Welcome to the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads. In this episode, Eric interviews Carole Gray-Weihman on art movements from neo-expressionism to plein air. Bonus: Learn the reason painting “blocks” can be exciting, and why it’s a good practice.
Bonus! In this week’s Art Marketing Minute, Eric Rhoads, author of Make More Money Selling Your Art, addresses if you should give discounts on your paintings; and overcoming the fear of rejection when approaching a gallery.
Listen to the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads and Carole Gray-Weihman here:
– Carole Gray-Weihman online: https://www.gray-weihman.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 195. Today we’re featuring artist Carol Gray-Weihman.
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 0:55
Thank you Jim Kipping. And welcome to the plein air podcast hard to believe it’s been November already. I mean, this is the year that seems to have disappeared. It’s unbelievable. But the good news is, I suppose that most of us got a lot more painting done. I’m scrambling to try and get some pieces to my galleries so that they can take advantage of them for holiday sales. Maybe I can make a little extra Christmas money, fingers crossed. I’ve done more outdoor painting this year. I think that I’ve done any given year thanks to COVID and not having a bunch of people around a lot of distractions. That’s kind of nice. It’s had its benefits. In spite of all the downside of it. Anyway, we’re still actively trying to be there for you. Speaking of COVID we started daily broadcast when COVID started. And we’ve been on every day at 12 noon on Facebook and YouTube and every day at 3pm on Facebook and YouTube. I’ve been having guests on at 12 noon demos and things. And then we are offering samples of the old 600 plus videos that we’ve produced over the years that will give you an opportunity to kind of learn and grow as an artist and keep you preoccupied from all the craziness in the world. So check it out. Just go to Facebook or YouTube and search Streamline Art Video, best way to find it. A couple of reminders. The Plein Air Salon art competition deadline is a couple of weeks away the end of the month, enter your best paintings and we have lots of categories that might appeal to you including things that are not plein air. Also book your seat to Watercolor Live our virtual online conference with the best artists in the world in watercolor. It’s the largest watercolor conference in the world coming up in January. You must not miss this. It’s awesome. And a lot of us are kind of turning to watercolor and gouache because we’re not wanting to travel with our paints all the time. And I know I am and so that’s one of the reasons I’m really excited about this. Check it out watercolorlive.com. The deadline for the lowest price is the 30th of November. In the current issue of Plein Air Magazine, which you can find on your newsstand or subscribe pleinairmagazine.com, our Elements column has advice on capturing the magic of the moment when painting outdoors and also in our weekly newsletter, we’re going to be giving you a sneak peek of the upcoming magazine issue. You don’t want to miss that. Coming up after this interview I’m going to be answering our marketing questions in the Marketing Minute but first we’ll get right to our interview with Carol Gray-Weihman, who is a northern California colorist and modern impressionist. Carol Gray-Weihman, welcome to the Plein Air Podcast.
Carol Gray-Weihman 3:23
Thanks, Eric. It’s great to be here.
Eric Rhoads 3:25
It’s great to talk to you. You were there when it all began.
Carol Gray-Weihman 3:29
I know. Crazy. I can’t believe how long it’s been.
Eric Rhoads 3:33
I know it’s crazy. Well, I suppose we should let people in on what the heck we’re talking about. Do you want to let them in on it? Or do you want me to?
Carol Gray-Weihman 3:42
Oh, why don’t you start off? Well, it was it was 20 years ago that I know. Yes.
Eric Rhoads 3:48
Yeah. Here’s the story. We were both a lot a lot younger, 20 years younger. Well, I, had seen an ad in American Art Review. And I had seen it over and over and over and over and over again many many years for Camille Przewodek and her work. But I did not ever notice anything about workshops. And one day the ad said, something about workshops, and I realized that it was in the area I was living. And so I I signed up for the workshop and I ended up going up to Petaluma every week, I lived about an hour away. And every week on Mondays or Tuesdays, I showed up in spite of the fact that I was carrying a full time job and running a tech company and I would take these workshops and that’s where you and I met, right?
Carol Gray-Weihman 4:39
Yes. And we had no idea what you were doing in your other life.
Eric Rhoads 4:46
Well, I had I had no idea what I was doing.
Carol Gray-Weihman 4:49
Yeah, you were pretty quiet about your your professional life with us. At least in the beginning.
Eric Rhoads 4:56
Well, it certainly didn’t serve any purpose to talk about that. I suppose so anyway, I thought what I think what Carol and I are referring to is that once I discovered plein air painting and started seeing people out there painting I thought, well maybe there’s some movement and because I made my living as a publisher anyway, I came in and I said, what, Carol and Camille and I sat around on some, some chairs or tables or something, and I said, What if I do this thing called Plein Air Magazine, and you guys probably thought I was crazy.
Carol Gray-Weihman 5:33
I thought it was cool. I thought it was time myself. So yeah, I remember that very well. You putting the idea out there for us to see how we felt about it and I was excited about the possibilities
Eric Rhoads 5:54
Well, anyway, we pulled it off. So thank you for your help. I know you and Camille both gave me a lot of advice and a lot of encouragement and I’m still trying to learn how to paint but at least I can do a pretty good job at a magazine.
