In September, four plein air painters took a trip together to Paris to paint. They’ve joined Eric Rhoads on this episode of the Plein Air Podcast to discuss their amazing trip, the importance of making time for oneself and also socializing, and much more.
Listen to the full interview with Jane Hunt, Christine Lashley, Michele Byrne, and Suzie Baker below.
Bonus! In this week’s Art Marketing Minute, Eric Rhoads, author of Make More Money Selling Your Art, shares thoughts on understanding your strategy for advertising through social media, and how to market your art online without distressing your gallery.
Have a question about how to sell your art? Ask Eric at artmarketing.com/questions.
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FULL TRANSCRIPT of this Plein Air Podcast
DISCLAIMER: The following is the output of a transcription from an audio recording of the Plein Air Podcast. Although the transcription is mostly correct, in some cases it is slightly inaccurate due to the recording and/or software transcription.
If you’ve ever wondered about the plein air lifestyle today is the day you need to listen. This is episode number 238 with plein air painters Suzie Baker, Michele Byrne, Jane Hunt, and Christine Lashley. And why are they all together? Hang in there you’re going to find out in just a minute.
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.
Welcome to the plein air podcast, we have people tuning in from over 90 countries. Literally over a million people now it’s just pretty pretty darn incredible that plein air is taking on such a movement, and it is a movement. Today we’re going to learn about that movement, we’re going to tell you some things that you maybe haven’t thought about yet. We’ve got a group of guests you’re going to learn from in just a minute. This has not been a big week for me for painting, I was just telling the ladies that are my guests. We were talking before the show. And it’s like, well, you know it’s been raining. There just hasn’t been much painting going on. And we’re kind of in the last minute preparation phases. All week we were for watercolor Live, which is going on now. And watercolor live is an online conference that we do annually. This is the third annual one and we’re right in the middle of it. So I kind of slipped away to be able to do this podcast. But the next online conference coming up is actually called plein air live. And that one is very specifically for you. It does cover watercolor covers pastel oil, wash, etc. But it’s all about landscape painting. And oftentimes landscape painting outside now I could call it landscape painting live. And you’d be perfectly happy with that too, because not everybody wants to go outdoors. But once you have once you once you get out there and experience outdoor painting, it is an incredible experience and it will make your work so much better. So anyway, you should check that out. Now our next big conference coming up is the plein air Convention, which is a kind of like a big party. Now we don’t go there just a party, but it kind of happens. Plein Air convention is going to be in Colorado. And last time we held it in Colorado, we had to cancel, but we were like minutes away from being sold out. So I think that’ll happen again, especially because we announced at the beginning of this week that our celebrity guest is film actress, television actress Jane Seymour who is also a painter, and Jane is going to be joining us onstage at the plein air convention, receiving a special award but also going to be out there painting with us. And so you’re gonna have a chance if you’re a VIP member, you actually are gonna get guaranteed to get your photograph with her others you’re kind of on your own and up to whether or not she’s up to it, because I know she doesn’t want to get blasted with people. But she’s got to be part of the family. And I think that’s pretty cool. So this is the time to come if you’re going to come anytime this is the plein air to come. And also, the reason we’re doing this is because it’s our 10 year anniversary. And we have all kinds of things that are going to be fun that are planned. And so you want to make sure that you join us for the plein air Convention, which is kind of like the big enchilada, I would say. Now today my guests are four incredible painters, Suzie Baker, Michele Byrne, Jane Hunt and Christine Lashley. They took a trip to Paris together in September of 22 to paint together and I really felt like this is something that we should talk about because really plein air painting is all about community. And these people are the best at making these kinds of things happen. So let’s welcome all of our guests if we can get them all on here, one at a time. It’s gonna be a big group today. If you’re watching on video, you’ll actually be able to see what what people’s faces look like. But if you’re on audio, you’re just going to hear the voices. So for the voice, people I’m going to start out by introducing one At a time and what I would like each of you to do is give me a bullet point or two, about yourself as a painter. I’m going to start with Christine Lashley.
Unknown Speaker 5:08
Hi, Eric. Thanks for having us on. I’m I, US based artist, and I just love painting light and the landscape and Paris is a natural fit, so couldn’t wait to go.
Eric Rhoads 5:21
And Christine has a couple of videos out with Streamline paint tube as well. So next we have Jane Hunt. Jane, where are you calling from today?
Unknown Speaker 5:30
Hi, everyone. I’m in Boulder, Colorado. So I’m looking forward to coming to Denver for PACE. I hope to see you all there. And I paint plein air quite a lot out here and work on larger studio pieces too.
Eric Rhoads 5:44
All right, excellent. Next is Michele Byrne. And your Michele, right.
Unknown Speaker 5:49
Yes, I’m in Santa Fe. It’s very cold today. So I won’t be doing any plein air painting for a couple of weeks. Probably. But yeah, I live in Santa Fe. I love it. And mostly a palette knife painter, and I love Paris. I’ve been going there since I was 23. So it was really exciting.
Eric Rhoads 6:06
Oh good. And we also have videos out with Michele on palette knife painting and some other things. And last but not least, if Suzie Greer Baker. Suzie, welcome.
Unknown Speaker 6:16
Hi. Well, so I am a plein air painter, among other things. And I do lots of plein air events every year, that I started traveling with friends and as sort of one of the first plein air outlets before I knew events existed back in like 2008. So I think that’s what we’re going to be talking about today is why you should do it too.
Eric Rhoads 6:38
Absolutely. But before we get into the trip, because I really curious about it. What I’d like each of you to do is to just give me a couple of bullet points on for the people who are listening who might be painters, but not plein air painters or maybe they want to become plein air painters, they maybe haven’t painted at all talk about the benefits of plein air painting, not only from a lifestyle standpoint, but from a painting standpoint.
Unknown Speaker 7:08
Who wants to go, I’ll go first. Plein Air painting is just everything. And if even if you only captured just a few dots of color, or something about the excitement that translates to being on location. And it’s a really great way to be more mindful of letting go of expectations because you’re there, you’re present. And you’re going to see what happens. And I think that’s why plein air is just so important to keep practicing at and just have fun with.
