Przewodek here:
– Camille Przewodek online: https://www.przewodek.com/
– Plein Air Magazine: https://pleinairmagazine.com/
– Watercolor Live: https://watercolorlive.com/
– Plein Air Convention & Expo: https://pleinairconvention.com/
– Eric Rhoads on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ericrhoads/
– 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 235 with Camille Przewodek and you’re going to learn a lot about the Hensche colorist movement, the Provincetown theory of color and meet one of the people who has been carrying that forward. So we’re going to have a great time today just hang with us.
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
Hey there Happy New Year. And this is the official first podcast of 2023. And we have a great way to kick off the new year, you’re gonna meet in a minute, Camille Przewodek, as an old friend of mine, we have we go way back way, way back. And we’ll tell some of those stories. I’m sure I have met my goal. My goal was to make sure that I got out painting on the first day of the new year. And I am happy to say I can check that box now just got to do it more often. I hope you’re setting some goals. And if you are not setting goals, you’re not going to reach them. Right. So you got to have some goals. We’ll talk about that in the art marketing podcast at the end of this. Coming up after the interview, we’re going to actually talk about how we hurt ourselves and the stories that we tell ourselves that actually hurt our ability to sell our art. And we’re going to talk about some other things too. And this week’s marketing minute, and we are also very humbled to announce, I know it’s hard for you to believe that I could possibly be humble. But we are humbled to announce that we are number one in the feed spot to painting podcast two years in a row, we just found out that we are number one for 2022. We were number one for 2021. And now we’ve got to earn it and see if we can become number one for 2023 which probably won’t happen until the end of the year. So thank you for making that happen. I also want to thank all of you a lot of you over Christmas time have bought subscriptions to plein air magazine, if you are into outdoor painting or plein air collecting. It’s the place to be. And so what a great time to get yours. If you don’t have one yet, just go ahead and go to plein air magazine.com. Also, any day now, we’re going to be doing something different at the plein air convention this year. We you know, we have done it. This will be our 10th plein air convention, it would have been our 12. But we had to cancel two years. Because it’s our 10th we’re going to pull out all the stops and do some big celebrating some fun things, some different things, including We’ve invited a major. How do I say this without giving it away? Maybe I could say film, television motion picture, kind of person. I won’t even say male or female, that you will be surprised to see a lot of people are guessing and so far I’ve seen a lot of people guessing and they’ve all guessed it wrong. Anyway, we’re going to have a big celebrity at the plein air convention. It’s going to be announced soon. Of course, once we announce it, it’ll sell out because it was sold out before. So make sure that you put this on your list pleinairconvention.com and just go you will have a blast. It’s kind of like Woodstock for artists. And speaking of an event for artists coming up. In just a couple of weeks we have watercolor Live, which is officially the largest art conference in history. We have that many people on and it’s a massive worldwide audience and we hope that you’ll join us. We have 30 Top watercolor instructors, and some of the best of the best teaching and because you’re immersing yourself essentially for three days, you’re going to get so much information into your subconscious mind that things are going to be happening you won’t even realize they’re happening. So that’s a good way to improve your your watercolor work, just go to watercolorlive.com Now my guest today is Camille Przewodek. She is an acknowledged authority on color. And you’re going to learn a lot about color today and she regularly serves as an entry and awards judge for various painting competitions events. She’s a sought after instruct Her teachers online. She has an advanced approach to teaching and seeing light and the keys of nature and expressing them through color relationships. And I have personally experienced that we’ll talk about this but I personally got a chance to study every Monday with Camille for I think it was like two years. And I didn’t like a minute of it, but it was the best possible thing we’ll talk about that Camille studied with an impressionist master Henry Hensche, at the Cape Cod School of Art at the Cape School of Art, and founded was founded by Charles Hawthorne in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and we’ll talk about that a minute, Camille, welcome to the plein air podcast.
Camille Przewodek 5:41
Glad to be here. I am sorry, you didn’t enjoy your time with me,
Eric Rhoads 5:48
I enjoyed my time with you, I didn’t enjoy the struggle. And what I mean by that is, of course, what Camille does, as part of her process is that she sets up these colored blocks out in the sun. And then you have to paint them with a palette knife. I had never used a palette knife before. And it took me out of my comfort zone. And we did it over and over and over and over again for a couple of years. I remember saying to Camille, that I could we just go paint something, you know, because I wanted to learn how to paint and you said no, no, you need the skills, you just got to master this got to learn to see color. And you were right. You were absolutely right.
Camille Przewodek 6:28
There the color scales, it was it’s below, it’ll be like studying music and not doing your scales. I’ve had the DreamWorks team, you know, their animators, incredible artists, they’ve taken two workshops with me. And I had them doing blocks, and they were struggling. And it was very, you know, it was hard for me to because they’re such great painters. So it was challenging to teach them. But they understood the importance of these blocks, I think the more advanced you are, the more you can appreciate. I see beginners saying, Oh, I’ve done my blocks, you know, I don’t need to do my blocks. But it’s you can’t lay a block on a table. If you don’t your drawing skills aren’t there, you’re not going to be able to paint a bush or a house or whatever. So, you know, I can I can tell within 20 Within five minutes, how experienced you are as a painter?
Eric Rhoads 7:22
Well, and I think it would be I have not done blocks since I did them with you. And that’s been probably, what do you think 15 years ago? Probably it’d be more and more. Yeah, cuz I hadn’t started plein air magazine yet. And so that was well over 20 years ago. Yeah, really. And I think it would be a really good thing to go back to it. You know, one of my early mentors told me to do at least one value painting value study painting every every year, just to kind of remind yourself about values, I would, I would think that the color keys would be the same approach is going back and reminding yourself because, you know, I probably have lost more than I learned.