Carol Gray-Weihman 6:08
You can do an awesome job and a magazine, and do a pretty good blog study too, Eric.
Eric Rhoads 6:14
I suppose after all those blog studies I should. So we don’t want to make this about me or about Plein Air Magazine. Let’s make it about you. So how did this all begin for you? Because I met you at Camille’s workshop, we became fast friends. Actually, I don’t think I met you at Camille’s workshop.
Carol Gray-Weihman 6:40
You think we met before that?
Eric Rhoads 6:41
Yeah, I think we met I know we did. Because we met at the Plein Air Painters of America did a thing in Connecticut. Yeah, and that’s where I think I first met you. Yeah, because that was before. I don’t know that seems to me like was before I was studying with Camille.
Carol Gray-Weihman 7:01
Oh, wait a minute, though. Eric. Wait a minute. I…did you know what I did? And Lyme, Connecticut, this is Lyme, right? Yeah. I wrote an article for Plein Air Magazine.
Eric Rhoads 7:13
This, well, I guess, then I’m wrong.
Carol Gray-Weihman 7:15
Wow. Yeah. So Plein Air Magazine was in existence. So I’m pretty sure yeah, it was the Monday classes.
Eric Rhoads 7:23
The first thing to go is the memory they say? Oh, second. So okay, well, you’re right, because you did I had forgotten that. Wow. Yeah. You have a terrific memory. Well, anyway, we did reconnect there. And that was a lot of fun. And, but it was events like that. I think the first one I went to, I think that was the first one I ever went to any kind of a, I went to the scene on the straight. That’s where I kind of learned about plein air. And I ended up seeing Laguna quite by accident, I went down there and I was I had brochures for this new magazine and that I was gonna launch into had a completely different logo and had a Camille image on the cover. So anyway, I should find all that stuff. And we’ll put it in the museum…
Carol Gray-Weihman 8:14
Yeah, and I think, you probably remember Lyme, Connecticut because it was so much fun. Yeah, that’s when I think really connected probably on that trip. So, the the Monday classes were, pretty, short and quick, and we didn’t hang out at all. So, in line, we got a chance to really get to know each other a little bit better and, hang out with friends. And it was it was so inspiring. I’ll never forget that trip.
Eric Rhoads 8:44
Yeah, that was a fabulous trip. I think my first instructor was Joe Paquette. I think we did. I think we did half days with different instructors. Right. And I think the first one I took there was Joe Paquette. I remember studying with Ned Mueller. I don’t remember who else I remember many who were there. I mean, it was, many of the the greats from the Plein Air Painters of America.
Carol Gray-Weihman 9:12
Right. And that was the first time I really got to know Ray Roberts. Really, that was my first workshop with him. And I’ve known, I’m real close with Ray with Ray and Tavia. They’ve been in my life for at least 15 years now. Well, visit each other a lot work together. So, but yeah, so very memorable for me.
Eric Rhoads 9:41
Absolutely. And such great people. So, you were painting before before you study with Camille?
Carol Gray-Weihman 9:51
Yes. And a lot of people don’t know what I was doing before Camille, just a lot of people think it just all started with Camille, but I was really passionate with painting long before that, before I even found plein a ir painting. And I was pretty young, I was sort of trying to find my path. But I was really inspired by abstract expressionism before before. And so this was back in the mid 90s. And I was drawn to expressionism, but also neo-expressionism. I don’t know if you’ve heard that term, but know that term. And for your listeners who don’t know, it’s the neo-expressionists, that period came about is like a reactive period of rebellious anger over minimal art. That’s how it began. And, artists were not into the popular art that was so popular in the 70s. So works for being the works that were created at that period, I was so so drawn to, because they were very abstract, loosely painted, but with some recognizable objects that I could grasp. So I loved abstract. But I needed some elements of something I understood. So I was really drawn to that movement. And I’m I drew a lot of inspiration from like the German expressionist painters, like Kershner. And, even though my work doesn’t look anything like it today, but but the Bay Area Xavier school as well. So the I was particularly drawn to Richard Diebenkorn, his work, and and maybe Elbert a little bit of ….. And yeah. And I found somebody locally. His name was [Horshetrey]. And a lot of people don’t know who he was. He passed away, probably about maybe 10 years ago, he passed away. But he was part of that movement of the San Francisco School of abstract expressionism and he was living in Healdsburg at the time, just a 30 minute drive from me. And I somehow I found his work advertised somewhere. He didn’t promote himself for a while. So a lot of people didn’t know to know about him. But I arranged a meeting with him and his studio. And as soon as I got there and met him, I was immediately just moved and drawn to everything he was doing and everything he was about. And I was getting ready to mentor under him. And I was 28 at the time. And I just thought my path was becoming more and more clear. So just a little background on him and why I was so moved by by his work is. So he was at the forefront at the San Francisco expressionist movement. So many student art students at that time, were searching for something more meaningful, more cathartic with their work. And so this is a movement that Richard Diebenkorn was, I think the leader of I guess it can safely say that. And so many of the students from that period, they’re actually ex soldiers from the war. And they made the meaning behind the movement, all the more meaningful because these, these were artists that we’re trying to reach recover from post traumatic stress, and they were using art as a means to put their emotions on canvas. So all of these PTSD subjects were expressed in their paintings, and it was just a release for them. Their work was so emotionally charged. So what culminated from from that time, were just so many paintings of where things like anger, or disgust were depicted.
