Welcome to the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads. In this episode Eric interviews Lyn Boyer on how to make the most out of each plein air painting experience, and more.
Listen as Lyn Boyer shares the following:
• How to train yourself to become more consistent with your responsiveness to a scene
• How she uses sound to “get people unstuck” when it comes to painting
• The inevitable “fighting with yourself” over which view of a landscape to paint
Bonus! Eric Rhoads, author of Make More Money Selling Your Art, shares insights on unconventional ways artists are selling paintings now, and pricing prints versus originals in this Art Marketing Minute Podcast.
Listen to the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads and Lyn Boyer here:
– Lyn Boyer online: https://lynboyer.wordpress.com/
– Eric Rhoads on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ericrhoads/
– Eric Rhoads on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eric.rhoads
– Sunday Coffee: https://coffeewitheric.com/
– Plein Air Convention & Expo: https://pleinairconvention.com/
– Plein Air Salon: https://pleinairsalon.com/
– Publisher’s Invitational: https://publishersinvitational.com/
– Value Specs for Artists: https://streamlineartvideo.com/products/paint-by-note-red-glasses
– Paint by Note: https://paintbynote.com/
– The Great Outdoor Painting Challenge TV Show: https://thegreatoutdoorpaintingchallenge.com/casting-call
– Figurative Art Convention & Expo: https://figurativeartconvention.com/
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 174. Today we’re featuring the amazing Lyn Boyer.
This is the plein air podcast with Eric Rhoads, publisher and founder of plein air magazine. In the Plein Air podcast we cover the world of outdoor painting called plein air. The French coined the term, which means open air or outdoors. The French pronounce it plenn air. Others say plein air, no matter how you say it. There is a huge movement of artists around the world who are going outdoors to paint. And this show is about that movement. Now, here’s your host, author, publisher and painter, Eric Rhoads.
Eric Rhoads 0:56
Well, thank you Jim Kipping and welcome everybody to the plein air podcast. I’m Eric Rhoads. I’ve been watching you on social media. I’m seeing more and more people getting outside to paint more than ever. I think it’s clearly a movement young and old. More people trying it out. I love the fact that you’ve been listening to the podcast and then going out and trying it. I know a lot of you are diehards, you’ve been doing this long time with a lot of new ones discovering plein air painting, which I am really, really encouraged about. So make sure you post or hashtag for plein air magazine on Instagram or Facebook. Just go to hashtag plein air mag for Instagram and Facebook and follow it of course, and put us in your hashtags. I’ve been busily doing updates every day. 12 noon live and if you’ve not tuned in, come to my page. It’s a way to keep people who have been occupied with staying at home, keep them busy and engaged. I’m doing it on Instagram and Facebook on my personal page Eric Rhoads or Eric Rhoads, publisher on Facebook and ads 3pm daily on streamline art video where we’re doing free daily training segments, we will keep it going until the quarantine has stopped pretty much everywhere at least in America. You can find it on YouTube or Facebook, go to YouTube or Facebook and search streamline our video. Also we’re giving away a beautiful painting worth almost $3,000 from the amazing artist, Joseph mug girl. And if you’re listening to this and you want to try and win a painting, just go to paintinggiveaway.com you only need to enter one time, but do it before the 31st we will announce the winner probably on the first around the second. So also on the 31st the price of the plein air convention goes up. We have given our lowest price we rescheduled the convention for August in Santa Fe and we will be safely holding it in Santa Fe and following the rules. But and we also have a quarantine meaning a guarantee About quarantine. So if you have to cancel or move, or we have to move or you can’t make it because of the quarantines or whatever, you can get a full refund from us but you want to get that done sign up at pleinairconvention.com remember, it’s the first time we’ve done it in the summer. Santa Fe in the summer because of the altitude is a lot cooler than you think it would be and it’s beautiful time to paint. So just go to pleinairconvention.com and sign up also enter your best paintings at pleinairsalon.com by May 31. Because you can potentially win the $15,000 all cash grand prize and the cover of plein air magazine among other prizes. lots going on. busier than ever. By the way I should mention. If you’re new to plein air painting, we’ve got a free ebook called 240 plein air tips. Just get it at pleinAirtips.com. Coming up after the interview. I’m going to answer some art marketing questions in the art marketing minute but first, let’s get right to the interview. You You’re gonna have fun with this one. This is Lynn Boyer. Lynn Boyer. Welcome to the plein air podcast.
Podcast Guest 4:07
Thank you, Eric. Thanks for inviting me. And it’s really good to chat with you.
Eric Rhoads 4:11
Well, thank you. You might want to wait till the end of this before you say that because you might not feel that way when this is all over.
Podcast Guest 4:19
Oh, all right. I withdraw that. It’s so might be nice to talk to you. I’m not sure. It might might not be.
Eric Rhoads 4:30
Lynn. I see. I can tell I’ve already lost control and having spent time with you. I know that it’s not possible to have control.
Podcast Guest 4:41
Eric, why would you say that?
Eric Rhoads 4:44
when did you and I first meet you remember,
Podcast Guest 4:49
I think we actually met perhaps very briefly, and Tucson in an elevator Yeah,
Eric Rhoads 5:00
that was that one time I was in an elevator in Tucson.
Podcast Guest 5:04
That one time when you were an elevator in Tucson,
Eric Rhoads 5:06
which, it’s funny. I actually remember that moment now. Because it was an elevator in the back of the resort. Yeah, on the backside. I’m surprised I remember it quite frankly. I can’t even remember my name.
