Welcome to the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads. In this episode Eric interviews artist Qiang Huang on how he discovered plein air painting, what he learned from Richard Schmid, and much more!
Listen as Qiang Huang shares the following:
• How he went from a career in engineering and physics into art
• The app he created to help artists with color theory, color perception as it applies to painting
• His time studying art with Richard Schmid
• The practice new artists should focus on before painting
Bonus! Eric Rhoads, author of Make More Money Selling Your Art, shares the best way to approach a former buyer about new paintings you have available, and if you should use your donations as a marketing point in this week’s Art Marketing Minute.
Listen to the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads and Qiang Huang here:
– Qiang Huang online: http://www.qh-art.com/
– Realism Live: https://realismlive.com/register-now
– Fall Color Week 2020: https://fallcolorweek.com/white-mountains
– 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 Salon: https://pleinairsalon.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
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 episode number 189. Today we’re featuring artist Qiang Huang.
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 0:00
Thank you Jim Kipping. And thank you to our sponsor today painttube.tv or PaintTube, which you can find on Amazon on the Amazon firetv Apple TV and Roku you got all of our painting videos are up there. That’s at painttube.tv or just find paint tube in the apps section of those places that I just talked about. I want to thank you guys for tuning in every week. It’s really fun doing this. I hope you manage to get a lot of painting in this summer and fall I just kind of feel like it’s it’s coming to an end right the weather’s changing and we’ve had some snow in some places. I just wish it would last forever to be so nice. But I’ve really had a lot of painting this summer and this fall and I’m doing a lot more getting ready now getting in practice doing some fall color so I can go to the artist retreat I’m doing in New Hampshire in the White Mountains. It’s where the Hudson River school painters painted then it’s called fall color week it’s by retreat and if see only live event I’ve done all year and you can learn more about it at fallcolorweek.com. This week, Friday night we’re going to be doing the plein air salon award ceremony at 8pm. We’re going to do it live on Facebook. We’re going to live on a number of platforms. But we’re giving away some big money and you want to make sure to tune in you can get a special link for it at pleinairsalon.com so that you can be reminded also you have till the end of this month to enter your paintings for this month’s competition they won’t be awarded in that one that’s that’s the competition that we would have awarded at the plein air convention in August. We decided it was important to give away that money so check it out at pleinairsalon.com, also coming up in October realism live is going to be taking place realism live is our online virtual event covering all the different things that you want to learn how to paint like plein air landscape portrait figure floral still life and much much more taught by the very, very best artists on earth and you can save $200 if you sign up before the end of the month, September 30 you sign up at realismlive.com. Now we also have an artist and selfie competition. And the idea behind this is during COVID I started asking people to do on my noon broadcast every day if you’ve not seen that I’m noon, live on Facebook every day and I’m on Instagram Twitter, on YouTube, just search streamline art video, you’ll find us best ways to go to Facebook or YouTube and search streamline our video I’m live every day anyway. I’m interviewing artists, I’m doing marketing stuff, I’m doing a lot of different things. But I talked about doing self portraits I got everybody interested in doing self portraits because I think they’re so important. There was a time in history when of course there was no photography and artists would do portraits of themselves, other artists, their studios, artists painting outdoors and things. We decided we needed some of that history around. We needed artists to be focusing on doing more self portraits and portraits of others and so on who are artists. And so we want to create this history by encouraging this and so we have the artists and selfie competition. And so you got to get into that before October 10. Get your artists in selfie, any of the paintings there’s four categories, self portraits, portraits of paintings or portraits of other artists. Also, there are plenty of painters outdoors painting and paintings of studios and so enter we’ve got a bunch of prizes and we’re going to give them away at the end of realism live will have an actual link so you can watch live if you are not part of realism live but why would you want to miss that? I mean, that’s going to be pretty cool. This Week in our weekly newsletter Plein Air Today we’re going to be having a preview of the content and the October/November issue of plein air magazine. You want to make sure that you get that and coming up after the interview. I’m going to be answering some art marketing questions in the marketing minute but first, let’s get right To our interview with Qiang Huang, an amazing painter that you need to get to know and a very good friend of mine. Qiang Huang, welcome to the plein air podcast.
Qiang Huang 5:11
Well, thank you, Eric, good to talk with you.
Eric Rhoads 5:14
You know, I can’t believe all this time has passed. And we haven’t had you on the podcast yet. I apologize. We should have done this much sooner. But I’m glad we’re at least getting around to it now.
Qiang Huang 5:25
Yeah, I’m very happy. As you know, I think we’re all very busy. And so this is a great opportunity. So, you know, maybe do whatever we can talk about. I like to share some of the pending tips specifically about plein air.
Eric Rhoads 5:50
Okay. Well, I think we first met at – I do a Wednesday night painting group called the BK painters. And, you started coming to that, you were invited by somebody else. I think you started coming to that. I think that’s the first time we ever met, isn’t it?
Qiang Huang 6:13
And I should surely you know, I remember we actually that time when when you move from California to Austin, we had a dinner together. I remember this kind of interesting joke. And because I knew I remember receiving email some way. And so when you start to get acquaintance on on the internet who haven’t even met in person yet. So I said, Well, maybe you can get painted, do painting together. Maybe you can have a dinner together first. So I remember I invite you for dinner. I said, Well, you know this, this person is coming from California. So I’m in Texas. So what is the good The best part of the Texas of course is the Texas barbecue. Remember that?
Eric Rhoads 7:01
Yeah, I do.
Qiang Huang 7:02
We set up appointments. And in county line restaurant, which is the best barbecue in Austin. And and then I met you in in the restaurant, but then that find out you’re vegetarian? vegan vegetarian, then you only can maybe have some potato salad, you know? So I remember that.