Eric Rhoads 14:57
So that really appealed to you like anger and disgust. For you, I guess this is the time for my sophomore psychology degree to kick in. So tell me about how you felt about your mother.
Carol Gray-Weihman 15:12
About my mother. That’s funny.
Eric Rhoads 15:16
Well, what was attracting you? You were obviously dealing with something.
Carol Gray-Weihman 15:24
Yes. Well, I mean, aren’t we all a little bit? I just, at that time in my life, I had this deep appreciation for, that kind of work. It just was so emotional, I was so drawn to the emotional aspect of it. But also that whole movement, what I learned about that movement, which intrigued me. And what I saw in this artists that I met in Healdsburg was that they were so entrenched in camaraderie with one another, and sharing ideas openly with each other. And so, they used this movement as a way to move through and process all this stuff that they were, they were experiencing. I mean, this was right after the war, so. So there was a lot going on the world was a little bit in chaos at this time. And so, I was intrigued, I was really intrigued about the concepts behind the creation of the work. And so important to note, or at least for myself, is that these are all these ideas. They’re coming back to me full circle now.
Eric Rhoads 16:50
All right, so good. Can’t get political, though.
Carol Gray-Weihman 16:58
No, I don’t want to get political. But, things are pretty chaotic right now. And so I feel that transition. I feel it coming all right back to me. But now I’m using my plein air experience. And sort of melding it back into the little experience I got it wasn’t that part of my life didn’t last very long, where I was really working at the abstract expressionist. But it had an impact on you. It certainly did.
Eric Rhoads 17:31
Yeah. So you were about to go ahead. I’m sorry.
Carol Gray-Weihman 17:34
Well, it was something I sort of abandoned. I mean, I just dropped it. The moment I met Camille, so it just went out the window. I didn’t I didn’t go back to it.
Eric Rhoads 17:47
Well, Camille’s not exactly a rule follower. Is she?
Carol Gray-Weihman 17:51
Not really, no, I wouldn’t call her that.
Eric Rhoads 17:54
So you you started to study with this guy. And then you said something happened? Is that the point at which you can actually with Camille?
Carol Gray-Weihman 18:03
Yes. I didn’t even formally start studying with him. I was about to. What happened was, is I think this was in 90. Yeah, this was in 1996. Right. I, one morning. I didn’t know who Camille was, even though she was 15 minutes for me. I had no idea who she was never seen her work. Never heard her name. But one morning, I was reading the San Francisco Chronicle. And a photo of a painting jumped out at me. And it immediately grabbed my attention, had a felt a similar response to, the the abstract expressionist how my attention was so focused on that there was a familiar reaction I had to her painting, even though it was an abstract it was actually had a lot of abstract elements to it, but it was a it was a scene that she painted in France. And it was full of color. And so they they printed this image of her painting in full color on the in the travel section of half a page. So there’s a nice big painting and it had her name under it. I was like huh, okay, this interesting is just an article about European travel. And then in a little snippet, sidebar in mentioned, she was teaching in France, teaching workshops. So I made it I just immediately it was just a reaction. I put the paper down, picked up the phone, call the reserve, three workshops, all the workshop. She was teaching I could only get into one of them was full, but I had two full weeks with her in France. Studying and, I had never gone outdoors to paint ever. I didn’t know what planar painting was. I mean, I did know, but I had never experienced it. No idea what I was doing. But while I was there, it that’s all it took. I was addicted. That was it. That was over.
Eric Rhoads 20:32
It tends to happen to us notice so plein air painting is the opioid of art.
Carol Gray-Weihman 20:37
Eric Rhoads 20:39
Every probably a bad analogy. So, what you kind of moved in lock stock and barrel. I mean, when I went there, you were sharing a studio with Camille, you obviously took took it all in and became very engaged in her teaching and, and her methods and so on. Tell me about that.
Carol Gray-Weihman 21:03
When she was she was teaching at France, she kept telling me, you got to come to my Monday class. This is nothing like how I teach, because she was hired by somebody who was really interested in in creating workshops that were a little bit more romantic. You know, what I mean? Like getting outdoors and painting landscape and not being rigorous study. So my, my actual first impression was a little bit off. Like it was, it was so wonderful. It was, a bit of vacation for me and just trying something new. And then when I came back when I came back home, and she urged me to get into her Monday classes, I was like, well, what’s this about? Xhe was teaching the Hawthorne Hinchey approach, as you know, and she was she was fresh out of that training at this time, she had only let’s see, I think she’d only been teaching about three years at this time. So I entered into I entered into Camille’s life, just just before she decided to take on painting as a full time career.
Eric Rhoads 22:30
She was an illustrator.
Carol Gray-Weihman 22:33
Yeah. So she was she was blazing a trail. I mean, Camille, back in those days, she was full of passion. But she still is, but it was a little bit different back in those days. Because she was just starting out. So she was she was more rigid, and her approach. And there was something about that. You’re gonna think there’s something wrong with me, because I like dark paintings and rigid training, but there was something about that I was really drawn to.
