Welcome to the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads. In this episode Eric interviews Nashville native Beverly Ford Evans on how she fell in love with painting wildlife en plein air; how to enhance the scene in front of you to create a better painting; how to get better at values, and much more.
“We’re not out there to, in my opinion, to copy, per se; we’re out there to create a memory, to evoke a memory for somebody else looking at the painting, to express what we’re feeling.” ~ Beverly Ford Evans
Bonus! In this week’s Art Marketing Minute, Eric Rhoads, author of Make More Money Selling Your Art, shares how to get your work known on a larger scale, and ideas for increasing the the price of your paintings.
Listen to the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads and Beverly Ford Evans here:
– Beverly Ford Evans online: https://beverlyfordevans.com/
– Watercolor Live: https://watercolorlive.com/register-now
– 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/
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 194. Today we’re featuring artist Beverly Ford Evans.
This is the Plein Air Podcast with Eric Rhoads, publisher and founder of Plein Air Magazine. In the Plein Air Podcast we cover the world of outdoor painting called plein air. The French coined the term which means open air or outdoors. The French pronounce it plenn air. Others say plein air. No matter how you say it. There is a huge movement of artists around the world who are going outdoors to paint and this show is about that movement. Now, here’s your host, author, publisher and painter, Eric Rhoads.
Eric Rhoads 0:56
Thank you Jim Kipping. And welcome everybody to the Plein Air Podcast. I don’t know about you. But it’s been pretty crazy. I’m ready for a little bit of peace and quiet. And I’m going to turn the TV off and stay off social media. I’m a little sick of everything. But anyway, getting outside the paint no matter what the temperature. That’s what I’m going to do. And I hope you’ll join me we’ll all go out. And we’ll just paint this week, let’s make it a point to get out and paint and gaze at some beauty. Because it’s just been so crazy. A couple of reminders. So first, the Plein Air Convention is going to be happening in May, at least we think so it promises to be the place we all reconnect. And it probably is going to be the biggest ever. It was actually the biggest ever before COVID we had to cancel so it’s going to be bigger, I suspect, but the price is going to be going up on Black Friday. So get the lowest price book at now. And if you’re not sure book it anyway, because you can hold the price and there’s 100% refund in the event you are we have to cancel because of COVID and so go ahead and book it. Look at the dates just go to pleinairconvention.com. Also the deadline for preserving the lowest price on Watercolor Live our virtual watercolor conference, which is four days of awesomeness coming up that same week, or I think the deadline is the 30th you’ll see the most amazing watercolor artist in the world and people like me who are experimenting with squash and watercolor because they don’t want to take paint with them everywhere they go. I’m really looking forward to learning from it. And we have headliner is Joseph Zbukvic, who is the greatest watercolor master in the world from Australia. We have instructors from all over the world and throughout the United States. And we’re going to have attendees, we had our last virtual conference, we had 27 different countries, so we’re probably gonna have a lot we’ve already got four or 500 of these sold. And so you want to grab a seat while you can it’s watercolorlive.com get your seat while you can. In the October November issue of Plein Air Magazine, we have a special feature on why acrylic is perfect for plein air. Six artists reveal how they make the most of the medium and why you should consider adding plein air acrylics into your toolbox and other alternative in case you don’t want to travel with mineral spirits and things like that. And this week in our newsletter, which comes out every week Plein Air Today, which if you’re not getting you should be getting, look for the article six keys to painting trees, that even rhymes, with character and dimension six keys to painting trees with character and dimension. And coming up after the interview I’m going to be answering your art marketing questions in the Art Marketing Minute but first let’s get right to this interview with a lovely lovely lady Beverly Ford Evans who is a Nashville native and inspired by the beauty of Tennessee. Beverly Ford Evans welcome to the Plein Air Podcast.
Beverly Ford Evans 3:48
Thank you, happy to be here.
Eric Rhoads 3:50
We’re happy to have you. We’re looking forward to learning all about you and getting to know you a little better. You and I of course know each other from our time together at the painting event in the Adirondacks. But yeah, this will be fun. We’ve never really had an in depth discussion about your your background and your career.
Beverly Ford Evans 4:08
No, we haven’t. This could be interesting.
Eric Rhoads 4:11
Yeah, well, I hope so. So how did this all begin for you Beverly, because I don’t have a feel for when you started painting or when you got interested in art.
Unknown Speaker 4:24
Well, I was always artsy craftsy, did art and sewing projects and you know, needlepoint and was very creative as a young young child through high school. And I was directed in the direction of being an interior designer after high school. Because you know, a girl needs to be able to make a living, right so instead of doing the going the art direction, my creative His direction went to interior design. And I worked in interior design till I was, gosh in my 40s. And just physically couldn’t I loved it. I had my own smile at the end, I had my own small design firm and did residential work and loved what I was doing. But physically just could not keep up anymore. I have had ruptured disc, I’ve had hip replacement, yada, yada, yada.
Eric Rhoads 5:37
Well, you’re moving furniture around.
Unknown Speaker 5:40
Yeah, and, carrying heavy samples and, climbing ladders, getting drapery song and all sorts of things. And so I it just really got to a point where I said, I can’t do this anymore. And I’ve always wanted to paint and I was in a position that I could could do that. So I made the leap and went straight to painting.
Eric Rhoads 6:10
So how does one make the leap?