Eric Rhoads 7:28
I had forgotten all about that. Forgive me for for not remembering that. Right, then that I probably invited you to my paint group.
Qiang Huang 7:36
Yeah. So then I think that during the dinner time to talk about you, your plan, I talked about my experience. So then we said, well, let’s get something together. So you have this painter group, which is closer to your home, and Okay, so I said, Well, yes, I would love to. So since that I didn’t come to your Wednesday evening. Came out or model painting for quite a while.
Eric Rhoads 8:06
Well, we haven’t done it this year halfway.
Qiang Huang 8:09
Now. Yeah, this year is difficult. You know, I think everybody experienced something totally different from normal. And we try to adapt.
Eric Rhoads 8:20
Yeah. So you, you have been? You’ve been doing about I think 30 or 40 workshops a year.
Qiang Huang 8:30
Not that many…How many a year? Yeah, I think it’s about about two per month. So it’s about 21…
Eric Rhoads 8:38
Yeah, that’s a lot.
Qiang Huang 8:41
That’s a lot. Yeah, yeah. Well, but this year is totally different.
Eric Rhoads 8:45
Yeah. So what how have you responded this year? Since you couldn’t do those workshops, you’ve been doing some online teaching, what have you been doing?
Qiang Huang 8:54
I did some online teaching. Of course, there’s a big long learning curve to across there now. I haven’t really get my technical skills up to up up to this scale yet. So I’m learning and and my, this year’s my last workshop was in California, Laos in March. So after that, I haven’t really left my studio yet. So basically, how to cope with whatever business wise, artistic wise. And, try to learn I think that before I started on my online teaching or, or videos, and I kind of spent quite a time to pondering is, is not always negative, you know, to to be able to have this, this time to be sort of isolated. So I can Really meditate and think about it. So, before I come back to business, immediately, I did something which is actually learning because II consider, I try to review my, my artistic career, I was trained as a scientist before and all my previous career was in engineering and physics, so, I kind of coming to the art field in a in an unconventional way, you know, I didn’t really have much of a professional training, and then get into the art world, then start to do some painting started, take some workshop, but a very, very quick, I find myself to become a teacher, haven’t really got enough time to be a student, then suddenly, I need to teach. So that’s been, I have to I just kind of go with the flow for so many years. So now, the time I start to review, myself, I said, Why did this is a good time, I need to revisit some part of the knowledge or some skills we have, I haven’t really spent enough time on the training. So maybe that’s a good time. So I will learn a little bit more, before I jump into, you know, teaching again. So that’s I spent about, I think, from March to June, pretty much, three months, just try to learn, you know, I reading books and checking other people’s work, and do some testing painting. And then, so, that’s what I did. So the after the pandemic started.
Eric Rhoads 12:02
Well, and you also developed an app, which we’re going to talk about a little later in the program, which is that you, went on my noon daily and demonstrated that app, which is pretty cool.
Qiang Huang 12:13
Yes, that app is actually the kind of application from what I have learned, because I decided, you know, which part I really want to relearn or might be research. So, what’s the knowledge about color? So, that that gave me the motivation to kind of go back in both artistic history and also the science. So, I spent a lot long time on the internet. So, you try to go through what what the history what what Isaac Newton did and what is the Maxwell did there what is the album itself did then ended up you know, come to the computer science and doing research about how this sRGB system or computer color system developed. The what is the difference between the color theory of our artists use basically some mysel color theory and, and the difference between themselves theory and also now the current computer graphics the using the computers to do that. The iPhone, not something quite interesting, I’ve kind of in a no man’s job, you know, like a scientific world of computer science, doing something independently from our resident artists follow the tradition doing their work and hardly enough communication between the two field. So, I decided to, kind of like liaison the go between then review what is the difference I and so that’s why I start to design some of the programs some some of the before I do the apps, I just you know, talking with some scientist and also the search online to get understand more The world is this is actually open a new field you know, like, and I feel you know, this is quite important too, but maybe somebody did, but I don’t know. I personally definitely want to get a little deeper. I try to utilize what I my training before like heavy in mathematics, then go into color theory and into color space and try to understand what The scientists already did, and what is knowledge the artists have. And, and so how to link them together. So that that’s, that’s the the my motivation to start with, and then ended up after I got some conclusions get some of the mathematic or work have finished, then I found out Hmm, maybe this is a good idea to generate some new algorithms. And then maybe you can write programs, so, and then the art artists, even less of a belief, most of artists want to learn skills, how to paint how to design, but they may not really be interested in mathematics and the models and theories, but they gotta be somebody doing the job. But instead of just tell everybody, oh, this is the best tactics to derive this way, you know, blah, blah, blah, then that may not work, because the communication could be difficult. So but I said, Well, maybe I can have this organism and develop some programs, and then ended up a tools online or as an app, then artists do not really need to understand how this tool developed. But they’d be able to use it, and also be able to help them to to learn to really progress little faster. So that’s, that’s how this art is, you know, the apps application? All started this way.
Eric Rhoads 16:43
Oh, fascinating. Well, while we’re talking about it, why don’t you go ahead and describe briefly what the app does. And then I would recommend that people go to YouTube search, streamline art video, and search your name.
Qiang Huang 17:01
Yeah, or 172, 172
Eric Rhoads 17:04
And search your name and then go and watch that because you did a painting using your app and showing how that works. And that way they can they can see it visually, but just briefly, tell us what the app does.