Eric Rhoads 23:15
Well, she was probably I think she was very rigid, even when I studied with her. And, I kept saying, I want to go out and, and paint, I want to go paint something. She said, No, we’re gonna paint blocks, and she was insistent that we paint blocks. And I remember thinking, I drove there every week, week after week, probably two years in a row. And I remember thinking, it’s like, I’m so sick of painting these blocks. And yet, there was a moment in time, and it took a while as it does, but there was a moment in time when it all of a sudden the angels were singing, and all of a sudden, I could see color. And it was that block training that really did that.
Carol Gray-Weihman 23:58
Eric Rhoads 24:00
But she, she knew you just had to keep persisting on that until you. You caught it.
Carol Gray-Weihman 24:07
Right. I mean, I did that. I was with her every Monday for 10 years. And it wasn’t until year five that I started doing landscapes. Yeah. So five years of blocks and round objects. I got to do the advanced. But yeah, it was pretty intense. I wouldn’t trade it for a heartbeat though. I just I love that. foundation I got I think
Eric Rhoads 24:44
it’s fabulous. And I don’t mean to cut you off. I think for the benefit of the listener. We need to explain what the heck these blocks are. Because a lot of people don’t know. Do you? Do you want to take it on?
Carol Gray-Weihman 24:54
Yeah, I think speaking about hanshi a little bit started this process, speaking about him, would help introduce this a little bit. So Henchy he studied with Charles Hawthorne. And he went to the Art Institute of Chicago first, he had a lot of training was just like as a teenager right out of right out of schools, he entered into artists to the Chicago ended up leaving the institute because he learned about Charles Hawthorne sort of sound familiar with something I did, but he he was immediately drawn to Hawthorne. I think he I think he was around 19 when he started taking classes with Hawthorne, so very young. And he also studied with George bellows, by the way, a lot of people don’t know that he studied with George bellows and George fellows. Yeah, he was a former student of William Chase. So there’s so Hawthorne study with Chase instead of George bellows. So hence, she got two different approaches. From that training that he had. I’ll speak a little bit of chase because he’s pretty important in this as well. But henchy meaning Hawthorne I liken it to to my meeting, horse trade or my meeting Camille, it just, it just changed his life. He never went back to art school. Once he he met Hawthorne, he became obsessed with studying under him.
Eric Rhoads 26:49
Kind of like you did with Camille.
Carol Gray-Weihman 26:51
Exactly. And he committed himself to just serious study, and was Hawthorne’s protege for I think 11 years. I think that if I remember correctly, Hawthorne passed away after 11 years of Henshi working with them. So just a bit about background on Hawthorne and how much teacher William Chase, William or Chase was. A lot of people, a lot of us know who he is because he was just a phenomenal teacher. He did so much teaching in his career. But he was teaching at the Shinnecock hills summer school in Long Island. And he also founded the chase School of Art, that became Parsons School of Design. I don’t know if a lot of people know that. But Chase was teaching, also at the same time as Robert Henry. So those two were sort of rivals a little bit. A lot of people know who Robert Henry is or should know if they don’t. But so Chase was considered kind of a more of a toneless painter. But he added color to this whole painting. So he was he’s a bit of black in his work. And, I was trained without using black. That was a big, no, no, no, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. But Chase was he was certainly attracted to color. And he was definitely attracted to Impressionism. But he didn’t really have the system in which to teach it. And so Chase was working around the same time that Monet was, and Monet is Monet wasn’t interested in teaching, he had to shoo away all the eager American students who wanted to study with them. It was funny when I read about this a long time ago, he he really hated Americans.
Eric Rhoads 29:04
How does Robinson get in there?
Carol Gray-Weihman 29:07
Oh, gosh, connections. There, a few people slipped in, and make connections with money, but he really didn’t. He really wasn’t interested in teaching, not at all, so. So Chase, he did instill impressionistic style into his paintings as a direct influence of Monet, but his paintings were overall just who are a little bit heavier in tone than what we typically know. Impressionism. I’m not really familiar with the actual interactions that took place between the two of them, Chase and Monet, but the The French impressionist had had a lot of help from an art dealer who brought their work to the US and exhibited in New York and in the 1880s. And, and that’s the time when chase really took notice. And he started painting more and more landscapes and getting outdoors, and trying to develop his more impressionistic style. So that was at the height of when Chase was doing that. So fresh and French Impressionism actually was way more popular here in the US, and it was in France, which is interesting. It wasn’t it wasn’t until later that it became, much more appreciated in France. So. So the artists that the young American artists, they were just intrigued, they’re like, what’s going on? They wanted to know more about this light and color in this, these area paintings. And so, Hawthorne, who studied under Chase, he, he’s the one that he started to develop more of a teaching method. And that helped the concepts of understanding what was happening with, the light and the shadow outdoors. But it was Hinchey. under him, who’s who’s the one that really expanded upon it, and entered started introducing the blocks. And she wanted to simplify the instruction a little bit further.
Eric Rhoads 31:41
Okay, but you need to explain what the blocks are.
