Plein Air Podcast 246: Debra Huse on Creative Visualization and More

In this episode, Eric Rhoads interviews Debra Huse, a contemporary American Impressionist who uses rich color and bold, fluid strokes to capture the light and drama in her paintings.

Listen as they discuss:
– Her path in art and how she opened an art gallery
– How she uses creative visualization to create positive outcomes
– Debra’s marketing practices and her day-to-day process of being a professional artist

Bonus! In this week’s Art Marketing Minute, Eric Rhoads, author of Make More Money Selling Your Art, addresses whether or not you should do art prints, and why or why not you’d advertise in group ads.

Listen to the Plein Air Podcast with Eric Rhoads and Debra Huse here:


Related Links:
– Debra Huse online:
– Plein Air Magazine:
– Fall Color Week:
– Plein Air Convention & Expo:
– European Fine Art Trip:
– Submit Art Marketing Questions:

The Plein Air Podcast has been named the #1 Painting Podcast by FeedSpot for two years in a row. New in 2023: FeedSpot has named Eric’s Art Marketing Minute Podcast as one of the Top 25 Art Business and Marketing Blogs on the web.

FULL TRANSCRIPT of this Plein Air Podcast
DISCLAIMER: The following is the output of a transcription from an audio recording of the Plein Air Podcast. Although the transcription is mostly correct, in some cases it is slightly inaccurate due to the recording and/or software transcription.

This is the Plein Air Podcast with Eric Rhoads, publisher and founder of Plein Air Magazine. In the Plein Air Podcast, we cover the world of outdoor painting called plein air. The French coined the term which means open air or outdoors. The French pronounce it plenn air. Others say plein air. No matter how you say it. There is a huge movement of artists around the world who are going outdoors to paint and this show is about that movement. Now, here’s your host, author, publisher, and painter, Eric Rhoads.

Eric Rhoads 0:00
This is episode number 246 with the incomparable Debra Huse. And she’s a rock star. And if you don’t know her, I think everybody knows her. But if you don’t know where you’re about to, and you’re gonna learn a lot about plein air painting. So hang in there for that. Wow, you know, this has just been the season for painting. It’s just like, I don’t know what it is. But everybody wants to go out and paint. And it’s been glorious. I’ve just been getting a lot of painting in. I took a little trip over the weekend. Got a little bit in, you know, it’s kind of nice. So just trying to get it in wherever I can. Because I’m trying to get tuned up for the plein air convention. You know, I, you know, I learned a lesson a long time ago, we had Max Ginsberg in for a video, you know, we shoot these art instruction videos, we use professional crews do it right. And Max comes in and he said, I’m a little nervous. But I’m ready. And I said, Okay, he says I practiced every day for the last 16 days, because I wanted to be ready. I thought, Man, that’s the mark of a pro. And you know, if you don’t paint, even sometimes for three or four days, you’ll lose a little bit of it. And when you paint two or three or four or five days in a row, you kind of get tuned up. And that’s what I’ve got to do before the plein air convention is get tuned up, you know, so I’m ready. So I don’t completely embarrass myself. Even though I’m not a professional painter, I just do it for fun. But conventions coming up and it’s going to be in Denver, we still have some seats left, it’s our 10th anniversary, we have gifts for everybody, which is going to be something we don’t normally do. And lots of prizes. We have celebrity guests, Jane Seymour, CW Mundy’s coming in, we got some big surprises. And it’s gonna be a really great time. And it’s kind of like it’s kind of like a, a yearly high school reunion. For people who love plein air. You know, this is the largest paint out in the world. You know, if you have a paint out, like oh, let’s say one of the I won’t name events, but some of the events and there are hundreds, you know, you can get 20 30 40 painters painting together, this is going to be like 1200 people painting together. It’s a lot of fun. We’re going to be painting Colorado, and we have some incredible, really top tier artists who are going to be teaching so it’s going to be a lot of fun. Coming up after the interview, we have the art marketing minute and I’m going to be touching on some advice on advertising in group sections because I got a question about that. And I got a question about should I should I not do prints. So we’ll talk about that. Plein Air podcast number one again, second year in a row in feed spots, list of art podcasts. Also, we just made it onto their top 25 Business art blogs. That’s for So thank you for that anyway. What else is going on? Well, fall color Week is coming up. That’s an artist retreat I do in the fall. And that is we’re about half sold out on that. And that’s not unusual for this time of year, but it’ll sell out in the next month or so probably. Anyway. Great place to paint full color. It’s just a retreat. There’s no instruction, we just hang out together and paint this year in the Adirondacks. Next year. Who knows, you never know if there’s gonna be a next year these days. Okay, and also I’ve got a new trip. This is not a painters trip, but a lot of painters go. This October, I’m doing a special art collector trip to Stockholm and Madrid. We go behind the scenes of the museums. We’ve just made arrangements as a brand new museum that just opened in Madrid and we’ve just made arrangements for our group to get in. It’s hard to get into. This is going to be very cool. And anyway we will do the art and we will visit artists and we do. A lot of other things, I do paint, I slip, I take my stuff and I slip out on our free time or shopping time and I’ll do a painting here and there, but it’s not a painters trip. But anyway that’s coming up and you want to learn more about it at I also have a big trip coming up for painters, but I haven’t announced it yet, but I will soon. Okay, my guest today is Debra Huse. Debra is a contemporary American impressionist. She uses lots of thick brushstrokes and rich color fluid strokes to capture light and drama in her paintings. And she is a true inspiration. And the best part of all, she’s from Indiana, and I’m from Indiana. Debra, welcome to the plein air podcast.

Debra Huse 5:45
Thank you, Eric, fellow Hoosier.

Eric Rhoads 5:48
But the one thing that we should probably say, not that not that there’s anything wrong with Indiana, but we both escaped. That’s right. Back, how did you end up in San Diego.

Debra Huse 6:02
I’m actually grew up in Indianapolis and went to Indiana University and was working there after college. Well, we’ll probably get into all that. But after college, I was in advertising and they had an opening in Newport Beach, California. And I thought why not? No. Might as well give it a shot. So

Eric Rhoads 6:22
are you a graphic designer? Yes, I

Debra Huse 6:24
was an art director for an ad agency working on the Epson computer account. Really?

Eric Rhoads 6:30
Yeah. Was it what was the agency?

Debra Huse 6:33
Cochran Chase living student in Newport Beach?

Eric Rhoads 6:36
Cool. Congratulations on that. That’s a great, and that’s that explains why you’re such a good marketer, because you have all the artists I know are one of the better marketers.

Debra Huse 6:47
Oh, thank you. I did take graphic design in college. Thinking I need a way to make money. You know, so, but I’ve always had a business business running in my in my vein, so luckily have a lot of marketing experience.

Eric Rhoads 7:03
So you were you were you painting before you became a graphic designer? Did that come later?

Debra Huse 7:10
Oh, I started painting when I was probably six. Yeah, yeah. My mom was a painter. And so was working alongside her quite a bit. She got me into lessons when I was 10. With a professional artists that was on our block in Indianapolis. Who was that

Eric Rhoads 7:25
artist? Pardon? Who was that artist?

