Plein air painter Jill Carver
Jill Carver, featured in the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads, Episode 181

Welcome to the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads. In this episode Eric interviews Jill Carver on the four principles of art that she’ll discuss during Plein Air Live, and much more.

Listen as Jill Carver shares the following:
• What it’s like to build one’s own art studio space, including what special details you need to consider
• Working with values and shapes in a landscape painting
• How she has been impacted by COVID in both positive and negative ways

Bonus! Eric Rhoads, author of Make More Money Selling Your Art, shares ways to “do your homework” when it comes to getting your art into a gallery, and tips for making commission sales in this Art Marketing Minute Podcast.

Listen to the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads and Jill Carver here:

Related Links:
– Jill Carver online:
– Plein Air Live:
– Eric Rhoads on Instagram:
– Eric Rhoads on Facebook:
– Sunday Coffee:
– Plein Air Convention & Expo:
– Plein Air Salon:
– Publisher’s Invitational:
– Value Specs for Artists:
– Paint by Note:
– The Great Outdoor Painting Challenge TV Show:

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.

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 This show is about that movement. Now, here’s your host, author, publisher and painter, Eric Rhoads.

Eric Rhoads (0s):
This is episode number 181. Today we’re featuring artist Jill Carver. Well, thank you, Jim Kipping, my announcer, what a great announcer he is.

Eric Rhoads (31s):
Give him a round of applause. Welcome everybody to the Plein air podcast. This has been an absolutely insane time. We are all getting ready for plan air live, which is just around the corner any minute. Now it starts officially on July 15th and the beginner’s day starts on the 14th and the world is signing up for this thing.

Eric Rhoads (1m 30s):
Everybody who’s part of the plein air world is signing up and you don’t want to miss it. The lineup is stellar. You’ve got to go to just to check it out. It is incredible. It’s a virtual event on your computer and it’s filled with amazing top level artists for four solid days and the beginner day on the 14th. And it’s making plein air history. And I want to invite you no matter what level you are, no matter where you’re listening and in the world, you want to be part of this. If you want to be part of the plein air movement worldwide, this is for you.

Eric Rhoads (2m 4s):
And of course, if you want to improve as a painter, it’s for you to, so you will not regret it, it will be amazing. And of course our Plein Air air convention, this August and Santa Fe has been canceled. So this is the best alternative, the best thing to do for plein air all year. And it’s going to be awesome. Go to Coming up after the interview, I’m going to be answering your arch marketing questions in the marketing minute, but first let’s get right to our interview with the amazing Jill Carver.

Eric Rhoads (2m 35s):
This is her second time on the plein air podcast. Jill Carver, welcome to the plein air podcast.

Jill Carver (2m 47s):
Thank you so much for having me back.

Eric Rhoads (2m 49s):
Well, it is, it’s been a while we were trying, when we were offline, we were trying to figure out how long it’s been. I think you were one of the first people I did on the podcast when I first started doing it, but it’s time for revisiting things because I’m sure you’ve learned a lot since then.

Jill Carver (3m 6s):
Well, let’s hope so. I know last podcast predates my last Skype account. I haven’t thought to learn her again. So I think we’re probably talking at least

Eric Rhoads (3m 18s):
Well, I wouldn’t have believed that if you had said I’d been doing it that long, but it’s very possible, so well, anyway, welcome. I’m glad you’re back. I wanted to kind of touch base with you and get an update with you and find out what you’ve been, what you’ve been doing. What’s been happening in your and your life and your career. When we had last spoken on the podcast you had, I think fairly freshly moved back to Colorado from you were living part time in Austin. What’s happening with that now?

Jill Carver (3m 53s):
We are still here full time and we’ve had a cabin head since 2008 and have been full time for the last three and a half years, I guess. So what’s exciting for me in that meantime is that we managed to secure the purchase of the empty lot next door and, and built a studio that, so I finally got out of the utility room with the washing machine and

Eric Rhoads (4m 25s):
Well, that’s kinda nice. And, and so what what’s that like planning and building a studio, I’d love to hear what you did and cause I’m always curious about, you know, what makes the ideal studio for people? Did you do something special, you know, for window light, et cetera, or did you just build a kind of an average building? What, tell me about it.

Jill Carver (4m 50s):
Yeah, well, it was, it was a fun process. So we got the empty lots next door. And I think initially I was looking at the empty lots that were available or around town. So there’s always that scenario or how far do you want to commute to your duty and because where we’re nearly at 9,000 feet, you know, snow shoveling and running vehicles in the snow is definitely a fact that he did. So when we were able, we’ve been chasing these lots from, I guess, two or three years, and finally got the owner to concede and come down and price to something realistic.

Jill Carver (5m 29s):
And to me that was put up in that I have to shovel a pathway to the studio in the winter, but I don’t have to start a call to go anywhere and get to work. So we did rather than build, I think my first idea was just building up a huge workshop, you know, where the electrical and plumbing and like a big deridge and that wasn’t possible, according to the land use code, the building code in town.