Eric Rhoads 7:40
All right, who’s next? Yeah, Jane. Well,
Unknown Speaker 7:45
I couldn’t have said it much better than that. I completely agree. And in fact, what I got to do in Paris, which I usually don’t, when I’m in competitions, or teaching was just I divide my canvas into like two, four, even nine at one point and paint tiny little color studies. And I think I learned so much more by doing that than worrying about a finished painting or competing or any of that. So it was it was a great experience on every single level.
Eric Rhoads 8:15
Suzie, curious, do you do you had people walk up to you when you’re out painting and make commentary about your paintings? And does that make you nervous? And how should people who experienced that deal with that?
Unknown Speaker 8:30
It doesn’t make me nervous. I’m an extrovert. So I think that that’s one of the fun things about being a plein air painter. If you are if that really hinders you as you are out painting just secret, you know, secrete yourself away somewhere so that you can avoid that. And then to your point about why we should be out painting the majored in advertising and, and Fine Arts at Louisiana Tech University. And we never painted from photographs. If we were painting the figure there was a model if we were painting the still life there was a setup. If we were learning to paint the landscape we were outdoors. We didn’t call it plein air painting. We just called it painting and viewing. And you know, since the invention of oil painting tubes, we have been able to take our studios outdoors and observe from life so definitely you should do it if you’re an introvert and it makes you uncomfortable. Just find that sort of private place.
Eric Rhoads 9:35
Michele, what about you? What would you say the benefits of painting are that these ladies haven’t touched on? I think
Unknown Speaker 9:42
when you’re out painting, you see colors that you can’t see a photograph like if you make a photograph that just gets the dark skinned really dark and you can’t see the colors but when you’re out painting, you can see more color plus for me personally since I paint figures, they they get So much more action and lively. And a lot of times I can’t paint my figures in the studio like I can. Outside. I don’t know, there’s something about the excitement and the energy of the moment and being there that just makes things happen that don’t happen in the studio. So I really enjoy plein air painting for that reason.
Eric Rhoads 10:21
All right, so I’m gonna throw this out to the crowd, who was the one that came up with the idea of this trip to Paris?
Unknown Speaker 10:29
Well, we actually spent some time discussing that because I think it was several years in the making for this trip. And then we had an attempt at where we’re like, Yeah, we’re gonna do it, and then it all fell apart. So I think it took about three years to play on this.
Eric Rhoads 10:46
And it was COVID getting in the way.
Unknown Speaker 10:49
It yes or no, we were trying to make it work with some workshops that each of us had happening before or after. And in the end, we just made a commitment to travel together. And that was the way to do it, not piggyback on something else. And so I think, actually, what started the whole thing is, as some of the other people mentioned, we enjoy painting together, whether it’s at a plein air event, or I’ve had a trip where it was painting just for pleasure with friends. Suzie said she has I know, all of us have done that in the past. And it feels special, and it feels really great. And that’s what made it happen. Because if you’re going to do all of that and meet up with friends, I mean, again, why not do Paris? So,
Eric Rhoads 11:39
Jane, where did you all first get acquainted with one another and develop your friendships?
Unknown Speaker 11:45
That’s actually a really good question. Um, various plein air events. I think Suzie and I have traveled together a lot we’ve written together all over, all over the place. And Michele and Christine, this was my first time really traveling with them, although I knew I loved spending time with them and painting with them. So yeah, it just, it actually was fortuitous, because we did end up we I think Michele Christina and I were all going to be in Europe anyway. And we were all teaching over there. So we just sort of met up and then Suzie came over just to meet with us. So it was it worked out pretty well.
Eric Rhoads 12:23
So who wants to just give me an overview of the trip and and what you what you did on a day to day basis?
Unknown Speaker 12:31
Well, Eric, I have to say where I met Jane the first time so I heard I heard her interview on a plein air podcast. And then I went to the plein air convention and I’m sitting next to her at a big dinner at I forget Jane, where were we at? Do you remember what I can’t even remember what town it was because they all kind of run together for me now. But we sat next to each other and just we’ve been friends like just fast friends ever since?
Eric Rhoads 12:59
Well, I’m glad to have a
Unknown Speaker 13:01
Unknown Speaker 13:06
You did I have
Eric Rhoads 13:08
you guys ever heard the story but we had. We have these orientations at the plein air convention where you’ve probably attended them. But we tried to get the newbies in a room and put them together with other groups. So they have somebody to hang out with if they don’t know anybody, which is helpful. And one group ended up hanging out with another group and two people in that group met and started dating and then a year later got married.
Unknown Speaker 13:35
Oh my gosh.
Unknown Speaker 13:38
Well, our story isn’t that good as well.
Eric Rhoads 13:46
So tell tell me a little bit about you had how many days and what did you do every day obviously painted but did you do any museums? Any touring?
Unknown Speaker 13:57
Yeah, um, I’ll, I’ll start here. Yes, we did about six days, I believe seven, you know, including travel. And we went to the Orsay, we decided ahead of time areas where we wanted to spend some time painting. So the Tuileries the Louvre. We also went to the Musee d’Orsay, where Monet’s paintings can be seen and the round for his water lilies. Just very amazing. And we also made time for something that I might not have put on my agenda, but Suzie is a fantastic figurative painter. I think we all do, figures and some type of fashion but she put out the idea of going to Academy to ground show me error, which is a studio that offers life model drawing. And so we spent an afternoon drawing from life from the model and was fantastic And the days were spent. Typically we do try to do like a morning painting, and then an afternoon session and hopefully work through lunch. But I think that there were maybe two times when we broke off into groups of two. And definitely made time for a lot of eating. Whether it was grab and go or not. Yeah, Suzie or Michele, why don’t you talk about your gluten free Bonanza that you guys had? A little trip to the bakery?
