Welcome to the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads. In this episode Eric interviews Josh Clare, who shares the surprising advice he got about how to excel at painting and experience substantial growth as an artist; the first thing he looks for when beginning a plein air painting; studio vs plein air landscapes; saving a painting that wasn’t working; and more.
Bonus! Eric Rhoads, author of Make More Money Selling Your Art, explains if non-conventional ways to get your art seen, and if collectors might consider certain painting processes to be “cheating,” in this week’s Art Marketing Minute.
Listen to the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads and Josh Clare here:
– Josh Clare online: https://www.joshclare.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 192. Today we’re featuring the amazing Josh Clare.
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 0:03
Thank you Jim Kipping. And welcome to the Plein Air Podcast. I am Eric Rhoads. And as we speak, I am at fall color week in New Hampshire. We’re there to paint the incredible leaves. I’m pre recording this, of course. And so I’m not actually there now, but I’ll be there by the time you listen to this. And it’s a retreat where we paint the fall leaves and we’re going to have a great time. I hope you’ll you’ll join us sometime for fall color week in the fall or in the spring in the Adirondacks publisher’s Invitational. It’s just a retreat where we paint so that’s pretty cool. I want to mention to you, just as a reminder, right around the corner is realismlive. It is our virtual realism conference. First time we’ve ever done a conference, the first time anybody’s ever done a conference that includes things like portrait figures still life landscape, plein air, flowers, and many, many other subject matters. And we got some of the world’s leading experts, including the great Odd Nerdrum. And of course Marc Dalessio and Eric Koeppel, and many other landscape painters, and you will not want to miss this. Remember that as a plein air painter we’re informed by the things we learn and grow. You want to learn still life you want to learn figure in portrait, these things will make you better at all things. All right, so another thing you want to do is go to realismlive.com and get signed up at least check it out. And there’s a beginner’s day on the 20th of October. And even if you do nothing else, and you want to learn the beginning basics of those topics, go to the beginner’s day, at realismlive.com. I also want to mention to you guys that the plein air convention is going to take place and it is going to take place in Denver this year. Before COVID it was record numbers, we’re almost sold out. And now words getting out that we’re probably going to be able to go everything’s gonna be fine. We have 100% Money Back Guarantee in the event that we do have to cancel or you have to cancel. But please know we’re going forward to the plein air convention. And the super early bird deadline price expires on Black Friday. So get in there, get it now there’s still plenty of seats. But if we have to socially distance, then we’re almost sold out already. If we don’t have to, then we’ll be able to add more seats. So check that out. I also want to mention to you that we’ve got an event called Watercolor Live coming up in January. And you can learn more about the greats there at watercolorlive.com So the three things to remember realismlive.com, pleinairconvention.com and watercolorlive.com. Also in this podcast with Josh Clare, I mentioned Russia, and I’m taking a group of people to Russia and so you’ll want to learn about that it’s at paintrussia.com. All right. In the next issue of plein air magazine, we’ve got a article called out of India. It’s about painting and in India prior to COVID and sketching and paintings from the trip. It’s gonna be pretty cool. You want to see that. Also, in the Plein Air Today newsletter this week, we’re gonna be talking about some of the Salon winners. We recently gave away the plein air salon competition winner for the year, which was really a wonderful event. And if you haven’t seen that online yet you go to pleinairsalon.com. And you can see that after the interview, I’m going to be answering art marketing questions in the art marketing minute. But first let’s get to this incredible painter Josh Clare. Josh Clare, welcome to the plein air podcast.
Josh Clare 4:27
Eric Rhoads 4:28
I am really looking forward to this because I’m a real big fan of your work. I guess you could almost say a groupie.
Josh Clare 4:36
Eric Rhoads 4:38
Yeah. So Josh, why don’t you for the benefit of people who are listening around the world in 30, 40 different countries. Somebody people might not know exactly what you do. How would you describe yourself?
Josh Clare 4:57
That’s a really great question. I would say describe myself as the guy who’s learning to paint fairly.
Eric Rhoads 5:05
And how would you describe your paintings?
Josh Clare 5:10
Impressionistic and realistic? Impressionist realism. Something along those lines. Okay.
Eric Rhoads 5:19
All right, terrific. Well, how did this all begin for you, Josh? What when did this painting journey start?