Unknown Speaker 6:14
Well, the leap was a long leap, because it took a couple of years for me to wean my design clients off of me, like no, just one more room. And so I just started painting on my own with acrylics first because I had not painted in oils and forever and I would just a little afraid of them didn’t know how to use them. And that I’m just gonna start with acrylics. And that was fine, but it wasn’t satisfying for me. And so I took a class at Cheekwood, which is a botanical art gardens and Art Center here in Nashville on Wednesdays, and got introduced reintroduced back into oils, and just fell in love with it. And as a designer I had been selling local artists were Dawn Whitelaw Paula Frisbee, Pam Pageant, Jason Saunders, I’ve been selling their work and following them for years, and realized they were having a workshop, the Cumberland society, they all are part of or having a workshop, and took that learn from there about plein air painters to the southeast and started following what they were doing and taking workshops from them. And so it was a progressive leap, not just jump in with two feet in the deep end.
Eric Rhoads 7:56
I’m gonna take a brief distraction here and just ask you a question because, you said the words, I was selling their work, meaning Dawn Whitelaw and others when you were a designer, so just for curiosity, because I don’t really understand the designer world, as a designer, I assume makes a commission on or purchases, furniture and other things and makes money on that furniture when they sell them to a client. I think that’s pretty common. How does that work? When you’re selling paintings? Were you working directly with the artists? Or were you working through a gallery? How did that work?
Unknown Speaker 8:34
Typically through the gallery, yeah. Okay. All right. So I went through the gallery, so it wasn’t directly with them.
Eric Rhoads 8:44
And then do galleries pay a commission to the designers?
Unknown Speaker 8:49
Typically, I think it’s different for a lot, but I think kind of the standard is a designer gets a 10% discount, and you can either pass that discount along to your client, or you can keep that discount, if that painting costs $1,000. So I pay 900 for it, I can either sell it to my client for $1,000 or and keep that hundred, or pass that discount on to my client and sell it to the client for 900.
Eric Rhoads 9:24
Right. And clients are used to both. Well, I just thought, as an art marketing person, that’s an option for people to be able to deal directly with designers. make them aware of the work and so on I would think.
Unknown Speaker 9:38
Oh, absolutely. And, we have designers that we do work with, directly and through our galleries. Yeah, that’s Roger. Yeah.
Eric Rhoads 9:53
So when you mentioned Roger, a lot of people don’t know who Roger is you want to tell us what that’s all about.
Beverly Ford Evans 10:00
My my fabulous husband Roger Dale Brown.
Eric Rhoads 10:04
Okay, terrific. So when you decided to start painting you were not with Roger at the time, I assume otherwise you would have learned from him?
Unknown Speaker 10:13
Correct. Okay, that’s correct. Roger and I first met, and I think 2003 2002 or 2003, through the Cumberland society, and through the Pepsi thing, and we got together and, we’re friends, for acquaintances, really, for four years. And then 2006, I actually started working for him. And he was doing so finishing and mural work. And I was trying to be just an artist and had quit my design business. But, a little income here, and there wouldn’t be bad thing when you’re a brand new, fledgling artist. So I started working with them. And 2006. And I guess that six months into it, we realized that we kind of liked each other.
Eric Rhoads 11:16
Funny how that works.
Beverly Ford Evans 11:17
It is. Yeah.
Eric Rhoads 11:19
So let’s continue with the story. So you had started painting. What happened then?
Eric Rhoads 11:28
Oh, gosh. Well, I got into a gallery local color gallery here in Nashville. And got into a couple of other smaller galleries around the southeast that have since are not with us anymore, as many of the smaller galleries are not. And I just kept taking workshops periodically with people that I wanted to study with, to have taken from Well, my dad just go totally blank. Quang Ho, actually, Roger, and I want to do that to California and took with Jeremy Lipking. Who else had that taken with Dawn course…
Eric Rhoads 12:29
She’s a huge influence.
Unknown Speaker 12:33
And, of course, I helped Roger with all of his workshops. So I get a lot of Roger Dale Brown workshops every week, every year.
Eric Rhoads 12:48
Yeah, I would imagine so. So when did the whole plein air thing start happening for you as obviously? You started painting? Did you go outdoors right away? You said you got involved with the plein air in the south east.
Unknown Speaker 13:01
I started in the studio. It wasn’t until I was introduced to plein air per se that I really knew anything about plein air painting. And at the time, I didn’t have a nucleus of artists friends in the Nashville area. And I would go out some on my own here but not much mostly when I would go to plein air workshops or plein air events. And then, as time went by I develop more artists friends and joined a group here called the chestnut group which is a plein air group that partners with land conservative conservatory organizations and, we have lots of paint outs all year long that so it’s easy to to get on property that you would normally not be able to get on and get to see views of rivers, which we have an abundance of here that you normally wouldn’t get to do. So that’s been a huge step and going outside for me, and but I think the turning point for me was when I got the opportunity in 2014 to go out west with a group of who I consider and I think a lot of people consider some of the best painters and plein air painters in the United States a lot today. Got to go as a cook on painting trip for them and Walden, Colorado and even though I was there cook, I also got to paint with them. So I was very grateful and very blessed to be able to do that. And I’ve realized on that trip that I was getting totally distracted by the wildlife in the area, the birds, the animals, and I that was has become when I guess I got my big draw on wanting to paint wildlife. we’d all go out and paint during the day and bad go in about three o’clock get dinner started and get things on the up on the stove or in the oven and then get in one of the Gators and go on my photo Safari. And looking for the moose and elk and the mule deer. And watching the ducks in the ponds and the hawks in the trees and just in the bears and just got booked got hooked. And so now when I go out and play their paint, I really focus on the environment of animals, and then spend a whole lot of time studying lot lights while I’m out there. Just sitting and observing and taking a lot of pictures that typically don’t paint wildlife. While I’m on location, they may get gestured in but you know, I do spend an immense amount of time just studying them. And going back reading about them and,
Eric Rhoads 16:48
Well, I would think that when you’re painting wildlife, or I dare say not painting, but seeking wildlife, finding it is oftentimes difficult. I know I’ve gone out many many times trying to find a moose in places where they tell me the moose are and I never never yet have once found one. So what’s your trick? What’s your secret to finding the right wildlife? I would imagine ducks and birds are a little easier. But how do you find the one?
