Welcome to the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads. In this episode Eric interviews French Impressionist painter Antonin Passemard.
Listen as Antonin Passemard shares the following:
• What it was like to study art through the Repin Academy
• Why it can be easier to teach someone painting if they’ve never had an art lesson
• How to make one element the “main character” of your painting
• And more!
Bonus! Eric Rhoads, author of Make More Money Selling Your Art, explains if you should be concerned about finding new customers right now, and thoughts on the market for nocturne paintings in this week’s Art Marketing Minute.
Listen to the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads and Antonin Passemard here:
– Antonin Passemard online: http://www.antoninpassemard.com/en/index.php
– 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.
Eric Rhoads 0:00
This is episode number 191. Today we’re featuring French artist Antonin Passemard.
This is the Plein Air Podcast with Eric Rhoads, publisher and founder of Plein Air Magazine. In the Plein Air Podcast we cover the world of outdoor painting called plein air. The French coined the term which means open air or outdoors. The French pronounce it plenn air. Others say plein air. No matter how you say it. There is a huge movement of artists around the world who are going outdoors to paint and this show is about that movement. Now, here’s your host, author, publisher and painter, Eric Rhoads.
Eric Rhoads 1:02
Well, Hey there and welcome to the plein air podcast, everybody, everybody and I mean, everybody. I’ve got like 70 countries around the world listening now. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, everyone who’s listening. I hear from people who say they listen to their studios while they’re painting some listen in their cars, you know, they listen on walks, if that’s you, thank you and wherever you’re listening, I really appreciate it love to get to know you. You can follow me on Instagram at Eric Rhoads or on Facebook at Eric Rhoads. Now, I can’t follow you back on Facebook because I’ve got my limit on friends and I haven’t done the public thing. I don’t know I probably should. Anyway, I would love to have you do that. I’ve been doing some painting and doing a lot of painting. I post some pictures up on Facebook of some of the things I do from time to time. Anyway, I want to remind you of a couple of things but there’s still time for Realism Live. It’s coming up on the 21st and 20th is the basic beginners day we have some incredible painters world class lineup that will never happen again like this. I mean it’s absolutely incredible. It is gonna blow you away it’s worth the time. It’s just gonna be making everybody get to the next level of painting. It’s absolutely incredible and if you can’t make the dates you can still attend and get the replays anyway you got to get them before we we end and that’s realism live just go to realismlive.com. I am around the corner getting ready to head to New Hampshire the White Mountains and got to paint there for a week. do two three painting spots a day every day for a week with artists or couple Eric Koeppel also painting fall color the White Mountains for the Hudson River school painters painted and it’s an absolutely incredible thing and so you want to be part of that and we do have seats but you got to hurry because your hotel might be sold out here any minute. It’s normally we would be sold out you know six months in advance we normally we were but unfortunately because of COVID that all changed anyway. Coming up in Plein Air magazine the October November issue which just came out has Don Bishop’s acrylic, Misty Green Field on the cover. You’re gonna check that out. There’s a guest blog post this week and John Hughes, one of our former podcast guests on do you paint what you love? Or do you paint what you think will sell? That’s a piece that’s in the plein air today newsletter this week. And you can check that out just go to outdoorpainter.com to get it covered after the interview. We’re going to Antonin Passemard be answering art marketing questions in the marketing minute but first let’s get to our interview with Antonin Passemard. He’s a plein air artist who lives in France studied in Russia. He’s an absolutely incredible artist. I think you’re gonna enjoy it. Antonin Passmard, welcome to the plein air podcast.
Antonin Passemard 3:51
Thank you, Eric.
Eric Rhoads 3:52
Well, it’s a pleasure to talk to you. You’re you’re over in France. We’re in France, are you?
Antonin Passemard 3:58
Well, I live in Burgundy, in the wine region close to Chablis.
Eric Rhoads 4:05
Is that where you grew up?
Antonin Passemard 4:07
Yes, that’s where I grew up in a in a city not far away from the village I live now.
Eric Rhoads 4:12
Yeah, lovely. Well, some of us got to know you. When you were on Plein Air Live. You did a fabulous demo from your village. And thank you for doing that.
Antonin Passemard 4:24
Thank you for inviting me.
Eric Rhoads 4:25
Yeah, it looks lovely. I’ll have to come over and paint there someday.
Antonin Passemard 4:30
You’re welcome. Anytime.
Eric Rhoads 4:32
So tell me a little bit about your background. How did art begin for you?
Antonin Passemard 4:38
That’s a good story. Well, my parents were not artists. And but somebody in my family was, let’s say your hobby painter. And he taught me a few things when I was very young. So as soon as I could I sign up to go to the bizarre school in my hometown. And this is how everything started. I started to paint in the bazaar on the discord artist went to museum and the love kept growing.
Eric Rhoads 5:24
And it keeps growing still, I would imagine right he keeps going still.
Antonin Passemard 5:27
Of course, yes. The story is very long, because after I also moved to United States and discovered also this renewal start of plein air painting, which was very, very interesting to me. Because then I, in my little teen years, I studied in a school in Paris. But as some teachers were still teaching some, let’s say, classical painting skills. But a lot of it was about let’s say, installation and modern art on contemporary art. And I was more interested into this. This more realistic or expressionist way of painting. And I thought it was possible to do it still now on be interesting on ISOs this renewal in United States on it was very interesting to to be there. And to experience it on then later. I moved to Russia, and I studied a bit at the Repin Academy.
