Plein Air Podcast 256: Larry Moore on Creativity and Artistic Growth

In this episode of the Plein Air Podcast, Eric Rhoads interviews Larry Moore, who describes himself as “intensely curious.”

Larry Moore has been a professional visual communicator for the past 45 years. His career in graphic design and advertising taught him how to creatively solve problems – a skill he shares with others through his books, videos, and workshops. He says, “It’s part of the human condition to express ourselves. So why not be authentic?”

Listen as they discuss:

– Seeing the plein air movement evolve over the past two decades (Was it plein air, or was it just Florida?)
– What makes plein air paintings stand out from the rest
– Artistic creativity and breaking free from assumptions
– Creative challenges and taking risks
– The artists who inspire him
– Exploring the creative process in his new video, “The Creativity Course: Finding Your Unique Painting Language”
– Overcoming creative blocks and embracing uncertainty in art
– Larry’s four talking points about change and growth

Bonus! How can artists manage social media junk queries versus actual buyers? And how should you price your framed oil paintings? Eric Rhoads answers in this week’s Art Marketing Minute.

Listen to the Plein Air Podcast with Eric Rhoads and Larry Moore here:


Related Links:
– Larry Moore online:
– Plein Air Live:
– PleinAir Magazine:
– Plein Air Convention & Expo:
– 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 256 with recovering plein air painter, Larry Moore. You’re going to learn more about that and why he’s not so focused on plein air anymore; you need to hear about what he’s going to tell you.

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
Thank you Jim Kipping. And welcome to the plein air podcast. Well, I guess I’m kinda what could you say lazy, because this is our first time back after after the holiday break. haven’t gotten around to it. I apologize. But I have been doing a lot of painting and playing and messing around. I have been to painting around Texas painting around Florida painting Spain, Germany. And I also hosted our event watercolor live recently, to people in all 50 states and 29 countries. That was fun. Anyway, hopefully, this plein air podcast will inspire you to paint outdoors, or at least try it because I think it makes us better painters, at least from the standpoint of, you’re outside, you’re enjoying scenery, you can be around friends, you can travel, you can express your creativity outside. This podcast is about a chance to get into the mind of artists and to learn about their struggle, their journey, their techniques, their why. And we’ve got a really great one today coming up in just a minute with Larry Moore and he’s going to talk about a lot about the why I think so we’ll be getting into that. I’m really grateful you guys, this this show wouldn’t have the success it has without you sharing it, giving it positive reviews and leaving comments. And we’ve had, I think well over 1.5 million downloads, which is pretty cool. At the end of the podcast, we do an art marketing minute. And today we’re going to talk about NFT’s Yes, people are still talking about those and we’re going to talk about pricing paintings a common question we’re going to get into a little bit. Anyway, I want to make sure that you guys are involved with us. So if you have ideas on on people you would like to have in the podcast, make sure you send them to me, [email protected]. All right, we’d love to have your ideas on who we could have it and also maybe you know who could we use as guest hosts so that if I am away like this, you can have somebody else step in. My next virtual event is called PLEIN AIR LIVE and it is coming up in March. Some of the world’s top plein air painters gonna be doing demos helping you become a better painter, it’s really great place to special especially if you’re new we have an essentials day. You’re new to painting new to plein air painting, don’t understand the gear don’t understand how to start a painting out or finish it all that kind of stuff. You know the refresher day, the essential stay is really a good thing for you. And then the rest of the week is three more full days of demos. Most of them are done in plein air so you have an opportunity to see people painting on location. And we’ve got some really terrific high high level painters who are going to be teaching you some who don’t even teach anymore, which is pretty good. So and you get that all from as they say the comfort of your own home. So check it out at A lot of people are coming. The other thing a lot of people are coming to is the PLEIN AIR CONVENTION. Plein Air convention is coming up in May 20 through 24th. If you want to really get to know the plein air community connect with the community learn from the best. We get a huge number of outdoor painters that gather at the plein air convention to learn painting techniques to meet with other artists together with friends to shop plein air specific stuff in our giant expo hall and to paint together it’s really a gas to see all these people painting together outdoors having fun. It’s really cool. This year we’re going to be painting in the Great Smoky Mountains. We’re staying right outside the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. And you can learn more about it at But pay close attention. Because they’re less than 40 seats left first time east of the Mississippi. It’s close driving for a lot of the country. And a lot of people are coming. Make sure you’re there. By the way, if you have not yet subscribed to plein air magazine, we’d love to have you why not? We have a print and digital version. The digital version has 30% more content, more images, more stuff. And that’s really great for those of you who are, across the world and don’t want to have to deal with waiting for the post delivery. And so anyway, you should subscribe if you’re in the plein air world, you should. Coming up after the interview of Larry, I’m going to answer art marketing questions in the marketing minute you can send your questions in for future broadcasts to [email protected]. My guest is Larry Moore today. Larry’s a really good guy. He’s been a professional visual communicator for the past 45 years even though he still looks 13. Working from his roots as a mural and apparel artists in the surf industry into graphic design advertising illustration, fine art, and achieving recognition nationally for his work in each of these areas for visual communication. His career in graphic design and advertising taught him how to creatively solve problems a skill he shares with others. Through his books and workshops and videos. Larry first started painting outside on his own in 1984 and joined the plein air circuit in 2002. And then he realized it was possible to make a living as a painter. And in 2005 he took the plunge and became a full time artist, which is interesting. Now he was making his living as an artist but became a full time fine artist. We welcome Larry Moore.

Larry Moore 7:04
Welcome. Thank you.

Eric Rhoads 7:07
Hey, so what’s the deal here? You started plein air painting in 2002. And you said you went on the circuit? So were you like a plein air gypsy? You were going from city to city?

Larry Moore 7:20
Well, I was, you just mentioned I started painting outside in 1984. And it I don’t think the plein air movement had really hit any kind of a stride at that point. It was just Florida, and you can be outside in Florida. And I, I just sort of my wife at the time was an avid reader, and I wasn’t so it’s like you read a book. And whenever we go anywhere, I’ll go out paint and paint, which is quite a bit. So work out for you. It worked out great. I, Florida is amazing. It’s hard to paint because I always tell my Western buddies, it’s you got it easy. You got mountains, we just have palm trees and alligators.

Eric Rhoads 8:04
Well, and you have this massive amount of green. Yeah.

Larry Moore 8:08
And the first is Carmel was the first one I entered in 2002. I think it was. And I had no idea what I was getting to in my first plein air event. And it was, I think at the peak of one of the peaks of what plein air was, is commercially, and great artists and two day events, ridiculously short three day event. And I was blown away and like yeah, this is what I want to do. Illustration has been fun. But I get to be in Carmel in pain Point Lobos and Gara, pata. And Pixar and who didn’t love that? So I started doing whatever showed up on the circuit. I call it the circuit. But whichever plein air events showed up, most of them in California at that time. That’s what I would do.