Camille Przewodek 8:03
Yeah, I you know, it’s important. Like if you’re trying to paint green, a good exercise is to have several different greens like a still life and try to paint the variation in those green colors or whites. But yeah, if and what we say too, is if you are doing essentially value studies when you’re doing the blocks, because what we say is if it’s the right color, it’s the right hue, the saturation and the value, but we say who’s on for and I say we because Dale my husband and I do a lot of the teaching. So he came out with the, the hues on we say he’s on first so color is even more important maybe then value.
Eric Rhoads 8:47
Well, let’s let’s kind of roll back to that where this all came from for you. You and Dale, I think we’re both in school together
Camille Przewodek 8:58
any longer than I did he I met Dale and then he took me to Vinci.
Eric Rhoads 9:03
Okay, so let’s tell that story. So we understand how you got involved in this whole colorist thing?
Camille Przewodek 9:09
Well, you know, I was at the Academy of Art, I was studying illustration, and I was ready to take my portfolio out. And I was very tight rendered the head of the department so that I could teach rendering. And I reconnected with Dale and we started dating. And he said, Well, you know, I go back east studying with this guy, Henry Hensche, do you want to come with me? And I said, Sure. And he didn’t tell me anything like this is going to change your life, et cetera. We just went back there. And all of a sudden, I meet this master painter, you know, I was able to see all his paintings and I mean, I was blown away. And also the students. I was so impressed with the student work and I knew that it would take me years to get to their level. So it was like right away. I was sold and luckily I had Dale, with me too. So I, we would study every summer for a couple of weeks. And then when I got home, I would work during the year and then go back and kind of you know, take another class with him.
Eric Rhoads 10:13
So that that changed everything of course you had no idea. Yeah. And you hit you probably had no idea the weight and the importance of, of Hensche. You know, we look at we look back on him now and we go wow, I mean, you you got a chance to study with him and what a master and you probably for you is probably just another guy in the beginning.
Camille Przewodek 10:35
No, no, no. I, I was totally sold. And I knew I was going to be a part of art history. And, you know, he changed my life. So he came back to the Academy of Art and I didn’t know anything, I was just throwing color around. And, you know, it took me years to develop as a colorist. I mean, I could only initially, only paint sunny days, I didn’t know how to paint a gray day, I didn’t know different light keys. So it took me years to develop into a decent colorist.
Eric Rhoads 11:12
And that starts by learning to see color. How does one learn to see color because I found that very difficult at the beginning,
Camille Przewodek 11:20
you find a guide like me, okay. Well, you know, there’s there’s people that do teach color, there’s two major colors, movements, this is Sergey Bone Guard and the hidden Canary, Henry Hawthorne color movements. And either of those two movements, I think can teach you color. And when I say color color in the tradition of Monet, so what’s you’re trying to do is to paint the different light keys of nature. And by this I mean sunny day, early morning, midday, late afternoon gray days. And it even changes with geography, you’re going to have a cooler light in Laguna Beach as opposed to Petaluma. Petaluma has a warmer light, because of the water in the air, you go to the desert, you’re going to have more of an orange tone to the color. So the only way to learn these things, I think you need a guide initially, but as to go out there and try to capture that light key of nature. And it takes lots of practice. I remember trying to paint aerial perspective, the first time it was on daunting, I mean, I was like miserable. But you know, it took me years to finally be able and when I say aerial perspective, it’s like the air you’re essentially painting air. Yeah.
Eric Rhoads 12:39
Well, that’s something David LaFell talks about, is that you until you learned to paint err, you’re really not a good painter. So I agree. So do you have any, any real aha moments that you remember taking away from Hensche? Sorry, to put you on the spot,
Camille Przewodek 13:05
I’m just, he was never complimentary. So it was hard studying with him. And I saw people walking away. The aha moments was like, let’s say I’d be working on a still life all morning. He didn’t even show up to about 11 or 12. And, you know, everybody’s saying oh hen she’s coming in, she’s coming in thinking, Oh, my God, here comes Hensche. You know, so the person next to me, he says, you know, you should work on your composition. And I thought, oh my god, I haven’t even thought about my composition. So he comes to me and I go, Oh, I haven’t even thought about my composition. He said, Oh, you’re too stupid. Forget about the composition, your colors terrible. Then he would take a little bit of blue, a little bit of yellow, little bit of red, and a whole color balance with change. The amount of color that he used was so minimal, but he knew exactly where to put it. And that’s what Master is
Eric Rhoads 14:07
made a huge difference. How long did it take you to really get good at being a colorist?
Camille Przewodek 14:14
Well, you know, I was doing decent, I guess decent paintings. Five, six years into it, but I was very limited and I was over coloring. My stuff was very saturate, everything was saturated. There’s a lot of dialects design purple. I would say 2020 years but I was an illustrator. So I couldn’t work full time on developing myself as a painter. You know, I had jobs to do I had commissions. So I think it would have taken me less if I could paint every day.
Eric Rhoads 14:50
Well, that’s that’s the big thing, isn’t it? I mean, I remember watching Richard Lindenberg, you know, Richard, yeah, and Richard had gone from being employed Full Time to being unemployed and going to being a full time artist. And once he did that, about two years later, he had he had grown, you know, 200% Because he was just doing it full time. That makes a big difference if you can.