Josh Clare 5:30
So, it I feel like my journey was a bit unique, right? I drew, all growing up, and I loved it was kind of, I think my art addiction started with Disney movies, actually. So Glen Keane, if you’ve heard of him, the animator, the legendary animator Glen Keane, who was kind of a key animator on Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Little Mermaid. And those were, I was eight or nine or 10 years old, when those are coming out and just thought, man, I could draw like that someday, then I’d be happy, and just spent my time doodling. But didn’t take it super seriously. It was just something that I loved. And so it wasn’t until college that I took a painting course and started to kind of think more. Well, I got married. And then I thought, Man, what am I going to do for a living? And I started looking more deeply into the art world. I knew that I needed something for my spirit. I needed something creative. I’d loved it so much. I wanted it so bad. So I tried graphic design. Tried illustration. I liked them both. It’s fun to create. But having a boss was very hard on me having that having someone else call the shots.
Eric Rhoads 6:58
I’m the same. I can’t be managed.
Josh Clare 7:03
Yeah, and thank goodness for internships because I really enjoyed graphic design. But the moment a guy that I thought had very poor taste, you always think that right? If, the guy over you makes decisions that anyway, but he wasn’t an art guy, he was just a business guy. And he was calling shots on creative things, creative decisions that it’s making. It is not…[I thought] this is horrible. I can’t do this. So that internship was a huge blessing. And it turned me around and it started me looking for. And what was going to work for me in the art world. And so about a junior in college, and never been to gallery never been to an art museum. And we took as my first painting class, oil 101. We’re up at BYU Idaho.
Eric Rhoads 7:59
I know BYU and Wrangler has a fabulous art program. They have a good program up in Idaho as well.
Josh Clare 8:07
Fantastic. It was dreamy. Actually, it was so good. One of the best realist programs in the nation. And I just kind of stumbled into it. It was so good. And yes, that first class, we’re about an hour from Jackson Hole, Wyoming. And we drove in and went to the wildlife Museum, the galleries and and very naively I saw prices on paintings. I thought, holy cow, this is fantastic. I’ll just do this. I’ll just make paintings look so easy. Yeah. Well, and, I love it was so fun to see them. There was Bill Anton and me on YouTube, and just some killer pieces and trailside and legacy. And I thought, man, these are, this is it, I want to do this and I’ll be the boss, you know. So that’s when I that’s when I found fine art. Halfway through college. And then, I was lucky enough to have just a fantastic education, first of all, and then to have professional artists close. Like Scott Christensen lives 30 minutes away, and he came over and did a, lecture or any other show in the gallery there. He kind of shared with us just how difficult like he told us that he felt like he started learning the paint and learning to see after 2000 paintings is what he said 2000 paintings in life. And so I knew it was I had that in my mind right from the outset that this is going to be I’ve got to get out. Got to paint from life and got to work really hard. So that’s what I started doing. And I worked really hard for a couple years till I graduated, gotten to a gallery just months after I graduated. And that’s that’s how we started
Eric Rhoads 9:59
Wow. Then the rest, as they say, is history.
Josh Clare 10:03
Yeah, kind of, I mean, I got into galleys design work, but I was teaching part time there at the university. And so that was really the miracle. That’s what carried, carried us. And I was able to support my family with that part time teaching job, and then gallery, so it’s just a bonus for a while. And once the gallery sells got to a point where we could do it, we went, okay, let’s try this.
Eric Rhoads 10:30
That’s it. You know, that’s a really encouraging story, I would think for a lot of people listening to know that. I know it’s not easy. And it didn’t happen overnight. But to know that it can happen like that. It’s very encouraging. What is the best advice that you would give to your former self, the newest, the the young, college age guy who decided that he wanted to become an artist? Looking back at your art training, looking back at the beginnings of your art career? What would you change? Or do differently, if anything? Or what’s the advice that you would give yourself now?
Josh Clare 11:11
So the advice that really made it for me, I think that the changed everything, and that made it work was Bill Anton, actually an email to Bill Anton. And I sent him some of the work and just said, I love so much what you do. And I actually asked him, Hey, can I like, apprentice with you? or anything like that? Could I, you know, come study with you? And he said, No, you don’t want to study with me. And he said, get out and paint. He said, his single bit of advice was take your act outside. And he said, within, a couple of years, if you get outside paint from life, and you’ll be painting circles around your peers. So there were those two, I that Scott Christensen, tell me 2000 paintings from life and Bill say, get out and paint from life. And so I got out painting.
Eric Rhoads 12:03
And it’s just as simple as following somebody’s advice.
Josh Clare 12:09
Yeah, yeah. I look at my paintings over those years. And the big growth happened when I was painting. Really, consistently, and But more than that, I’d say diligently, like really focused painting from my really purposeful and intense painting.