Eric Rhoads 17:16
That it is difficult. And, one of the animals that I continue to hunt for is the bighorn sheep that West. Never seen one in person did get the opportunity to see the mountain goats, though and spend time on Mount Evans with the mountain goats, which was a lot of fun. But you’re right, it is difficult. We that time that trip we were lucky enough the ranch that we were staying on was a 2000 acre ranch. And it was full of elk and moose and mule deer. So I just got lucky…just driving down the road and seeing something in the distance and go in that direction.
Eric Rhoads 18:14
That reminded me of something and my dad is a photographer and he has a lot of wildlife and and there are camps or workshops, if you will, or maybe not even workshops, but there are places for wildlife photographers where you can pay a fee and come in and photograph. They’ll bring in the wildlife into the settings so that any anything you can think of, I hadn’t thought about that. But do you ever do anything like that?
Unknown Speaker 18:42
We’ve had the opportunity once and I can’t honestly remember why that fell through that we were not able. I think it may have been weather situation. But it is something I would love to do.
Eric Rhoads 18:57
Yeah, sounds like fun. And do you find that wildlife paintings sell pretty well? Or do you care?
Unknown Speaker 19:06
They do when – No, I don’t care. But they do. I’ve had quite good success. I’ve been involved with the waterfowl festival. I was involved with them for years and the southeast wildlife Expo in Charleston. I’ll show again with them this year in February and shown at the plantation and Arts Festival that’s in Thomasville Georgia. And then they’ve been through my galleries I’ve had I’ve had very good success with my wildlife art.
Eric Rhoads 19:48
Yeah. Well, that’s terrific.
Unknown Speaker 19:51
So I thank them so much. If they didn’t sell, I wouldn’t care.
Eric Rhoads 19:59
I think you had a show this past summer, if I’m correct on on paintings from the Scottish Highlands. Tell me about that. How did that all happen?
Unknown Speaker 20:09
Well, Roger and I went last summer and spent six weeks and whitebridge. Scotland, which is a little spot in the road outside of Inverness. And when I say spot in the road, there is one in in Perth, and it’s right borders, Loch Ness right on Loch Ness. And we took different people over different groups came over with us the first couple of weeks, we were there is just some friend artists of ours that went with us. And we painted for a couple of weeks. And then for 10 days, some other friends of ours came over and we drove all over Scotland, just touring. And then we had to mentor ship sessions with students coming over. So we had a good long stint there painting exploring, soaking up the beauty of Scotland and the culture and to the girls that were that came his mentees, I guess, live here in Nashville and are in Franklin. And we decided to put on a show.
Eric Rhoads 21:35
Unknown Speaker 21:37
So you know, and then we were supposed to be in March. And of course, we delayed it a bit. And we ended up having it in July. And it was wonderful.
Eric Rhoads 21:53
That was Karen Fellapart and Brenda Caldwell
Unknown Speaker 21:57
Brenda Caldwell, yes.
Eric Rhoads 21:59
Unknown Speaker 22:00
And we held it at Brenda Caldwell’s studio and gallery on track studio in Franklin. Karen has her. Karen Philbod has her studio in that that building. So they were gracious enough to ask me if I would like to join them in this show. And we had we had a great day.
Eric Rhoads 22:26
Well, you know, it’s interesting, I went with a group. Many, many years ago, there were maybe six or seven artists and we rented a castle. And we went to Scotland and I was the only one that painted everybody else….we we all went and toured and photographed. But actually finding the time to paint when you’re there for such a short time is difficult. And, everybody wanted to just get as much source material and photographs as possible. And so I would imagine even you were there. How long? Six weeks?
Beverly Ford Evans 23:00
Eric Rhoads 23:00
Yeah. Even then that time goes by so rapidly.
Beverly Ford Evans 23:04
Oh, it did.
Eric Rhoads 23:05
So are you actually were you actually painting there? Was it all pretty much a tour?
Beverly Ford Evans 23:11
No, no, no, we painted most of the time really the only time touring and photographing was for 10 days. Then there were the people that came to stay with us were not artists. And that’s fine. Roger enough, still painted some, when we’d get back to the house in the evenings. And, it’s that time of year in Scotland, the sun doesn’t ever set. So there would still be beautiful evening paintings that we would be able to get in in the evenings.
Eric Rhoads 23:47
Nice. So, a lot of people are listening to this from places all over the world. And there’s oftentimes new people just learning to paint. And there are people at all different levels. Of course, I’d love to talk to you about some thoughts and ideas on painting and composition. You have anything that comes to mind that you’d like to share?
