Plein Air Podcast 247: Beyond Boundaries with Cindy Baron

In this episode, Eric Rhoads interviews Cindy Baron, who goes beyond the boundaries of painting with both oil and watercolor.

Listen as they discuss:
– The art of mastering both oil and watercolor (“I love both mediums. I treat them the same and actually, they start out the same…”
– Detailed conversation points on colors and Cindy’s palette
– The one place she hasn’t painted yet, but would love to
– The most “wild” encounters she’s had while painting en plein air
– and more

Bonus! In this week’s Art Marketing Minute, Eric Rhoads, author of Make More Money Selling Your Art, discusses the best place to begin to market your art; and what not to do to drive up your prices.

Listen to the Plein Air Podcast with Eric Rhoads and Cindy Baron here:


Related Links:
– Cindy Baron online:
– Paint Adirondacks:
– 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.

Eric Rhoads:
This is episode number 247 With watercolor and oil – can I say master in both? I think So –  Cindy Baron.

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 0:08
Thank you Jim Kipping. And welcome to the plein air podcast. I am like, I have like goosebumps. I am so excited because we are like, just moments away, I think what is it another week ish? I don’t know maybe the 19th or 20th. I’m heading out to Denver for the plein air convention. You know, I look forward to this all year. It’s a place where I’ve made so many friends. I learned so much. I get to see everybody. It’s just like it’s a ball. So I am very excited about the plein air convention coming up. I think there are still some seats left, I hope you’ll join us. It’s our 10 year anniversary. And that means we’re giving away actually our 10th Birthday Bash, we’re calling it so we’re giving away gifts to the people who attend this is not something we normally do. We always have prizes, but we actually have gifts for everybody. And something that’s a collector’s item, I can’t tell you what, but something that everybody’s gonna wish they had. And you can only get it if you’re at the plein air convention. So that’ll be pretty cool. Coming up after the interview, we’re going to talk about all kinds of things marketing. So hang in there for that. We got number one Art Podcast two years in a row now from Feedspot thank you for that. If you like this podcast, go give it a rating, don’t give it a three star or a two star or one star because that’ll just mess things up for us. Give us a five star if you’re not gonna give a five star don’t even go and give a rating. Right? Okay. We’re just making sure we’re clarifying things. Right? And please, if you are hearing this for the first time somebody forwarded to you or whatever, go to the wherever you get your podcast and subscribe to it. You know, one thing that’s happening, I do these retreats, I started doing them, I don’t know 1213 1415 years ago, and I did them because I wanted artists just to be able to get together and paint not to have to have the pressure of being at an event and you know, competing for a prize, etc. And so I just I started what’s called the publishers Invitational in the beginning first year I did it it was by invitation only, that’s where the name came from. But after that, I everybody’s like, well, I want to come and bite me. So I just said, anybody can come, any level can come. And what’s really cool about it is we’ve got people who are at high levels. You know, like last year, we had CW Mundy, you know, painting next to somebody who’s a complete beginner, you know, and it’s just nice that we all just kind of coexist. It’s a really cool thing. And that’s coming up. I have one in June in the Adirondacks. But that one’s sold out there is a waitlist for that at And then we have one coming up also in the Adirondacks. Last time I’m doing fall in the Adirondacks. I wanted to do it one more time because the beauty is spectacular. And we were able to get this incredible lakefront facility. It’s actually an old camp that was built in, I don’t know 1903 by this bill equivalent of a billionaire at the time. And it’s an amazing place. You could paint there the whole week, but we go out and paint the Adirondacks fall color. And that’s called fall color week. Last time I’m going to do it in the Adirondacks guaranteed because I have so many other places I want to go and we did that kind of because of COVID because it was hard to get out and do planning anyway. Make sure you come it is a blast we have about 50% of the seats are left yet so it’s a good time to book but those are usually gone by about the time the plein air convention is over because we talked about it at the convention. Okay, so Oh, the other thing that’s happening, I just, you know, it’s nice to get things cooking again, right. So I’m doing a collector trip I used to do collect your trips, fine art connoisseur magazine, me, my editor, Peter Trippi. And we would take people behind the scenes, oftentimes at the great museums, we went to, we’ve gone to artists homes, we’ve gone to deceased artists homes to see their private collections, we’ve we actually went into the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, privately I did the first ever Facebook Live from inside the Sistine Chapel until they shut me down. You know, there’s a lot of different things that we do, I actually held, we all all of us attending actually held a Van Gogh painting in our hands, it was passed around to us behind the scenes at one of the museums. You know, it’s just an amazing trip. And we’re doing it one more time. This time, we’re gonna go to sort of start out in Stockholm, because there’s a lot of great art there. And some great artists we’re going to be and then we go on to Madrid. Now this is not a painting trip. And we are going to a brand new Museum in Madrid just opened this last week or so. And we have special entry into that. And we’re going to be seeing the great museums, and we’re going to meet some of the curators, and we got just so much going on, we’ll go visit Sariah you know, there’s a lot anyway, that is coming up in October. If you want to learn more about it, go to Now, my guest today is a very special person. And she’s special for a lot of reasons. First off, she’s just a really sweet person. Easy to get along with easygoing, but she’s also special because she’s one of the rare individuals who has managed to become and I don’t use this term loosely because it’s overused, but she has managed to become a master painter. And she is a master painter in oil and in watercolor. So you can imagine that takes a lot to accomplish that please welcome Cindy Baron.

