Plein Air Podcast - Cynthia Rosen artist
Cynthia Rosen, featured in the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads, Episode 198

Welcome to the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads. In this episode Eric interviews artist Cynthia Rosen, who is known for her colorful palette knife landscape paintings and her “no-fear” approach.

Bonus! In this week’s Art Marketing Minute, Eric Rhoads, author of Make More Money Selling Your Art, explains how considering your goals will help you plan a successful art unveiling; and how to break into a new market, such as interior design, to sell your paintings.

Listen to the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads and Cynthia Rosen here:

Landscape painting by Cynthia Rosen
Cynthia Rosen, “A Countryside Invitation”

Related Links:
– Cynthia Rosen online:
– Watercolor Live:
– Eric Rhoads on Instagram:
– Eric Rhoads on Facebook:
– Sunday Coffee:
– Plein Air Salon:

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 198. Today we’re featuring extraordinary palette knife painter, Cynthia Rosen.

Eric Rhoads 0:27
This is the Plein Air Podcast with Eric Rhoads, publisher and founder of Plein Air Magazine. In the Plein Air Podcast we cover the world of outdoor painting called plein air. The French coined the term which means open air or outdoors. The French pronounce it plenn air. Others say plein air. No matter how you say it. There is a huge movement of artists around the world who are going outdoors to paint and this show is about that movement. Now, here’s your host, author, publisher and painter, Eric Rhoads.

Eric Rhoads 1:05
Thank you Jim Kipping. I could listen to that music all day long. I just love that song. So beautiful. Welcome to the Plein Air Podcast, everybody it is sunny and cool. And a very paintable day here in Austin, Texas. And I’m thinking I may sneak out and slip in a painting yet today. Hopefully, I hope you’re doing the same thing. One thing that’s been nice about this COVID time is that many ways. We’re actually painting better. We’re painting our best because we’re not distracted. We’re getting a lot of practice. We’re doing more and more. I hope this is good for you. And I hope you’re painting better than ever. I think this is there’s a silver lining and every cloud right? Okay, well, we’ve seen our audiences expanding lately. The combination of people having more time and discovering plein air painting from our daily broadcast at noon and three on Facebook and YouTube plus more and more people discovering the podcast. I mean, there are literally millions of downloads now it’s pretty amazing. Plein air is spreading throughout the world. I would encourage you to find a local Plein Air Group. If you can’t find one start one you’ll soon have people who want to join you who want to learn this or do this. So if you’re new to the Plein Air Podcast welcome, we’re glad to have you here. I’ve been getting lots of questions about plein air painting about our retreats or events or videos, art instruction, all this stuff virtual events. You can find it all at slash everything. And if you’re new, it’s a good way to kind of find out what works for you if there’s anything in there and the shameless self promoter in me wants to suggest it might be a good place to find some Christmas present ideas, or to some hints we did a thing on recently called the 23 favorite gifts for artists, you could go to and search that if you’re looking for gift ideas, just saying. Also, I should make sure that you guys are aware that we have the Plein Air Salon art competition 30,000 in cash prizes 15,000 for the main winner, including the cover of Plein Air Magazine cover Plein Air Magazine is the winner for this past competition Dave Sanitllanes, it’s a beautiful painting on the cover and it could be you. So look through your beautiful paintings and see what you’ve got that maybe should be entered before the end of the year. 12/31 go to All right, if you probably have you been following us anyway, you probably know that our conventions were all canceled, we had to pivot. And so we came up with these virtual events. One is called Plein Air Live. The other is Realism Live. And both have been huge successes. Well the next one is in January, and it’s called Watercolor Live. And we’ve already got over 800 people signed up we’d love to have you join for our four days of the finest watercolor artists on earth teaching. It’s very rare to have them together. That’s at make sure you get that done. Also, I should mention the new issue of Plein Air Magazine is out and as I mentioned, Dave Santillanes’s painting high places is on the cover. And of course we’re also announcing all the winners in the issue. You get to see what’s winning and see what kind of beautiful paintings are out there. And of course the magazine is filled with beautiful paintings and tips and so on. If you don’t have Plein Air Magazine in your life, we would love to let you experience it. So go to Barnes and Noble are Michaels in the US. It’s the number one selling art magazine in America at Barnes and Noble. And so we’re pretty proud of that you can get your own subscription at Also, we have a newsletter called Plein Air Today it’s free. It comes out every week. And it’s a great place to find cool things about plein air painting plein air events, various artists, profiles and so on. And you can find it by going to Coming up after the interview I’ll be answering Art marketing questions in what we call the Marketing Minute. But first, let’s get right to a fabulous interview, if I might say so myself, not because of me, but because of her great interview with Cynthia Rosen. Cynthia Rosen, welcome to the Plein Air Podcast.

Cynthia Rosen 5:17
Hi, Eric, how are you today?

Eric Rhoads 5:19
I’m terrific. I was thinking about what I think was probably the first time I ever met you or recognized you or understood who this crazy woman is. What I mean by that is, you know, I can remember a moment. We were at fall color week in Maine. And I was walking down the road and there was this woman who had two paintings on her easel. One looking in one direction, one looking in the other direction and and painting. Both. Yeah. And that was you.

Cynthia Rosen 5:57
Same walk, that was me. Yes. And you asked me to talk at that gathering that night at dinner, you know, five minutes Why? And I said, Well, when you start painting at 60 years old, you better get going. Got a lot to learn.

Eric Rhoads 6:18
Well, I think I remember telling you that I met a man by the name of Jaime Hertwig, who was someone somebody said you should study under. And I went took a lesson from him one day, and he painted three. Simultaneously, he had exactly the same answer with one addition. And that is you can’t make any money if you paint slow. So he was cranking out three at once.

Cynthia Rosen 6:42
It’s true. It’s true. I mean, luckily, I’ve been able to earn a living and it’s certainly been helpful. Now both learning and financially.

Eric Rhoads 6:55
At the time, I don’t remember if you were exclusively a palette, knife painter, but you pretty much are now right?

Cynthia Rosen 7:02

Eric Rhoads 7:05
Were you doing palette knife paintings when we met?

Cynthia Rosen 7:09
Yes, we were I actually had started to paint. I was wintering in Arizona, with my husband who didn’t want me to have a job, so to speak. But the writing was sort of on the wall in terms of the relationship, and I knew I needed to earn income. And yet I had some time constraints because of him. And all of my children back in the city, most of the children back on the east coast. So it’s a I had gone to art school at least attended for at least a year. And so I had some art in my background. And this gave me the flexibility that is doing art to be a mother grandchild, grandmother, as it turned out. And, you know, be able to travel the way he wanted to. And so I started to make art. It actually started with some murals that I got doing for a restaurant in New York and earn some money and it’s like, Whoa, I can actually earn money making art. So which I had done for about 40 years. And so I started to make art and discovered I needed to be outside I was an outdoor kind of person. And we were living in a condo in Arizona. And so I went outside and realized I didn’t really know anything about color. Everything I had done prior to that was pretty monochromatic. So I picked up a palette knife to learn about color and just never put it down. Too much fun.

Eric Rhoads 9:08
What was it about a palette knife that that really appealed to you?