Eric Rhoads 12:35
Well, I think that makes a huge amount of difference. And we’ve had that similar story so many times now. And that seems to be the one thing that that really pulls it all together is just getting out. And of course, that’s why this is the plein air podcast, not the landscape podcast.
Josh Clare 12:54
Exactly. That’s the thing, get out and paint from life. And that’s when the real growth I think happens.
Eric Rhoads 13:02
Yeah, it’s fun to watch people go through that too, because you can watch somebody I remember when Richard Lindenberg left his full time job. And he was, painting on the nights and weekends. And when he did that, the first thing he did is he went up and he apprenticed with Scott for a week helped him out. And then and then he just painted all day, every day. And to watch the growth happen in two years, the growth spurt was phenomenal. Just because, he was following that protocol. And I think that’s your advice is the best possible protocol anybody could offer.
Josh Clare 13:48
And, yeah, that’s key. That’s really key.
Eric Rhoads 13:51
Well, now that you’ve answered all the questions, I guess we’re done.
Josh Clare 13:55
There it is. Yeah, it is.
Eric Rhoads 13:58
So in terms of, people like to understand some ideas or thoughts on paintings, your paintings have a certain je ne sais quoi about them? There’s an essence to your paintings that have a spirit in them there. They seem to be rich with story. And there’s something that you’re doing that’s creating that. Are you simply going out and reflecting what you see from life? Or are you you’re really putting a lot of time and thought and effort into developing these paintings before you paint them. What are you doing?
Josh Clare 14:44
So yeah, I’ve found that for myself. And this is something that I think it’s important to say to this audience to the plein air audience that my time outdoors is best spent just really stuck. Learning. And that happens the most when I’m not trying to create a finished piece. But something that, that just taking notes. So very careful color and value notes is what I try to do when I’m outside. And if I can do that on a small scale, like a really small scale even I find that, it’s more truthful, it’s more accurate. Because as we all know, from painting outdoors, things happen so quickly. And so I think it was, I’ve quoted thrive for years is saying, if you’re painting more than five or 10 minutes outside, you’re lying. But I haven’t actually found the quote. So I’ll have to find that for sure. But yeah, just really small sketches from life is what I do a lot of, and I bring those back into the studio, and, take a look at, I’ll do those from photos as well, actually. And I’ve painted enough from life. That, like Matt Smith does this really well, where he can take a photo that’s just really bad, like, really bad color, kind of a gross little photo, but he knows what it should look like he’s been outside so much that he can, he can make it look right from a poor photo. So I’ll do those little sketches from photos that I’ve taken in the field as well. And those, those are what guide me like when one works. And, I can see that kind of … when you look at 30 sketches on the floor or whatever, you can pick out your favorite ones, it’s not hard. And those are the ones that I’ll take further, go bigger, and find the design and kind of start the studio work to make paintings after.
Eric Rhoads 16:49
Yeah. Now talk to me about your process. Are you when you go out and you whether you’re doing thumbnail sketches, whether you’re doing other things? Or I mean, whether you’re doing finished? or not, maybe not a finished piece, but a full painting versus a quick study? Are you do you do thumbnail sketches first, do you want to help us understand your process when you’re? You know, first off, you find the scene? What do you do when you find the scene?
Josh Clare 17:26
So it’s taken quite a few years. This is part of learning to see outdoors for me is learning to choose. Choose select that is such a massive part of going from life. And for years and years colors seduced me and I would select a scene something to paint. And I’d get done and I’d go madness absolutely no total arrangement, that sign is it’s non existent. I just went after color again. And so the longer I paint, the more I become interested in shapes, dark and light shapes. And that’s what I go for first, when I’m outdoors. I’m looking for composition, looking for interesting arrangement and pattern of shape. I don’t do I haven’t ever done thumbnails from life, which is shameful. I’m so sorry.
Eric Rhoads 18:15
I don’t think there’s a right or wrong, as some people do and some people don’t.
Josh Clare 18:20
Yeah, so here’s the way I work is very, very intuitive. And kind of from the gut, I guess I don’t do I’m not careful. I don’t do a lot of planning or preliminary. Even on my big stuff in the studio. I’m happiest when I just jump into it and just make it happen while I go. Which is strange because that involves a lot of repainting, right? Because it’s very, very rare that the shapes just work right from the start. But I just have to attack the canvas, just go for it, get stuff down and then start start to mold it manipulate it, it’s like a treat painting a little bit more like sculpture than well, much more like sculpture than watercolor. If that makes sense. It’s not careful and not planned. It’s just like, slap a whole bunch of clay on the armature and mush it around until it works. I select something that has some interesting tonal arrangement, some interesting shapes to play with. And then I just attack it.