Jill Carver (5m 59s):
So I had to build it as a house. So it’s a house that had to have, it had to be livable. So I had to have a kitchen and a bathroom and a bedroom. So to make that work because the studio, my living room is big on my bottom room, kitchen and bedroom, which is used as my office a very, very small. So yes, technically it’s a residential house, but I think anyone working at a house, I think it was rather odd when they walk into the living room.

Jill Carver (6m 34s):
And I do have very high and a lot of, I guess, the North Northeast windows high up and we worked around, you know, those windows are always problematic anyway, because they’re required to have UV filters and, and thermal ratings to meet building code. So what we did was all the thermal ratings on the other windows and offices and basements and bathrooms. And that committed me to actually just have that gloss on the North light side

Eric Rhoads (7m 15s):
Tip alone was worth, worth the podcast.

Jill Carver (7m 18s):
No, I’m not getting any greenish tinge or anything coming through.

Eric Rhoads (7m 22s):
Yeah. That’s a valuable tip because I think everybody faces that these days or certainly most people do. And there is, is there a type of glass that you have to get to make sure that it’s not casting any color?

Jill Carver  (7m 39s):
Well, I think a lot of the UV filters and the Thermo filters, even though they’re not, they’re not seeking for a certain color. I think they do filter it. The sales rep brought some samples over to the house and we were just looking at, you know, sunlight shining through them onto white sheets of paper. And it was, it was quite amazing how much it threw it, so they don’t intend them to be filtered, but whatever coaching they put on for the UV ratings definitely caused a shade of green.

Eric Rhoads (8m 15s):
I’ve even heard stories that just, if you get a regular clear glass that even a regular clear glass has a slight greenish tinge to it because there’s, I don’t know, there’s something in glass that makes it green. I, and I’ve heard that sometimes you have to order a special glass that has absolutely no coloration in it. Is that what you had to do?

Jill Carver (8m 40s):
I think we probably did. I don’t remember the specs, but certainly the rep knew exactly what I was shooting for. I think Eric, to be honest, right on the edge of the forest here, that regardless of the Guam, here’s the interesting thing in Colorado with surrounded by trees, you know, so I think I still get a greenish 10 inch from the amount of spruce trees that are outside. And then the other interesting thing is, and Colorado and summer, it is the sky is so dark and so blue that actually I have less light in my studio on a funny day than I do on a cloudy day because the sun is high in the sky or dog.

And I spoken to Michael Lynch, who you were going to honor the, at the PACE convention now in Denver, you know, his, an architect, I think he’s built four studios in Colorado. So I chatted to him a lot in the early days. And he had experimented with skylights in Colorado. You obviously have to build the snow load and so on and other issues. But he said, he said, be aware that in the summer, you’re probably going to feel like it’s the AHCA and that then in the winter when it’s snowing and that’s been very true.

Eric Rhoads (10m 6s):
Interesting. Now I’ve heard some artists say that you don’t want to go due North, that you want to go 10%, either direction, depending on where you are, because the, the sun, when the sun goes down, if you go 10%, you get an extra hour of daylight or something, even when you’re pointing North plus plus or minus 10%, have you ever heard that?

Jill Carver (10m 29s):
Okay, well, I have, and I have heard the North Northeast studios are a great in terms of that morning light. And certainly right now I get some direct sunlight, but I don’t tend to be actually painting in that first hour of the day. I tend to be prepping for me. It wasn’t a choice. It was actually a decision that had to work around the huge septic and leach field system that has to go on. So that kind of dictated the orientation of the building. Right? Then I do have a West window, which I saw the street side of the building. So it needed something that though, I didn’t think I needed a window. There are tons of functioning. And ultimately now, I mean, you never know to build it, but oddly enough, that West window in the morning creates beautiful lights. So I actually have a second easel station set up there as well, but it doesn’t matter what, how many windows are, you know, I always end up supplementing with artificial lights or having to block off light because I have too much coming in suddenly in the winter when it’s snow outside. It’s pretty bright when you get sunshine on snow. I mean, almost get that as a secondary course of life as well.

Eric Rhoads (11m 59s):
Well, congratulations on that though. That’s I think every artist’s dream is, is to finally build the studio. And I think it’s really cool that you were able to finally get that done. So that’s, that’s neat. Are you doing a lot of outdoor painting and, and do you do it certain times of year? Do you do it year round?

Jill Carver (12m 18s):
I would say I’m probably spending most of my time in the studio now. And when I do go out for, you know, sourcing reference material, that’s definitely changed for me since I used to do the competitions, you know, where it’s very product orientated and that your hopefully producing finished frameable pieces there. And then, so once I finished doing those competitions, you know, going out to paint now is just very much about gathering ideas and trying to get accurate color notes.

And that often means to me, and I showed some of my studies in the plane, their live video that I just filmed, you know, often that backhand book left. I’m just going for what I can get the information, if the light changes or circumstances change, I don’t have a problem stopping with a Hawk, a Hawk covered canvas. Now that information is like gold.