Eric Rhoads 8:54
Well, there weren’t a whole lot of plein air events back then. Yeah,

Larry Moore 8:58
I know. And so and ultimately became friends with almost all everybody out there out west. And, California people are plein air people are just kindness people anyway. I think because it’s such a humbling thing to do. And it’s not, like I’m a recovering plein air painter. I miss it. But I’ve gone to the studio to paint more narrative pieces. And I’ll go back I’m doing a plein air event in June. It’s cashiers, which is not that far from from where you’re going to be in the Biltmore. It’s not a stone’s throw, but it’s in the same state. And I’m going with my studio mate because we get along famously, and I’m gonna have a blast and I’m going to come at it with some kind of an idea which I always do have. This time I’m going to see how far I can abstract the landscape and still have a read something like that.

Eric Rhoads 10:00
You have a really interesting perspective on things because your whole thing is about creativity. Yeah. Currently, I mean, that’s how I perceive it to be, trying to find new ways, to not repeat the same things you’ve done over and over and over 1000 times. And, and you painted plein air for a lot of years. And now you’re kind of gonna jump back in and try it. Do you think that you’ll approach it differently now?

Larry Moore 10:27
Yes, oh, yeah. I’m in what I would call, there’s their phases that artists go through. And, typically, and I’m in a growth phase, and it’s really come on the heels of my last book fishing for elephants. That I came to realize, when I was doing the plein air realm, I was kind of doing what everyone else was doing. Even though as an illustrator, my work was completely different and very contemporary. And I just kind of fit into what I thought the model was a plein air. And then I realized, after I wrote the books, like why am I trying to fit in. And so when I, the next event that I do, I’m not going to try and fit in, I’m going to just do what I’ve been doing in the studio, which is messing around and having a blast. And so I’m in this growth phase, and I’m doing whatever pops into my head, which I’ve learned to just trust and try new territories. And I think part of it is I’m just an intensely curious person.

Eric Rhoads 11:32
Well, I don’t think there’s a right or wrong, but, we do have a tendency in our I hate to use the word industry, because it’s not really an industry, but in our in our tribe. Yeah, I think we have a tendency among many of us that, if you were to walk into a gallery, like, oftentimes at the plein air convention, when you know that we’ve got 500 paintings there from us, you see a lot of sameness. And yet the people who are on the stages, typically not always, but typically, they jump out their work jumps out. And there’s something that they discovered that gives them their voice gives them their, sense of doing things differently. What do you think it is that makes these things jump out?

Larry Moore 12:26
Yeah, it’s funny, because I study all of this stuff like I’m really interested in, in the mechanics of how we operate and how we learn and the psychology of what we do. And they’re, they jump out because they’ve gone through the requisite phase. And we have to look at plein air as it’s a realist representational movement. And so there are certain things that have to be satisfied in order to, and this, this takes time, which is you got to get the drawing figured out, you’ve got to learn values and color. And that’s a learning phase, it’s like, least four to five years to become satisfactory, are really adept at being able to represent three dimensional space in a two dimensional plane. And we all hit this place, and this is my whole thing, everyone will get to a place. Most people get to a place where they say, Okay, I figured out how to do this. Now, who am I in this process? So that’s really, my specialty is to help people think differently, and I keep my how I think about things keeps expanding, grow greatly right now. Because I’m questioning a lot of things about the nature of art and the nature of what we do. And so I’m in an explorer explorative phase. And that’s what we’re looking at, when we see any accomplished artists they have. They’ve come to a place of, they’re comfortable in a style, they’re a language, which one of the other things I teach is how to develop language that is uniquely yours. And that’s how we identify one representational painter or any painter from actually any creative form of expression from another is their language.

Eric Rhoads 14:18
Yeah, what I judge when I judge art shows, I always ask him to cover up the signatures because I don’t want to be influenced by somebody who has a bigger brand than somebody who doesn’t care, but it doesn’t matter. Because, if you see Kevin Macpherson, or, or whomever, it just leaps out and you go, I mean, there’s no question about that. That’s Kevin MacPherson or That’s Joe Paquette or that’s Larry Moore. I mean, maybe not so much with you because you change it out a lot. But, but, Randy Sexton and, so, everybody has kind of developed their voice but I think a lot of it is, you get that first few years before, while you’re learning the technology, the craft, you’re learning how to just kind of deal with it all and, get everything, get out there, get your drawing down, and so on. But there’s also a little bit of “supposed to’s” …I’m supposed to paint like this because everybody else is.

Larry Moore 15:25
That’s right, a lot of assumptions. And

Eric Rhoads 15:28
I think that a lot of us have to figure out how to let go of that, because, and by the way, I’m as just as guilty as anybody else. I’m supposed to do this. And yet, I don’t feel like doing that. And I think one of the biggest issues I have had is the influence of others who are around me, like, if I go painting with buddies, the biggest mistake I make is to go look at their work, because then all of a sudden, it’s like, oh, maybe I should change that. Maybe I should do this differently.

Larry Moore 16:03
But when we go into the museums, any museum, what we find there are the people who take a left when everyone’s going right, we find the game changers in the Rule Breakers. But, one of the things that we see in the facility, the have of any great painter is they learned the mechanics so well that they no longer have to think about that. And now they’re free to play with the dials is what I call it, like an old amp, of play with the volume and the bass and the treble, and push color and play with shapes. And, you get enough paintings under your belt, depending on on what your intent is in your work like Joe Paquet, Scott Christiansen are examples of people who keep honing their language, as opposed to expanding it out, there’s two parts of this process of you, you work in the expansion phase, which is where I am trying different things, or you work in the honing phase of just making it better and better and better. Mark Hanson’s another great example of that. And, and that’s what keeps us in the game. I think, we don’t want this to be easy. When it once it gets easy for anybody. They’re like, what’s next gets boring, it gets boring. Yeah. But that assumption thing is huge. That’s part of the psychology of, of societal psychology of Well, everyone else is doing a certain way. Am I supposed to be doing it that way, too? And the answer is no, you’re supposed to be doing it however you’re you feel. And that’s a hard thing to teach how to feel your way through this process, and trust your gut. And that does come with time. But, for the beginning and intermediate painters, it’s there. The stuff that I teach is really more for intermediate to advanced painters, because they’ve already gotten the prerequisite parts down. And now it’s time to figure out what do I do with this? Now, it’s music is the same thing. You can learn how to play piano, it takes a long time you play the sheet music, and after a while you think maybe I should compose my own stuff. And that’s what creativity is.

Eric Rhoads 18:22
And we’re going to talk a little bit about abstract and modern art a little bit. I think that the assumption oftentimes is that you can just go up to the keys on the keyboard and just start slamming, slamming down notes. And I believe, I don’t know if you would follow this train of thought, but I believe that the first thing is to learn the keys, learn the notes, learn the technology, learn at all. Yeah, I was studied under a very well known photographer, who’s who was a student of Ansel Adams. And I went to a workshop with him. And he said, I complained. Because I said, Well, we’re not out taking pictures. He said, No, you have to get to the you got to get the technology to the point where it’s second nature, where you can do it with almost with your eyes closed, so you don’t have to think about those things. Right? Kind of alluding to what you were saying earlier. So that then you really once you have that down, then you can really explode your creativity. And, because you got to learn how to do that stuff.