Debra Huse 7:29
Ah, boy, you caught me off guard, I’d have to look at my record. I’ve tried to look her up online and stuff. And I don’t know where she is. I think they moved to Canada or Alaska or somewhere crazy.

Eric Rhoads 7:40
Someplace where they don’t have the internet. Hopefully that she won’t hear you forgetting her name. Right. Right. Right. So tell me a little bit about your mom is an artist, a hobbyist or what’s the deal there.

Debra Huse 7:52
She was a hobbyist but she did paint in pastel watercolor oil and acrylic. And she did some boat paintings. And she did some charcoal sketches. She kind of did a little bit of everything pen and ink. And so I was right by her side quite a bit of working. So she got me into those lessons right away. And then in grade school, actually, we had an art teacher. And she in sixth grade was allowed to pick one boy and one girl to go to college courses in the summer at John Herron School of Art in Indianapolis, which is very old and prestigious. And of course, I was bound and determined to win that award. And I did and I got to spend the summer doing all college courses at 12 years old. So that was really a big impression.

Eric Rhoads 8:38
So what kinds of things were you doing any college courses that you couldn’t do? It was at the level of teaching? Was it life drawing?

Debra Huse 8:46
Well, yes, well, I got to do life drawing, and I got to do printmaking and pottery and all sorts of things. It was just really, really wonderful.

Eric Rhoads 8:56
Now back to your mom. Now that you’re a professional and have been for quite a while. First off, is she going to be listening to this?

Debra Huse 9:06
I wish she’s in heaven listening.

Eric Rhoads 9:08
Okay, all right. Well, what’s my mom was also an artist. My mom’s paintings were pretty amateurish. And I don’t mean that derogatorily it just she never really had the time or maybe desire to go to the next level. How would you rate your mom’s paintings?

Debra Huse 9:29
Um, I have them all around my house. Actually. I really love them. Oh, that’s nice. They’re really beautifully done. No tan style, you know, just in black and white and, and then I have I have one of her boat paintings. It looks to me like a Russian impressionists. I mean, I look at it every day. So she

Eric Rhoads 9:49
was crushing it.

Debra Huse 9:50
She she was she was really versatile.

Eric Rhoads 9:53
That’s That’s nice. Yeah. So you you go to this college course at 12 years old, what happens then?

Debra Huse 10:03
Well, that made such a huge impression, you know. And then, so I was I was constantly painting and drawing at home. And then as I went into high school, and then into college in college, I really got to take all of the courses. You know, I took everything like a lot of people do trying to figure out what they’re going to do. And after college, so I don’t know if you know this, but I got a job in Nashville, Indiana was CW Monday. And so he

Eric Rhoads 10:31
must have been about 12 at the time, right? Yeah.

Debra Huse 10:35
That’s right. So we were working for his brother in law, doing sports illustration. And so we spent three years in a big art studio in Newport, Newport Beach, in Nashville, Indiana, and did lots of big sports illustration. So we worked off also did some stuff for Indiana University, like covers for basketball and football, but CW and I did a lot of posters that were then sold into the national arena. It’s like for Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and all sorts of really cool things. So that was a crazy, wonderful experience right out of college.

Eric Rhoads 11:10
Well, I’ve seen some of CW as illustrations of Bobby Knight and basketball things and but I had no idea you had that linkage. So when you were in art school, did you train as an illustrator?

Debra Huse 11:23
When I’m, so I was at IU. So I was there during the Bobby Knight era. And that was very exciting. But I trained as a fine artist and a graphic designer, so that I learned both skills so that I could make sure that I could get a job right out of college, and then work my way into painting, which was always my plan. And I’m glad you brought this up, because it reminds me of a great story in art school in college was life drawing, and I was sitting on the floor with 30 other kids, you know, and the teacher said, All right, I hate to tell you this, but only 10% of you are gonna go on to be professional artists. And at that moment, I said to myself, well, I’m going to be one of those three people in this class.

Eric Rhoads 12:09
Yeah, nothing like nothing like bursting everybody’s bubble. I suppose it was intended to get you guys inspired and work hard.

Debra Huse 12:15
Right? Right. Exactly. And then it’s funny too, because in college, well, my brother was big in the business school in IU and I wanted to quit and go quit art and go to business school because I thought it sounded so exciting. Plus, I wouldn’t have to take language. So I was kind of sneaking out of the language thing. And then I called my dad and I said, Okay, I’ve decided I’m gonna switch majors, I’m gonna go to business school, thinking that he would say great, and said, he said, No, you’re not absolutely not. You’re staying in art school?

Eric Rhoads 12:48
Well, you know, that’s the opposite of what we normally hear. It’s usually the parents saying, why don’t you go get a degree in something else? So you have a backup in case this art thing doesn’t work out?

Debra Huse 12:59
Exactly. So that was the coolest thing. And thank God he did, because I might have been in you know, working in an office for the rest of my life. Instead, I’ve got this wonderful life as an artist and traveling the world debate. So I’m grateful for that.

Eric Rhoads 13:15
So how will you transition out of this thing, and in Nashville, Indiana, doing sports, member sports, drawings, illustrations, what happens next?

Debra Huse 13:28
Well, I worked, of course, in the restaurant a little bit. So our family is big in the restaurant business. So I didn’t, I worked in restaurants for a while. But I also then finally got this art directing job with Saatchi and Saatchi agency in Zionsville, Indiana. And so I then I was all set starting to start my graphic design career and art direction career. And so that’s how I was able to then go from there to California and work in the ad agencies for a while, and I would work all day. And then I would come home and have dinner. And I would allow myself to rest until 7pm. And then I would pay from seven to 10 every night in my suit in my apartment. So I was always showing, I just wanted to make sure I didn’t let that escape you. I was worried I would get caught up in the advertising world and then not get back to painting. So I stuck with my painting. And that worked out really well. I just started showing it small locations here in California. And then pretty soon I was working with my own for my own self as an art director. And I had my own clients. And then right then is when I had the opportunity to open the art gallery in 1998. And Debra Huse gallery was Whoa, big, big jump.

Eric Rhoads 14:44
So were you doing plein air painting at the time?

Debra Huse 14:47
That’s right when the movement was starting, and I got so excited, you know, because the artists here in Southern California were doing it and actually John Cosby was a big instigator and Sime scholly on And they had people out painting and then they got a show at the Orange County Museum of Art. And that really knocked my socks off. I’m like, Well, wait a minute, don’t go anywhere without me. I’m jumping on this bandwagon. And so I stopped taking, I started working outdoors and started doing the plein air events, I mean, starting to just paint outdoors. And eventually I was doing the events like in Makita. Carmel Laguna were some of the very first events here in California. And I was able to eventually just let all my clients go away so that I could paint and travel full time that was the art gallery really made a huge difference. I was able to teach there. I could bring in, you know, wonderful artists like Ken Beck as John views, and Randy Sexton all sorts of artists, friends of mine, ask them if they would like to teach a workshop. And then if they would like to show their art at the gallery, and we got to be really good friends. I ended up been learning a lot from all of these artists, which is a really wonderful thing. What a great opportunity. Yeah, yeah. So it all went hand in hand. So I just picked my favorite artists, ask them to please come to the gallery for a show and offer them an opportunity. And then in exchange, you know, I got the opportunity to learn from them. So that was really a great way to to build and get started. Pretty smart. And worked out perfect. That was just a seat of my pants luck. Come on.