Cynthia Rosen 9:13
Well, I learned about color. Not that I’ve learned everything I need to know.

Eric Rhoads 9:18
But you can’t learn about color with a with a paintbrush, no.

Cynthia Rosen 9:25
Being able to mix color the palette knife actually the paintbrush is quicker to paint with because it flows but the palette knife I was able to apply fresh clean color right from my palette without any mixing and the minute you start mixing colors, blending them on a canvas. They dole down a little bit. And I’ve always said I mean I was sort of required shy person until I started painting color and So I’m sort of making up for a very what I consider a beige life and painting a lot of color. And I like the vibrancy of it. Now I’d like the color and the futurists work. I was attracted to the color in the, in the photos. And yeah, it was very immediate. As it turns out, like broken colors, so it works perfectly.

Eric Rhoads 10:29
Well. You know, it’s a pretty rare thing that I meet people who I consider to be outliers. And you can always tell by the reaction of other people, when you came up to fall color week, we, of course, when we’re at our fall color week, for those who don’t know, is an artist retreat that I do every fall in a different place. And we put our paintings out at night, and we have a big room filled with paintings and, and you can always tell when somebody is going to be a big hit, because everybody’s drawn to their work. And I can only think of two or three people in the history of these events that have had people as drawn to the work is as yours. And, I’ll not mention other names. There were a couple others. But I think that it became very clear to me very fast that you were going to become a superstar if you probably already were but you we’re about to become nationally known. And I know that we probably played a little bit of a role in that by I think we probably did a story or something.

Cynthia Rosen 11:39
Actually, okay, so let’s step back a minute. All right, fall color week, and your Adirondack your retreats are amazing. And I was big, I was just really beginning to paint. In fact, it was partly in reaction to not great marriage. But fall color week was a gift I gave to myself to be somewhere where I could just paint. And so No, that was the beginning. And yes, you’ve certainly played a role. A tremendous role. I’ve been able to meet people I mean, on my way back, driving out west after fall color week, Richard Lindenberg, who I’d met at fall color week called and said, Do you want to go up to the Grand Canyon to paint? I mean, this is what happened. Because the fall color week I met Barbara tab and Linda pica, who are among my better friends. I mean, I’ve made connections there. And I remember going up to you and saying, so how do you price paintings? I mean, that’s how new I was. I had hardly painted plein air at all, I hadn’t, just enough to know that. It was something I love to do. And so no, I actually got flack from my ex about going. And it doesn’t matter. You know, it was great. So I would recommend anybody who really wants to not only meet people, but see others work. I mean, I met John McDonald there, and he actually came up to me and said, I’d like to paint more like you. And meanwhile, I’m sort of like my jaw drops when I see his work. And I immediately said, Yeah, but you would lose the romance. I mean, I love John’s work. I love traditional, beautiful, realistic work. It’s just not what I do. And so no, I suggest anyone and everyone take the time and it’s more than worth the money to go to your retreats, they aren’t just fabulous.

Eric Rhoads 14:14
Well if this is this, you’re starting to sound like a shill now and that’s this is not the intention of going in that direction.

Cynthia Rosen 14:21
But it was the beginning for me.

Eric Rhoads 14:24
Well, and it’s beginning for many people. And I think what’s really been interesting about it is you know, I created it originally that it was the publishers Invitational in the Adirondacks was the first one. I created it because I was sitting around with some friends. And they were saying, when we go to plein air events around the country, you know, we don’t get to paint together because nobody wants to buy the same painting that somebody else has done and so we paint apart. We don’t get to hang out together because we’re touching up our stuff in our rooms at night. We see each other once in a while. But wouldn’t it be fun just to kind of hang out and, and paint together for a week. And so that’s why I started it originally. And then I realized this isn’t just by invitation it should be anybody should be able to come so even though it was still called the Invitational, I said anybody can come. And but the, the side effects were effects that I never would have anticipated. I mean, I, you mentioned names that have become really great friends of mine, and many, many others. And, and we’ve seen so many people have these unbelievable friendships develop as a result of spending a week together, you know, sharing dorms or, or hanging out at night singing and, just chatting about art. And it also, it helps somebody who wants to really get a feel for what the reality is in the in the, in the art world. For instance, when Charlie hunter came to the Adirondacks, he came not, according to him not knowing anything about the plein air world, and he wanted to learn something about it. And he came here that people have the same reaction to his work that they had to your work. And all of a sudden, everybody’s drawn to him and and it gave him the boost of confidence that he needed. But it also gave him a chance to learn about things that he didn’t even know existed, like the plein air events and the that, you know, kind of the way things are done and how people were selling their artwork. And, and so I think these things have a lot of side benefits that we never anticipated.

Cynthia Rosen 16:33
Absolutely, no, absolutely. But no, I was brand new at it. In fact, when I went back to Arizona, a person who was taking people out to paint outside in Arizona, Toni (paren), she was selling some used equipment. I bought equipment from her, and it’s so I would have what I really needed. So no, it was, it was great. But anyway.

Eric Rhoads 17:08
Well, I’m curious, because, that was probably how many years ago? six or eight years ago?

Cynthia Rosen 17:18
Yes. That was I think in 62. It was 62 or 63. So that was really when I met probably 62.

Eric Rhoads 17:31
Okay, so age 62. Meaning you. Okay,

Cynthia Rosen 17:35
no, no, 19- Wait, you’re right. So that was No, you’re right. So that was six, seven years ago. Yeah. One or the other?

Eric Rhoads 17:46
Yeah. So you have been through a really interesting journey, I think it’d be fun to share some of that journey, because you’ve kind of gone from zero to 100 miles an hour in, in six years or seven years. And you have been embraced by art galleries. I don’t have a real feel for how much work you’re selling, but you appear to be making a decent living and supporting yourself as an artist. What, what have you learned from that last few years?

Cynthia Rosen 18:24
I take all the romance out of it. And I know, you know, it’s hard work. It is I mean, I’ve actually just moved back into my house. After about seven years, I have an apartment attached to it. And my daughter’s family was living in my house until I was at West part time and I was on the road so much. And I decided I’d turn my house into like a large studio there enough bedrooms, because I raised six kids that I can host other artists here hosts workshops. But when you take on art as a career, it is non stop. It’s 24 seven, and there are times it’s like I just want to go pack into groceries at the supermarket and stop thinking that’ll make my life a little bit easier. But I can’t stop, and yes. I’m not rolling in the dough. I will tell you, I went to an O pa opening. I’d done some work. I think it’s the lawn show or an Easter regional show. I mean, I don’t really apply to things anymore. Because my work is so different. I just need to do my work. And I make enough money selling through my galleries in the few events that I go to. But Michelle And I had been Facebook friends and she was going to go to the opening, we decided to meet there. And I asked her, how much she made a year. What’s it like, financially being an artist, and, she quoted me a figure over 100,000. And I had been teaching when I was raising my children making 25,000 a year. So that was like, well, but then she said, but it really turns out being about 30,000. Because your costs, your materials, your framing your travel if you do plein air events, so it’s not like you’re gonna, I mean, some people make it rich. I am making far more than I ever made as a teacher. But I’m also spending money. And yet it’s affording me to go to your retreats. I mean, I can’t afford to take workshops. But interestingly enough, Nancy Tankersley once said to me, we were having dinner, she said, You shouldn’t. And that just sort of hung in with me. But yeah, there was a lot of needing to learn on my own finding my own resources, but it’s a wonderful life, and it’s a hard life. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Eric Rhoads 21:33
Well, I mean, when you think about it, where else can someone who suddenly going through a change of life, a change of marriage, someone going into their early 60s, who, you know, when most people are saying, Okay, time to hang it up, yours, yours going out there and saying, I’m going to pursue this with vigor, and I’m going to make it happen and to watch how well you made it happen. I don’t think, that life is about money. And life may be about having enough money to be able to get through, obviously, you don’t want to struggle, but to be able to, to feed yourself and to get get what you need. Right. And so you’ve you’ve been a miracle as far as I’m concerned. Because you’ve, you’ve managed to reinvent yourself and make a living and, the other thing that that we have to understand is that time is an incredible boost for an artist. I mean, you think about only six or seven years, the reputation you’ve developed the the galleries that have have come on board with you that the articles and things that have happened with you imagine how that will all snowball and grow over time. Because the more more things that anyone does more things, you do things like the podcast or other such things, it’s just going to add to that and that that additive effect is what we call momentum. And you’re you’re really gaining a lot of momentum. And I think you’re doing a terrific job. I certainly am very proud to see what you’ve done.