Beverly Ford Evans 24:11
Oh, well, figuring out your composition when you’re on location can sometimes be a challenge, depending on what the typography is that you’re looking at. It’s, your attention is captured and you see something beautiful, but is it paint worthy? And can you make it paint worthy? Can you adjust where a tree is or bend the lane or accentuate the light just a bit to enhance the composition and many times. Yes, you can do those things. We’re not out there to, in my opinion, to copy, per se, we’re out there to create a memory to evoke a memory for somebody else looking at the painting, to express what we’re feeling.
Eric Rhoads 25:26
So how do you determine what paint worthy?
Beverly Ford Evans 25:36
If, there’s a composition, just because it’s beautiful doesn’t mean it’s going to create a good painting, what I was talking about, if you need to bend a lane, or remove a tree, or move a tree over, to lead somebody into a painting, and correctly, with a good composition, and to give them a tour around your painting, and let them leave with an experience or just look at it and go, Oh, great colors. I prefer to have the better composition and tell a story.
Eric Rhoads 26:23
One of the things I found difficult in Scotland is because the weather is somewhat moody sometimes and it seemed like I was having to do a lot of one or two value paintings, everything was kind of gray and misty.
Beverly Ford Evans 26:41
Yeah, that is true. But I still think you can push a value here and there still create the same visual mood, but create a better painting. But that was so true, but the colors, they’re all in there also muted and gorgeous. And a lot of times you just, have the same values on something, but it would be a shift from a cooler town to a warmer town, just to keep the excitement in the painting.
Eric Rhoads 27:23
So you obviously do some mentoring and teaching, what do you find are the things that people struggle with the most? And how do you help them with those things.
Beverly Ford Evans 27:34
When I’m on location, the thing that people struggle with the most is determining if something isn’t working. And how to crop in, you’re looking at this beautiful vastness and you want to paint it all in one painting. And typically, that’s going to end up in a failed painting. But if you can stand there and paint the five different paintings, you’re seeing…in five different paintings, then you’re going to have more success. And the way I look at plein air painting is I’m not out there to create a masterpiece. I’m out there to study to get values right to get colors correct to learn how to create the mood, not create the mood but make the viewer feel the mood of the day. I lost my word on that. So I don’t really spend a whole lot of time on a plein air piece, hour / hour and a half and I’m done and I’m moving on to the next one when I’m traveling there’s so much to explore and so much to see that I don’t want to stand in one spot for three or four hours. And no, I’m missing something that’s a mile down the line.
Eric Rhoads 29:18
So does that mean you’re painting smaller when you’re on a trip like that?
Beverly Ford Evans 29:22
I usually paint, my go-to size is a 10 by 12.
Eric Rhoads 29:26
I had Don Whitelaw on my daily Facebook / Youtube show. And she was talking about taking a 16 by 20 panel and putting some tape on it and essentially making a whole bunch of small panels for that very reason; she didn’t want to get stuck on one painting. So she painted them small and kind of nailed the essence of the color and the light and the composition and then she took it back to the studio and made something bigger and better out of them.
Beverly Ford Evans 30:02
Right. The plein air pieces are not paintings per se. They’re studies they’re sketches they are references. So yeah, we very often will do that too. If it’s 16 and tape it off into four quadrants, and have four little panels, right there, and it’s just go from one to the next thing, do some fun little panoramic things like that, if you’re standing in one spot, that’s one of those places, it’s like there’s five paintings out there.
Eric Rhoads 30:41
Yeah. Yeah, I just experienced that it was kind of fun. So what are the other things that you find that students are struggling with? And how do you help them with those things?
Beverly Ford Evans 30:53
Their values. And the only way for somebody to get better at values is to continue to paint and study, if they’ll take photographs of a scene, and look at it in color, go back home, put it on your computer, look at it in color, and then take all the color out of it and look at it black and white. And see how close you were thinking those values were, just it’s the act of of continually looking at it continually dissecting your own work, continually dissecting what you’re looking at out on location. And it’s not something that comes really naturally to a whole lot of people. And I wish I could say there’s a quick trick. But if there is, I don’t know what it is, I think it’s just a matter of observing when you can, you don’t even have to go out and paint, you can just go out in your backyard and sit with your glass of wine in the evening. And look at the values in a tree, or the value of how the ground plane in light goes into shadow and how many times how similar that value is, but just temperature change. The shadow is just really only a little bit darker than the ground plane with the sun itself hitting, but there’s a temperature change. And just constantly observing. I’ll never forget when I was in a workshop with Paula Frisbee, and we were outside and they were talking about the reflective light. And I could not see it to say my life. And then I kept like – she’s talking about this warmth on this trade trunk. And I was like, Paula, I’m so sorry. I just don’t see it. She rolled her eyes, stomped over to the tree pointed to the tree and goes, don’t you see it right there. Like, well, now that you pointed to that, yes, I do. And that was my aha moment of, I’m looking for a real change. And then it’s like, no, these changes are so subtle. And once I saw that, then I started seeing it other places.
Eric Rhoads 33:51
Well, that’s the key. That’s the key whenever you learn something new, you have that information. It’s kind of like, the the old story of the pink Volkswagen, you never see pink Volkswagens. But once you start looking for them, you see them everywhere.