Qiang Huang 17:17
Okay, basically is talking about color, the app is majorly used to help artists to visualize color more accurately. You know, we see color, we were bombarded with color all the time. And it doesn’t really matter you paint plein air, you have to go outside all the nature of beauties, all the colors just come to your retina or if you paint from photo or like a lot of beginners do that. So, you have a photo and the whole bunch of information on the photo specifically form a color. So, the color within content, like for instance a tree on the background of a mountain then there’s a blue sky or all of this color actually related. So, the colors not standing by themselves you see okay this is red, this is green, but actually we visualize we perceive color from the comparison of from one specific color relative to the environment of this colored car, okay. So, in this situation, your color vision rarely get influenced by the surrounding colors, probably, everybody had this experience in which you see some optical illusion you know, if you see something okay, if you know for instance, like a red color around a green background, so that mean will be very vibrant, okay, but if the red color around by the orange background, the red may not be that vibrant. So all of this visual phenomena of a color perception changes. So that’s the reason you know where we are standing in front of the natural setting or in front of the photograph, you try to judge that color. Usually you’re wrong or I will be wrong, you know, because the surrounding color have so strong influence on our visualization. So, but on the other hand, every color is absolute, you know, it color, you can measure the color by age, shoe, Chroma and the value that we artists do that and of course, the scientist is doing that. It is how much red how much green, how much blue, okay, so they do specifically very absolute Color can be established. So the app, I call that painters guide, okay, so that helps out when we change the color from the reference photo or another image from the relative environment into an absolute environment. So basically, I use this like a color picker, so you pick this specific color, and a replot, this color into a separate swatch of color surrounded by white. Okay, so this is kind of the vibe, you get rid of the background, so you know exactly what color absolutely look like. So lots of people very surprised they Okay, after I pick this color, and show it on the color swatch, wow, it is totally different, you know, either too dark or too light or too dark, you know, sometimes we see vibrant color in the photo, but actually, it’s not that vibrant, is you know, so that’s the reason I’m doing that. So, and also I put this a condom against a great piece piece of grace, watch them, which is the only indicator value of that piece of color. So that way, you can really see the color correctly. So, after that, and also I give a large piece of color, you know, out of the photograph, maybe this color is a very small piece, but there is the color area too small, you cannot really identify that color accurately. So after you enlarge the colors, then the color says often stronger, and will be more sensitive about color, you know, the area of the color swatch is very important. So you know, sometimes, you know, when we do small paintings, sometimes the color may not be right, but you can, you can get through a good get over it, it is okay. But when you’re doing a large page, when you have a large piece of color, little bit off of that color will be significantly different, you know, people seeing that even for nine rd, they have this experience, they might be painting the wall, you know linear. So, would they have a color sample, they go to the paint store to try to mix, you know, a large kind of paint then coming back and paint the walks, but then the sun out okay, little bit color difference, it will be significant difference after you paint a large area. So that’s that’s the part of the app is really blow up the area of the color. So then you can visualize the color much more easily. And also you can color match, you know, after you have this app you put on a computer, they have mixed a mixture of the palette. So you can hold your palette dice or brush in front of the computer screen, then compare what is the color on your brush and the color of a swatch, you know, sometimes we don’t really see color individually correctly. But by comparison, you’ll be much much easier to figure out exactly what the color is, you know that maybe your mixture is a little bit too light. And it will be delivered to the door. And or maybe to one on to cool. So all of this. So for beginner artists, maybe even more important, because whether that is reading experience about color, temperature, color, harmony, color, design, all of these other terms. However, if you mix color, then you’ll be able to bring closer to your restaurants with this app, you can compare so then you’ll know whether or not your bigs baptism color correctly. So I feel that it is a significant significant even for advanced painters. For instance, portrait painter, you clean somebody’s face, and the light other things. The the skin tone can be very, very subtle. And also there’s some very subtle changes on the color temperature or the skin tones. So how do you currently identify that so this, this tool can can help you even advance painters. So that’s that was the motivation. It was in my mind for quite a long time that I did develop the algorithm, but I didn’t know how to code. So that’s, that’s the I started working a little bit with my network and then I find out Too good friend, and also their computer scientists. So yeah, go down…, and then in full, and husband and wife team too. So we started communicating about this ideas. So they did a code, they write the code, and I just tried it out, then communicate with them. And gradually given a lot of this app.
Eric Rhoads 25:29
Well, I think people, it’s hard to imagine without seeing it, but if people they can go to your website to get it, and your website is what
Qiang Huang 25:41
my website is www.qh-art.com. So after you get to the website, they could click on the apps tab. It says on the homepage, then there’s a whole bunch of apps. There you go to the very last one called painters guide. Click on that. Yeah, then there’s a short instruction about how to use it. Then you can just directly try it out.
Eric Rhoads 26:16
Yeah, it’s a great tool. It’s a really great tool. If you’re painting from photographs, even though this is a plein air podcast, a lot of us do that from time to time. Qiang, I want to I want to move on to some other things because we we want to make sure that we cover them. So tell it tell me where you’re from originally? And is that where you started learning art.