Eric Rhoads 16:28
Well, we all have a little bit of luck. You know, it’s interesting because the very first plein air show I ever attended. I was not a painter. I was a photographer, and I was on vacation and Laguna Beach just there happened to be in it may have been one of the first ones I don’t remember but la Papa event and we went, we just kind of walking by and they had this thing in the park and there were people painting and I guess we walked into the show. And I remember looking around and all these beautiful paintings in the wall. I didn’t really know what they were, I didn’t know anything about plein air. And I remember seeing a little small, maybe six by eight that we fell in love with. And but it was a lot of money for us because we had no money. And so we walked outside to talk about it, we decided we would splurge and spend the $500. And we came back and it was sold. But that was our first exposure to plein air painting. And really, I guess I didn’t even see people painting. I just saw the show. And but you were there at the at the resurgence of the beginning, you know with Cosby and a lot of the plein air painters of America people. And you know, I came in much later. So it’s it’s really fascinating to hear the stories about what was happening then and because you, you folks get all the credit. And really, we would not have the movement that we have today without the things that you were doing and John Cosby was doing and some of the others. So applause to you.

Debra Huse 18:11
Well, that’s so That’s so kind of you. But you know, you have to give applause to yourself to You did a wonderful, wonderful research into yourself. So together Together, we move forward. Right, Eric? Well,

Eric Rhoads 18:23
I think the goal here, I think everybody has the same goal in mind. At least I would think so. And that is that, you know, once I started painting, I discovered that it was so life changing for me, you know, here I was a business guy. And I started painting nights and weekends. And then I went out painting plein air and that was so invigorating, it was hard in the beginning, but that I just you know, I, I felt like I need to help other people find it. That’s why I started plein air magazine, et cetera, et cetera. And the rest is they say 20 Some years later is history. But what what do you think we need to do to make sure that this movement continues. That’s the one thing I leave, I lose sleep over, you know, we have when we started the magazine, there probably weren’t three or four plein air events in the world. Today, there are three or 400 events. You know, the events are some of them are healthy, some of them are not healthy. You know, there’s there’s some pros and some cons with what’s happening, you know, where there’s a lot more people painting a lot more people painting at events. But there’s also some deterioration of quality. If they’re not well juried. What do we do to keep this all alive? What do we do to keep this booming so that when you and I are gone? You know, we’re just a distant memory, but everything is still happening?

Debra Huse 19:53
Well, I think the most important part is that people are outdoors and where people can see them working and that sort really important thing, kinda like an advertisement? Yeah, it totally is. And it really, people are fascinated to watch an artist’s work. And with the events happening, you’re allowed to even talk to people, you know, and meet them. And, and that’s all, it’s all just a wonderful thing I think it will carry on on its own because of the beauty that, that the people that do paint outdoors and people like you that have exposed other people to that, you know, it really will just continue because it’s such a wonderful thing for everyone. And the more viewers can see the artists working on location, the more that then they start to look around, and they start to see the beauty and they start to be so involved. And hopefully they are becoming collectors, you know, and so on. So there I think there’s always room for everyone and every kind of art surely,

Eric Rhoads 20:47
well, you know, we need the collectors, we need them to buy the paintings at the events. And, and by the way, there’s nothing quite so spectacular as a house filled with paintings, original paintings. And I never used to know that until I walked into somebody’s house filled with original paintings. And it was like, wow, this is different. It feels different. So I think you’re right, I would like to see, and I’m seeing thankfully, you know, a lot of 20 year olds and 30 year olds getting into it. And I think that that’s really encouraging because we need to make sure that this isn’t just a baby boomer thing and then and then it disappears.

Debra Huse 21:27
Well look at I noticed, excuse me, I noticed that there’s a lot of teaching now. For instance, Michael Obermeyer here in Southern California has been teaching a fabulous plein air class. So the Laguna College of Art and Design, and a lot of other colleges around the country, I’m sure doing a lot more plein air classes. I actually got to take classes outdoors to in college, which is a wonderful thing. You know, we I was painting a pastel and and they did take us outdoors to paint. So it has been around for a while. But I would say now that every painter that goes into most any college is going to have the experience of painting outdoors, which I think is a really awesome thing. Well, I

Eric Rhoads 22:08
hope so if there are college professors listening to this, let’s make that happen. Because, you know, we hear we hear a lot of stories about some college art programs that have even abandoned things like life drawing, and I think, life drawing and I think plein air painting are essential, you know, you don’t really learn to see shape, color and light until you’ve gotten outdoors and painted it. And so, you know, everybody listening, everybody has a hand in this if you’re into plein air painting, you know, introduce more people to uh, you know, the more people that we can bring together doing this, the longer it’s going to last

Debra Huse 22:47
and buy some artwork. I lots of artwork, because the painters that are doing the artwork, love your support, and we really appreciate any support like that. That’s great, you know,

Eric Rhoads 22:59
and the reality is, it’s all very undervalued. You know, I think there’s a lot of a lot of growth that’s going to come out of this in terms of pricing. So you, you tell me a little bit about this gallery you started in 1998 1998. Yeah,

Debra Huse 23:17
it’s funny, I almost forgot that I used to paint a pastel I paid him a pastel for 20 years. And that’s right when the gallery was opening and the plein air scene around here was starting. I know it’s been around for a long time, but it’s starting to get resurgence around 1998. And so I had the opportunity to open this gallery I was working upstairs at the same location doing my graphic design work. And my friend Al Newman had the downstairs and had as an art gallery. And then he decided to buy a building and I was able to take over the entire upstairs and downstairs space and I just didn’t know if I should or what should I do and I thought you know, I’m just gonna go for it. And so it’s here it is our 25th year anniversary. This is amazing. So I’m really happy that I dove in and you know by the seat of my pants just pulled everything together and that’s sometimes what you need to do because if you have worries or you’re afraid they just like your advice on Sunday, you know, there’s never enough time so you got to if you’re worried about it and you have all these excuses reasons why not to you have to just dive in and go for it. Or you have to take those trips like you were talking about and enjoy your life. So

Eric Rhoads 24:35
well you know, you hear that story from so many entrepreneurs that they just you know, they held their breath and they jumped in they were afraid Are you afraid?

Debra Huse 24:45
Um I was scared and naive you know ignorance is bliss Eric so I just Yeah, I just thought let’s do it. You know what’s what’s the worst that can happen? I can close him and keep going painting you know, at different locations. So

Eric Rhoads 25:01
the fact that you lived through this, you’ve lived through a couple of recessions that you’ve lived it. And you know, the failure rate of art galleries is pretty high. And the fact that you’ve done it that long, congratulations.