Eric Rhoads 6:28
Now my understanding and correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s very difficult to get into the Repin Academy. The standards are really high. And yeah, in order to get in that the artists who who get in are already at a higher level than most artists ever will be. Is that correct?
Antonin Passemard 7:18
Yes, it is very hard to get into is a like a prep school to get in before and to answer it, it is very hard. Because you need to have some drawing knowledge and some painting knowledge, which is usually most people who enter it did the art school before. You don’t just come like that. Yes.
Eric Rhoads 7:48
Well, and I understand there are hundreds of applications and very few people actually accepted.
Antonin Passemard 7:53
Eric Rhoads 7:55
So you had to you paint very, very differently today than probably the acceptance that you had to go through, right? You have to be classically trained and know how to know your anatomy and draw and paint and very classical style to be able to get in is that correct?
Antonin Passemard 8:18
Yes, it is correct. Yes. Correct.
Eric Rhoads 8:20
Right. And, the style that you’ve developed now, which is is very, very impressionistic, very much looser, and so on. Is that something that you developed while you were there? Is because I know they want each person to find their own voice. Was that something that came from your training there? Or was it something that came afterwards?
Antonin Passemard 8:45
Well, actually, it was something I liked before. And it is something which is very common, let’s say in Russia, because the Soviet school like painters like Billy…already hit was also a teacher in the utterly before my time, of course. But they were very bored painters. Yes. Yes, is Soviet Impressionism is a very bold way to paint. So there is a big difference between the academic learning on the progress as an artist Yes.
Eric Rhoads 9:33
Well, and many Americans are not familiar with this Russian impressionistic style. And, it looks easy, but it’s actually very difficult to accomplish and make it look right. I think. And, you come from a lineage of some pretty incredible artists that most Americans could stand to study and learn from who were some of the artists that if somebody were to Google some names just to get a feel for some of the the great Russian impressionist, you said them all very quickly. I know you talked about Repin. And obviously he is, the great master, but who are else? Who else are some of the names?
Antonin Passemard 10:23
Well, there is two periods really in Russian, let’s say impressionist school. Yes, there is. Post Soviet press. Have you taken the Soviet IQ one? And let’s say before the Soviet time, I would say leave it on, of course. … was very, very good. On studied in, in France, actually, with some impressionist …
Eric Rhoads 11:03
Now, let’s …work to me love attends work to me. Even seeing it in person looks very traditional to me.
Antonin Passemard 11:15
Yes, well, it is, let’s say it is impression is like cool, can be impressionist, for the French, in a sunset, this started really to being plein air, and started to get this atmosphere of nature. That was never done before. And is it in this way? They are the let’s say that. The start of Impressionism in the sunset, the were really trying to capture the atmosphere of the time, the light and things like that.
Eric Rhoads 12:01
So I was under the impression that the Soviets were doing plein air painting before the impressionist war?
Antonin Passemard 12:15
I don’t know about that. But it’s probably true. It is probably true.
Eric Rhoads 12:24
We have I don’t know. I don’t know exactly the years. But I know that I have a picture of a painting. There’s a famous painting of Repin in his students at the academic dosha. Yeah. And I’m not sure that the timeline in terms of Repin. And compared to the Impressionists, it’d be interesting to look at that. But clearly they were going outdoors.
Antonin Passemard 12:50
Yeah, clearly. Absolutely. Yeah, they were all going outdoors. And this was a big step forward, of course, for style of painting. Because instead of this landscape were in the background on a bit dark on a bit fake, they started to be more alive. And they started to pay more attention to, to trees on the landscape itself. Yeah.
Eric Rhoads 13:18
Well, I just looked up, while we were talking… Repin was born in 1844. Monet in 1840. Repin died in 1930. Monet died in 1926. So they really were contemporaries.
Antonin Passemard 13:35
Eric Rhoads 13:37
Interesting. So, the one thing that I was really fascinated with, I was originally approached by a gallery owner who is a dealer in Russian paintings. And he said to me, you know, Eric, you need to study Russian paintings, and you need to see them in person. And so I started out by googling them. And I was very impressed. And I loved them very much, but I was not as in love with them until I actually got a chance to go to Russia and go to the great museums, the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg and the … in Moscow, and it was there that I just completely was blown away by the quality of the paintings. Of course, you also have at the school, you went to the Repin Institute, a fabulous museum on the property, which also has incredible pieces, including the the piece that fashion did for his for his graduation.
Antonin Passemard 14:40
Exactly, yes. Mm hmm. So one was a woman that’s a cabbage. Yes.
Eric Rhoads 14:48
Now you had to do a graduation piece. Tell us about the kind of the process of learning that they have at the Repin Institute. And what do you do now to take some of that process, when you’re training your students when you’re teaching
Antonin Passemard 15:06
Well, myself, I did not do a graduate graduation because I was a free student. But my wife … said you can …studied under graduation and step are quite it’s six years of learning. And during so six years you during the first few years, you prepare to go to a studio with a master. And, then you’re on to the studio. If you pass if the master takes you, and then the last year of your six years, you spend a whole year just preparing your diploma work.