Eric Rhoads (13m 21s):
So I’m curious what the impact of COVID has been on your life. And, and are you, did you find yourself staying home, painting more? Did it impact you in a positive or negative way? This is something that we’re all kind of dealing with and trying to figure out, you know, what’s next? How, how did it impact you?

Jill Carver (13m 43s):
Well, I think, you know, I’m still sifting through, I think the first two weeks, like a lot of people was trying to absorb what was going on and how extensive it was. And, you know, the first two to three weeks were not painting, but kind of being glued to my phone because the updates seemed to be hourly. And that was a really, you know, stressful time making that adjustment and then got, you know, a great a judge that, well, if the world is, we know it is reaching an end of a chapter, then you know, I’ve got to do to, to do the work that I’ve always dreamt of doing.

And so that was a real motivator for me. I’ve enjoyed some deadlines disappearing from the calendar. I think that’s been a positive, I would say the biggest negative for me has been the loss of experience of both teaching and interacting with other office. I think I really come to appreciate how precious, you know, those friendships and relationships all. And you know, that for me was a huge motivation. And during, playing out alive was to reach out and reconnect because whether they’re peers or students, I think that back and forth dialogue, you know, challenging each other and firing each other, educating each other is a really key component of who we are. And I would say that’s been the biggest, absolute biggest void as a result of the lockdown.

Eric Rhoads (15m 26s):
I feel the same way. I just can’t wait to get out. I can get out and paint of course. And so can you, but the idea of being around other people and interacting with other people, it’s just, it’s part of who we are. And I think that, I agree. That’s one of the reasons I did Plein Air Live is because I felt like probably the convention would be canceled. We didn’t know for sure. And we were going forward as if it, if it was going to go forward, but we also knew that it was a very high likelihood and thank goodness we did it and got it set up when we did, because having to cancel was a bad day.

Jill Carver (16m 3s):
Yes. I don’t envy you, your position at all. You know, Plein Air Painters of America – We had our workshop scheduled to about the end of September. And so I was keeping an eye on the state health or the, and the COVID case numbers and hospitalizations, you know, the last month. And I don’t know if you had read the state health orders, but the maximum gathering of people in any kind of gathering indoor or outdoor in New Mexico was five like, okay, between now and September, we’re not going to get to a point where we can, where we can hold that workshop, highly unlikely, a lot more employees involved. And I feel for you.

Eric Rhoads (16m 53s):
Well, the good news is that we’ve got, we’ve got a nice alternative and that works out. So while we’re talking about that, tell us a little bit about what you’re going to do. You’re always a little bit playful and experimental and, and everybody loves to watch what you do because it’s never, never the same twice in a row. What, what are you working on? What are you going to do for Plein Air Live?

Jill Carver (17m 15s):
Well, one of my presentations, when I teach… I find that demos something, but my students are really, really thirsty for theory, for principles. And ever since I did the presentation at PACE and San Diego, I kind of realized the power of visual slideshow, PowerPoint presentations of introducing Robinson. Just talk about my method or process to actually introduce how use principles in my work.

And I think a lot of it, I’m certainly self taught and have learned through, you know, painting for myself, but also taking workshops. And I think a lot of people out there in that same boat right now, they’re, they’re kind of experienced painters, but that playing catch trout on the academic theory side of things. So I put together a presentation and this video and it sat him up in my studio obviously, and I’m using my own work, but also other visuals incorporated and thanks to your awesome technical crew.

And so I, I’m talking about four principles, one motif to no time, three, the separation, all light and shadow, which was inspired by something I read in a book on Harvey, Dunn’s teaching and for kind of the freedom and limitation one, the limiting, your pallet, and part two limiting the number of batteries that you use.

So it’s very much, it’s almost like the core of one of the workshops scenarios that I do where each day of the week, I introduce one theory, one principle, but we all focus on. And then by the end of the week, students can realize, you know, that they can layer those principles or, or in certain situations know which ones to choose to help them create a better painting.

Eric Rhoads (19m 32s):
You know what amazes me, I’ve been around you and other painters for a lot of years. And every time I turn around, I still find new principals that I never knew. I thought I knew it all. I thought I had heard it all. And then, you know, you turn around and somebody has got something that, that blows you away. That makes a huge difference in the way that you paint. So I’ll be really anxious to see this. And, and just for my own painting, not, not just everybody, else’s, it’ll be nice to do that. I remember talking to an artist one time and it was a fairly accomplished artist and no names, of course.

And this artist said, you know, I, I painted for a lot of years and I had my work in galleries, but nobody ever taught me about values. And then all of a sudden I went to a workshop and the workshop talked about values. And this artist said, I, I, I was doing it, but I didn’t know I was doing it. And once I learned it, my work became better. And this was somebody who had been painting for 20 years. It’s amazing how sometimes we just miss things.