Debra Huse 25:14
Well, thank you very much the sheer determination, I have to tell you, because when the chips are down, you just have to, I’m sure you’ve done this a million times with all of your businesses, when the chips are down, and the economy’s down, and you just have to turn things around to work on your behalf as best as you can. So like when the pandemic pandemic came about, you know, I never done zoom, and I’ve never done classes online. I’ve never done anything like that. I always thought, Oh, that’d be cool to try one day. And so when that opportunity came about, I realized, no, it’s now or never got to just jump in. And I was gonna start my first online class with Lisa skilling. And she goes, Well, don’t you want to practice? And I said, Nope, we’re gonna set a date. And we’re just gonna do it. Because if we don’t, you know, if I practice or worry about it, I’ll never get around to it. So that’s, that’s a really good way to get yourself to do anything. I think it’s just make yourself dive in and go for it. Yeah, so

Eric Rhoads 26:08
that’s called Ready. Ready? Ready? ready fire aim. Exactly right. And this is a disease that a lot of people have, I was talking about this this morning with one of my executives, you know, that we all fall into this trap of, let’s overthink everything, let’s wait till everything is perfect, nothing will ever be perfect. So you just got to get it out there, you did the right thing. And, and it probably allowed you to survive, your timing was perfect.

Debra Huse 26:39
It was perfect. It really, really saved me because, you know, nobody knew what to do. And I actually I think I saved all the people that took my classes along with him saving me, we saved each other. And it was a really important move forward to be able to kind of hold hands and reach out through the internet. Thank goodness for all of this new technology. To do that,

Eric Rhoads 27:02
yeah, well, you know, we were pretty afraid we, we weren’t sure after being in business since 1986, that we were going to survive, and we almost didn’t. So wow, same thing, you know, it’s just kind of like, hold your breath and jump in and hope something works.

Debra Huse 27:17
Yeah, it’s amazing how, also, you know, I do a lot of creative visualization. And so I try to imagine a picture and can consider that this is already happening, that the positive things are coming in your way. As long as you’re positive with the universe, and you’re giving person I think the university has a way of giving back and coming to your rescue at time. So that’s a really good example that working out,

Eric Rhoads 27:44
well they say, they say that you need to be instead of saying I’m gonna, you say I am, I am, right, whatever, whatever that means, you know, I am doing a show at the Carnegie Hall or I am doing this whatever, you have to put yourself into that and trick your brain your subconscious mind. Debra, I one thing I’m really curious about is I think we I don’t think we’ve ever really done this, but there are a lot of artists listening in 90 different countries, a couple of million people who will hear this. What is the life of an art gallery owner like because, you know, we have we the question, the biggest question I ever get in my art Marketing Podcast is how do you get into an art gallery? And I, I always tell them, you know, there’s a whole story I tell them, but it’s like you want to be invited in you don’t want to just be dropping in and bugging them. Because I never get anything else done. But, you know, talk to us about the behind the scenes what you have to go through you and your partner, Lisa have to go through on a day to day basis to keep the doors open. What’s that look like?

Debra Huse 29:01
Well, you know, I feel like I always do my lists like my friend Eric Rhoads suggests. And I have my little checkboxes, I like to be always thinking and planning of how am I going to get money coming in to make sure I can stay open and then secondly, how to get collectors out of their beautiful homes in this area and come down to my art gallery to see what we have and fall in love with it and take home. So that’s a constant, you know, challenge of getting a big calendar, always having things going on always planning events, you know, to bring in people that community that collectors so that everyone can interact and then learn how much that they have to have art in their lives. I mean, art is so important and it brings everyone so much joy and people get busy and they don’t remember to come to your store, you know, they so they need to always be reminded to come on down. So um You know, we have bookkeepers I like to build a team, I have a bookkeeper, graphic designer, when I was in charge by myself, and now that I have Lisa, it’s so wonderful because we have even a bigger team. And she’s exactly like minded like I am. So she really enjoys coming up with new ideas and trying new things. And so it’s really a challenge, you know, you have to, it’s just like, for the artists, that was like wearing a lot of hats, you know, the artist is same thing needs to be always thinking, well, here’s how I like to put it, having lots of balls in the air. And I’m sure you do the same thing with all of your stuff, you know, you have to have a lot of things going on. So you can catch one here, catch one here, catch one here, and money will be coming with those things, opportunities will be coming with those things. And so the more you put yourself out there, so you have to always be looking at the magazines, you know, looking at the ads, looking at the opportunities, looking online for the opportunities for the art gallery, and for the artists themselves. And so it’s just a constant thing, then, also, the biggest thing I want to stress for artists that are going out there is not only to make sure that you’re doing your best work, and then seeing if you feel like your work would fit into a gallery when you walk in there. Because you do have to imagine like Eric said, you know, there’s 100 people every month that say, oh, you know, I’m gonna bring my aunt over, we’re going to be in your gallery or things like that. And so you have to realize that you have to not only have your best work your best foot forward, try to do things to not just barge in. But I like to really stress the part about being nice, being easy to get along with and being happy,

Eric Rhoads 31:39
personally a story there’s a story behind that. Well, names?

Debra Huse 31:44
No, I’ve just oh, well, there have been a few stories. But I would just like to say I have learned I learned really quickly right off the bat with art with the art business, especially owning a business, the gallery. And I only want to work with people that are really nice. And people that will, you know, work with you in a positive way. You know, if it’s like pulling teeth, forget it. You know, goodbye, I’ll see you next time. And there’s somebody over here that’s really nice, that wants to work people

Eric Rhoads 32:14
making demands. I had an art gallery owner telling me he was this was a New York gallery. He was standing there about to close a client on a very expensive painting. They were very close. This guy wanders in and says, oh, excuse me, are you accepting any new artists, I’d like to show you my work. And in the time that the guy had had to basically say to the guy nicely, you know, I’m right in the middle of something if you can wait, you know, and the guy, you know, said, no, no, I don’t have time to wait. Anyway, the client literally walked away, and they lost the sale. And you know that artists will never be welcome to the gallery again. But you know, things like that happen. And I that’s why I think you have to be, you want to be strategic.

Debra Huse 33:05
That’s very true. Plan ahead and plan to I mean, really, it’s very hard to get into galleries often. So I think there’s a good friend that you and I have, which I won’t mention their name that they love to get involved with galleries and with plein air shows, and this is how this person has ended up getting into a lot of fabulous events, becoming friends with some of the, you know, top artists in the country, and getting into galleries that way, because it’s all about your personality, your willingness to work in exchange, and, you know, people like to have you around and things like that. So I would say that would be another opportunity for people to maybe offer to, you know, work at a gallery for a weekend, you know, here and there help out doing a show or something like that. So

Eric Rhoads 33:54
what would you say to the artist who and we’ve seen the tirades online of why should I pay a gallery X percentage of my sales? They don’t do anything for

Debra Huse 34:05
Oh, I’m so glad you brought that out. Because guess what, I didn’t make a bunch of money running a gallery, I really was kind of about the same, it was about the same percentage. So it wasn’t like because I could sell my work and do all that stuff. There’s so much work that goes along with it and there’s so many overhead costs for advertising you know, employees and insurance and you know, it goes on the list goes on and on.

Eric Rhoads 34:36
The big ones are rent.

