Photo of artist Pablo Rubén
Pablo Rubén, featured in the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads, Episode 199

Welcome to the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads. In this episode Eric interviews Spanish watercolor artist Pablo Rubén on the international plein air painting scene, and more.

Bonus! In this week’s Art Marketing Minute with Eric Rhoads, author of Make More Money Selling Your Art, learn ways to make your art website more visible, and get advice on photographing your paintings.

Listen to the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads and Pablo Rubén here:

Watercolor landscape painting by Pablo Rubén
Watercolor landscape painting by Pablo Rubén

Related Links:
Pablo Rubén 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 199. Today we’re featuring international superstar Pablo Rubén.

Announcer 0:19
This is the Plein Air Podcast with Eric Rhoads, publisher and founder of Plein Air Magazine. In the Plein Air Podcast we cover the world of outdoor painting called plein air. The French coined the term which means open air or outdoors. The French pronounce it plenn air. Others say plein air. No matter how you say it. There is a huge movement of artists around the world who are going outdoors to paint and this show is about that movement. Now, here’s your host, author, publisher and painter, Eric Rhoads.

Eric Rhoads 0:56
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you Jim Kipping. And welcome to the Plein Air Podcast and Merry Christmas everybody, I kind of feel like I should have some Christmas music Have yourself a merry little I should probably shouldn’t even go there. Anyway, around here in Austin, Texas, the weather has been pretty mild. And I’m getting out and doing a little bit more painting the normal mostly because everybody’s kind of staying inside. And I’m fortunate to live in an area that’s kind of rural. And I can even paint in the backyard, quite frankly, because there’s a 40 acre farm behind me. So it’s nice to be able to get some scenery and some cows and so on. past couple of weeks, I’ve been working on edges, I’ve decided to concentrate on edges and get better at edges. And I’ve been playing with some new toys like oil sticks, which has been kind of fun … a make some and, and it’s been kind of cool to try something new. I’m also really excited about watercolor, I’ve decided to devote some time during Christmas break to see how far I can push myself and get on watercolor. And Gosh, because I’m hosting the worldwide Watercolor Live event coming up in January. And it’s going to be massive with attendees from all over the world. And I want to know what I’m doing because I want to get better at it. The reason I’m working on watercolor washes because I can’t always take my backpack with me with my oils and my easel and everything and so sometimes they want something I could just throw in a in my carry on bag and just have something with me so I can paint at night in the hotel room on business trips and things like that. So anyway, I’m really excited to learn about watercolor on Watercolor Live which is a four day virtual online conference, speaking of learning, we have the world’s largest in person gathering of artists at the Plein Air Convention this may in the Denver area, we expect to be able to hold it. And the deadline for the first price increases Valentine’s Day, the 14th of February. And so if you want to capture this early bird price, go ahead and book it now there’s 100% Money Back Guarantee in case the virus gets in the way of us being able to do it. Well. Hopefully we’ll have things under control by then. But you never know. Right? Of course, it would be a great Christmas gift Just saying. Sometimes we need Christmas gifts for ourselves or ideas for others. Go to at the convention we’re going to be awarding the annual Plein Air Salon competition winners and to win the $30,000 in cash prizes with a grand prize of 15 K and the cover of Plein Air Magazine. Of course you need to enter there are 19 different categories including still life and landscape studio painting students seniors etc. And they’re not all plein air categories so you can enter but do it before December 31 at and I hope you’re doing some painting even if it’s in an area where it’s cold and snowing now our friends in New Zealand and Australia it’s summertime over there about to be and so it’s not not a problem for you heat might be your problem. But I love painting in the snow I didn’t used to like it but I’ve kind of changed my attitude about it and I have so much fun I did a painting at Fall Color Week in New Hampshire we had one day we went up to the the mountain where it was snowing and I did this beautiful beautiful scene in the snow of a train station. Very old you know kind of early 19th century train station and it was covered in snow and and of course the snow was hitting my my palette and thank goodness I was doing oils in that case instead of watercolor because it was kind of running down and then freezing. It was weird. But anyway. In the current issue of Plein Air Magazine, we’re featuring a portfolio of snowscape paintings so it’s going to be kind of fun. Mine will not be in there. Also, you can visit our website to read a new article by Mark Fehlman on why he starts in the field when he starts his studio works. He’s been recently featured in the newsletter Plein Air Today. Coming up after the interview. I’m going to be answering your art marketing questions but now we have an interview with an international superstar watercolor artist. You are going to learn a lot about the plein air movement in Spain, which is actually fairly robust, surprisingly. So let’s get right to our interview with Pablo Rubén. Pablo Rubén, welcome to the Plein Air Podcast.