Camille Przewodek 15:15
Well, I got up one day, I was an illustrator, I hit a rep in New York. And I, you know, the whole industry had changed because the computers, a lot of the art directors were using computers, crappy jobs are coming in. I was reading, I wasn’t painting. So I got up one day and I said to Dale, I’m quitting my job as an illustrator, and I was the main earner. And I said, I know this is the right thing to do. So I stopped doing illustration, I called my rep I said, I don’t want any more work. And the first day on location, I took my easel, I’m painting one hour into my paintings. An attorney in Petaluma came up and said, I love your work. I’d love to buy a painting from you. What would you charge to do a painting of my Julia Morgan house? I said, Well, you can art directly, but I’ll come and I’ll do some studies. And if you find one that you like the let’s see, I said, I had to think quickly. A 1612 by 16 is 1200. So the first day on location, I sold a painting for $1,200. And never looked back. So then I came home, Dale said, how was your day on? You know, at the office, I said, I sold the painting today for 1200. But and you’ll appreciate this, I took my $20,000 advertising budget and immediately put it into fine art for my illustration, I immediately put it into fine art and started advertising and started building a career.
Eric Rhoads 16:40
You know, we’ve talked about this in the past. The reason I discovered you is you were advertising in American Art Review, American Art Review. And I was a subscriber this is way before I ever started the magazines, or I was barely painting. And I saw you week after month after month after month after month. And it it created this impression of you as being somebody who was really, really important. Now, I didn’t know you from Adam, I didn’t know if you were important or not. But because of those ads over and again, I just I assumed you were important. Of course I found out you are. But and then. And then there was one time that I saw in there, you know, workshops available. And I saw Petaluma that I’m going I’m close. And that’s how we initially connected. But I, you know, let’s just touch on that, you know, this is more of an art marketing thing. But let’s touch on that because I think it’s so important. Because you saw something that you had done in your previous career, and just changed it. But a lot of artists, you know, that takes a lot of courage to be able to say I’m going full time. And by the way, if I’m gonna go full time, I have to act like a professional. And, and advertise, you want to touch on that?
Camille Przewodek 18:03
Well, I think you have to believe I think you have to have your skill level to a certain point, you don’t have to be perfect, but you have to have a product a good product, right? Although I think you could sell anything, but I would prefer having a good product. And then you um, and it’s daunting, you know, people say, Oh, I got a frame, I got it, you know, there’s so much. So you have to start somewhere. You can get free advertising, you can send press releases to like local newspapers. And then once you sell a painting, you give a percentage to, you know, maybe doing some local advertising, you keep building on something, and eventually you can do national national advertising. I mean, now it’s social media, it’s a completely different way of promoting. Right. So I think, and then ask other artists, you know, you can ask other artists. I was an illustrator, so I understood promotion. So I really, you know, when I got into fine art, I really knew, you know, you have a product that you got to sell it. I mean, it’s that simple. A lot of artists say Oh, I don’t want to think about my art that way. Well, that’s you do have a product and you do have to figure out the marketplace for that product. So the other thing I tell artists is if you have an open Stussy, you have an open studio and you don’t sell anything, you have to take time, you don’t change your art and start doing little tchotchkes for $50. You’re going to build you have to get more people in you have to build your audience. So you may not sell the first time. But the more you have these open studios, the more you get your work out there, you’re going to attract collectors. So you really have to believe in your product. Don’t paint to the marketplace. Just do a really good painting and you will find a market for All
Eric Rhoads 20:00
right. How do you know when you’re ready? I don’t think
Camille Przewodek 20:03
you could ask other artists. Um, you know, what kind of feedback are you getting? I would ask other artists, you know, that you respect?
Eric Rhoads 20:14
Yeah, as long as they’ll tell you the truth? Well, I’ll
Camille Przewodek 20:17
tell you the truth. No,
Eric Rhoads 20:18
I have no question you would tell the truth.
Camille Przewodek 20:21
I have students coming every Monday. And I, you know, I give them credit. They come for critiques.
Eric Rhoads 20:29
Yeah, well, that’s important. You’ve got
Camille Przewodek 20:33
other people walk out, you know, it’s been my core, my core group, they want to improve their painting. So I just say, this is my opinion, you know, you can get other opinions. And I’ve actually had people thank me for my brutal, brutal critiques, because, you know, what are we here for, we want to improve, I want people to give me those kinds of critiques.
Eric Rhoads 20:57
Well, I don’t think you get any value. But you know, there are oftentimes instructors who will look for nice ways to say things or try to look for something nice, but you know, if you can cut to the chase, and just give somebody permission to just be fully honest, you’re gonna get so much more out of it.
Camille Przewodek 21:14
And I mean, I mean, I’m not mean about it. I mean, when I first started teaching, I would say, you will do it like, I mean, I was a lot stricter. I’ve like mellowed out. But, you know, I mean, they’re, they’re here to learn. And, you know, it’s, what I’m teaching is not easy to learn. So I think, you know, I’ve got to be tough on him.
Eric Rhoads 21:37
You mentioned Sergei, Sergei bundgaard. The Russian Did you ever do any study with him? I’m curious what the difference is between colorist for his group and colors.
Camille Przewodek 21:49
I’ve painted with Dan Pink gum, I’ve painted with Ned Mueller. And you know, I paint with a lot of Sergey students. They’re capturing that light key. You know, that’s and I can have a conversation with a Sergey student about like key. Most other plein air painters, unless you’ve studied with either hanshi or Sergey, can you have that conversation? Because it’s important to us you know, that’s number one getting that like key of nature.
Eric Rhoads 22:21
So who aren’t you mentioned Dan Pink them. I just found his work to be so remarkable. What were some of your inspirations?
Camille Przewodek 22:30
Well, I you know, Dan Pink comm cert Suraiya Of course. And then there was one painting joke, pet cat. I, from I provided that, that painting I saw on Instagram, I was just wow. I love that painting.
Eric Rhoads 22:49
And what was it about it? Was it the light?
Camille Przewodek 22:52
The light, the drawing the composition? It’s just one of those paintings that stopped me. Yeah. And that doesn’t happen a lot to be honest with you.