Larry Moore 19:37
There’s no shortcut for that. Now, there are there are for I wouldn’t one of the things that I don’t believe in absolutes at all. But there are certain things that are 95% True or true 95% of the time, and there are certainly artists who are untrained who have become known. You know, Henry Russo is a great example. Self trained self taught, and just figured out his own thing. And and is known for that his vision, if you will. Naive artists, primitive artists, visionary artists are recognized by their individuality by their authenticity because they didn’t go through the training process. So there’s no wrong way to go about this. There’s only the one absolute is that, that it takes time. There’s no shortcut for that. You just have to go through the phases every great painter, Picasso, Salvador Dali, Mark Rothko. Helen Frankenthaler guy and you can name a tons of they all go through this process, or went through this process of trying the buffet line of what if I did this, and what if I did that. And, and then sometimes it takes time. And always, most of those people, at least Picasso were classically trained initially to well, so at 14 could paint the pants off of the rest of us. He had that inherent skill set, I don’t really believe that we’re born necessarily with, generally with talent, but there are a handful. And he was one of them. And Mozart was another and some people are, there’s a book out called multiple intelligences, that suggests that they were born with we are born with a propensity for certain capacity for certain special skills, math, English, art, that sort of thing. So yeah, a couple of people have it.

Eric Rhoads 21:37
And then at least, at least they have such massive processing power that they pick it up so quickly. It feels like … a lot of inspirations that were not the ones that we typically hear about, in most podcasts and again, there’s nothing wrong with this, but, it’s always Sargent and Sorolla and Zorn of course. What are the the artists, the paintings, the artwork that is inspired you?

Larry Moore 22:06
It’s funny, because I met one of my heroes actually, just recently, I grew up in Cocoa Beach and in the 70s 60s, and 70s. And, of course, we didn’t have the internet, and I wasn’t exposed to a lot of art. But when I came into the world of music, and I started buying my albums, and I loved the band, yes. And if you remember them, prog rock, and their covers, just I’m like, Ooh, this is art. There’s art on the covers of this. And it’s by this one guy named Roger Dean, and who’s still alive, and I got to meet him the other day, and he inspired me. Oh, there you go.

Eric Rhoads 22:46
Did you meet him?

Larry Moore 22:49
When I met him, he went to see yes, in concert. Now the band is mostly disbanded. So it’s, it’s only one of the original members. So it’s kind of more like, yeah, than it is. Yeah. And it was okay. But he was there and I went to meet him and I got to shake his hand, I said, you inspired me to become an illustrator, which that whole world that I was in and that’s an I feel like it’s an advantage for me was all about having a unique voice. A unique language style, whatever you want to call it, an intelligent approach to problem solving. And, the ability to communicate a message show was like a triple whammy of what art is. And he kicked me off in a sense into that world, as did a number of other illustrators. And now, we didn’t have any museums and Cocoa Beach to speak up for nothing.

Eric Rhoads 23:44
or there’s a dinosaur museum. Yes. It’s very by the way, it’s world class. I’m living there now.

Larry Moore 23:53
…And I have bought things from there. Because I Who doesn’t love dinosaurs? You know? But yeah, so I grew up in the world of graphic design and illustration. And I the all these things, plein air, it all ran. At the same time, simultaneously, all these things ran at the same time. And so I was like, juggling all these balls, but that’s me. I just love being busy. And I like I like the challenge of solving a problem. And the funny thing was, when I in the illustration world, I would get into Society of Illustrators at annual competitions. It’s not international competition. And I was so honored to ever get in. And I go to the shows in New York at the Society of Illustrators Museum. 62nd and everyone was different. Everybody was like completely different. Then I go to the plein air shows plein air events and everyone mostly the same roughly, I mean, there’s skill sets out galore. But the outcome was often kind of similar. And I thought, My why is no one like pushing the boundaries of this thing? And it took me a while to do it to be honest, because I thought that

Eric Rhoads 25:16
though because it tends to lean representational, yes.

Larry Moore 25:20
But as I said, you can play with the dials pretty heavily on that, like, simple concepts, like you can create a piece and we can all we can think of, I’ll come up with some references. But where are you play with, I’m going to make 80% of this painting abstract, or heavily abstracted, and only 20% of others recognizable. And, and there are a lot of great representational painters who operate that way. And so but nobody was, I think part of it, this is gets into the psychology of art, it’s like, nobody wants to fit in, nobody wants to take the risk. Nobody everybody wants to stand out, but nobody wants to take the risk of standing out. And, being maybe somewhat cast aside by 80% of the viewers, change comes with its risks, as well.

Eric Rhoads 26:17
And we find that there are people who have told us, they don’t come to the plein air convention, because they’re afraid to paint in front of other people, because they don’t feel like they fit in or they’re good enough. And then, of course, the ones that come realize everybody’s been there, nobody cares. Everybody loves everybody. But yeah, it’s, it’s very understandable. And, it’s pretty intimidating. To paint in front of somebody who you consider to be an icon, right?

Larry Moore 26:55
And people and talking at the same time, that’s hard. And then always in the back of your head, like, either I’m going to speak well, or I’m going to paint well, I can’t do both. Some people can. But it’s hard.

Eric Rhoads 27:12
Yeah. So talk to me a little bit more about some of these inspirations. You talked about Roger Dean, who did the Yes, covers? Who else?

Larry Moore 27:20
Oh, God, well, the world of illustration, and I can name a bunch of people who are illustrators, nobody would know who they are. I think I may have included a couple of examples. But my, I think fortunately, because of the world that I was in of graphic design, I was exposed to entirely different ways of communicating visually. And so I as much as I know, the history of representational painting, and abstract painting, I also know the history of, of illustration. And because I in graphic design, because I lived in all those worlds, and I still do to be honest. And so names, of illustrators, there’s a bunch of them. But I’ll tell you a story that I’ve written about, I have a Facebook page called What If university that I started during COVID times to keep people busy and amused and not freaking up. And we’ve all had our passages of borrowing. And I did as well. And when I was an illustrator, I was borrowing heavily from a specific from a specific illustrator, because I love what he was doing. I thought, well, that’s what I should be doing, obviously wrong. That’s not what I should have been doing. And it was a phase that lasts a couple of years. And I actually came to a point where I felt bad about it. And I realized it was time to change. That’s normal and natural phase. I even went through Skype Christiansen phase for about two years until I had an aha moment. And I realized, well, I’m not him. So I might as well be me. But one of my little aha moments, other aha moments was at the after a Society of Illustrators show i i went up, shook his hand and the next day, he’s very gracious man, and very talented. But the next day, I went to the Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and saw him staring at a painting that it was Edwin Dickinson. And I realized at that moment that he had his heroes that he modeled his work after as well. And I thought, well, that’s part of our process is the master apprentice model, which is why we all teach workshops. But I’m also very because of that I’m very careful not to teach style, and, and technique. And what I teach is ways to approach as with this whole video is about is how to develop your own way so that people can look at you and go, I mean, that’s not my driver, of course, but to look at you and go well. How did you get there? Like, well, I dug and dug and explored the hard way, rather than borrowing somebody else’s stuff. And that’s become my goal is to help people become authentically their themselves through a simple process of, studies doing a lot of studies, experimenting, taking the risk of being wrong, if you will, and, and so forth.