Eric Rhoads 15:59
Right. So it’s a it’s a typically a very large diploma work and it’s very, very complex, multiple figures, etc.
Antonin Passemard 16:08
Most of the time, yes, yes.
Eric Rhoads 16:10
Now, I also had the the pleasure of visiting the I’m not sure how to say their name, the checkoff brothers, Alexi and Sergey had put together a school that if you were the best of the best, and graduating it at the Repin , or the …in Moscow, you then had an opportunity to be one of, three or four people selected for a to another two year program where they would pay for all your expenses for your life. And basically tell you to spend those two years making a monumental piece. You’re aware of that? Yes.
Antonin Passemard 16:53
Yes, this is quite an honor to go through that, of course, yeah.
Eric Rhoads 16:58
Okay. So to explain to everybody, if it’s possible with words, what your work looks like now, compared to what, what you were initially trained for, is, are you carrying on that tradition? Have you taken it to a different level? Help us understand that?
Antonin Passemard 17:19
Well, I think it’s just a normal continuation, I feel that they use the same principles as just I try to. So of course, when you are, it’s funny, because in Russia, what is considered the academic drawing or academic painting, a scanner, Luke, Dawn, it’s just studying and on it is ask of you to go further than that. And to try to find your own way on to try to express yourself. It would be very often I heard from my wife that also that, the teacher will come to you and say, but if you’ve been too, too academic, especially during the later years, they will make fun of you and say that you’re sleeping at your canvas, because they really want to push you with this knowledge into something more close to you. Because of course, if everybody was painting, in an academic manner, everybody would look alike. And what is interesting, it is this difference with come from within, that makes you who you are. And this is what they really push into. To develop. Yeah.
Eric Rhoads 18:59
Well, and to some degree, the opposite of that has been happening throughout some of the schools around the world is that they, they are training a very academic system. And then they’re encouraging, it seems to me encouraging people to stay within the lines of that academic system to come up with their own ideas and their own work and their own modern versions of it, but, to kind of stay very, very classical in nature. So, when was plein air a part of the the agenda for you. I know they have the academic dosha in the center of Russia, where the schools would send the students to spend their summers for plein air painting and also had access to studios. Was that part of your training at the Repin Institute?
Antonin Passemard 20:00
Well, where I learned the most was to paint with, with also students are in plein air, of course. And I think this is, it is absolutely part of the learning process in a sunset, it’s a better way to, to free yourself from this academic knowledge and to also find your own way as a painter. And also, there is a very important tradition to pay nature and to capture nature. And they have a special way how to, to see it, which was very interesting to me, which is completely different than the way that let’s say the French impressionist sees it, which is more soft. Often I would say, Man even more close to nature, the Russian that more expressive way to, to express nature, on the best still with some really strong foundation. And yeah, so I’m still trying to digest that. And to, to explore this, of course.
Eric Rhoads 21:27
It’s a lifetime of learning, isn’t it?
Antonin Passemard 21:29
Eric Rhoads 21:31
Which is what makes it makes it fun. So you do some teaching? I don’t know if you’ve been doing much teaching, since the quarantine. But what are the things that you are focusing on when you’re training students when you’re doing your workshops, and so on?
Antonin Passemard 21:50
Yes, actually, I’ve been doing online teaching lately on online tuition on it’s been really good, actually. On arch, it gives people more time to work on their process. It’s very interesting, it was completely new to me. But anyway, what I like to focus, when I teach, usually it happened that people want to come to a workshop to learn how to paint bold on with a lot of paint, because this is what I like to do. But this is not what I teach. I teach more about, let’s paint slow, slow down when you paint, paint in multiple sessions, try to avoid to paint your painting, even plein air in one session, take time to find a spot that you’re going to painter. And also the most important thing is to have a painting looks, let’s say bold, or expressive, it is learning how to separate things. It means that luckiness story, they will be like your main actor or secondary actor or background. And you need to do that with your painting on one way to do it. It is to using modeling for your main character. And for your older things, maybe painted, painted more flat with less modeling, really control on the understanding also of decoration in a painting. Also principles are very clear when you watch efficient paintings.
Eric Rhoads 23:52
So if you study fish and paintings and the, the focal point is very highly modeled. But yes, the rest of it is very flat.
Antonin Passemard 24:02
Exactly, yes. Really. He starts to flatten them on model then much less for example, you will have an ad which is very modeled on the clothes will be more flat than the head of the ends. And this will make this this difference. The separation make this this impression and make this expression expression expressive look, and also give a bold and freshness to the painting. Because the point and the theme of the painting is very clear. It’s there is no discussion of what is is a painting on it makes a huge difference between a picture on a painting on this this step of painting More like this is taking a huge leap in between having a painting looking like a photograph, or having a painting looking more like a painting.
Eric Rhoads 25:12
So talk about how to do modeling, because I would, I would think in your particular case, because you’re using a lot of thick paint, you’re actually sculpting into the paint, but modeling, you said, you were not teaching your students how to paint thickly, like, like you are. So when you talk about modeling, are you primarily talking about creating the sense of form?