Debra Huse 34:38
Oh, yeah, of course. Well, especially where we are above all Island, you can imagine the rent and you know, the better rent often the more rent you pay means you’re in a better location to find the collectors and so all of those things work hand in hand also so know the galleries are very important because when a collector walks in, all they want to do is talk To about their artists, you know, we don’t like to sell, we like to just tell artists to tell our collectors how much we love the art and why and let them enjoy, why. And help them to talk about what they like and things like that. And so that brings people in and to just think that you can just sell off of the internet is, is maybe after you’re fully established, that would be possible. But people need to learn who you are, and know that you’ve been accepted by a gallery. And that gives you right there that gives you credibility. And then all the people in our gallery, for instance, you know, we live all the art, of course, so every gallery, gallery, I’m sure loves all of their artists that are able to speak to the collector in a way that touches their heart more and more personal. And then they’re allowed to come into the gallery and meet the artists at these shows. Excuse me, and then maybe also see a demonstration or something. Once people meet the artist, you know, they want to buy a piece not only of painting, but a piece of the artist, a piece of artists soul, a piece of art is hard. And it happens that way with a gallery to people become attached to the people that run the gallery that love the art and love the artists and then they want to be a part of that. And so all of it really does go hand in hand. And the opposite

Eric Rhoads 36:17
can be true as well. I had a gallery owner that we both know, say to me, someone came into my gallery one day and they had a painting in their hand and they said, after meeting the artist, I cannot look at this painting anymore. I want a different painting because the artists was so rude to me. That was terrible. So Debra, let’s talk about plein air painting for a minute. And because this is after all, the plein air podcast, I would encourage everybody to go into your gallery. Tell everybody where it is.

Debra Huse 36:54
Oh, sure. It’s called the Huse Skelly gallery. I have our hat on right here. So you can see. And I’m Debra Huse and Lisa Skelly is the current owner. She actually owns a gallery now. And we are located on Balboa Island, California, which is a darling little island in the harbor. It’s not out in the ocean or anything you can drive there. And there’s a lot of quaint little shops, beautiful homes and a gorgeous harbor where I get all those shots from my regatta paintings and such. And it’s a really beautiful, it’s a little hidden gem. It’s two stories. And we probably have about 400 paintings there. And they’re mostly plein air paintings, or they’re done from plein air studies. And so you’re welcome to come and enjoy and be inspired. Come see us.

Eric Rhoads 37:42
Yeah, I think it’s worthwhile. I’ve never been I, I’m embarrassed. Well, we sent a crew out there to shoot video with you. And then you know, you’re taking them for a boat ride and they’re sending me texts with. They’re like, Yeah, I’m working. Yeah, I’m on the boat. Drinking beer. Yeah, I’m working. Yeah.

Debra Huse 38:02
Yeah, we had a great time. And you need to come in for your wife and do the same. Yeah, well,

Eric Rhoads 38:07
we will. We will do that. So I would love for you to give you’re such a great teacher. Your videos are inspiring. We have a couple of great videos with you. One is on Impressionism. And what is the other one Oh, impressionistic brushwork, which was fabulous. And so let’s talk just real briefly about brush work because this is something I think you’re going to be really well known for, you know, your, your brushwork reminds me of the Russian impressionist, and it’s so delightful to look at, but it’s not exactly easy to accomplish. What’s your best advice on brushwork?

Debra Huse 38:53
Um, the biggest thing that people don’t know is that a lot of brushes have their own job. And that’s a really important thing once we figure out which brush to use in which instance, it really makes things a lot easier. So when I teach that one of the first things I do is explain about short flats long, flat, soft, stiff, different things like that, because each one has a job. So I like to start and as an aside, this starts from my pastel background, but I like to start with a scrub in which is a short flat brush. And I like to scrub it in and get all my ducks in a thin way. Transparent, right? Yeah, I do like to do transparent and and that way you’re building your big shapes but you’re also getting your darks because that’s important when you’re outdoors depending on location, you want to get your light established. So you start with your darks even though you’re establishing your light you start with your darks. You want to get all your shadows and all your darks in first and the lighter colors and thicker paint go much better over a dark color the other way around doesn’t work. So there’s a lot of methods to my madness. And so then when you get to the middle values in a painting, I like to put down those shorter brush brushes. They’re called brights or short flats, and then pull out my longer ones. And those brushes are kind of like my hand, you pick up the paint, and I learned that from Ken auster. you scoop it up, like almost like a shovel. Yeah, can you mix it with the tip of your brush, you can scoop it up, and you can turn that brush over and lay the paint onto the canvas in a way where the canvas actually pulls it off your brush, you don’t have to push at all. And the key is, here’s the key. Don’t go over it, leave it alone,

Eric Rhoads 40:47
lay it down and leave it alone.

Debra Huse 40:49
Right lay it down, leave it alone, because the deal is is most people put a brushstroke down and then they wreck it, they just keep painting on it painting on it painting on it. So by the end, you not only have a muddy painting, but you have a painting without life, you know, beauty without brushstrokes. So try to lay your brush, work down one stroke at a time next to the other stroke next to the other stroke and keep cleaning your brush so it stays clean. That’s how you get dirty paint. If you don’t clean your brush, pick up some clean paint, lay it down and leave it alone. That is the key. And I you know people love to see brush work I do when I look at a painting I’m like, up close going, Oh my God, look at that, you know. And then if it’s a big thick brush, you know wide brush, and it’s a big confidence stroke. And the artist did not fuss with that stroke. That’s what makes it painting so exciting. Because it shows her confidence too. And I think that adds a lot of energy and dynamics teach to a paid?

Eric Rhoads 41:50
Well, I will tell you that I love your work. You. It’s spectacular. I also want to give you a shameless plug for your paint. You know, it was at the plein air convention about, I don’t know, maybe four or five years ago, probably because we last two years. You had introduced some paint, you were at the gambling booth originally. And you had launched three colors, one was called marine violet one was called signal red. And when was called Anchor green. And by the way, I’m not being paid for this, this is not a commercial. But I bought because I don’t I don’t like to take freebies, I bought all three of those from you and I went out and painted at the plein air convention using them. And I came back and I bought I think a box or two of each one of them. And then you were so kind to send me a big tube at Christmas, thank you. The there’s something about those colors that you know everybody’s got their own palette, but these are now essentials on my palette, I never go out without them. And, and most of the paints on my palette never change. But these are essentials. And the ones I use the most I use the marine violet the most, because that’s basically the shadow of white. And I use the anchor green mostly for my greens because I was previously making my greens out of mostly black. And this is a very blackish green, which but it’s warm, it doesn’t cool down. So tell me briefly about those.