Beverly Ford Evans 34:05
They’re everywhere. That’s right. It’s just really learning value. Learning the role nuances is really just a matter of time and, dedication to looking for it. And once you find it, you’ll start seeing it more. One of the things it’s gonna take somebody pointing at a tree and going right there, just like Paula did for me.
Eric Rhoads 34:36
So a lot of painters struggle with value because of their painting environment. So what is your best advice for that? In other words, if you’re painting an open light versus in shade, etc.
Beverly Ford Evans 34:56
Absolutely, I think it’s highly important to keep your palette and your canvas out of direct sun, it’s going to throw your values completely off, you’re gonna bring your painting back down and go. This was so bright and light outside. Why is it so dark? Yeah, the sun hitting your palette and your canvas is going to totally blow your values out of the water, you might be looking at it out there. But one, you get this glare back from the white canvas that saturates your eyes and get your makes your eyes tired so that you can’t see the values in the scene you’re looking at.
Eric Rhoads 35:45
So do you tend to turn your canvases just to prevent that from happening?
Beverly Ford Evans 35:51
I do not turn my canvases out, turn my back to a scene just so I don’t have the sun on on my palette. And it is kind of humorous. When you’re doing that and painting on location, people are wandering around, and they come behind you and they’re looking over your shoulder and they’re looking at what you’re painting and they’re looking out in front of you going, what are you painting, like turn around, I’m painting that back there. And that helps a lot with your your memory, because you turn to look at your scene and then turn back to your canvas. That also, in my opinion, helps you be a little more creative as an artist as opposed to copying what you’re seeing. You’re painting from your memory of what you just saw, as opposed to just copying.
Eric Rhoads 36:56
Well, I think you know, memory training is something DaVinci talked about, and something that I think we all need to focus on a little bit more. Because, there are times out there when you don’t have a sketchbook or a paintbrush with you. And yet, you see the color, I think the thing that hits me the most are the sunsets and the sunrises. Because you cannot capture the color. Even if you have a camera, we all take pictures of sunsets. And, you look at it and you say this color is just not the same. So having that memory training just to be able to say, Oh, this was a salmon color in the sky. And, the cloud was this purple color. And, try to find a way to remember that is huge.
Beverly Ford Evans 37:44
It is. And, fortunately, we all carry a little technology around in our pocket with us all the time. And you can push that record button in your notes on your cell phone and leave yourself notes.
Eric Rhoads 38:02
Inever really thought about that.
Beverly Ford Evans 38:04
You don’t have anything but your cell phone with you, you’ve taken the picture, the colors are blown out – hit that little record button and talk to yourself and tell yourself, what that scene is making you feel like what the colors you’re seeing are, how the clouds are shifting over to the west. And, leave yourself low left notes on your note pad on your phone.
Eric Rhoads 38:35
What a great idea. There are some artists out there who will take the sketchbooks, and they’ll just write little numbers that represent colors that they have on their color charts. I’m not quite that organized.
Beverly Ford Evans 38:50
I’m not quite that organized, either. I’d just as soon hit that button and leave myself a note. But, if you’ve got your sketchpad – I will write down colors, as opposed to the numbers because I just don’t have that kind of, my brain doesn’t work that way. But I’ll just write it down, if you’ve got your sketch pad with you. And that’s really fun to go back to. And just read your notes that you’ve written. When you were on a trip, or just, in some farmers cow field, look back to things you wrote two, three years ago, as opposed to how you’re taking notes and what you’re actually observing now compared to them that’s an amazing lesson on a reminder of what your how that you are growing, right, that you are learning because I know a lot of people feel like, “I haven’t grown,” like “I want to grow.” Well, do you keep those little reminders and notes from two or three years ago, you’ll see how you’ve grown?
Eric Rhoads 40:08
Well, it’s like the value of journaling, it’s the same thing as, we all tend to be people who look forward. And yet, sometimes if we turn around and look backward, we can see how far we’ve actually come. That’s why I keep my old paintings, a lot of people tear them up or burn them or sand them down. And I keep them in every three or four years, not very often, but I’ll go through them. And, something that I was absolutely in love with. I hate something I hate it I love. And sometimes I’ll find something that gives me a composition that I’ve got to paint again, now that I know what I know, I can make it better. So I think, having that growth pointed out to you by looking back is pretty good. I sometimes to go into a gallery, and I cringe at something I painted three years ago.
Beverly Ford Evans 41:03
That’s funny. A few months ago, I was at a friend’s house. And I had years and years and years ago given her a painting. And I’ve been telling her for a couple of years that I was taking that painting off for a while and replacing it with something else. Because it was just to me. Gaslight, yeah, and finally I did it and I gave her something else. And she’s like, but I really want that other painting back. Oh, like Mary, why do you want that back? She said, because it reminds me of how long you and I have been friends.
Eric Rhoads 41:41
Oh, that’s sweet.
Beverly Ford Evans 41:43
She said this. I love that painting because it reminds me of where we started. And so she’s getting it back.
Eric Rhoads 41:52
So now she’s getting two paintings.
Beverly Ford Evans 41:55
Now she’s getting two paintings. I’m perfectly happy with that.
Eric Rhoads 42:01
Now you talked about memories and earlier, I find that my studies are my memories so that there are moments of painting special moments or, like you were talking about wildlife, the time that a deer leapt across the fence right in front of me or something like that. What are some of your special memories of plein air painting?
Beverly Ford Evans 42:25
Oh, gosh, there’s so many. We’ve had so many adventures. And now you put me on the spot.