Eric Rhoads 23:04
Well, and you get to see a lot of a lot of variety on Instagram.
Camille Przewodek 23:07
Yeah, but that painting really. And you know, I was talking, I tell people, okay, so I can teach you how to paint, but it’s gonna take years for you to find your vision. So, you know, I studied with Hinchey, but I think I found my own vision. I mean, hence she was Hinchey. I’m Camille, you know, passing on the tradition. So what I tell students to do is I keep a book, you know, and these have it has like, all you know, if I go through a magazine, and something inspires me, I cut it out, and I put it in this book. And then I tell students look at that, not that you’re gonna copy these artists. But there’s something about their work that inspires you. And that’s a key to who you are as a painter. Well, that’ll help you see patterns. Yeah, and what you you know, what you choose to paint how you choose to paint it. You know, I have several students that are now professional, beautiful colorist. And what I love to see is they’re all different. They’re really not mimicking you. Yeah, they found their own vision, but that’s going to take years to find that vision.
Eric Rhoads 24:17
So does it find you? I mean, does it just kind of one day you go, Oh, that’s it.
Camille Przewodek 24:24
I think it takes a lot of introspection, writing. It’s a deep, it’s a deep conversation that you have with yourself. And I had that conversation about 10 years ago, because I was painting so much. I mean, I have so many paintings. It’s, you know, I’m trying to get rid, you know, get rid of, you know, toss a lot of them. I’ve done so much painting, but I got to a point in my life that I was like, Why do you paint it’s not just about laying pain anymore. It is. Who are you? You know, what are you what are you trying to say? And I almost stopped painting I really had a go internally, I got into therapy, and actually came back and said, Okay, I’m gonna do wetlands, because I think they’re important. They’re kind of like my water lilies. And I started painting wetlands all over and I go down to Laguna, and I paint the Back Bay. And so now when I paint, I really write about what I’m painting why I’m painting. It’s much deeper than just covering camp. I mean, I’ve done enough covering camp miles of five miles of Canvas. And I think that’s important. But there’s a point that you get to where you really have to go deep, and find out who you are. Why are you paying? Why is it relevant to you?
Eric Rhoads 25:43
You think doing that made
Camille Przewodek 25:45
you a better painter? Oh, yeah. No, no, no doubt about it.
Eric Rhoads 25:49
So what would an expert be able to look at Camille 10 years ago and Camille today and be able to tell a distinct difference?
Camille Przewodek 25:57
Yeah, you can go on my website. And there’s a progress not perfection. It’s a blog. And I have a painting of vineyards, and a painting of a house done in 1991. And one two, that I did have the similar subject matter. It’s not even the same painter. Oh, that’s exciting. Yeah, it’s,
Eric Rhoads 26:19
so what, what is the process? If knowing what you know, today, with the decades of experience, you’ve got a lot of people who are listening to this all over the world who are kind of at the early stages, and there’s, they’re saying to themselves, how do I get there? How do I get there as fast as possible? Because that’s what everybody wants to do? What? What is the process you would recommend to them? Because I think that a lot of us go down these roads, and they don’t lead anything. And you know, because maybe we get a bad instructor or we get some bad advice. What’s your best advice?
Camille Przewodek 27:02
Find somebody that inspires you. Because you’ve got to figure out what kind of painting you want to learn. And I don’t think you’re going to just take a bunch of workshops, because you’re just going to confuse yourself. But you’ve got to find out, you know, there’s a difference between Richard Schmidt and me, you know, do you and I’ve had students that said, I want to study with somebody that study with Richard Schmidt, I’m more interested in that way of painting, you’ve got to find the kind of painting that you really are inspired by. And then you have to find somebody, that’s a good teacher, because a lot of people are good painters, but they’re not good teachers. And you can ask students, you know, how was that workshop? Did you get anything out of that workshop, then you, you find a guy, you find somebody that can get you there much quicker, because if you’re doing it on your own practice makes permanent. So if you’re practicing incorrectly, you’re not going to get anywhere, I don’t care how much you paint. So you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, you can find somebody to get you there. And then it’s prac it’s just I think it’s probably 10% talent and 90%. Just stick to itiveness. You know, just keep doing it. Try to keep in try to keep inspired. I think, especially when people are learning, you’re frustrated, you know, but I, you know, I still told students, I’ve been in workshops where I’ve cried, and I just go back, come back in and keep at it, you know, nobody’s gonna stop me. I mean, I’m, you know, you gotta be tough, too. You can’t, you can’t be like, oh, somebody said, I didn’t like my work. Oh, forget it, this business is too. It’s, it’s very challenging. And if you’re that weak, or that, you know, sensitive, I don’t think this is the you know, you’re not going to get out there and market your work. Because it’s, it’s hard. You know, it’s it’s tough out there. And if you’re putting art, if you’re putting painting, like I say to my students, learn perspective, learn good values, learn good color, because if you put a painting out there, that’s terrible or has bad, poor perspective, artists know that, you know, they’re gonna, you know, you’re gonna get a bad reputation.
Eric Rhoads 29:14
Well, and collectors may not know it, but the subject doesn’t
Camille Przewodek 29:18
feel right. Yeah, well, yeah, exactly.
Eric Rhoads 29:21
And what about the person who’s been painting for 10 or 15 or 20 years, but they’re just, they’re just not feeling it? Or maybe they’re like, you know, they just don’t feel like they’ve made the progress. They have really good basic skills, but they, they just feel like they need to, they need to change or give up, you know, that. I’ve been in that moment.
Camille Przewodek 29:45
I was there 10 years ago.
Eric Rhoads 29:46
Yeah. So what’s the process you recommend for them?