Unknown Speaker 15:34
Oh, yeah, that was a highlight because Susie had researched where they had gluten free food and Paris, which isn’t very many places. And there was a place called Copain. I think it was, and it was across the sand. And it was a bit of a walk. And we walked over there for lunch one day, and it was just so exciting to hold because we’re both gluten free to hold the sandwich and eat it since I think we each had a sandwich a coffee and a chocolate Eclair or something. So it was it was really exciting. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 16:07
So I have been
Unknown Speaker 16:09
gluten free my entire life. My mother figured it out when I was an infant, and that I had celiac. And so I had my first ever croissant in my whole life. And I told Jane, I was going to do that. And she made me wait until she arrived. Later. She made me wait until until she got there so she could see it. You know, unfortunately, it did not quite meet expectations. But the other things you know, just being able to put a holy Claire in my mouth or a sandwich was was a very unique. I hate to talk about food so much. But it was Paris.
Eric Rhoads 16:43
Well, you are in Paris, you have have to talk to Paris. But did you have any? Any run ins if you will with the locals? Anybody commenting on?
Unknown Speaker 16:56
Well? Yes, Suzie and I did actually we were painting under a bridge. And it was raining. So we had talked set up and we were hiding under the top and then a couple of homeless guys thought we were you know, part of the their crew. And my French is okay, but not great. So I had to explain that we were Americans. And then they were like, American paintings. And then they weren’t interested. But yeah, so we we actually briefly got mistaken for locals. That was exciting.
Unknown Speaker 17:28
local homeless people. Yeah. Understand is not an unusual situation for plein air painters to be mistaken. Nancy Tankersley has a really great story about Yeah, there. Yeah. So the top of my head it, we fit the bill. So
Unknown Speaker 17:45
all I have to say to that there was there. That was a funny story that happened to you guys. And there were moments when we were very aware of our surroundings, and we were trying to be mindful of that. But I would say overall, a big surprise for me was that most people were saying things like, Thank you for coming back. We love artists painting our city, we haven’t seen artists for two to three years because of COVID. So nice to see artists coming back. And then most people, here’s the thing, Eric, we found that painting in a group, we were more apt, we felt a lot more secure. And it was beyond just the buddy system. It was basically we felt like, as a collective people didn’t bother us as much. And that was just really great. Because Paris, you know how small sidewalks. It’s not like we’re in the countryside, and we can hide behind a tree or something. But most people left us alone. And if people came up to us, they were just very positive, very positive.
Eric Rhoads 18:49
I was painting on the corner by the bridge at Notre DOM cathedral. And there were these teenagers. There’s they’re a small group of six or seven teenagers and they’re laughing a lot and they’re smoking. And then the one came up to me and he said, in his French accent, he said, Sir, you really should give up painting. It’s not very good. Nice. Oh my god, that I’ll never forget it. And I said, I said what we all say, Well, you know, come back in an hour. Exactly. Didn’t come back and it wasn’t very good. So anyway, but the joy of painting outdoors in general is so wonderful and then to be in a place like that. What is your what is your best encouragement to others to try this if they’ve never traveled to plein air, put together a group or whatever?
Unknown Speaker 19:45
I would say find, find good friends that are interested in art like you really need to all be like minded in that regard. And, you know, it doesn’t have to be paired So you can get a group of three of your painting buddies, and go to Santa Fe, or go to some campground close by. And when that is all that you’re doing for a week, and you’re sharing groceries, you’re sharing transportation, you’re sharing accommodations, you can pretty inexpensively do a trip where the goal is to paint to get up in the morning paint, have a quick lunch paint. Maybe you add some, some art museum or something, but, but the goal and if you don’t bring your spouse and it’s like 50% off of a vacation, sorry.
Eric Rhoads 20:44
And you also don’t have the pressure of feeling like you need to entertain them.
Unknown Speaker 20:49
Right. Right. And you do want it to be somebody that you have good camaraderie with, and you get along with. But But I find that you should all be painters.
Eric Rhoads 21:03
All right, any conflicts?
Unknown Speaker 21:06
I don’t think so. No, this would be a great time to arrow if we did
Unknown Speaker 21:12
a permanent record. Well, sometimes there was a different flow. Like, there was one evening that Michele and I went out late. And I think that’s another benefit of just what he was saying that there’s this point where you push yourself in a good way and your friend kind of eggs you on because I was like, Yeah, Michele, let’s go paint. She’s like, Yeah, okay. And I think Suzie and Jane had you guys work through lunch or something. There was something going on that, oh, they had a painting they wanted to finish. So anyway, Michele, and I stayed up. And we, I think we painted until like 11, or something like that. But that is that it just pushed us. I wouldn’t have done that if I was by myself. But because I’ve made a promise to Michele to show up. I did. And she was like, Oh, why are we going to do this? And then afterwards, we were like, Oh, that was awesome. It was so great. And we’re pumped because we did it and we had
Eric Rhoads 22:18
a partner or spouse with you, because you would have felt obligated to go to dinner with them or something and totally fine. On my trips. I oftentimes take vacation and go painting. But it’s kind of like okay, you got three hours, and then I’ll meet you here. And so you know, you feel this pressure, but there’s no pressure in a situation like that. So you stayed in an Airbnb together? Where did you stay?
Unknown Speaker 22:44
We we stayed at a hotel in the sixth floor on the small. We wanted to be close to the sun. And there’s a lot of good places there. Just have to think of it as a place to sleep because mostly it was going to be all about painting.
Eric Rhoads 22:58
Yeah. And your weather was great. Well, it
Unknown Speaker 23:01
did rain like many times, we would we would set up and like paint 45 minutes, and then it started raining then you’d have had to pack up. But it always seemed to rain when I was just about finished with the painting. So for the most part, it was pretty good, though, I would say. And you got that awesome painting behind you from there. That’s right.
Eric Rhoads 23:23
Like you do, too.