Eric Rhoads 42:35
Yeah, I know. That’s what I do. That’s part of my job.
Beverly Ford Evans 42:37
Yeah, thanks. Let’s have a little dead silence on the radio. I mean, my brain is jumping from wonderful painting experiences in Maine to Wyoming to Montana to Texas.
Eric Rhoads 42:58
Gosh, sounds like you travel a lot.
Beverly Ford Evans 43:03
We do, we do. Of course this year, we haven’t so much. But we are typically on the road. At least six months out a year.
Eric Rhoads 43:16
So how do you operate? If you’re on the road, you’re out there gathering, you’re creating paintings gathering. I daresay it’s kind of a crass term, but inventory, right things for your galleries? How do you operate the business aspects of your lives when you’re on the road?
Beverly Ford Evans 43:35
Well, typically we’re not on the road, it’s not six months at a time, we may be gone two or three weeks at a time and then home for a couple of weeks and then back out for a couple of weeks.
Eric Rhoads 43:49
Sounds like a wonderful life.
Beverly Ford Evans 43:52
It is, we know we’re blessed with that. And our dogs go with us. And for the longest time we traveled in a camper. And we had studios in the camper. We retrofitted it to get at it. And Roger had his easel and I had my easel. And we had, we lived in the trailer when we were on the road. We sold that what about three years ago, I guess four years ago. So it’s a little different now. We don’t spend as much time out in as many weeks out at a time just because of the business side of it that, we need to spend some time in the studio we need to get things to the galleries we need to take care of the animals, inventory, and the accounting and all of the stuff that goes along with owning a business. Yeah. So, it can be tricky. We’ll try to hire good people to help you with things. And you got to be pretty organized and have a plan.
Eric Rhoads 45:25
Well, let’s talk about that for a second. Because I teach marketing, and I’m always curious about this. What did you have to go through to get to the point where you were able to sustain sustain yourself as an artist? What were the steps that, maybe instead of what the steps you went through, what are the steps you would recommend today? If somebody decided they were going to take that leap? And they decided to become a full time artist and support themselves? What would you recommend they do?
Beverly Ford Evans 45:56
Well, I am not the marketing genius. And, you could answer that question a whole lot better than I can.
Eric Rhoads 46:09
But I learned from people like you. If you had to start from scratch today, knowing what you know, what would your recommendation be to people to launch their career?
Beverly Ford Evans 46:29
Consistency, and using social media. And if you do choose to go the route of advertising in magazines, you’ve got to be consistent with it, you’ve got to be committed to advertising minimum four times a year, you need to get involved with shows, and events, that your name gets to be a common common knowledge you network with other artists. Artists are very generous with information and with sharing things that for success, we as artists, one other artists to succeed. And, that’s what I think is just, just consistency, consistency of painting, you got to continue to paint, you can paint for a couple of weeks and then go oh, life got in the way and I didn’t paint for six weeks. You’re not going to grow as an artist. And if you’re not growing as an artist, or works not getting better, and you don’t have as much market with. But you’ve just got to get involved. Get involved with local plein air groups, going to open studios trying to get in plein air event. You have to work social media, you’ve got to work it, it’s a full time job. It’s not a nine to five.
Eric Rhoads 48:35
I think that’s worth repeating, that bears repeating. And that is it’s a full time job. And that’s the one thing that I think people miss the most is that they they want to paint full time. But they are not doing the work full time when it comes to the back end of things, you know, 20% of your time on your marketing, how to do your books, you got to you got to plan your events, you’ve got to enter competitions. So you can get your name out there. You got to do all these things and applying for events and working sometimes a year, two years, three years in advance if you’re doing shows.
Beverly Ford Evans 49:13
Absolutely. I think it’s highly unusual for somebody to say, Okay, I’m gonna start painting and they spend a year or two, learning the craft and then say, Okay, now I’m gallery worthy. Well, maybe you are, maybe you’re not. No, and how do you know, is a good question. When you go to a gallery and get rejected time and time again. When you’ve got your core group of artists brands that you all critique each other’s work that, help each other either, you yourself are not going to know by yourself.
Eric Rhoads 50:05
Beverly Ford Evans 50:07
I just don’t think that’s possible.
Eric Rhoads 50:12
Your mother will tell you, you’re ready.
Beverly Ford Evans 50:15
Your mother will tell you you’re ready. Your husband might tell, your wife, might tell you you’re ready, your husband,
Eric Rhoads 50:21
Your husband, wouldn’t he would tell you that
Beverly Ford Evans 50:23
My husband wouldn’t. Yeah, not my husband wouldn’t tell me I was ready. If it wasn’t ready, he’d go “uh-uh. Don’t put that out there.” But, and I don’t mean a group of critical people, I mean, a group with a critical eye. Right. That can give constructive critiques. On your work.
Eric Rhoads 50:53
Absolutely. Well, I think that’s the starting point.
Beverly Ford Evans 50:57
If somebody might put you down. If somebody is constantly being negative, go somewhere else. That’s not being helpful. And it needs to be somebody, you respect their opinion from an artist standpoint.
Eric Rhoads 51:19
I don’t know about you. But no matter how good I get, I cannot see all of my mistakes, I can see some of them. And yet, if I’ve got a buddy that, I just know instinctively something’s not working, I just don’t know what it is. I will email a photo or something to a friend. And I’ll say, I can’t see it, what’s wrong, and they can point it out instantly. And that’s the value of having that kind of a support system.