Camille Przewodek 29:51
Well, I would find some artists maybe depending with it, you’re inspired by, you know, talk to other artists. I think that’s, you know, really what you need. do go to museums, you know, read a decent, you know, look at some paintings or some art books. You know, write about it. And also, you know, you were talking about, I think it’s also, whatever you and I’ve seen this in my life, you know, make plans, like 10 year plans or what I want to do like when I quit my job as an illustrator, I said, I want to paint with the best plein air painters in the country. You know, I hit goals, and I’ve reached most of those goals. And in one of my podcasts, or one of my reels, I said, Oh, my goal for 2023 is to sell more paintings and to become a better painter. And somebody said, you know, wrote, oh, how you couldn’t become a better you know, and I’m like, if I was not trying to grow, I would stop painting. There’s no reason to just keep repeating myself. I’m always looking at my work. I’m always trying to improve my work. And you know, you have to be honest with yourself, what are your strengths, you know, people and when you have people come into your studio, you’ll get feedback on your work.
Eric Rhoads 31:14
Well, you know, I mentioned this previously, maybe on another podcast or something. I’ve been watching CW Monday, and I didn’t think he could get much better, quite frankly. And then he took a year off from painting. And he went and taught kids at the Indianapolis Museum. And then he came back and he started painting. And he painted differently. And he became better because he just had a year to think about it. He just separated himself. I think sometimes getting away really makes
Camille Przewodek 31:43
Yeah, I think and you know, I paint smart now. I just don’t paint just to paint. I really have to plan on why I’m why I’m what I’m painting, why I’m painting it. And I kind of plan it.
Eric Rhoads 31:56
So how much? How much are you going outdoors, you’re still doing that on a regular basis. I
Camille Przewodek 32:01
didn’t want my Monday class I and I post those those demos on my Instagram and on YouTube? It depends, you know, I’ll take a whole week maybe and plan I’m going to you know, I’m going to do some studies, and I’m doing more work in the studio now.
Eric Rhoads 32:22
Well, that’s okay. Yeah. Yeah, there’s not a right. I
Camille Przewodek 32:26
think I could, but because you want to try to get the same kind of feeling on your studio work that you do on your outdoor painting.
Eric Rhoads 32:37
And that’s studio work from studies.
Camille Przewodek 32:40
Studies from reference. Yeah,
Eric Rhoads 32:45
but and from photos? Photos. Yeah. See, that’s, that’s what I haven’t figured out yet is because I can see the glow of the sunlight when I’m out there. But I can’t see that glow. In the same way on a photograph.
Camille Przewodek 32:58
Yeah, well, I don’t copy a photograph. You see, you’re just you’re just looking I bring to the photograph what I’ve learned painting on location for 35 years, I don’t copy a photograph. And that’s the key. And then keeping the same energy. It’s, it’s challenging.
Eric Rhoads 33:19
You You’ve certainly accomplished a high level. So that’s it’s certainly been worthwhile. Remember
Camille Przewodek 33:24
the first. This is probably about three years ago, I did a painting from a photograph. This is you know, I usually worked on location. And I did a painting why work from photographs, a lot of illustration, but I did a painting from a photograph. It was the dead. It was a dead painting. And I show my students this is like, Oh, great. I can’t work from a photograph anymore. But over time, I actually have accomplished that my my paintings from photographs don’t look like they were done from a
Eric Rhoads 33:57
photograph because you spent so much time outdoors.
Camille Przewodek 34:01
But it took a while for me to make that transition.
Eric Rhoads 34:05
Are you still doing mud heads? You were doing a lot of figure Yeah,
Camille Przewodek 34:07
no, I just did that one. I think I want I want the best figure portrait in the planner Solana on a mud head that I did develop mud head.
Eric Rhoads 34:17
Would you explain what a mud head is for people who
Camille Przewodek 34:20
Hawthorn used to take the students out or the models out and put them against the ocean or the water in that water was enlightened the face faces were in shadow and they had they were so dark that they had the appearance of mud. So this is I don’t know if we can even do this but this is this is a development head but
Eric Rhoads 34:42
so what I’m what I’m just gonna say that for the people listening in audio only, there’s a video version and Camille is showing a painting that she did, which started with a mud head so the face is in complete shadow and a little reflected light.
Camille Przewodek 34:58
So you start Hear you start with this big the big maths. And then eventually you add, you know the features, but it’s really getting that flesh no dark enough so it stays in the shadow. So he called the mud heads.
Eric Rhoads 35:14
To me one of the most difficult things that I haven’t figured out yet is painting. Painting a scene that’s mostly in shadow with, you know, just some highlights of light to it just I don’t know why maybe I have a mental block about it. But you have any tips on painting and shadow?
Camille Przewodek 35:32
Well, you want to keep your values together, you have shadow and light. But maybe you’re not using definite color notes identifiable color notes. So shadows to me are different color notes. Yeah. So instead of having them, you know, dark, you want to have identifiable colors, like that’s a blue, or that’s a green, blue, or red, blue, or purple, or blue, purple or red, you know, that those shadows have definite color that you can identify those colors.
Eric Rhoads 36:02
Yeah, that’s and that’s part of the training that I’ve kind of lost that I probably should go back to and study some of those blocks. So I want to tell real quickly, the story of the foundation of plein air magazine, because I give you credit for having a big, big part of inspiring me to create it. And do you want to tell your version of it?
Camille Przewodek 36:25
Well, my version is you were coming to my class. Little did I know that you are a publisher. And you came to me and you know asked me about you had an idea to start a magazine plein air. And I thought, wow, you know, that’s perfect. And I encouraged you because well, that’s what I was doing. You know, and we didn’t really have a D we didn’t have a plein air magazine. So and it was such a big movement that I definitely encouraged you.