Unknown Speaker 23:26
I have one thing I want to add is that what Christine was saying about it pushes you because unlike the other three, Christine and Jane and Suzie, they all are still doing a lot of plein air events. And I kind of stopped doing them for a while. And I was I think I got into lazy mode. I don’t know. But I wasn’t used to doing two or three or four paintings a day. And they really pushed me which was good. Because one day One day I did. Christina and I did one in the morning we did one at lunch at a cafe where the waiters were bringing us wine and from brew lay. And then we did a third one. And then I was exhausted and I get back to the room and they all go we’re gonna go paint a night paint on the bridge. And I was like, Oh my god. Bye, but I went and I did it. And it was like so much fun. And it really did push me so it was it was good in that respect. And I think when you’re with other artists, they just pushed you to paint because there’s always someone that wants to paint more. And, and then you don’t want to miss out. So
Eric Rhoads 24:30
well, you’re you you’ve been to the Adirondacks. You know what that experience is like we oftentimes push people into doing their first Nocturne painting, you know, we’re gonna go out whether you go or not. And so some people that it just helps them and then once they’ve experienced it, they want to do it more but it’s that first time getting out and doing something like that. That’s a little bit difficult. So what were some of the other benefits of the trip for you? Obviously a deepened your friendships.
Unknown Speaker 24:59
Yeah, it’s, uh, well, I basically have been working larger from studies I’ve been trying to be mindful of my values and working on. I’ve just been kind of chaotic in the past about, oh, I’ll start a big painting. So I’m trying to be more methodical and work up small studies going to bigger studies. So I’m trying to use that experience to tap into what happened there. And the observations that I learned while I was there that week.
Eric Rhoads 25:31
So the big piece that that you have behind you, for those who are watching on video that that was related to a small study. I don’t know if the small study is is in your view or not?
Unknown Speaker 25:44
Yeah, it is. It’s here. Yeah.
Eric Rhoads 25:46
Okay. All right. Perfect. Yeah. So what do you find? I think that’s a whole nother podcast in itself. But what do you find the challenges are taking a small study and then blowing it up three or four acts?
Unknown Speaker 26:02
Well, it felt it felt very mechanical for me, and I didn’t want to do it. And Michele, who’s such a loose painter, that’s the thing is we learn from each other. Michele is a very loose painter, and I saw her working out a grid system. And she’s talking about not only the golden mean, but her. What’s the grid system that you’re using dynamic cemetery? Adventure? Yeah, yeah. And so we talked about that. And I got to paint side by side with these other wonderful artists that I went with. And I was like, wow, you know, I shouldn’t I’m going to revisit my old prejudice that I shouldn’t blow up a study as a literal thing. And I remember talking about creating large paintings and Jane working on her many studies. So I just, I’m going on here, but I learned a lot in that regard about studies. So I’m trying to use that in the studio. Eric,
Eric Rhoads 26:57
already of the others doing that. Taking these studies and blowing them up.
Unknown Speaker 27:02
Yes, I have been. Yeah, I want to do more to
Eric Rhoads 27:06
Okay. Now, what was your primary subject matter? Bridges and cafes?
Unknown Speaker 27:17
Yeah, street scenes,
Eric Rhoads 27:19
Unknown Speaker 27:20
night scenes. We did a lot. We did a lot of Nocturnes actually, pretty many.
Unknown Speaker 27:24
We did. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 27:29
Well, we kind of picked a location and then people focused on different stuff like gold light on the building or something like what was it you guys were painting D’Amato and then we were painting Cafe floor. And so even we will be in a different location. And somebody will be basically looking north and somebody be looking south? Yes, those. The Domingo and cafe floor are famous cafes. I think we have some images of the cafes that we painted.
Unknown Speaker 28:04
That I think every American, you know, we go by and we say Oh, to maggots. That’s so funny. And I learned what that was. And there are originally it was a curiosity shop or something like that. And the the carved Asian figures that are in the restaurant, don’t go are the original two, two maggots. So it’s not actually maggots. Are all of us dumb Americans. So there’s something I took away a little piece of trivia?
Eric Rhoads 28:36
Are you planning another trip? And how are you going to deal with it when everybody else that’s listening to this as Oh, can I go?
Unknown Speaker 28:44
You know, we’re really encouraging them to think about it for themselves. You know, it doesn’t have to be us. It doesn’t have to be Paris, it doesn’t have to be a place where you’re having to spend a couple of 100 nights on a on a room. Excuse me a couple $100 on a room, it can be more reasonable. But, you know, we’re talking now and everybody is sort of huddled in their studios because it’s cold outside or Eric, in our case, rainy and, and you could be thinking about your summer travels and who are who are some buddies that you’d like to approach and say, Hey, what would you think about using all of these miles these airline miles that we haven’t been able to use for the last few years and, and taking a trip somewhere and just starting that conversation and dialogue? And I think one of the benefits of it? It not. We weren’t painting for a show though some of us did put pieces in a show and we weren’t painting for a competition. But we were just painting to learn and experiment and learn from the easel next to you with what Jane or Christine is doing with with their and we and we’re having conversations about light and how the light is looks on those those buildings and how to interpret them. And we’re trying new things I tried, we went to the simile a store, Jane and I went in there and I, I picked up a bunch of oil pastels, and I tried those for the first time as a drawing mech, you know, so when, when you’re not, when you don’t have this reason, like I have to paint something that goes into a frame that goes to a show, but you’re giving yourself permission to just experiment, then then you’re really learning more than if, if it’s always meeting a deadline or meeting. A client
Eric Rhoads 30:40
takes the pressure off, I had the pleasure. I live in the Adirondacks in the summertime and I had a similar experience. But it wasn’t Paris, it was the Adirondacks at four painters come up. And we just painted together for we didn’t have a week we had, you know, like a four day weekend. But the something good came out of it. And that was that we develop deeper friendships, we learned from one another, I think we all became better painters as a result of it. And I think what you’ve done, I think we should challenge everybody who’s listening. If you’re a plein air painter, to try and figure out how to do something on your own put together a group, it doesn’t have to be Paris can be anywhere, and you will benefit from it. And pick pick people that you feel you can travel together well, so that you’re not going to be bickering or fighting over where you’re going to paint. I think that I think it worked out because you had kind of little clusters right to and to, but sometimes you all painted together
Unknown Speaker 31:40
most of the time. Another Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 31:43
One other thing I would add to the the trip idea that we kind of figured out recently is I’ve been doing this for a while with with various groups yet as as a group, we’re probably going to do another European destination. But but sometimes we’ll do something simpler. Like for example, Suzy and I are doing the Catalina Wildside show. So we are going to show up, I think in my tracks is he we’re going to show up a couple of days early and do a thing. So what we sometimes will do is if we have an event, we will tapped like, put something on the front or the back end of that even just for a couple of days. So we have extra painting time. So that’s another way to do that. Like if you’re coming to pay for something you could put a couple of days on the front or back end of that. That’s it’s it just make it logistically easier. I think,
Eric Rhoads 32:34
well, especially because of our last day as in Estes Park at the Rocky Mountain National Park, you could spend a month painting there. So if you wanted to come to the convention, and then tag on and hang out there for a few days painting, that would be a wonderful opportunity.