Beverly Ford Evans 51:48
It is that, you’re exactly right on that. It’s, I don’t know where I would be today without that, because I can’t see errors and my work sometimes two or a lot at the time.
Eric Rhoads 52:04
So do you guys critique each other’s work? I would think sometimes being a husband and wife together as artists, has some, some real positives, and probably also maybe a couple of negatives.
Beverly Ford Evans 52:17
We do critique each other’s work. We don’t give unsolicited advice.
Eric Rhoads 52:25
Well, that’s interesting.
Beverly Ford Evans 52:27
Roger says, I need you to look at this painting. And I’ll go look at that painting and tell him what I see. Or, my thoughts on it. And he also with me, but not unsolicited advice.
Eric Rhoads 52:45
I think that’s a great policy.
Beverly Ford Evans 52:49
But Roger and I are so not competitive with each other. So, we work at the same studio, he faces one direction I face the other, we easily see each other work all day long. There’s nothing to block that. But we are respectful of don’t give unsolicited advice. And just the fact that we’re not competitive with each other. We are nothing but support for each other.
Eric Rhoads 53:31
That’s very nice. So let me ask you something else, because you brought up something that I think some of us struggle with, you’re out painting with three, four other buddies, and you take a break, and you walk around to get away from your painting, and you start looking at what everybody else is doing this same subject and you go, I should have done that. How did and then you go back and of course to screw up your painting because you’re trying to slip something else in? How do you deal with that?
Beverly Ford Evans 54:05
I deal with it by being excited for them that they saw and to pull something out of that that I hadn’t seen. I remember it and when I got I don’t go back to my painting that I’m working on. But I remember it when I take my painting back in the studio and want to paint something from it was like a lot remember what, what so and so did in that situation. That was beautiful. And I’m gonna try to apply that here. But at the time, I don’t know because mine is a sketch. I’m not trying to create a finished masterpiece out there. So I’m not going to negate what I saw in what I wanted to say, in that painting, I’ll just maybe apply what I saw in their work to the next painting.
Eric Rhoads 55:12
I suppose that’s kind of like working on your painting, and then the sky changes, the cloud changes, everything else changes. And it’s that temptation of changing everything, because something changed. You just gotta kind of, put the hooks in and stick with what you’ve what you’ve set up yourself to do. Otherwise, you’re going to be chasing everything.
Beverly Ford Evans 55:35
Right. And, your goal, and you could easily end up with mud on the painting, and you’ve lost what you were trying to tell yourself in the first place. That’s right.
Eric Rhoads 55:47
Well, Beverly, we’re kind of coming down to our our time limitations at this particular point. Is there anything we’ve not discussed that perhaps, you’d like to make sure we talk about?
Beverly Ford Evans 56:00
I think the only other thing I wanted to maybe interject and we probably already covered this, but it’s like, Can I call myself a plein air painter? Well, yes, I can. Is that all I am as an artist? Absolutely not. I’m an artist. And I use my passion, my plein air, my photos, my observation, my studying of animals must studying other artists to produce the best art I can today. And tomorrow, I hope to find even better.
Eric Rhoads 56:39
Yeah. Well, that’s what we all hope for. Well, you’re a great inspiration.
Beverly Ford Evans 56:45
Oh, thank you.
Eric Rhoads 56:46
So tell us your website so everybody can go and look at those beautiful wildlife paintings.
Beverly Ford Evans 56:52
Oh, thankyou. It’s BeverlyFordEvans.com.
Eric Rhoads 56:56
Outstanding. Well, Beverly, it’s been a pleasure getting to know you and learning more about your painting life and your personal life. And thank you so much for sharing this today. And thank you for being on the Plein Air Podcast.
Beverly Ford Evans 57:09
Well, I appreciate you including me in this and it was a pleasure talking to you.