Qiang Huang 26:40
I was born in Beijing, China. Then I moved to immigrant to US in 1985. And so when I was in China, I have some very limited art, training or art. experience. I did have inspiration. When I was very young, I already wanted doodle and very sensitive but visually. And so I will give credit to my first teacher, which is really keep me motivated. It was my uncle. So my uncle was a high school art teacher. So actually my first painting oil painting, visual experience, it’s plein air. That time, my uncle lived in a small town in the south part of China. And I was in Beijing. And in the summertime, my uncle during the summer break time and school, had no pets, no school, and he usually come to Beijing because my grandmother was with us at that time. And so and so my uncle was a plein air painter. So every time he he always has his portable in his own little box, a very, very crude, just a box of paint. And there’s a wood pallet inside. And then he will using the pushpin to, to hold a piece of panel on the cover of the paint box. And, and do painting. So that’s how it really gave me the inspiration. And because he came to Beijing, and he doesn’t know where to go, and so I said, Well, I will show you beautiful places, I know, many beautiful places. So we’ve been traveling together into I watch him painting. So that gave me the first inspiration about oil painting. And also he gave me a set of oils from this box. So I’m still still have some of the colors, memorize what he did for me. So that’s basically what I got in China. I didn’t really change much, maybe try one or two. So and then most of my art experience or knowledge skills I learned from taking workshops. So that’s after I moved to the US.
Eric Rhoads 29:27
Okay. All right, well makes a lot of sense. So when did the plein air painting start for you?
Qiang Huang 29:33
Plein air, of course the besides, the plein air experience. What I saw my uncle did that and it was I think we start about 2003 or 2004 around that time, because I joined the local group called a Plein Air in Austin so I go to do some of the plein air work. You know, just for fun, for exercise. To get socialize with local artists. So I remember my first really organized plein air event was four words catfood they have this organization in Texas called all outdoor painters society, right? opia Yeah. So I joined LPs and did a sub panel together, I remember we did Botanical Garden in Infowars, you know, the Rose Garden and Japanese garden. So I think that’s a 2003. And I really had a sub good experience. Even my art wasn’t really that developed. But the the activity was really inspirational. So I really learned a lot. And then, so the continents with many wonderful artists, our friends there. So that’s my, I did that I think for two years, you know what it might be 2003 or 2004. So after that, I did, locally, still keeping some time plein air. Then I started joined the national plein air festivals. So my official the very first one was four years ago in eastern Maryland.
Eric Rhoads 31:35
Well, you know, like starting with the best.
Qiang Huang 31:38
I didn’t really know what’s going on. So I joined I submitted applied a submit some paintings with a client got admission, so that I joined joined them, then that was my first official for plein air. So after that I did back to Easton two more times. And then also join the plein air Texas. Some other like it’s a training event in Sedona, or Wayne County in Philadelphia, area, Pennsylvania. And so it’s really, really doable. So I start to every year start to plan some time to participate. This kind of competition. So that’s pretty much my claim.
Eric Rhoads 32:34
You’re very good. And, your paintings have a very unique style. They’re clearly yours. Of all things. The closest thing that I could I could say that they remind me of is Richard Schmid. And I know you went and studied with Richard or at least went and met with him for a while. Tell me about that.
Qiang Huang 32:57
Yeah, yeah, it was. Yeah, so I really feel grateful. And Richard and Nancy, very nice. You’re very wonderful artists in admire Rachel’s work for a long time, but I haven’t really get a chance to get close to him. And also I was that time, I’m pretty shy, I don’t really know How come my levels are his club get close to you know, to meet him. And even I really do not know how to how to do this. And so that was like, probably two, probably about 10 years ago, around 2010 2011. That time, and, and happened to be I was a teaching in New England area, I had a workshop scheduled. So then, I was in that area. And also, my family and I lived in New Hampshire for a while, actually, my son was born in New Hampshire. So so we decided that summers after my workshop will go back to key in New Hampshire, which is kind of like, to visit some old friends there and to see the town kind of, you know, Deus daljit. So, then I just look at the map. I said, Well, key New Hampshire. Wow, that’s only 15 minutes away from the border of New Hampshire and Vermont and possibly is right there…I heard about their names and I know quite a few artists that from that area, and the Richard Schmidt organized this…it’s called a pod the painters Yeah. So I said, wow, I’m already 15 minutes away from so I will give a try. To see Is it possible I’d be able to, to meet Richard and so on. So they give me the courage to send an email to plein air painters. So I didn’t know anybody. So but then I get a response from the organizer. And so they said, Well, are you, you’re welcome to visit here. So maybe we can, you know, you can see, you know, they’re very, very down to earth. Very, very kind of nice. So I accepted their invitation. So that happened to be, you know, when the day was a visit the puppy pictures, and the ritual shmurda and whole bunch of artists that are there want to do a portrait session, and with my wife opposed to the model for the session, and so I watched Richard, Nancy, you know, doing the portrait, so I’m really, really fortunate, look at Richard Schmidt. Working and spend the whole day and, and he’s very kind, he’s very famous and very good. But he’s very humble and very down to earth. Very giving, very giving back. Yes, yes. Yes. So after I knew Richard so then I started to communicate with teachers became a friend and became a guest actually, they divide the gap so as they taught in the Vermont vicinity, and of course, I always try my best to go there to get closer to Richard and all the wonderful painters so so then I really learned a lot by watching the master doing the wonderful work is very enjoyable and very informative as well.
Eric Rhoads 37:13
Well, what a gift and what is there? Is there something you could articulate that from that meeting of Richard that changed your work forever?