Podcast Guest 5:22
Yeah, but it was just free. It was we were in the elevator. I said, Hi. You said hi. I think I said thank you.
Eric Rhoads 5:29
Yes, you did. So, but we really got to know each other when you went to Cuba with us,
Podcast Guest 5:35
that was a lot of fun. Yeah. That was a highlight. So memorable. That was last minute thing for me. I think I saw one of your posts that said few seats last or two days left or something and Boy, am I glad I pulled the trigger. What what uh, is it still is pivotal to a lot of my arch. The friendships made and getting to know you
Eric Rhoads 6:03
oh, we have we have a lot of fun. We ended up painting together a lot. And I have a painting that believe it or not that I just completed. You remember that time we went out on the What do they call it the barrio or the area? Oh, yeah. On the on the water. Remember we were we were like it was almost sunset. And we’re walking back from painting all day. And we see this scene of the Sun forest or something across the water. And the sun is going down and we said let’s knock a quick one out and we literally set up. We did a 15 minute painting. And by then it was completely dark. And it was Yeah. For me. It was one of the best paintings that did the whole trip.
Podcast Guest 6:49
Yeah, that was a fabulous moment. In fact, I was going through my photos a little while ago and actually came came by those photos. Remember that moment? And I’ve actually found that occasionally a few of my very favorite paintings have been done in those circumstances where there’s just a moment, and the stars align. And you don’t have forever. So I think we all just focused.
Eric Rhoads 7:26
Well, I think it might even be more than just focus. It might be. We don’t have time to think.
Podcast Guest 7:34
Eric Rhoads 7:36
So we’re being instinctive, I remember, I don’t think we had 15 minutes to do that painting.
Podcast Guest 7:44
Eric Rhoads 7:45
And so we were being instinctive, right? We were just laying down recording notes.
Podcast Guest 7:52
Yep. They’re very direct, pure observation. And something that really means a lot to me is in those moments. months is, it’s a pure response to what’s there.
Eric Rhoads 8:06
So I don’t train yourself to do that. Because you have you have a sense of that in your paintings all the time, which I’m very jealous of, by the way, but how do you how do you get there? Because, our tendency is to want to just overdo overthink everything.
Podcast Guest 8:28
That’s a good observation. And I agree that we tend to, I call it kill it to death. we have an immediate response to a scene or or sensory response to things around us. That has a real purity to it, and then we proceed to kill it to death. But to go back to your question is how do we train ourselves to do that? The first thing I want to say is it’s time Civil for it to become not just an accident. And I actually had to train myself to do that. And actually, if it’s any comfort to the listeners wanted to give up so many times. I mean, I’m pretty tough and it takes a lot for me to want to give up. And I don’t ever give up. But I came so close in my painting career just to go, I am so over this is just too hard. And that’s the moment that and I want to leave this with everybody is that picture you’re hitting a boulder with a sledgehammer, and you’ve hit it 100 times. In other words, you’ve done that same painting, or maybe made that same error in a painting or killed 100 paintings and you just go apparently I can’t do this. I want you to think of that as that boulder sitting in front of you and What you didn’t see was, every time maybe you had a failure, you were putting that micro micro crack through that Boulder. And if you walk away, you will never know if it was going to be the next swing that that boulder broke, broke apart. And what I’ve found is that your Lisa progress then happened very suddenly.
Eric Rhoads 10:28
What a great analogy. And that boulder that boulder is in your path. And if you can’t go around, you can’t go under it. You can’t go over it. So the only thing you can do is break it up.
Podcast Guest 10:42
Absolutely. And Part D to your question was, to me, that’s why you don’t give up. But then Part B is how to we train ourselves to start being come becoming more consistent with that responsiveness where we get that. In other words where we’re putting life comes at us, we pour the life bounce just literally bounces off us back onto that Canvas. So our canvas is so full of life that when a viewer walks by it that light bounces right back to them. It’s almost like being mirrors. And so how I still work at that is what I what I discovered was I using only one piece of information as painters. In other words, how does light fall on objects? And we which is foundational What if I, all of a sudden I woke up one day and I went, wait, this is only one piece of the puzzle. And what I noticed what, there’s two things, the reason I noticed it is it painting with people. And I would suddenly I start walking around trying to get a sense of the place, feeling the wind listening sounds trying to smell, things just get a sense of what was around me. And I’d look up and everyone else had thrown up in the hatchbacks set up their stuff, launched in the paintings, and were three quarters through their paintings. And I’m going, wait a minute, and I started telling my students not to do that. I said, wait till they get a sense of the place. So number one is take time to get a sense of the place. Number two, is not just a sense of the place with light but a sense of all of our senses. Because we’re trying to put in paint not just how light falls on things, but trying to give the viewer the experience of all the things we felt keep wind on our skin in the room. Whatever How do we do that? And we, we so I started you really tuning in all my senses. And at some point, if we can circle back that actually led to what I teach, which is no fear oil painting and also another project enter play artists, which uses the sense of hearing auditory senses to break through when you when you get stuck. I don’t know about you, but I get I’ll have times when I’m just stuck, and I’ll have students who are stuck. And I specifically use sound to get people unstuck.
Eric Rhoads 13:41
Can you articulate how you do that?