Pablo Rubén 5:16
Hello, Eric. How are you?

Eric Rhoads 5:18
I am well, welcome. So tell everybody where you live.

Pablo Rubén 5:24
I live in (Grunion), a small village in the south of Madrid in the region of Madrid, the capital of Spain.

Eric Rhoads 5:33
Wonderful. Well, you’re a plein air painter, and we met when you were on my daily 12 noon show. And I was very impressed with your painting and your plein air work and some of your stories of plein air. So I thought it would be fun to have you on the podcast. Very much. So I know that I’m trying to speak a little bit slowly. Because I know that we have a little language barrier between us.

Pablo Rubén 6:06
Okay, thank you. Thank you for you.

Eric Rhoads 6:10
So, you have developed a reputation throughout the world as one of the top watercolor artists but also one of the top plein air painters, and tell me how that all began, when did you first start exploring art.

Pablo Rubén 6:30
I think I have never a stop of painting or being really related with art. And I remember it since I was a child. And I joined the in in drawing contest. And I think I was about a 13 year old and use it to to win that contest. So I think all my All my life I have been a painting drawing and connected with the art world with art academies. Then when i when i grow through, and when I was 18 years old, I started to to join a planner contest.

Eric Rhoads 7:19
So you were telling me that you have a very active plein air community in Spain? There’s a lot of a lot of plein air competitions. Is that correct?

Pablo Rubén 7:33
Yes, he’s correct. I seen his painting is a water of then they contract the world in which in the most benign competition, I think we can have about the 300 a competitor competition in in a year. I think it’s because of the weather because most of the year we have very sunny days, and without rain, without very cold days. And then then the oldest contest in Spain is about 60 years old.

Eric Rhoads 8:10
And when you say competitions are these live events where people are getting together and painting plein air.

Pablo Rubén 8:18
is gonna be good. Repeat the question?

Eric Rhoads 8:23
Are these events that you attend in person where groups get together and paint to compete?

Pablo Rubén 8:29
And no, I only I always say compete individually. depending of the region of the office pain I traveled to join in the contest. I need a different different people and different May. So not not that all the time. I’m not a we have not in a rude way we had a completely individual.

Eric Rhoads 8:52
Yes. So what I meant is, these are people getting together for these competitions. They’re not they’re not online, they’re actually painting in a in a in person place.

Pablo Rubén 9:07
Okay. Always a outdoor on it every weekend, the competition is in a different city or a different village.

Eric Rhoads 9:18
And is there a an organization that puts these events on? Are they like America are they they put together by different cities or different promoters?

Pablo Rubén 9:32
No, here in Spain, and each municipality organizes a in their own context. Sometimes there are private enterprises, sometimes municipalities, sometimes some contests are organized by the government. But if one is completely a different nine, I’m not related with the contest.

Eric Rhoads 10:04
Fabulous. Well, I think it’s wonderful that you have so many. How many plein air painters show up for these individual competitions? Typically?

Pablo Rubén 10:17
It depends basically, on the on the prices, if the contest has a very high a pricing in about 100 or 200, even even 200 in painters, but usually in in any standard contest with a forecast for example, a three prices and we used to be about 30 – 40 people

Eric Rhoads 10:47
And are these by invitation only or does do people just show up.

Pablo Rubén 10:52
Now, anybody can join a journey to be indicted by the organization. It everything is free, you don’t need to pay anything, you only need to know where is going to be the contest is there The only thing you need to do join the contest. For example, last weekend, I was in here in Madrid in the in the Air Force Museum. And I saw in the in the website, I saw in the news that there was going to be a contest and I just went to the contest Angelica.

Eric Rhoads 11:34
And when they have these competitions, are they also selling artwork to people who are watching the competitions? Do they put together a show and exhibit afterwards? Or is it just everybody shows up and competes for prizes?

Pablo Rubén 11:51
No face Yes, a competition and we only used to paint one word in the in the contest. And only after then the jury has have given them then that word. Only the artist a can sell in their works to the to the people to the public to the to the to the town. But usually we only have one word we didn’t have more words to sell to, to the public.