Qiang Huang 37:27
Yes, actually, when I watch Richard’s working, before I met him before I saw this doing the painting life, his …is a very frequent, it’s like okay, looks like he’s doing pretty quickly pretty easily. And it just musical and all the movement is very you know, everything kind of just like it’s very spontaneous …so and of course, I tried to make that, I learned either by reference to Richard’s painting try to kind of get in the similar kind of style and and I find it it’s not that easy. So then I give me more motivation on the Curiosity watch you know, check his method so I got all his DVDs and books. So then finally I got a chance to see him painting you know, together with other printers, I’d be able to watch the progress of these pins. Actually, he’s a very, very conscientious you know, very, very careful then He will make a color, on the palette, very, very detailed, try to get everything right before he put that piece of color on… So, after he decided everything figured out everything already troubleshooting. So, everything right. So, he just boldly simultaneous, spontaneously, put that stroke on the camera, boom, everything happens. So, that gave me some experience some some teaching as well. So because when I was a beginner painter, you know, I kind of like to experiment on the canvas, if the colors are right up just going to make another color I try to see try to correct mistakes. And then of course, the mistake cannot be completely created always a residue left there. So I learned that from Richard that is, you know, try not to make mistakes, of course we all make mistakes, but we need to learn from mistakes. And also, we need to really Prepare really strategize, try to plan every stage for that kind of batch. Then after you create that effect, you want it loud and clear. So that’s what I’ve really learned from, from, Richard Schmid.
Eric Rhoads 40:20
Well, you do all these workshops and you have high demand, you have waiting lists, and people wanting to come to your workshop. So talk to me about the the things that you teach, that might be a little bit different in terms of your approach to painting. And some, maybe give some ideas or tips that would be helpful to us today.
Qiang Huang 40:42
Right, so, the teaching is, I have been teaching since 2008. So I learned from my teaching experience, to be a teacher, and to be an artist, actually two totally different things. So when I teach, I feel, I really want to organize the information I want to pass on to my students. So I do some homework before I go to the classroom. So I tried to use all kinds of tools. In the very beginning, I didn’t lecture when I put a PowerPoint presentation, and also the demonstration, I organize my information. So I introduced the approaches, step by step. So and also which one go go first, which one goes setup, I’m pretty rigorous, and pretty organized. So usually, the first day of the workshop, I’m very rigid, I give a very systematic approach, and everything is very clear, and no ambiguity there. So then the students can grab information, correctly, sometimes I feel, at the very beginning, when I teach, if I’m not sure, I’m just kind of try to figure out spontaneously for everybody, and they may work, maybe the painting can turn out, okay, but for the teaching effect may be compromised. So, that’s why, and also, it based on my learning experience, when I take workshops, take other people’s workshop, I have some frustration, some wonderful teachers, and some of them, some of maybe some people, very wonderful artists, but then the class is not the overtime, the information doesn’t reach to the student. So I just feel, to be a teacher, we need to do additional work, too, is not only to be able to show the demo on the canvas, but also be able to pass the information to the students. So that’s the homework every art teacher need to do to do. So before we go to the class, because lots of artists is why I’m so intuitive and, I am just go with the flow, okay. Because sometimes that can be, you can be very entertaining, okay, it can be very, how to say, to really create inspiration to your students, however, is that your information grab by your students, now be totally different question.
Eric Rhoads 43:46
This operation does not always stick.
Qiang Huang 43:50
Right. Right. So because a lot of you know, I mean, art isn’t how to say it’s very subjective, he said, you cannot really like mathematic equations, and can you show so, there’s no one way one correct way to do thing there’s so many ways, but when you pursuing one specific approach, so, you want to explain, which at least I myself, try to do that, I students try to tell them, okay, I do this, why am I doing this, try to avoid some of these mistakes. So all of this, so that that’s the reason I consider it is you know, it is fundamental for a teacher, you really need to put yourself into your students shoes, some students may be very beginning level some intermediate, advanced, so, then you really tried to argue their level, you can approach to the printing from their level, and then teach accordingly. So, that at least, that’s the requirement for I set it up for myself, so every time when I teach a workshop, I don’t really go there just a spontaneous intuitively do thing. Of course, entertainment is very important. So some students, many teachers are looking for entertainment, but a lot of students really want to grab your technique, and also showing progress on their painting. So that’s my experience. Also, I do have some, some other vague advice for students as well. Okay, so I know many students and take many workshops, okay. So make sure you have time to digest the information, you’ll learn from specific workshops, then turn their teaching into your own skill. Before that, before go jump into another workshop, because teachers are different, there’s just like, what I said long ago is like, the approach to painting, there’s so many ways. So teachers can be contradictory, to each other. But as a student, you really want to find the approach consistent, suitable for you. So why they just do not really passively led by the teacher. So that’s my thinking to for students learning actively, instead of passively.
Eric Rhoads 46:44
Okay, all right, terrific. So now let’s talk about… we’ve got a lot of painters who are listening, let’s talk about some specifics. That may be a couple of ideas. Maybe a couple ideas for beginners, couple ideas for others.
Qiang Huang 47:02
Yeah. Okay. I feel, painting is a really complicated thing. So for beginners, I feel the first thing before you jump into full blown oil painting, spend some time drawing, and I started painting when I was, I think, around 2000. And I was afforded some years old at that time. So I kind of like innovate dargle However, before, you put brush, into paint, I did many years of drawing on that taught I even didn’t know about colors, just black and white, charcoal drawing or pencil drawing, you know, really sort of tied on the fundamentals, not because the foundation is most important, and also drawing you know, sometimes do not have some people do not have a clear idea of what to draw. And I have, I think, firstly, lots of people talking about drawing, okay, go to life go gesture go to do that, I will not do that, because I, I usually take tables portrait, that’s the most difficult subject to do. So, I will set up some steel lives, you know, something simple might be a ball or, or something, even the color wise, try to be consistent, you know, like the old old school art teacher, they put a like a plaster, which is get rid of the coloring information, just try to understand the value. Start from there. So because lots of people go to life drawing, to go to this figure sessions, they can be no progress for the whole life. Last, I do see any people you’d like to join sessions doing. So I do recommend it if you really want to, to be good in your art, establish a solid drawing Foundation, try to learn how to measure how to get the proportion correctly, and how to get the perspective correctly. You know, even just black and white. Okay, for the intermediate or advanced painters, I don’t really have a lot of advice for you, but I I really enjoy looking at other people’s work like Richard Schmid, when when I looked at Richard Schmid’s work, so, and other masters work, I tried to do some analysis, you know, even even the color For instance, the power app, there’s another application of the color app. So what I’m doing, maybe, maybe I can do another one for advanced artists, you can analyze the title of a Masters painting, for instance, Johnson or Sargent. So you’re going to start to use a color picker to pick up some samples. And then you can start to …know, what is his favorite color. And what is the this one specific page, most of the color happened to which part of the color wheel so they don’t understand the color scheme, or color design this specific master artists do then if you want to mimic the style or you want to put in some of the his style into your style, then you’d be able to do so instead of just blindly as a buyer from beautiful beautiful work by Manoj found one core Russia masters, but then you’ll be able to understand specifically why his work has some some sort of special effects. I think that’s basically my ideas for beginners and advance artist.