Cynthia Rosen 23:23
Well, thank you. And I’m honored to be on this podcast, by the way. But um, no, it’s interesting. It’s certainly given me confidence. And I actually I’ve started recently a group of plein air painters up here in Vermont. I haven’t called Charlie yet to say, hey, guess what we’re doing? But yeah. Right. I’ve gotten just right in my neighborhood, you know, within the town or two for me, I mean, Vermont, everything scattered. And half the people are down south for the winter. But yeah, I have like, eight people or so that I’ve gotten together just in the this fall, since the summer that we go out center painting together. On so now it’s It is wonderful. And this affords me the time I’m really the only either living or available grandparent for five grandchildren. And so that’s hugely important to me that I am available to them. And this life gives me that opportunity to be active part of their lives. So now it is it’s a difficult life. Anybody who can paint just for the fun of it and enjoy it. That’s fabulous. But Yeah, for me, I need to earn an income and it’s working. And the connections are great.

Eric Rhoads 25:09
You know, you have another trait that you have is you You seem to have no fear. If you have it, he nobody sees it. I remember was it last summer or the summer before I wasn’t last summer because we didn’t have around Dec event last summer, but the summer before wandering into the woodstone by the big waterfall we always paint. And here you are painting a lot a 50 bucks 60 or 70 by 80. Giant painting out in the middle of the woods. And, you pretty much had that looked like that thing was done. In one day, I think you came back and worked on it a couple more times.

Cynthia Rosen 25:54
It actually it was a huge learning experience for me. And when I teach that’s basically what I tell people consider it all part of your learning. And when you get a great painting that’s sort of by magic, I don’t know how it happens. But I actually worked on that for three days. And it was a great learning experience because I had just come back from the Annapolis paint Annapolis, a plein air event. I got home from Annapolis, I emptied my car came up to the Adirondacks ended up not having the right kind of medium for that size painting. Because when you paint with a palette knife you paint thick, and a painting that you need to return to after the first day you should be using the solvent free gel or something that doesn’t dry as quickly as the galkin which is what I use. So I ran into problems with that painting. But it was just wonderful being out there by that river. And painting You know, it was actually only four feet. just felt big, because most people tend to paint smaller. Yeah, no it. For me, being outside, I love plein air. I mean, I’m doing a lot more studio work this year and probably this winter, because I’m struggling with an issue that I need to figure out. So I have several large paintings going on simultaneously, one in oil one and acrylic, one that has more brush one that has more knife.

Eric Rhoads 27:42
What are you struggling with, are you willing to say?

Cynthia Rosen 27:45
I actually miss drawing. I started out my first year in college, all I did was draw, I used to say I’m learning with colors of black and white. And with a palette knife, you don’t do any drawing. And I want to incorporate some more drawing into my painting. And I need to stick my paintings up part of the impact of going to the plein air events of the competitions is being surrounded by so many realist painters my work is tightened up. And so this winter being fairly isolated in my studio, will give me the opportunity to do not only more complex paintings because I want to, but to incorporate what seems to be a bit of an antithesis, that is line with space with a really sick basis, and yet, in my more post expressionistic or abstract mode. Oh, it’s all it’s interesting.

Eric Rhoads 28:56
I’m going to send you the new Rose Frantzen video. And the reason I’m going to send it to you is because rose like you is is a painter with no fear. And she’s a very strong realist painter, but she gets there through abstraction like you do. And one of the things that she demonstrates in this video among many, many other things is she’s using oil stick. And she’s going crazy with that oil stick much like you approach it with a palette knife. You know, she’s just bold and, and crazy.

Cynthia Rosen 29:34
And I have the oil stick. And I love her work.

Eric Rhoads 29:38
Yeah. And so you’re that’s what I was gonna say is maybe maybe that’s something to try. I see you’re already trying that because that would give you the opportunity to incorporate some drawing into those things.

Cynthia Rosen 29:50
Right. I mean, it’s interesting. I did a little still life that I actually named it t 40 Both tea cups. And it was just a still life of tea cups this past winter in the painting sold. So I don’t have it, but it was fun. I mean, they I can and it was all palette night because it was still small. On the larger boards. I don’t like the part large knives. They don’t have the flexibility though. I do like the, my goodness, the rubberized wedges. I love the wedges. So I use the word a lot. And that gives me some opportunity to draw. But yeah, no, I mean, roses work is fabulous. And she’s also I was I took myself to Scottsdale artists school when I was out west, because I wanted to try my hand at figurative work. And so I’d go to open studio and she came in one day and her energy just pervaded the place. I mean, and she’s so giving somebody who’s going to be taking a workshop and someone else asked her question, and she’s out there giving.

Eric Rhoads 31:13
I think that anyway, you might get something out of that. Maybe it’ll give you an idea too. But I like the idea that you’re playing with some of these other interesting materials. So the challenge is trying to incorporate your drawing, getting more drawing into your palette knife work.

Cynthia Rosen 31:31
It’s I mean, I’ve always loved the futurists You know, there were so many painters whose work I love. I mean, whether you go from Roscoe and yet I love dooars drawings, and I love Cassatt’s sensitivity and de Kooning, Alain de Kooning’s, toughness. I mean, there’s so much I love and how to get it in. But I figure a couple of months during the worst of Vermont’s weather. Now, come March, I’ll see more sun again, and a couple of months of sorting through some of the problems that I want to problem solve the for. Knock on wood, we start going back to events in the spring.

Eric Rhoads 32:19
Well I think that’s, I think that’s a necessary process. And we all tend to go through that and and your, your recognizing it, which is the first step is that you need to go through it. I remember a story about I took Scott Christensen to Russia. And after the trip, I’ve told this before, but after the trip, he said I’m not sure I can paint anymore. And he struggled after he saw the the depth of the work in Russia, he realized that he had to push himself to a completely different level. And, you know, he did the same thing. He locked himself up for a few months and just kept working through it and going through the frustration, but he eventually broke through. And that’s what exactly what will happen to you.