Eric Rhoads 36:54
Well, and and thankfully you did. Because I don’t know if I would have gone down that path. Without it. Of course, you know, we started it. We kept it going for two or three years, then it failed because we couldn’t get any advertising. Because if you remember everybody said, you know there’s the plein air doesn’t deserve to be in galleries. And the art materials people said, well, nobody paints in plein air. So we can’t make any money on advertising your magazine. Thanks, I’m sure changed in the last 20 years. But see
Camille Przewodek 37:27
you didn’t give up. So it said stick to itiveness is your success.
Eric Rhoads 37:33
Well, I almost got forced into giving up because I was near bankruptcy. And my bookkeeper came in and said you can’t continue to go down this path. And so I changed if you remember, I changed plein air into fine art connoisseur. Right, right. Yeah, and fine art kind of Sir, this year is celebrating its 20th anniversary. So plein air is probably about 20 Started about 22 or 23 years ago. So, but yeah, I mean, I couldn’t give it up because it was in my craw. You know, it was something that I love so much. I just it wasn’t about publishing, it was about the movement in supporting the movement. And you know, I mean, you think back to 20 years ago, what wasn’t available and, and how few shows there. We’re in now look at how it’s changed, credible.
Camille Przewodek 38:23
And I just want to say I was one of those people out there painting. And people go what, what is she doing? You know, what is she doing out there? You know? Yeah, there was me with my easel and I did some of the first plein air movements to I mean, shows the shows, but yeah, it’s grown. It’s incredible that it’s lasted as long as it has,
Eric Rhoads 38:45
well, we’ve got to figure out how to keep it going. And and the thing we have to be concerned about is eventually you and I are going to age out or worse. And yeah, we’ve got to make sure Yeah, so I had our baby
Camille Przewodek 39:01
I hope I hope I keep you know this. I said just keep me alive as long as I you know, I can think but you know, I’m out of here if I can.
Eric Rhoads 39:12
You can’t put a little turpentine in your dragon. Well, can we oh, this has been a real joy. Time flies when you’re having fun and we’ll have to do this again sometime. But thank you, for your inspiration with your website is pres wattics.com It’s PR zewodk.com And if you you look to the show notes, we’ll make sure we have it on there too. And you can follow Camille at Pres. Radek on Instagram and there’s lots of other things you can do with Facebook and otherwise but follow her on Instagram. You’ve been very active on Instagram lately.
Camille Przewodek 39:50
Yes, I have. That’s my new thing. I have an Instagram Angel and she comes every Wednesday and we get seven reels together that I post during the week. So every day I post a reel and I still
Eric Rhoads 40:05
see one thing about you that I really like and respect is that if you don’t know the answers, you go to somebody who does know the answers. I remember there was a time when you were like, getting help building your website and you know, you know, reinventing your business. You know, you don’t have to be the person who invents it all, which I think is smart. Yeah,
Camille Przewodek 40:26
yeah. Well, yeah, I do. Okay, and thank you, Eric, for keeping this movement alive and everything you do, and I will see you at the plein air convention. Oh,
Eric Rhoads 40:35
exciting. Yeah, I can’t wait. We got a big celebrity coming. I can’t even a year. All right. Thanks, Camille. All right, that was Camille Przewodek. And what a fabulous person she is. And I owe everything to her. I really would not be in this position today wouldn’t be publishing art magazines, doing art conferences, doing art retreats doing any of this if it had not been for Camille’s inspiration and encouragement. And, you know, she said, and I think this is an important point, she said that she didn’t know what I did for a living. I didn’t say, you know, I wasn’t trying to be talking about what I did for a living. I just was, you know, trying to learn how to paint and somebody who’s in your class or somebody you’re hanging out with or somebody that you’re able to impact might be somebody who’s a world changer and all they need is your encouragement. So I want to thank Camille again for that. Make sure you follow her on Instagram and, and Facebook. Now I think it’s time to go 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 41:52
In the marketing minute I tried to answer your marketing questions. I learned marketing the hard way. I didn’t have anybody to teach me it just kind of was experimentation. And I had a lot of failed mistakes, a lot of disasters, wasted a lot of money did a lot of stupid things. And so I’m trying to share what I’ve learned. I’ve tried to make myself a student of marketing for the last 30 plus years. And so I don’t necessarily approach things the way other marketing people might. And that’s not necessarily good or bad. It’s just different. So if you have questions, you can send them to me artmarketing.com/questions. You can go and actually produce a video there or you can email me [email protected] I’m gonna read the questions today, because Amandine, my producer’s a little under the weather. The first question is from Valerie Lovell Roselli I’m sorry, I probably butchered your name in Phoenix, should I start an LLC or get a business license before considering selling my art? I’m really stuck on the business side of things. Well, Valerie, I’m not a lawyer, I’m not an accountant. I can’t give you sound advice on tax matters and licensing matters and things like that. But that’s why there are pros out there who can answer those questions. And I have to go to those people too, because I don’t possess all of that knowledge. But when I launch a business and I have launched 3040 50 businesses, probably some of them have been really big, you know, big, well funded, venture capital funded businesses, some have been startups. But when I launch a business whenever I possibly can I try to test things out before I get commitment. Now, you can’t always do that, you know, if I’m going to a venture capital firm, I can’t go to them say hey, I have an idea. And I don’t know how much money it’s gonna make, they’re gonna ask you to be a little bit more buttoned down than that, and they’re, but they’re not going to invest in artists. So I wouldn’t worry about that. But, you know, I like to get a feel for whether or not it has a chance of success before I start building out infrastructure. So I oftentimes will do some marketing tests. I’ll put it out there, see if people are interested in it, then sometimes I’ll contact them and say, Hey, thanks for your interest. I’ve decided not to do it. Or sometimes they’ll say thanks for your interest, I am going to do it. But it’s going to take me a year or two years or five years or whatever. And so I like to test it in your particular case, as an artist. I think the starting point is you got to find out if your work is good enough. And are you able to sell any art now if you’re selling art now, you already know what to do. You just have to move forward to the next level. But if you’re not selling art yet, then don’t