Welcome to this episode of the Plein Air Podcast with Eric Rhoads.
Eric hosted top plein air artists Debra Huse, Kevin Macpherson, and Lori McNee in a conversation where they discussed what they have discovered over years of experience to be more successful when painting outdoors — and giving you insider tips on everything, such as the best way to get started as a beginner, what equipment is best for outdoor painting, tips for coping with weather and sunlight, and the best way to travel with easel, paints, and wet paintings.
Bonus! In this week’s Art Marketing Minute, Eric Rhoads, author of Make More Money Selling Your Art, answers the questions: “With all the online art classes now is the plein air market oversaturated for artists and teachers?” and “Do original works and limited prints require a separate marketing approach?”
Have a question about how to sell your art? Ask Eric at artmarketing.com/questions.
Listen to the Plein Air Podcast with Eric Rhoads, Debra Huse, Kevin Macpherson, and Lori McNee here:
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– Plein Air Today newsletter: pleinairtoday.com
– Submit Marketing Questions: [email protected]
FULL TRANSCRIPT of this PleinAir Podcast
DISCLAIMER: The following is the output of a transcription from an audio recording of the PleinAir Podcast. Although the transcription is mostly correct, in some cases it is slightly inaccurate due to the recording and/or software transcription.
Eric Rhoads 0:00
This is episode number 217. Hard to believe we’ve done that many. Here’s Debra Huse Kevin Macpherson. and Lori McNee.
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 1:10
Thank you Jim Kipping. And welcome to the plein air podcast. As he said, I’m Eric Rhoads. And I hope you’re getting out to paint. And if you haven’t tried it, I hope you will try it getting no if you paint in the studio, that’s great. I do that too. But painting from photographs is not the same. And you got to get outside and try it. It’s so invigorating because you’re outdoors. You’re in nature, sometimes you’re with friends. This weekend, I’m I’m going to go painting with friends of the great Albert Handel, one of the greatest artists been painting for 60 years. He’s coming over to the place we’re going to go paint trees. And I’m really excited about that, because I’m sure I’ll get some tips and some pointers and some ideas and some other things. I should mention that this podcast now has over 1.5 million 1.5 million downloads, pretty significant. And it’s being heard in over 90 countries. So that’s pretty cool. And obviously the plein air movement is hot. It’s really been hot about the last 1012 years or so. About the time we founded plein air magazine. Any coincidence? I don’t know maybe. Anyway, we are honored also that the plein air podcast has been rated the number one in feed spots 2021 Top 15 painting podcasts list number one that’s nice. You can subscribe wherever you get podcast and we’d love for you to subscribe and listen to this if you’re a first timer. Welcome. Thank you so much. Coming up today after today’s interview and every plein air podcast, I do the art marketing minute I try to solve problems I teach art marketing on stage at the plein air convention every year. I have a series of videos at paint tube.tv But I try to answer your marketing questions. I also have a separate podcast with those answers called The Art marketing podcast so you can look it up if you don’t want to listen to this whole thing or wait till the end. I am getting very excited because if you’re listening to this, when it just first comes out next week next Wednesday, the ninth of March is when plein air live begins. And I am the host and I love plein air live. It is just an amazing online art conference. And we have some of the top artists in the world doing demonstrations and talks, mostly demonstrations. And we have a worldwide audience from over 30 countries, but also instructors from all over the world. For instance, Daniella Stoney is from the Florence Academy in Italy and she’s a great plein air painter she’s going to teach two top artists from New Zealand world renowned painter John Crump as well as Richard Robinson plus many many many others about 30 people teaching landscape painting and outdoor painting plein air painting. And and of course, plein air does require some different disciplines and some different skills. And they help you meet the challenge of seeing light and color differently outdoors. So you want to check that out. Just go to pleinairlive.com. Now if you’re new to plein air painting or collecting, I want to tell you that we have an incredible magazine we’re celebrating 10 years it’s actually more than 10 because we started we were out for two or three years and we stopped because nobody was doing plein air and we couldn’t get any money out of anybody. And what I mean by that is advertisers we had plenty of subscribers but we didn’t have any advertising because the advertisers were telling us you know nobody does plein air painting nobody galleries we’re saying you know we don’t carry plein air paintings and I’m saying yeah, but all paintings out you know landscape paintings oftentimes start with plein air. They didn’t buy it and then you know the the art materials people said well, no, but No, but there’s not enough plein air painters to support for art materials. Well, that’s all changed. Now we have a giant expo hall of art materials people at the plein air convention. The galleries are selling plein air paintings like crazy. So it’s all different anyway, plein air magazine is a terrific thing that you might want to consider subscribing to, you can join 10s of 1000s of artists and collectors who are part of the plein air movement. It’s rooted in the deep history of plein air painting, which goes way back, even beyond Monet, and all those folks. And it’s by monthly it’s edited by the great Kelly Kane and it chronicles important events in spotlight lights, today’s masters techniques, and the collectors who follow them, as well as the historic artists who come before them comes out every other month and the digital edition if you want that you can get that only, which is really handy for people overseas. But the digital edition has about 30% extra content, which is not in the print because print cost money to print. Right. So anyway, we hope that you’ll subscribe just go to plein air magazine.com. And also you can find it at Barnes and Noble stores and we are honored. I don’t know what it’s happened after COVID Because I haven’t heard the numbers. But pre COVID. For the last 2, 3, 4 years, we’ve been the number one selling art magazine in America at Barnes and Noble stores. Yay. That’s pretty exciting. So make sure you go there and get it. You can also get it at most Michaels stores. And if you don’t see it there, they’re either sold out or just ask the management to get it so you can get it but just subscribe at pleinairmagazine.com, that’s the easiest thing to do. Now, speaking of plein air, one of the things that will elevate you faster than anything else other than training is to put yourself into the game to put yourself into art competitions. Because the minute you do that you think differently. Like I entered an art competition few years ago, I’d never done it before. Not ours. I can’t enter ours. Anyway, the thing that happened is I started to enter the painting. I photographed it and I looked at it and I thought is it going to live up to the other things? Is it good enough? And so I kept working on it until I felt it was good enough. What that did is it pushed me forward. And when you’re competing with other people, it pushes you forward? Well, the plein air salon is a terrific art competition. And it’s not all plein air because not all plein air artists are only plein air. I mean, a lot of us paint, plein air, a lot of us paint studio, some of us paint figures and portraits and still life and other things. So we include it all in there, you can win. And we have $33,000 in all cash prizes. That’s all cash. Now, you know a lot of competition say they have all this value, but they make up value for things. This is all cash. And so $15,000 Grand Prize, and you’ll get to get it presented on the big stage if you win. And a lot of really incredible artists that were unknown to have have won this and become knowns. And so you get to hold your big check up on stage. And you also are going to get the cover of plein air magazine, which is really cool. We have also we are adding for next year we’re adding a lot of new recognition prizes, you know, mentions and newsletters and profiles and things like that. So it’s pretty cool. Anyway, if you want to get yours in you want to do it soon because the annual competition is about over. The way this works is we have a 17 categories. And if you win in any of the 17 categories, and you can even get a first or second or third place prize, and there’s cash prizes for those. But if you win in any of the categories, you get automatically entered into the national competition which is coming up. We’re going to end this soon and have the judging happen. So we can present it at the plein air convention in May. So make sure you get your your entries in, get your best work, you’re allowed to repeat works. We have people enter the same thing, week, month after month. And sometimes one judge doesn’t like it, the other one does. And once you win, you’re in the winning for that painting for the national competition. And you can enter as many paintings as you want. Of course, anyway, that is plein air salon, get your entry in by March 31. And just go to plein air salon.com. Alright, so last week I did a webinar, I’ve been getting a lot of questions, because of all the things we did because of COVID because of my daily 12 noon show that I do called Art School live on Facebook and YouTube. I’ve had you know, we’ve had, I don’t know, hundreds of 1000s of people that we’ve been exposed to and a lot more people are coming into painting and plein air painting. And I’ve been getting a lot of questions from people about plein air painting, and I tried to answer it but I thought it’d be cool to do a webinar. So I asked Kevin Macpherson, who is one of the great masters author of one of the most popular plein air books I asked Debra Huse and Lori McNee, very, very deeply richly experienced painters, if they would come onto a webinar and just answer a lot of questions, questions about not not doing demos, but just answering questions about you know, how to pack your paints and how to travel with paints and just little tips and techniques. And we had 5000, probably over 5000 actually think it was 5200, who signed up for the webinar, we were really honored by that. So that’s pretty cool. Anyway, I’m going to play a replay of that for you here. Now, I’ve had this edited up a little bit, because there were a couple things in there. I talked about some offers, for instance, for plein air live, which have since expired, and so I can’t put those out there. So if it’s a little choppy in a couple places understand that that’s what’s going on. Anyway, let’s watch that and listen to that right now. We have a terrific night for you tonight. The reason I did this is because I have we have first off because of all the things we’ve been doing during COVID like the the 12, noon daily broadcast on Facebook, etc. We have brought 1000s of new people into the fold. And a lot of people are learning about plein air painting for the first time and want to learn how to do it want to become part of it. Others have been studio painters but want to get outside and studio and plein air paint and then others just want to get to the next level. So we’re going to be touching on all these things. And we have kind of an agenda we’ll go through, we’re going to talk about, you know, things that you can do to learn plein air painting, how to grow as a painter how to start out. And then also, we’re gonna get you know, how do you get to the next level, we’re gonna do talk about all the little things. There’s no demos here tonight, but all the little things that you need to know that will help you that took me five or six years to learn, and probably others that much time. And then we’re going to top it off with travel tips because people have a lot of questions about traveling with paint. How do you do it? So we’ll get into all of that. Now we have everybody unmuted and their and their mics on and ready to go. We have a terrific panel tonight. I don’t know where to start, but Lori McNee, hello.