Cindy Baron 7:07
Hey everyone.

Eric Rhoads 7:08
Hey, we’re so glad you’re here. Thank you. Welcome to the plein air podcast.

Cindy Baron 7:13
Thank you for having me. This is fun.

Eric Rhoads 7:16
So how does one get so good? I know you’re very humble person. But how does one get so good in two different mediums.

Cindy Baron 7:27
I’m hoping to master another one. But I I love art I love I love painting. I love both those mediums I treat them both the same and actually they start out the same but it’s um, I think it’s passion. It’s love. It’s what’s you know, it’s in me. I’ve been doing this since I was a little girl. So I did pastels first and I actually thought about getting my pastels back out. So it’s um, I just love it. Yeah, is

Eric Rhoads 7:56
that when you said you’re gonna try to master another one? Is that what you were referring to?

Cindy Baron 8:02
That one and I’m having a blast. I got my charcoals back out. So I’m having a blast with the charcoals and I have a waitlist for some of my I love the bison. And so anyway, I their gifts and I have weightless for people that want a charcoal sketch. So that’s, I just I’m a workaholic. And it’s it’s me, myself and I in here and what better thing to do than create art.

Eric Rhoads 8:30
So Cindy, the one thing I think a lot of people don’t really understand or embrace is how working in multiple mediums can really benefit you as an artist.

Cindy Baron 8:42
Alright, so yes, I totally agree with that. And the reason why watercolors is handled different than oil paints and pastels. But for me, I have found a way to infuse all of them into each one. And that’s why I think it is so beneficial for people I mean, you’ve got to learn you may find like I have watercolors that don’t turn out so I put the pastels on him. And then you know my oil paintings start like a watercolor. So each one of those mediums has helped the other medium and has helped me to grow. And for me the landscapes when I you know certain landscapes, you know, requires watercolors and the certain the other ones require oils. And if it’s too cold out then you get the pastels and sit in the car. So if yes, they and they help you out with design, that application of paint, it’s um I would recommend everybody doing that just don’t tie yourself into one medium because I think your brain is designed to grow and what better way to grow and just to tackle it all out there. I’m now doing

clay so maybe you’re doing Clay Yeah, I’m

I’m taking us sculpture class, because I want to sculpt a buffalo or bison? So, yeah, I’m doing it all. Yeah, well, I

Eric Rhoads 10:04
think that’s fabulous. You know, one of the things that happened to me, I, as you know, I host watercolor live pastel live, realism live and plein air live. And I kind of started out as a landscape painter in oil. And I felt obligated to maybe learn these other mediums. I maybe did some watercolor when I was a kid. But I felt the need to be able to say, look, I practice what I preach, right. And so I started painting in watercolor. And I saw some techniques on watercolor live that I had never seen before. And I saw, I thought, I wonder if I could apply that to oil. And you know, it wasn’t exactly easy, because there was, you know, the watercolor is thin and transparent. But I figured it out. And I transferred it into my oil paintings. And I actually I was working on that painting, just the other night my wife walked in, she said, Don’t touch it, that’s like, you’ve never done this before. That’s so cool. And so I think that, you know, what I like is that it changes our brain, you know, it’s like we, we don’t get bored. I’m more invigorated. I now, I don’t want to make this about me, I’m sorry. But I now keep watercolor out quash out, oil out, clay out. And I liked and pastel. And so I like the idea of you know, when I’m in the mood for one, I just pick it up. That way, I don’t have to set it up, I’ve got a separate station for each one of them.

Cindy Baron 11:39
And that’s exactly the way my studio is I have a place for charcoal because charcoal can get really messy. I have a place for watercolor that I’m sitting at now. And then behind me I have my place for oils. So I have a fairly large studio. And so I that’s the one thing I wanted was a station for each because there’s nothing worse than breaking down and cleaning up and all that I just want to be able to roll this chair over to the other table and pick up that brush. And I have real very, I’m gonna give you guys another little helpful tip here. I have room in my studio that I exercise every morning. And all my paintings are lined up. What better critique than to exercise in front of your paintings because the next thing you know, you got a paintbrush in your hand, you just go over and switch one thing in your mind to check things out. I told you I’m a little odd. But that’s what I do every morning. But what a

Eric Rhoads 12:32
great idea though, I you know, I exercise in the garage and I’m always staring at at you know, junk? No, because you got to stare at something you know, and what a great idea because then you’re studying your work. So let me ask you about studio you said you had a fairly large studio. Are you in a place like many of us do where you repurposed it to become a studio? Or did you come up with something that actually was designed to be a studio

Cindy Baron 13:02
now it’s it’s repurposed, I was fortunate I lost out on so many homes I was trying to buy. And this one was the one that was supposed to be so there was a family room and I went Why don’t need the living room in the family room. So the family room is my studio with the fireplace, tons of light. And then I have an extra little studio space that for I want to start some mentoring. And so I thought that would be a great place to put another student and help them out. So I have at least two studios. The other one is a smaller room, but this one’s a fairly large room.

Eric Rhoads 13:37
Oh, that’s awesome. So do you have any tips for setting up a studio?