Eric Rhoads 12:27
Here in the states and a little bit in some other countries, we will have gatherings where at an organization will put together a week of painting where they’ll invite painters in. They’ll paint in their community for a week, maybe 10 days. And then they’ll have a weekend of shows of quick painting competitions. And they will have an exhibit where the artist can sell their works. And so there there are no no events like that in Spain.

Pablo Rubén 13:05
No, no, no, no, there is no no bonuses like that because all the contests are very fast. And all the contests are in only in one day. Yes, only with that in the Saturday morning and we have to finish Saturday afternoon. And very quickly they do the gift the gifts the they are working on it completely finished the contest so that we don’t have this kind of organization or event.

Eric Rhoads 13:37
Okay. Well, it sounds like there’s opportunity for us to do something like that here and there’s opportunity for you to start some week long plein air events in Spain. What kind of prize if you win the first prize or the second prize, is it is it a financial prize? Or is it simply just a trophy?

Pablo Rubén 14:01
No, I always there is an economic prize. And because I am professional I only traveling if if there is a catch our usually the the most important clinic conversate here in Spain is in Bucharest, they are gonna run it by de Burgos Cathedral, and the first price is 6000 euros but this is the top this is the highest a contest and but usually the prices are a certain price 1000 euros and surprise about 400 euros This is the the usually understand that contest winner in in Spain.

Eric Rhoads 14:50
And why are there so many these communities are doing these, Is it because it draws people to watch the competition’s that draws people to their communities.

Pablo Rubén 15:02
This I think the the the municipality a organizes the contest because they want to have a lot of a publicity of the the date on town. Because then they all the artists show their work in the social media is a way to to make public some place or to make publicity or some town also is very interesting for the people who who lives in danger town because they can see for one day many artists painting the streets and the I think is the only the only purpose of a of a contest.

Eric Rhoads 15:47
No, sounds wonderful. Well, I think that’s an interesting model that we could be adopting in the United States. In a lot of communities. How many plein air painters do you estimate that there are in Spain? Hundreds or 1000s?

Pablo Rubén 16:05
Do you know no sound I seen in the in the biggest a contest a about a 200 or 300 maximum? Now we don’t have so many.

Eric Rhoads 16:19
And do most of these competitions draw the same people all the time?

Pablo Rubén 16:23
Yes. All the time in the pending a because I am in the middle of Spain. I am the same distance from all the from the west from the east, from the north from the south. And for me, it’s very easy to reach any point of the of my country. But when I travel to the north, I need a deep net different people as I when I traveled to the south, because they didn’t if you live in Andalusia, for example. It’s very hard to make a 1000 kilometers to reach uploaded content.

Eric Rhoads 17:04
Yeah, yeah, that would be tough if you’re driving and and are the the artists using a variety of mediums you’re a watercolorist but are there people doing oils and pastels and other mediums?

Pablo Rubén 17:20
Yes, a all kinds of mediums in the same context. You can use whatever you want, you can use oil in acrylics, drawing charcoal, and watercolor. In, in the rules of the contest. Usually the only scene is about the size of the of the bowl of the combat, but not about the dynamic.

Eric Rhoads 17:47
And I think it’s fascinating. I like this. So you, you said this has been going on for 20 years?

Pablo Rubén 17:57
Yes, yes. Since I was a teen 20 years old. Yes.

Eric Rhoads 18:03

Pablo Rubén 18:05
Many, many, many, many days and many travels.

Eric Rhoads 18:09
Well and from what I understand from my research is that you’re winning a lot of these competitions so it must be worth your time to drive all these distances to be able to get to these on Saturdays.

Pablo Rubén 18:25
Yes, for example, next Saturday is going to be a contest in in the region of estremadura in Spain and if I if I go to the contest I will have to I will have to drive about 200 kilometers I have to wake up very early two hours drive in and then after the contest come back to my to my home so I have to spend many many times in not only painting a bad driving and and going further away from my home.

Eric Rhoads 19:04
Yeah, well it sounds like a lot of work but it also sounds like if you’re winning a lot then that’s a pretty good way to make make a decent living.

Pablo Rubén 19:13
Yes, there’s the three months of summer is my is my job. I am I am professional and my my incomes are from the from the blender contest. So I because I used to when I can have this kind of life and I enjoy a lot anyway. It’s a joke but I enjoy to travel to to know new places and and to paint the planet

Eric Rhoads 19:50
And are people from other countries welcome to enter these if someone happened to be if I happen to be in Spain, for instance, and I decided I’d go and participate in a competition anybody’s welcome.