Lori McNee 12:24
Hi, how are you?
Eric Rhoads 12:25
Well, where are you?
Lori McNee 12:27
I am in southern Idaho near the Snake River Canyon long the Snake River on my family farm. I’ve become a homestead. Is that what it’s called? Well, I’m a farmer, homesteading and farmer. And I’m having a really good time while I’m building my new house which is going to take another year so I will be living at the farm but I’m enjoying this rural lifestyle.
Eric Rhoads 12:58
So I you know, my big favorite show is Yellowstone. And you know, I just imagined myself running around on a horse with a sidearm and shooting bandits. What are you doing that are you walking around with a pistol and a horse?
Lori McNee 13:11
I do have a pistol but I’m hurting goats and chickens and well, horses are on the to do list. I grew up with them. But we don’t have any right now. But we do have goats and chickens.
Eric Rhoads 13:25
Well, maybe there’s a horse farmer who can send you a couple tonight. Next is Debra Welcome. Hello. Welcome Debra. You’re aware.
Debra Huse 13:35
I’m in Southern California as the Huse Skelly gallery. It’s a beautiful location. It’s really beautiful out today. And I’m really happy to be here.
Eric Rhoads 13:45
San Diego, you’re you’re not in San Diego you’re in Yeah,
Debra Huse 13:48
we’re in near Newport Beach.
Eric Rhoads 13:50
Newport Beach. Okay, terrific. Well, Debra is a fabulous painter, just as released a couple of new videos with us. I should mention that Lori has with us as well. Uh, welcome, Kevin Macpherson. I’m already jealous because it looks to me like you got some pretty good paintings behind you there.
Kevin Macpherson 14:10
Hello, Eric. And thanks for having me. Yeah, I got a couple of good ones. I have some of mine. And then I have some good ones behind me too.
Eric Rhoads 14:18
Well, tell us about that sailboat. It looks pretty yummy.
Kevin Macpherson 14:22
Oh, that that’s an anchor pain I had long ago. And it beautiful treasure and a little fashion drawing, which I think fashion is one of the best draftsman ever, ever in the world. And so I’m proud to have that too. And then a couple of my old dredges behind me too.
Eric Rhoads 14:41
Well, you’ve got some great paintings and I will step aside that painting right there. That one is a Kevin Macpherson. So I’m very honored to have that here in my plein air podcast studio. Well, let’s get the ball rolling here and we’ll have some fun tonight. I want to start out With the idea of learning if somebody and anybody can take this, but if somebody comes up to you and says, Listen, I’ve never plein air painted before. I’ve never even painted before. What should I do? What? Where do I start? Does anybody want to take that one?
Unknown Speaker 15:18
Go off start, I think the best place to start is to find someone that you admire that loves to teach that can speak to you, and give you the inside information, you know, help you get set up, help you learn about your gear, help you learn how to, you know, think about the big ideas for painting, so that I would say that would be the first thing I want to do. So how
Unknown Speaker 15:41
can I jump in on that? Yes, please do. I just want to say that I started plein air painting over 20 years ago, after I read Kevin’s book and fired me so much. And he challenged in the book for us to paint little six by eight paintings. And one summer when I was really busy with my kids, and they were at soccer and things like that I really had no time to paint. But I decided to take a small little kit with me. And I ended up during that summer painting 100 Little six by eights, Kevin and I had a friend see them. And she fell in love with them. And she had a little consignments consignment store that was very it was upper end. And she said I want to hang these on the wall. And, and so I ended up selling them all. And my gallery that I have been with now for over 20 years. discovered me there. And so it just so thank you, Kevin, I just want to say, I’m a big fan. And thank you for that. And I love your book, and it’s timeless. So you all might enjoy what what’s the name of the book, something like what is it Kevin?
Unknown Speaker 17:04
fill your life with? What was it called your
Unknown Speaker 17:07
Unknown Speaker 17:08
Fill your paintings with lighten color.
Eric Rhoads 17:10
There it is. Yeah, but okay. So you’ve written that when you were like 12, right?
Unknown Speaker 17:17
Actually, I, I would add to what they both said. And I appreciate that Lori, that’s painting small and doing that, you know, that’s a great way to start and build your collectors also, which I did. Similarly, way back, way back. But I love getting a an artist, or a person who has never painted in their life, because they have no bad habits. And you know, you get someone who at University for four years, it takes a lot of training to get them to really understand. So I love to get someone to learn how to paint by not picking up a brush, I guarantee I could walk around with you for four days, and teach you how to paint. Because it’s basically teaching you how to see see, as an artist see two dimensionally, you know, the three dimensions that we’re trying to transform. So it is fun to just walk around with someone and teach them to see the way an artist needs to see. So that that’s how I recommend someone who’s never done it before. And I guarantee if you don’t have the bad habits, and you have someone, as both Deb and Lori mentioned, someone you respect and someone who’s a good communicator, you can get going in the right path very quickly.
Eric Rhoads 18:34
So you you came up with this idea of the 100 paintings doing 100 Quick paintings. Was that from you? or did somebody tell you that you put it in your book and claim credit?
Unknown Speaker 18:44
Yeah. I started one of my first shows was 100 paintings that I painted from my travels around the world six buy paintings, and that was one of my first shows. And then I did it every other year for for about five years. And that’s where my growth, I think really happened by by painting small and painting a different scene every day. Or every time you go do it. As opposed to trying to do a large painting and have problems that you just beat a dead horse over and over every day is kind of a new fresh start. And I think that’s where you grow the most.
Eric Rhoads 19:22
When I discovered my first plein air painter, it was a guy by the name of Kevin Carter. I didn’t know anything about plein air painting I you know, I didn’t I was a studio painter and not a very good one. And Kevin said paint 100 small paintings, and he said, limit yourself to 30 minutes per painting. Oh, what do you think about that’s
Unknown Speaker 19:44
a that’s a good tip. I agree. Personally, I start ruining my painting much after I think starts are we learned the most from just starting a painting and they’re so fresh. And so I like Love that stage where you don’t start to ruin them. They turn into Frisbees.
Unknown Speaker 20:08
Yeah, I’d like to join in on that because six by eight, when I used to work in pastel for many years, and I started doing the oil and going outdoors, and I was in workshops are painting on my own and they were bigger, a little bigger size, even 11 by 14 was so overwhelming. So once I figured out to start, probably from Kevin’s book, figured out to go to a six by eight size I had to tell myself was Debra, just get the sky, the landmass the water or whatever and get your values correct. And then build from there. Forget about all the extra details and information. And it makes a huge difference.
Eric Rhoads 20:46
I think that a lot of us when we start painting, at least this was the case for me. To me, the idea of doing a good painting was doing something that was photographic, you know, very, very tight. And I was holding my brush, you know, right up close, like I held a pencil. And that exercise of the 100 paintings because he said, you know, hold, hold your brush at the back of the brush, just do big gestural strokes, try to try to get that Canvas done in 30 minutes, and the minute the alarm goes off to stop it. And I think it was a good exercise in just, you know, trying to not be so tight. Because you can’t be tight when you’ve got 30 minutes. I don’t think
Unknown Speaker 21:29
that’s right, or kids playing soccer on the field while you’re trying to paint. So that’s the kind of what happened to me too, as well. I was a studio painter for years prior to learning how to plein air paint. And I was so tired of working from photographs that I started painting still life. And then from there, plein air painting and, and it’s really helped my studio work. And maybe I’m jumping subjects already. But it’s such a wonderful discipline, whether you’re a studio painter, or you just want to focus on painting in plein air.
Eric Rhoads 22:08
So I hear a lot of people say, and I say oftentimes, if you’ve been painting from photographs your whole life, and you’re in the studio all the time, when you go outside, your paintings change, how do they change?
Unknown Speaker 22:24
I could answer that. Okay, I
Eric Rhoads 22:26
figured you could.
Unknown Speaker 22:28
I think, you know, the word plein air obviously, more reflects a painting from life. So whether we’re painting a portrait or a landscape is still like, from life, it’s a direct interpretation of our subject, like there’s nothing in between us, and the subject except air. And that’s really what I mean is the air between me and the subject. But you know, when we have a photograph, and back in the old days, when we had to get the film and stuff, we’d be so excited, we take photographs, we get back from our trips, and very disappointed when we finally look at that, you know that the exposures aren’t so good, but there’s no feeling. So there’s a real direct conversation with our subject when we’re painting from life. So I think we definitely seek color in a different way we react to what we’re looking at, in a different way. And so I highly recommend you could advance quicker, perhaps in your mind by working from photographs, because it’s already two dimensionally. And it’s stagnant there, but, but I definitely know that you will advance in a bigger way, if you go through the struggles of painting from light. So definitely, you will see colors different, they’ll interpret your emotions differently from the photograph. And you’ll have a real direct relationship with your subject.