Antonin Passemard 25:36
Exactly. It’s just building the form, giving space. And all of that is achieved by values, of course, by temperature. And by the drawing, of the thing that you’re painting. And I think this those three things together a status to model the form, yes.
Eric Rhoads 26:04
Okay. Talk to me about color temperature. A lot of people approach that differently. What? Yes, what ways to use color temperature for modeling?
Antonin Passemard 26:15
Well, the temperature, it’s very simple, the temperature, just describe the quality of the light. And so if you have a warm light, you will have warm lights and cooler shadows. And on the contrary, cooler lights and warmer shadows. I believe that you should look at it very, very simple. And actually I try to avoid too many scientific ideas, too much more go into the pure observation of things without overthinking it, and I, feel that with this point. So, with this point, you avoid to over rationalize your brush works. And by doing that, you’re what you observe, is, stays something of a picture thought. Not a verbal thought. And if that makes sense?
Eric Rhoads 27:49
I’m not sure it does. So, yeah, how would you describe the difference between a verbal thought and a picture of thought?
Antonin Passemard 28:02
Yes, exactly. It’s very simple. Again, for example, we all add this says experience when we started to paint or started to draw, there is the idea of a tree. So the tree, the idea of it will be for example, for Christmas tree, it is this symbol of a tree of a Christmas tree, or there is the tree as it is revealed by light. So for example, just the light and shadow on a tree, instead of how the tree should look like from your mental idea.
Eric Rhoads 28:48
In other words, I think what I hear you saying is that we have these impressions that come from our childhood that a tree should like, be a ball on a stick, or a pine tree should look like a triangle. And exactly in what you’re saying is paint what you see not what you think it should be.
Antonin Passemard 29:08
Exactly, on. One way to do it is to avoid to overthink it, but be more into the observation. That’s it on another way to put this into an idea. It is that things that we paint only exists because of light visually, in the sunset, this tree in front of you, if it is completely dark, there is no light source, the tree disappear visually. So when you paint this tree, you’re painting only the light which reveals it to you.
Eric Rhoads 29:51
Right and the light obviously carves out the form as well.
Antonin Passemard 29:55
Exactly on model it. Yeah.
Eric Rhoads 29:58
So what do you typically find that your students have the most trouble with? In understanding these concepts? Or do they?
Antonin Passemard 30:07
And no, I find that, of course, at first it takes some time. But especially, when you can demonstrate you can talk about it more. And you can show examples also in also paintings. People get it very easily I find in my workshops, yes.
Eric Rhoads 30:33
Excellent. So, talk to me about a typical workshop, what’s your process? Where do you begin in your teaching process?
Antonin Passemard 30:43
Yes. So usually a first day would look like, I let you paint what you want without any instruction, at least in the morning, on a common see the level of everybody, it even if they never painted it, just try it. And then on usually, it’s very often for me that it’s easier to teach somebody who never learned to paint before, but it’s okay. If they did is still very fun. And then usually we go, the first question, which I would ask is, what do you want to say? So when they want to paint something, what do you want to say? And most of the time, they don’t really know. Or, they have somewhat of a vague idea. But I believe that when you start to painting, or even like you’re, somebody who painted some time, can do already a lot of things. But if you start to painting, and you don’t know what you want to say, on what will be the theme of your painting, or the if you don’t have the theme of your painting, you cannot have a composition. If you don’t have a component, if you don’t have a theme of your painting, you cannot separate things, like we talked earlier. And this is also you start to work. So there is this problem, you start to work at the same level everywhere. And there is no direction in your painting on this is what I try to teach people to have a direction in depth painting.
Eric Rhoads 32:43
So when you talk about a theme of your painting, if I’m in a group setting with you, and you’re standing in front of a view of a lake in a forest. When you say a theme, is it like Oh, I love the way the light is hitting that one tree, I want to make that my focus my focal point, or when you say a theme, is it? You know, I’m trying to tell a story and what is the story I’m trying to tell?
Antonin Passemard 33:17
Well, the first example you took is already a good beginning, I believe, but of course it who it is better if you can have a story but a picture or story in a sense that this slide for example, I like the light on the tree on the reflection on the water, okay, this is good, but how does the rest will fit with it? How does this main actor fit with the rest? And how because what happened? Some people are interested by this, but can they make it fit with the rest and this is how you build the story. So, yes, this is a good beginning the light on a tree on the reflection for example, but for example, how will they fit with a mountain? How will they fit with and how do you make sense of it in a sunset? How will you separate them and this is one of the most important thing to to get I believe because even in very classical something will look classical like Levitan is separate things very, very much and in a sunset. They will be important points on some points less important and how he creates this difference in between it Very interesting. Yeah.
Eric Rhoads 35:03
Well, I’m gonna have to study Levitan again and get out my books and look at it from that perspective.
Antonin Passemard 35:11
Eric Rhoads 35:14
So well, it’s starting to make sense to me, I do think that’s where a lot of us get lost is, is how do we tell a story? How do we, what is it we’re trying to say, sometimes I go out, and I’m just trying to paint a beautiful spot. And I’m not totally sure what it is I’m trying to say, I oftentimes will say, Oh, I love the the fall color in those leaves. And I really want to try and make that the red of that tree stand out more than anything else, but I’m not so sure I can take it beyond that and develop a theme.