Pablo Rubén 20:04
Yes, of course. Usually, we in the north of Spain we have a French artist and if you go to then to the to the west of Spain, you can meet a Portuguese artist so is all the contests are open to everybody we are internationally you don’t need to happen

Eric Rhoads 20:27
Is there a particular website that everybody goes to to find out about these?

Pablo Rubén 20:33
Get it said that there are two websites. One is a de is the Spanish word of contest they come cultures you can find all the countries in this website and the regional their website that is a comma JT is a name in Spanish for ESL a candidate a and you can find a lot of countries all day artists in a use these two websites, a candidate and a conclusion.

Eric Rhoads 21:10
Now you’re considered a fairly successful artist in Spain from what I understand. Typically, what what is it like for artists making a living over there? You’ve got your contest income? What other forms of income? Is it teaching and selling artwork through art galleries? or selling direct? How do you sell your artwork.

Pablo Rubén 21:37
And in the past, I use it to work with art galleries, but I had a bad experience. Because some of them stole my money. Some of them even I didn’t recover my mic works. So at the moment, I am selling my own work directly through my website or directly to my Instagram or Facebook. But actually, in nowadays, it’s not enough, it’s not a good moment to sell art. So a my other incomes are from teaching. I have an art academy. And I teach it regularly from October to June.

Eric Rhoads 22:27
And how many students do typically have?

Pablo Rubén 22:30
At this moment I have a 40 students in in my studio and I have another 50 A online students because I have to I have to close my other essential classes a because I use it to teach in in a new show. numerate by the no because of of COVID is completely close. So about 100 my usual number of students per week is 100 students.

Eric Rhoads 23:01
If somebody wanted to study online from the States, what would the website be?

Pablo Rubén 23:08
And then my website is and even in my website, I have some classes. So some watercolor classes in in Spanish and in English don’t by me spoken by me in in my English my setting is by I think everybody can understand without problem.

Eric Rhoads 23:35
Yeah, you’re doing a great job. And you’re also going to be teaching on Watercolor Live. What are you going to be teaching on on your on your segment?

Pablo Rubén 23:47
This I want to be I think in January is going to be my my, my demonstration. I am going to I’m going to record it just tomorrow. Tomorrow I have chosen the location and I can choose to paint a lovely park here in the next to my home in my race a with lovely reflection with with Autumn a autumn atmosphere. And I hope tomorrow it’s not it’s not too cold because today we we had about two degrees Celsius. So tomorrow it will be also called by anyway I will make the demonstration tomorrow for a plein air event.

Eric Rhoads 24:41
I believe you mentioned to me that you have met Antonio Lopez Garcia.

Pablo Rubén 24:48
Oh, just once I had the honor to meet him because I was joining in a clinic contest and He was one of the duties. So once in my life I met Anthony Lopez Garcia is a he’s I think he’s the most famous Elyse artist here this moment.

Eric Rhoads 25:14
The most famous living artist in Spain but he’s also one of the most famous in the world.

Pablo Rubén 25:21
Yeah, and maybe.

Eric Rhoads 25:22
And what I think is fascinating about him is that he does very very large plein air pieces in the streets. He probably isn’t doing that any longer because he’s getting older. But yeah, but he would do 40 by 60 or are very very big pieces. And he would come back and work on them over and over again

Pablo Rubén 25:47
Yes, that’s a really big thing is that he’s very very slow and he can he can use in the last most than last time most of most famous of these works was the the portraits of the royal family. And he spent about 20 years in finishing too as it takes 20 years to finish one one word so in the in the planner is the same in he he needs a lot of a lot of session a lot many times to go again and and to finish there and the studio is very, very nice. No one of his works. has finished it in maybe I think in one year a lot. Most of his works are done in a 10 year model is that his last 20.

Eric Rhoads 26:47
Yes well it shows you know when you look at the people who don’t know can look up Antonio Lopez Garcia but you look at the city scenes that he has done and every detail of every window it you know close by and in the distance and you know far far away is every detail is there so it makes sense that that he’s been very slow. I was I was gonna ask you if you had seen him paint but probably have not had that chance.

Pablo Rubén 27:18
No, no only in person but not painting. Anyway him in no way he teaches a oil courses. Also his videos i think is about 85 or 86 years old. He continues teaching his students all summers, he gives short courses. So he’s, he’s still active.