Cynthia Rosen 33:06
Yes, no, I, I’m really excited about it. In a normal year, where I’d be on the road, I don’t think I would face this challenge. But sort of sitting here talking with myself a lot. It’s a perfect timing, you know, it’s lemonade, you make love or you have lemons, you make lemonade, it’s sort of COVID has made us all change. And might as well go for the better part of that. Absolutely. In some ways for the better.

Eric Rhoads 33:40
So what is it about palette knife? You know, I I’ve heard the story from many people who said, I just decided to pick up the palette knife and, and do more knife work in my paintings, in some cases, do all knife work in my paintings. And when they do that, they sell. And obviously, it’s not always about selling, because a lot not everybody wants to sell for instance, but what is it about that that? Is it because it’s changing the energy? Is it making? It’s because of the rich color? Is it everything combined? Why do you think that is?

Cynthia Rosen 34:22
I think it’s the purity of color. In all honesty, I mean, I’ve been lucky. My paintings have a lot of movement, which is difficult for some people. I know that and some people it’s like, Whoa, that’s too wild or I don’t get it. But no, I have gone to some events where I’ve just fell out. And there are painters who I consider better painters and myself, whose paintings is still hanging on the walls. And I think it is it’s the color And I perhaps the harder life gets, you know, we’re coming out of an anti aesthetic movement. The art world has been quite anti aesthetic for a number of years. And while I’ve railed against plein air being only traditional, at the same time, thrilled that there is a movement towards appreciation of beauty. Okay, so that’s wonderful society needs it. I’m tired of walking into a museum and seeing a pile of junk in the middle of the floor and having it considered art. I understand it all. And actually, before I started painting, I was starting to put together an adult coloring book, and it was going to basically be we’re all artists, and it was a number of exercises, set up your camera and take a photo of the same thing every hour through the course of 24 hours, just to see the light change. Oh, guess what, you’re an artist. I mean, everything became so cerebral. It actually began with the realist painters. that once we went to the romantics where they started, it was not just these beautiful paintings for the Kings at the church. Once they moved into romanticism, and Jericho and della quad and showing real life and then the ashcan school. And it’s actually a place I want to go, I would love to paint figurative work that has some relevance to society. I’m not there yet. Maybe in a few years, I seem to come up with ideas. And it takes me a few years for them to do until I get it together. But it all began with that. Well, they’re really anyway, for me, what I’m thinking is, people love the colors. Do something pretty. I mean, I love beautiful, romantic, representational paintings. I do. I mean, I love William Bailey, which is quite stark and monochromatic. But the sensitivity you know, I love Picasso’s rose period. And Mary Cassatt, and, I’d love John McDonald’s work and I love beautiful work by but my energy has to do with a conceptual issue of time. And so there’s a lot of movement in my paintings. But yes, I think people buy them because the color and it makes people feel good. Having bright colors around.

Eric Rhoads 38:05
Well, you know, there’s also a theory that I teach in marketing, which is pretty simple, really, it’s, when everybody else is zigging, you should zag. And you kind of, you kind of pinned it, a lot of people and a lot of plein air events are painting the same painting. Everybody’s got their own little little style. But, you see a lot of green landscapes, oftentimes, and, and when somebody comes in, and they break the rules a little bit, they abstract things out a little bit more, those people that really stand out and, and there’s kind of a bridge that’s taking place between traditionalism and modernism in the sense that you are, your paintings feel right in a contemporary apartment and, on a wall in New York City, and because they’re big, big shapes, broken color, lots of energy, thick paint, they just lend themselves to a contemporary art world. Whereas so many of the others, myself included, we we tend to lend ourselves more to what some would perceive as the past now, we’re not repeating the past we’re just, we’re recording where we are today. And doing it in our own ways, but I think there’s something to that, you look at at somebody like Cesaro Santos, who we’ve done videos, and SES are is as classical a painter is there is and yet just by putting him on giant canvases and square shapes, and maybe doing something very classical and then doing something unexpected around it, a squiggly line or a big palette knife slash or something. It it translate Since the past moves into the contemporary art world, so I think there’s probably a little something like that going on too.

Cynthia Rosen 40:09
I think so. And, your work has been changing. So I don’t think you’re stuck anywhere. But yeah, I’ve seen the changes in your work. And I saw, I think the last time we were there the Adirondacks, you would pick up the knife, I’m actually finding more and more people are picking up the palette knife. I had, I teach some online class workshops. And I know for a while, it was hard to get palette knives, you know, people would say, and I’d sort of say, well try this place or tried that. So I know more and more people are picking it up. Yeah, there is an immediate and immediacy to it, which actually fits with this very contemporary, fast moving lifetime. That we’re all in that it’s nice. But, then you say don’t let it fool you. Because finishing a painting is the hardest part. And the palette knife presents challenges because of the thickness of the paint. It’s not always ideal I spent, actually down in Annapolis. Two years ago, I spent a full day and a half, foolishly chasing the light, because there was a tiny, old, historic, quaint street scene. And I just had to figure out, can I paint this with a knife? I know I can do it with a brush without a problem. But can I pull it off with the knife? And I ended up deciding? No, I cannot. So there are limitations that the knife presents. And that is something that people need to know. If I’m using the oil stick that may present, you know, the options, but still for that particular scene, I could not pull it off with a knife. So, I’m testing the limitations. I’ll go paint a marina and it ends up being way too tight. And I know it. But I actually have a painting that I put in an ED or Oh, it was in actually plein air magazine, I think Kelly Kane had done a series on boats, or water. And it was in there. And it was a painting that I did totally 100% based on a plein air painting that I had done that I was not content with, because my knife got too tight. So I was able to push it on a larger scale, using that planar painting to work from, but it has its limitations. Just like everything, we all have to test and try things out and see what works. What doesn’t?

Eric Rhoads 43:23
Well, I think that one of the one of the gifts, which is also a curse, is the fact that we have different tastes. And we like different things you just mentioned a bunch of artists and painters that, you love and, you think about the differences between the ones you mentioned. I mean, it’s all across the spectrum. And I think one of the things that’s a struggle for many of us is we don’t necessarily want to get boxed into one thing. You know, I sometimes I paint loose and abstract and sometimes I paint very tight. And I like them both. But sometimes, sometimes it doesn’t work. And so I think that that’s a big battle. How do you deal with that?

Cynthia Rosen 44:13
Well, that’s an interesting battle. Because I know when I first started, it’s like, well, your work has to be consistent to get into galleries. I’ve been lucky because all of the galleries or men I was invited into, so I’ve never had to try to get into a gallery. So I consider myself very lucky. But no, some of my works tend to be more abstract and take a look at Larry Moore. He has the two series going. And I do think that more and more people are allowing themselves to say I mean, we’re in the 21st century. Yeah, you know, you can do this more representational and you can do some abstractions. I, I’m known more for my plein air or semi representational landscapes, my knife work. But on my website I have off the beaten track, I think it’s the name of the category and it has a few steel lines in it, then it has a few portraits in it, it has other things and some mixed media abstractions in it. So, we’re not even though we’re taught, particularly in Western society to be linear, you know, we go into elementary school, and this is how you do things. And it’s a very linear format. But we are multi dimensional people with different interests in different parts of ourselves. And I believe it’s okay to express those different sides. Just be aware of what you’re doing?