Eric Rhoads 23:53
Well, and you’ll see light differently, you’ll see shape and form differently, because you’re just out there, you know, you can’t get the brilliance of color from a photograph, usually, typically, even with digital that you’re seeing in person. So Debra Huse you mentioned, or somebody mentioned values and big shapes. Let’s take them one at a time. Who wants to talk about values?
Unknown Speaker 24:17
Well, okay, let me start with that value. You know, the saying is that color gets all of the compliments and value does all the work. And that’s really important. No one wants to study value because it sounds so boring, because they want
Eric Rhoads 24:31
to stop you there. I’m sorry. There are people watching this. Who don’t know what the word values mean.
Unknown Speaker 24:39
Just sure that that’s the ending, is it not?
Eric Rhoads 24:44
It’s the what?
Unknown Speaker 24:45
Price of the painting we sell it. Yeah,
Eric Rhoads 24:47
the value of the painting. Yeah,
Unknown Speaker 24:49
that’s good. Yeah, so you have to be able to see the light values, the middle values and the dark values. And the reason is, is because the sun is out there. Whether it’s a photograph or you’re on location, it is hitting a subject, it’s creating a shadow and it’s creating for. So value are the different tones that create form in a shape. And so you have to be able to learn how to see, for instance, when I pay harbor seeds, I’m always trying to decide, and I have a stand there, I talked to myself, and I go, so you know, is the sky darker than the water is the landmass almost as dark as the water or is it lighter or darker, and so that lighter, darker thing about value is so important. If you don’t pay attention to that you don’t have the darks and the lights to give you form, then you’re painting. So you’ve heard the term flat, that’s what happens, you start to paint things and colors and you’re not paying attention to the value, and so you’re not getting any form. So it’s very important to learn about value.
Eric Rhoads 25:53
Anybody else on value? Well, I’d
Unknown Speaker 25:55
like to think of value, like notes on a piano scale, darker notes and higher notes. And it translates into painting too. And I think that the more sophisticated I become as a painter, the more I appreciate value, and trying to have fewer values in a painting, I’d like to challenge myself to that. And I would say three to four values, really make a more cohesive painting and, and also varying the shapes of these values. So that’s the way I like to use value. And there’s a good book another good book, John F. Carlson’s book of landscape painting, and that’s kind of a another Bible for plein air painters or landscape painters. And that he talks, he breaks down value in a scientific way. And it’s really helpful. And there are always rules to be broken in art there are and so you know, when it’s snowing, and the snow is white on the ground, it might be lighter than the sky, but usually the sky is the lightest value, because it’s the source of light. But in that book, he explains that and I see some of you have that book, and I love luck. So I would suggest that to
Eric Rhoads 27:28
Devin, any thoughts on value?
Unknown Speaker 27:31
Yeah, I think about the values. As you know, if we had a black and white TV, when we were kids, you know, and then we got color. And then we had the TV where you could actually turn the dial and have it from black and white to color. So the as, as Deb said, you know, the real strength of a painting is in the value control, you know, and the color could be, as long as the values are correct, the color could be anything, and you can get away with it. When I approach painting outside to make it most, the most simple way to do it, I look at all the values that are out in front of me. And I break it down into two shapes, the family of light, and the family of shadow. Within those two families, you may have two or three values and each side of it one or two. But that’s the most simple way you can kind of break the code of the complexity, the chaos of nature, you know, first break it down into two families light and shadow, and then how many values are in there? But so just think about the black and white TV, you know, you just change the color, you know, get rid of it. And that’s the strength of the painting. And are there anybody
Eric Rhoads 28:45
in the comments that has never seen a black and white TV? I’d be curious about that. I’m sure. We have by the way, we have viewers from all over the world. I just saw Australia, Switzerland, Singapore, UK, Sydney, Australia and New South Wales in Australia and Costa Rica. So thank you all for tuning in. Hello World, Tunisia, Tasmania. Okay, so one of the things that I’m curious about, I think that color complicates everything. And I believe I’m not sure I used to believe this, but I believe it now first off, I think somebody should learn to paint in the indoors before they ever paint outdoors just because, you know, learning to mix colors, you know, red and blue and so on. But I think that the first thing that everybody should do is painting a value painting or two. What do you think about that? Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Unknown Speaker 29:48
I love that as an exercise. I’m, in fact when I teach plein air painting around the world, which I love to do so much, and people are so enthusiastic. To get out there and start painting with this array of beautiful colors, it’s like being a kid in a candy store and seeing all these beautiful tubes of paint. But I do exactly what you’re saying Eric, where the first day, we paint a painting in value. And so they pick two tubes of paint that they can mix black and white, a form of black and white and do value painting. But it serves, at least for my students, it seems to do really well by them. And, and then it helps them understand how to mix and, and then we use a limited palette. Again, I know Kevin suggests that in his lovely book, and, and that helps. So people don’t create too much mud.
Eric Rhoads 30:46
Anybody else want to touch on values?
Unknown Speaker 30:49
Well, another idea is to do the no tan. So no down is a term for a value drawing is just like to get maybe some little squares in your sketchbook that are similar to the six by eight size, for instance. And when you’re on location, you’re not only working out the design, which is super important, we’ll get to that. But you have to work out the value. So where’s my darkest dark? And where’s my where’s my son? And where’s my shadow, like Kevin was saying. So with the colored or not colored markers, oops, Grace, you know, get maybe three or four Max, and then just leave the white paper and use the black and get a couple middle values and get your values for shadow and your values for sunlight. And I think that’s very helpful.
Eric Rhoads 31:32
You all do sketches or no tans before you pay?
Unknown Speaker 31:36
Well, I oftentimes I do.
Eric Rhoads 31:39
Would you say? Well, I didn’t hear you, Kevin.
Unknown Speaker 31:43
I kind of disagree on some of that. That’s okay, you’re allowed. You know, all that I think is helpful. And it’s interesting. Black and white is actually man’s invention, probably 1847. Before that nobody ever thought in black and white, except some dogs,
Eric Rhoads 32:01
perhaps well, but rim Rembrandt was painting brown paintings. So don’t be a brown and white.
Unknown Speaker 32:09
Yeah, no, but you know, we see in color. But we have to transfer it into values, we have to make those decision, I actually use the term Val hue, you know, because its value in color together, we’re always making those comparisons, you know, what color is it and what value is it lighter, darker, you know, warmer, cooler. And so, I don’t necessarily think to start out in black and white is necessarily the best way to do it. However, if you don’t understand the values, you know, how light, the red is, how dark it is compared to something else, you’re going to get yourself in trouble. But I do think starting out with color. For one, it’s more exciting. And I think you’re going to kind of keep the student enthused, you know, I see so many painters, I travel all around the world to and work with students, you know, from all different places. And some get so good at doing drawing a cast, for instance, in black and white for two years, some programs use that, you know, and and it sucks out all the joy in that person by the time they understand what they’re on. And I’m amazed after they do that. They don’t know how to separate light and shadow they’ve been studying for two years, but they missed the concept. So So I think color is important. And I think you know color by itself means nothing. We also see advertisements of people saying I’m a colorist and basically they’re just saying I know nothing about value
Eric Rhoads 33:55
I I have a friend who was an art student and her first lesson or two you know they were painting grayscale cones and cubes. And she said she was so bored I mean I think that’s like saying you know you go to a piano lesson and you you know you start having to play scales you know you need to fight you need to play a song right away and so that’s where color comes in. So I don’t disagree with you there. I think the idea is get get them enthusiastic, keep them keep them interested. Alright, so big shapes.
Unknown Speaker 34:30
Big shapes are so important. That’s the thing get into big shapes. And that sounds simple except for when you when I work at the harbor again little six by if I can just get my sky my distant landmass my water I’ve already figured out I’ve covered the entire canvas home. And I’ve also figured out a color tone, value setup and design setup. So those big shapes are most important and people you know tend to go for the details. First they want to do all the little knick knack patty back, then you can’t do that you have to get your big shake. You know what, it makes things so much easier. And it’s fun. And it’s simplifies the whole process.
Eric Rhoads 35:09
Anybody else want to touch on that?
Unknown Speaker 35:12
Yeah, I agree. Totally agree.
Unknown Speaker 35:15
Go ahead, Lori.
Unknown Speaker 35:16
Oh, I just was saying I agree. Definitely.
Unknown Speaker 35:20
Yeah, I think the big shapes, if you think of looking at your scene, and saying, name that tune, remember the the music game they used to do, how many shapes can we make our painting into, like, oh, it looks so chaotic. But say, Well, I can name that painting in 10 shapes. And then Deb says, I can name it in eight shapes. And then Lori says, I can do it in six weeks. And then we’ll both say, Okay, you do that. But what that simplifies what we’re looking at, into the most important things, and also is depth said, the detail which most people want to do first, is really the last thing we need to consider.