Eric Rhoads 19:31
…And seeing your your paintings in person. I happen to see a friend of mine was a collector of your work and I happen to see a lot of your paintings in his house one day and that I didn’t look very closely but I didn’t feel like it was big, thick buildup of paint. But is that are you are you sculpting paint. Are you doing a lot of thick buildup?
Josh Clare 19:58
Yes. So It kind of depends sometimes in my snowscapes there’ll be a lot of thin passages and just a few kind of select pick passages. So that may have been what you saw, but, and it also it kind of depends on like how early the paintings were to earlier I was using more medium. And so the paintings weren’t as heavily painted. But yeah, I do use a lot of paint. And I’m able to control edges and everything a lot better that way. There’s a lot of paint on.
Eric Rhoads 20:39
So you mentioned snow painting. Something a lot of us don’t get a chance to do but we, if we’re doing it, we’re oftentimes doing it from a photograph. Some people are willing to get out and, and paint outdoors. Are you getting out? plein air painting in the snow?
Josh Clare 20:59
Yeah, so my quick snow story for everybody is I’ve painted a lot in the snow. And it’s it’s difficult. It’s they’re really nice days. And they’re really horrible days. I’ve had just kind of those amazing moments in the spring when you’re just all alone. And all you can hear is the snow dripping as it melts off the pine. And it’s a comfortable temperature and you can see your palette and see your surface and it just all goes beautifully. And then I’ve had absolutely horrific, glory days, or just freezing cold days. So I had an experience up in Montana painting with a bunch of friends. Where it was just it was a bad day to be painting was a bad day. It was already you know, below freezing. And then there is a nasty wind that was just horrible. It wasn’t even good looking. Good. I mean, the spot we were in the light was just bad. And they were all there together anyway. It was horrible, just horrible. And but, we were all there painting. We just kind of all did it because they’re there and I muscled through this like to our painting that was a disaster. And, I didn’t keep my gloves on. I took my gloves off after a bit and I just had like my little rubber gloves on my rag hand. Anyway, we went back to the restaurant to eat and my fingers like they were numb, and they stayed numb, and they stayed numb, and I dipped them in hot water and they stayed numb and I had frost nip I had none I had like dead tips of my fingers for a month and a half is a nightmare. And I thought I’m such an idiot. That was that was the stupidest I was so stupid. And so that’s changed my winter painting quite a bit. I’m just not so stupid anymore. I select my winter painting base carefully and a lot of times I do paint from a photo. And if you look enough, right if you just spend time outside looking something so my advice I guess for those who are interested in painting snowmen on Sundays just go out and sit in the snow and keep your nice keep your hands and like toasty little gloves with hand warmers and be comfortable and just paint it in your mind and then sometimes what I’ll do as well is come like right into the studio immediately after looking and painted from the photo so that it’s just fresh and anyway I’m just less dumb these days so don’t be dumb when you’re painting outside in the cold that’s the word.
Eric Rhoads 23:46
We do this thing called fall color week and we did a event up in Banff and Lake Louise we’ll do another one someday and of all things, they had the hundred year storm and we ended up having snow and of course none of us were really prepared for it but we we painted in the snow and something I don’t ever get to do and I fell in love with it because the the color that you think is going to be there as is oftentimes a lot different than what you get once once you see it you study it colors a lot yeah for so have you developed any any ideas or thoughts on painting snow. There are some people who always say, paint what you see. And there are others who say no, you always want to keep your shadows cool or your shadows warm. Is there any principle that you’ve kind of figured out for painting snow?
Josh Clare 24:42
I found that if you push it high key a little bit, it reads better it feels more correct. So yeah, I painted it a lot and when like my paintings, if they’re toned down even a notch and this is like some really subtle like, it’s not three or four value steps, it’s like one or half a value step. But if you push it up just that little bit more in the shadows, and then you kind of blow out your lights a little bit like push really, really close to white, pure white in the lights.
Eric Rhoads 25:15
So what you’re saying is make the shadows brighter than you see.
Josh Clare 25:22
Well, yeah, actually. That’s probably really good advice for everybody. I see them that bright. Now, but that is a common tendency I find in snow paintings is that people see a lot of contrast, just heavy contrast, right, because it’s so blindingly bright. But yeah, if you’re painting the shadows lighter, you’ll feel feel more like it looks, you know, feel more correct.
Eric Rhoads 25:49
Yeah, I would think that for me, the idea is paint small think fast. Get out of there.
Josh Clare 25:57
Eric Rhoads 25:58
There’s these people who managed to stay out there for long periods of time, I don’t know how they do it. I mean, even with good boots and good gloves and great everything, hand warmers, you know, I still am freezing.