Jill Carver (20m 38s):
Sure. And I think, you know, it was the values rule taught to, you know, how do we see them? And then how do we make an accurate color notes to match that brand new that we perceived? Because certainly when I’m teaching, if I set the students a grade scale exercise, that ability to mix the right value of gray is very high. And when it comes to mixing color of that value, that’s when everyone’s struggled.

And, you know, we’re taught to see the infinite variety of values that are out there. And we strive to figure out a way of mixing those colors to those boundaries. But if you start analyzing really good paintings and running them through a great scale program or software on Photoshop or photos, you’ll realize that actually they manipulated there. Might’ve been said 50 out there in reality. And they manipulated those 50 into just three or four and came up, you know, with this very, very solid design based on that.

And they shipped it, all those brownies so that they would all belong and be coherent. And you don’t, there’s a lot of people teaching that date date, but I would say certainly when I started taking workshops maybe 10 years ago, it was all about getting the right value, but it wasn’t about organizing and manipulating the morning to just thrill and that, Oh my gosh, in my, in my studio paintings, as soon as I started doing that initial block in with a very, very limited number of values, you just realize how much stronger the painting is.

Eric Rhoads (22m 28s):
So do you, do you do a big block in big shapes, I assume in three or four values, and then will you add some other values on top of that if, you know, highlights of the sun hitting a rock or something, or will, will you try to stay within those three or four all the time?

Jill Carver (22m 45s):
I would say up to between 90 and 95%, I will try and stay within those values all the time. And it may only be, you know, that final session of tweaking when you’re tuning or piece into a frame that I might stray with a few accents, but generally speaking, you really only need three or four venues. Sometimes you need five depending on the environment, but that is enough. And then what you do is you let humans do the rest of the work.

So within the value playing, if you want something to receive, you know, we’re all taught that light, get darker and darker, get lighter as you received towards the distant horizon while instead of having a value shift, if you simply had a huge ship, I E a temperature ship that can do the work instead of what’s happening is you’re not overloading the painting with the infinite variety of Baton Rouge, The infinite variety of huge ship, all at the same time with tens tens to make them kind of implode with too much information.

Eric Rhoads (23m 58s):
I think this is, this is revolutionary. I, it, it sounds simple, but it’s not very many people talking about it. I’m sure it probably is, but it’s old school being revisited because the, you know, the one thing that for me was a mind boggling was when I finally learned how to make everything about big shapes, because I, you know, I would go into too much detail and then nothing read well, and I was studying with a, with an artist and he said, you know, you’re just, everything’s too busy.

Just make it, you know, five or six big shapes and make them all different. And so what you’re basically doing is you’re taking that to the next level, because it’s now it’s five or six big shapes and it’s three or four values. And so it really simplifies the process and it really takes a lot of pressure off. I’m sure it’s harder to

Jill Carver (24m 50s):
The big shake, we tend to lose those because we are stacking them with too much information. So, you know, a very straightforward and often use way. Let’s think about a foreground plane, simply act as a lead in, as a supporting actor to the main action in the background where your foreground playing. Let’s think of it as, you know, maybe pink Sandy soil with can green Tufts of grass with some yellow, in reality, all those three elements might be different values, but if you say, okay, well, I’m going to tell the Bureau what’s bad, but instead of having three different values, I’m going to mix the yellow ochre, a pink and a green, all of the same values.

It sits right in that, and that foreground ground pain, the big shape as a result.

Eric Rhoads (25m 50s):
So, okay. So you’re going to talk about the, the big shapes. What else are you going to talk about? You mentioned them, but I, I want to drill down on, on a couple others.

Jill Carver (26m 0s):
Well, the first one, which sounds so simple actually is motif, which for me, is as simple or as sophisticated as you want it to be. It sounds really simple. I think it’s really hard to hang on to. So by motif, I mean, something a little broader than focal point motif for me is the idea behind the painting. And you have to be really kind of analytical with your own thoughts.

If you’re driving down the road and you’re looking for a place to paint, you know, we know we all know that moment. We recognize that when you, you know, your heart skips beat and you hit the brakes and you’re doing your turn. And so rather than say, while it was a pretty scene, actually I’ll ask yourself what it was that made it pretty stunning. And I suggested this now life talk a variety of possible motifs. That might’ve been a great objective. You saw like a derelict bond.

It might’ve been a wonderful shaped Cottonwood tree. It might’ve been a stunning arrangement of lights and shadows. And I suggest that, that you write that down and, and to, you know, what was the real core component of inspiration because that’s, you know, a painting with a singular idea behind it, senior up objective. I did well, it’s going to be a stronger pace once you get into it, if you give all those other elements, equal balance and equal weight of information, and you end up with more like coat scenery painting, and there’s nothing wrong with scenery sending, I just think great paintings have, have a singular purpose behind them.

Eric Rhoads (28m 1s):
So you’re going to help us understand great paintings. So do you eat dessert first? In other words, you know, when you go out and you find something that really turns you on, maybe it’s that, that motif of that old barn or the side of that old barn, do you try to implement that part? The thing you’re most excited about first, or do you kind of save that for kind of getting the whole thing laid in first and then going for that?