Carol Gray-Weihman 31:45
Well, yeah, so so. Henche, he would paint a bunch of wooden blocks, all these different colors, and viewed muted colors, gray colors, neutrals, and bright, bold, saturated colors. And there would be dozens of them. And he’s setups to live like this. Tables out outdoors, and set these up for the beginner students and teach what happens to a color when light hits it. And what’s really exciting about this, I mean, it sounds a little bit boring. And tedious. But but once you start to see what happens to color, and different atmospheric conditions, it’s exciting.
Eric Rhoads 32:40
It is exciting. I think even the, the first one being white, when you when you see the effects of white. That’s huge.
Carol Gray-Weihman 32:53
Yes. Yeah, for sure. And one thing that I tried to try to teach, which I didn’t really have actually, Camille, I don’t know, she, of course explained what happens to white and in the light, of course, but we never painted like all white objects. At least, maybe she’s been teaching that more recently. But I’m intrigued with trying to, to differentiate the colors between all these different variations of white. I mean, that’s the biggest challenge of all, and I the first person who brought that up to me was Joseph Mendez. was try painting a whole white. Still, everything white. And, it’s pretty exciting. When you start to see all the color and white.
Eric Rhoads 33:52
Whistler did this painting, I think it was called Woman and White or Girl and White. It was just everything was white in the painting. And, it really does teach you how much color there is. And that was the thing that was so eye opening to me is when when Camille put a block out there and blocks of other color, all of a sudden, you saw how the effects of light, you could see the colors of white in the shadow, you could see the color of the Sun and the warmth of the sun on the on the highlighted, the top plane, you could see the reflected light, the impact of reflected light from another color on the side of the block. It’s it really is a terrific thing. And it’s something that I think everybody should try. It’s one thing to lay a white sheet of paper just take a piece of copy paper and lay it on the ground and have half of it in light and half of it in shadow just so you can see the color of shadow on white but to do it, to do the block studies really, really worthwhile. As a matter of fact, I’d like to see more people doing it.
Carol Gray-Weihman 34:57
Oh great. Yeah, me too. For sure, I still I still paid teach it. I don’t teach exactly like Camille, but I do I absolutely incorporate the blocks in my teaching? So yeah, my my, I mean, Camille is a great foundation for me but my training comes from so many different artists combined. So the way that I teach is sort of a mixture of what I learned from the bungard school? Through Joseph hence, Joseph Mendez and…
Eric Rhoads 35:39
Talk to me about that. So I didn’t realize that you had done the [Bund guards] school, did you actually go down and study with Sergey or was that through Joseph
Carol Gray-Weihman 35:51
Sergey had already passed away. I just, I was born a little bit too late. You were born at the perfect time. There’s so much great stuff going on. But there’s so much great stuff going on now. So but but yeah, I wish I could have met hanshi and bone garden. But now I so I studied with some avant garde students, and some people who put a lot of time in with Bogart or, or just a couple of workshops. And, and I was fascinated with that as well. And I realized the similarities. I mean, I think it was absolutely perfect. But after about five years with Camille, I ventured out and found Joseph, through Camille, and when we brought them we did some work together in here in Petaluma with Joseph and, and so I think it was just the perfect blend for me, because Joseph was saying the same things, just teach it a little bit in a different way. And they were they they had a lot of similarities. henchy and bone guard, and they were both, they were both teaching at the same time, one on the East Coast, one on the west coast. Who knows if they knew about each other? I don’t know. But, but the teachings were very, very similar. It’s just that bone guard was more known for his more expressive more alla prima works. And henchy was was more about the study and, and, and developing really developing the subtle color variations and working on campuses over and over and over again.
Eric Rhoads 37:45
Well, both of them had the reputation of being what was the term you used earlier? That, they were very tough on their students Bogart. Yeah. What would walk up to a student and completely humiliate them and, and sometimes scraped on their campuses?
Carol Gray-Weihman 38:03
Right. Right. Very strict, very, very rigid. And, and Joseph was pretty strict, who was me at least I don’t know how he was with everybody else, but he lives there. And, by then I had a pretty tough skin after five years with Camille. I could I could handle it. Bu, it’s funny, I remember, my very first workshop was Joseph, down in Southern California. And he knew I’d been painting with Camille for five years. And we went out to paint a landscape and I’m struggling with a cloud. I was painting a cloud and a landscape. And he comes along and, and I said to him, I’ve never painted a cloud before. And he said, what, five years with cameo you’ve never painted a cloud. He was just flabbergasted about that. But yeah, I’d explain them. I’m pretty good at painting blocks, though. But, yeah, anyway. Yeah, those two schools the bundgaard School hada henchy school. Absolutely love what what came out of those schools. And in bunker taught a lot of people that you and I know. Like, not just Joseph but gay Falcon, Berry and nebular and damping calm.
Eric Rhoads 39:37
Well, bundgaard came out of the came. I think he was from Kiev, if I remember correctly, and so he came out of the Russian school in the Russian training, and he would have been kind of Soviet era or pre Soviet era. So the influences there had to be staggering. But I don’t I don’t have to check with my friends in Russia, but I don’t know. Anybody who was really focusing on a colorist thing, there may have been some influence of fashion but fashion really wasn’t all that colorful was he was kind of more gray. Say?