Podcast Guest 13:46
Yes, I’ll give the best way perhaps as an example. And in fact, that was the genesis of interplay artists in no fear oil painting. I was painting by the Animus river here in Durango, Colorado. And for everyone, anyone who has tried to paint moving water I was just struggling. And other words, we’re all used to, they say paint what you see in Hong Kong, okay. Well, what you’re seeing with moving water changes every millisecond. And so I was really struggling I was trying to go Okay, and I was carefully trying to paint it and where the little reflection dots were and I was noodling away and I see that kind of foamy. And I looked down and it was just, yeah, it didn’t express what I was seeing at all. It was not going to give the viewer any sort of experience of what this place was like. And all of a sudden I thought, I need more information. So what I did was a quote I, I heard that the water was making a lot of sound as it moved around the rock. So I close my eyes. And I started taking in that information until I could, and it was more than what the visual input was given me. That sound started giving me information. And I suddenly started getting a sense of what that water was doing. And when I finally could feel it, there’s a feeling a click that happens in you where intuitively you go. Alright, I understand this and I quickly grabbed up some paint with my eyes still almost half closed, and and just went towards the painting and intuitively laid that down before I lost that feeling. And then what? walked away? I didn’t touch those strokes again, and it solved the problem.
Eric Rhoads 16:06
When I have a really important question for you Are you doing drugs?
Podcast Guest 16:12
I don’t do drugs at all Reason being. I basically was born on drugs, I think I think you were too.
Eric Rhoads 16:20
So would that in that particular instance? Would that have worked as effectively if you had done that before you started your painting? Or did you have to have a sense of that struggle of fighting that water and then listening to it and and in your head kind of repainting it? I assume. was is there like doesn’t work both ways for you?
Podcast Guest 16:48
Well, now I’m, I automatically collect that information right when I walk onto a scene. In other words, I know enough now to take Time to collect the information I need from the sound from perhaps the wind moving branches. That gives me a sense of the gesture of trees, not just their static shape. So now it’s just automatic, I go to a scene and I glanced around and say to myself, What do I have to work with? And I’m looking at all the visual, same cues, but I’m also collecting all the other things. But then when I go to address something at a painting, I may focus on that specifically like just take a couple minutes and and hit my head and really listen to the sound and then do the strokes you know, etc.
Eric Rhoads 17:37
Yeah, and, when you’re walking around in a scene, are you looking for what is it I’m responding to? What is it that’s getting me excited about this scene?
Podcast Guest 17:51
Oh, absolutely. I’ll do a I’ll do a real quick glance at the thing you brought out very early on. was the difference between you know, when we had to work fast, we were being very intuitive. So I’m careful not to get real analytical at the beginning, I’ll do a 360 degree, glance to see Is there something just that simply catches my eye? In other words, something that made me kind of do a double take. And if it did, I’ll go back and give it a second look and then ask myself why it caught my eye. And then the third question is, will does it have what I need to make a good painting? Not everything that catches your eye or is incredibly beautiful will actually translate and can translate into a good painting. And if you know all the questions in our are ticked off is yes. In other words that I had an emotional attraction to it, it has the elements that I can build a good painting from, then I’ll Oh, and then the next thing is, I’ll fit in. If I’ve answered all those, yes, I think yes, I’ll do my outfit and do my values sketch in there are times when when I get done with that value sketch, I’ll look at it and go, Oh, I actually was wrong here. This really doesn’t have enough structure to make a strong painting. And then I’ll either pack up and find someplace else or often, all it takes is lifting up my paint palette and turning and painting what was, behind me, but I won’t proceed if if I don’t have enough strength in that value, scratch
Eric Rhoads 19:52
Well, I’ll tell you that’s a that’s a really important point and a discipline. Because, you’re out there, you’ve invested in coming out. You’ve got your Stop gear set up and maybe, and and then you’re like, I’m gonna paint this scene, I can’t tell you how many hundreds of times I’ve started painting a scene, only to discover it really is a stucco scene. And, no matter how much my heart is into it, I just can’t turn it into a decent painting. And so, you waste a lot of time doing that.
Podcast Guest 20:25
Good observation, a grade, and I’ll often have I don’t think any of us are into wasting time and materials. You know, it’s frustrating. It’s kind of expensive, and it can spoil what could have been a real nice day. And I will have students come to me and say, Can you can you help me with this painting or help me fix this painting in the painting is nine tenths done and I’ll have to just look at them I said he the mistake happened at step two. So We really can’t fix this. And that one becomes a frisbee and then we have to start over. So the way I really encourage people to work is number one, to have a very specific methodology and the methodology does it doesn’t in any way, constrain expression or in an intuitive approach. The way I explain that is I say, think of a jazz musician. I mean, the incredible intuition and the beauty of just this responsiveness Well, they so have mastered their instrument that they can do that. In other words, the mastery of music and their instruments has not constrained them that set them free. So I tell people, travel methodology that you never depart from that has steps broken down. I think in in the workplace is called chunking. You guys use it, we all use it, you divide things into a big thing into smaller parts and then those parts into smaller parts. And if you follow that, and I tell people I say until you have solved the problem, to your satisfaction for a strong painting, and each step, you don’t, don’t give yourself permission to move on even though you’re itching to in the mixing the paint is beautiful and you can’t wait to keep going. We’re a little bit like a racehorse in and we’ve got a, we’re calling it the bit and we have to hold ourselves back. Once you solve the problem at each step in the methodology, then go on to the next and if guaranteed you’re going to end up with a strong painting. It may not be every thing may not be a brilliant masterpiece, but it will be a good solid strong painting that you’d go home and say that was a good, satisfying day.