Cindy Baron 13:42
No, because mine is still setting up. I did one tip that no seriously, I’ve got a little sitting area which is I call it my little Western little set sitting area because I love the west so I’m bringing it to Rhode Island. But I have two chairs in there and I’ll sit down here with my dinner I’ll make dinner and come down here and set and still look at my artwork. I spend most of my time in here. And this this this has been it’s still a work in progress. I’ve only been in the house since September. And that was very shortly so now I’m starting to really iron out the kinks in the end where I want things Yeah.

Eric Rhoads 14:24
So I if you said water is it pastel came first. Then watercolor then oil. I’m going to ask you a really tough question and you cannot win by answering it you know if if you could only do one if you for whatever reason, you know God came down and said Cindy, you can only do one thing now. I should put an echo on that. And what what would what would you pick?

Cindy Baron 14:57
Oh jingo. Let’s see Oh, god, that’s a hard that’s a hard one. Eric,

Eric Rhoads 15:03
what’s the first thing that came to your head? watercolor? Yeah. Okay, because that’s where you spent the most time.

Cindy Baron 15:10
Well, not only that watercolor is just easy to transport. Yeah, I got a little I got a little case it can go with me on the plane, it can go anywhere and in, you know, drop of a dime, if that’s the right thing. So that painting right there is actually from the Laguna plein air event and that one won an award. But watercolors is probably Alright. I’m gonna say this water that is from the homestead clean air. If watercolors is the hardest medium to tackle, and that’s from Eastern plein air,

Eric Rhoads 15:47
that okay, so I just for everybody’s benefit, if you’re not watching the video version of this, there are some slides that are going on. So Cindy, I think you’re right, I think it’s the hardest medium. And one thing that’s really interesting to me is how, and I don’t say this to insult anybody in the watercolor world. But when I first saw your your watercolor painting, so I thought there were oils, right. So there’s a lot of the same sensibilities. And that’s got to be really hard to do because watercolor is like, completely difficult to control.

Cindy Baron 16:25
Well, besides it being the hardest medium, I have a totally different technique, I do a lot of layering. But I have to tell you, in my watercolors changed when I picked up the oil brush, and then I infused some of my technology into the oil painting and vice versa, they did the same thing. But with the watercolors, my technique is totally different. It’s totally wild. And I the one thing I tried to teach my students and when they do a workshop is you’re going to work with them steaks, every water, you know, I like to work the work the colors to mix naturally the way they’re supposed to with watercolor. And I want I try and teach my kids, that’s wonderful instinct to just happen with work with it, because that’s going to be the highlight of your painting. So you know, there’s always obstacles with the watercolor you gotta live with what happens with it sometimes, but I’ve learned, and that’s what I like to teach with my kids like, this is no dud, you know. And then I also tell them, all right, if you have a dog, those are your blessings, because that teaches you what not to do. You can’t always have a great painting, you know, so I like to teach, you know, what happens in a watercolor? Because, besides being a young standard, again, being the hardest medium to tackle, you have to learn how to work with it and work with what it does.

Eric Rhoads 17:46
Yeah. And do you ever find yourself in a situation where you have to rethink how you’re doing something or you’ve just done it so much. And each of these mediums that they’ve just come natural to you, it’s it’s you know, it’d be like, it’s the equivalent of sitting down and playing the piano and then moving over to the guitar and then moving over to the trombone, I suppose. It just all gets natural.

Cindy Baron 18:10
I’ll be honest, and my students will say this, like, you know, I do a lot of throwing of pain on the on the paper, and I know where it’s gonna land, I know what it’s going to do I know what each color is going to do with the color sitting beside it. So yeah, that is become sort of very natural. But I do have times where I go, because I do a black and white sketch of all my my work before, you know, I’d cease paint. And I there are times where I went, Wow, this is going to be better. And like you also just happy things that happen. But yeah, then I’ll have to rethink my sketch. But on the whole most of the time it works out.

Eric Rhoads 18:48
So I want to brag about you for just a second. You were in town shooting an oil instruction video that has since been released. And you and I had the opportunity to be in my studio one evening, and you gave me some private counseling or some lessons, if you will. And we were in there maybe an hour. But the things I learned from you that night and then subsequently by watching that video, I learned new things about mixing color that I didn’t know for 20 years. And I and I I managed to there was a transformation for me because I found that for the most part, my paintings were overly garish and you manage to teach me how to make my colors pleasing. And yet they you know that they glow, but they don’t you know they’re not bitey they’re not acity talk to me about color and creating the right sense of color based on how you consider it your foundations.