Antonin Passemard 35:54
Mm hmm. I’m just done. Understand. It was something that was very taught, which was taught a lot in, in Russian school. And that’s how they get this more. It’s a more bold painting. Because you can take this principle on do something very soft, like Levitan. Or you can take exactly the same principle on being more radical about it. Like innovation, for example. And, this is why, what is interesting, we’re in the thing, which, since you were talking about how I teach my workshop, I try to teach things, which can be applied to any different type of character in the sunset …principle could be useful for for any type of painter without having a special manner. How to paint.
Eric Rhoads 36:57
Right, in other words, not a particular style. In other words, exactly, if you were doing a classical approach to painting versus radical approach to painting the same, things would work.
Antonin Passemard 37:11
Eric Rhoads 37:12
So yeah, it’s difficult without a visual to be able to talk about that specifically, but the idea of fine. So, it’s very much about your focal point or your your primary object, I assume. And then you said the multiple actors and so your focal point is getting more more form and then things are losing form as they go out.
Antonin Passemard 37:38
Yes, also, how do how do they interact into each other on a main actor, is it can be very complex in a sunset, main, or more complex. main actor doesn’t need to be one object. It can be –
Eric Rhoads 38:00
A section –
Antonin Passemard 38:01
Yes, it can be a section, it can be multiple things. But it needs to make sense into for example, you’re painting a forest, let’s say, and you could take just one tree, which would be your main actor on you make the other thing disappear more on He will make like a forest idea. Oh, you could take multiple trees will become main actors. So let’s say and some also trees will be secondary actors and things like that. And so it doesn’t just fit to only one object. It can be more complex. Of course, to start it is better to be most simple.
Eric Rhoads 38:49
Yeah, so are you tending to make that main actor sharper edges, darker darks lighter lights? More Chroma, as many artists will do is that how part of how you’re accomplishing that, but then adding the little bit more sense of form into that?
Antonin Passemard 39:08
Yes, yes, it is. It is one way to do it. You know, there is no basic recipe for it in the sunset. Every scene will have his own way to be told its own way to be taught. And it’s only to be told will decide how you you do this. And so sometimes yes, you will use a main actor will have more contrast. Sometimes more or the Chroma will be higher or things like that. Of course, the hedge the edges will be stronger, but him maybe not. Always everything at the same time. It’s it just depends on the bet on the on the scene. Right?
Eric Rhoads 40:06
Right. So yeah, you’re varying the edges, but you’re trying to figure out where you’re trying to draw the eye and how you’re trying to lead the eye there.
Antonin Passemard 40:15
Yes, absolutely. I believe at the end of the day, a painting is a, a painting, it’s not just the mere representation of what is in front of you. And on this is the most hard thing I think, to develop. Guys, painters like buena Han, were very good at it. And because on one way to two experiences, I believe it is to look at paintings. And to imagine those paintings as a photograph, for example, or as a scene, as it was on you can see the leap, which they took between the reality and the painting on this leap is always very interesting as a painter, of course. And, you yourself when you’re painting outside, you need to organize that leap also on how you develop it.
Eric Rhoads 41:37
All right. Well, that I’m going to pay closer attention to that in the future and see if I can figure that out. Talk to me about the plein air painting in in France, of course. I’ve got a lot of documentation that says plein air painting was going on way before the impressionist but the Impressionists were the ones that really made it more famous and really brought a lot of attention to it. But it seems as though the big plein air movement today is taking place throughout America. What’s happening in Europe, what’s happening in France in terms of plein air painting, are there a lot of people doing it?
Antonin Passemard 42:19
Yes. Actually, since your magazine and your conventions, is started to make. It started to come to France. I cannot talk for all Europe. A worked also in Germany In Germany is pretty good. I just did the plein air event, in Germany, in July.
Eric Rhoads 42:49
Near Frankfurt. I was invited to that. Unfortunately, I couldn’t travel outside of the United States.
Antonin Passemard 42:57
Yeah, that’s a special times we live in. Yeah. And but yes, the plein air movement is West was always alive. There were always some people painting plein air. But it’s very much. It’s not as big as America for sure. But there is a lot of even professional painters painting plein air and continuing this series. This figurative tradition. Yes, of course we are not that much. I think in France, maybe we are proficient professional painter painting plein air on things like that for maybe 20 it’s really not that much people but but it’s a small country on the only speaking up there is a lot of people interested in it. A lot of painter learning to do it. And going back to it, I think it’s a it’s, it’s very good.
Eric Rhoads 44:05
Well, of course, we want to see it grow worldwide. It’s such an important part of making painters painting stronger for the painter to be able to, learn the form and the light and to understand from nature, things that we can understand indoors. We can understand it when painting from a live model and so on. But it’s different in in landscape painting. So we of course want to see more and more people find it and to spread this movement across the world. And so I’m glad to hear that there’s a good start I’m hearing stories about more painters in in various parts of Europe, Scotland, Ireland, England, etc. And so that’s that’s encouraging and I know that there’s a big Irish event that kind of really got things motivated it again in Europe and seems seems to be picking up and more plein air events around the world. I was pleased to hear about this one in town Stein, area of Germany. I think it’s time. And, that’s a relatively small area. So it’s encouraging indeed, to hear that.