Eric Rhoads 30:24
I think what I should just mention that you mentioned what this video is all about what Larry’s referring to, is got a brand new video called Creativity. Right? The Creativity course, which is our we were joking, it’s our best selling video of the year, of course, yours only one month old. But anyway, it’s doing really well. But it’s a terrific course. Because it’s, typically what we do our demos, and you do some demonstration in it, but you really are trying to help us pull us. Well, you tell me what are you trying to do? What are you trying to do with that?

Larry Moore 31:02
It’s a funny thing, one of the I want to introduce people to the creative process of exploration and play. And every time I bring this up in a class or in conversation, most people go, yeah, studies, I really don’t do those, I should do more of those, like, Yeah, you should do a lot of them. Because that’s where discovery comes from, that’s where ideas come from, is from playing around, goofing around trying different things. And this is not unique to art to painting. This is what creators do, they start messing around with stuff in the studio and putting things together creativity is putting unlike things together, to to come up with a unique solution to a problem. It isn’t throwing paint at a wall, although it can involve that and hoping for the best. It’s, it’s specific, a specific kind of study where you’re playing with the parts, and and seeing what shows up and learning to trust. Throw yourself into the world of the unknown, which is an uncomfortable place to be in. That’s why people like workshops so much because it’s here’s how I do it. Now you do the same thing. And there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s the master apprentice model. But, but you end up with, whoever you take a workshop with, you end up with their style their methodology to a point. And, and I’m saying no, you don’t have to do that. I mean, they’re great to do because you will learn a lot of things. But you can also on your own study, and explore and play and throw stuff around and see what shows up.

Eric Rhoads 32:39
That’s what I like to do. I like to copy paintings that I love with gouache. And then because I can do it fast. All right, and then I like to break it apart and focus in on some little pieces of it as squash studies. Yes. And then I like to see how I could make that painting my own not because I want to pass that off as my own. But because I want to take what I learned from that painting, which I copied a painting last night. And it did not appear to be a you know, it had this big streak of purple across it. And but I didn’t even notice it. It just it fit. Yeah. And it was so much fun to play with that. And then to see what I could do with that and then apply that to my own work. Just because somebody had had the foresight to try something interesting that you wouldn’t think would work, but it did work beautifully.

Larry Moore 33:47
Yeah, and what are you what you’re touching on to is to try even working in a different medium. And I was lucky as an illustrator and I am self taught. I mean everything I know about art I learned by doing. But when you shift mediums, and it seems like well, what’s the big deal about that? It’s massive. It shifts how you paint it shifts. I’ve worked in pastel oil, gouache, airbrush for way too many years. 20 something years scratchboard even an old medium called amaryllis, which wasn’t intended for illustration, I would just pick something up and go, Hmm, what’s this do and see if I can make it work. But when I love squash and I teach I demo and squash because it’s so quick, it’s not a large format medium. It’s a small format to study medium. Although I’ve done certainly done plenty of finished illustrations that way and some finished paintings. But, a big shift for me came from when I went out in the field with goulash as opposed to oil I painted completely different. And because of the way it dries lighter and brighter. It’s shifted my path as well, and I went, Hey, that’s, that’s interesting to me. And it’s that it’s that big paying attention to your attention. When you’re when your gut goes, Oh, yeah, then you have to learn to listen is all internal. But you have to, you have to learn to listen and pay attention to, I liked this, and follow that line of thought. And you can go once you sort of figure out what it is that you like about it, then you can adapt it back into your main medium if you have one.

Eric Rhoads 35:31
I think that’s absolutely true. Because I’ve been hosting watercolor live and things like that, yeah, I felt like I needed to become a watercolor painter. And I was working on this big oil painting. And I was trying to solve a problem, and I just couldn’t figure out what to do. And then all of a sudden, I remembered seeing a technique on watercolor live. That one of the people had done I don’t even remember what it was, but I did that technique. And I thought, well, could that be done with oil? And I thought, well, I could, but I’d have to really dilute it down. And I did. And then I used it and it was like, boom, everything came alive. And I also find that it’s much more invigorating, I spent a lot of years just kind of stuck in oil. And then when I moved to watercolor, or squash or pastel, or, even, like you said scratchboard, things like that really get me reinvigorated, really excited.

Larry Moore 36:34
I mean, the the act of training and painting over and over again and doing basically solving the same problem in the same way. It can get a little tedious, and I, maybe I’m ADHD, I think I am. And so at some point, I’ll go to switch, and I’ll switch over to another medium. And as I mentioned, I have the advantage of being self taught. And only my first meeting was watercolor, actually. And I would get to a point where it’s like, Okay, I think I’ve run this one that’s run its course, and I would shift and discover a whole new world of options. But once you have enough, and this takes years, once you have enough experience under your belt, you start thinking, Okay, this medium, so show me how to work at this way. But that’s not the only way to work it. You can I work in oil now, like, every time I started painting, almost I’ll work it in a different way, completely different way, as a game. And, the the end results oftentimes look the same, or similar. But I am playing with what the medium can do. Because as I said, I’m an intensely curious person.

Eric Rhoads 37:46
How do you force yourself into that mode? I mean, are you consciously going into it saying, Alright, I’m gonna start this painting in a way I’ve never done before? Yeah, what is your process like?

Larry Moore 37:59
Alright, it’s kind of a two parter. One way is, I believe in the absolute power of randomness in the act of discovery. And which is why I will start differently. Sometimes I’ll start with a line based drawn a start, where I draw everything in, or I’ll start with a brush mark based on the medium is independent of this sort of idea, it doesn’t matter the medium. Or I may go in with a series of transparent layers, you’re mentioning transparent layers, even an oil, and I’ll put it I’ll put everything down as a series of washes, and I’ll just let it dry in between. And that gives me the excitement of, oh, I don’t know where this is gonna go. I just know that I can figure it out. I worry about the end part. I don’t worry about the beginning. And then the other part, the other part to have this answer is that the intent of this of the solution that I have in mind will drive how I build the work. Once in a while, I’ll start the painting in acrylic. And, then I’ll create an intermediate layer, like clear gesso. And then I’ll paint on top of that oil. Or I’ll do a whole series of washes, or I’ll paint the hole, I’ll paint an entire abstract background and let it dry down in oil or acrylic. And then I’ll go over the top of that with something completely different. And each time I get these real subtle shifts, sometimes not so subtle, in the outcome that I then assess, as do I do I like this, and that’s what the video shows is me trying different things. And, that’s why my idea with that video, the Creativity course is to tackle the same exact problem and see how many ways I can come how many different solutions I can come up with. And, a challenge could be for me, which I won’t do because I have too many other things to do but is to take one source of reference and see spent a year seeing how many ways I can solve it. And, and work out of that source. And it’s a wonderful creative exercise, even if you spend a week doing it, or a month would be awesome. But you’ll find this like, there’s more than one way, as I say to skin a person, no, wait, that’s a cat. Sorry, that was somebody else. And so that’s my whole, how to get into that mindset is to become comfortable with things not working out for a while, maybe even in your studies, if you shift to a medium and you start working in gouache, well, you’re gonna have a lot of bad starts, that’s fine. That’s part of the process. If you start an oil, and you’re learning, you’re gonna have a lot of bad paintings. That’s fine. That’s we don’t learn from our successes. As much as we learn from our mistakes. We learn what to do in our successes, we learned what not to do and our mistakes.