Eric Rhoads 23:04
Well, I’m going to hand you a gold star right now. Here, I’m going to reach through the microphone and hand it to you. Because this is a once in a while something is discussed on the plein air podcast for the first time in history. And I think this is the first time in history that subject has ever been discussed. So here’s your gold star. Don’t drop it.
Podcast Guest 23:26
Can I stick it on my forehead?
Eric Rhoads 23:29
Yes, you may.
Podcast Guest 23:31
Okay, it’s, it’s right there. Looks good.
Eric Rhoads 23:34
Looks looks good. If you got some fingerprints on it, you need to wipe it off a little bit. So you have those moments. This happens to me. I’ll go out with friends. And I don’t want to be that guy that controls everything. And so I’ll go out with friends and they’ll pick a spot. And I’m like, I hate this spot. But I don’t want to say anything to him right now. And it’s like, I’ll do the 360. I look around and and there’s nothing that pleases me. Now, sometimes I’ll wander down the road apiece and I’ll find something. But what do you do? If you have a situation like that? And you just don’t find anything that you you dig? Do you just to go eat your lunch? Or what’s what do you do?
Podcast Guest 24:22
Well, I did. Well, it’s one of the reasons I don’t often paint in groups. if it’s just going to be a social event, and it doesn’t really matter, and it’s just the fun of hanging out with friends, then, doesn’t really matter. But if you really want to have a painting session there’s two things often I’ll do what you did is I will lead the group and start sniffing around behind buildings in the other way up the river, and I’ll usually find something seriously cool. You know that everyone else overlooked. But like you said, there’s sometimes you’re at a place where literally, nothing blows your hair back. I did an experiment once. Because there were all these little sayings out there. In other words, you can’t paint at high noon and you have to wait for the golden light or you have this or that or whatever. And I remembered something. I heard I think it was Harvard, and a professor, and he was handing out the assignments for the final. You go in a basket and you pull out the subject. And he was the student looked at him said, I don’t want to do this. It’s boring. And, and this one was slap upside my head. He looked at students and said, there are no boring subjects. They’re only boring students. When I went Oh, I said but what would what would happen if and I live by question marks? What would happen if that’s how I think what would happen I thought what would happen if I went out painting on the most horrible ugly day I could find and drove one mile and slammed on my brakes and hate myself paid. What would happen and this would be a case where you couldn’t find anything good to paint because you’re with your friends. And I, I did that it was a icky half melted snow winter gray day and I slammed on my brakes. I looked around and there was nothing and but then I really looked around. And here’s here’s a specific thing you can do. If you can’t find anything, turn off the I’m going to paint Something switch in your brain. Like, there’s not a barn there’s not a cool tree, there’s not you know, and go, just start looking for shapes, interesting abstract shapes intersecting each other. And when you find those, you’ll find something interesting. So I looked around, I found H, a tree that was this dark shape. The mud was making interesting, jaggy shapes. And then there was the vertical with these thin lines intersecting everything’s which was a phone pole with some wires. And I painted a little six by eight. I still have it hanging on my wall, and it’s still one of my favorite paintings.
Eric Rhoads 27:49
Yeah, I’ve often thought that that that would be a great workshop is that, we’re gonna be in a back alley somewhere and you just have to find a way to create Beauty out of something that you would never paint.
Podcast Guest 28:03
Absolutely. I took one of my workshops to a place that I knew on the Colorado River over near Moab, one of the most perfect paintings center if this was cruel, actually, they still gotta hate me for it, but they have. And I line them all up and they looked up, and they were so excited. And I pointed at it and I went, you’re allowed to paint anything except that kind of mean. But that was a that was an example of the point you’re actually saying is that we don’t have to drive through the mountains for 1000 years to find the beautiful painting. I’m very skeptical of really beautiful scenes. I rarely paint them. They often fall flat. I call them they have there’s a danger that they become what I call gas station calendar paintings. They’re so stunningly beautiful, that we almost can’t bring something to them in a painting. So I’m real, I’m extra careful with with the scene that looks like it’s handing it to you. And I’m going, wait and then at what’s underneath that?
Eric Rhoads 29:19
Well that’s a tough thing to do because the temptation let’s this happens to me all the time. You know, I’m traveling to a beautiful place. We go to Europe once a year with a Ark. Yeah. And I’m in this beautiful place. And, the temptation is I got to paint this beautiful Harbor, it’s just so incredibly beautiful. And then I’ll see, just a single blue with a bunch of stuff floating around it and I’ll go No, that’s what I want to paint. And yeah, you really are fighting yourself because it’s like I spent all this money to come to Europe. I should be doing a painting of the Eiffel Tower. Not The you know, not the garbage can next to the Eiffel Tower. And, ultimately you got to do something that that you’re really going to resonate with.
Podcast Guest 30:10
Yeah. And I like I like that you said, you’re fighting with yourself. Because often, that’s what it is we have these inclinations that we have to learn to recognize and resist even even the input of the visual information coming at us in our own creative voice or how we want to express it is a real dance because I, I will actually stop looking at the scene, partway through a painting. I’ll only glance up if I need a piece of information because it’s so powerful like you said, the Eiffel Tower was in front of you. And that image is so powerful, it actually can just like, you know, the wave surfing it can just devour us. We don’t have the strength to sort of fight back and, and create dance between the two. So I love your story about the, the inclination to paint the typical thing, but you were attracted toward the buoy, maybe with a seaweed or something like that. And I would just encourage people to always be a little bit skeptical.