Unknown Speaker 32:50
It’s right, I can almost see it.
Unknown Speaker 32:54
Eric, I want to I want to say something about make sure you make time for yourself. I’ve I’ve heard comments of, Oh, you’re so lucky, you got to do that. And yes, we feel very fortunate, we got to do that. But we really carved out the time. We it’s I think it’s important regardless of what level you are as a painter to just make that time for yourself. And we just couldn’t feel stuck more strongly about that. And that’s what it is to make that time to meet up with friends. And like Dane was talking about, you know, snag two days before a conference or after a plein air event. And Michele and I had taken a trip to Yellowstone together previously, and we had a good time painting. But we both said, You know what, we wished we’d had more time together just the two of us. And I think that was another reason that I knew she she and the other gals would be great on our trip together. So anyway, just no excuses, make time for yourself. Even if the trip doesn’t work out necessarily 100% Like you play on that’s part of it, too. And you’ll learn something from it.
Eric Rhoads 34:09
One of the things that’s happening right now is there there are a huge number of new pink new painters. They’ve never been to a plein air event. They’ve never been to the plein air convention. They’ve probably never even been to something like plein air live online. And they want to get outdoors and paint and some of them are you know, there’s a couple of Facebook groups devoted just to new painters and at people who are doing this kind of thing. How do they develop these friendships? What’s your best advice on how they can come up with people who become friends like you have?
Unknown Speaker 34:44
Well, I think we all like doing plein air events. I mean, that’s where I met, everybody was doing plein air events and you know you’re somewhere for a week. It’s different because you’re in a competition. But even like here in Santa Fe, there’s something called the Santa Fe planning Aryans, and they get together every Tuesday and paint when it’s not freezing cold out, but you know, then you just kind of hook up with people. I think no matter where you live, you can find a painting group. And if you can’t find one, you could always start one on one. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 35:17
Yeah, where I live, we have a really good Art League, the woodlands Art League, and Conroe Art League, and Texas has the outdoor painters society, and look in your area for what are those groups and, and they’re likely going to have a very vast range of capabilities, you know, from maybe professional artists down to to novice and beginners. And, and just make it a hurdle that you put in your path so that you’re out of your house. And you’ve got these things that you’re doing like I know, the outdoor painters, society will do monthly trips. So if you’re in the Texas area and want to join them when they go to Lake City or out to Big Bend, then you’re putting things in your path where you’re around other like minded individuals where you can stretch and grow. Of course, taking workshops, going conventions, these are all things that if you put it in your path, you’ll get better and better and it will sort of force you out of your comfort zone of being at your house and eating Cheetos and not doing painting.
Eric Rhoads 36:36
I have had people have said, you know, I have not come to the plein air convention, because I’m not good enough. I don’t want to paint in front of other people. What would you say to that?
Unknown Speaker 36:47
Wide range? Somebody else? Yeah,
Unknown Speaker 36:50
I would address that because I am probably the most introverted of the group and I, I’m going to speak to all introverts out there I am. On the sensitivity scale, Suzie makes fun of me. She said she’s an extrovert, and she is one of my very best friends. But I’m on this end, and she’s on this end. And so it’s sort of funny, I am as introverted as you get and I am actually holed up on the side of a mountain right now. That is what I do. And I do come off my mountain sometimes. And as an introvert, I can say we do need camaraderie, we still need camaraderie. And even like Eric mentioned at the convention, at first I was like, Well, I don’t know if I can be around 1000 people, but it doesn’t feel that way. And you get, you know, you can kind of set it up however you want it to be. And it’s the same with this with with traveling don’t feel like because you’re an introvert because you don’t like big crowds, that you shouldn’t find some way to connect with other people. Because it’s it’s important, especially like minded people like this, it’s, we all need it.
Eric Rhoads 37:54
Well, as you know, I’ve said that plein air painting is the new golf. And I didn’t mean to insult plein air painting by that, but the idea that you’re outdoors, you’re challenged, you’re getting better every time you do it, in theory, to or with friends. And you’re in nature. I mean, it just doesn’t get much better than that. So the opportunity to be together in painting. So I want to thank all of you for doing this today. Because I think the encouragement of your trip has really helped a lot of us, I know I made a note to myself, Okay, go figure out how to get a trip done. You know, it doesn’t have to be to Paris, although that would be nice. And just find some place to gather some friends together. And a good starting point for anybody if you’re not used to that is go to your local club, every state has won, most communities have won. If they don’t then go to see if you can find a plein air event you might not be able to paint in the event. But some events allow other painters to paint in, or go to, you know, plein air convention or something like that. Because you want to get used to painting around other people and with other people, you know, I, I was very nervous. I’m sure a lot of people are because you don’t feel like you’re good enough. And then eventually, you just kind of get to the point where you don’t care. And you don’t have to impress anybody else. And when you get to that point, it’s so much better. I would I don’t know if you folks ever did this, but I’d be you know, I’d take a break and I’d walk around and look at everybody else’s paintings. And then I come back and start changing things based on what they were doing. I’ve stopped doing that. Now. I don’t even look at anybody else’s paintings. If I’m painting, I’ll wait. I’ll look at them after because I don’t want to be influenced.
Unknown Speaker 39:46
You know, Eric, another reason should you should be with other painters is that we all know it’s hard. We all know that. You know, half the time when you get started. You paint better Frisbees, and you paint paintings, you know many of you want to fling it instead of stick with it. And you know, that sort of pain that we experience. And then the other thing is that I have found that plein air painters are probably some of the nicest people on the planet. And I think it’s just if you’re going to paint outdoors, you have to be able to talk to people and be friendly. And so I think if you’re grumpy and moody, and you know mean curmudgeonly, then you’re not going to be a plein air painter. So if you’re thinking about getting involved, then you’ll probably find that we’re a pretty friendly lot of people want to say,
Unknown Speaker 40:38
I don’t know, Susan, were you talking about me mean, introverted curmudgeonly know,
Eric Rhoads 40:46
a little bit of a commodity.