Eric Rhoads 45:57
Well, I do think from a practical standpoint, one has to be sensitive to the fact that one could screw up one’s reputation. And what I’m, what I mean by that is, I remember coaching, someone who asked me to, they were an advertiser, they asked me to look at their website, because they, we were getting people that their website visits had increased tenfold, but they weren’t selling anything. And I remember, this particular woman was promoting portrait commissions. And so I went to her website, she’s got an ad that says, showing beautiful portraits and, go here for portrait commissions, and I couldn’t find them. And, you know, you go to the front page, and there, there was a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and, five different styles. And so it confused the consumer. So I think, if you’re doing that, it has to be managed you did it in a way, which I think is interesting, showing that you have other approaches under a single category. I know artists who paint two different three different styles, and they feed different galleries. But they don’t ever send all three styles to one gallery, right? It’s like, Okay, I’m gonna be abstract with this gallery. And I know artists who, actually put bogus names on them or invent what could be pseudonyms? Because they like to be challenged in a lot of different ways. I think there’s, I think it’s fun. There’s nothing wrong with that. But you do have to be careful about confusing your consumers, at least when you’re getting started. I mean, Larry, is a great example of someone who’s developed such a reputation is such a creative spirit, that, he can probably get away with that now more than he could have at the beginning of his career. And now he’s doing a lot of things that are very representational, but also things that are very abstract.

Cynthia Rosen 48:00
You’re right. No, you do have to manage it. Absolutely correct. I, when I hear somebody’s name, or whether it’s on one of your podcasts, that, you know, I’ll go look at their work. Or, Facebook, what have you, somebody wants to be a friend here, and I’ll look at their work. And if it is extremely uneven, it sort of throws me off. No, so you’re right, there does need to be a degree of consistency. You’re right. I, as I said, I just think we’re multi dimensional. So it’s okay. But yes, it does have to be organized. And so if anybody clicks on my ghatak category off the beaten track, they know that it’s different stuff.

Eric Rhoads 48:54
What is your website? Is it Yes, well, that’s easy.

Cynthia Rosen 49:00
It is. But no, in talking about people that do paint that little bit off the beaten track, so to speak. There are several of us that have talked about creating, and we actually came up with a name. But then everybody seemed to get busy because I’d send out an email and I wouldn’t get enough responses to make it viable. But there is a group of non traditional plein air painters. Yeah. That, you know, we’ve sort of gotten together and talked about forming a group I’ve got a gallery that will give us a show.

Eric Rhoads 49:44
And I’m trying to I’m trying very hard to make sure that we’re we’re not putting plein air painting into a particular box. You know, if you go to the conventions and you understand that if you walk through the 1000 people that are painting the Golden Gate Bridge together, you’re gonna see, you’re gonna see a lot of people who kind of approach it the same way. But you’re also going to see a lot of really crazy styles, a lot of different approaches to it. Even people who are doing digital paintings, so, and I don’t want it’s not not that it’s up to me, but I don’t want to see a world where plein air painting comes to mean a particular style. I think plein air painting, the magic of plein air is that we’re outdoors together. It’s informing our paintings, it’s giving us studies, in some cases have finished paintings. And it is whatever we want it to be at, I get calls from people, they’ll say, Well, how dare you put that person in the magazine because they touched up the painting after they got back to their hotel room. It’s like, so what the goal is, to have it completed outdoors, the goal is to have a viable piece of art that’s going to be compelling to someone. Now, maybe maybe if it’s a plein air competition, and that’s against the rules. I mean, there have been stories you’ve heard them have, one artists got busted, because he had pre painted a panel. And then he glued his panel of pre painted to the, the stamped panel that was given out by by the, by the art show, and he threw it in the frame didn’t think they’d catch it, but they did. And you know, now no one will invite him to their shows. And, there are people, who will go back to their hotel rooms and paint from computer monitors, so, there are people who are I don’t think there are any rules when it comes to painting. But I it when it comes to events, we have to live by their rules.

Cynthia Rosen 51:57
Right, absolutely. Now, I had not heard about that incident. But no, I agree. And I commend that you do invite a broader range of styles and predilections to the convention. And I think Kelly Kane has been fabulous. For the magazine in welcoming, absolutely a broader range of work. I mean, it’s been delightful. You know, how I remember my first convention, a friend took me to and we drove out from Arizona together, and I said, I was totally new at all of this. And I remember, I bumped into in the hall one day, because I was running I wanted to see it all. I wanted to go see the pastel it’s and I wanted to see the water colorist I wanted to watch Antonio Masi. And, I wanted to go from one room to another if I didn’t miss anything, it was just such an amazing event. But yes, you have definitely broaden the scope, scope of styles and welcome in a lot of people. And as you say, I mean, plein air means outside, it’s not a style. So it’s wonderful.

Eric Rhoads 53:25
I was out the other day, I went camping by a river, and packed up my bag and threw it in the in the camper. And so we get out there by the river. And Laurie says you should go painting, I was just waiting for her to say that, right? So I dragged my backpack down to the river, the river is just so beautiful. It’s got all this color. And I didn’t have my brushes. I didn’t have a palette knife, I had completely forgotten to pack them. So I started picking up twigs and leaves and right, I had my rubber gloves. And so I was using my fingers a little bit and, and it was really freeing. And actually, I mean, it’s not a great painting, but it has the bones of a great painting. And it was really freeing because I was learning to make marks in new ways and having to deal with the adversity of not not having my tools. And there’s just something really wonderful about an experience like that it you know, it’s one of those things that you’ll always remember. And I’ll keep that painting just because it’s a fabulous memory of, of doing something like that. And so I think that experimentation is really critical for all of us.

Cynthia Rosen 54:43
Oh, it’s great and the happy accidents. I went out with a friend of paint I mean years ago, but we went somewhere that was about an hour and a quarter away hour and a half and I realized that had started a painting in the studio. And so I had taken out all my basic tubes that I use. And I had pulled up some of my kids paints and gone through, you know, 20 year old paints. And that was what was in my backpack, all these odd colors that I would never use. But, I painted with them, what am I going to do? I’m an hour and a half away. And yeah, I realized that, oh, as long as you’re warming, cool colors, you can make anything work. You know, it’s interesting, I was giving a private lesson one day, and I was teaching the woman about primary colors. And I, did some demos, just using CAD red ultramarine, blue, and probably cad yellow, and white. Now, when I came home that night, and I posted on my Facebook page, Okay, tell me people which painting was done with the limited palette of primary colors in which painting was fun with a full color, full palette, and people couldn’t tell. So it’s just, there’s so much that we learn by accidents like that going out. And that’s okay, using your fingers. Luckily, you had your gloves, but sticks and leaves or a corner of a T shirt, whatever. Yeah, now, those are experiences, I have paintings upstairs, that tucked in the corner of my closet, I told my kids the other day that our paintings that I’m keeping, and it’s not because they’re great paintings. But they either taught me something specific, or there’s the memory I have associated with them. That, as you say, you’re keeping that painting. It means something more to you may not mean to a buyer. You never know what a buyer will pick.