Debra Huse 43:38
Well, it’s interesting because I through working with all these other artists after starting the gallery and having our workshops I picked and pick and chose from each one the colors that I thought I liked. And then I’d have to along the way, get rid of different colors. And so I’ve ended up with my palette that I call my keep you out of trouble palette, so it’s an abbreviated palette, but it does have a nice wide range. The only thing was that I could first starting with the purple i that dioxins in purple to me is always I always have to rein it in, you know, it’s always turning pink. And it’s just very when I see someone that uses it that doesn’t tone it a little bit down. You know, it sticks out like a sore thumb to me in their paintings. And so I started mixing my own Val violet on my palette and that was simply made from ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson and a little bit of raw sienna. And the Ross Yen is the opposite that it’s a yellow kind of and it’s the opposite of purple so that dulls it down so I mix a certain mixture that’s mostly blue with a little teeny bit of red and make a purple and a little teeny bit of yellow to dial it down. And I ended up with this color. Thank goodness I could keep mixing the same color and got a really good eye with it. And so it was constantly missing on my palette so I would have that purple because I like to start my paintings by scratch Again, my dark skinned getting my shadows and I like to use that purple as my start for everything. And so it turned out that I was started when I was having my classes, I would have students fill their own tube full of the paint and mix it I go around and check, you know, with little samples so that they could see the color. And so I’d send them home with a tube of their own. And then I started doing that with a signal flag red, which is basically just a red orange made from, you know, permanent rows or Quinacridone rose and cad yellow lemon. And the reason I like those two mixtures is because they’re slightly off of the cat orange or Cad Red light, the cat red light, if you put it out to me is too strong. Again, it just takes over. And I find it just because I’m slightly off of the full scale for the color because they’ve been mixed. Then it’s just a little bit more friendly to me. And I found that I was using that all the time. I wasn’t using orange as much as I’m choosing red, orange, I was using it in my greens

Eric Rhoads 46:04
was wonderful and your whites.

Debra Huse 46:07
Oh, it’s and this one’s mixed so that it won’t turn pink as it goes. gets a lot of white because white, you know is so cold. Yeah. And often we’ll take a red, a red and turn it quickly to pink. So you put

Eric Rhoads 46:21
that in your clouds. It’s to die for.

Debra Huse 46:24
Yeah, thank you. Yes. And then also if you’re in a sunset, you know I love to do the glow, the sunset glow will feel a distant landmass that’s just pretty much the perfect color to scrub in right there. It will give that distant landmass of that sun glow. And so that’s again, so that was another color I was always mixing on my palate. And then the green I did same as you I started with black. And I learned that from Ken Backus. And I started with black and I switched to chromatic black by Gamblin, which I just love. And mixing that with a yellow in my life, the lemon yellow because the lemon yellow gives my oranges enough zing. So I only have my one yellow. But when you mix up plaque, it’s so beautiful. And so I love the transparency of it. And so I thought, Well, I tried a few of the other dark greens on the market. And again, they were very cold. And they weren’t transparent enough. And so so I had formulated the way I wanted to work with my transparent black and my yellow. So now I actually went to gambling. And now I work with dementia paints and ask them to use a transparent yellow and a transparent black in order to get my green I’m wanting to stay warm, I don’t want it to be cold. So it’s a beautiful underneath scrub for all of your trees and a really great place to start. And then it’s also slightly muted since it’s got the chromatic black, green that you could build all your greens off of if you want to use some greens that are not quite so wild, like from yellow and blue would be a little more wild. So that’s how I build like to build my greens and then I use my gosh, the per how to use the marine violet with yellow makes another gorgeous set of greens. So you should mix those out. Check those out.

Eric Rhoads 48:11
I’ll try that tonight. Yeah, I don’t know if I’ve done that or not. I you know, I just it’s gotten to the point like anything else on your palate. You just start reaching in and you don’t even realize what you’re touching. But yeah, it’s good stuff. And so anyway, congratulations on that people can get that on your website, I’m sure.

Debra Huse 48:30
Oh, yes. Actually, I put it on sale just for you. Oh, you

Eric Rhoads 48:33
did? Yeah. Wow. Okay, well send me a commission. No, I’m just kidding. Well, Debra, you are. I want to acknowledge you because you’ve been a great inspiration. You are such a fabulous teachers, a fabulous painter, a great businesswoman, a great marketer. We have so much we can learn from you. Are we going to see you at the plein air convention? Yes.

Debra Huse 48:59
I can’t wait. Yes. We should come to Denver. It’s going to be awesome rockin time.

Eric Rhoads 49:06
Yeah, it is fun. I’m sure looking forward to it. I you know, we lost a lot of years. We got to catch up with a lot of people. What would you tell somebody who has never been? You know, because I get I get calls from people they’ll say or emails. They’ll say, Well, I don’t think I’m ready to go because I’m not a good painter. Or it’s a little intimidating to study under people like Debra Huse. What do you tell people?

Debra Huse 49:37
Well, it’s so exciting because when you don’t know you haven’t been there. It does sound very intimidating. Sounds big. Like a lot of people you don’t know and yeah, and maybe you’re not ready but that’s not true at all. The neatest part that I love the way you set this up here is that I you can go in and out of any demo and not disturb anybody watching because the rooms are big and you They have extra screens for you to be able to see really well. And so it’s really easy to move around, you can get inspired by this person and then go get inspired by that person. And then you can go out into the expo hall and take a break and you know, pick up a frame or a couple new brushes or some paint or something. And you’ve made it so that the way it involves people, it’s easy to meet people, it’s easy to talk to people. You have some mixers where people you know, get together. I mean, it really adds up. I think people get so surprised when they come and then they leave. And they’ve not only been so inspired by so many new techniques and ideas, but they’ve met so many new people and people are nice.

Eric Rhoads 50:43
Yeah, they really are. I mean, there’s I don’t think they’re, plein air people seem to be the happiest people on Earth, I think. And I think it’s because they’re doing what they love their outdoors. It’s social. You know, it doesn’t get any better than that. Well, Debra, thank you so much for being on the plein air podcast. We could go on for hours, but we should. And I’ll take you up on that invitation one day, but I will see you in about three weeks at the plein air convention in Denver.

Debra Huse 51:12
Well, thank you so much for having me. It’s quite an honor to be on your show. I love you to pieces and I hope everyone comes to have fun with set with us in Denver.

Eric Rhoads 51:21
Yep. Yeah. All right. Thanks. Bye bye bye. Our guest today was Debra Huse. Now let’s do the art marketing minute.

Announcer 51:30
This is the marketing minute with Eric Rhoades, author of the number one Amazon bestseller make more money selling your art: proven techniques to turn your passion into profit.