Cindy Baron 20:01
Alright, so I don’t know if I want to use the word old school or not, it’s not I went back to basics, because my color theory in my head is probably a whole lot different than somebody else’s. But you have to learn what works for you, we’re all different. So as far as color mixing, my palette is fairly limited, especially with watercolors, there’s probably only six, seven colors I use. And what might be surprising is I use black and both oils and watercolors, because I don’t like any of the green. So I’ve learned how to make my own greens, I make my own grays with blacks and whites, I’m, I know how to warm them up for me to go to a art store and pick off a green here, green there and put it on a painting, it will not match for me. And I had to learn my own little color theory, it’s just my head. And I think every artist needs to do that you need to step aside and figure out what’s going to work for you. So with color, like I make grades, you know, a light, medium and dark. And then I take one of them and I warm it up with some reds. And then I take another one of those and I make my greens. And then I have the blues and I make my greens as long as there’s a touch of that little gray in there. That’s what makes the whole painting harmonize. And I the same thing with watercolors, you know, I make my greens with watercolors, and I throw them you know, I my watercolors are layers. And I think I showed you a couple times how I did that. But it I know each layer is complementing the next layer because it’s the same pink. If I introduce a whole new color, then that’s where it throws it off. Now there is a time where you can introduce like a little bit of a color that will help pop a painting. But for me, I had to strip away all those beautiful colors with beautiful names on them, and go back to basics to figure out what would work for me.

Eric Rhoads 22:06
So how many on your oil palette? How many colors six or seven?

Cindy Baron 22:10
Let’s see. There’s 1234567.

Eric Rhoads 22:19
Yeah. Do you ever have that temptation, you walk into an art store, you go oh, that’s so pretty. Gotta try it.

Cindy Baron 22:26
Oh my gosh, especially when they put those nice little labels on them. And that color on the label goes, Wow, it just looks juicy. I’ve learned trust me, you can go on my my art supply van in the garage. And you’ll see every color out there because I had to go there, I had to try it. And that’s when I found out my painting just isn’t working. You know, I have the luck not luxury, I have the benefit where I’m a draw, I can draw I you know, I have that creative thing for me to apply paint took. It did that was that was that was hard. The hardest thing for me to do was mix paint. So that’s why I went to back to basics, I went to the black and the white, the blues and the yellows are black and the yellow. I don’t use like the only color. If I had to take one color out for the oils to go in the field. It would be it’s called dumb, transparent red oxide. And that I can make into anything. So I mean, it makes a great little tonal painting, you’re saying

Eric Rhoads 23:29
you could just use transparent red oxide and white as just doing a total painting or you would add you would, what would you do to make more color out of that?

Cindy Baron 23:39
Well transparent I’d say you add a little blue into it, you add a little berry, if you had a little gray into it, if you add a little white into it. It’s it works really good. It makes a nice little tonal feel to it.

Eric Rhoads 23:55
Well, some of the things that you that you taught me that have really stuck and as I mentioned, before we started recording of all things I was out using a color chart you helped me make. And I was kind of reminding myself of some things and one of them was cadmium green, and Alizarin where suddenly you don’t have to you you don’t have to make any, any warm colors. I mean, it’s you can make like the path a mud pathway out of that. It’s that plus some white, it’s just so so much range with that.

Cindy Baron 24:31
I make piles of gray, you know, every time I started, thanks so I make piles of Gray from black and white. I will if you take a little bit of that gray and stick it in there too. It’s just like you got your yellow ochre now yellow ochre and I fight Rossana and I fight Burke dumper and I fight I just it to me they don’t play well on the playground.

Eric Rhoads 24:51
Well, you get all this harmony because you’re using Sofia colors.

Cindy Baron 24:54
Yes, yes. So those two colors together other art are great because you can bend those awful to make it warmer or cooler. You know those two colors?

Eric Rhoads 25:07
So you have a distinction. I think this is important. There’s a gallery that I don’t know if you’re still in it or not, but you were a part of it a major gallery in Carmel, Hill cargas is a cargas or Karges cargas. Right

Cindy Baron 25:23
hargus I’m still there, they keep me they keep me busy.

Eric Rhoads 25:29
What I think is pretty amazing is this is not a gallery that typically carries contemporary artists. They’re carrying historic a lot of historic California painters, Edgar Payne, and, and you know, that whole group of folks and then in the middle of it all, there’s a Cindy Baron that holds up. That’s what I think is so fascinating is your work holds up next to those people walking into that gallery. Yours looks like it’s 100 years old to and has that same rich quality. How do you get to that point,

Cindy Baron 26:03
what I that that’s also my palette that I use and the way I applied paint and like all my I don’t know if you can see behind me those are in the making. But same paint, same color palette, but I think it’s just oh, how to get it just the the color palette that I’m using. The other thing I use and I think I showed you this it’s called the Shiva orange. Yeah. In the end, if I want to tone something down, like especially the blues in the sky, I will transparently wipe some of that on there and then wipe it off. And believe it or not, that gives it that old world look to it gives that that that

Eric Rhoads 26:46
yellowing painting kind of a real? I you know, I’ve tried your Shiva orange, which is a vicious and color. Yes, I did that I glazed with it, it works really beautifully. I find a hard time using it for anything else. Right? I was gonna have much tinting strength, but it’s really good for unifying a painting, you know, you’re doing an overall glaze or something. Right? And so what is your best advice, you know, you have managed to get to a pretty high level of mastery. I don’t know how many years you’ve been painting. We didn’t talk about that.

Cindy Baron 27:24
Math, though. I’ve been painting oh my god all my life. And I was this way when I was a young child. I think my first grade teacher told my mother that she’s going to be an artist. And my mother was like, Yeah, right. Okay. But I can I’ve been doing this for forever. And so alright, I don’t mind say I’m 66 It’s so I don’t know, professionally. I started in my 20s professionally selling.