Unknown Speaker 36:05
And you really don’t want to do detail you just want to suggest, like I feel from CW Monday, knick knack paddywhack. Just little things after you get the big shapes in.
Eric Rhoads 36:17
Okay, we’re gonna move on to the next section, which is, how do I grow, I already know how to paint, you’ve already given us all some good basic things to do as beginners. We’ll talk about some other things like equipment and travel and stuff in a minute. But how do I grow to the next level? What, what does it take, you know, some people get to a place where they’re comfortable, and they’re cool with that, and others are frustrated, because they’re not growing, you have any tips on growth.
Unknown Speaker 36:49
Um, just get out there and do it, you know, and I just think getting some miles of Canvas behind you. And, you know, again, challenging yourself to get out and paint as often as you can. And, again, if it sounds ominous, paint small, and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. And you know, that’s the thing with social media. We compare a lot, and maybe get off social media for a little bit while you’re learning and try not to compare yourself as much unless you’re inspired by it. If it depresses, you don’t look. But just get out there and try and you’ll just you’ll keep growing every every time you’ll learn something
Eric Rhoads 37:42
great line in the comments from anaemic award. Comparison is the thief of joy.
Unknown Speaker 37:49
Ooh, I like that, too.
Eric Rhoads 37:52
Okay, so what about growth? Debra,
Unknown Speaker 37:56
I would say to try to stretch yourself, try some new things. And one fun thing is to deconstruct your painting. So get in all your big shapes, get in what you think looks pretty good. And then take your brush, maybe don’t look at it, or maybe just, you know, just a little bit of boo, boo, boo. And then all of a sudden you go, Oh, that looks that looks really great. And what did I just do? So there’s some fun, simple things like that, that you can try as far as deconstruction, try, throw putting a lot of paint on there, try palette knife, and maybe even try finding a painter that you like, what they’re doing, and why are they doing something a little differently than I am? And how can I try to push myself a little closer to that goal? So
Eric Rhoads 38:41
I was painting in my studio the other day, and I have this painting I’ve been working on. And it’s just, I can’t I just, I hate it. Right? And I just can’t make it right. And I got I had a frustrated moment. And I was fighting a couple of different focal points. And I thought I just saw I just got some gray, and just covered 90% of the painting and then wipe that gray off. And all of a sudden the painting was perfect because it pushed something back. It changed the focal point it you know, deconstructed it, it was a wonderful lesson. Yeah,
Unknown Speaker 39:13
yeah, we know. One thing I’ve learned that nothing is precious. And sometimes we have to take out something you might just love the way you painted this tree. But it’s better without it. And you might have to just wipe it out. And that’s kind of part of the growing experience too is deleting knowing when to edit and delete, and simplify and design all of that and it’s an ongoing, never ending learning experience.
Eric Rhoads 39:52
What percentage of your paintings are failures?
Unknown Speaker 39:57
I’m I’m is that are you You asking me,
Eric Rhoads 40:01
everybody, I’m just kidding.
Unknown Speaker 40:03
I’m failure. I’m having a better ratio lately. I’m grateful. But I definitely like I said earlier, I do paint frisbee sometimes. So I don’t know, I haven’t thought of the ratio.
Eric Rhoads 40:21
Debra, what about you?
Unknown Speaker 40:23
Well, I would say, you know, that’s really personal. Because you might think as fabulous as someone else might be good, terrible. So, you know, sometimes you paid a doc, they say, you know, and you get out there, you lose your dark. So that’s something that’s really important.
Eric Rhoads 40:37
Question. It’s a question. Thank you. Trick question is you’re gonna learn from ever every painting whether it’s good or not.
Unknown Speaker 40:47
True? Yeah. Eric, I, I think that question about the failures and the growth is similar connected. When I was thinking about the growth problem, I’d say my failure rate is about 50%. Well, when you were talking about growth, I remember in one paint event, years ago, we were up in the mountains and painting with a lot of terrific artists. In every day, we’d come back, and one of the artists had great paintings every time. But they were, let’s call him a number eight out of 10. You know, he got to seven in a row. But he never pushed himself far enough to get a failure sometimes. So he always played it safe. And you know, the paintings were good, but they never gave me the goosebumps. And then there’s some of the other artists that were in, you know, did a terrible one, and then a great one, you know, they’re pushing to do something different. So I think we always have to find, for growth. Every time I start a painting, I may start with a different limited palette, for instance, you know, so it challenges me to struggle in a different way, I may approach the painting with a concept in my mind, so that my success was not necessarily a great painting. But did I solve that problem I was trying to do in that, that particular instance. So if we give ourselves a little bit of an assignment with every penny, I think that will help us grow instead of just going out there. So let yourself fail. Don’t worry about the failures. And you’ll get these things sometimes only happens once a year, you get this wonderful painting that you almost feel like is the out of body experience. Did I do that? You don’t even know how you did it. Because all the things you practice, then they do the feelings all come together for that one moment. And it doesn’t happen often. So the failure rate, as Eric also said, you’ll learn from these failures. Well, that didn’t work. So that’s a success in that method of stepping forward. So keep that in mind as you go forward.
Eric Rhoads 42:57
Once you have things for the woodstove, which is nice. You know, I think also I discovered something, when we launched watercolor live, I have only played I’ve only played with watercolor couple few times in my life. And I paid very close attention because I want to be able to take watercolor and plein air with watercolor at times when I don’t want to carry oils. And I was watching that. And all of a sudden I started seeing techniques that certain watercolors were doing that I’d never seen in oil. So I went back to the studio and started playing with those techniques. And all of a sudden, I had one painting that just nailed it, it was just so good. Because I had one of those techniques. And I think the idea of just play, getting out there and not caring so much. And you know, taking chances and experimenting really can make a big difference. I think we lost, we lost, Debra
Unknown Speaker 43:52
mentioned, deconstructing, and I’ve just started doing that recently. And I’m liking my paintings a lot better now. Because I’m taking a little credit card and old credit card. And, or you can these, these cool things that they’re both scrapers, you can use these and get the neatest, just random texture or scraping out things that I in a random way more like humans have a tendency to be mechanical. And if we go to paint grass, we’re like Did you know? But when you’d go to deconstruct what you just painted, it gives it what Mother Nature does more of a random look. And so I’m really enjoying deconstructing to Deborah. A lot of fun. Yeah, it is.
Eric Rhoads 44:53
I love to go to the grocery store and the hardware store and everything else. I’m always looking and saying how can I use that for painting I have not seen that. That’s a great idea. Yeah, early, Charlie Hunter, you know, uses the sketchy and similar, but it’s different. And you know, you can make some really interesting marks with it. The thing I discovered recently as a print roller, I take a roller, oh, wait for printmaking, and I just I take my painting, I’ve done my painting and I just start rolling over it. And you know it softens up edges and it changes things. I don’t roll over the whole thing. And it’s really very effective.
Unknown Speaker 45:29
So people are asking what deconstruction is,
Eric Rhoads 45:33
why don’t you take that on.
Unknown Speaker 45:36
So when you have painted something that you think you’re proud of, it’s kind of cool, like I said, to take a tool. And you can even use paper towel and wipe a little bit or what Eric saying a roller or maybe a credit card and scrape across a passage. Just to deconstruct to I don’t know, if I’m explaining it correctly, am I Debra help. Just to give it a freshness that we as painters, again, go in more mechanically, like a robot. Yeah, painting pedals or the grass. And these tools help us make more random strokes.
Unknown Speaker 46:26
It’s very interesting how that works. Because, like you said, as humans, and as artists, we feel like, especially as you’re beginning, you’re wanting to get everything so perfect. So you’re trying as hard as you can to get a tree and a shadow. And you know, the basic thing. And then you feel like wow, it still doesn’t look that good. Sometimes if you just simply, you know, take your brush or a scraper or a finger or whatever, just mess some parts up. Because you don’t like it, then you’ll go oh, well, no, I like it. You know. So it’s basically also what happens a lot of times is I think people have hard edges and many hard edges. And so it feels so stiff. And even just a line and edge on a boat. For instance, if you draw the whole line, it’s just too stiff. So if you can just take your finger and break the line, take a brush and break any line anywhere in up like that. All of a sudden, there’s air and there’s atmosphere, yes, you know, Windows and doorways into other areas. And so it’s really fun to do. So give it a try.
Eric Rhoads 47:25
Kevin, any thoughts on that?
Unknown Speaker 47:28
What was the question?
Eric Rhoads 47:30
Nevermind. Next question. So talk about edges, because you’re led into it. You know, when I first started painting and probably took me 15 years of painting before somebody pointed out that, you know, my edges were bad. I never even thought about edges. I’m sure there are people out there watching who have no idea what we’re talking about with edges. Can you you touched on breaking up, you know, if you’re painting the side of a boat or a side of a house having that, you know that perfectly straight edge. Although, you know, Richard Schmid taught me and he likes to break up his edges, but he would also want to draw attention to something by having a nice crisp edge on the side of a barn or something from time to time. What are your thoughts on that, folks?