Eric Rhoads 57:14
Well, thanks again to Beverly Ford Evans. I really enjoyed that – really getting the conversation going. She’s really pleasant to talk to, love her husband Roger Dale Brown as well. 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 57:38
In the marketing minute I answer your art marketing questions you can email yours to [email protected] and I read these sight unseen never seen them I answer them without a script because I just got to do it off the off the top of my head because that’s how I roll question from Christina Hillen in Buffalo, New York who says please keep the marketing minutes coming. They’re very inspiring. Thank you, Christina, what’s your question? My question is, I have no idea how to get my work known on a larger scale. Where do I begin? Well, I don’t know if you mean larger scale, meaning larger paintings. But assume you mean, how do you get your work known on a larger scale, I recommend that every artists have two strategies, and sometimes three, but let’s start with two. I think as an artist, you start out local. And you really get well known locally, we have a product that we created called art market in a box. It’s really designed to get people to become kind of the known artists locally in their community, and really be the person that everybody relies on for charity auctions and getting your name out there. And anytime there’s an artist mentioned in the media, it’s you and anytime that anything’s going on, it’s like – we want you to become a local star. That’s very important, because you can sell a lot locally. And there’s a lot of things you can do locally, you can’t do nationally. But the downside is that sometimes local doesn’t work. Let’s say you live in a community where the where, your community just isn’t, the jobs aren’t there, people aren’t making any money. And so, if you are relying entirely on one marketplace, then it’s a problem for you. That’s why we recommend also a national strategy, which means getting into some art galleries, or selling nationally in other places. Now, what I try to do is I try to put myself or I try to recommend that you go into galleries where things are really crushing it where people are making money and people are doing it, like a place like Silicon Valley, for instance. Because or, sometimes it’s a different place. Some markets get hot, for whatever reason, try to be in those markets, or maybe places that people go on vacation when they’re allowed to go on vacation. But let’s say you had a gallery in Hawaii, and everybody was going to Hawaii and now nobody’s going to Hawaii, well, you’re not going to make any money from that gallery. So that’s why you want to have two or three, I don’t recommend more than about that, some people will do more, but you’ve got to have enough quality that you can send to the galleries. And so having two or three galleries in two or three different locations around the globe, so that you’ve got a little economic stability can be a really good thing. And so I think the way to scale to get known on a larger basis, first off, get yourself a way to sell and that is through a gallery. Now you can sell direct as well. And there’s a whole nother dialogue about that. But the idea is to you’ve got to help your gallery, you can’t rely on them entirely, because it lets say I’m in a gallery with, I’ve been three galleries now. And I’m in a gallery with 30, 40, 50 other artists in some cases. And so, what’s gonna make me stand out, and the thing that’s gonna make me stand out is my name my brand, right? So you want people to seek you out. And the way to do that is you got to build a brand. So that’s when you start your advertising strategy. That’s when you start a social media strategy. Although I caution you that social media tends to be our friends, tends to be people who are not necessarily art buyers, not always, I mean, you can get them but you’ve got to have a specific strategy to get them. And then, you’ve got to work it and you’ve got to work at constantly, you got to just keep it out there year after year after year. As long as you’re in business, you’ve got to be working on your advertising and, your visibility, your publicity, things like that. So the way to begin is, start out by building your brand, getting known and getting used to selling things, maybe ramping it up locally, but then starting out nationally.
Eric Rhoads 1:01:42
Now, here’s a question from Sean Stanley in Charleston, South Carolina. Hello, Sean. Sean says recently, my local art center had a blowout sale, you could ask $10 to $100 for your paintings. I took lots of smallish ones 11 by 14 being the largest. I’m a hobbyist I made about $300 people love some of some of them. It helped build my confidence a lot. What should my next step be? Well, there’s nothing like selling a painting to build your confidence, Sean , congratulations, I think that’s terrific. And, everybody has to start somewhere. And pricing is one of those difficult things, you know, I’m not a big low price person. But I also know that when you’re starting out, you’re not going to command a higher price until you get to the point where you’re a little bit stronger, and then you can start commanding. But I think just getting used to being able to sell paintings is a really good thing. And so do more of that. So what I recommend is you get yourself an art show at a local restaurant or something, you may or may not be strong enough to do that yet. But get some experience, set up a little sale, maybe set up a sale at your house for your friends, or an open studio, get used to selling get to the point where you’re selling. But all of us need to always work on getting better, because it’s getting better. That also builds our confidence. It’s nice to sell paintings. But it’s nice to sell paintings at higher prices, ultimately. And when you start getting, instead of $100 for painting, you start getting 200 and then 400 and then 1000 and 2000 and 5000 and then 10,000, then 100,000. That’s gonna make a big difference. Now, some of us never get there. But a lot of us do. I’m not. But I think that means that you want to be constantly pushing yourself to elevate your skills. One of the ways to do that is to enter competitions, because now you’re up against other people, and it does something in your brain, it clicks something off in your brain and makes you try harder and makes you step up and makes you say, can I make this painting better. So I think that’s a good next step, trying to art get some art competitions, and you get that validation if you win. Now, not everybody wins. And a lot of people enter many, many times and never win, and sometimes they do. And so that helps build confidence. But I think, starting out with a little local thing, I would do something at a local diner restaurant, something like that, and see if you can sell some more hundred dollar paintings. And once you get some more under your belt, maybe you can develop relationships with the people who bought those paintings and sell them some more and then gradually ratchet up your prices 250 to 200 and 300 and so on. And, if you’re a hobbyist and you only want to be a hobbyist that’s cool, too. There’s nothing wrong with that. So I congratulations. I applaud you on that. Anyway, that’s the marketing minute.
This has been a marketing minute with Eric Rhoads, you can learn more at artmarketing.com.
Eric Rhoads 1:04:41
I want to remind you guys to get your seats for Plein Air Convention at pleinairconvention.com. Remember, Black Friday is the deadline. Also want to remind you that watercolor live price goes up on the 30th of November. So go ahead and get that booked. We’ve got a lot of people coming and that’s going to be an amazing event. Especially if you’re kind of thinking about watercolor wash or something for, you know, getting out there when you want to travel and you don’t want to carry all those heavy oil paints, or maybe you’re just into watercolor. I think that’s a good idea. I want to remind you also that if you’ve not seen my blog where I talk about art life and all kinds of other things, check it out. It’s there every Sunday. It’s called Sunday coffee and you can find it at coffeewitheric.com. You know, this is always fun for me. I love doing it, I love communicating with people love solving art marketing problems. Let’s do it again sometime like God willing. Next week, we will see you the. My name is Eric Rhoads. I’m the publisher and founder of Plein Air Magazine. You can find us online at outdoorpainter.com, which is the website for the magazine. You can also get a subscription there or at pleinairmagazine.com. And that’s where you can also go to get into our newsletter to find it and to subscribe to, it’s Plein Air Today. All right. Remember, it’s a big world out there. Go paint it. We will see you soon. 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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