Eric Rhoads 27:55
Well, that’s what keeps you young. And staying active and keeping painting. Yes.

Pablo Rubén 27:59
Yes, of course.

Eric Rhoads 28:01
So you’re also doing your teaching at your Academy, what do you find are the the the biggest problems that you have to help students overcome?

Pablo Rubén 28:15
I seen in in most of the students don’t have a passion. And most of the students they want them to wrestle in in in two weeks or immediately I think it because of the the society or because of the times we are living now that everything goes very, very fast. And they want to learn a two three x and C three or Citrix a and paint a full work. And without putting all the steps without learning more slowly. It is no easy to sometimes to teach this kind of a way of way of painting, step by step by step as lowly and learning they’re growing fast then a lead in the color composition. I think that the main problem I find when I teach.

Eric Rhoads 29:28
Yeah, well is this is a world of instant gratification.

Pablo Rubén 29:34
Makes sense? Yes. is bad because of the of the times of the 20th century, one century and everything is very, very, very fast.

Eric Rhoads 29:47
Now, it sounds like you’re you’re pretty busy all the time. Do you ever do you ever take any painting trips just for yourself to to go and paint and you know areas You’ve wanted to paint

Pablo Rubén 30:02
and usually when I go on holidays with my family and I have a six year old daughter when I travel with my daughter when my wife and I look different to the places and sometimes I have time to make a small escape, and just for fun just for to enjoy and just to show my my doctor them their job or their life and these have their moments when I am I lay all the paint for enjoying not not not for job.

Eric Rhoads 30:45
Right? Oh, that makes sense. And and and what’s the furthest you typically travel? Are you are you staying in Spain? Are you going throughout Europe.

Pablo Rubén 30:56
And I love the big cities and and I love the USA we have been in San Francisco in New York in Boston. And, and also we used to travel to the north of Europe. Iceland, Finland, Norway, Belgium, they always in the north, we prefer the north and the south. And of course, in the cities, we love the dcct with a with a life and and we when everything ends, we want to come back to New York and to Chico for example.

Eric Rhoads 31:46
Fabulous. So, in terms of process, you’re a watercolorist and I noticed that you approach things a lot differently than a water a lot of watercolorists do. Can you talk to me about your process. I know a lot of plein air painters are playing with the idea of using wash and using watercolor. Because of convenience. Sometimes, for instance, when I want to travel on or if I’m traveling on on business, not a specific painting trip. I don’t want to carry my backpack and my easel and my tripod and everything with me. So I have decided to learn more about watercolor and gouache so that I can keep something small in a briefcase or a travel bag. And so I’m very curious about learning more about all of this, but what is the process that you use and are you using only transparent colors?

Pablo Rubén 32:53
No, and because I started with always then I I was many DS painting in acrylics and I used to paint with a with a lot of pigment pigment with a sometime we speak pigment. And also at the end of the work I asked some a wash, wash status, and even most of my collars a half, half an hour a tightening white in a composition. For example, lavender, for example. A Wisteria, Naples Yellow genre Yan, I have some colors that are completely opaque. And to put some highlights and even to mix with another colors to work with seek pigment in, for example, to pay my waves when I paint a seascapes to make the waves. I prefer to use a thick pavement thick pigment to have a soft etc. So I’m not bullied and I use not all the time or not. They will work is completely transparent.

Eric Rhoads 34:18
Well, your work is absolutely fabulous. So it it was fun watching you paint when you were on the program and I’m excited to see what you’re going to come up with and see what you’re going to teach on on watercolor live. What questions do you have for me before we wrap up?

Pablo Rubén 34:36
And I haven’t thought about these? No. I think a and maybe what’s your motivation to to to create this, this great community and to become so well known and, to make the unity with how the artist is happy. What’s your main motivation?