Unknown Speaker 48:16
I’ll take that one. Little bit about what we were talking about earlier also, basically, edges and everything we’re talking about is relationships. So we’re, we’re learning to see. So we have to look at the relationships at color, how we compare the relationships of value, how we compare them, in the relationships of edges. So we’re working with mosaics to pieces of color that come together. So where they come together, this could be light, this could be dark, that creates a much more obvious edge, you know, and then when we have different color combinations, but ever. So when we look at edges, for instance, it’s a very sophisticated part of the painting process. They usually after you’re developing, you don’t think about it for a while, but that that’s the one thing that’s going to set your paintings up to the next level. So we look at the relationships. Zoran is a great example or sarjan is a great example. Look at their paintings, and ask yourself where’s the most crisp edge in the whole painting? So they really look at every edge every joining a every color shape that comes together. And they have to ask themselves, how does that those joining of those two shapes come together? And how do they compare to the rest and the edges will direct attention as contrast directs attention to areas in your painting. So it’s a contrast of color contrast, a value, contrast of edge. So the artist has all these things to consider as they’re building their painting to help directly person through their painting.
Eric Rhoads 50:03
Awesome. Now let’s talk about focal points for a second. CW Monday likes to say, you know, you put your your sharpest edge, your darkest dark, your brightest bright, your most Chroma color in the focal point and then everything goes out of focus from there Joma girl on the other hands, you know, he likes, I don’t want to misquote him, but he believes that your art your eye darts around. And so you want everything and equal focus unless you’re trying to intentionally push back the distance or something. What are your thoughts on that?
Unknown Speaker 50:39
Well, I go ahead, go ahead. Oh, I I would agree, it just depends. Each painting has its own personality. And for me, it just is part of the design. And I’m coming from a background back in the 80s, I did a lot of illustration work. Ducks Unlimited, and I did some duck stamps and things like that trout stamps, were everything super hyper realistic. And talking about edges, again, very hard edges. And, and I got really tired of it. And it’s it’s a habit that I have had to break, in fact, over the years. So now I’m doing more probably for me personally, is I’ve started going back to my animals, you can see them in the background, I’m getting ready for a show in Montana. But I’ve really had a lot of fun, breaking the edges and deciding where my focal points going to be and, and tightening up in that area. And I think Ed’s work, it has been a really fun learning experience for me to really understand how to move the eye through a painting. And I like who would you say does the focus in and then it gets? Oh, that’s Monday. Okay. Yeah. And so I think I’m driving for that my work right now.
Unknown Speaker 52:12
Okay. And also, Eric, you were talking about focal point, focal point to me, you know, some people don’t really believe in having a focal point in the painting, I think it’s super ultra important. And for a lot of reasons. One is because when you’re going to do a painting, you need to have an idea, and a strategy and a plan. And so you see something you go, I love those kids on the beach, or whatever. Well, when you put those kids on the beach in the middle of the canvas, it’s static and boring. So if you can learn design and learn how to move your focal point to certain areas, you can lead the eye into the focal point. And then everything else is just, you know, surrounding, like, cast. And that’s the star of the show. So I think it’s really important to have a star of the show, those edges might have that might be somewhere where you might have a hard edge and I really strong value contrast. And everything else should be a little softer after that, because otherwise you get I feel like you get stressed out with being an opinion that has too many hard edges. Too many things to look at, you know, I like to be able to move around at my leisure and a painting and admire the brushwork and, and the jobs and the thinking of the artist. So there’s a bumper sticker there,
Eric Rhoads 53:25
painting should not cause stress. I know. Devin, any thoughts on that focal point discussion?
Unknown Speaker 53:34
Well, I think everything they said is important. You know, we each painting has a different concept, and a different reason of how you want to direct the person through your painting. Basically, I think most paintings do have a central focus, and we want to direct everything to it. So whatever it takes away from moving the eye to that we have to make consideration. So what CW Mundi said, you know, if you use all your contrast, color contrast, value contrast, you’re going to direct edges, you’re going to direct the person to look at the place you want them to look. And if you have chaos in your painting and you’re not moving the person through that painting, then the person is going to move away from that painting and go by AWS painting and stuff.
Unknown Speaker 54:34
Right actly right.
Eric Rhoads 54:36
So first off, I just wanted to say to everybody that we’re coming up close to an hour and I’m going to keep going if you guys will, because we have a lot to cover yet. And so you guys hang in there and by the way, I’ve got a gift for everybody at the end of all of this so not you guys. Well you can you’re getting so highly paid for this
Unknown Speaker 54:59
machine there, keep it going for another.
Eric Rhoads 55:02
I hope so I hope it doesn’t cut off. All right, so let’s talk about the little meaningless things that have a lot of meaning when you’re out painting, the little things that we’ve all discovered, that are just kind of silly little tips that really make our life easier might have to do with packing it might have to do with painting, it might have to do with anything. You know what, let’s start with those what, what are some of those things?
Unknown Speaker 55:31
I’ll go first, I think one of the most important things for painting outdoors is being comfortable. If you’re not comfortable, you can’t think and you can’t relax and enjoy yourself. You can’t smell the air, feel the breeze, you know, see the color. So get comfortable getting the shade if you can make yourself comfortable, make sure you have your favorite gear, your favorite coffee, whatever it is, and then you can like relax, and then focus.
Eric Rhoads 55:56
Good idea and carry some protein with you. Because I know if you get hungry, you start getting tired. Then you start making
Unknown Speaker 56:05
a counter to what Deb said, which I agree on many points. Funny. All the workshops I used to do in Taos, i i go to my friend walk on skis House who’s wonderful painter. And years ago, this is like 2030 years ago had a little willow tree that was about four feet high. Now it’s about 40 feet high. And we would sit back and watch all my students, they would hover under that little piece of shade, a little willow tree. And so we would sit back and see that lady over there. And in the full sunlight, she’s going to be a professional painter, she is foraging, going through the hardships where all these other people want to be a little too comfortable. They’re never going to make it so we we we laugh. And so now the tree is like 40 the whole class can get underneath there except the one.
Eric Rhoads 57:01
But what about painting and shade? Do you guys try to intentionally paint and shade because I find if I paint and sunlight by values are wrong once I bring it indoors?
Unknown Speaker 57:13
Absolutely. I can’t always find shade is the problem. So the one thing I’ve learned the hard way is to do your best to make sure that your painting is not in direct sunlight. So if you can’t find shade, at least turn your painting so the sun’s not shining directly on it because like you said, Eric, you’ll end up painting darker because the light is shining on it and then when you take it into the house, it’ll it’ll be so dark. So that’s one thing I’ve learned the hard way. But yeah, I love painting in the shade if you can find shade and and I usually bring an umbrella. Yes. People are mentioning umbrellas. But then you’d have to deal with wind. I really think that plein air painting is a sport.
Eric Rhoads 58:06
And enough I should mention this that Orbis the fly fishing company. Oh yes. They put a plein air painter on the cover of their February catalog. Painters in the clothes they’re selling inside.
Unknown Speaker 58:21
Yeah, I saw that too. I was really excited. And I looked up the artist I can’t remember his name right now. But I thought that was really neat to see. But anyway, it’s definitely not for the weary. It’s a good workout. And I mean, yes, you can park car paint out of the back of your car pretty easily and not have to walk around. But as far as making things a little bit easier. I didn’t even like carrying a diaper bag when I had babies. So I do my best to minimize the gear and try and keep tubes of paint down to a minimum and brushes and just pack light and hope you can carry everything. You know
Eric Rhoads 59:07
I do a couple of events a year where we all go painting together for a week and and I’m not being critical of anybody but some of these people carry their entire studio you know these roller bags of 5000 pounds when I first went air painting and I didn’t even know it was called plein air painting. I took a card table, a chair, a box of stuff, a studio easel and I set it up out on the edge of the golf course. To paint the scene. I used a regular Canvas, you know instead of a panel and it kept blowing off because it’s a sail. You know, those are things you learned but now my rule is if it doesn’t fit into a backpack, it doesn’t go.
Unknown Speaker 59:49
I like what Lori said about back when she had to carry diapers. Now that we’re older now now I recommend plein air pampers so you don’t have to
Eric Rhoads 1:00:03
Well, I think you’re Yeah, you’re right. We’re gonna be first on that list, I’m afraid when our pampers
Unknown Speaker 1:00:09
Unknown Speaker 1:00:11
okay, okay, let’s change the subject. So let’s get back to size of gear like Kevin likes his little teeny fisheye box, that’s super cool guy to carry. Wow. And I like to do that too, I can, I can get my gear in an over the shoulder bag pretty easy. And if it if I’m climbing somewhere I can throw in the backpack. But I think lightest is easy way to go. And you can keep it really sturdy with you know, picking up rocks come around, they’re putting it in a bag and keep it sturdy, and the winds not gonna bother you, but you won’t have all that heavy gear to carry.
Unknown Speaker 1:00:43
I’m not endorsing anybody, but I’ve got so many different Bashaud boxes. And I love them all for different reasons. But these are two of my smallest ones. And these are, it’s fun to have like a little grab and go bag where you’ll, you’ll be more likely to get out there and paint. If you just have a bag ready to go. And you don’t have to try and gather up your gear every single time.
Eric Rhoads 1:01:10
I try to keep one in the car and the thing. The other thing is don’t borrow paint from from your plein air kit for your studio. Or don’t borrow brushes or other things for your planner kit because you’ll end up by the river like I did. No brushes or no paint.