Eric Rhoads 51:43
Great living as an artist, the thing that every artist needs to understand is that marketing and understanding marketing and understanding the business aspects is really critical. Because like it or not, you are a small business and you need to develop some muscles in different areas of business. Like you know, like you’ve had to develop muscles in shipping and framing as an artist, right? Same thing. You can send your marketing questions into me email [email protected]. And the first question comes from Kate. I’m gonna botch this name Kate, ha run tests in Garden City, New Jersey. She says I’ve been invited to place an ad in a magazine because my work was accepted into a juried exhibition. I think it’ll be part of an article talking about the participants in the exhibition. And the ad will cost $550 For a quarter page ad. I’m new to this, and I’m not entirely sure can I afford to lose $550 Yeah. But however, I’m not at the point in my career where I will start advertising on a regular basis. So my personal goal at this time is to build up my name, my brand, and I’m listening to your podcast and reading marketing books, I’ve entered my most recent drawing into four competitions I’ve placed in all four of them, which I’m so grateful and happy about at this time, I’m looking for professional validation, and recognition that hopefully will play into my success in the future. That being said, I do not wish to waste my $550 I understand that you do not possess a crystal ball and obviously cannot guarantee anything. What would you do if you were me? Well, I do have a crystal ball, actually. What’s your name? Kate. Kate. Okay. So my crystal ball is called experience. I’ve been marketing for decades doesn’t seem like that’s possible. I started marketing way before I got into the art world, building businesses and learning how to market and I did that by making a lot of mistakes. And by spending a lot of money I didn’t need to spend. But you know, the problem is you don’t know what you do. And you don’t need to spend which is what you’re going through right now. I’ve wasted a lot of foolish money. But I’ve also made a lot of money based on some things I thought were foolish. That turned out to be a good thing. So I’m very qualified to be the closest thing to your crystal ball. Before I answer this, though, I want to tell you one thing and that is you know, my business does this. We sell ads. We sell ads, my company streamline has fine art connoisseur, plein air magazine, multiple newsletters, you know, et cetera. And so we you know, I have a conflict of interest. So if I tell you something that favors my feathers, my own nest, you’re not going to believe me anyway. So I have a bias. I’ll tell you that upfront. I’m going to tell you this and my sales team would probably shoot me Don’t do it. Yeah, don’t spend the $550. Why? Because you do not yet have Kate, you don’t yet have a marketing plan or a specific strategy. So running an ad with no strategy has no value to you, or anyone else. If you run that ad and you have high expectations, you’re going to be disappointed. And then who are you going to blame? You’re going to blame me or whoever you’re advertising with. The reality is that publications like mine, always, always, always deliver the audience that we have, we always deliver them. But we can’t control if somebody picks it up and reads it. And we can’t control if they’re going to respond to it, we can’t control if they’re going to flip by it. And so there are a lot of things that we can’t control. But there are things you can can do that will help you control it. Typically, ads fail, because there are no readers. That’s why you got to be careful who you’re buying. Ads fail because they don’t stand out, ads fail because you don’t have a specific strategy. Ads failed because they lack a call to action. And ads fail because they don’t get enough repetition. All advertising requires repetition. Otherwise, you would see an ad on TV One time, and you never see it again yet, you know, you see a Nissan ad over and over and over and over and over again, you’re sick of seeing it, they keep running it. Why because it works for a certain group of people every time you know, I don’t know how many times I saw my pillow ad probably 1000. And then one day, I picked up the phone and bought one. And so I mean, you know, you just you got to reach people at the right time, you never know when the right time is you got to be in the right mood, you know, repetition sells single ads typically do not. Now, if you had a strategy, maybe you could run an ad in a group session. Or maybe you could run it to support the group to show your support of it to be visible in there. But let’s dig a little deeper. This is nothing about more than an ego stroke. At this point. If you buy an ad, you’re thinking, wow, you know, I’m in the head and then 10,000 People are not going to call. That’s the reality. So you got to have a strategy. So the other thing you need to know is who’s the audience? Who do they reach? Is it part of my strategy. For instance, let’s say you know that all your buyers are muscle car buyers, maybe because you paint classic market muscle cars, I just made that up. Anyway, if you advertise in a gardening publication, you’re not likely to reach a lot of muscle car buyers, right. But if you advertising a muscle car buyer publication, then you’re likely to reach him. Alright, so that’s where the audience fit matters. There’s a thing called Media Marketing, media fit, marketing, fit and message. So, you know, you’ve got to know where you’re advertising. And you got to know what the topic is. Now, we do these special sections. They’re designed to sell ads, and they’re designed to also help people get highlighted after being in a group show. And that’s good, because sometimes people will track a group show they liked the show, they want to know more about it. But there are a few things to think about if you’re going to run it. First off, what do you want in return for your $550? And what is the realistic possibility you’re going to accomplish that goal? Now, the reality is, you don’t really want more than one buyer, right? You want to sell that one painting. So even though there may be you know, 10s of 1000s of people who see it, you really only want one of them to buy it, but you got to help with that process. Most of us will convince ourselves that we’re going to sell several paintings from one $500 investment, that’s a pretty big ask, you know, if if you sold a painting through a gallery, you would pay that pain, that gallery 50% of the cost of that painting. They mark it up 50% You’re paying them 50% To get you a sale. $500 is a lot less than that. 50% I’m guessing unless you sell your paintings for $1,000. So here’s what I think in terms of strategy. Artists need strategy. Ads are designed to fuel your strategy and nothing more ads can do the following. They can build your brand recognition, branding takes time takes repetition, one ad will not brand you you know like let’s say that out of 10,000 people, only five people noticed your ad or looked at it or read your name, but the other people might not see it till the next time and then Next time in the next time, one small ad, will brand you a lot less than a big ad, right? A big ad stands out more than a small ad because a big ad just naturally does. And you might not get noticed with a small ad. And you also can when you’re running small ads, you can get pigeonholed by the artists who run small ads. I know that seems crazy. But friend of mines a marketing guy, a big, big author, he says you get known for the smallest thing you do? Not the biggest thing you do. Because as you get known as the artist who runs the small little tiny ads, that’s who you become, and what does that say about you? Are you a full page quality advertiser? Are you a two page quality advertiser Are you the you know, whatever. Now if I run small ads, I by repetition, you know, so sometimes I’ll buy three or four small ads in one thing, because I want those small ads to stand out because they see him four times, sometimes that can be more powerful of a strategy. And a small ad is going to brand you less than a big ad. So anyway, in a group ad, bigger, let’s see, the group ad will bring you’re in a group,, you got a lot of artists in there. Let’s say there’s 50 artists in that group, add those pages, what do you want to do to work to your advantage? Well, the section is going to bring attention to you. And all the people in the ads, people are gonna flip through it, but the bigger ads are gonna stand out more. And you might want to make a statement that you’re one of the bigger artists in the group or you might not. But if you want to make a smaller ad stand out, then you have to have exceptional creative. You know, Debra Huse was talking about that, where she said she worked for an ad agency. In the creative department, their whole job was to get people to read ads to stand out to come up with headlines and graphics that stand out. You know, headlines make up 80% of the success of an ad. Did you know that? And you don’t want to do what everybody else does? What does everybody do in their ads, picture of painting and their name? whoring All right now sometimes you can’t do more than that if it’s a section, but you can look for ways to stand out with headlines with colorful graphics with something different, or at least a really, really, really powerful painting. Now, when I can only get smaller ads, like I said, I’ll go for repetition. Another strategy is how do I use my ad to get people to look at my work in the future. So that’s when you go into the idea of building a list. So maybe your ad has a picture your painting, and as a little tiny call to action that says, join my newsletter by coming here to this website or get a free ebook by coming here. That way they get on your list, they see your newsletter on a more regular basis, your repetition. That way, you’re getting people to join your list. And that’s going to help you a lot. That’s what I recommend in all things. But sometimes it’s so small, you can’t do it. So but usually, you need an incentive in there anyway, what can I offer to help people want to give me their name in exchange for something. So let’s do the math. Let’s say that you’re willing to spend $10 to get a name knowing that you’re gonna get that $10 back and more over the course of the next two years, how many names will $500 bring you? Well, that’ll bring you 50 names to break even if those 50 names are interested in your work, get on your list, and you talk to them more frequently, they’re more likely to get you your $500 back, it’s not necessarily immediate. It’s not about selling that painting. It’s about selling a painting that eventually speaks to them that they see in your newsletter. So that’s how a spine tiny ad space can work to your benefits hard it can be done though. Another strategy to sell paintings. Most ads don’t sell paintings, they sell artists, they sell an artist’s brand. There are very specific words you need to say to sell paintings, including calls to action to get people to buy and making sure they understand you’re assuming just because it’s in an ad, people think that that painting is for sale. But they’re not assuming that because the research has been done. A lot of people look at ads as part of the editorial content. Oh, that’s a pretty painting and they move on. But if you say this is a beautiful painting available from Debra Huse gallery, Huse Skelly gallery, that all of a sudden, they’re gonna go Oh, I thought of that. Okay, I know. It seems like people should be smarter than that, but sometimes we’re not. Anyway, the goal is build your reputation your brand, your value to the market depends on your brand. Which would you rather own? Would you rather own a job On Singer Sargent painting, are in ERIC Rhoads. Of course, it’s going to be sergeant. Which would you rather have? What are their own? Would you rather own a Debra Huse painting? Or John Singer? So I mean, John Singer Sargent painting. Sorry, Debra, you’re gonna want John Singer Sargent, but which would you rather have it Eric Rhoads or Debra Huse, you’re gonna pick the Debra Huse because she’s more visible. She’s out there. She’s known as a great painter. So the idea is you’re building reputation that takes years and lots of repetition. But that’s how you do it. Now, you can also sell your appearances at an event, you know, like your ad could say, Hey, I’m going to be at this event. Make sure you come by my booth, make sure you come visit me, I’ll be at this gallery show. is buying the smallest, cheapest ad the smartest thing? Not necessarily for me, I’d buy the biggest ad. And I’d buy a second smaller ad to reinforce my bigger ad, in case you didn’t see it, you know, just reinforces it. That’s a very effective strategy. Group ads can be very effective. But the be the biggest you can be if you can, if you can’t, you got to decide, is it going to be worth it? And yeah, it could be worth it. But it’s not always worth it anyway, I think they’re effective, but you need to know what you want out of it before you spend $1 and anything, don’t spend $1 in anything until you know what it’s going to do for you.