start a corporation don’t get a license, don’t set up bank accounts, and then find out that nothing is going to sell I think you need to find out if it’s going to sell first. So the alternative is to test right. And again, I may be giving you wrong advice. But you know, I think, you know, there are a lot of people who would sell something on eBay. And you may have to claim it on your taxes, I’m not suggesting it shouldn’t, but you sell a painting, or two, or five, or 10, or 20. And then you find, realize that you’ve got a business here, that’s when you want to build your business structure. So test the waters. Now, there’s all kinds of things you’ve got to keep in mind, too. For instance, you know, business, business is simple structure, but it can be overwhelming. So for instance, you know, there are different types of corporations that a good lawyer can walk you through those, I started to make a mistake, one time, I was going to set up a different type of corporation. And my lawyer pointed out to me, don’t do that. And I had gotten some bad advice from somebody. But he said, Don’t do that, because you’ll get doubly taxed. And I didn’t realize that. So I set up a Sub S Corporation, so I don’t get double the tax. But, you know, there’s a lot of different things, and they serve different purposes. Their purpose for a corporation, quite frankly, is you want to have structure, but you also have liability issues, and you have to be able to take care of those liabilities. And a corporation will protect you in theory, if you have, you know, you do something where somebody gets hurt, or damaged or killed, or, you know, whatever, that’s not likely to happen in the art world, unless, maybe they eat your paint at a workshop. Well, just sayin. So find experts, and don’t be stuck. You know, the hard stuff is finding a way to sell, the easier stuff is finding a structure because you can go online and find somebody who can teach you all that. And by the way, you can find most of the advice online and then just set up your corporation whatever.
The next question comes from Aaron Volpe in California. Aaron says, How do we engage more people? I feel like there’s a section of people who buy art, but most people don’t. People who already buy or the eyeballs everybody’s trying to get in front of and they are already oversaturated. But what about those who have disposable income but our current content to hang a factory made live laugh love sign who their walls instead of fine art? Can they be awakened? He said woken up? Can they be awakened or engaged to see how fine art can enrich their lives for there’s about 30 questions in there, Erin? Great questions. I’m going to break them down in smaller chunks. So regarding how do we engage more people? It’s a natural question. And I often fall into this trap. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not necessarily the right question. The right question isn’t how do I engage more people? The right question is how do I sell more art? And if you ask yourself the right question, you get different answers. Because the answers to how do I sell more art might be engaging more people, but they might not be? You see, there are two primary ways there’s more ways. But there are two primary ways to make money. And that is to get new customers or to get old customers to spend more or buy again. So let’s play it out for a minute. Let’s say you have about 150 people who bought art from you over the past of say, three years. Some would say myself included would say they’re probably better prospects, the new customers why? Because they’re already sold on you, they already are aware of you, they know your art, they like your style, they’ve invested in buying something from you, they already own it. So the hard work of selling them on you and your art is over. You don’t have to do that. So the only challenge is, then how do you get them to buy more art? And that’s easy. In my mind. I’ve got all that in my book. How do you convert a person who has one painting to becoming a multiple painting collector? Out? You can do it now. So ask yourself this. So how do I sell more than one painting this year, if you sold 100% of them one more, and you painted 150 paintings this year, you wouldn’t need to sell anyone new. Now selling 100% is unusual because most people don’t sell 100% of anything and people circumstances changes. The people who are your collectors might have died or gotten sick or downsized or moved or gotten divorced or lost their jobs, whatever. But you could sell 10% of them another painting and some of those would buy more than one. So the odds are pretty good. And so I’d start there ask yourself the question, how do I sell more paintings and how do I sell more paintings to the people that got them because once you get into going after new audiences, now you got to sell them on you. You got to find ways to reach them. You got to expose them to your work. You know, you’ve got to convert them from a, from a looker to an interested person to a buyer. And so that’s tougher, quite frankly. Now, the second part of your question is that people who already buy, you say, are the eyeballs everyone is trying to get in front of, and they’re already saturated. I gotta tell you, this is a story that you’re telling yourself, I don’t know where that story comes from. But unless you have data to support that, because everything is always about data, especially in marketing, unless you have data to support that you’re making an assumption, and it’s probably an incorrect assumption, I don’t mean to embarrass you, please. But be careful about the stories that you tell yourself, the story isn’t true. There are lots of people who buy art and buy it frequently and buy more and more and more. I know, lots of them. And I hear stories like, I tell myself, I’m not ever going to buy any more art, than I see something I fall in love with. And I buy it anyway, you know, and I have no room on my walls. But I’m building another room, I actually have some friends who built a bigger house with a bigger room just so they can house more paintings. So there are lots of people out there that buy art, you’ve got to figure out how to get in front of them, and how to target them. And you know that that’s, that’s easy, really. Now the next part of the question is about those who have quote unquote, disposable income, but are content to hang a factory made live love laugh sign on their walls, instead of fine art? Can they be woken up or engaged? To see how fine art can enrich their lives? Well, here’s the newsflash, Aaron. Every person who buys original art did not use to buy it. Every person has a first time. How do you be that first time? Well, there are lots of first times, maybe you’re selling people now and you’re there first times. But you know, I don’t think people run around thinking about art. Most people don’t we do. They’re not thinking about is that an original or is that a print, they see something in target they like and they go, Oh, that’s beautiful. I’ll buy it. It’s Oh, it’s $75. And it’s a print in target. And I, by the way, have some beautiful prints that I got to target. They’re just beautiful boat prints, right? So you can be frustrated over that. But if people It makes people happy, that’s okay. Now, I know people who