Eric Rhoads 40:58
so talk to me about overcoming creative block you deal with,

Larry Moore 41:04
I’ve never had it

Eric Rhoads 41:08
and help us help the rest of us figure out how to never have it.

Larry Moore 41:11
So the creative block, is when you freeze up, and you think I’ve got nothing here now, my entire job for 4035 40 years was to solve problems creatively. And so the first way to do it is in the video and the Creativity course, I do these little baby thumbnails that are in black and white, and wash, and I don’t work them out in any kind of detail. But I’ll do like, they’re like tiny one inch by one inch things, sometimes I’ll go two by two, three by three, four by four, depending on how I’m feeling or whatever to do. And I learned this from my graphic design days, and I referenced this in the video, if if I had, if I were to come up with a logo for something. And that was my charge, then I would come up with 50 sketches. Because I know that 40 of them are gonna suck, I know that. And, and but I you just keep pushing yourself and looking for new ideas. And if you start small, with these little tiny thumbnails, something, and part of this is being open to the possibility that presents itself in these tiny thumbnails. And even though I’m working in black and white, I may look at them and go, what would work for this? Study this little tiny one inch by one inch thing? What if I did it all in layers of transparent wash and a little bit of light. So I don’t assume that I’m going to end up in a specific place I allow, it’s like going on a journey of walking a path in a forest that you’ve never walked down before. Do you know where it’s going to end? No. And then you see a side path and you go, Oh, wonder where that goes. It’s that kind of thinking that you become comfortable with the uncomfortable. And I’m very comfortable being uncomfortable. Like I don’t know where this is going, I get excited by that. Rather than the the other way, which is I build my model, I do my drawing. And I build the value structure and then I mixed my paint. That’s how I used to work in plein air, this very specific process to get the work done that I need to get done in a week. But now in studio, I am totally free to build 10 paintings at a time and try different things and be excited by not knowing where I’m going. This is a kind of an explorer mentality.  Christopher Columbus and Vespucci whatever his name was America to Galileo, don’t get don’t get me started. All these people were risking mightily in order to find out what was out there. I just mess up with paint. So

Eric Rhoads 44:01
yeah, I mean, when you really think about that your life is not at risk.

Larry Moore 44:06
No, I’m not gonna get thrown in, thrown into the clinker by the clink by the Vatican, for discovering something. This is the use of different times. And plus, when I go to museums, I don’t just go to the 19th century, when I go see everything. And I just did in December, I went to Art Basel, which is a contemporary art, International Contemporary Art. exposition and it’s massive. And everybody surprisingly, you’ll love this. Eric, it was filled with painting. I remember there’s a conversation about painting is dead. It ain’t that by longshot. 90% of the work was painting and some representational to some degree, but all inventive. And you go there you go. My god, there’s a huge world out there that I’m not paying attention to. And I gotta get, I think it’s really inspiring. Oh my God, it is it’s in somebody’s head scratcher. And some of its BS, but 90% was like God, that’s a good idea, and I live for. And this is because of my thanks, good lord, from my background in graphic design and illustration, I live for new ideas. That’s what excites me. And I’m not doing the same thing over and over again, which I did in the plein air world to a certain degree for 15. Well, from 1984, to 2000, whatever 15 I was kind of tackling the same problems, different, different locations, with the same sort of solutions. And then suddenly I went, why am I doing that? So you just have to become excited. Train yourself be excited by the by the unknown. And it’s a, it’s an some, some personality types may have a tough time with it. But it’s like the difference between classical music and jazz. Some people don’t get jazz. And I didn’t either for a long time, until I came to understand it, and I equated it to classical music is like classicism. It’s why it’s called classical music. And jazz is abstract. But for both, there’s still music theory, you still have to, to be a jazz musician, you still have to know music theory, even I think more so. Because you have to be able to play with the parts and play with the dials, if you will, in your in your work, because it’s there’s room for improv and, and it’s a very exciting place to be I am. So since I wrote fishing for elephants, I’ve come to this new place in my life of excitement that I can’t wait to go to the studio and see what happened. I don’t go in with plans. I have a show right now that I’m trying to fulfill. It’s chosen two weeks. So I have very specific intent. And, I have structure in the work and continuity. But most of my time is spent goofing around trying different things and seeing what shows up. It’s exciting.

Eric Rhoads 47:13
And then you’re gonna I hear you’re writing another book. Yeah. Follow up to pushing for elephants.

Larry Moore 47:17
Yeah. And it’s funny, because as I was so fun to watch, the an hour ago, I was on the paint to live thing, answering questions, and whatever. And there’s a clip at the end that I totally forgot about. And that, that just reminded me and what, how exciting this whole process is. And once I finished fishing for elephants, one are fishing for elephants. One that my second book actually, I thought, Well, that’s it, I did it. I created this challenge for myself. And I did it. And I think I started it served its purpose. Once that was done, suddenly new things started coming to me some new realizations, the seven principles, which is essentially I’m teaching design, how to apply design theory to anything is in the seven principles, and I Oh, then I started posting it on Facebook and one of university. And then I started writing, oh, well, there’s this other thing, I this is important. It’s all the stuff that kind of in effect, we’re talking about the psychology of what we’re doing, how to think about what we’re doing, and, and how to be authentic on a deeper level. And I just know, it’s sort of like, maybe it’s like a religion in the sense that I get so much joy from it. From this self actualization, self assessment, self expression, that I want other people to experience it to, maybe it’s not for everybody, at least it may not be for people who are learning at this stage, but what the hell, it’s good to know about it. Absolutely.

Eric Rhoads 48:57
I tend to see a pattern. I don’t know if you see this, or if this is just me, but I think a lot of us when we start out certainly was my case is I was trying to paint photographs. I was trying to be photorealistic beep. I used to be, I’d love it. If somebody say, Oh, your paintings are so they look like a photograph right now. I doubt to me, that’s an insult. But yeah, people mean well, but it seems to me that as more and more brush time is put in and somebody gets to the point where they’ve been painting for 3040 50 years. They get to the point where they’ve morphed into almost complete abstraction. Yeah, that you see that pattern?

Larry Moore 49:47
I do. And it’s because I think one it’s like, it’s like walking upstairs. You think, Oh, this thing’s this. There’s only two 10 sets of stairs and then I’m there. No, you get to the top you go, Oh my God, there’s another 10 set. There’s, what, there’s another 100 sets of stairs, above that. And as we progress, and that’s why my morning I think said at the end of his life is like, I’ve only just begun to learn, you realize I’ve only mastered a fraction of this thing. And there’s a deeper well inside of me that wants to come out. And, we are wired for this. I always ask why about everything. And I’m like, why are why do we do this at all? Why do we bother chasing this? This fairy you know, and it’s because, we’ve been doing it for hundreds of 1000s of years. 30,000 years from Jovi and Lesko, and ultimately the first. I would call accomplished a painting that had been discovered in France and, and you look at those and you go, Oh, my God, they’re really good. 30,000 years ago, and we’re still doing this today. There’s a reason. There’s always a reason. It’s part of the human condition to express ourselves. So why not be authentic?