Eric Rhoads 57:18
Well, I had Dan Sprick here the other day, it came over to my studio and I have around my studio. I you know, I have dozens and dozens of studies that I’ve done. Some of them are bad, some of them are okay. But we were talking about how he he has kind of the same philosophy I have. No, I don’t have to make my living as a painter. But he said and I said the same thing kind of at the same time. It’s like, I don’t sell my studies. Because these are studies of memories, of, you know, standing in a particular place. I’m looking at one right now for instance, and, and Bruce, and standing in that place, and a guy comes out from the cafe, I’m standing in front of and brings me a cup of tea, I mean, and so that they, they are memories, they are more than just pictures. Now, they’re not gonna mean anything to anybody else. Maybe but that’s what I love about them. I think that’s, that’s really special. As a matter of fact, I’m thinking about be fun to do a book of studies, and just tell the stories behind them. Because, every place we go painting I mean, I think about, that day we were out in the Adirondacks by that waterfall and running into you in the woods. And, my daughter Grace is running around taking pictures and right, and, me sitting on the end of a log, so I can get as close to the waterfall as possible. And, things like that are wonderful lifetime memories.

Cynthia Rosen 58:49
They are, you know, your Gracie took a photo of us. As you say she was running around with the camera, and you had come by and I love that photo, because it was just spontaneous, I’m there. And, you’re there. And she’s running by with a camera. It was fun. Now it’s a nice memory. So that photo means a lot. Where I’m not a groupie kind of person in the first year, I came to your fall color week. Not meaning to embarrass you or myself by saying this, but we came out of lunch one day, and some people were having their photo taken with you. And you looked at me and he said, Do you want to have a photo? And I sort of said, What for? I mean. I mean, I say I’m not a groupie. And I know what means more to me, then. Oh, it’s Eric Rhoads is that I’ve listened to you I’ve gotten to know you. And I’ve gotten to know what a great heart you have. That’s what means the most to me. And so, but that photo that was taken by Gracie, two summers ago now I guess, or a year and a half ago. The spontaneity of it. Yeah. That made it extra special.

Eric Rhoads 1:00:25
Yeah, well, it wasn’t one of those forced kind of things. I mean, I, I love doing it. It’s fun. I like the attention. And people, if it means something to them, that’s great. But, you know, you and I have developed a much, much more special relationship as a result of, really years of, hanging out together at these events. And I, and that’s so much more meaningful than anything to be able to, to have friends at that level. I mean, I feel like I don’t know about you, I think you’re we probably both kind of are in the same place. I could pinch myself, I mean, I never had the level of friendships that I have now. And all of those friendships came from these events.

Cynthia Rosen 1:01:15
Right? Yes. And it’s been amazing where these events have brought me for sure. Because as I said, I mean, I was shy, I think most of myself siblings, and I grew up without much confidence. And I know I was really shy, and getting to meet people and getting to know people and having this wavelength that we’re on together. It’s just been absolutely wonderful.

Eric Rhoads 1:01:51
There’s also something very special about artists. And it’s interesting because we deal with a lot of different artists, because we have events in different categories, right? We have realist events, and figurative art events, and plein air events. And, you know, there’s a lot of different things. The plein air people are the happiest people on earth. There’s no question about it. It’s these, these are people who, I’m sure there are exceptions. And there’s, once in a while you’ll meet somebody who’s a jerk, but very rarely, these are people who are living the dream. I mean, they’re, they’re outside. We all love being outside. They’re painting and being creative. And they’re hanging out with other people and making friends. I mean, it’s it’s very fulfilling.

Cynthia Rosen 1:02:41
I agree. They’re wonderful people. And I know even this small group that I’ve started to get together and end up, I’ve had people further up north in the states say, you know, let me know, I’m going to have to come up with a schedule. During the winter, it’s difficult, because you never know, when the weather’s too inclement to be driving for hours. But I know I’m gonna have to come up with a schedule to take this Vermont Plein Air Group, to different parts of the state. But oh, we get together and, especially during COVID time, there, there’s a woman who never really painted before. And I knew her name because she was a chef in town. And she has joined us and I know what they she can or cannot go out. And it’s wonderful, and we all get together. And yes, I think plein air painters, this kind of camaraderie, and a willingness to share. I know my first time going out and joining this group in Arizona. And, I was hesitant, as I said, I was shy I called this woman because I heard that she took people and she said, Can I ask and I joined? She said, Sure. And I went out like the first thing I said, so what is planner mean? I mean, what is planner? Right? You know, I had painted outside before not knowing what it was just because of circumstances. But yeah, so she sort of taught me.

Eric Rhoads 1:04:30
You’re doing a great service, though, when you know, to set up a local group and invite other people in. I remember, I don’t know if it was Stephanie Birdsall or Kathy Anderson or Charlie Hunter or somebody telling me it’s probably Charlie who said, I joined this local painting group. Somebody invited me in and I started painting with all these other people. He said, I didn’t. I just thought Richard Schmid was just some local vocal guy who knew how to paint I didn’t know he was famous. He said It I was in the group for a long time before I realized he was famous because I ended up seeing an article in Plein Air Magazine or something. And, and, and it’s not about that it’s about local people getting together with other local people. And there’s so many people who are really interested in this and it is it’s really spreading. And I’m, I’m really seeing a bubble on two ends of the of the age bracket and starting and it’s now starting to fill in the middle, right? So plein air has strong appeal appeal to people who have the time and the money and and can travel. And that tends to be people who are a little older or a little retired or, have their they have the money because they had great jobs or have great jobs. But now I’m seeing it on the younger side of things and seeing a lot of 20 year olds and 30 year olds who are approaching things a lot differently. And there’s massive numbers of them on Instagram, who are, who are doing really amazing things that have an edgy feel to them that are a lot different. And it’s so satisfying. But to be able to, to see these people getting together and not having any age barriers. It’s like, hey, I want to come hang out with you guys. Because you’re painting. It’s it’s just fun painting with other people. I think that’s fabulous. And I think anybody who can do it, I hear from people all the time. Well, there’s no group in my town, it’s like, well go start one, you know, start out with one or two people, somebody sees you out there doing it, they’re gonna say I want to learn this. Right?

Cynthia Rosen 1:06:38
Yes. And I’ve seen younger people starting up too. In fact, there’s a young man who I fell upon on Instagram, and I’m horrible with the computer. I just actually I’ve more or less been off of it for a week or two at this point. But I saw this young man’s work. And I didn’t know he was young at the time. But I saw this spark and, looked him up. And I told them, and he’s up in upstate New York, and I said, you need to come to the Adirondack retreat. And since you know who Eric Rhoads is, blah, blah, blah. And he’s a young 20 somethings. Now, there are more and more younger people. Yeah, I don’t know that I’ve met it that many in the middling age category. But I do know that there’s a whole young group of painters out there that are I think they’re doing really wonderful work.

Eric Rhoads 1:07:38
There are certainly the Santiago is in the Jason Sacrans that are kind of moving in and filling in in the middle. But they, I think part of it is I can think of one painter, for instance, who said to me, I don’t want to wait till I’ve had to spend my whole life working in another job and doing something that’s not really what what I want to do, I want to go out there and explore this now, and see if I can make it. And I and, and that’s what’s happening on on the younger end of things. And I think that’s pretty cool.