Antonin Passemard 45:28
Yeah, I’m really happy about it. Because for a while it was really put aside. But people understood, I think now the importance of it, and this is a good thing.
Eric Rhoads 45:43
It is a good thing. So we have an opportunity for you to say anything or talk about anything to the world of plein air painters who are listening now across 70 or 90 countries and throughout the United States and Canada, North America, what are the things that you would like to communicate to them that are the most important to you?
Antonin Passemard 46:09
Well, this is a quite a thing. One thing I would like to talk about, which is sometimes can be overlooked as a plein air painter, is, I believe that it is better to not go paint, when you don’t know what you’re going to go paint, I believe and I just tried to find spots for different weather different light, before you go paint and organize on then when you find your places. Prepare your canvas according to it. So you will not have a pre size that you use for for something you would make a canvas especially, or by canvas, especially for this scene on your think about this scene before you go painted. And I believe this way of doing can improve any painters or at least give it a shot.
Eric Rhoads 47:33
And just because of the premeditation aspect of it, is that right?
Antonin Passemard 47:38
Yes, absolutely. The premeditation also, you start to think of the size of your canvas, you start to think of your palette. Instead of using the palette you use for everything, you can decide to include some different clothes to get rid of certain clothes, according to the same that you’re going to paint. You can also take different type of brushes, for example, and actually trying to treat each painting not in the same way each painting should be started on prepared on have a different type of material, which will which will make the process more enjoyable, more fun. And also what I maybe we’ll bring some something more deep into the painting.
Eric Rhoads 48:42
Well, I’ve got to tell you that I’ve noticed something this this past summer this fall I’ve started kind of following your advice on that not knowing you were gonna Yak about it but the the the idea of driving by an area let’s say I’m driving into town and I keep seeing the sweet spot and I tell myself okay, I’m gonna go paint that especially when the leaves completely get completely colorful. How am I going to do it as sporting I was doing it as matter of fact, I was thinking how can I make that sense of blowing red leaves with a light illuminating behind them like stained glass. And so I was preparing my canvas in my mind thinking in terms of well, I want to get a very thin transparent red in there and some transparent oranges and so on on the on the canvas and then kind of a sense of warmth throughout the underpainting so that I can kind of carry that sense of warmth, warmth that you see in the fall. The other thing that I’ve noticed is that for the first time in a long time, I have set up a giant canvas a 30 by 40 and set it up in the woods and have worked on that painting 567 days in a row. Not not all not every day but waiting for the same conditions and How freeing that is without the pressure of trying to get it done right there on the spot on the on the first day, and also being able to have, you know, a mental break in between so that it, it really allows you some time to think about the painting. And of course, you’re thinking about it all the time when you’re not painting.
Antonin Passemard 50:21
Mm hmm. Absolutely. This is so important. It is so important. I because I think painting in one goal is only one level of of that that you can achieve. But by painting it multiple times, like you said, you feel more free. You can take more bolder approaches or things you will not do normally. And on your surprise yourself sometimes.
Eric Rhoads 50:56
Well, so and what are some of the other things that you’ve been thinking about that you want to share?
Antonin Passemard 51:01
Well, there’s one thing. Yes. From a paint a French painter, French impressionist unfed sees like a painter which I love very much yeah. And he had this point that sky is not a bad ground per se, sky should not be a flat thing a sky should have some dimension a sky should bring the mood of the of the painting on also the sky reflect all the colors of the light, which is on the ground. And this point, I think it’s a it’s very interesting. Also painting to be more alive and more connected.
Eric Rhoads 52:01
So you’re talking about taking the colors from the ground and putting it into the sky instead of the colors from the sky and putting it into the ground.
Antonin Passemard 52:12
…back and forth in a sunset. The oneness that you will find from the light source, the oneness that you will find on the ground should be also on the sky. And on the cool the coolness that you find on the ground should be also on a sky, which follows a more complex sky for example. And this make the the light from the ground on the light from the sky connecting to each other on the painting is is more connected. And this is very important for this sense of life on atmosphere in a painting.
Eric Rhoads 53:02
Right and is it as simple as taking some of the color from the various parts of your, painting and putting it into the sky or taking those nice lower values?
Antonin Passemard 53:13
It’s not that simple.
Eric Rhoads 53:15
So how do you accomplish it?
Antonin Passemard 53:19
Well, the best way to look at it is look at ceaseless painting on you will see how he interacts to and just think about it while looking at it. But the way he does it is the light on the ground is he doesn’t take for example, the green on the ground and put it in the sky, but this green the local color of a bush or something is affected by the color of light. And it is this color of light which affect this local color which will be repeated in the sky. So basically this local color is banned by another color which is a color of the light source. And will this color can be repeated in the sky and this flow will create a connection in between.
Eric Rhoads 54:29
Okay, so in other words, if you’ve got to have a strong light source or a strong, let’s say a strong yellow light on the ground plane, you’re gonna put some of that strong yellow light into the sky.
Antonin Passemard 54:45
Yeah, this is what usually happens where sometimes you will see once it’s a mid day, let’s say on you have a very strong light on the ground. Usually you will have washout sky on this washout sky usually have a lot of yellow in it. And and yes, it’s this is one way on also it will have on top of the sky they will have maybe some more cooler temperatures, which is also used in a shadow because of course, the color of shadow come also from the sky. And and this is two things which it needs to be weaved together in a painting. All right.