Jill Carver (28m 28s):
Well, it, to me, whatever thing is that really excited me, the motif is the foundation on which everything else is, is base. So your design, your division and placement within the canvas is built around that where you put the most detail is built around that where you put the most color is built around that. I show an example in the Aspen tree where I have a, a sunrise in Rico and the sunrise was so beautiful.

It was one of those beautiful, you know, pink, rosy dorms and made blue, black, blue clouds and mountains. And then in the foreground, I had a whole forest of young Aspen trees, the young Aspen tree Grove, and we all know how detailed they can be. So my point is I wanted the painting to really be about that sunrise guy and the Aspen by painted in really, really flat with not a lot of variety at all.

I didn’t even, you know, suggest the kind of black burn with the white reflective bark. I just painted them as a tree map, the central way. It just the pull ground half them. Does that make sense? So the what, the one idea, the one mentee has to triumph over everything else.

Eric Rhoads (29m 56s):
Yeah. I thought that makes total sense to me. And it’s, it’s a hard thing to accomplish until you get yourself trained to do it because, you know, I oftentimes will look at a scene like that and they’ll say, well, I really love that sunrise, but I really love those aspens. And really the only way to accomplish that is to do two paintings, right? Do one of the sunrise and do another of the Aspen because otherwise neither one are going to look, they’re not going to stand out.

Jill Carver (30m 24s):
Right. And I also share any video or current studio painting that I have on the go, where I had two elements competing. And it was a scene by the Animas river down in Durango. And it is a full scene. So there’s a lot of hiker McCullough, but really the very, very first thing that made me stop as I hiking down that trail with my paint kit was the shape of that main tree.

And I got in a bit of a pickle once I got into the painting because I got so excited about that tree. I started loading it up with information, both form inflammation and the huge shift in the nation. And I stood back and the painting didn’t work. And the whole point of that painting was, but it was full of triangular parallelogram shape. So in my studio, I tend to write on a big sheet of paper by my ego or what my motif for that piece is.

And it said shape up color, and it just helped me stay on track. And as soon as I had kind of removed some of that information and brief stated the beautiful shape of that tree, it started coming back together. Again, it sounds such a simple concept, but I think we all recognize the problem when we, when we hear someone talk about it,

Eric Rhoads (31m 50s):
You know, one of the big problems I see is that we get so close to things and we get so invested in what we’ve done. I oftentimes tell a story about how I was doing this winter scene and my wife walked into the studio and she said, Eric, that, that pine trees are perfect. The snow on the branches is perfect. Don’t touch that. And so I kept painting and painting and painting, and I was trying not to touch it. And then finally, I finally, I realized it was messing up my focal point. So I just blurted it all out and started over and everything worked, but we get, you know, we get tied into it.

The other thing I find is that we can’t, we can’t see what we need to see. Do you ever, contact a buddy and say, something’s wrong with this? I can’t tell what it is or have you trained yourself to be able to, to really what’s going on?

Jill Carver (32m 42s):
Well, I definitely have buddies I can send images to, and that’s great because the first pair of eyes will often, you know, focusing on what’s at fault really quickly. I also find that certainly in the studio, I use my phone a lot as a tool. So I’ll be taking snapshots as I progress. And then at the end of the day, I’ll just look at them as tiny little, some nails on my screen.

Jill Carver (33m 13s):
And you can often, if you off yourself, you see this scenario of your painting progress throughout the day. And maybe at one o’clock, it looks a lot better than it looks at five o’clock. For some reason, that’s something about the thumbnail, you know, reducing and simplifying that will reveal, you know, where you went wrong and I’ll send it is loading, you know, adding too much information. Cause you just get in that place. That’s during that I’m using a mirror and flipping it, turning it, sending the painting upside down on the easel first and then looking at it in the mirror so that it goes upside down and slipped.

We’ll also often reveal what’s going wrong with it.

Eric Rhoads (34m 3s):
Well, this are, so you’re going to reveal some of these tricks. I would imagine having that, notan, you talked about, you’re going to talk about creating the right kind of note tans as well, but having that as a guide, if you, you know, the temptation, especially if we’re painting outdoors and nature, the temptation is to keep getting seduced by other things that we see or a change of the light or something. So you pretty much stay glued to what is in your no tan or, you know, if you see the light change and you like it better, will you make that change or do a…notan. How do you deal with that?

Jill Carver (34m 39s):
Yeah. You know, when I’m outside, I don’t put that pressure on myself to complete a painting search. If I am, you know, 30 minutes and for one, then the light changes and there is something else that’s really exciting me. I will always have extra canvases and I’ll put the first one to one side and just thought on, on something else. I do think there is the processes you’re learning to paint progress where it’s important that you can paint what is out there.