Unknown Speaker 40:49
I’m like, Jane, I’m a total introvert. I don’t want anybody talking to me. I can give a really good, you know, sideways glance, I perfected that, like, don’t
Unknown Speaker 41:02
I want to add something to that. I know I’ve, I’ve always been an introvert as well. And when I first started painting outside, I was scared to death. And now, I find that just people admire you, just because you’re out there, and you set up an easel on the street, people will come up before I even did anything and say, Oh, that’s beautiful. And I’m thinking I didn’t even do anything yet. But I think, for me personally, being out there, and painting has made me a much more sociable person, and I enjoy it. Now. I like when people come up and talk to me and give me their advice. Sometimes they give good advice. But um, anyway, I think if you just just get out there and do it a couple times, you’ll realize that people aren’t going to come up and insult you. I mean, I’ve never had anyone insult me. But
Eric Rhoads 41:49
go to Paris again.
Unknown Speaker 41:52
They were very nice. But I agree. I agree that it’s just you have to show up. And that made me feel proud that I just showed up and tried. And I just go back to my color dots. If I get color of the sky versus color of the building. That’s the start. So I just calm down and just go way back to the basics.
Eric Rhoads 42:14
I have met wonderful people that I never would have met if I had not been plein air painting. I had, I’ve had people walk up and with their kids, and I try to encourage their kids to take my paintbrush and do a stroke or two, just to get them excited about painting or others who you know, I don’t know if you get this, but I all the time. It’s like, I’d love to do this. But I don’t have any talent. I can’t draw a stick figure. And I’m like, here, let me show you. I don’t care if they ruin my painting. Because it’s, you know, it’s not about that anyway, it’s just about the experience, and I can fix it. But I want to get people encouraged to paint and I think, you know, we’ve we’ve seen hundreds of people outside painting that have probably been inspired to paint, because they’ve looked over your shoulder and they thought I wonder what this is. I want to try this. Well, I think,
Unknown Speaker 43:02
Chesterton. Oh god. CK Chesterton said if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly.
Unknown Speaker 43:12
I just wanted to say it doesn’t have to be a point of anxiety, it could just be I like to just think I’m here to meditate on the moment. And I try to let the anxiety go because I’m anxious somebody might talk to me I’m anxious the painting my good turnout. I’m painting next to Suzie maybe I think her start is better. And I and it’s but I tried to let all of that go. And it’s so much of a better place to be in. So for me at plein air offers that is to just stop obsessing over stuff, especially as everybody has mentioned, there was no final deadline of stuff to exhibit and there was no competition. So you can play. Just have fun. Yeah,
Eric Rhoads 43:59
I think it’s very freeing Christine, to know that you you have some of those feelings when you get out there because I think a lot of us have them. And we see somebody like you or the four of you who are accomplished painters. And we think, Oh, they never go through those things. But you’re going through the same things. You’re just figuring out how to overcome them.
Unknown Speaker 44:19
Yeah, yeah, I was thinking Christine start was better. That as an example, we’re all like, oh, well,
Unknown Speaker 44:30
you’re orange for sure. On that sunset painting, Suzie.
Unknown Speaker 44:35
Yeah, that was funny. One One night, we all painted the sunset on the bridge. And it was interesting. Since it wasn’t a competition. We could look at each others and compare and try new things. That’s what made it extra special.
Unknown Speaker 44:48
I think that’s very cool.
Eric Rhoads 44:49
Yeah, that’s nice. Well thank the four of you for being on today and be willing to share about your trip. Congratulations and, and congratulations on the development of your Friendship. I think that’s very special.
Unknown Speaker 45:02
Thanks for having us, Eric. Thank you.
Eric Rhoads 45:05
We’ll see you all at the convention. Sounds great. Bye bye. Okay, well, that was fabulous. Our guests were Christine Lashley, Suzie Baker, Jane, Hunt, and Michele Bryne. So thank you, the four of you. And I want to encourage everybody to get out there and try something like that. I think it’s worthwhile. And if you haven’t yet had the experience of going out plein air painting, please do that. Okay, so why don’t we get into the marketing minute now.
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 45:47
In the art marketing minute, my goal is to answer your questions so that you can get answers. Right. Okay, so upload your questions at artmarketing.com/questions. Or you can email me [email protected] Or just send me a note at Eric at plein air magazine, whatever cranks your clock. Amandine, my producer from France, who probably enjoyed the segment because she probably felt like she was at home. Amandine is going to ask our first question.
The first question is from Anthony Mankey, Jr. from Michigan. I’ve been advertising through Facebook ads at $10 a day for a little over two months now with no sales. I am advertising in multiple countries. My question is, should I advertise in America only to get better results?