Eric Rhoads 51:22
One thing I noticed when you were painting one time, and I’m just curious if this is something you’re doing or still doing but and this was in a portrait session, but you kind of you oiled down your canvas before you started painting. And you got this very fluid look, by doing so are you still doing that?
Qiang Huang 51:47
I still do, if like I do a wash, which is Richard Schmid…, before I have any kind of, detailed realistic presentation on the canvas. By first thing try to, firstly, bring the value into the middle. So that’s the reason we turn our cameras, you can turn your cameras in advance and waiting for us to drive then you start to paint on top of that, or you can Alla Prima doing this out whoever was watching one session. So you’ll turn your canvas at the beginning of the painting session. That’s it. That’s the oil wash. I did have your back portrait session. So firstly, I want to destroy the the completely perfect whiteness. So I put some neutral tones on the canvas and also establish a temperature tentative –
Eric Rhoads 52:56
Establish a temperature
Qiang Huang 52:59
Yeah, timbers tendons, you know, orientation of the either either you want the painting to be a warm painting, or a cool painting,
Eric Rhoads 53:07
Right. So it warm, dominant or cool. dominant.
Qiang Huang 53:11
Yeah. So then if you already made up your mind, what kind of temperature you want the painting to be. So this wash stage you do is basically already pushed you into the harmony of that temperature direction.
Eric Rhoads 53:31
Are you doing a wash with with gamsol or turpentine, it seems to me I remember kind of laying down some oil.
Qiang Huang 53:40
Yeah, well I do. Oh, that actually I have two things. Usually I use linseed oil, and mineral spirits, this is to medium I use. So as some, sometimes that’s depends I don’t do that always. It is like it the depends on the texture of the campus or the panel, some of the panels or canvas is super absorptive. So that in that kind of service, you have to use a significantly more paint to start with otherwise the paint the paint, the brush stroke will turn to be dry marks, lots of dry brush strokes. So the dry strokes are difficult to define the shape, because there’s too much texture on it. So I do that, before I turn the canvas, so sometimes I just use a little bit of oil like linseed oil, and use a piece of paper towel, do a little bit you know kind of rubbing slightly about it. With linseed oil on the surface, so this way the cameras is absorbing some of the linseed oil into the camera. So after on top of that, you can put the paint on top, so the paint will move much smoother, actually much more economical and efficient. So, that’s the technique, sometimes I do, but sometimes I like to grind so that you can really like the blank boxes. And I probably tend not to do that. So it’s optional process.
Eric Rhoads 55:39
No, well, I found it to be fascinating, because I think a lot of us tend to put a wash with a terps on, under painting, if you will, and terps. But to see your do it with, kind of a linseed oil, oiling down the canvas, not too oily, but it left beautiful marks was really fascinating to watch.
Qiang Huang 56:04
Because terps drive faster than the oil. And also the oil you use is so small, out and also the oil is consistent with your paint tube. tube paint, because there’s either either oil, linseed based or water, or oil based soybeans that mix with your color consistently. So but just don’t overdo it, you know? Because it’s like you’re doing the workshops and to see, I tell people this trip. And but I do see people in the beginning, they don’t know how much of the protocol. So if they put too much of this bow will causing the the printing service to slip, and the paint will not adhere to the canvas. So that will be another extreme. So it is like a learning curve. You have to try and control you know how much on which specific Canvas, you’ll need to do this faster.
Eric Rhoads 57:11
Oh, I had I made that mistake. I tried to copy what you were doing. And mine was an oily mess. It didn’t work quite as beautifully as you did it.
Qiang Huang 57:22
But but it is a learning experience. After you do a few more times, you’ll probably figure out what is the quantity of oil you want.
Eric Rhoads 57:36
Yeah. Hey, I want to ask you a question. You very graciously agreed to participate in the worldwide event plein air live that we did back in July. And of course, I’m doing another which is called realism live, which is coming up in October 20 and so on. What were your impressions for the people who are kind of wondering whether or not they should attend something like that? What were your impressions as a participant? That maybe things that that occurred that you didn’t expect? Or things that were not as good as you thought they would be? Or were better? Do you have any impressions for everybody?
Qiang Huang 58:16
I feel pretty good. When I was at Plein Air Live, I watched the, part partially I watched the video and partially I was watching life. And I feel that organizes that. Well, because this is a good experience for learning. And also, both the skills and the knowledge, there are some artists I you know, but the the disadvantage, be able to have these artists reintroduce their styles or do a demo doing a talk. So I start to realize, oh, okay, this artist might be I don’t know them, but maybe that is really, really good opportunity. I could check them online. So I will learn something new. And I feel very positive about this event. And also this is really an overview of a whole spectrum of different styles. I was a moment ago, I’m talking about drawing, I think, for the forthcoming Realism Live, this event will be very beneficial for some serious painters, you know, some somebody really wanted the grant. So, now this will be really big event. You know, I think they will easily be able to participate. That will be great. You know, so I I think Eric, you’re doing wonderful job to, to organize to get us all expertise together in a very condensed way. So people can really benefit from it.