Eric Rhoads 35:10
Well, my main motivation is that I was a business guy. And I, when I turned about 40, I was kind of bored, I thought there had to be more to life than that. And I got, I got introduced to painting. And painting changed my life, it changed how I looked at the world, it changed how I viewed everything, and it changed my heart. And it made me a much more dare I say gentle individual. I suddenly saw the world through the eyes of an artist and and so I think that, for me, it’s about helping other people discover that I was one of those people who believed that I couldn’t do art because I believed that natural talent was required. I didn’t understand at the time, it was a process. And so I was very discouraged. And I was very intimidated. And by learning to paint, I now am driven to help other people learn to paint. And of course, because I have a business background, I’ve been able to put that together in terms of creating things that other people will enjoy that that will help them learn help their process, help them understand the process, giving them instruction, and so on. And so it’s been a fabulous journey so far. And so my goal is to teach a million people to paint I figured I could help change the world if we got a million people painting and of course now with Coronavirus, and having a daily program on Facebook, one at 12 and then one at three teaching people to paint. It is growing and we have a worldwide audience and and it’s really, really gratifying to hear about or see people who are picking up a paintbrush for the first time getting the confidence that they can do it or someone who says you know, I was a painter in high school or college but then I gave it up and now 20 or 30 or 40 years later, I’m picking up a brush because you guys inspired me I think that makes it all worthwhile.

Pablo Rubén 37:42
It’s amazing is the beginner’s conference on your back. This is amazing.

Eric Rhoads 37:48
It’s been fun. And of course, one of the best parts is meeting people like you and being able to highlight people like you, we’re becoming a very much a world of artists because of social media, Instagram and Facebook and tik tok and everything else and we’re able to really learn and see artists everywhere and, become one. And so it’s nice to be able to see these artists actually communicate with one another on the chat rooms and to and to just get to know each other. It’s been fabulous.

Pablo Rubén 38:26
Yeah, I agree completely with you. Yeah.

Eric Rhoads 38:30
So do you have a sense of, are there plein air events going on throughout Europe like there are in Spain, I know that I know of a couple I know of a big one in Ireland which is a week long or 10 day long event. And I hear that there’s something going on in England and something going on in France but they don’t know much about it. Are you aware of any of the things that are happening in Europe outside of Spain?

Pablo Rubén 39:03
I mean, I think I have on this too, and I will join next year in in the international world matter watercoler even in UK in a city next to Birmingham. And then I used to join every year in Fabriano. In in Italy in in a very big event is a city in the north of Italy, where everybody paints together everybody share they know lead men also in France, I used to join every year in the in the biggest complainer contest of France in the south of France. And I think this year, because last year, I won the first prize. I will be A one of the duties of this errand. So I think these are the the three most important core sales contests or errands in in Europe now. One in the UK and another one in France and in fabriano is very, very well known. Because Fabiano is I think, all the past DS there were about 100. Artists, it was amazing to see it from all over the world, from Africa, from Japan, from Africa from, from everywhere, all together in one city in a small city of Italy.

Eric Rhoads 40:51
Yeah, that’s, very exciting. And I think, what a lot of people don’t understand is that there’s, there’s essentially Fabriano is the name of a town, but it’s also the location of the paper company that has been around for what, 600 years. Yeah, a lot of hand handmade paper and so on. But the, the Fabriano event is really not not necessarily support. It’s supported by but it’s not done by the company. But it’s done by someone, I think, tied to the company who who puts it together and then gets all these artists together. And in fabriano, Italy, my intention is to come to the event I’ve been invited. I don’t know what, what year that’s going to be, it’s going to depend of course on on this the virus.

Pablo Rubén 41:44
Yes, it probably is already to meet each other is there are no countries or no. And I seen the it supported by the artist because every artist has to pay a fee to join songwriting, that the artist support the the event.

Eric Rhoads 42:07
It was quite an honor that you would win that prize, because you’re up against the best watercolorist in the world. And so that’s pretty, pretty fabulous. And, that’s kind of what I’m trying to do with Watercolor Live is, is to bring the world together, we already have, at the time of this recording, we already have about 800 people signed up, and we’ll probably end up with a lot more than that. But since it’s not till till late January, and we already have probably 20 or 30 countries signed up and including teachers from all over the world like yourself and and people in other parts of the world. So that’s, this is an exciting thing. And we I like the idea of bringing the watercolor community together, virtually online, there are people who, who would never be able to make the trip to Italy for this event. And so this is a nice way to make it affordable for people and to be able to come and watch at home when we did Plein Air Live and we did Realism Live, we had people sitting up at two or three o’clock in the morning watching and and I think because they wanted to see it live instead of watching it. Watching the recording. So it was exciting.

Pablo Rubén 43:26
Yes, that scene is a is an amazing project. And I think it has has never done before in this way. Because all they are these participating, I think they are top masters. I know many of them, many of them. Even I have a friendship, for example, with Joseph his movies. I think he’s going to be very, very, very, very, very interesting for every everybody.