Eric Rhoads 46:41
Well, this is a loaded question. And one of the things that happens, Malcolm are excuse me, Anthony from Malka, Michigan Sir, one of the things that happens Anthony is we oftentimes will pick a tactic before we pick a strategy. And a tactic is advertising on Facebook or Instagram or advertising in a magazine or advertising on a website or sending a direct marketing piece. Those are tactics. But the strategy is where you need to start, you need to ask yourself, What am I what is my primary goal for the year? What am I going to accomplish? And then once you understand that, it changes what your tactics will be. Because let’s say you said, my goal for the year is to get a list of 5000 people who are interested in taking workshops from artists, that would be one strategy another might be I want to get a list of 5000 people who are interested in my paintings. So if you had, if that were your strategy, then your Facebook ads would be all about that it wouldn’t be about trying to sell them a painting, it would be trying to get them to you would be trying to sell them a click, click through for my free my free ebook on the 10 best painting tips I’ve ever done or ever had or the 10 best paintings I’ve ever done. So then if you have the ability to build your list, then you have the ability to talk to your list more frequently because you have their emails. And then from that you have a chance of repetition. And we all know that. If you’ve listened to this a lot, you know that repetition sells products. So but why did it not work? Well, first off, let me answer your question, Should you concentrate on America only to get better results? Yeah, probably, as a matter of fact, I would concentrate. If you take your $10 a month, I would can’t concentrate on one small area. And because that way, you get an opportunity for more repetition. But let’s let’s go back. And let’s talk a little bit about Facebook advertising. I do a lot of Facebook advertising. I spend so much money on Facebook, that when I had a problem with Facebook, they fixed it real quickly because we’re a big advertiser. So that’s I can’t tell you the amount but it’s hundreds of 1000s of dollars that I spend on Facebook and Instagram, I spend money on tick tock, I spend money on everything. Because it’s important to me, but I only spend money if I’m getting a return and a return means I’m getting at least breakeven and hopefully at least one times more, you know, in other words, a two to one on my spend. So if I spend $10 I want to get $20 back, that’s not easy to accomplish, especially with a first order. And there’s a lot of sophisticated technology and a lot of sophisticated algorithm and a lot of other things that get behind this. That will really be important to understand if you’re going to be a Facebook advertiser, in my particular case, I, I study this stuff all day, every day, I focus on it, I learn about it. And yet I still employ experts, either in my own company or experts outside of my company who have skill sets that I don’t have, because somebody who lives in that world all day, every day, might have a chance of doing better for you. Now, I have had agencies that have completely ripped me off, I’ve had agencies that have made me a lot of money. I’ve had agencies that have gotten me no progress, but their intent wasn’t to rip me off. So you got to be careful about that kind of a thing. And you’re in a little different world than I am. Because, you know, my numbers are a lot different. But start with your tactic, I mean, start with your strategy, and then move to your tactic. Now, there’s also a lot of other things, Facebook is not working for you for probably a couple of reasons. First off, I believe that you have to have multiple impressions on something, before someone will buy it. Statistically, someone needs to actually physically see something seven times before they’re willing to buy it. There are exceptions to that rule, I have seen an ad on Instagram and bought it instantly. But I’ve also seen things hit over and over and over and over again. And I wasn’t interested. But the more times I saw them, the more I got interested and then maybe eventually I bought something. And so that’s the idea of multiple impressions. And that’s true for any form of advertising is you’ve got to get multiple impressions. And so if you’re, if you’re spending in a wide area, $10 a week, or a day or whatever you’re spending, you’re not likely to get that concentration. So if you have a concentrated audience, and you spend more in that concentrated audience, you might get more Impressionism, more impressions. But it’s hard to accomplish that. And Facebook, it’s hard to control it. Facebook works essentially, on a bidding system, whoever spends the most money to get in front of a category, or a key word is the one who is gonna get seen the most. And so, right I did a campaign the other day, and the price to get in front of someone was $100, to get in front of one person. And if I spent $10, that $10 would never get in front of them now. Not since not everybody’s got to buy, I got to spend, you know, 10 times that or 20 times that to be able to make it effective. So you know, if your cost to acquire a customer is $100. That’s okay. The goal really is to outspend everybody else because if you can outspend them as long as you’re getting a return on your money, then you’re going to get more business. But most of us look at our most of us should look at this as a marketing budget, how much are you willing to spend? Now, if you had let’s say you’re selling a painting for $2,000? And you say to yourself, how much am I willing to sell that? How much am I willing to spend to get a $2,000 sale? Well, a typical in marketing, depending on what industry you’re in, is to spend 10%, some people spend 5%, if you’re in the cosmetics industry, you might be spending 30% Because you have more to spend because the cost of the product is lower, and you want to develop customers. So you might be willing to get some customers early, by spending more, and then turn them into secondary customers write it meaning, sell them a second piece, the third piece, and that’s the way advertising really should work anyways, as is get them out on a kind of a loss leader, so to speak something that is affordable, and get them in love with you and then offer something else to them. So you can get your money back that way from the second purchase or the third purchase. You know, you spent 60 days at $10 a day $600. It’s a lot of money. If it’s not working in Facebook environment and Instagram environment and probably in Tiktok environment, you can actually spend 10 or 20 bucks in 124 hour period of time and find out if people are clicking on your response and on your ad and responding to it. You don’t have to take two months till you change things. And so you probably maybe throw away a little bit too much money there where that the thing that makes people click through is Do I have a compelling offer. And that means that the ad that you write has to be something that people are interested in has to get their attention. What’s the headline that’s going to get their attention if the headline is is about, oh, you should see the work of Eric Rhoads artists they’re going to be like Yan boring. If it says look at the compelling images this artist is doing Then you’re gonna want to click through, you know, and then you’ve got to try to figure out how to convert them to a sale. Typically, in a Facebook environment or an Instagram environment, a low cost under $25 is the best way to get somebody to buy something free is even better. But then you’ve got to get them free. And if you spent if you have free, sometimes free people who buy under, or take something free, don’t spend money to get something for $5, at least they’re willing to spend money, then you get them out on a $5 sale for a brief view of something, and then maybe you sell them something more. So there’s a lot to all of this, chances are, it’s about copy. It’s about concentration, there’s always problems. But focus on reinventing yourself and seeing experiment, you know, we sometimes will run 30 or 40 or 50 ad campaigns, and they don’t work and we try to fix them fast. And, and keep testing things till they work. Testing is always the key. I love concentrated off audiences because ultimately, if I can get more repetition in front of somebody, they’re more likely to want what I have to offer. And that’s what it really boils down to, is, you know, you can’t force anybody to want something, you can put something in front of someone and hope that they have the desire to buy it. You can’t force them to buy. And so you’ve got to make sure that it’s a group of people who are gonna want to have that desire. And that’s tricky. Okay, comedy. And what’s our next question?
The second question is from Christina from Chicago, Illinois. How do you market your fine art online without distressing your gallery?