Carol Gray-Weihman 40:11
Yeah, he was a student. Uh, well, he was a student of Kota Peter Kotov who studied under session. Okay. So there is some, you know that i mean session made it into everybody’s world. I think he taught a lot of people who went on to teach a lot of great artists. Yeah. But there is some influence for sure session influence, he kind of see it. In his brushwork surveys, brushwork was just phenomenal.
Eric Rhoads 40:41
Well, and and fashion was a student of Elijah reppin. Or the se se over there Rapin. And so, that’s pretty impressive lineage.
Carol Gray-Weihman 40:55
Yeah, yeah. But yeah, the time. But it was, there was a lot happening in Europe at that time, when when Sergei was young, and he, both it fashion and Sergei had to escape because of the wars, World War Two. So Sergei ended up going to Germany, I believe. The session went I think they both ended up in Germany, if I remember correctly, not sure if I remember this, right. But Sergei came to the US in the 40s.
Eric Rhoads 41:35
So that would be the connection because chase studied in Munich. And, and duveneck and tockman. Were in Munich as well. So, maybe there was someone in Munich who was teaching those guys are working with those guys. And, or, maybe, they had an influence, it’d be interesting to see that, it’s fun to look at the lineage and the artists and see where they, where they cross pollinate from one artists to another, there’s so many artists, for instance, in the lineage of Jerome, and it’s just, it’s fun to look at how many people and you can see the influences way back.
Carol Gray-Weihman 42:15
Right. Right, for sure. I mean, look at talk, that’s work. Oh, my gosh, to talk, and I know, they were friends. They must have, I think, talking and maybe influence chase quite a bit later on, Chase started becoming a little more impressionist. I mean, that’s just my guess, just by studying their works. And but yeah. But, Sergei, I love his story; him coming to the US. He started out in Tennessee. I don’t know if many people know that he was trying to make a living just painting portraits. And then he was really drawn to the west. He kind of he wanted to get into painting Western motifs, but he didn’t. He didn’t quite…
Eric Rhoads 43:12
He ended up moving west, Idaho or something, I think.
Carol Gray-Weihman 43:16
Yeah, he was in California for a while first, and then he bought it. He bought a, like a lot of I don’t know how many acres, a big piece of land in Idaho, where he built artists studios. And so a lot of painters I know of today that are working today, took workshops with him there. They he would have these summer workshops in Idaho, but he painted regular regular weekly classes in LA in the old studio. I know he took over fashions old studio gone in. I can’t remember the name of the town but somewhere down there in LA. And, that’s where I believe. Well, I’m not sure where a lot of these painters are today where they actually spent time with with with Sergei, but I’d love to have a conversation with them Mueller about it. I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to talk to them Mueller about his training, but Sergei is definitely influenced on his work. I mean, you can see I love nebulous work. You can see it in his his color, brushwork.
Eric Rhoads 44:44
Yeah, also in his portraiture, you can really see see those influences. Well, this has been terrific so far. Let’s let’s move on because I want to I want to make sure we have time to cover some of the other things that you’re doing. What are you focusing on now? Are you mostly teaching? What are you painting now help us understand what your current path is?
Carol Gray-Weihman 45:08
Well, I’m, not, because of the pandemic, I’m not doing anything in person right now. But I am. I do teach regularly. And soon as we get through this phase, I’ll be teaching workshops again, and I love to teach this workshop I call abstracting landscape. And I am actually in the process of putting together a couple of online instructional classes, not quite ready yet. But I’d like to have that going. And then just continue, continue the online stuff. Once we get back into teaching in person, again, to have that as an option, so I’ll have all that on my website. But what. So what how I teach I mentioned earlier is kind of a combination of what I’ve learned from so many different artists. So I don’t really, I can’t really say any more that I teach the Hawthorne Vinci approach, it’s really my own approach now. So this abstracting the workshop, by abstracting landscape workshop that I offer, it’s, it’s more about teaching less is more. So I was trying, I tried to paint really like related closely related masses, large masses of color, to try to simplify compositions, to sort of build up, build up paintings that way. And, paint in the style, more of masking and on my darks first creating the nice design, pleasing design. And then and then covering with color, and a nice. So it’s sort of, it’s sort of a combination of the henchy approach and the bone garden approach wrapped up into one. No school sounds, I think, yeah, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So. So yeah, I, I’d like to say that it’s, we do, I think, often fall into a trap of painting things, spending much, too much time on things that are unimportant.
Eric Rhoads 47:39
And, okay, give us some examples of that.
Carol Gray-Weihman 47:49
I like to try to work in such a way so that I’m painting the whole painting all at once, and not focus on one little thing. So I’m trying to look at what’s important. And just emphasize just the importance, because, as a viewer, he can’t really appreciate all this little, all these little details all at once, you really understand that the most beautiful paintings are the most simplistic with one area to have, one small area that has your, your interest, your point of interest. So, so I try not to spend too much time focused on one spot, and, work on my whole painting at once. And then I think, the painting should really be deliberately abstract in the beginning, at least. And this way, this way of working really, really speaks to me, but back to my roots when I fell in love with abstract expressionism. So I mask my shadows and first helps me determine if I have a strong design. And that’s really important, because it’s a real bummer if you complete a whole painting, and you find out at the end that your design is falling short.