Josh Clare 26:12
Yeah, yeah. And, I just found that it’s more value, like a small sketch with some really truthful. There’s something about when you’re hurry to, that creates an energy and the beauty in the painting. So I mean, I’m happier with what I do. And it informs and helps the studio work a lot more if I’m just working quick. Three smalls instead of 112 by 16, that you really work out is usually a better choice.
Eric Rhoads 26:45
So how does your studio work vary from your plein air work? Are you trying to capture the same level of energy? Are you doing more more depth more detail? Explain what you’re doing your studio.
Josh Clare 27:01
Just a ton of experimentation. Honestly, I love surface quality. And so oh man, I’ll spend like a couple months working on just build up with paint, like trying to lay something down, let it try and come over and come over and come over it and see what I can make happen. And then like you said, Sometimes they’ll try to treat it more. Like I’m painting from life really energetic and really quick and wet on wet and just finished as I go. I’m just trying to discover. Like my nature, trying to be really honest with myself and and ask myself when I’m happiest when I paint I found that if I’m if I’m in a good place, if it’s drudgery for me, right? If I’m like, man, I got to make this thing work. The painting feels like that. So I’m never happy with it never works. And anyway, so another super patient painter, and I keep trying to make a painting, but I just work and work and work on and make it work. And that’s been difficult for me, I’m generally a lot more pleased with it. If I if I attack it with a little more of that kind of immediacy that you get from your outdoors, that sense of urgency? So but yeah, like I’m constantly experimenting with pushing myself the other direction. I think I have kind of that. That’s definitely one of my weaknesses is I have this strange desire to be able to paint like every human that’s ever put paint on canvas. And then choose what I’m going to paint like, right? So I have this I’m constantly going on love the way I love what they’re achieving with that and then I’ll work to try to be able to do that. And then I’ll find that it’s nothing like the way I naturally think and naturally faint and go back to the way I do things and doing…
Eric Rhoads 29:10
Experimentation is half the fun.
Josh Clare 29:14
Yeah, and informs what I do later and I learned all kinds of things so it’s it’s good, I think but it also can be a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I just have a real desire to make really great things you know, so I’m constantly pushing in that pushing is uncomfortable. And it can be discouraging because it leads to a lot of stinkers a lot of failed paintings, right because you’re trying new things and doing what you’re not naturally good at.
Eric Rhoads 29:47
So how do you deal with the stinkers? you scrape them down and keep working them? Do you put them away and work on them again later? What do you do?
Josh Clare 29:58
Yeah, so shotgun, I’ll thrown in the trash can and just start again. I’ve got stacks and stacks in the studio that occasionally I’ll pull out and revisit and see if I can. Sometimes a year later, two years later, even you pull something out. And, you have that courage again to go. Okay, I think, let’s do this, I think I can finish it. And those will turn into some of my favorite pieces. A lot of times.
Eric Rhoads 30:27
How big are you working in the studio?
Josh Clare 30:31
I’m pretty big. I mean, 48 inches by 48 inches, or 36 by 48 is kind of a I like working on that scale. And so I’ll do my smalls are generally, I like the 12 by 16 ish range. And then my mediums are in the 24, 30, 24, 24 range. And then I just go straight up to big to four foot or five foot.
Eric Rhoads 31:01
Oh, sounds like fun.
Josh Clare 31:03
And three, it’s super fun. If you haven’t, attacked a big canvas. It’s just a pleasure.
Eric Rhoads 31:11
Well, I never have done a four footer or five footer I’ve done 30 by 40. But nothing bigger than that. Is there a big difference in the way that you paint them? Somebody told me the other day. I think it was Jove Wang. I think he said, big painting small brushes, small painting big brushes, which is the opposite of what?
Josh Clare 31:39
That’s super interesting. Yeah.
Eric Rhoads 31:42
And I’ve been pondering that trying to figure out what the heck he meant. And I think what he meant is that, in the bigger paintings, you have more opportunity for detail, I suppose.
Josh Clare 31:55
Right? There is. And that’s interesting that he said that because I was thinking about I did a really big like a 48 by 72 commission on this year. And I got out like a two inch or three or no, it’s bigger than that. It’s like a four inch chip brush, kind of like a house painting brush, but bristles. And I make huge puddles of paint and I treated it like it was 24 by 30, or whatever. And it was fun to do. Really fun to do. But it didn’t read. It didn’t read correctly, like you don’t. And you don’t step far enough away from a huge painting like that for four inch brush to read correctly. So I think I see what he’s saying where I had to come in with smaller brushes and really refine a lot of those big broad marks that I’ve made. Because you’re up close to it. And so it looks a mess unless you get into it a little more.