Eric Rhoads 27:58
So is it? I mean, is it just the quest? So the original question was, how do you get to that level? I guess it just brush mileage, right? You’ve got you got a lot of years painting.

Cindy Baron 28:10
All right, you get to that level, if you really want to get there. And you know, I speak a passion like I raise pro athletes. And you know, they have to have passion to get as far as they are. And it’s that way with any thing out there. If you’ve got that passion and that lust for what you want to do, you’ll get there. I like to tell my kids, the most talented athlete isn’t going to go as far as the one that has the passion. And I believe the same thing, you know, applies in the art world. I hope I’m always growing. I hope I’m growing till 90. You know, who knows how long we get. But I’m, I hope I’m always growing. And it’s the reason the number one reason why is I have that lust and that passion for it. And I want to do it and the more I explore it, the more I want to do, and I’m only hoping I live long enough to paint all the places I want to paint.

Eric Rhoads 29:06
Yeah. What’s the number one that if you could only pick one? Where do you want to go and paint that you haven’t done yet?

Cindy Baron 29:13
Oh my gosh. I want to do the fjords of Norway.

Eric Rhoads 29:16
Oh, well, I might be working on something like that. Yeah, well, saying

Cindy Baron 29:20
We gotta do we gotta get on one of those boats and go through those few words. I really that one. I want to go to Australia or not out there in New Zealand. I know you went there as just was a bad time. I couldn’t go. And the Alps. I haven’t done the Alps yet. I’ve been there but I have not painted there.

Eric Rhoads 29:43
Well, it’s interesting that your bucket list is similar to mine and I actually am working on trips to both of those places. I have a big trip I’m going to announce probably in the next 30 days or less It’s not one of those places, but it’s pretty spectacular. So, well, well compare notes will have to get you to the Adirondacks to paint. And that will scratch some of that edge because it’s so beautiful up there. So, in terms of teaching, we have a lot of people at all different levels, 90 different countries listening to this. If if you had to give somebody like your best advice on what, what they should do to other than the passion, what they should do to get themselves to the highest level of accomplishment, they can, you know, what are the steps to get there?

Cindy Baron 30:43
Alright, there’s, there’s, there’s a lot of steps, you got to put the time in. You know, I’ve worked in a twin die company I raised pro athletes I had, it’s like, we’re raising an Olympian, you know, yeah, I had to be with them. But I can honestly tell you, there wasn’t one day that I did not put some time into my art and my art career. You have to. And I keep saying that, that less than that passion for it. But you have to put the time in and dedicate that time to yourself and what you want to do. I mean, writers have to do it, you know, cooks, you know, have to do it. Everybody yell. singers have to do it. You have to put the time in. And when I teach them, I teach down in at the booth Museum in Cartersville, Georgia. In February, and I always do two workshops. One is watercolor and one’s in oil. I you know, I added you know, when people tell me like, oh, I don’t have time, like no, you can make time, I painted an award winning, I was so proud of this to get my my credentials in American watercolor society. And my kids were young, and I knew I had to get this painting, I only had a little time. I stayed up all night with powdered coffee. And I painted this painting for AWS and I got my credentials, right? That’s the whole night doing it. And then the next day, you know, take the kids to school and you know, do whatever I was supposed to do. But you got to put the time in. And you know, I’m sort of a workaholic anyway. But it’s there. You just have to dedicate if this is what you want. You have to dedicate to your craft, you just have to put a little something. It could be your distance with me all the time, a little sketchbook, it could be just sketching. It could be say you can’t plein air paint, but you want to go sit by a place you take your sketchbook or you take us in charcoal or you take some pastels, colored pencils, colored pencils are great, especially on an airplane. But you just do something like my mind is always in my mind is always in creative form. And I think once you crossed that path into that created says there’s no going back, you just have to keep doing it. So you just you got to put the time in, you know, it’s time and passion.

Eric Rhoads 33:10
So out of out of your typical year, how much time do you spend actually going on location and painting?

Cindy Baron 33:18
Well, I don’t paint a lot in the wintertime. It’s only because I have this Raynolds thing and my fingers won’t work in the winter. So I’m in the summer. The weather here is nice. I will definitely be be out there painting. In fact, this weekend, if it’s good, I probably will. That’s me and that’s locally. I will and somebody took that picture for me, Jonathan Mick Phillips, he was up up on the top rock. And he took that picture. So I think I got a backache that day from that painting. But did it now that the weather’s change definitely winters hard on my fingers. I I’ll admit it. I have a hard time in the winter. went to Utah with the plein air painters of America and we got to Blizzard one day. And I had those hot packs. You know, one tear one tape tear one tape tear you know in my pockets in my coat pockets that I actually started sweating when we went outside and it was cold. So I’ve got little tricks I can do but it takes me an hour to get ready to go outside in the winter.

Eric Rhoads 34:29
So And do you find yourself plein air painting in both mediums?

Cindy Baron 34:34
Yes, yes. Yes. I only took the oils when we went to Capitol Reef in Utah. And when I got there I went Darn I wish I brought the watercolors because that’s all I could see was watercolors. You know, again, it was exactly what the what I wanted to paint watercolors. So

Eric Rhoads 34:53
that’s one thing nice about watercolor I actually, since I started painting watercolor I keep I designed my own easel and I designed it so I can do watercolor and oil. And I keep my oils and my watercolors in the same kit. And that way, you know, whatever the mood strikes me so when I was in New Zealand I did a couple of watercolors and then I did a couple of oils, you know, in one location and it was wonderful. And so I think it’s a it’s a great discipline to try.