Eric Rhoads 49:16
So do you have any particular, I don’t like the word rules, but do you have certain things that you follow when you’re trying to create a good design?
Carol Gray-Weihman 49:29
Yeah, rules are meant to be broken. I do know the set of rules that people, teach. And it’s always nice to have those sort of in the back of your mind. And, then allow yourself to break in once in a while. But one thing I do have is a Fibonacci skill that I carry around in my bag, which is pretty cool.
Eric Rhoads 49:57
So you carry you carry like Fibonacci calipers.
Carol Gray-Weihman 50:02
Yeah, this is, this is I have to look it up on the internet. I haven’t I haven’t actually seen it out on the market in a while, but it’s this wooden caliper that bolts up. And you could Google it and find find one, I’m sure, but it’s really wonderful. And I do use it a lot. So if you can quickly discern, if you’ve got, a 50/50 or proportion ratio, that you don’t really want to have a 50/50 proportion ratio, because your painting might look a little static 50, 50% white versus 50%, Shadow, light shadow, so I try to use it to proportion like one third, two thirds, and it helps me to see if I have any shapes that are equal, drawn shapes, unnecessarily, light to dark, but helps me to see the size, compare the size of each of my shapes. And so it’s a wonderful little tool.
Eric Rhoads 51:24
Yeah, they’re all over the internet. There’s all kinds of them. There’s some really fancy ones or some, some pretty basic ones, but, they all accomplish the same thing. And I think it’s a good thing. And do you have any tips in terms of studying the golden, Golden Triangle or the Fibonacci? Because I think that’s a little confusing for some people.
Carol Gray-Weihman 51:44
There’s, so much on the internet. I don’t go into that in great depth. I think I actually, a couple years ago, in the Plein Air Convention, I had a little handout on that. And what I’d like to do is actually put that on my website.
Eric Rhoads 52:05
Why don’t you do that? Why don’t you put it on your website, and then everybody can go there and get it. Your website is what?
Carol Gray-Weihman 52:13
Eric Rhoads 52:25
I think that’s a terrific idea. You put that on your website, and then everybody can go and get it. And you can have an opportunity to explain, of course, they can see workshops that you’re going to be doing or workshops, you’re going to be hosting and some other things like that. Well, Carol, unfortunately, our time has passed so quickly, I think you and I always have had a tendency to want to just chat for hours. And hopefully, we’ll get a chance to do that in person one of these days soon again. But this has been really fun. It’s it’s nice that you have such deliberate intent on the history and understanding the roots of your painting and, and those who have come before you and I think it’s all pretty cool.
Carol Gray-Weihman 53:09
Thanks, Eric. Really enjoyed this. It has been fun. Yeah, I really appreciate connecting with you and giving me this, this opportunity to talk to your listeners and share what I’m up to. Thank you.
Eric Rhoads 53:23
You’re welcome. So I want to remind everybody to go to your website. gray-weihman.com. All right, Carol, thanks for being on the Plein Air Podcast.
Carol Gray-Weihman 53:35
Thanks so much, Eric.
Eric Rhoads 53:38
Well, thanks again to Carol and wow, what a great friend. She’s very smart and a terrific painter. All around nice person to fun to be around. Anyway, are you guys ready for some marketing ideas?
This is the marketing minute with Eric Rhoads, author of the number one Amazon bestseller “Make More Money Selling Your Art: Proven Techniques to Turn Your Passion Into Profit.”
Eric Rhoads 54:00
In the marketing minute I answer your art marketing questions and you can email yours to [email protected] which also is a resource. Lots of blog posts there on marketing. Here’s a question from Omar Schmidt in Carlsbad, New Mexico who says, should we do discounts on our artwork, even with discounts? I’m not selling, but I advertised several of my oldest beginner paintings for free and they were claimed within an hour. Yeah. Oh, Mark, don’t do that baby. Look, advertising paintings for free is a great way to never sell another painting because you’re establishing that there’s no value to them. If you want to give paintings away for free, that’s fine. Do it privately. Do it quietly but don’t do it publicly. And certainly don’t advertise it. Because that’s going to make it harder for you in the future to sell anything. Now. People will take us dental floss for free if you give it to him. So paintings, same thing. But you’ve got to find people who value paintings you got to go to the right places. Look, I don’t know how you’re trying to sell. I can’t comment on your discounting. But discounts are not the reason people typically buy. Now there are people who if they’re in the market for something, they find it for a discount, they’ll buy it. But most people won’t even spend money on something they don’t want. If it’s discounted, paintings, or emotional, somebody falls in love, and they’ll pay what they think is a fair price in their mind. The key is understanding that and matching it, clearly discounts can work, but they can also wound you. There’s a time and a place like Nordstroms does one sale a year, I typically do a Black Friday sale, which is coming up. But I don’t normally do discounting. I’ve been doing it during COVID. Because everybody needs a break right now. And quite frankly, we need the money too. So we figured that was a win win, and the artists need the money. So we’re helping them but people who always see you discounting your prices always going to be a discount price, you might not get them back to pay the full price. So some restore retail stores do that right? Every time you walk into certain stores, it’s always 40% off and you just know that they’re marking it up so they can mark it down. But again, that kind of depends on what you’re selling in the art world that doesn’t tend to happen much a starting point Omar is to find out if your works any good. Is there somebody out there who can give you critiques of your work? be objective and not don’t look for all the good stuff? Look for only the bad stuff? You don’t want to hear all the all the compliments? You want to hear what’s wrong with it. And is it marketable? And can you improve it so you can find out if you’re ready? discounts are usually signs of desperation. All right, giving things away is fine. But don’t be public about it. Chances are people who got them we’re not in a position to be cash buyers anyway. But they’ll take them for free. So the other thing is, do you really want paintings out there that you did early that have your name and your signature on them? Be careful about that, because they will haunt you down the road, right? Someone will show up an auction or something and then you’ll be like, ooh, I want that out of the market. I don’t I’m not proud of that. Right. So you got to find a market gotta find a place to sell your work and be seen by buyers who appreciate fine art. I can help you with that by reading my book. I think that’s a good place to start.