Unknown Speaker 1:01:28
Well, and then I love of course water mixable oils, and I paint with Cobra. And I paint with them all the time and in the studio as well. And I really enjoy them especially for travel and plein air painting, because you don’t need to worry about solvents. So you can use water. In fact, when I’m painting and I travel around the world painting, I usually try and dip into maybe the river that I’m painting there and infuse a little bit of that place in my work. Get a little sand in your paint. A little bit of sand. Yeah.
Eric Rhoads 1:02:08
All right. And anybody wearing gloves when you’re paying?
Unknown Speaker 1:02:14
Yeah, I do. I started doing that more. I don’t like to at all. But I use cadmium. Even though, for the most part with being solvent free, you know, that’s great, but I still like the calves. And they’re not good to get on your cuticle or underneath your fingernails. So I am doing my best to wear gloves even though I don’t love it. Yeah, by the way try gloves
Eric Rhoads 1:02:39
should get if you’re painting with heavy metals or LEDs, you should get every time you have an exam, you should get a lead test when your blood test is an FYI. Kevin, what about you any other tips?
Unknown Speaker 1:02:55
Well with the gloves years ago, I think I was a little too haphazard with all the mineral spirits and turpentine and stuff. And so I got really sick. And I think, you know, actually, I would smell my skin and would it smell like, oh wow. toxins and turpentine. So it really kind of messed up my help for quite a while. So I’m a little bit more careful. But actually the little plein air live painting I just did in the snow. Three days ago. I had all my winter here on I was so covered with paint, my good skiing are all covered with paint. You know, it’s kind of a mess when you’re doing it, but so do Goobie a little careful when you’re out there painting.
Eric Rhoads 1:03:44
Yeah, I think if you’re outdoors and you’re using solvents, that’s less of a problem. But you’re a glider the German painter lives in Russia. I got into his car because he just he pours tarps on when he paints and I got into the car and my eyes started watering. I literally put my head out the window, and I said you know you’re gonna die. You’ve got to you got to stop all this, but you know, nobody ever thinks they’re gonna get sick.
Unknown Speaker 1:04:08
He talks. Hey, Kevin. I’m curious how you detoxed from that? Escape.
Unknown Speaker 1:04:14
It was a long, long period, almost like five years five, six. Wow. Yeah. So it was quite miserable. Oh, yeah.
Eric Rhoads 1:04:22
They say that I say that in the studio. Just an open window isn’t enough. You need almost industrial strength, you know, kitchen error thing sucking out turning out the air in the in the studio every 10 minutes or something.
Unknown Speaker 1:04:36
Let’s talk about one more thought real quick here. And that is about your tip jar. If you’re working with oil, people don’t realize that it’s sitting right underneath their nose while they’re painting in the studio and out on location. And if you just put the lid back on for the most of the time, whether wherever you are. You know what I mean? Because it’s so funny. I just realized that. Oh my gosh, that’s right underwear. I breathe. Okay, Not so just keep the lid on that thing.
Eric Rhoads 1:05:02
Okay, now this is a very important question. Okay. Do you drink your mineral spirits? No.
Unknown Speaker 1:05:13
We all had our students do that at least once or
Eric Rhoads 1:05:18
All right, so let’s move into travel tips. And then we’re going to wrap things up, I’ll give everybody their gifts when before we leave. What I get a lot of questions about traveling with oil paints, and I’ll tell you a quick story. I flew over to Russia with my paints, I had a, I had a guide, showing me around and translating. And then I wanted to go to the art store. So she’s like, okay, see a buy. And I’m stuck with this driver who didn’t speak any English. And I’m trying to tell him how to get to an art store. But I you know, we didn’t have any Google or anything at the time. And so finally, he figures out art store after we talked for 45 minutes. And he takes me to this little place a little dark building, and they got a little counter and these little men in there, and their aprons and everything is behind the counter. And I like well, I need some mineral spirits. Know what, you know, they don’t know what I’m saying. Anyway, I ended up I couldn’t find any mineral spirits, and I ended up having to paint without them, which was probably not a good idea. That’s when I discovered Cobra water mixable oils, which are great for travel, or watercolors, or pastel. But what are some of the travel tips?
Unknown Speaker 1:06:38
Okay, speaking of Serpentine, and traveling, and even at home, you really don’t have to have Gamsol or terpenoid or turpentine, you can use oil, like vegetable oil, any kind of oil works beautifully. And the brushes love it. So really, that’s a really great inside secret. So if this
Eric Rhoads 1:06:57
thing’s a little too slick, if you use walnut oil, by the way, you got to be careful if you have a nut allergy.
Unknown Speaker 1:07:04
Okay, but I would not use an Eric in my pain, I would only use it to clean my brain. I’m not a big proponent of any kind of medium, because they always kill me I can, I can never handle him. So I don’t use any medium when I actually paint but to clean your brushes, that’s all you really need to get the clean, you can use oil. Okay, Kevin, vegetable oil.
Unknown Speaker 1:07:25
I think that’s great, what Deb said, actually using some walnut oil or any type of oil instead of it. And then the clean, you could use baby oil also. So you could do a solvent free. And then doing the watercolor when I traveled to all the different types of places I start doing watercolor wash or acrylic, you know, to make it a little easier for some of the travel things. So, you know, the smell of the turpentine or the Gamsol you know, is really bad sometimes when you’re traveling. So yeah, there’s a lot of ways you can do without that. And some of my students I’ve been with someone and just use a palette knife, and the paint quite pure. And that works great to Lori
Unknown Speaker 1:08:15
well, um, I of course she’s water. And the times that that is difficult is when it’s below freezing, which oftentimes I’m out there when it’s below 32 degrees, and the water will freeze. So I use then vodka. I asked them if I could use some kind of alcohol of sorts, and they said that that would not be good for the paint so
Eric Rhoads 1:08:44
well in Russia and Russia. My friends over there told me that they do in their painting in the winter they put they put into their white because it tends to get thick and I remember
Unknown Speaker 1:08:54
you told me that and I asked Kyle and he said No, you shouldn’t do that. So well. I so I haven’t tried that. But
Eric Rhoads 1:09:02
I know you have one swig and then you
Unknown Speaker 1:09:06
did I don’t think that would do well by me. But anyway, um and I What was the question then?
Eric Rhoads 1:09:16
Any travel tips, you know, so are asking like how do you travel with what panels How do you know do you what do you do?
Unknown Speaker 1:09:24
A travel tip is you guys have always given these little stickers away and I really do use them so that you can put your name and number if you’re flying and it also tells the airline inspectors that you know these are not combustible and and so and when I fly I usually carry on my brushes because sometimes your luggage will get lost and brushes are really valuable. So I like having those with me. One other travel Oh, I know for wet panels like what to do. You can take wine corks. If you don’t want to bring panel carriers. You can take wine corks. Have you guys tried this where you slice them in into little penny size slices, and you put them in the corners of your, your paintings and put them face to face, and then use blue painters tape or saran wrap. And even though they’re wet, you can get them home safely. And that’s a really streamline little tip to use.
Eric Rhoads 1:10:35
Okay. Yeah. I have had, I’ve had two or three easels broken checking them in the airlines. And mostly it was the glass pallets. And so I got away from that, finally, but I always carry two easels. And I have a, I went over to one of these discount stores and bought the cheapest lightest weight hardshell suitcase I could find, and I put everything in that suitcase, right. So I have my main easel, and then I have that little tiny bitty Prashad box. And then I have, you know, everything I might need, you know, I don’t carry it when I paint, but I have it in the back of the car, including my boots and my winter gear in case you know, there’s all of a sudden winter. And that’s very handy. But I check everything now. 100% You know, I actually have my backpack inside that suitcase, may check that. And once in a while, I have had stories where people will tell me that they’ve lost their stuff. I’ve had pallet knives confiscated. I’ve had razor knives confiscated, even though they’re checked. Those things have gone away sometimes.
Unknown Speaker 1:11:48
Yeah, they do go through your things. So I don’t like that. I’ve missed things along the way as well.
Unknown Speaker 1:11:55
I see people asking about what is it pushrod box. So outside box is simply holding evil, I have one behind me. I’ll take it apart and show you in a minute. But an easel that can fold into there’s many of different brands out there, hold into a little box and you can take it right off of your quick release for your tripod and you can put it in a bag or a backpack. You can form Laureus showing
Eric Rhoads 1:12:22
is a new new wave and it’s a small one. And then a small one small extra one I carry. And then there’s lots of others that and
Unknown Speaker 1:12:30
then like here’s another kind, right. So the Debra
Eric Rhoads 1:12:34
has one back there. I know I have one. I don’t I typically don’t endorse any particular brand because I get yelled at. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 1:12:44
Very nice. Yeah, those are pretty. Those are like a laptop. Those are really cool. Yeah. And
Eric Rhoads 1:12:49
you can check your email while you’re painting, which is always nice. All right. Well, you know we Kevin, any final thoughts on travel tips?