Eric Rhoads 33:01
Well, that’ll be a good challenge for all of us to try that too. So I think we should all go out and buy a five foot stretched canvas.
Josh Clare 33:10
See what happens? Yeah, we’ll report back. Yeah, okay.
Eric Rhoads 33:14
Yeah. Now, how much teaching are you doing?
Josh Clare 33:19
I do one workshop from my studio here in paradise here did in the spring. And then I’ll usually say yes to like one or two other engagements. And I do have a problem saying no, actually. So especially, I mean, someone calls and says, Hey, would you like to teach plein air in France? or Spain or whatever? I’m like, Yes. Yes, I would. I would be fantastic.
Eric Rhoads 33:47
Sure would. Yes. all expenses paid, please.
Josh Clare 33:50
That’s right. So it turns into about three workshops here.
Eric Rhoads 33:56
Yeah. Well, that’s actually quite a few when you think about it, because of the commitment that it requires. Yeah. And what are you finding that the common threads that you’re seeing and workshops that you’re trying to help people overcome?
Josh Clare 34:15
Fear. I hear that is the thing. Yeah. People are worried, they’re timid in their painting, and that ruins everything. And I’ve got it. She’s four years old. Now. My little girl, Emily. It has taught me so much about painting. I have her out there and I squirted out a whole bunch of oil paint for her and I just watch her and it’s just a joyous thing. I’ve actually been doing a bunch of abstracts the past couple of weeks, and like trying to channel a little bit of that just just have fun. That inner me that just loves making something, because we all had it when we were little but people come to workshops and they’ve almost entirely quench that part of them that’s fearless and that loves to just make marks and they’re worried about, you know what they’re going to what their peers what’s everyone else in the workshop going to think of this painting? And anyway and so their paintings are they just they just reek of uncertainty, right? You can smell it, it gets stuck in the paint and they’re timid and they’re nervous and the strokes look that way. And anyway, so I try to help them well, we go small, we go really small on the workshop and big brush, right juggling big brush little canvas. And, and I go Don’t worry if the drawings off. Don’t worry if you don’t like the composition, like we’re not out here to make masterpieces. We’re out here to learn. And try to get them back to a place where they’re just more fearless, more confident and more joyful outside, and that changes everything.
Eric Rhoads 36:05
Well, that’s a great observation. We all fall in love with our work. If we, especially if we do something that we really like that, we’re like, wow, I really nailed that tree. And then, you spend all your time preserving that tree and working around it, doesn’t work. But yeah, it’s very easy. I think that’s an important lesson getting overcoming the fear. Thank you for that. Yeah.
Josh Clare 36:33
Yep, I think it’s super key.
Eric Rhoads 36:36
So what’s the big goal for you? Have you have you ever had something, that you’ve been thinking about that? It’s like, I gotta do this. This is, something that’s really important for me to do in my lifetime or my career. Whether it has to do with painting or or something else?
Josh Clare 36:58
Yeah, so my artistic my artistic dreams are big. They’re lofty, like, I have always been in love with the Russian itinerant movement with Levitan. Shishkin and…Repin. Anyway, there’s tons of them. There’s just, they’re their bunkers. They’re fantastic. Masters, and they made these paintings. I think the 48 by 72 is big. Like, try try nine foot by 12 foot, right? 500 figures or whatever, you know, there are 30 feet. It’s so fearless. And so man, the paintings make me so happy. So I’ve always wanted that. I’ve wanted more in my paintings. landscape, for me has been a way to learn how to paint I love the landscape. But I can’t spend my whole life. Just painting landscapes. So this is kind of a critical point in my career. I feel like where I’m trying to figure out trying to find how Josh paints the figure in the landscape. And I have you know, big stories I come from a pioneer stock, right? The people that traveled out west and settled this area are my ancestors. And so telling their story is something that I’m really passionate about what I’m excited about. And yeah, that involves much more complex paintings with, with figures and animals and just a lot going on. So I feel like my, it’s been like 13 years, unbelievably, since I graduated college, it just blows my mind. But, this 13 years has been so good, as I’ve pushed and grown and tried to learn how to see and how to paint. And I’ve got a lot more of that growing to do. But I could spend my whole life just trying to get just trying to get better. And that is not going to be sufficient. I have to start to become that Russian that’s way deep down inside me and push myself on these bigger, more complex.
Eric Rhoads 39:20
Well, you’re gonna have to, if you have you been to Russia.