Cynthia Rosen 1:08:13
So I think it’s great. Wonderful. I mean, I was when I was really young. I was 21, 22 I was selling these non objective painting through a gallery in New York and one in Philly. And, you know, I continued painting but just do some paintings to them. And more when I had a child, that was the end of painting, I just pulled out of the galleries.

Eric Rhoads 1:08:45
But your child became a painter. I think that’s interesting.

Cynthia Rosen 1:08:48
Well, I have I raised six, my six. I raised six, I had four but I raised six. Actually, I have a daughter. I have two steps on to her older ones living this way Nia and the other, makes wood furniture and has its own family with adult children pretty much at this point. But I have a daughter in LA who’s a fashion designer. I have a man who you’ve met. He and Marian who’s a painter. Totally different than me.

Eric Rhoads 1:09:25
Oh, he’s a classical realist.

Cynthia Rosen 1:09:29
He is totally, absolutely sort of Hudson River style. takes a long time to do his paintings. But yeah, still young. And then I have a daughter who actually has a great eye occasionally I’ll call her and say Elizabeth. Tell me about this painting because, I know she’s got a family. As you know, I’ll send her the painting and I’ll send it to Ian and say, Okay, what are you thinking? What do you see, that I’m not seeing. But she was supposed to be teaching art and she got her education and art degree. And but she got recruited to be a phys ed teacher instead because she had been in job and was sort of known in the town. But and then my youngest son decided to earn a living. So he could draw anything he saw and became an accountant. But, yes, so. But yeah, so I stopped when I, I mean, I did not realize at the age of 21, and I went to the Boston Museum school, but I had just said really only attended for year because I set up a non profit organization when I was in Boston, and did that instead. Setting apart programs and halfway houses and jails back in the early 70s. But yeah, I could not make art. I was definitely a full time mom until I started teaching.

Eric Rhoads 1:11:21
So what’s your best advice? Now you’ve got to the moms out there who are struggling with this idea of, you know, dealing with life and kids and all the issues that come along with that. And I don’t mean to be sexist, or dad’s involved, too. But oftentimes, it’s the moms who are carrying the load and, and still wanting to paint. Do you now that you have perspective? What’s your best advice to them?

Cynthia Rosen 1:11:53
Well, I have a friend Nancy Howe, who was the first woman to win the Duck Stamp contest and went down with in the White House to meet Clinton as you know, sort of an honorary think she painted while raising kids. And so, and she became extremely well known. I think she’s even judged in an OPA show at one point. So, her situation is where she needed to earn a living. And she had two children, and she had a very supportive husband, who would help. And she didn’t get to watch the kids play soccer, or this or that, I would go, I was the soccer mom, kind of Mom, you know, and I had a houseful and I had a husband, who really had nothing to do with the children. So it depends on the situation. If you have a spouse that will help raise the children. It’s one thing. And if you can find that you can do it. For me, I just could not divide my attention that way. I think, it depends on your upbringing. I did not have actively involved parents when I grew up. And so for me, I really wanted to be an actively involved parent. That’s what was important to me. So it’s a matter of priorities. Nancy has two wonderful boys, one of them’s one of my son’s best friends. So, I know them. And but she had a fabulous involved husband. So it really depends on personal circumstances. Can you divide your time? Would it be easier if you want to make art to keep your fingers in the illustration field of the commercial art field? I know a lot of painters who did that they had more practical art background. So it really, it’s a personal choice. Someone has to make they have to look at their time, their energy. I don’t think anybody can really be of help in that way. Yeah. Okay. So I did say, No.

Eric Rhoads 1:14:23
Well, Cindy, this has been absolutely fabulous. We’ve kind of hit the mark on on time. Any, any final thoughts you want to share with anybody?

Cynthia Rosen 1:14:33
Actually, just to follow up that one statement, I will add that. Coming back to art in my 60s, has not hurt me at all. I mean, I feel one of my daughters said I had a wonderful childhood and that was probably the most important thing I’ve ever heard. So for me, I had teaching. And I don’t think I would have changed my background. I did lose the New York gallery, I lost the Philadelphia gallery. But I’m selling to my galleries now. You know the ones I have. So yeah, I can’t say, oh, in heavy achieved artists at the age of 38 stopped making art. But my life has been incredibly for even coming back to it at 60. And I think it has given this part of my life, new meaning. So I will add that group and to answer to your question, good place to stop.

Eric Rhoads 1:15:45
Well, Cindy, thank you for being on the Plein Air Podcast.

Cynthia Rosen 1:15:48
Thank you much Eric. And anybody anybody have ever has any questions. I mean, anything they want to know, any way I can help in any way. They’re Welcome to reach out, my email, they can contact me through my website, it’s pretty easy. But yeah, you know, I love teaching. I’m here to help and I never mind guiding somebody if they ever want advice. Oh, you’re very generous.

Eric Rhoads 1:16:18
Thank you.

Cynthia Rosen 1:16:19
Thank you, Eric.

Eric Rhoads 1:16:21
Thank you again to Cynthia Rosen. She is so articulate and she’s such a good thinker. I just love talking to her. I could have spent a couple more hours with her. And that would have been cool. But, we have to move on right? She’s got an incredible mind. How about some marketing ideas? You ready for that?

Eric Rhoads 1:16:36
This is the Marketing Minute with Eric Rhoads, author of the number one Amazon bestseller “Make More Money Selling Your Art: Proven Techniques to Turn Your Passion Into Profit.”

Eric Rhoads 1:16:49
I answer your art marketing questions email yours to me, [email protected]. Here’s a question from Melissa Umbach. You got to get that hard German sound I don’t know if that’s a German name or not into Watson, British Columbia, who says I’m currently working on painting the largest commission, kind of largest in terms of size and income that I’ve ever done. You’ve mentioned that it’s a smart thing to make an unveiling into a marketing or promotional event. What’s your suggestion for doing this virtually right now? Well, I’m glad you asked. I think I talked about that in the book a little bit. Everything you’re considering always starts with your goals. What do you want to accomplish? What if you had to pick one goal? What would that one goal? Well, I would think in a case like this, the one goal would be getting more commissions. If you’ve got someone who is paid you a lot of money to do a commission. And it’s good piece, chances are it’s a showcase piece. And their friends are going to learn about it. And you want to get those friends to do Commission’s with you book up all your commissions, right. And so I think that’s the one goal. But there’s lots of other things like, it’s a good branding opportunity. As an artist, it’s an excuse to get in front of others and to make people aware of you for the first time, a chance to collect email addresses and develop those people into clients later, it’s a chance for the buyer to look good in front of their friends. And of course, they then do invitations to their friends, which brings them into your virtual event, you want to use your virtual event as an opportunity to collect email addresses if you possibly can. And that might be through the invitation just put in your email address. And then you know the invitations coming to you but your clients going to have to have something to do with that, I would suggest picking a prominent venue, it might cost you a couple 100 bucks, probably not more. I mean, these places are empty anyway. So find a very prominent local venue a movie theater hotel, a beautiful mansion, private home, maybe the home of the person who is obviously doing it, they might want to have a private cocktail party or something. Although with COVID, that’s probably tough. But the idea is that you want to have two or three prominent people there. And you want to have your painting with a velvet and a gold cord over it so that when you pull that gold cord down, it pulls development down, you want to use red velvet, it really is very effective. And the gold cord really makes it look elegant. And you would I would suggest like if it’s a prominent person, they probably know some prominent people. And so maybe they know the governor or the mayor or you know, movie star or somebody like that, and ask them to invite that known VIP for the unveiling. And that way it just makes it more exciting. And of course it’s going to make people watch because if you can say, hey, the governor is going to be there. It makes it important, right? And so you create a ceremony of sorts, where the owner kind of talks about why they commissioned the work and why it was important. to them and then you do you have the governor do the unveiling and then they asked the you the artists to come up and talk a little bit about it in the process and what you went through and of course you have the ability to subtly sell others by making some statements and comments like you know when people call me for Commission’s These are the questions that they usually have. And he had the same questions and here’s how I answered them right now they know that you you do Commission’s didn’t just magically happen then follow up your event with a thank you add an email and an image of the painting and also a replay because not everybody got to attend. Also take that replay, put it out on social media so that other people get a chance to see it, tag people in it. And that will really work well. And of course you put it on your website and find ways to get your website information in their hands. You don’t need to do a pitch. You don’t need to ask them to buy anything. You’re credible just because of the event. So though that’s a very great question and a very effective thing you can do.