Eric Rhoads 31:28
sometimes if I’m having that moment, I feel I have to scratch that itch, I’ll pink, I’ll paint a couple of really small paintings. And so I’ll do it, you know, six by eight of the one scene and then a six by eight of the other scene. So I have time to do a couple of things and and I’m kind of leaning in that direction now anyway, because, I typically paint nine by 12, one location once in a while, a bigger one, but I’m kind of getting to the point now where I’m in a spot and it’s like, I want to do two or three paintings in this spot. So I’ll either quarter off my canvas or all, I’ll just do, two or three, six by eight so that I can get more information because I’m not necessarily trying, trying to turn them into finished paintings Anyway, I’m just trying to get information.
Podcast Guest 32:21
I agree. Six days are fabulous. And I have maybe half a dozen pics by hanging on my wall that again, I won’t tell them. They’re my favorite little paintings. You can’t get. You can’t get too fussy. You can’t get too picky. You only have enough room to really kind of get after it. And I use I’ll paint six by eights with quite a big brush. inator you know, really? Yeah, yeah, I don’t when I pick up a six by eight, I don’t usually pick up a little brush to match it. I’ll stick with the big brushes and when you learn to you Use your brushes so that you can get almost anything you need out of, a size eight, or whatever, for any size painting. And I think what you’re doing is is wonderful, because if it gets away from this, okay, I’m going out painting, I have to make a painting, my musician friends, they don’t every time they pick up their instrument, they’re not going, I’m giving a concert, they they play and they play and they play and they play and then at some point, they bring it together and they give a performance and that’s how I approach my painting and other words, every once in a while I then muster my forces and said, I now am going to take all the information that’s gathered, everything I’ve learned. I have an idea. I am going to walk on to Carnegie, whatever stage Carnegie Hall and, and I am now going to give the best performance I can give. So I separate the two. And what you just said is that and I find it, it gives you a huge amount of freedom, it also brings some of the joy back. And I find that people actually when they start doing that, and especially with these little six by eights, progress faster.
Eric Rhoads 34:32
You know, I also think to that point, and some of the other things we’ve just discussed, the the idea of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is when the best paintings emerge, or the best lessons emerge. And so you talked about going out on a crummy day. I remember learning a lesson from a guy by the name of Fred picker Who was he invented a system called zone six which was essentially the value stream for photographers, and, he worked with Hansel atoms. And, he was a phenomenal paint a phenomenal photographer and I studied under him and when I was doing that, and he said, the best photographs are the ones where you have to walk the furthest. Stand through more rain, get up the earliest and wait the longest because he said it’s the pain that actually makes for better photographs. And I think there’s some sense of that. Not not always but some sense of that in paintings as well. It’s that,, most of us, I’m not so much but most of us tend to be sunny day painters, it’s like, oh, it’s raining, I’m not going out. And I remember standing in in the middle of Maastricht Holland in a thunderstorm painting out there with oil paint and one of the most beautiful paintings I’ve done because it’s got drip Enos on it and it’s kind of cool. I remember that experience more than I remember standing in a beautiful place with a beautiful VISTA on a perfectly sunny day.
Podcast Guest 36:09
Yes. Remember what I think about sensory input, that when you have that, when you’re aware of it, it gets into your painting, and then it comes back out. Those are more powerful paintings, you experience something. And when you’re fighting something like rain or wind, then you’re not, you’re not paying such close attention to your painting because sure you can’t, you know, you’re holding your…
Eric Rhoads 36:37
on hand when it’s vibrating. And you can barely get your brush to create a straight line, and you’re just kind of like, just get the information down and get out of here as quickly as possible,
Podcast Guest 36:49
You’re just trying to survive, so you can’t get in the way of your painting. San Francisco Do you remember how cold it was at paix and I remember going when we went to paint the bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge. It was I’m pretty tough but I was just like, Oh no. Oh, heck no. I am one of eight you know, but I do believe I’d be a good example so I had my backpack and I tried to stay out there and I go Okay, probably everyone see me carry my backpack now I’m gonna go live, and then I just I it was foggy and couldn’t see the bridge. And it was just it was like you said misery top to bottom. Well, I looked up and at first I thought, Lyn, you’re standing in front of the Golden Gate Bridge, you lose their you and you’re not going to get your paint so I shamed myself into it sat my face up. And then when I looked up a second time, I realized oh, My gosh, this bridge in the fog where you could hardly see any of it was so much more beautiful.
Eric Rhoads 38:10
Lily wire, you know every every little support that’s
Podcast Guest 38:15
Yeah, no yeah sort of edit it for all of us, you know, and it was disappearing up in this fog and so I realized that what was making a supper was handing us something much more beautiful and I did a little six by eight and I’m looking at it on the wall right now and I won’t ever sell it. I remember every minute I love to painting so yeah, I mean we all have our our success stories but they they make. They make good paintings and they make good campfire stories. We can all sit around with our floors.
Eric Rhoads 38:53
Sometimes signings make good campfires?