Eric Rhoads 44:01
Well, it was difficult to get all these big names to participate. And though I hope we’ll be able to do it again, I can’t guarantee that we don’t know what life is gonna bring us next year or the future. But it is wonderful to know that this one time that somebody could, tune in on their computer and see literally the very, very best in the world. And so that’s it. And of course you’re part of that as the winner of the Fabriano Prize. That’s huge. I mean, you are one of the best in the world.

Pablo Rubén 44:36
Thank you very much. It’s a big honor to me to, to have been selected. And to be in Devon is very, very important. And very proud to to be thank you very much to you for the opportunity and, and to to make it possible.

Eric Rhoads 44:58
Yes, well I’m excited about it. And Pablo one day, you’re going to get a knock on your door. I’ll probably give you a little notice but I’m going to come to I’m going to come to Spain now that the kids are in college, I’ll just come and spend you know, get an Airbnb somewhere for two or three weeks and, and go paint around Spain. So maybe we’ll paint together one day.

Pablo Rubén 45:22
Of course, whenever you want. I’m here, ready to welcome you. And we can join together in any printer contest, as you can see the Spanish, the typical Spanish artist and they and their way of living off of Spain.

Eric Rhoads 45:44
Yes, I’d like to I’d like to see that very much. Well, thank you for being on today. Would you tell everyone again what your website is?

Pablo Rubén 45:53
And yeah, it’s, is very easy. Yes. My name.

Eric Rhoads 46:01
Okay, terrific. Well, Pablo, thank you for being on the Plein Air Podcast.

Pablo Rubén 46:04
And so you always

Eric Rhoads 46:09
Well, thanks again to Pablo Rubén. You need to visit his website. He truly is an international superstar and you want to get to know a little bit of his work. All right. Now, are you ready for some marketing ideas?

Announcer 46:21
This is the Marketing Minute with Eric Rhoads, author of the number one Amazon bestseller “Make More Money Selling Your Art: Proven Techniques to Turn Your Passion Into Profit.”

Eric Rhoads 46:32
All right, thanks, Jim. In the Marketing Minute I answer your art marketing questions, or at least I try. Sometimes I may fail. I don’t know. email your questions to me, [email protected] Here’s a question from Nick Sorenson. In New York, New York. Nick says I have a website. But how do I make it more visible? I’m assuming Nick, what you mean is by visible? How do you get more people to visit it? I’m guessing that’s the thing. You know, these days a website is kind of like having your name in the phone book. Yeah, if you remember the scene from the Jerk, Steve Martin movie, it was like all excited because his name was in the phonebook. And the reality is back in, if any of you remember phone books back in the day, I guess they still make them back in the day, the idea of having your name in the phone book wasn’t really a very big deal. Now, if you had your name, as a business in the yellow pages, and you were you know, you’re a dentist and people looking up dentist, well, then you’re going to be one of 200 or 300, or 500, or 1000 in there, depending on your city. So having your name in a phone book isn’t all that great. And so, website is just kind of like having your name and a phone book. So now what do you do? Well, everybody’s got a listing, everybody’s got a website. So if you want to be found, you have to find ways to invite people to visit your website. And that’s done through your various marketing efforts. I talked a lot about that stuff in my books, my courses, my videos, etc. And I think you want I think most of us want buyers there. We don’t want tire kickers, if we’re selling workshops, then we want other artists. And so you want to have an appropriate way to invite people now ads are a great way to invite people because ads, basically you can put a call to action in an ad you can show your work. And you can say something, a call to action on your ads is important. You want people to do something, if you don’t tell them to do something, they won’t do it surprisingly. So you’re just assuming they’re going to visit. So you want you want to say something like, visit, which you can do, by the way, it’s got a lot of cool stuff there. But if you can say visit for to see, the 10 best paintings I’ve ever done. Or you can have what we call a lead magnet, which is a free, something like a free PDF, you could do like a visit my website to get my my free book on the 50 best paintings I’ve ever done. And, that can be an ebook or something you can put together and it gives people a reason to go. And of course, you want them there and you want them looking around. And the reason you want to do a lead magnet is that advertising is something that everybody needs to do. But you want to have an opportunity to talk to them more frequently. I like the idea of having my own medium, right. So I have my own medium. I have my own magazines, I have newsletters and things like that. But you can have your own newsletter, too. That way, you have a frequent way to talk to them above and beyond your advertising, because once you’ve got their email address, if they give you permission, then you can email them. And of course, that’s very important. You got to have their permission. And so, offering something up in your ads. You want to get people to come to your site and you want to remind them of yourself frequently. And by having their emails you can do that. So that’s a great way you can also drive people through blogs and doing interviews on podcasts. Local media and other things. And always you want your website to be real easy. And if you have a difficult name, it makes it tougher. Now my name isn’t really a difficult name, but everybody spells it differently. You know, some people would say, our h o. d ‘s, there’s no e in my name. And there, some people would say, our ad s and so in my website is our H O. Eric. He, of course, there’s different ways to spell Eric, so I probably should have, a different website name for mine. But, you want something that gives you something easy to access. And remember, and if your name is difficult name or hard to spell, or it pronounces differently than it spells, then you might want to think about a an easy entry, something that’s easy to remember, you know, in my case, it’s er IC r h OADS. With no And that’s probably something I should work on. They always say the plumber has a leaky faucet.