Unknown Speaker 1:13:00
No, I think the main thing when you when you’re coming back, make sure you just bring all your paintings on, on the plane with you. You know, I check into and then, as Lori said, using the corks, there’s also things you can put on the backs of sometimes you go to a framer shop, they have these little bubbles, sticky bubbles, you put on the back of a frame painting. Oh, right. Yeah. Nose work really good to kind of do the same thing. Use it as the wine corpse. But the wine corks give you a good idea while you’re traveling. Drink a lot of wine and get ready when your
Eric Rhoads 1:13:38
forks. Yeah, I probably have a lot of corks, they
Unknown Speaker 1:13:43
bring your paintings with you on the plane. Other than that, just check things in.
Eric Rhoads 1:13:48
Yeah, and there are panel carriers that you know some are made out of lightweight materials, some are made out of wood, you can some will hold four or six panels, some will hold 20. So it just depends. I have a friend who who does, he never puts anything, he doesn’t paint on panels. He has one panel with Velcro on it. And then he puts the velcro dots on the back of the painting. He sticks it on does the painting and then he takes him off. He has a big sheet of flannel that he puts on a shower curtain. And he sticks the paintings to the shower curtain to dry for the week. And then he just stacks them all up, you know, puts them in a little notebook and that’s how it gets some home. I’m not quite that organized. Well I want to
Unknown Speaker 1:14:30
go ahead I was just gonna jump in a couple more tool ideas. Toothpicks and Q tips are really neat for different effects and kind of scraping in and one of these don’t take this on plane though but a little little paint scraper for your palate
Eric Rhoads 1:14:52
and then they make him a nylon by the way.
Unknown Speaker 1:14:55
Yeah, they do. You’re right and then a viewfinder because it’s super overwhelming when you’re outside. And of course, we have our cell phones that work really well for that as well. But this one’s really cool, I think the view catcher, but it has little marks where it’s like an eight by 10 or nine by 12, or six by eight. And you can look through this and it’s great. So you can judge your values. And then this is a I can’t remember what these are called, but it’s like a value. And I don’t know I the jury
Eric Rhoads 1:15:31
uses those. They’ll use this thing or not. That’s old school stuff.
Unknown Speaker 1:15:36
Anyway, those those are kind of fun things to think about adding to your bag of tricks.
Eric Rhoads 1:15:42
Yep, you can carry so much stuff too. It’s crazy. Yeah. Hello, Belfast, Ireland, by the way. Well, I want to thank all of you. We could probably do this for three hours. There’s so much stuff and when we’re together as artists, we talk about these things, which is really wonderful. Lori McNee, start with you. Anything you want to promote or tell us about real quick and your social media handle?
Unknown Speaker 1:16:05
Oh, well, I I’m painting for some shows. Right now. My next show will be up in Montana, at Dana gallery in April’s so I’m painting a large show that a lot of animals kind of interesting going back full circle. And oh, my handles Lori McNee artist on Instagram and Twitter and my website, LoriMcNee.com And I’m all over the internet. And I’d love to hear from you all after this. If you have any questions, feel free to message me on Instagram, and I’ll do my best to answer your questions. Thank you so much for having me. All right, Debra.
Unknown Speaker 1:16:49
Oh, thank you, Eric. I do want to tell everybody about and you know about I have a new video released through streamline, which is fabulous three, streamline art video. It’s a new video release called Impressionism. And it’s me working on a very large regata painting, and actually worked on it here in the gallery. And they filmed us out on our boat and at the you know, all over the harbor. So there’s a lot of interesting facts that also take something very complicated and break it down to simple so I’m excited that that three Lisa just released right.
Eric Rhoads 1:17:23
And it reminds me of a Edgar Payne painting. It’s just beautiful. Yeah, that’s just releasing tomorrow, actually. And there’s a 3pm broadcast tomorrow where we’re gonna play a sample of it. And then also, they can find it at painttube.tv. That’s the new. Alright,
Unknown Speaker 1:17:43
I had your hand. Well, I’m at Jeffrey Hughes art, but I’d love it. If people go to Debrahuse.com. I have I’m putting together all of my gear, and then a little thing that points to everything that shows exactly what it is that I can email to everybody. So I thought it would be fun to have a little guide like that. So they can go check that out on my website and sneak in my paint real quick.
Eric Rhoads 1:18:06
Your Oh yeah. Oh, that’s right. Debra has three incredible colors that save a lot of time I use them they’re in my palette, and they should be in yours to
Unknown Speaker 1:18:16
my set too. When you do what is your Cobra? Cobra from different than Deb’s, if you’re interested in going solving free water mixable, you can check those out.
Eric Rhoads 1:18:29
Awesome. Awesome. I want to remind everybody before we say goodbye to Kevin that I’ve got a gift for you don’t leave. Kevin, final thoughts.
Unknown Speaker 1:18:37
I feel bad. I don’t have any of my products in front of me except plein air pamper.
Eric Rhoads 1:18:42
Plein Air conference and Kevin Macpherson.
Unknown Speaker 1:18:46
What about your planer
Unknown Speaker 1:18:48
free and extra extra protection. But actually, Eric and I, we did a great video called The Magic grid, which I’m very proud of because it was really thorough, and it’s been doing well. And it really puts things in in a different way of thinking. And then I have a show coming up in Charleston, South Carolina, April 1 and march 31. So I’m going to be there and have just some display of some little paintings and stuff. So so I’m looking forward to doing both of those things.
Eric Rhoads 1:19:22
Where do we find you on social media? I think by name I’m not quite sure. I’m not really. Come on Kevin Macpherson. You’ll find him. Yeah. And I,
Unknown Speaker 1:19:34
my wife was in Mexico right now. You know, I’m amazed I did this without having her fixing the computers and the iPads and things like that. But I was. It was a pleasure to be with Deb and Lori and Eric, I appreciate you doing it. And this is a really nice thing to let a lot of people who want to start painting who have painted for a long time. Just get some feedback from Some of us have been doing it. So I appreciate what you’re doing. Eric, you’ve been doing a great job and yeah,
Eric Rhoads 1:20:06
thank you, Kevin. Kevin’s plein air live in March. Lori McNee. You’re on plein air live and you’re on plein air convention? Yes. Oh, Kevin’s doing a workshop at plein air convention the day before, which everybody should go. Oh, that’s right. That’s when he’s also gonna be on stage. Debra. You’re gonna be plein air today. Yeah, Santa Fe. All right, great. Well, thanks.
Unknown Speaker 1:20:29
Hey, well, we’ll all be back together again.
Eric Rhoads 1:20:32
All right. Well, thanks again to our special guests, Debra Huse, Kevin Macpherson and Lori McNee. You can see their websites up on the screen. If you’re listening to this. You can’t see the screen. DebraHuse.com. Kevinmacpherson.com and Lorimcnee.com. All right, now it’s time for some marketing.
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 1:21:05
Alright, so in the marketing minute, I try to answer your art marketing questions because so many artists want to either learn how to sell their art, or get better at it, you know, whether you’re already doing it or you’re doing it, are you wanting to do it. That’s what I’m here for. Now, I teach art marketing on stage at the plein air convention every year. It’s three mornings, it’s early in the morning, we have a packed crowd. And I hope you’ll join us for that I also have some videos that you can check out at paint tube.tv. But I really want you to embrace this idea of marketing. And really we’re all marketing in some fashion. Even if you’re not selling your paintings, you know, you’re trying to get maybe a little local publicity or something. So that’s what the marketing minute is for. So, Amandine, why don’t you read the first question for us?
Yes, so the first question is from Suzanne, from Long Island. With all the online art classes now is the plein air market oversaturated for artists and teachers?