All right. Next question comes from Veronica Brown in Missouri. The pros and cons of licensing your work for printing. All right. So I made for prints. Okay. Veronica, one of my core principles in marketing is to sell when you are sleeping, meaning if others are selling my work while I’m sleeping, then you’re making money while you sleep right now. That’s why you want to use an art gallery. That’s why you want to have an automated online strategy. That’s why you do licensing, right? Licensing is a big deal. Thomas Kincade. I had dinner with him one night, and he told me he was the most licensed painter, artist of all times, exceeding Norman Rockwell. He, he held the licensing record at the time. I don’t know if that’s still true. And of course, Bob Ross is everywhere. And that’s through licensing. You see jigsaw puzzles. You see, bobbleheads Bob Ross company isn’t producing those. They’re licensing his name and his images. So my friend, I won’t use names, but my friend is licensed by a big printmaking company. And they also license his paintings on mugs and mouse pads and puzzles and prints and other things. And then he worked with a big licensing firm who got him this deal. And he sells images all the time to these companies. Now you don’t get much you get maybe one or 2% of what’s being sold. But so what you know, somebody sells 100,000 mouse pads. That’s real money. And so you can hire licensing firms, there are licensing lawyers there to licensing conventions that artists friend of mine, I just sent to it is going to be licensing his stuff. Most artists don’t get rich, doing licensing, but you can get extra income my friend, Charlie, you know, he’s making some extra money. And so why not make that extra money every month? Okay. Now, this brings up the subject of prints. Many print companies will license work, that’s good money for you. And then of course, there are companies that sell prints to hotels and stores and corporations, separate companies, typically sometimes they buy licensed prints. You want to reach out to those companies, should you do prints Well, you know, if you go to an art show, a tent show, you know, city city art show, you want to have a bin of prints because you got the big original on there, and a guy like me might go I really liked that. I’d like to remember that. And you don’t want to take a picture of it. And you would like to have it but you want to buy the $50 print not the $5,000 painting, so at least you’re making something off of it. And you may never sell the print the painting but you might sell enough prints to make it up. Now Thomas Kincaid told me his biggest regret ever was selling his originals and not retaining the licensing rights. That’s tricky. But he spent the last decade of his life trying to get all of his originals back for his museum. You put the time into creating an original you can sell it if you want, but you know if you get the better stuff, you might want to sell it but you want to make sure whenever you sell things, you have the proper copyright information on the back of the painting that says copyright 2023 Eric Rhoads all rights reserved that way they can’t sell the licensing on Got it. And if they do, you can go after not that you would but you might. So selling prints yourself, you can make some money I think that’s fine. But if it depends, you know some galleries don’t like it if you do it so talk to your gallery owners see how they feel about it you know there’s a whole whole bag back industry discussion going on about prints so you’ll have to find out you know, if it doesn’t work for you, you can sell Giclees which are bigger reproductions on Canvas, in a lot of things like that. I don’t know I don’t sell my prints. I mean, I don’t make prints. I don’t sell them. I only sell originals, but I don’t sell enough paintings. You know, I I have another job full time. So I only provide a few paintings to a few galleries and they sell what they get. But I you know, I don’t. I don’t want to get into prints. That’s just a personal choice, but I don’t see any downside. Anyway, I hope that helps. That’s the art marketing minute.

Announcer 1:10:57
This has been the marketing minute with Eric Rhoads. You can learn more at

Eric Rhoads 1:11:03
Debra Huse has been awesome. She’s a great inspiration. visit her website to get her paint and see her gallery. Huse Skelly gallery. It’s terrific. I hear. Come to see her and to see me and to see everybody at the plein air convention is coming up in about three weeks. It’s our 10th birthday. Jane Seymour is coming in the actress or actor. She’s gonna come celebrate with us. She’s a painter and we thought it’d be kind of fun to have somebody special there with us CW Mundy’s coming in. Alvero Castagnet is coming in and many many, many, many others, including Debra Huse, who you just met. Fall color Week is coming up. You want to join us for that you can still get tickets at And if you’re not a subscriber to plein air magazine, well let’s change that just go to I do a blog every Sunday. It’s called Sunday coffee. It’s just about whatever I want to talk about. So you can find it at and subscribe for free. And I’m on Facebook daily at 12 noon on a show called Art School live on YouTube. Just go to YouTube search art school live every day at 12 Noon. You can subscribe there. Ah All right. Well I’m Eric Rhoads, publisher and founder of plein air magazine. I’m looking forward to seeing you guys at the plein air convention really exciting. And I keep pounding on the desk and Amandine says don’t do that. I gotta I gotta remember, but I’m so enthusiastic. Thank you for your time today. Remember, it’s a big world out there. Go paint it. I’ll see you soon. Bye. Bye.

This has been the plein air podcast with PleinAir Magazine’s Eric Rhoads. You can help spread the word about plein air painting by sharing this podcast with your friends. And you can leave a review or subscribe on iTunes. So it comes to you every week. And you can even reach Eric by email [email protected]. Be sure to pick up our free ebook 240 plein air painting tips by some of America’s top painters. It’s free at Tune in next week for more great interviews. Thanks for listening.


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