Eric Rhoads 55:36
Well, it sounds it sounds easy, but a poll you’re often making it look right, it’s probably more difficult.
Antonin Passemard 55:44
Yes, it is. But it is good to already have it in your head on to on this is another thing that I can say is the best I believe the best way to progress as a painter is not to paint paint paint paint paint only it is important, but not only because you will have a tendency to repeat the same mistake over and over and over one over no no I do it well I do too, but the best way it is to take time go to museum if you cannot take books and look at paintings on see how this solved the problems that you have been having in your painting. And see how the see how. Imagine the the painting they painted as a photograph, let’s say on Caesar leap, which they have been doing on this leap. It is the problem solving of painting. And this is problem solving that also painter did can be useful to you and on to me. And by looking at paintings you can get some new ideas in your work and to see how to treat simplify or express something in your painting.
Eric Rhoads 57:20
So when you were in art school, did they ever have you copying masterworks so that you could learn how they solve those problems. I noticed when I went to Russia back in March, I went to the Tretyakov It was a day when it was closed, and the director was walking me through and and there were a lot of students there who were copying paintings.
Antonin Passemard 57:44
Yeah, it’s very important to copy paintings, I believe, yes, of course, to copy, it will really bring you close to those problem solving, you can also look looking is also very important. And here’s a with my small experience, here’s a problem of coping the problem of copying, it’s very good. But it puts you too much into their style or manner. Then, if you look, you can see it was principal, but you’re not copying the manner. And this is a huge difference between the principal and the manner the style of doing it. And it means that principle doesn’t need to be done. The same way that what you see on this painting, but can be done in in different ways. Is this is a problem of copying sometimes that you can get too much into the manner of somebody. And so being careful with that.
Eric Rhoads 59:08
I think that’s always a problem is that we run workshops and we end up adopting the manner of the person who we’re studying under, because we like what they do. But, they’ve already done that you want to come up with your own your own feeling style. Well, this has been a fascinating hour and it’s gone by very quickly. Do you have any final thoughts before we part?
Antonin Passemard 59:41
My final thought is, as a painter. One thing to do, which was very important to me, it was when I moved to when I was going to Russia very often it is that whenever was going to villages to paint for three months. And this is if you can do it, organize yourself to do it to take some time just to paint on the really away from the day to day life. And this, this experience, if you can do it to yourself will make your paintings better.
Eric Rhoads 1:00:32
And that’s that’s why I do my retreats. Exactly. Because most of us even professional painters, we don’t have the time, we’re busy working on our, businesses or marketing, or we’re dealing with our family or our kids or, you know, cooking dinners or cleaning up or whatever is yard work, and so when you come to a retreat, that’s not a workshop, you’re only working on your painting, and you’re doing it all day, every day for a week or two, I’m taking a group to Russia, for instance, in, in 2021, we’re gonna start out in St. Petersburg, we’re going to go and see the sights, but we’re going to also paint around some of these sites, we’re going to go inland to the old villages, and then, end up in Moscow before we head out. And the whole goal there is to immerse yourself in Russian art. The idea is we’ll go to the great museums that we talked about earlier, we’re going to go over to the Repin Academy to the Institute, we’re going to be immersing ourselves so that we have an opportunity. I think that Nikolai …., from the…is going to be with us. And he won’t necessarily be teaching workshops, but he’ll be working with people and giving them ideas and thoughts. And I think that that immersive experiences is really going to be valuable.
Antonin Passemard 1:01:58
This is the best way, I believe.
Eric Rhoads 1:02:02
Did you have a chance to study with Blokhin? When you were at the Repin?
Antonin Passemard 1:02:08
Yes. I know him very well.
Eric Rhoads 1:02:10
Yes. Well, as we’re recording this we just released, I think the first video done of Blokhin and maybe of any of the the instructors from the from the Repin and what would you tell people about studying under someone like that?
Antonin Passemard 1:02:30
Blokhin? Yeah, get the DVD first. Because it’s quite an opportunity to see him paint. He was because now he’s not to teach her but he’s a wonderful artist. And yes. Also very good ideas on clean ideas on how to painter and how to draw. He was mostly a drawing teacher and is his way to look at the process of painting. It’s, so refreshing. And also, just very clean, and I highly recommend to to watch him paint. It’s quite an experience.
Eric Rhoads 1:03:22
It really is. I had the pleasure of sitting there and watching for five days. And every time I thought I’ve had him figured out he changed something and did something new and different. And every time I turned around, he was, manipulating paint in new ways using different tools. And, what I expected that he was going to do was never the case he always did something different. Which was was absolutely fascinating to me. Well, this is has been absolutely fascinating. I really love talking to you. I hope that we all get a chance to go to one of your workshops or visit you in France and what where can people find your work? What is your website?
Antonin Passemard 1:04:04
My website is www.antoninpassemard.com. And you can find my working in some galleries in United States also. So there’s a Hagen gallery in Charleston, South Carolina. Yeah. Love Karen. And Karen is great here. And there is a Israel gallery in Cincinnati, and during his signature gallery in Paso Robles, California.