Podcast Guest 38:57
Yeah, well, there’s that too. I have been known to be In a file saying that it shouldn’t be inhaling that burning cadmium smoke. I’m guessing Yeah, well that was before they knew they knew about that part. So I don’t do that now. There was one thing I wanted to bring up that you made me think of that relates to this is have you ever had an intention to paint that day and literally gone I just don’t know what to paint, I What should I paint? You know, there’s a million things to paint what I do and this may be a value to people or not, everyone comes at things their own way but when I don’t have a specific project already in mind, that I want to pursue and I’m literally I don’t want to paint. I immediately do a little scam. You can do it real quickly, and usually the answer is immediate little brain. Scan where I go, I ask myself a question again. I’m always asking questions. What if what you know? I say, What am I avoiding? And what scares me? Oh, in relation to painting? Oh, that’s our though that’s a good question. And immediately, it comes to mind. I know exactly what it is when I asked myself that question. And I walked in the studio in that solving that problem facing that fear working through that becomes my next painting. rarely have I painted a painting that I am not trying to solve something I’ve been avoiding. I started a new workshop called painting. I actually call it it’s alive and it’s about painting with the animals and people and putting them in the landscape because I noticed I looked at landscapes and I thought, how many of these landscapes good The person actually choose to not have anything living in it because that was a powerful choice for the painting. Or did they paint the cafe scene with nobody sitting at the tables? Because they’re afraid to put the figure soon? Oh, man, I realized that mostly it’s the latter and I will I will address this because whenever I put together new workshops, I’m trying to find a missing piece.
Eric Rhoads 41:29
well, shame to me, because I just realized how much I do that it’s it’s never even crossed my mind. But I will tell you that a million times I’ve done a painting and left something out because I found that something to be too difficult.
Podcast Guest 41:45
Absolutely. And that is so common, you are not alone. So don’t feel ashamed. I mean, that’s, that’s more the rule, you know, then the exception. And and the thing I do want to encourage people is The the listeners is that it doesn’t take five years in intelli a, or a 10 year study of the human figure, etc, etc, in order to know how to incorporate figures into the landscape, the other thing is, you’ve all I don’t know if you’ve ever seen, I’ve seen a beautiful painting, where it looks like the horse or whatever was pasted onto, the cowboy was pasted onto the back. They, they painted the landscape, then they found a picture of a cowboy and they sort of painted in that, that we were talking about, and you’re very good in the magazines and even your own teaching, about finding the ways to get from A to B efficiently. You know, they’re not sure cuz they’re just efficient. And so I just want to encourage people that they’re very efficient ways to learn to, Incorporate, like you, you want to put some figures sitting at the table. And that absolutely can be done. You don’t have to be a master of the finger to do that. You can put the cows in the field you don’t have to know 100% cow anatomy, so just want people go away going, Wow. Yeah, I never thought of that. painting. That’s cool.
Eric Rhoads 43:22
You know I I was thinking about this very subject just the other day because I had this dream. And the dream was that I’ve had the stream before. It’s a recurring dream, but something changed. And the dream was that I was in this big, long Gothic hall with high ceilings and I was having dinner with all these famous artists from around the world in history. And that, that’s where I eventually came up with the idea of the plein air convention and the figurative art convention, the idea of us all being together breaking bread together, but but the last dream was that I had that same dream I was sitting next to William bouguereau, the great figurative painter. And he stood up and he he did a toast and he said to the, I think he said to the all of our something like that, and and everybody toasted and I said, is this a secret code? I don’t understand what this means. And he said, Well, he said that, that we all tend to focus on what we love, but that’s not what’s good for us. He said, I am a figurative painter, but if I don’t learn to paint landscapes, well then I can’t put landscapes in my figures and make them believable. I can if I’m if I have figures in and there’s architecture, I have to make that architecture believable. He said, If I have objects sitting on the table, I have to get good at still life. And that has to be believable. So it to that point, I think a lot of us as plein air painters are kind of like look, I’m a landscape painter, but learning To paint a figure or learning to paint a portrait is so informative. And as is learning is still life or learning. You know how to paint architecture for me is like the hardest subject in a painting. So it sounds to me like you’re kind of going in that same direction.
Podcast Guest 45:18
Oh, absolutely. Because they’re all based on, How can I say this? I don’t know the fabric. Yeah, I’m thinking, I’m thinking, okay. The underlying principles and structure of everything, the fabric of the universe, seep up through everything. So every time we, like I say, in order to learn how to paint a still life, how to paint a portrait, how to paint a landscape, how to paint an animal and then to learn to be like a conductor in an office. orchestra, then the mastery is to learn how to bring those instruments together. And at just the right time to bring harmony to our painting, and if someone goes but I don’t like animals, you know, which is unthinkable, but there may it would be like an orchestra, the conductor going, I really don’t like bassoons so we’re not having anything orchestra, you play one of the bassoon sometimes. So that is what you just said is is so pivotal, and so that we can have all the tools at our, at our fingertips, when and if we might need them for our painting. So I would, I would agree, absolutely 100% with that, and here’s the thing. Anytime I’ve learned I’ve forced myself to it. learn a skill or do an exercise or something that I know will be good for me. So like he said, the things we don’t love are the things we should do. I eventually find I kind of get addicted to them. You know, I really didn’t like forcing myself to do my value sketches. And now frankly, sometimes I have more fun than doing the painting. So there’s just some sort of human resistance. I don’t know what it is, but if we do everything, if we can break through that, then usually we actually really enjoy doing it.
Eric Rhoads 47:35
there have been so many lessons about overcoming fears. And you know that all the things you’ve talked about today have to do with overcoming fears, and and approaching things with no fear. And I should mention that you and I are working on a project together and I don’t know when it’s going to happen, but one of these days we’re going to record a video called nerf you’re painting, right?