Josh Clare 39:25
I have it was it was just a dreamy couple of weeks. The Tretyakov and Russian State Museum…
Eric Rhoads 39:35
…Best museums in the world. And in terms of seeing those kinds of things. I’m taking a group of 50 artists in September of 21 for two weeks in the fall. We’re gonna paint in St. Petersburg. We’re gonna paint in the small villages. And we’re gonna paint in Moscow. And we’re doing a private tour, we have a private entry into the Hermitage. But we also have, we’re going to be going to the Russian State Museum, we’re going to be going to the Tretyakov Museum, and we’re going to be meeting with and hanging out with Russian painters, some who are going to hang with us the whole time, and these people know how to do it. And, that’s part of their training, when they graduate, they have to have a graduate project where they have to do giant multi figure paintings. Some of the great, you see that we’re done by some of these people that you’ve mentioned. A lot of them were their graduate projects, of course, when they graduate. I mean, they’re at a level so much higher than anything we’ve ever done.
Josh Clare 40:48
It’s amazing. Yeah, Leppin’s or Fechin’s graduate piece. Oh, my heavens
Eric Rhoads 40:53
Fechin’s, It’s unbelievable.
Josh Clare 40:57
Yeah, it really is. Yeah, they inspire me. And I think that movement more than any other, those men and women that that painted those masterpieces. I’m like, that’s what I want to be when I grow up. I want to be that fearless. And that. Yeah, just that confident and joyful. In my work. It’s beautiful.
Eric Rhoads 41:20
Well, I think that’s a terrific thing to strive for. And I think it makes a lot of sense. Certainly would be fun to see what you what you come up with. So I think, we’re all going to challenge you now as you need to go out and buy a 10 foot stretched canvas. We’ll start we’ll start small with 10 feet. And we’ll you don’t have to put in more than 20 fingers.
Josh Clare 41:44
No, that is a good challenge. I like it. I’ll do that. I’ll just, yeah.
Eric Rhoads 41:48
And, you can do the stagecoaches crossing the past and seeing the Utah Valley or the Salt Lake Valley for the first time. And, you can have have Brigham Young saying, This is the place. Isn’t that what he said?
Josh Clare 42:06
Yeah, that’s it. There’s actually, so my next show, there’s a bunch of pioneers who went down and settled. And, like the Moab area of the state, and their story of taking wagons to those canyons is unbelievable. And he has so such an inspiring story and the paintings that are possible from this thing of like, it’s it’s one of the most beautiful places on the planet. So yeah, I’ll do that man. 10 foot canvas. Here it goes.
Eric Rhoads 42:42
All right, good. We’ll all be looking for you to finish it. We won’t put any time limit on you though.
Josh Clare 42:51
Okay, good. Good. Yeah, those guys worked a long time on those. So I’ll do the same.
Eric Rhoads 42:56
So, in terms of best advice, the two questions I get the most from our listeners are. What’s the best possible way to train yourself to learn plein air painting? I think you’ve answered that. Yeah. And then the second one is, what’s the best possible way to bring yourself to the higher level because we all tend to get to a point where we get stuck. And we don’t feel like we’re, we’re growing at a higher level. How do you get there?
Josh Clare 43:26
Right? I think, as I’m looking back on my own progression, and the times when I progressed the most, I think a key for me was repetition. So like, maybe painting for me, it was heads had painting, right. And it was a very similar lighting condition. And it was three times a week, three hours of sitting. And three years, I’ve just like three heads, weeks, same light, same situation, just boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. And I think that really, rapidly increased my growth, because it was the same problem over and over again, and I wasn’t solving it, but it took that kind of time attacking the same problem to really start to solve it. And so I think maybe, like with plein air painter who’s going to Banff and then painting snow and the coast and then, that’s kind of what we tend to do. We just, we roam and we’d love to see new things and tackling but if you really want to grow paint your backyard every day for the next two years, every single day. And I think for me anyway, that was critical to really rapid growth.
Eric Rhoads 44:48
That’s great advice. And you’re because you’re gonna see it differently every single day.
Josh Clare 44:54
Oh, yeah, you’ll really come to understand it and see much much deeper than You do if you’re just, we have kind of an Instagram ish mentality. Right? We’re so quickly on to the next thing. Next thing. Next thing next thing so, so easily bored. So, by that repetition of just paint this it’s going to be different every day super super subtle, beautiful differences that you won’t see unless you look at it every day. So yeah, that’s my advice.
Eric Rhoads 45:26
Great advice. Well, Josh Clare, this has been fabulous having you on the Plein Air podcast. Thank you so much for being on today.