Eric Rhoads 1:21:09
Now here’s a question from Andrew Clemens in New Albany, Ohio, who asks, How can I break into the interior design market and sell my paintings to designers? Andrew, it’s a really good time to be asking that question because in spite of COVID people are spending more time at home. And as a result wanting to remodel their homes, they’re spending money now they’re repainting, they’re putting new decor in, they’re buying new couches, they’re buying new paintings, but a lot of paintings moving off the shelf. They’re the lots of building and remodeling. And designers are called into high end homes typically. And high end homes are dealt in on by people with money. And that’s of course, I always say stand in the river where the money is flowing. Right? So I’d start out by finding out who are the top five designers in town and you could call some of the local magazines and, and media people and, just kind of ask around, you’ll find out the names that come up all the time, I would call them and say I’d be perfectly up front and offer to pay them they may or may not want you to but say Listen, my name is Eric Rhoads. And I, I’m an artist, and I would like to get some advice from you could I buy an hour of your time? And just let me know what your hourly rate is. And I’ll pay you that hourly rate. Now, some people will say no, no, no need for that, I’d be happy to give you advice. Some people might say, send me 100 bucks or something, it’ll be worth it. Tell them when you get the meeting. First off, try to do it in person or was zoom but try to do it in person with mask of course, tell them that you’re really looking how to, you want to know how to get to designers, how to get them to recommend your work to buy your work, how does it work, ask lots of questions, get them to be honest with you and and even about your work, and say, Listen, you can tell me if it’s not ready. Or if it’s not the quality that you’re looking for, find out how you can help them make money, they’re there to make money. So there’s two ways of working with designers, Mark designers either Mark things up and pass that along. So like if you buy a couch for the client and you you pay $10,000 for that couch, you might be able to buy it, you’re buying it wholesale, and you might be able to sell it to them for $20,000. And you make the money on it. Some designers are on a retainer and they just pass along the the discounts and, and they don’t need to be paid on it. But you need to find that out. And you can even ask for an opportunity to, how could I become the favorite artist, one way to become a favorite artist is to pay higher commission rates. And that’s okay, there’s nothing wrong with that, you know, just raise your prices so that you can, pay a higher commission rate and still get the same amount of money. But the idea is getting them involved and telling you exactly what to do offer to do a showcase of your work in one of their showcase homes, and invite clients and potential clients for a cocktail party. Now you can’t do that right now during COVID. But maybe later, but also make sure they know they’re going to make a hefty commission and that it’s a benefit for them in some way or another. Also tell them the way that you approach things that you want to find out about how they want you to approach their clients how you know if they want you doing Commission’s and things like that. And then once you have talked to three, four or five of those top people, you’ll have all the answers the answers are going to be different but do them all and do what they tell you to do and follow what they say it will work now that’s always going to the market is to get your answers is usually where the answers lie and you’ll find that things will work when you do that. Now send that designer a small painting. It could be a big one if you want as a gift. Here’s the way I would do it. You know, what they what you pick for them, they may hate. I just gave a gift to someone who helped me and I, he waived his consulting fee for me. So I grabbed a painting off the shelf that I thought he would like. And I sent it to him, I framed it up. And I sent it to him. And he was very thankful whether or not he liked it. I don’t know, he said that he liked it, and said that it reminded them of a vacation, they went to that particular place. So that was kind of cool, but he might not have liked it. But if, if I could have said to him, listen, go to my website, I go to this section of my website, and you could talk them through it say, Listen, I want you to look at there’s 10 paintings there. They’re all in the, XYZ range. And I would like you to pick one of those 10 paintings and tell me which one you want. And then I’m going to send it to you as a thank you gift. Now, why do you want to do that? Well, I think there’s a couple of reasons. The first reason is that you want them to find something that they’re actually going to like. Secondly, they may find something that they’re going to offer to a client. And now they’ve got a free painting and they can get paid for it. That’s okay, you don’t mind that. But most importantly is it’s forcing them to look at, eight or 10 paintings to choose the one they want. And you want them to be seeing your other work and on your website. That’s a great way to do that. It’s not manipulative at all, but it is a great opportunity to kind of show what you’re all about. Now, of course, if you have a portfolio, you can show them and if you can show them original paintings and in frames and so on, pull a couple into your meeting, that’s even better. Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for you today. I hope that’s been helpful for you.

Announcer 1:26:43
This has been a marketing minute with Eric Rhoads. You can learn more at

Eric Rhoads 1:26:50
Well, and if you’re looking for great gift ideas for Christmas, or Hanukkah, or New Year’s or birthdays or whatever, we’ve got a bunch of them. We did an article called 23 favorite gifts, you can find it at just go search there or you can go to and kind of shows all our different videos and things that we have available. Also a great gift would be Watercolor Live, you can sign up at and be sure to enter take this time to enter your best paintings in the Plein Air Salon. Wouldn’t it be cool to be onstage you’re on stage being one of the winners getting actual cash prizes in front of all the people at the Plein Air Convention which is gonna take place in May and so get your paintings in the competition is going to be coming to an end soon. And so get yours in by the 31st of December. If you’ve not seen my blog I talked about life art and other things philosophy I kind of originally wrote it for my kids so that they learned some lessons but I you know passed it out there and people like it I guess. So it’s called Sunday Coffee you can find it at Be sure to subscribe to it. That would be really great. It’s free. And check out the daily broadcast I’m doing daily at 12 noon, Eastern and 3pm Eastern. Just go to YouTube or Facebook and then search streamline art video or my name Eric Rhoads. RHOA Ds with no e. Okay, well, it’s fun. Let’s do it again. Sometime like next week we will see you that I’m Eric Rhoads, publisher and founder of Plein Air Magazine. You can find us online at Remember, it’s a big world out there. Go paint it. I will see you soon.

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 Tune in next week for more great interviews. Thanks for listening.


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