Eric Rhoads 51:15
What do you say to the person who just says, I can’t do this? I just, I’m not cut out to paint. I’d like to be able to, but I just, I’m not cut out. I can’t do it.

Larry Moore 51:29
Don’t do it. That’s what I say. It’s not true. I would say that. It’s, the people go, Oh, God, I wish I had talents like, well, you don’t, you don’t get talent, you get motivation. If you have the motivation to do anything, then you can learn how to do it. I mean, if I wanted to run the 100 yard dash, it may be a little late for me, I can still do it. I’m just not going to be, whoever the guy is, who runs the fastest or woman, I’m just going to be I’ll be the best I can. And here’s my example. I do martial arts. And my goal was originally was to take out six Russian mobsters at once is from a movie that’s a movies reference. And I realized I’m not good at it. I’m not, but I’m still in it. Because there’s part of me that wants to be good at it. And that’s all you need. That’s all you need is that motivation have to want to be good at something. If I wanted to be good at the guitar, I just start playing it. But I don’t have that much time I’m writing and painting and teaching workshops, but motivation, the motivation is an internal drive. If you have it, do it. If you don’t have it, don’t do it. In the end of your life you may regret it. You may not I don’t know.

Eric Rhoads 52:47
I think part of motivation is also discipline. Yeah. I mentioned guitar. I mean, I finally said, every time I want to play the guitar, I gotta go upstairs, get it out of the case, bring it downstairs and finally said, I’m just gonna put it in the living room. So that and then I told myself, I got to pick it up every single day. I told myself, I got to slap some paint around every single day. I don’t do it every day. But I tell myself, that’s my intent. And when I do it every day, I play better. I paint better. It’s just because it’s because of motivation. I want to be able to paint better. I want to be able to play better. Yes, but I’ve got also have the discipline to force myself into it when I don’t feel like it.

Larry Moore 53:34
Yeah, well, if you are retired, Eric, which you’re clearly not, you’re a busy Dude, you are insanely busy. And of course, there’s only so much time you can allot and you’re painting and I get it, and we make our choices of what’s important to us at that time. And but I would say this, everybody is good at something in you know, and what, look at what you’re good at. And you’re only good at it because you spent the time in the kitchen, at the behind the desk, doing teaching whatever, you’re good at it because you put the time in, and it’s that all comes down to whether you want you really want it or not. And forget about what the common conception of good and bad is. And what I always say in my classes if you fall in love with the act of painting and not with the outcome, like put zero weight on the outcome other than where am I today? And how am I doing so far? But if you fall in love with the act of moving pain around, you’ll never be disappointed. And it’s not a hard thing to do. It’s like playing guitar you don’t sit there and go okay someday soon I’m going to be on stage with the with some band or another Mark Knopfler my hero. Well, that’s not gonna happen. I mean, it could but it’s not gonna. You say he’s but you go okay, well, I’m just okay. plugging away at it. If nobody hears it. That’s fine. Because it’s a joyful thing to do?

Eric Rhoads 55:01
And you won’t get anywhere if you don’t pluck.

Larry Moore 55:04
that’s That’s right. pluck it, as they say,

Eric Rhoads 55:07
pluck it. So I understand you have four talking points about change.

Larry Moore 55:14
Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. And so what drives change? And why is this that’s such a weird talking point is what’s drive change will ask you, the viewer, if you’re watching this, why are you watching? What do you watch any video? What do you take any workshop? What do you, you’re hoping to learn something you’re hoping changes growth. And you’re hoping to grow as an artist, and I’ve already spent my years growing in all sorts of different directions. And I’m here to help people do that, because I’ve learned from all these different unique sources. So how do we know first of all, you when we’re beginners, we get to a point like early on about a year or two, when where we think we know, there’s right, these are pretty good. Most of us will tell you who’ve been in it for a while, when you look back at your first and second, third, fifth year of paintings. They’re not that good. We don’t know what we don’t know. And only as we progress, can we look back and go, Oh, those are bad, which only means that we’ve grown. So growth is comes from us wanting to change and wanting to grow and, and paying attention to the areas that we need to work on and training on them. There’s not a better way to say it sounds like work. But if you love the process, it is and the drivers for growth are curiosity, how do you do that? That’s one that’s why you take a workshop. Desire, that’s motivation. I want to learn this thing. I want to play the guitar, just just to satisfy myself, and maybe someday I’ll play in front of people, maybe someday I won’t. self analysis where you look at the body of work, and you kind of go Alright, well, your one was not that good. You’re to have a little bit better. Imagine how I could be. And here’s what I need to work on to get better.

Eric Rhoads 57:09
Is there a process to get your growth? To accelerate?

Larry Moore 57:22
Yeah, practice the parts. The easiest way with painting. And a lot of creative acts is like juggling the act of painting is like juggling 10 balls, right? It’s really hard, you can’t walk out on the stage with 10 balls, if you’ve never done before, and juggle them. That’s impossible. So you start with easy, you start with easy stuff. And my recommendation is always to train the parts. And I’ve always done this train color, play with color, with no goal in mind, in terms of outcome, certainly not commercial outcome, or sales or whatever. Just play with the paint, learn what it can do learn what your color palette is, what your aesthetic is, and I do countless color studies, just and they’re fun. And so not only are they fun, it’s like a yoga and meditation for me to train on these things or just train drawing. And this is not news. But if you can learn to say spend time just drawing in that includes value. And I don’t care whether it’s accurate drawing or developing a style or a look or feel and understand how to build things and sort of form how to build not only shape and form and black and white, so you’re only focused on the one thing. And then separately trained color, you’re going to get to the ability to put them together a lot quicker, because you’ll know them both when it comes time to merge them if you try and tackle it all at once. I mean that’s why the Russian school is so successful because they they run you through the wringer the first year you draw spheres and squares. It’s painstaking and boring as I’ll get out. And then the next year you draw bus and black and white. And and the Bucha out if you get the eyes off and whatever they’re harsh. And then the third year there’s the do more established drawings in the fourth year is color, that’s the program. And so that’s good training is be patient and for and make yourself do the not not glorious part of this process and practice the parts.

Eric Rhoads 59:42
It’s actually faster if you do the things in what they’re called chunking Yeah, we all want to we all liked it. I liked chunking food, it’s all the same.

Larry Moore 59:55
A lot of songs that you want to to think long game, that’s what you want to think you don’t want to go kind of really want to be in the show next year. So I better get busy painting and color and making fruit and whatever. Because that’s a harder way to go. So just think longer than that, think two years out, maybe three years out and go, Okay, I’m first I’m gonna train black and white. And you may find from doing that, I just really like black and white, or you may train and find from colors, like, I just love playing with color. And these things, if you’re open to an outcome, to where your gut tells you to go, you may go, I don’t really want to paint landscapes at all, I just want to play with color, and, and do non objective paintings. And so there’s a lot of discovery that can come from the, from these processes. So yeah, that’s that the the aspect of change and growth. And we’re very, people are competitive, we want to why don’t we do plein air events? Because, because we want to run with the big dogs. And I, the psychology of that poll experiment for me, which ran for 15 years, was in the middle of the week, every week, no matter how good people thought I was, I thought I was miserable. And, I would have these little meltdowns until I started saying, I am where I am. And I’m going to stop trying to fit in and do my thing. And then that’s when people started looking and going. Huh, where’d that come from?