Cindy Baron 35:26
Oh, yes, it is. And for me, you know, my style of painting with watercolors. I mean, I have to be super quick outside. I can give you I was Laguna plein air painters easel wasn’t working. So I just put everything on the ground and I stood above it and I’m throwing my painting. guy walked by with his kids and he goes, Oh, nice hobby. And I said, Well, now it’s my job. He’s looking at he goes, Oh, you’ll get better. And I was like, Oh, that was That was funny. I was floored that year. And so you know what I was like, okay, you know, but

Eric Rhoads 36:03
that’s it like the public to put you in place.

Cindy Baron 36:07
But mostly with watercolors. You know, I don’t use my easel Half the time I set it on the ground or I I’m over it and I work really fast. So half the time I don’t use the tripod or the tripod in my my pallet. I just put it around and do my business.

Eric Rhoads 36:24
So other than that, what’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you when you’ve been out painting?

Cindy Baron 36:29
Oh, boy. Let’s see. Well, we’ve had some bear encounters. I had a moose literally I had. I was paint it was in the Tetons and I was so engrossed in painting that when I turned to the side I didn’t realize this moose has been standing there. And he just was standing there watching me and so that was one of them crazy thing alright, so Bill and I went to Canyon did che with a foreigner and got stuck he tried he thought he could go through this creek

Eric Rhoads 37:10
great girl has no limits to his thinking.

Cindy Baron 37:15
Honestly got that’s probably one of them. There’s there’s several but I can’t release a release that but that was probably the biggest one that that was basically the rental car was returned limping. So we have a pack I do when we go on trips together, he does the car and I do the hotels. Many times he likes to take the car is not supposed to.

Eric Rhoads 37:45
So it goes on his credit card when it screws up. I’ll send you this has been wonderful. Any last minute advice for somebody who’s taken on plein air painting, anything that you find that you encounter with your students, anything that you think would be a helpful tip?

Cindy Baron 38:06
Simplify, I think with what a helpful tip is, especially if you’re playing or painting. There, it’s very seldom that you get the perfect scene. Yeah, there’s perfect scenes out there. But there’s very seldom you get a perfect thing, there’s going to be a time where you’re going to need to grow a tree, or you’re going to need to move a rock. And especially yet, when you take photos and you go back to your studio, don’t adhere yourself to that scene without realizing you’re going to have to change it a little bit bit, you know, to walk your way through the painting and in the painting and let the eye you know go around the painting. So the best tip I can give the students is don’t stay picture perfect. And don’t stay adhere to what you know, the landscape looks like you’re going to have to change a few things to make it work as a composition. So

Eric Rhoads 38:59
I assume you’re doing a drawing of some sort before you Yes,

Cindy Baron 39:03
yes. Most of the time when I’m playing their painting, I just go right to it. No, you know, I’ve got these, I got a million of these pads. And I just I do a lot of that’s charcoal I do a lot of sketching. So it’s, if anything, the number one thing you got to always think about and it’s an any type of painting you do is composition. And so get those drawing skills down and the composition right. If you get that right, your painting is going to turn out all right in the end, but that first year, that first thing, it’s all about composition and don’t stay true to what that photo says or what outside says yeah, if there’s a big rock, you may have to just move the rock to get to that landscape that you want to paint. You know, so that’s the beauty of being an artist.

Eric Rhoads 39:52
You paint by yourself. Yes. So I get a lot of questions from women about you know, what do you do? Due to feel safe, how do you feel comfortable? Any tips for them?

Cindy Baron 40:05
All right, I go on my inner instinct. I have places here especially and I’ve gone out to the Grand Tetons and painted by myself. I’ve done some hikes by myself. But I have places here I love to go paint. I mean, they’re absolutely stunning. But I can tell you there was one time I pulled up to go paint in an area that always painted and there was a truck load, you know, the people there and I sat in my car and I went, No, my instincts are saying go somewhere else and think, and that’s exactly what I did. I have to be honest, I’ve never really encountered anything bad. I’m gonna knock on wood saying that, but I never have I just I play it. Pretty safe. But I don’t like to live with the fear of what Yeah, I don’t like the fears.

Eric Rhoads 40:53
Don’t pack it. You’re not packing heat?

Cindy Baron 40:56
No, no.

Eric Rhoads 41:00
You know, I probably wouldn’t shoot somebody anyway. I

Cindy Baron 41:02
know. Bill will tell you she could run a barrel the woods if you get my dander up. He goes, Don’t worry about her.

Eric Rhoads 41:12
Yeah, he’s the one that’s gonna run. Well, Cindy, thank you so much for being on the plein air podcast today. It’s been a pleasure.

Cindy Baron 41:20
Oh, thanks so much, Eric. I so enjoyed this. So just paint guys just do it. You know, tomorrow isn’t gonna wait for you. You got to do it.

Eric Rhoads 41:29
Get out. Yeah, you’re a great inspiration. We appreciate it, Cindy.