Eric Rhoads 1:00:14
Oh, it’s very kind of you, thank you, what I like about it is the idea. It’s kind of a dream to put together something that encompasses not only landscape, not only plein air, but also, still life and, and figure and portrait and flower painting, all of us tend to do a lot of different things not, some of us are only landscape painters, but you, for instance, are fabulous portrait painter and, you also do scenes that involve figures and landscape, you also do still life. And so to be able to see all these different things together, I think is a pretty cool thing.
Qiang Huang 1:00:53
Right? Right, I think so. So even your class very broadly about different genres from storylines to, to figure and portrait. And so that’s actually what people watch participates this kind of event. So they will have a direct experience that so what is the fundamental about, painting, doesn’t really matter. The judge was, what, so they, when they watch the different artists, or some artists working on flowers someone might be working on on the face. So even they’re working very different ways. But you still learning, okay? active learning again, okay. So if you really analyze this, you will find out that there’s a lot of in common doesn’t really matter which shoulder. So if you really want to get a secret of painting, try to figure out what is the behind the genre, and then we’ll really get to the essence of a painting. So after that, it doesn’t really matter what you do, like I try to, do paintings, not specifically one genre, I can’t do this. But then I do figures and also landscape. So this was really brought to light. And also, it will be more exciting, more versatile. So this way, we can release so many different type of subject matter.
Eric Rhoads 1:02:27
That’s, what I found is that, I saw approaches I’d never seen before. And I thought I’d seen everything. And I saw things that tips and ideas that, you know, just sometimes just picking up one tip can make a huge difference in, in the way you approach your painting, and so on. I got so much out of it. And what’s interesting to me is, I didn’t realize how much I got out of it. I mean, I enjoyed every bit of it. But now when I’m out painting, all of a sudden, I’ll be challenged with a particular problem. And all of a sudden, that will pop into my head something that I saw on that broadcast that was like, Oh, I gotta try that. And so it’s kind of implants itself is, especially when you’re watching, five days of it. It’s pretty incredible. Hey, well, this is this has been absolutely delightful. And I want to thank you for being on the plein air podcast today.
Qiang Huang 1:03:23
Oh, thank you, Eric. Wow, I’ve enjoyed that. I think, my intention is either painting or teaching is hope, more artists get more more inspiration, and also participate into representational art and also abstract art. So, our world is in trouble now, I think we should work together, to use the beautiful images. And, the united people you know, bring love with one piece. And so to have everybody will get together doing positive things. So then I hope the world does heal…
Eric Rhoads 1:04:14
Well that’s part of our job is to bring beauty to the world and you’re doing a beautiful job of it. Thank you so much and, thank you for being such a good friend but also for being on the plein air podcast today.
Qiang Huang 1:04:28
I thank you.
Eric Rhoads 1:04:30
Well, that was Qiang Huang. And thanks again. What a great guy. He approaches art as science and he’s making great strides as a result does beautiful work beautiful paintings. And just an incredible all around great guy and brilliant brilliant painter. So are you guys 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 1:04:58
Yeah, buy my book that would be pretty cool. In the art marketing minute I try to answer your art marketing questions. I always answer them whether or not I get them, right. I don’t know. But anyway, email your questions to me, [email protected] we’re always looking for questions. Here’s one from Russell Martinez in Boise City, Idaho, who says, What’s the best way to approach a former buyer about buying a new painting? Well, first off, Russell, it’s a great question and some important question. You see, we are all always focusing on how we get more new business. But the reality is that most businesses make most of their money on repeat business. And so if you can figure out a strategy to get repeat business, that’s important. I teach that in a lot of my art marketing, bootcamp video series, and I also teach it in my book, but the idea is that you want to find ways to engage people to buy more in the future. Now there’s a couple of things. First off, I have two answers. The first is to understand that the very best time to sell someone a second painting is when they’re buying the first one, you know, think of McDonald’s and they always say, what do you want fries with that, you know, they suggest something. The theory is that people buy more during the peak of enthusiasm if they are already on a dopamine high, because dopamine is triggered when you’re buying things, all kinds of research about that people like to buy more, that’s why they put all this stuff at the checkout counter at the grocery store. Because they’re buying stuff that just make they want to buy more stuff. And it doesn’t seem practical, but it works. And so they love you, they love your work, so why not? So another thing so here’s what you can do after you get a commitment on the first painting, you can say hey, by the way, you know, I want to show you a couple other paintings that would go really well with this one, because I kind of intended these to hang together now Don’t lie to anybody. If it’s not true, don’t tell them that. But you can say, here’s some paintings that I think would go well with that painting and a little grouping, you know, in your living room or something, and then you pull it out, create a little grouping, see how they react, they might want to buy it, they might say, you know, would you give me a discount on those or something you can decide what to do. I like to also think that a great way to do this is to say hey, you know, you bought a painting from me, I’m really honored that you would do it, you know, I make my living as an artist, it’s nice to find people like you willing to buy, I’d love to reward you by giving you a 10% or 20% off on any of the other paintings. If you buy them today, you know, and if you buy a whole bunch of them, I might, I might give you a really special discount. This is very effective. And people like to take advantage of that. And it’s a good thing to do. The other thing to do is to stay in touch with collectors and buyers over time. You know, when you get a buyer, send them a nice note, send them some note cards with their painting on the note card, stay in front of them touch base by email or mail don’t become a pest, but stay in touch. Because you know, even though I’ve bought painting, sometimes I don’t remember the names of the artists. That’s that’s not so much true anymore. But when I first started doing it was true. And, you kind of blend in with everybody else and they go What was the name of that person. So you want to stay visible because they might be going well, I got to get a gift or I got a birthday coming up or something. So I created a whole program called Art Marketing in a Box, which was designed to reengage buyers. And also to get local buyers and collectors more engaged and works really effectively. We had one artist who bought it and they doubled their sales in the first year using the strategy. Anyway, the idea is to stay visible. We use different pre written things. And you can of course adjust them. But the idea is that you can put things in front of buyers to stimulate purchases at different times a year when they’re seeking gifts or when you know other things are happening. And it’s just nice to stay in front of them. The more you stay in front of them, the more they will eventually buy. It’s just proven, proven science. I was talking about science earlier. Don’t be afraid to ask too. You know, if they love your work, they probably would love more. And you say you know, I’d love to see a couple more paintings go out the door with you today. Is there anything we can do to make that happened? And let them say, you know, yeah, maybe if you did this, or maybe if you did that? Don’t be afraid to ask. And also the other thing we all make a mistake of it’s don’t assume that somebody does not have money. Because they might have money and they might have a lot of money. You never know what they’ve got. And so just go ahead and never hurts to ask. If you don’t ask you won’t get right.