Josh Clare 45:32
Yeah, it’s been a pleasure. Thanks, Eric.
Eric Rhoads 45:34
Well, thank you again to Josh Claire. What a really nice man and what a great painter and I’m really excited. I think he’ll accept the challenge we’ll do, you get him to do a really big painting. I think we should all try it. I think it’d be fun. All right, 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 46:00
In the marketing minute I answer your art marketing questions you can email yours to [email protected] com. I never see the questions before I read them now as I’m reading to you. So I’m making it up off the top of my head. So sometimes I stumble a bit but I try to give you a marketing advice from my decades of experience. This one comes from Zion Moore in Richmond, Virginia who asked what are some of the non conventional venues where artists can show our work? How can we Zig when everyone else is zagging? Well, that’s a principle that I teach is, when everybody else is doing one thing? Do you want to do what everybody else is doing? Why not do something different? Well, you can think in terms of non conventional things. Well, first off, I would ask myself this question, Who buys paintings? Who’s most likely to buy paintings? And where do those people hang out? Right. And so I was thinking about this one the other day, as a matter of fact, car dealers, if let’s say you sell really, really expensive paintings, why not do a show at the Bentley dealer, or at the Lexus dealer or the Mercedes dealer, so you bring it down a notch. But the idea is that you are focusing on going to places where people hang out, if I have my car and I have to go into the dealer, and I have to sit in the waiting room for an hour waiting for them to change the oil or the tires or something? Why not do a show in a place like that? Where else could you go? Now I would say a laundry mat, not probably a great idea. Because first off, it’s not necessarily going to be people who are going to have the money. Typically people using laundry mats don’t have the money to buy paintings, maybe they do some do some don’t. But, where are people spending time they’re spending time in doctor’s offices, especially like plastic surgeons that people who get plastic surgery tend to be people who have a little bit more money. So think in terms of where do wealthy people hang out? Country clubs, golf clubs, there are lots of different places like that. Of course, it’s all changed with COVID certainly fancy restaurants, but look for places where I my my famous saying is stand in the river where the money is flowing. And you can do that and be unconventional not just do what everyone else is doing.
Eric Rhoads 48:14
All right. Here’s a question from Kelli Watson in Cleveland, Ohio. I was just in Cleveland recently. Kelly, she says I worry about what collectors would think about my process. Specifically, is it considered cheating? Or is it okay to use Photoshop when coming up with color combinations or comp composition concepts? Well, I suppose Kelly, it depends on who you ask. And if you ask me, it’s not a problem. Now, there are people who will say, well, it’s not right to use a projector, because you’re projecting the image onto a big canvas to blow it up or something. I’m not so much a purist, I think what matters is that you get a great painting. And that, when photographs were first revealed, some of the great painters were using photographs, even people like Bouguereau, who was head of the essentially head of the the Bozar School in France, he was using photographs, because models are expensive. And, so you can use photographs, a lot of people use photographs to move objects around. And the whole idea is to create a beautiful painting. And so if you’re using Photoshop, or you’re using some iPad program, or some other thing to kind of figure out your composition and your colors and your color harmony, why not is, ultimately you’re going to do the painting and the painting is going to be what people see and how you do it really doesn’t matter what you do matters, and that’s doing something really fine. So I hope this helps and I hope these give you some ideas for for marketing.
This has been the marketing minute with Eric Rhoads. You can learn more at artmarketing.com
Eric Rhoads 49:56
Well, thanks again for listening today. I want to remind you guys We have the plein air convention coming up, just go to pleinairconvention.com. We also this next week realism live, you don’t want to miss that. It’s gonna be phenomenal. There’s 100% money back guarantee, if you watch the first day and you don’t feel like you got all your money’s worth in the first day, and remember, there’s five days including the beginner’s day, but if you watch the first day and you don’t dig it, let us know. We’ll give you your money back. You don’t have to watch the rest of the thing you won’t be able to because we’re going to cut the cord on you. But please know that it’s going to be that good. Just at least go to realism live and look and see who the faculty members are. While you’re looking while you’re cruising around. Go to watercolor live too and check that out. That’s coming up in January. Anyway, I hope you guys have a really terrific day. If you’ve not seen my blog where I talk about art and like life and other things. It’s called Sunday coffee and you can find it at coffeewitheric.com always fun doing this. We’ll do it again sometime like hopefully next week, God willing, we will see you then My name is Eric Rhoads. I’m the publisher and founder of Plein Air Magazine, and you can find us online at outdoorpainter.com. Remember, it’s a big world out there. 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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