Eric Rhoads 1:22:06
Well, I think the answer to that is you’re never oversaturated never, ever, ever, ever. You know, there’s a lot of different issues in this, there’s lots of opportunities to learn. And when COVID hit a lot of instructors decided to go online to teach. And so you still have the opportunity you can go to, to watch what they’re doing, or you still have the opportunity to do it. But quite frankly, a lot of people are unwinding that now. Right? Because COVID is in depending on where you are, is over almost over. You know, here in Texas, we just don’t have much of it going on anymore. And as a result, you know, people who are teaching online are kind of getting away from that now, because they’re all anxious to teach in person again, some of them will continue it. But that’s, you know, it’s not oversaturated. Secondly, we always have to give our customers what they want. And we have to listen to our customers, we have to survey our customers, we want to find out what it is they want. If your clients are moving to online training, then you probably need to consider doing it. You know, a lot of artists come to people like us, and we produce art instruction videos. And that’s a way to scratch that itch for him. Because here’s the thing, if you’re an artist, this is something I heard more than anything during COVID. I heard I can’t use names. But one artist said You know, I started doing this online teaching. And I hate it. I’ve had to figure out all the technology, I’m spending all my time dealing with cameras and technology. And I’m answering emails and I’ve just you know, it’s been become two full time jobs and I don’t have time to paint anymore. One of the reasons people come to us when we’re when they want to produce an art instruction video. First off, you know, we have Hollywood quality level, which just nobody can touch. And you know, we do it in a soundstage. And you know we do it right. But you know, the artist look at this, and they say, you know, if I do my own thing now all of a sudden, I’m not an artist anymore. I’m editing video, I am answering customer service questions. You know, I’m dealing with shipping things in some cases, you know, there’s a lot of interaction and interplay. We had one artist came to us, he said, You know, I did my own video. And he said, even though I made a little bit of money on it, he said when I calculated how much money I made per hour is like $2 an hour because and he said you know, I’m getting emails all the time, and I’m dealing with in seats, which I don’t want to deal with customer services. So you have to decide, you know, is it really important to you to do this? Is it something your customers need? And do I really want to put my art career on hold to do this? I think you know, of course I think this but you know the idea is that you want to make sure that you’re the best artist you can be and focus on your art, your painting, your sculpting whatever it happens to be Be the best you can, you know, people who succeed, really figure out how to do the things that are important for making themselves successful. And they let everybody else do the other things. Now, let me give you an example of that. All right, I wrote a book on art marketing a couple years ago, and I spent a tremendous amount of time on it, it took me away from my job. And you know, I’m writing and I am editing and I’m just constantly doing all this stuff with it. And now I’ve since learned, I’m working on another book now. And I’ve since learned a more efficient way to do that, where I have other people who will gather all the information for me, I’ll hire freelancers to do this, they’ll go through videos that I’ve created since and, and get them transcribed and get things changed. And then you know, they’ll they’ll put it into book form for me, then I’ll look at it and make some changes, then go to save me hundreds and hundreds of hours, you need to be focusing on the things that are going to generate the most for you. Long term. If you want to be known as a teacher, that’s great. If you want to be known as an online teacher, that’s great. If you want to be known as an artist, and get your work to the level where you’re getting purchased by museums and major collectors. That’s where you need to put your focus. And when you have distraction, you want to watch out for that distraction. So everything matters, right. So anyway, the other thing to keep in mind. And I know this is rambley. So I’ll just try to be short about it. But you know, no matter how much competition is out there, you want to look for ways to differentiate yourself from competition, you know, what do I do differently? How am I different what is my offering, but also the reality is that no matter how much competition you have, you can out promote your competition. Now, sometimes it takes money to out promote your competition, I promote very heavily I spend a lot of money on promotion. But sometimes it’s just a matter of being more creative. You know, there’s a lot of people who are doing all these classes and online stuff. And you’re and they’re getting five or 10 people to sign up with them. And I know people are getting, you know, a couple 100 while they’re out promoting everybody. So that’s what it takes. Now, Amandine, what’s our next question?
Unknown Speaker 1:27:23
Our next question is from Garrick from Portland prints. I think he would say they’re a good idea. But do they require an entirely separate marketing approach to original works? Do they discourage purchases of originals or encourage upsells? Should I offer limited edition prints or sell as many as you can get away with?
Eric Rhoads 1:27:46
Alright, so the first thing that I I heard when I got into the art world about me, you know, seriously, 15 years ago, 20 years ago, I started painting, maybe a little more than that. The first thing I heard is that prints are bad. You know, artists who are serious, should never do prints. You know, they’re going to detract from your originals, and so on. I gotta tell you that some of the most successful artists on earth, when I say successful in this case, I’m talking about financially successful, but also embraced by the major shows and selling artworks for big money. One that I’m thinking of no names, one that I’m thinking of sells his originals for over a million dollars, and is still selling originals. Now he’s getting old. So not going to be able to do originals much anymore. But he has an entire print business. I was just visiting another artist who has a huge print business. And he’s gotten to the point where he’s not making many originals anymore, because he’s getting older, and he doesn’t have the energy to paint. But his print business is thriving. And so there’s a lot of ways that you can do print business. I have a friend who uses a licensing firm, and they’re a company that makes prints and they sell them. They have salespeople who go out to galleries and they say okay, do you want this person’s or that person to have a little catalog. And you know, they’re signed limited edition prints in some cases, but also, you know, I got he just this morning in the mail, he sent me a calendar and His images are all over the calendar. So but he’s paying a licensing fee for that. So there’s a lot of things that you can do to license your work. Now the minute you start selling prints direct, that’s a whole different animal, right? If you can get somebody else to sell them for you. I like the philosophy of somebody working for me when I’m sleeping, right? It you know, your focus should be on on making great art if you’re trying to figure out how to sell prints, you know, find somebody to sell them for you and handle that. Now, if you’re somebody who goes to art shows like 10 shows where you’re in person. People sometimes don’t buy originals, because they don’t want like it that much. Or they maybe they like it, they just don’t want to spend that much. And unlikely that the person who’s going to buy a print is not going to say, well, I don’t think that person’s gonna say, Well, I’m not gonna buy that $3,000 paintings on the wall, because I can buy a print for $50 I think they’re gonna be a $50 print person. And if you in that art show, you sell 200, art prints and $50, you’ve had a pretty good day, you’ve covered your expenses, but you’re gonna have to, you know, you got to get them printed up and mounted, and put into plasticine, and so on. And so you’ve got that to deal with. But I think, you know, keep keep prints to limited edition signed and numbered, if you possibly can, unless you’ve got somebody who can take this to the next level for you in license you. Also, you know, you can sell through the cruise companies, they have, people haven’t been going on cruises much lately, but that’s starting to change. So they have people who sell original artworks on the cruise companies, and they get a lot of money for him sometimes. And sometimes they sell prints, and they get a lot of money for those because they’re limited editions. And then also, you know, you have people who specifically sell to hotels, and, and retailers that buy prints and things like that. So it takes a little homework. But if you do your homework and you can you can Google this and find out people who represent you know, selling prints to hotels and so on, then you can contact them say, Hey, look at my work. Would you be willing to do something with me? Some will, some won’t. They might like it, they might not. Anyway, always study, always study who’s succeeding at something, you know, you don’t you don’t get smart by looking at the people who are failing and get smart by looking at the people who are succeeding. If I like to read biographies on famous people, famous artists, you know, you look at people like wioth. I mean, wioth was a brilliant artist, but he was also a brilliant marketer. I mean, you read the stories, and especially his wife, Betsy, she was a great marketer. And so what a great team and they did a lot of things to build up career. Now Marketing is not just advertising marketing might be press releases, it might be shows, it might be books, you know, there’s a lot of different things. And so look at all of those things. Anyway, that’s the marketing minute.
This has been the marketing minute with Eric Rhoads. You can learn more at artmarketing.com.
Eric Rhoads 1:32:32
Well, don’t forget that you need to subscribe to Plein Air Magazine. If you’re listening to this. You can get the digital if you’re out of the country, you can still get the print, but it takes a little while to get there depending on where you are. But you should really consider plein air magazine. So just go to pleinairmagazine.com. It’s a beautiful magazine, by the way we’ve won. We won a National Design Award, which was pretty cool anyway, and we’re just actually getting ready to do some more changes and design. Alright, also reminder to enter a painting in the plein air Salon at pleinairsalon.com You could win $15,000. And last but not least, I hope you’ll join me next week. If you’re listening to this live or when it’s current anyway. Make sure that you sign up for plein air live. It’s got 30 Plus artists, top artists. And I guarantee it if you watch the first day, and you don’t, it doesn’t blow you away. And it’s live. I mean, we’re interacting. It’s not just like watching television, you’re watching demos, we’ve got some things that are live some things that are pre recorded. I’m there live, we have breakout rooms where you meet other people. And we had I was watching on Facebook the other day and two people have met on plein air live in a breakout room. And then they’re going painting together because they found out they live near each other. So things like that happen. Then we do a pain out together at night every night. We have beginners day, on Wednesday the night. And that’s also a refresher for those of us and there’s a set of teachers that are not teaching the rest of it. So that’s good. And then there’s the three day event. Plein Air live so you can sign up for one or both and we’d love to have you and it’s never too late. So go to plein air live.com. Well, that’s about it. I’ve got if you’ve not seen my blog, it’s on Sunday mornings. It’s called Sunday Coffee, and you can find it at Coffeewitheric.com also want to mention to you that I’m on Facebook daily on Facebook and YouTube Live at 12 Noon daily weekdays and my show is called Art School live. And I have had hundreds literally hundreds of artists demonstrations, talks marketing talks, noon Eastern time every weekday and you can subscribe on YouTube by searching streamline art and hit that subscribe button and the notification button and also please follow me if you have Haven’t follow me on Instagram. How many of you raise your hand? Not if you’re driving raise your hand if you’re on Instagram. Now with 1.5 million downloads if you guys would do me a favor and just right now, go to Instagram and find Eric Rhoads. It’s got an A in it. No E in it. Eric Rhoads find that on Instagram and hit the Follow button. You would be doing me a big favor and then I get to follow you back. It’s pretty cool. All right. Well, I’m Eric Rhoads, publisher of Fine Art Connoisseur and Plein Air Magazine. Thank you so much for joining me today. Remember, it’s a great big world out there we go paint it. We’ll see you soon. Bye bye.
This has been the plein air podcast with Plein Air Magazine’s Eric Rhoads. You can help spread the word about plein air painting by sharing this podcast with your friends. And you can leave a review or subscribe on iTunes. So it comes to you every week. And you can even reach Eric by email [email protected] Be sure to pick up our free ebook 240 plein air painting tips by some of America’s top painters. It’s free at pleinairtips.com. Tune in next week for more great interviews. Thanks for listening.