Eric Rhoads 1:04:55
Excellent. Well, thank you so much for being on the podcast today. I really appreciate you taking the time and giving us some some great thoughts on painting.
Antonin Passemard 1:05:05
Thank you Eric. It was great.
Eric Rhoads 1:05:09
Okay, thank you again to Antonin Passemard. 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 1:05:26
So I made a deal with my team I said you put the questions in and I’m not going to read them until I actually record live on the podcast because I want to just go off the top of my head rather than having any scripted thing. So this is from Ellen Jean Dietrich, in Fargo, North Dakota, who says right now my single biggest marketing challenge is that I am not meeting new customers, almost all my shows have been cancelled. And very few came to my last event, what’s the best alternative for finding new customers right now? Well, it’s a misnomer. New customers are the thing everybody wants to chase. We all tend to focus on new business all the time, but the people who bought from you are the best possible people to buy from you again, because they already have shown that they love your work and they’re willing to spend money for it, I would suggest a campaign that really reaches out to past buyers and makes them aware of things that you’ve done recently. Because that’s really where the money lies. And probably more than new customers, new customers are a challenge because you got to find them, you got to reach them, you got to sell them, you got to teach them about yourself, then you got to find people to love them. And of course, if you want new customers a place to go is where there’s a deep rich group of people who love the kind of art that you do. And that’s places like plein air magazine, or Fine Art connoisseur or other things like that, where you can find a concentrated group of people who buy art, you can also focus on doing some things locally shows will come back and and of course, people start coming to events again. But in the meantime, I would go after existing customers because they’re a lot easier to sell.
Eric Rhoads 1:07:11
Now, here’s a question from Matthew Calavera in Lincoln, Nebraska, who says I love to paint nocturnes, but I don’t know if there’s a specific market for this. If there is how do I find my way into it? Well, you guys are asking a lot of the same questions. And I think the answer to that is don’t look for the market. Let the market find you. If you love to paint nocturnes, then that’s what you should paint. And if that’s if you’re painting for a market if you’re trying to paint because you know people are going to buy little red barns and you don’t love painting little red barns I highly recommend against that. It’s going to show in your work. I remember there was a an artist who decided he was going to conquer the western market and he started painting all this Western stuff. And you could just tell his heart was not into it. You know, if somebody’s hearts into it, you can see it in their work. And so if you love Nocturnes paint Nocturnes you know, Carl Gretzke does paint other things. But he’s known as the Nocturne guy, and he he sells a lot of Nocturnes a lot of people buy him. So is there a place you can go? Is there like a Nocturnes magazine? No, no, you’re gonna go after people who love great paintings. And if you find people who love great paintings, in certain places, that’s where you want to be you want to be doing art shows you want to be promoting locally, you want to be promoting nationally, I think every artist should have a local international strategy. Because, you know, let’s say that you live, you know, at the time I’m recording this quarantine is still going on in California, right? So if you can’t get out in California, people can’t get out in California, that’s your only gallery you got a little bit of a problem. And that’s your local market. So but if you had a gallery in, say, Florida and Florida is open, then everybody’s out and about and business as usual. So you can make sure that you have a local international strategy have two or three galleries in two or three different places where there’s stuff that’s going to sell and that will make a big difference. And so rather than trying to find a specific market for Nocturne, somebody asked a question last week about finding a specific market for for modern or abstract kind of things. And I kind of had the same same answer. You know, abstract is a little bit broader. So you might find a place where you can advertise and get to abstract people. But advertising is key if you really want to get seen. Anyway, hope that answers your question. Thanks for asking about marketing.
This has been a marketing minute with Eric Rhoads. You can learn more at artmarketing.com.
Eric Rhoads 1:09:42
I want to tell you guys that I’m on online every day at 12 noon eastern time I’m going on just to be there for you guys. I’ve got a lot of different artists I’ve been interviewing with doing art marketing, we’re doing art shows we’re doing all kinds of things 12 noon on Facebook, my facebook or streamline art video, Facebook and also What’s on YouTube on streamline art video plus we’re giving out three 3pm everyday video samples of some of the things that we’ve produced and so you can go on there and find them. I want to remind you guys that Realism Live is coming up and you want to sign up for this, at least if do nothing else, go and look at the website. It’s five days if you include the beginner’s day, even if you don’t do anything else. If you’re a beginner go to the beginner’s day. This is worldwide. We have people all over the world. I think 30 countries now signed up, we got like 15 or 20, just in Australia alone. Anyway, it is very cool. It’s realismlive.com. And it’s coming up on the 20th, fall color week is coming up next week on the 12th. And so if you want to get in the car and come up to New Hampshire and get online real quick, see if you can get a room but come to fall color week. It’s an event that we do and everything’s included your room, your meals, etc. I might not have a badge for you this late, but you can try and see if we can get you in. Alright. Anyway, thank you guys. Make sure you enter your paintings in the plein air salon. Also, if you’ve not seen my blog about life and art and other things. It’s called Sunday coffee. You can find it at coffeewitheric.com this is always fun. We’ll do it again sometime like next week, God willing. I’ll see you then I’m Eric Rhoads, publisher and founder of Plein Air magazine and you can find us online at outdoorpainter.com. Remember, it’s a big world out there a big big world. Go paint it. We’ll see you. 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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