And then I think, you know, the balance of the studio is so important because chasing and painting what is out there doesn’t necessarily make the best song painting that you can make, but seeing, so it’s the progress isn’t that you paint, you learn to paint. What is that? And then you learn how you might manipulate or edit. What is that in order to make good painting? To me, that’s the relationship. And I think, you know, holding that balance between play now work and studio work, that that’s why it’s so vital because the intense between the two is so different.

Eric Rhoads (35m 54s):
I’m curious about something I’ve been thinking about since the last podcast. And I don’t think I asked you this question then, but you, you had a background. I, I believe it was a conservationist or restore at one of the museums in England, Is that right? … So you were, you were spending your life around paintings and researching paintings and looking at paintings, I would assume that really helped you, but did it, did it in any way hurt you, did, you know, did it kind of formulate an opinion about this is how things are done and you had to break out of that. What, what was the impact of, of that background?

Jill Carver (36m 39s):
Well, I think looking at artwork every day, it fills up what I can only describe as a visual acuity. You know, some people are really good at music. Some people are good at languages. I was always, I was always very, very good at observing things. So even like, as a kid, you know, when you have those little spot, the different texture quiz books, I could tune in immediately and figure out what was the difference between the two, even if it was my new detail.

So I think, the practice of looking at paintings every day, trying to figure out if, you know, if you were trying to build a provenance on a piece, looking at photographs from the fifties and sixties to see if it was the same painting or to see if it was a different version of coffee or, you know, you’re using your eyes all the time. And like with any tool, the more you use it, the better hone that becomes. So that was definitely a factor.

I don’t think I was looking at such a range of styles. I don’t think it really informed me in comes off, you know, stylistic choices or anything like that. I think it was just much more, you know, using you’re using your eyes every day. It’s definitely an advantage. I mean, we had some pretty ugly portraits in terms of charging them as off work, but because it was a natural portrait gallery, you know, if there was only one portrait of this very ambulance sector and existence worldwide, even if it was done by an amateur, it was still considered historic. So I took a whole range of abilities.

Eric Rhoads (38m 32s):
So you raised another question when you were saying that, and, and this is a debate among some artists and that is his style. Something that just falls in your lap after, you know, you, you just keep painting and it develops, or his style intentional in terms of, I get this question all the time from artists, how do I develop my style? So I have an opinion, but I’d love to hear yours.

Jill Carver (38m 59s):
Well, I do talk about this in the video too, because I get students out that, you know, how do I find my own voice? Well, you know, some of these principles that I talk about, there are so many choices to be made and none of them are more correct than others. But, you know, I know the care that when I’m looking at, you know, art magazines and you would see those, you know, one to 12 froze or growth, how I completed the painting that I would always was bombed in terms of my excitement and my preference level to number seven out of 12, there was something more exciting about it being less rendered, leaving something to the imagination.

And so I say to my students, you know, don’t get too self conscious about style because there are so many choices that you make. Let’s just take limiting values, which three or four values you choose depends on your own personal reaction to that theme. It depends on what motif from that thing, thing that you choose to emphasize, and you can line up 20 opposites at one place, and they will tell you that a different element was appealing to them where you choose to place those three values values on the one to 10 value scale is, you know, it’s based on reality, but it’s also your choice.

Whether you choose to manipulate them, what limited palette you gonna choose for it? I mean, you know, every there’s so much fun to be had in this process of producing a painting, but there’s an infinite number of choices to be made along the way. And that’s what, to me, it’s the infinite number of choices and what you choose as an individual that create that map for that particular piece that end result,

Eric Rhoads (41m 6s):
Or are you saying you create a different pallet depending on what you’re painting or it’s just a matter of you, you obviously have some standard colors you use, it’s just a matter of putting out what you’re going to use.

Jill Carver (41m 18s):
Yeah. I have a standard set of color, but I have started experimenting with limiting the palette on certain pieces in a way to kind of reign myself in, but also the next exploration of what pigments can do. And for me, that’s very much or not, you know, that’s, that’s where the studio comes into play and comes up, setting that out. You know, whether, I mean the straightforward one would be, you know, red, blue, and yellow, the primary, but what happens if, if you take out your cat yellow or yellow and put in yellow ochre instead, what happens if your blue becomes a pthalo blue?

That’s a lot of fun stuff to be had in studio. When I go outside to paint, I pretty much have a standard pallet because I really am trying to chase what that I’m trying to learn. What’s that I’m trying to capture what’s that in terms of pure color notes. So I, I will use the standard pallet survive.

Eric Rhoads (42m 23s):
Well, outstanding. Well, Jill, this has been pretty exciting. I think that your, your talk is going to be fabulous and I’m looking forward to hearing you on plenty air live and you have some, maybe a couple of final thoughts for people who maybe are, are trying to learn to paint or trying to get themselves to the next level, because we oftentimes get stuck,

Jill Carver (42m 47s):
I would say, and I guess the, you know, in the video as focused on one thing at a time and, and, and work on that for a while, you know, there’s no false track. And I think if you can, and it can be very overwhelming. So if you stop deconstructing the whole process into bite sized chunks, you know, it’s been called chunking in the park. It’s very useful. I use the analogy to go all the time and I, I don’t play Colts, but it’s a useful one.