Eric Rhoads 1:01:33
It’s kind of like dating. It’s, like the minute you stop being so eager and so driven to go after somebody and you become a little bit more aloof about things, all of a sudden they’re attracted to you, it’s kind of the same thing is, is that, your painting gets better in some ways, the less you care.

Larry Moore 1:01:58
Sexy indifference. And yes, it’s true. And so the thing I’ve learned of late because I’m not just doing the one thing, and I’ve thought about this a lot, is I’ve gotten to a place now where I don’t care. I don’t care what people think. I don’t care. If someone says Wait, you do both abstract and these rendered out things. Who are you like I’m having a blast, if you don’t like it, don’t buy it, don’t come in, don’t I don’t care. And that has helped me tremendously to just go, what I’m going to do today, I’m going to work with cement and dry pigment and see what the heck shows up. And when I hit the end of my life, I am not going to be sad that I didn’t try stuff, because that’s my, that’s what I do.

Eric Rhoads 1:02:47
I think that’s a good ending point. Larry, thank you so much for being on here. This was great stuff, I think that you’re doing really good work, I want to acknowledge you because you’re kind of the only one who’s really focusing on this whole idea of finding, finding yourself and the creativity piece of it. And it’s very important. So thank you very important.

Larry Moore 1:03:08
I mean, to end on this note. It’s why we’re here. And my job is because I know how to get there. And I know how to teach it because I’ve been teaching since 1990, since 1990. And I thought really hard because I write about this stuff. And when you teach things and you write when you when you teach things, and you write about things, you have to really look at who you are and what you know. And you have to quantify it. And which gives me and I happen to like people, not all of them, but most of them, and I want to help them.

Eric Rhoads 1:03:44
Is there anybody in particular you don’t like?

Larry Moore 1:03:46
Yeah, well, I’ll tell you later. And no, I’m kidding. I don’t like people to think they know everything. That’s the only thing I don’t, I don’t like that kind of attitude. Because I know for a fact that there’s a lot more to know, they don’t. I’ve had some people tell me getting up fights with me about abstract art, who are staunch neoclassical, which is fine, do your thing. But they’re saying, well, that’s not art and like, well, let me call the museums and inform them right away. They made an egregious error. But yeah, that’s the only people I don’t like is people think they they know they have the answers. I just know that there are many answers. And I love helping people. I don’t know why. I think because Mr. Voss, my English Lit teacher, as I mentioned in the video, was a good teacher and excited me. And I didn’t get an English Lit he just he showed me what it was to be a good teacher.

Larry Moore 1:04:50
Hello, Larry. Thanks for being on plein air podcast today. Well, we’ll have you back. Okay. Well, that has been Larry Moore. This is one of those times we could go on for three or four hours and, but we can’t because we got a lot of things to do. Okay, well, now let’s go to the marketing minute.

Announcer 1:05:27
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 1:05:39
You can send your questions to me [email protected]. And by the way, that’s a great resource art has lots of great articles for free. Okay, so the first question comes from Nancy Tyler in Dallas, Texas. I love going out to paint plein air and sell my work as a means to finance my trips and supplies. Many sales come through Instagram and Facebook from people that I’ve made connection with. Through my travels at outdoor events and finding the painting in their neighborhood. A question is how do I continue to engage these wonderful collectors on social media while discouraging the many many offers from those wanting to offer me ridiculous sums for my work as NFTs, cryptocurrency, bla bla bla bla bla. And it has become exhausting, explaining that I don’t deal in digital file sales and crypto and deleting their posts. Well, Nancy, it’s, it’s funny because it’s comes on the heels of my colleague Ali sent me a note that I had been somebody had hacked my account, and was pretending to be me and telling people that they had won prizes. And if they clicked on this link, they would collect their prizes. And then of course, it was some other kind of a scam. And I said, that’s the price of popularity. I mean, that’s the price of success, I suppose. And that is that you can’t avoid that stuff. If you’re on social media, and you’re getting some followers and people see that you’re eventually going to get hacked, and you’re gonna just have to deal with that stuff. As far as NFT’s go. The whole NFT thing is kind of, I don’t, from my perspective, kind of over maybe it’s not but, there’s a lot of artists are hearing from people saying, oh, I want to do NFT’s of your work, and then, they end up getting scammed, or I don’t think there’s very many people out there legitimately reaching out to artists and saying, I want to do NFT’s of your work. But quite frankly, I mean, you can do LFTs generate them with with AI now and come up with some pretty cool things and who needs who needs to do that. So, the people who’s spent millions or hundreds of million dollars on NFT’s most of them are burned pretty badly. Now most of them are you know, it’s not recovered. That could change. I don’t want to be a Luddite and say never, never say never. But right now, that kind of stuff is happening and, the whole idea of crypto. I love crypto. I think it’s really cool. But, it’s really easy to get scammed through people you there are legitimate places to go if you want to do nfts Do NFT marketplaces, if you want to do crypto do it yourself, do crypto marketplaces, but steady, steady. Be careful who you take advice from. I personally have been scammed. And I don’t want that to happen to you. But I do want to bring something up that you said I just want to you know, you said you love to go out painting and plein air and use it as a means of financing your trips and supplies. I think that’s that’s wonderful. But, you can go further than that if you want. And I think it’s nice that you look at it and say okay, this is a way to finance my trips and supplies but maybe, maybe you can do more with it. You can make more of a living with it that depends on you and what you want to do. But you also mentioned something else and that is let’s see here that that. Oh, let’s edit that out. So I want to touch on a couple other things you said your plein air painting and you’re selling via Facebook and Instagram from people you made a connection with when you were out plein air painting at events or otherwise, it’s worth pointing out because the sales that you’re getting from Facebook and Instagram may have more to do with the fact that you were out there they worked, saw your work in person, they met you in person you connected with them, they followed you, that may have more to do with it than just putting yourself out there on social media and hoping that somebody’s gonna spend money, it happens, it’s happened to me, it doesn’t happen a lot, it happens to some of my friends frequently, some of them not frequently, I think it depends on how good you are at working social media. But, there’s a lot of phony buyers out there, too, every single week, not a week goes by where I don’t get, hey, I love your artwork. And usually, it’s coming from social media, I love your artwork. And I’d like to, we’ve got a special anniversary coming up, it’s my wife’s birthday or something. And then they say they want to buy your painting, and then they cut a deal to buy your paintings and they send you a check, and you send them the painting, and then they overpay you on the cheque. And then you they say well just Venmo me the difference, I must have misunderstood, then you Venmo the money, they’ve got your painting, and then the cheque doesn’t clear. And this is a big scam. This is going on, every week, every week you get it. So it’s kind of like the Nigerian prince, it’s same kind of a thing. So be careful out there. But there are fundamentals in marketing that, no matter what the the hot thing of the moment is, these fundamentals really matter. We’re attracted to shiny objects, we assume because we have a few 1000 followers, or maybe even more than that, that everybody sees every post. And the reality is, it’s not true 2% to 3% of your followers ever see your posts ever? And only if you can increase your engagement levels? Do they start seeing a more if if Facebook or Instagram, same company, see you increasing the engagement levels? How many people comment how many things you comment back, that type of things, how many people share, then those engagement levels drive up, then you might go from 3% to 4%. And, if there are lots of things, lots of comments, lots of engagement, they might go to 5%, sometimes they go higher, but usually, we get a mistaken belief that we have a lot of followers and those people see everything we do, that’s just not true. It they’re people who have millions of followers, they have great results, because a small percentage of their people see every post or if they’re super, super popular, and it’s good for the platform than Instagram or Facebook will push them out more. But, when you have big numbers, you get small percentages, it still makes a big difference. When you have small numbers and you get small percentages, people not seeing things. So be careful about that, social media changes every three months, they’re always updating the algorithms, things always are changing. And most of us don’t have time to keep up on that. So there are experts out there that help you. But there are also experts out there that are willing to scam you. So be really careful about that. You can sell on social media, people do it. And don’t, don’t put it into things you can’t control. Put it into things you can control. There are things that are tried and true that have tribes of followers that are very specific to tribes of people who buy paintings, like the pages of, of my art magazines, the people there buy paintings, so you would kind of know that the likelihood of selling a painting is going to increase by being there. Whereas, you’re being random, just because you have a lot of followers doesn’t mean they’re people buy paintings. They might be other artists they might be who knows, there are a lot of people who, who, who follow for no reason. So they might like your artwork, but they’re never gonna buy anything. So keep that in mind.