Podcast Guest 48:01
Absolutely, yeah. And fact. And it also brings in the music element that you and I had talked about early in the podcast, my partner, an Irish musician, they’ve currently is actually going to be doing the music, where there’ll be tools for, it’s not background music or listening to music or painting to music, but as an actual tool, where rhythms sound, and you actually learn to, like I painted the sound when I did that moving water. And it’s teaching people to when our sights gets numb, because we get numb to things. We can use another sense so you take music, you don’t Don’t pay to the music you actually pay the sounds and learn to do that and and it guides your breaststroke. So it’s going to be a very exciting project. I’m really, really excited about it.
Eric Rhoads 49:11
And I should mention that you’re a musician and you play mandolin Is that right?
Podcast Guest 49:17
Eric Rhoads 49:18
Yeah. Well, we should get you to play your mandolin on stage at the plein air convention.
Podcast Guest 49:24
I’m not very good, in fact, I, I call my I say I played music. And I aspire to be a musician. But if if I ever get competent that I’m not shy on stage, so if I ever feel like I, I am competent enough that I could I could perform in a way that was enjoyable for people I’d be happy to.
Eric Rhoads 49:51
I’m in the same boat. I play the guitar and I’m in the Adirondacks where, we have Rick Wilson always brings his guitar and he has a lot of music and Erica Pelle brings his guitar and, and when there are usually five or six or seven musicians, different instruments, I can play along and nobody can tell that I suck.
Podcast Guest 50:12
I was about to say that I said, let’s put together. Let’s get Rick in here, we’ll put together a group because if there’s someone there who can’t, another instrument covers up when you make a mistake. And when I make a mistake, I’ve much better in a group. It’s like, it all sort of blends together.
Eric Rhoads 50:32
Rick is really good at covering for me. It’s been fabulous. Yeah, well, maybe we should do that, that we did it one one year on stage to open the convention. We call them the players and the player, the players and so maybe we should bring the players back. What are you going to do at the convention? Do you have any idea?
Podcast Guest 50:49
Oh, sorry. It’s my demo. Yeah. Yeah. Yes, I’m going I’m going to do a little preview of Part since there’s not a lot of time to complete a whole painting, I’m going to give them a little preview of no fear oil painting, what’s going to be on the instructional video of some brush handling. And in also a little something they can really take home is a breakdown of methodology. Cool. And, and yeah, and I’m going to be bringing things they can actually since I don’t have time to work through it, there’ll be things they can actually look at and see the methodology and that I’ve had printed up in in sort of large format, which, absolutely get out your phones, take pictures and go home, drive. I’ll be looking forward to it.
Eric Rhoads 51:48
I want to ask you something that I haven’t prepped you for this and but, you come to the convention almost every time and many times not being faculty why Why do you keep returning? What is it about it? That that cranks your clock or as you say, blows your hair back?
Podcast Guest 52:12
For me it, absolutely every time it puts, I can just say it puts wind under my wings. As a painter and artists, a teacher and instructor, you are pouring so much out that there are times when I just have I’m running on empty, I’ve got nothing. In other words, I’ve given it all, and even when I paint, I paint, I reach really deep to paint. It’s why I’m not super prolific. And so I will just get to where my tanks are empty and I will find That to convention. I always, always learn something wonderful. And from the other instructors, walk in and out, I love that you can just sort of choose who you want to hear what you might want to learn. The Expo is fabulous for researching maybe a new surface and new material, picking up a brush and and the vendors are always generous. You know, with discounts, I’ll pick up a bunch of frames. It’s a huge part of it. Going to new locations, meeting new friends, art can be sort of a solitary thing sometimes. And I’ve made some just lifelong friends. And in fact, there’s a group, there’s some friends who are I got to know more at the conventions and then on the plein air circuit that, we just are there for each other. So, I have found it to be invaluable for my own progress. And, and like I say, just when I’m running on empty, I just know, in the spring, I’m going to be able to roll up to the Texaco gas station and refuel, and I always go out if they’re re inspired.
Eric Rhoads 54:31
So anything happens, I can live off of that energy for a year. It just helps me so much. I have one last question for you. And then we’re going to have to go out of here but you studied under the amazing Dan McCall.
Podcast Guest 54:48
I did. He I was in his illustration class at art center. I was lucky enough to be one of the day students because I was already in the industry and I would Drive two hours at night to get up to Pasadena to get to Dan McCall’s class. And like I said he was one of the very pivotal people in my art journey, because it’s not so much he taught techniques. But he taught me how to learn. And he taught me how to let go to not cling and to not be afraid. Do I have time to give a quick example because this may be a value, okay? I work incredibly hard on my homework assignment. And it was actually quite a nice illustration. And he walked up and was quite silent and he pulled a piece of sandpaper out of his back pocket, although and he he literally attacked by illustration. And I was, Young, in the industry and very vulnerable and, you always want to please the teacher. And so he just shredded that thing and he made he scratched it, he rubbed it need scratch it some more. And then he picked my piece up and he started going back into it. Now he wasn’t this really disturbing anything about the core of my concept or even how I painted it. But after he had poured the grit into it, and then pulled it back out, it was how it went from nice to powerful. And that just he changed my life. And he also just taught me how to learn, even when I had didn’t have the blessing of having a particular instructor how to dig out the information, how to try things, how to experiment how to not be afraid To let go of the best stroke I’ve ever laid down if it didn’t serve the painting, and yeah, I, I don’t know where I’d be, he I’m sure he is quite unaware that he affected a young illustrator that way. But I’m very grateful
Eric Rhoads 57:19
What a great lesson and and Lyn, this has been, I have to say one of my favorite podcasts of all time this is conversation I think we could probably go on and on and on and on. And unfortunately we’re out of time but you You are so brave, so bold, so intellectually stimulating and thoughtful about what you do. And such an inspiration as a painter. I’m just so pleased to know you and to have experienced this conversation today with you but also just to know you in general to watch you paint. it’s embarrassing painting next to you because You just knock them out of the park. And it’s it’s hard to be there, and do your own thing at the same time you like, watch you and then you got to go back and get inspired because you’re just so good at this. So thank you so much for being on the podcast today.