And the, you know, in goals to have a good game on any given day, both your punching game and your driving games have to be on, and they’re both very different stills. And I think painting is very much the same way. Drawing is fundamental to everything. You know, if you can’t draw the paintings, don’t going to be great. So practice drawing without a doubt, if you’re relatively new to painting.

And I would just say, pick one topic, pick one principle, and work on that for several months. It’s like a juggling act. Cause there’s so many facets to the skill of painting that, break it down and concentrate on one facet at a time.

Eric Rhoads (44m 8s):
So, so for instance, concentrating on skies or trees or water, is that kind of what you mean?

Jill Carver (44m 16s):
I’m not so much objects, but concentrating, you know, improving your drawing, improving your design, you know, beyond maybe, you know, getting caught up and just placing your focal point on the foot, you know, really explore different design structures that might be out there, work, limiting your palette. Walk on. I think a lot of us tend to go for, you know, we, we get comfortable with certain types of compositions, you know, maybe, maybe do big vistas or maybe do some intimate scenes to concentrate on, on one thing at the time.

No time is a great one to note, but the exercises I sat in workshops, but if I never can, and then on all the things such as three or four values nights, I’ve had students walk away and just do that for six months and get about color for six months. And there were exploded. I mean, you can just tell, you know, the more you simplify it, the more sophisticated within that simple component you’ll get quicker. I think.

Eric Rhoads (45m 30s):
Well, and it sounds to me like your message today has a lot to do with simplification where simplifying shapes or simplifying values, you’re now simplifying, simplifying your, your palette. And it seems to me, it, you know, I, I know I’ve spent my life over complicating everything. It seems to me that you’re really pushing things in the right direction in terms of making things, making, painting stronger by making them simpler.

Jill Carver (45m 60s):
Right. And I think of it, you know, what I really shoot for in my classes is the idea that you deconstruct the landscape into all these different elements, whether it be four or five, six shape, whether it be three or four values, whether it be a limited number of Hughes, you deconstruct that landscape in order to understand how the largest thing is made up of the smaller things. And then with once you’ve got it deconstructed into these different components, you as an office can choose, which ones are more important and essential to you and you can disregard others.

I, had some folks say, Oh my gosh, do you think, so you think so much in the <inaudible> paintings to be free and subconscious, but it’s really important that you can analyze it and deconstruct it. And then the fun is in reconstructing. It just selecting some of those elements. My new favorite phrase is I’m not shooting for paralysis by analysis, by any means, you know, deconstructing it into, into very clear different elements.

It’s like looking at it through a different range of filters will help you understand how something is made. And I think that’s where I, I, you know, that’s where my analytical mind comes into play.

Eric Rhoads (47m 30s):
Well, you know, when you want, when you look at your painting, you would never know you have an analytical mind because your, your paintings have this sense of freedom. This sense of spontaneity. They, they feel a high energy. They don’t look like somebody who would be thinking through all of this process. And so really it’s working to your benefit, whatever it is, whatever is bringing you that magic it’s working.

Jill Carver (47m 54s):
Thank you.

Eric Rhoads (47m 59s):
Jill, Thank you so much. I’m, I’m excited about seeing you on Plein Air Live. I know a lot of people are excited about it. I I’m honored that you would do it. And I hope that, that we get a chance to learn from you in person a little bit more in the future. You know, hopefully we’ll be able to have a plant air convention again, and, and you’ll be able to start doing workshops again. And so where can people learn about your artwork and look at your artwork?

Jill Carver (48m 28s):
So my website is and then I also have a Facebook page and an Instagram page, but essentially I go to my website and there is a newsletter for select the, on there that people can sign up to, to get, you know, the book snippets of workshops or shows that are going to go on the calendar. But Eric, I’ve been thrilled to do this. I hope I hope the end result is great.

And I’m really looking forward to the questions are not for this session next week. Yeah.

Eric Rhoads (49m 5s):
Well, we’re going to have you on live and so it’s pretty exciting. So again, Jill, thank you so much for being on the, the Plein Air podcast.

Jill Carver (49m 14s):
Thank you. Take care.

Eric Rhoads (49m 17s):
Well, thanks again to Jill Carver and I cannot wait to see her demonstrate these techniques on Plein air live. Be sure to get signed up, to see Jill and everybody else. So one price includes everybody go to plan air live right now, go to Are you guys ready for some marketing ideas?

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

Eric Rhoads (49m 49s):
I answer your questions and you can email your questions to me, [email protected]. I’d like to know your first name and where you’re from, and if you want to use the last name, that’s good too. Some of you want to remain anonymous. It’s okay. But I like to have names. Here’s a question from Robert and Boise, Idaho, Sue says I’ve consistently emailed images to many galleries and they’re unhesitatingly reply. That’s a good word on hesitant is that my work is beautiful, lovely, but not interested in the style. What should I do? Well, first off, nobody’s going to tell you if your work is awful, nobody wants to hurt your feelings.