Eric Rhoads 1:14:06
Okay, the next question comes from Sally Dixon in Maine. I’m an impressionist plein air artists with 30 years experience. I have an art show coming up in November. How do I price my framed oil paintings? I have a website to backup my work. I’ve been in the Portland Art Gallery in Maine. I really want homes for these ocean scapes and landscapes and floral paintings. It’s a local art show at our library. So I want to price them reasonably well. I’m not sure what the question is. But let’s just talk about a couple of things. First off, let’s Congrats. Congrats on getting into an art show. That’s big deal. Thank you for pointing that out. How do I use set? How do I price my framed paintings? Does that mean that you also we’re gonna put paintings in the show that are not framed. I want to talk about frames. First off, the only things I believe, there are no rules. But the only thing I believe that you should be selling are framed paintings. Or if you have something unframed, and that might be matted prints, a lot of people sell matted prints at art shows and things like that. And you should be able to make a 600% markup, that’s the average automatic print, the cost of printing, unframed, you can make some good money on that, and to have a low price point, you might have $7 in it and sell it for $50, or something like that. So I want you to think of frames as a way to increase your profitability, and a way to increase the status of the painting, which increases your profitability a friend of mine recently sold. Recently, he told me he spent $7,000 to frame a painting, why would do not just put a $40 frame on it? Well, because he’s a high level artist he’s selling at a high level show is selling to people who have big money and big homes, and they want the best. And so you put a, you put a good frame on, it matters. I have a friend that owns a gallery, he had a painting in the gallery as a $2,000 painting, he had a frame on it didn’t sell for years. So he decided to send it back to the artist. And then he thought, now I’ll try a new frame. So he spent $4,000 on a single frame, put it back in the gallery, he said, Well, if I’m going to have a $4,000 frame, I need to raise the price. But he thought, well, it’s a beautiful frame, it looks completely different now. So stead of selling for $2,000, you put a $14,000 price tag on it 10,000 For the painting 4000 to get paid back for the frame sold first week, frames make a difference. I think that anything unframed devalues your work, if you have unframed paintings and you’re selling them cheap, you have frame paintings, you’re selling them for more money, it’s going to devalue your painting. So even if you’re saying these are my studies, these are not my best work. Don’t, don’t do that. So don’t stack them up and put them in a pile, don’t set a bunch of stuff on the ground, just treat them like they are paintings that deserve to be purchased. If they’re going to be in the show, put your best work out there and put, if you have to stack with more, or paintings, then frame them up and hang them up when you need to replace the others that are sold that have red dots on them. You also mentioned you want to price your work reasonably what does that mean? What is reasonable? Is, is reasonable. What’s reasonable to you? is reasonable. What’s reasonable to Bill Gates or Elon Musk? Is it you know, a lot of people say well, I want to price my work so that the average Joe who’s like me can afford it. But what about getting properly compensated for your time and your education and the amount of time you’ve spent learning paint learning painting? What about getting what if? What if this idea of pricing your paintings reasonably is more about your insecurity, that you can’t get a good price than it is about getting a good price? What if it’s about something completely different? You know, I hear this a lot people say I want a reasonably priced so just anybody can afford my work. But then they’re saying, Well, I would like to be able to go to the plein air convention or something, I can’t afford it. Well price your work higher, so you can afford it. And this is the big problem. Most artists I know underpriced their work. Most artists I know could double and or triple their work price and get it and probably not have any more price resistance. But most of them are like well, I don’t know, I think I could only afford this. So I want to make it affordable for everybody yet somebody could walk into your gallery and spend $40,000 on a painting, or 140,000 or 400,000. So just keep that psychology in mind that you might want to be thinking about why is it that you want to price things the way you are? Does somebody who’s going to a local library have no money? Yes, but there’s also people who go to a library local library who live in a in a $10 million house. So keep it in mind. Just try to think through what is being reasonable mean. Now, I want to meet my market. I want to give good value, but I also know that there are people who want things that are the best. There’s 10% Of all people who want the best. And so you might want to have something that those people want and price signals value. It’s documented, it’s tested. If you walk into an art gallery, and there’s $150,000 painting, next to an equally good painting, that’s $10,000. The $150,000 painting is the better painting and someone will buy that before they’ll buy the $10,000 painting could be an almost identical painting, but there’s something wrong with it, because this one’s 10. That one is 150,000. So just keep that in mind. All right. Anyway, that is the art marketing minute. Remember, pricing is emotional. So keep that in mind.

Announcer 1:20:44
This has been the marketing minute with Eric Rhoads. You can learn more at

Eric Rhoads 1:20:52
Hey, thanks for listening. Send your art marketing questions to me at [email protected] Oh, no, thanks, Larry, more for being on the show reminder to check out the Plein Air Live, which is coming up. It’s going to be a giant online conference from people all over the world. And we’ve got great people teaching. Also coming up the Plein Air Convention. Remember, there’s not many seats left. So you want to get in for that. That’s coming up in the Smoky Mountain National Park area. And make sure you get a copy of Plein Air Magazine, you’ll enjoy it. If you’ve not seen my blog where I talked about art and life and other things. Check it out. It’s called Sunday coffee. You can find it at and subscribe and then it comes automatically to you. Also I’m on the air daily on social media on YouTube and Facebook. We have a show called Art School Live and hundreds of artists are on. We have every weekday at 12 Noon. Just go to YouTube to subscribe and look for art school live. All right, Art School live. Anyway, thank you for attending today or being here today attending. And remember it’s a big world out there. Go paint it. 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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