Eric Rhoads 1:09:15
Now here’s a question from Amanda Lewis in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, Amanda says, I make an annual donation from my art to a nonprofit can can or should I use that as a marketing point? And I would say Amanda, absolutely, yes. Here’s what I like to do. And I love to donate paintings, to auctions and to silent auctions. And I don’t care if it’s costing me a painting and sometimes I’ll do a really big one. And why? Well, because it’s a great marketing opportunity. And don’t look at it as how much this is costing you say, Well, if I give them a $2,000 painting, can I get two or $4,000 worth of marketing value out of this? Think about this. Most art marketing situations like I mean most high art marketing, where am I going with that most of these nonprofit situations where they’re doing a, they’re doing an auction or something a charity auction, they’re attending to attract local people who have money, and not always, but oftentimes, and those people are willing to spend because they want to give money to the organization. And so you can make yourself highlighted, what I oftentimes will say is, look, I would love to give you a $5,000 painting, I’ll give you a really big one. But in return for that, here’s what I want, I would like to be the featured. I’d like my image of my painting, maybe even my picture with my painting, I would like to have it on the cover of the website, right right up front, you know, when our opportunity to win a $5,000 painting from Eric Rhoads. Now, the other thing you want is you want to be on their postcard, you want to be on their emails, you want to be on everything. And so you’re getting that the second thing I like is, I want an introduction at the event before my thing is auctioned off. And that way they stand. Here’s Eric. And that way, at the cocktail party, I get to meet people, and they have something in common, they can talk to me about, oh, I loved your art. And then I can collect business cards. The third thing is I always give them a second painting to give away in the silent auction or for a drawing and I’ll put cards in there, you know, I’ll put a thing in there to put your card into win. And that way I get the names and draw it. Now another thing I oftentimes will do this is sometimes effective sometimes not is I will actually suggest to them that I’d be willing to do a little bit more for them in exchange for the names in you know, or would they do an email blast on my behalf? You know, here’s a beautiful painting from this artist. He donated it to us and we want to make you aware of his work and his website, that kind of thing. So, anyway, it’s a great question, and it’s something you should do and look for an opportunity to use in your marketing. Anyway, that has been the marketing minute.
This has been a marketing minute with Eric Rhoads, you can learn more at artmarketing.com.
Eric Rhoads 1:12:01
Well, anyway, a reminder to sign up for fall color week, I’d love for you to join me for my retreat coming up very, very soon in New Hampshire fallcolorweek.com. Also, check out the plein air salon award ceremony on Friday. If you’re listening to this on time, it’s at 8pm Friday, look for it on Facebook Live or you know, go to pleinairsalon.com to sign up to get in. It’s free. And there’s a $200 savings on the line for realism live. If you sign up before the end of this month, it’s just go to realismlive.com this is going to be an international event. artists from all over the world attending, you get to you see some of the top artists in the world who are teaching we have artists teaching from from Italy from Well, let’s see what am I thinking of from Italy, from Ireland, from Portugal, probably some other places I can’t remember at the time. So, you want to go and see this we’re going to be teaching all the different disciplines. Also, if you’ve not seen my blog, oh, by the way, go to realismlive.com for that, if you’ve not seen my blog, I have one called Sunday coffee. I talk about philosophy and a lot of other things. It’s got about a quarter of a million people reading it now and you would be a quarter million in one and I’d be honored if you would get it just go to coffeewitheric.com. And that is where you can find it for free. This is always fun. I love doing it. We’ll do it again sometime like maybe next week. I hope I’ll see you then. My name is Eric Rhoads. And I’m the publisher and the founder of Plein Air Magazine. You can find us online at outdoorpainter.com. Remember, it’s a big world out there and I want you to go paint it. I’ll see you next week. Bye bye.
This has been the plein air podcast with Plein Air Magazine’s Eric Rhoads. You can help spread the word about plein air painting by sharing this podcast with your friends. And you can leave a review or subscribe on iTunes. So it comes to you every week. And you can even reach Eric by email [email protected] Be sure to pick up our free ebook 240 plein air painting tips by some of America’s top painters. It’s free at pleinairtips.com. Tune in next week for more great interviews. Thanks for listening.
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