Podcast Guest 58:14
Thank you, Eric. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it. And I really love and appreciate all of you for what you’re doing for all of us. Well, we will see you soon. Yes, very soon. Can’t wait. I’ll bring my mandolin. I think Rick dub to be Mondo Lando smiling name my nickname.
Eric Rhoads 58:39
Okay. Thank you, again for being on the plein air podcast.
Podcast Guest 58:44
Okay, thank you, Eric.
Eric Rhoads 58:46
Thanks again to Lyn Boyer. She is a hoot. Lots of fun. Lots of fun fun to hang out with. Are you ready for some marketing ideas?
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 59:06
In the art marketing minute I try to answer your art marketing questions. And you just email them to me [email protected] Here’s a question from Bob Ragland, says I’m interested in knowing how artists are selling their art in untraditional ways. Well, I’m interested to I’m always keeping an eye on that. Bob the untraditional quickly becomes the traditional once it works, as you know, we’ve observed because of Coronavirus, we observed a lot of people doing some new and interesting things. One thing I saw recently is an artist doing a raffle for a painting and they’re selling tickets at 10 bucks or 20 bucks each and the goal is to sell enough tickets to cover the cost that they would normally get and got a lot of entries and did a raffle and then it’s doing another one. Another artists I saw is doing an auction. Where you don’t actually see the painting? You’re buying an unseen painting and you’re auctioning for it. And lo Papa did this and started the idea. Laguna plein air painters and I was in it as a matter of fact, they raised over $20,000. So it could be done by an artist as well. And and of course, lately, lots of people are doing virtual art shows with links to buy. And that’s been very effective for very many a lot of galleries and artists doing it so I think it’s something that will probably continue. I like to see people thinking outside of the box hate that term though.
Eric Rhoads 1:00:34
The next question comes from an anonymous person in Las Vegas, who says do prints that are the same size as the original devalue the original painting I worry that some people won’t know the difference? Well, prints are controversial and some hate them. Others love them. I’ve watched a lot of artists make some money with prints. I’ve watched them do licensing to print companies. Which is not as much money but you’ve got somebody working for you, night and day and and selling that for you. So I think that’s a pretty good thing. I think prints are a nice thing. Because a lot of people cannot afford an original but they go into a gallery or they see your work, they’d like to own it, but they can’t afford it original. I don’t know that that’s going to stop somebody from buying an original. Obviously, it’s going to be priced considerably different. And quite frankly, some people say, hey, if I never sell the original, but I sell 100 prints off of it, I’m making more money than I would have from the original so it doesn’t really matter. Some galleries love them. Some galleries hate them, you got to have a talk with your gallery about that. I don’t know if size matters might not be a bad idea to vary the size a little and quite frankly, it’s nice to have different sizes. But if you get too small, then you’re going to have a minimum price that you might not want. Remember, you want somebody walking out of the gallery out of your booth or whatever spending a decent amount of money and you want to make sure your prints are valuable but also that you’re making money on them prints are not cheap to make not good ones not by the time you put them in a What do they call that, I want to say a frame but it’s thicker the term matte There we go. Anyway, sometimes it takes a little time for those words to enter this old brain. Anyway, Matte and then of course piece plastic or something to put it up and and I think it’s something to talk to your gallery about, but I don’t see any problem with doing it. I used to think there was a problem. I’ve changed my tune on that a little bit. I think anything goes today you got to survive. You just got to make sure you’re being ethical. Anyway, that’s today’s art marketing minute. I hope you’ve enjoyed it.
This has been the marketing minute with Eric Rhoads. You can learn more at artmarketing.com
Eric Rhoads 1:02:50
A reminder that the 31st is the deadline to get the lowest price on the plein air convention and we do have a quarantine guarantee that you get to money back if you want your money back or want to apply it to a future event if you or we should have to cancel because of something going on and not feeling safe or whatever we’re gonna follow all the protocols hotels got all the protocols are sanitizing the rooms. It’s got to be a beautiful thing. And also 31st is deadline to enter plein air salon. So you can get that at pleinairsalon.com or pleinairconvention.com also if you’ve not How dare you know i don’t really that’s okay. If you’ve not seen my blog where I talk about life art philosophy, other things check it out. It’s called Sunday coffee and you can find it at coffeewithEric.com then subscribe. It’s free comes to every Sunday morning I sit out on the porch, and sometimes by the lake and do it. So anyway, this is fun. We’ll do it again sometime like next week. I’ll see you then. I am Eric Rhoads, publisher and founder of plein air magazine. Remember, it’s a big world out there. Go paint it. We’ll see you goodbye.
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.
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