Eric Rhoads 57:06
There’s a question from Lee Branton, Evansville Indiana. Lee, I’m from Indiana. Lee says can you speak to overcoming the fear of rejection when exposing your artwork to the public or a gallery? Oh, Lee, I’m all over that. Because I am like Mr. rejection. I was talking to a psycho therapist today. And she told me that the number one problem is lacking self esteem. self esteem, of course, can be situational. There are some people I’m totally confident around, I could stand in front of 1000 of them and dance on stage and not have any problem. There are others. I’m like, shy and reserved around I know, that’s hard to believe. But, depends on certain levels of respect or where they came from, some of my early mentors and people that I looked up to, I’m still a little intimidated by some of those. So, and there’s just certain people so keep in mind, it’s situational. When I first put my work in a gallery, I was uncomfortable. And I was making lots of excuses. And I was insecure. It felt very on like me, a rejection is really fear. But why do you fear? Why don’t you embrace rejection? Can you flip it around and say I actually want rejection? Why would you do that? Well, first, you know that every painting has a special person for it, right? It’s not going to appeal to everyone, just like not every painting appeals to you. paintings or emotional reminders, memories, childhood places, things like that, they’re not going to appeal to everybody. And so let’s say that you know this and you know that you’re going to appeal only to one out of 20 people all as soon as you get those 2019 people to reject you, maybe you’ll get to the 20th and you get to a sale sooner. So the faster you can get the rejection. That way you’ll embrace it, you’ll say, Okay, I got a rejection. Good. check that off next. That way, you’re closer to a sales. That makes sense. Alright, a friend of mine is a sales trainer. She stops her pockets with hundred dollar bills. And she says to a person, okay, ask me for the order. And every time she says no, she says, Take one of those hundred dollar bills. And then, they asked for the order 20 times, she finally says yes. And they get to keep all the hundred dollar bills they plucked off of her. I think the idea is, to make the example that you got to ask a lot, you got to be willing to ask and effort in order. And so some of that is is training that you could stand to have, when you’re dealing with artwork, we’re always or at least often insecure about our artwork. It’s normal. But why? Well, maybe we don’t think we’re good enough. And if that’s the case, if we’re insecure about our work, then maybe we need to have it evaluated to look at it and say, Is it good enough? Should we be out there yet? can we improve and always look for ways you can grow and improve? That’s why videos and workshops and seminars and conventions and things like that are really, really helpful. Don’t think of this as rejecting you. They’re not rejecting you. They’re just not clicking with that particular painting. It’s nothing personal. So as soon as you understand that, and That the faster you’re going to get beyond that fear, people are generally kind they want you to succeed. Look for the bright side and everything and don’t look at them as being critical of you or your painting. It just has an appeal to them embrace failure, as lessons that bring you closer to the success that you want. I think I could write a whole book about that topic. Well, that’s the marketing minute.
This has been the marketing minute with Eric Rhoads. You can learn more at artmarketing.com.
Eric Rhoads 1:00:27
Don’t forget to sign up for Watercolor Live at watercolorlive.com. Remember, there’s a November 30 deadline on that and on Plein Air Salon at pleinairsalon.com. And you should sign up for the Plein Air Convention while you’re waiting for it. And if we can’t hold it, of course, there’ll be refunds available so go ahead and get signed up. So you get one of the seats because I have a hunch there’s going to be high demand this year for allowed out. If you’ve not seen my blog, where I talk about art life and other things. Check it out. It’s called Sunday Coffee. You can find it at coffeewitheric.com, comes out free every Sunday. Just sign up at coffeewitheric.com Well, this is fun. We’ll do it again sometime like next week. God willing, we’ll see you then I’m Eric Rhoads, publisher and founder of Plein Air Magazine. You can find that on the newsstands and you can find us at outdoorpainter.com. And of course you can get a subscription there or pleinairmagazine.com. But remember, it is a great big beautiful world and it is deserving of being painted and you need to 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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