And if they don’t like it or they feel it’s not living up to par, never going to tell you that there’s no reason for them to do so. They don’t want to hurt you. And so oftentimes they just say, it’s not a fit. They’re not interested in your style or whatever. Robert, no offense, but you are making the ultimate blunder. Have you not been listening to the podcast? If you’re not been listening to all the discussions about getting into galleries, maybe not. Anyway, I’m not trying to scold you galleries typically do not want random artists submissions.

They get literally thousands of them. It’s annoying to them. It takes their time. Most of them are bad, even if they’re good, they just, you know, they’ve got what they want and they’re going to seek what they want. And so don’t necessarily solicit them. That’s the big number one mistake, do not go and visit galleries and ask them to look at your work. Do not send them emails, do not send them packages in the mail. They do not want that. And there are a lot of different issues here, but this is not the way to get into a gallery and you don’t want to annoy them.

And of course they probably won’t remember you anyway, because it gets so many. But sending things to them is not their style. So start by doing your homework. Have you looked at their website to see what kind of work do they sell? You know, if you’re sending an abstract gallery, a bunch of realism or vice versa and you don’t fit, you’re wasting their time. So know your gallery before you do that. Furthermore, like I said, solicitation is the mistake. You don’t want to do that. The odds are stacked against you when you do that. So go back and listen to the podcast I did with Jane Bell Meyer.

Recently, she talks about very specifically how she selects artists. And she goes after artists who are advertising and promoting themselves and she’s watching them and seeing how they promote themselves, they watch their work and see how it develops. In other words, you’ve already gotta be marketing yourself before you’re going to get pulled in and you’re thinking, well, well, I don’t need a gallery. Then we’ll share you. Do you need, you need all the help you can get. We all do so be patient and learn about marketing. Read my book, read my, watch my videos, watch the YouTube videos I put out there at streamline art video.

And just remember that this is a process you want to get invited in. You want to make sure that you look for ways to get invited in. And I’ve got a whole bunch of strategies on that. The next question comes from Katrina Gorman in San Antonio, Texas. Katrina sent us a couple of questions lately. Thank you, Katrina. This is a commission request question. Our cold calling cold calling by the way means, you know, contacting someone who doesn’t know who you are. They’re not aware of you. They’re not interested.

Cold calling, right? Warm calling would be somebody who’s interested in you, but Cole are cold calling and emailing businesses to make them aware of your artwork effective. To let them know you are open for commissioned work or making a letter to send that to them directly. I remember this in art marketing boot camp, but I wasn’t really, I didn’t really see which way would be better to you as well. Katrina. I just did a long video on YouTube. I’ve been doing every day. I’ve been going online at noon on a social media, Facebook live Instagram and YouTube.

And I have been doing videos on our marketing. And depending on when you’re listening to this, I might still be doing them, check them out. But I just did one on how to get commissions and it’s on YouTube. I know cause it’s fresh in my mind. I just did it a couple of days ago, but it’s worth finding it at streamline art video on YouTube. The commission marketing is like all marketing. It requires a strategy, a target, a plan and artists who do commissions can make it a very high percentage of their income and make a lot of money on commissions.

If you do it right now, all marketing is not a single item, like a single letter or a single email. Usually like all things, it takes repetition. And so you’ve got to have repetition, but first you need to know your customer. Do your research find out about these businesses. If you’re going after businesses, what do they have in their offices or their buildings in their lobbies? What kind of art do they have are, do you think they’re opening up new locations? Look for things that you think will be a fit. So you don’t waste a lot of time on mail or email or otherwise.

Also commissions are a really great way to upsell people, to leverage existing customers into more purchases because everybody’s got a special occasion or an event. And you know, you might be doing a house portrait or a portrait of somebody or something for a business. You just never know. But if you’re going to cold call, make sure you eliminate your waste by doing your homework. Find out about commissions also from various city and government associations. They’re doing commissions all the time. But look for the people. You know, the people you have contact with, that’s going to give you your very, very best opportunity for selling commissions.

Announcer (55m 8s):
This has been the marketing minute with Eric Rhoads. You can learn more at

Eric Rhoads (55m 14s):
Well, a reminder that the most important event in the plant air world this year in 2020 is going to be July 15 through 18. If you’re listening to this before that date get right to, sign up. You don’t want to miss it. It is about one 10th. The cost of going to the plein air convention, and you get a lot of that same experience from top instructors in the world. It’s Also, if you’ve not seen my life, my blog, my life, my blog about life and other things, check it out. It’s called Sunday coffee and you can see it or hear about it

Eric Rhoads (55m 51s):
All right. Oh, this is always fun. I love doing the plant air podcast and I will see you sometime soon. Like next week, I’ll see you. Then I’m Eric Rhoads, publisher and founder of Plein air magazine. Remember spread the plenty or podcast to others and it’s a big world out there. Make sure you go and paint it.

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 Tune in next week for more great interviews. Thanks for listening.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here