Cindy Baron 41:33
Thanks. Bye. Bye. Bye. Wow,

Eric Rhoads 41:37
that is Cindy Baron, Master watercolor and oil. I think it’s time now to get into a couple marketing questions with the marketing minute.

Announcer 41:45
This is the marketing minute with Eric Rhoads, author of the number one Amazon bestseller, make more money selling your art proven techniques to turn your passion into profit.

Eric Rhoads 41:57
So the goal if you want to make a living as an artist is to figure out how to do it. And it’s unfortunately it’s not just like the what was that Field of Dreams. If you build it, they will come. It’s not true. If you paint it, they won’t come you have to invite people in you have to learn marketing to do that. It doesn’t have to be harsh. It doesn’t have to be sleazy or greasy or salesy, but it is a good skill to learn because otherwise, you’ll have skinny kids. So the first question comes from Patricia Tabor Perry, in Massachusetts. And the question is simple one, where is the best place to begin to market your art? You know, that’s a that’s a loaded question, Patricia, because there’s so many answers to that. I think, first off, I think a very first piece of this is to find out if you’re ready. I, I certainly wasn’t ready when I started marketing my art. And I struggled with that. Because you know, it’s it’s kind of like, if you’re, you’re manufacturing a product and your product isn’t good, you’re gonna have a hard time selling it, you know, so you got a car where the doors don’t work, you know, nobody’s gonna buy it. And so I like to I like the idea of getting some advice. So find some trusted advisors, who will tell you the truth. And the way I have always approached it is I don’t want you to say anything good. I want you to tell me the bad stuff, because I need to know what I’ve got to work on what I’ve got to fix. And ultimately, the question is, am I ready? Now there’s different levels of people, right? So if you were to ask Cindy Baron, for instance. You know, she’s at a very, very high level know, she’s a very generous person, and she will, you know, be very kind to you. But, you know, her standards are high. And someone else who asked their standards might not be as high. So you want to ask people who have standards that are high, because I think that’s important. Now, you might not, you know, you might go out there anyway, because you might not get to that level right away. But one thing I like to do is ask gallery owners and I did this recently, I sent a picture of a painting to a friend of mine who’s a gallery owner. I said, Listen, I have no intention of asking you to go into your gallery. Because I this is not a ploy to have you secretly discover what a great painter I am. I just said, I, I don’t know if this is ready, and I don’t I need some feedback. And he was very generous. Now you have to do it with somebody you know, and trust if you can. And he was very generous and he gave me some really great feedback, some things that I couldn’t see. And that’s the nice thing and I have friends that I will contact that I paint with. And I’ll send them an image when I’m painting I’ll say something’s not right. But I can’t tell what it is. And you know, somebody will say, well move that tree. I was doing a self portrait. And Max Ginsburg said, Well, you know, there, you’re missing. You’re missing the enough darks on this side of the face if you just change that one thing, and he was completely right, and so but I couldn’t see it. So look for somebody to give you feedback. Now, the other thing you’ve got to do is start with some questions. The questions you got to ask yourself is why do you want to market your art? What what is your purpose? You know, I did some coaching at fall color week, one year, because it was snowing and nobody wanted to go out. And so I killed some time by offering some coaching one on one with some people. And a couple of people said, you know, I want to sell my art. And I said, why? And they said, I don’t know. Cuz everybody’s supposed to do that. I said, Well, that’s not true. I said, Do you need the money? And in two cases, they said, No, I don’t need the money. I have plenty of money, I retired, I put my money away. I said, Well, why do you want to sell your art? And then they realized, well, it was really about recognition. And they wanted that validation that somebody was willing to pay for it. I said, Well, can you get that validation some other way? Like, could you get it by donating your art or charity auctions or things that others will appreciate it, but you don’t have to feel like you have the pressure of marketing and selling your art and advertising? And so that resonated with those people, but you got to figure out why do you want to do it? What do you want to accomplish? Why do you want to sell it isn’t about money? Do you want to make a living? If it’s you want to make a living? How much of a living Do you want to make? You know, do you want to replace the income you have? Now, you know, if you’re a heart surgeon, and you’re making, I don’t know how much heart surgeons make, but you’re making that much money? I’ll go talk to a heart surgeon today and find out. They’re never going to tell me the but the idea is, is that a little money is a lot of money. Is it a retirement income? Is it a full time gig that influences all of the things that you’re going to have to figure out? You know, what about recognition? How important is that, that validation? And then you know, you dig into those things and try to understand what it is you really want to accomplish, because a lot of people chase rainbows that they don’t really want to chase and they get there and they go, Oh, right. And, you know, I’m really busy. And I don’t like being busy. You know, so find it, talk to other artists find out what their life is, like, you know, if you say, Well, I want to do I want to be like this artist or that, like artists call that artists and say, Hey, what’s your life? Like, you know, and they’re, they’re like, Well, you know, I’m on the road seven months a year doing plein air shows, and I never see my family. And you know, it’s a hard way to make a living. I like it. I love it. But, you know, are you willing to do that, so you got to be thinking about those things in terms of once you get beyond all of that, then you’re going to have to think about, you know, how do I ease into this? What’s my strategy? You know, I think just start small, start easy do tests, I love tests, you know, like, a really great way to start is just to do a little art show, you know, local cafe, local restaurant, go to the owner, set something up, give them a piece of it, if they need that, you know, the goal is to just find out, you know, this isn’t always about making money. It really never is, that’s a side benefit, I think because you do what you love, and the money will typically follow. But there are things that you have to do disciplines you have to do so start small, do a little business, a little art show in a business or a cafe or something, try that or maybe you know, try a little gallery test, you know, maybe there’s a community gallery you can try out or maybe you know, you start talking to galleries, but I would find out first if your work is marketable before you do that, see what works. And then kind of start there. You know, the, the ultimate answer to that question that I always say in my art Marketing Bootcamp, is I talk about okay, very first thing you do is you start building your list, because if you build a list, then you can get more contact with people. As you know, somebody signs up for your newsletter, you give them an incentive to do that, and so on.