Eric Rhoads 56:46
Well, Christina, that is a terrific question. And distressing, is a really good word. So imagine this, put yourself in their shoes for a minute, you rent a space, a beautiful storefront, in a nice part of the community. You haven’t remodeled you put lights in, you haven’t lit you make arrangements with 20 3040 Top Artists. You get their work and your gallery you spend money advertising to track people you hold shows you hold cocktail parties, you hold openings, and then suddenly find out your artist is selling online direct, often at a lower price, how’s that gonna make you feel? You want to think about the big picture here, you know, if you’re wanting to sell through galleries, you need to be thinking about long term relationship versus short term game. Really top top top tier galleries will not allow their artists to sell direct. And if they do, they kick them out of the gallery. Now, if this gallerist, I can think of a gallery in New York, for instance, that, you know, they’re selling 50 and 100,000 $200,000 paintings, they’re going to make your your year for you if they’re successful. But you could blow it all by selling direct because you decided to get greedy. And so that’s something you got to be careful about. Now, some galleries will tolerate a little bit of direct sales in certain conditions. For instance, I have an artist friend who has a deal with his galleries, that he will only offer things online in a daily painting environment that are unframed, and that are under a certain size, maybe under eight by 10. And within a certain price range. But the bigger things always go to the gallery, and he never sells direct in those cases. Most artists I know, still don’t sell too much online, some do, but not a lot. You know, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not as many as you would think we all hear about these big success stories and, and we all think, well that’s gonna happen to us. There are there are certainly ways to do it. And I teach that in some of my courses in my book, but you know, selling from a gallery gives you an advantage because they are talking about you. They’re building your customer base, they’re building a collector base. They know the market, they they’re advertising and promoting bringing people in, are spending money, they’re talking to customers, they’re shipping paintings, they’re collecting the money, they’re dealing with refunds, they’re selling, they’re following up. And those things matter because you’re gonna have to do all of that yourself if you’re selling directly and then you’re not doing what you should be doing, which is painting. That’s how I feel about it. And when I’m in some galleries and they do a lot of work for me, and there’s still work I have to do like shipping and so on but the one thing I would say is never ever ever ever sell direct to a galleries client. I was in a gallery show I was only in the show for two three weeks. I sold a painting several paintings, but I sold a painting to this guy, and he contacted me He on Instagram and he said, Hey, I bought some paintings from you at the show. Do you have anything else I can see. And so I sent him a note. And I sent pictures. And I sold him, three, four or five other paintings. And when the money came in, I contacted the gallery. And I told him Listen, even though the show was over, and even though technically, I’m not in your gallery, and even though I don’t technically owe you any money, I would not have that customer if it weren’t for you. So I’m going to send you a commission. In my particular case, I gave an option. I said, I’ll send you a cash Commission, or I’ll pay you in some other way, offered something to them. And they ended up picking one of the two. And they were happy that I did that. And they said, Gee, nobody does that. You have integrity, we get screwed over by artists all the time. Now, I’ll tell you another story. I was at a gallery in Tucson, and I was sitting there meeting with the owner. And I said, Do you mind if I take these paintings down? While I’m talking to you? I said, Sure. Why are you taking them down? He said, well, a guy walked into the gallery. He said, I love that painting. But here’s how much I’m willing to pay for it. I said, No, the guy walked out, he contacted the artists direct, the artist called me and made up a story about why they needed that painting back. And then the guy ended up calling the gallery and said, hey, just FYI, I just want you to know, I bought it direct from the artists for 50% off. So the gallery fired that artist, and the gallery told all his friends at other galleries in town that that artists had wronged him. And that gallery was sending back all the paintings and no longer representing that artist. And that artist is probably blackballed among that those friends don’t play those games, they’re short term thinking they will hurt you. You know, the reality is that art galleries do a lot of work, maybe they’re not doing the work you think they should be doing. But they’re doing all the work that I described, they’re spending money, they’re promoting you, or they should be promoting you. And ultimately, they will help you sell now, if they’re not selling after a while, then have a discussion with them move out of the gallery or something else, but don’t violate them. That’s, that’s tricky. So lots of things you can do to sell direct paintings or direct prints or other things, but you got to be really careful because some galleries look at that as poison and they don’t want to deal with it. Just a thought, if you’re gonna do it, then maybe I have friends who are not in galleries at all, and they do direct selling, and they’re very effective at it. So there’s a lot of ways you can do it. So just consider the options because you don’t want to hurt your reputation. I have stories of of people who have done things like this 10 years ago, 15 years ago, that people still talk about, they still won’t touch because they were burned. You don’t want to be that person. Okay, 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 1:03:04
I want to thank our guests for today, it was a lot of fun learning about their trip, I hope you will consider taking some trips yourself. One of the trips you could take is to the plein air convention that’s coming up in Denver. And we’ve now announced that CW Mundy is going to be there. Jane Seymour is going to be there we got a huge list of incredible artists, Michelle Dunaway, a lot of others, and you want to make sure that you come this is a great place to learn how to be part of the plein air community. A lot of other things that I do that are part of that. We’ll talk about that another time. It’s been fun this week. You missed watercolor live, but you can join us next year. We’ll talk about that sometime in the future. And please, please, please, please come to plein air live, you’re going to love that we’re going to teach you all about plein air painting and landscape painting from some of the top masters in the world who do that. And that is a really terrific place. We got a whole lot more faculty that we’re going to be announcing. And we’re very excited about that. And we’re also going to be doing segments on, you know, the kind of easels and how to pack your easels. I’ve got some new things I’m putting together for that. I’m actually reaching out to the easel companies trying to get them all in so I can demonstrate the differences between them. It’s going to be a great session. But come to plein air live you’ll you’ll really enjoy it. I do a blog on Sundays. It’s called Sunday coffee and you can find it at Coffeewitheric.com and subscribe for free. I’m also on the air daily most weekday, every weekday, really on Facebook and YouTube. My show is called Art School live. Just go to YouTube and search art school live and then subscribe. We’ve got over 100,000 subscribers now we’re pretty excited about that. And we’ve had Oh, I don’t know probably over a million people view the program. We started that with COVID and it has continued since then. Please give me a follow on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, et cetera. At Eric Rhoads, and that’s me. I’m Eric. Eric Rhoads, the founder of plein air magazine, and host of plein air live and plein air convention. I will see you. Thanks for being here today. Get outside and paint. It’s a big big world so go paint it. 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.
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