are billionaires who have prints in their house, and I know billionaires who have original paintings in their house, and I know billionaires who have both in their house. So it’s something that they love. But once you get exposed to original paintings, and you see the difference of them in your house, then, you know, you fall in love with it, and you want more and more of them. That’s what happened to me. And so I believe that, you know, there are a lot of people out there that you can target who are going to buy paintings from you, you you have a big uphill battle, trying to convert people who buy prints at Target to spending, you know, bigger money on original art, although your art might be the same price, you never know. But you got to get in front of them somewhere. And a lot of people wander through art shows intent shows, and they’ve never bought a piece of art. I bought my first piece of art ever, as a tourist in New Orleans from a street artist. And then the second piece of art ever from a street artist in France. Well, so those are unusual. But my saying is you stand in the river, where the money is flowing. Another way of saying it is standing the river where art is selling, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. People like me survive by building audiences. Art buyers, I have an audience, for instance, fine art kind of Sir. You know, I have 310 billionaires that read it, quite frankly, if nobody else read it. Those are probably enough to survive on but you know, there’s 1000s of people who read it that some of them buy art, some of them don’t. And they you want to go into places where they’re concentrated audiences and and there’s nothing wrong with marketing on on social media, because people who are following artists like artists, and a lot of artists also buy art. But you also have to understand that you’re not necessarily going to reach concentrated levels of collectors there you might on a LinkedIn collectors group. Or you might find other ways to reach out to collectors. And by the way, not everybody who buys harder consider themselves collectors. So anyway, I think the idea is, why does something sell and how do I sell more of it? I have you know, I have magazines and newsletters. We deal with a lot of artists. I have a lot of artists who advertise a lot of galleries who advertise, but I can tell you one thing I can have two people in the same magazine, and one will sell The painting and the other one won’t. So when the it doesn’t sell, of course, it’s my fault, right? But then why does the other one that has the equal size at equivalent price equivalent type of painting? Why does that one sell. And I think a lot of that goes down to first off, it’s personal choice, somebody sees something they like, they might buy it, somebody is reminded of it, they might buy it. But it also goes deeper than that. A lot of people will have what I call brand preferences. If I say to you right now, what’s a fast food company that you think of? You might immediately think of a company, maybe it’s McDonald’s, right? And that isn’t necessarily we’re going to eat, but that’s what you think of. But if I said to you, if you came into a million dollars today, and you could buy any historic artist, who would you buy, you’re gonna have someone in the top of your mind. And there are people out there who track contemporary artists, and they say, you know, if I, you know, I get a bonus at work this Christmas, or next Christmas, then they might say, Well, I would, I would love to buy, you know, this person’s painting. And the reason that those people are on that person’s list is because it’s about top of mind awareness. And that boils down to branding, and always being there. Now, this is story about this guy. He, he came into some money, I don’t know how he came into some money. But he picked up the magazine, and he flipped through the magazine. And he had some artists in there that he was looking for that he always thought if I get some money, I’m gonna buy this artist. And one of them was in there. And the other one wasn’t he that other artists had been in the last issue. And this artist, or this person called the artist and said, Hey, Ken, is that painting still available, and he bought the painting, but the other, he didn’t bother to go to the website of the other artist. Instead, he’s kept flipping through the magazine, he saw something else he liked. It was something new. So maybe it was a brand new didn’t know, I don’t know, but he ended up buying that instead. And so that’s why you know, having that constant presence, even if you can’t afford a big presence, have a small presence, so that you’re there. Because you know, what happens a lot is somebody will buy an ad in a magazine that they’re featured in. And they’ll you know, they’ll put a big full page ad in there about the you know, themselves because they’re in a story. And then somebody will think about that. And I go, Yeah, I kind of liked that. And then they’re not thinking about you anymore. And the next time around, the next magazine comes out, and you’re not in there. But they might be thinking, hey, I remember I saw that magazine, I don’t know where it is, but maybe that artist is in here. And so we actually find that when you’re in there the second time, it actually has a good chance of success as well. So the idea is being there frequently. Anyway, there’s a lot of a lot of strategy behind that. So I think, first off, don’t tell yourself stories. There are plenty of people out there that buy art. The reality is if you paint 50 paintings a year, all you need is 50 people or maybe 25 people to buy two or maybe four people i i walked into a gallery one time the gallery owner said See that guy over there. I said, Yeah, he said he walked anyway, that one, that one, that one, that one that one that one six painting so far, he’s bought, it didn’t even ask the price. Right? So you just never know. And so the key is you got to be present. You got to be there where people can see you manage your thinking about stories don’t get negative, there’s plenty of business out there. There’s plenty of business out there even in a bad economy. And there are people out there who are spending money like drunken sailors, even though not everybody is because it depends on how much money you have. So anyway, that’s today’s art marketing minute.
This has been the marketing minute with Eric Rhoads. You can learn more at artmarketing.com.
Eric Rhoads 58:58
I just want to remind you to join us at the plein air convention, Camille Przewodek will be there and you’ll want to see her live and in person. Watercolor live is coming up in January. You want to make sure you go to that. And also please get a subscription to plein air magazine. If you have not seen my blog, where I talk about life and art. It’s called Sunday coffee and you can find it at Coffeewitheric.com and subscribe for free. And I’m on daily on Facebook and YouTube. And I’m trying to get over that big get that big number on YouTube and subscribers. It’s called Art School Live. Look for it there and subscribe when you’re there. I’m Eric Rhoads, the publisher and founder of plein air magazine and know that it is a big world out there. Go paint it. We’ll see you. 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.