Now, the next question is from Emily Feeney in Illinois, would publishing the name of high profile buyers drive up prices? Well, Emily, I’m going to tell you a little bit of a story. I had a really wonderful artists friend in Carmel, who had her own gallery, and she had a lot of famous people who bought paintings. And she would take pictures with those people, and she would blow them up and frame them and put them in the gallery. And that was an implied endorsement. It said, well because Pierce Brosnan or Oprah Winfrey or Tom Cruise or somebody bought one of my paintings. And there, here’s my picture with them. That’s an implied endorsement. It’s not an endorsement, but it’s implied. What I told her to do, I advised her to do is I said, you need something that you can actually talk about. She said, I said, Well, who famous? Do you have that is not on the pictures on the wall that you’d like to be able to talk about? And she told me a very famous director. And I said, Well, do you have any way to contact that person? She said, Well, I have his contact information. But these people are hard to get to. I said, Well, why don’t you do this? Would you say, you know, you were in the gallery send a little, little tiny painting. So you were in the gallery a couple years ago. And I just, I’m so honored that you own a piece of mine, I was thinking about you, I thought you’d like to have this little painting as well. And then wait for a response. Don’t ask for anything upfront. And then wait, once you get a response, then you can, if they send you a note, or they give you a call, or somebody calls for you, then you can open the door and say, Hey, would it be okay? What I have your permission, if I could say I’m in the Steven Spielberg collection, or I’m in the Oprah Winfrey, correct collection? And some of them will say yes. And some will say no, because people like their privacy. So always ask if you can get a picture with somebody and you can say, Hey, are you okay? If I post this? Or are you okay? If I put it up in my studio or my gallery, then that that gives you something and you know, I went to a hairdresser one time, and he was like a hairdresser to the movie stars. And he never said anything about it. But there are pictures of him with all these famous people all around. It’s like so you know, what’s the story you tell your friends? Oh, the hairdresser, I go to does, you know, Donny Osmond or something? Right? Anyway, I think that, you know, it’s a good thing to look for every possible advantage that you can have. And getting high profile buyers will help your branding, it’ll help your pricing. It will make other people want it. Because celebrity works now, if it’s hope high profile in some other area, you know, a sports celebrity or something else, it doesn’t matter. But it should be people that, you know, people know, I mean, if you’re saying, Well, this is Bob Jones, and he’s the CEO of SpaceX or something and then, you know, maybe, maybe you have to tell people who they are everybody would know if it’s allowed musk, but the idea would be get their permission, don’t do anything without them. I used to have a different take on that. But I don’t anymore. I want everything to be on the up and up. I don’t want anything to be at all questionable. Because, you know, eventually they’re gonna find out and you don’t want to make a mad and you don’t want to offend anybody, and it’s just the best thing to do. Anyway, that’s today’s our marketing minute.

Announcer 53:01
This has been the marketing minute with Eric Rhoads. You can learn more at

Eric Rhoads 53:13
It’s been fun with Cindy Baron, check her out at her website and so on. And I think it’s And let me tell you, I’ll have to double check them anyway. Join us at the plein air convention this year. It’s going to be really, really wonderful. 10 year anniversary, just go to plein air To get your seats. Jane Seymour’s coming in speaking of celebrities, and CW Mundy is going to be their Alvero Castagnet and Don Demers, Camille Prezwodek you know, I can’t even mention them all. There’s 80 of them. Join us a fall color week by Fall Retreat. There’s always some pretty well known painters there too, by the way, and compete with us for a week that’s going to be fun And by all means, if you’re not a subscriber to plein air magazine, go there. We just put plein air magazine and put on the end of it, you’ll find it we have digital edition if you’re in one of the 90 countries and you don’t want to pay for postage, or wait for postage. And by the way, our digital edition has 30% more content and the print edition. If you’ve not seen my blog, where I talked about life and art, it’s called Sunday coffee, just go to And join me every weekday at 12 noon, Facebook or YouTube. Just follow me at Eric Rhoads and you’ll find out more but on YouTube, it’s called Art School live. Just go there. Subscribe, and we’ll see you there every day. I’ve got art lessons from other people. It’s really cool. So remember, it’s a great big world out there. Go paint it. We’ll see you. Bye bye.


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


  1. Thank you Eric and Cindy. Inspirational, interesting and made me think about my own work. I admire Cindy’s honesty and love her paintings. Also got something from the art marketing minute – also made me think.


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