Eric Rhoads 51:09
Anyway, here’s a question from Bruce Hunt in Phoenix, Arizona, who asked, Is it enough to use my own camera to photograph my paintings? Or should I pay someone to do it? And if so, how do I find such a service? I think I want to answer that in a couple of ways for you, Bruce. First off, if you’re a professional artist, you have to act like a professional. And professionals do things differently. And one of the things that they do is they have great photographs of their paintings, great high resolution photographs, well lit, no glare. And you want to have those for a lot of reasons, I judged a lot of contests, I was judging the Art Renewal Center contest recently. And you know, we get to click on images. So we can look at them in more depth than this one, the photograph of one of the paintings that I was looking at was so out of focus, I really didn’t get a good feel for it. And it’s just like, Okay, if the artist can’t really take the trouble to do a good painting, do they really deserve an award. Now, I try not to allow that to influence me. But you know, if it’s hard to see, or if it doesn’t look good, or if it’s got glare on it, and sometimes people put, have sending images that have glare on them, it just isn’t flattering to your image. Also, we all think that we are experts in Photoshop, and so on. But we have, we all have different monitors, and our monitors are calibrated differently. And when this happens to us, an artist will create an ad or they’ll send in an image and the image doesn’t look good to our art director because his his monitor is calibrated. And so they everybody calibrates their, their monitors to look good to them, but they’re not doing it the proper way. And as a result, you’re sending in a dark photo, when you think it’s a light photo or something like that. So having a pro is good, or having a pro teach you a little Art has a there’s a video on there on how to photograph paintings. It’s an old one, but it’s still very valid. The key to photographing things, I photograph my own and and solely because I just don’t want to have to deal with having to take him out. But sometimes I’m getting to the point where I’m so busy, I probably will just have somebody come and pick them up and do them and do them in batches. The the pros, the people who do things like Princeton, g plays and things like that they do it one of two ways. They’ll use photographs, or they’ll use flatbed scanners and some of these companies have, there’s a company here in Austin that has a flatbed scanner, that’s about a you know, it’ll do a 60-60 inch painting. And they lay him down that way you’re not getting any kind of glare anything like that. And of course you have to be dry. And the key to paintings, you know there’s photographing of paintings is different. A lot of people will photograph them before they varnish them because varnish it adds glare. If you’re photographing a painting properly, you’re using two lights from the sides and they both have polarizing filters on them. And then you have a camera on a tripod that has a polarizing filter. And then you take what’s called bracketed shots, which means you’re you’re trying lots of different lighting, you want to have the aperture closed down as much as possible because that makes things sharper, and you’ve got to make sure that you’re using you know, if you even touch the camera and you’re not using a shutter release, then what’s happening is that you’re actually creating movement, the camera and you get a little light movement in there and it’ll show up. So there’s a lot of things that you can do you what I would consider doing is going to a pro. If that doesn’t work higher pro given A couple 100 bucks for a couple hours of their time and say, teach me how to do this teach me how to set it up and, and do it properly or you can, for probably a few few bucks, you can get a video on that. But I think you know galleries need excellent photos. And someday when you become famous, you’re going to wish you had photos of everything and be able to put them in a book, I have hundreds of photos of paintings that I’ve done over the years. And some of them were done with crummy cameras and iPhones and iPhones are pretty good cameras these days, especially the new iPhone 12, which has a bigger sensor, but that sensor is still small compared to my professional, I use Sony cameras. And, they have a one inch sensor where the iPhone is probably like an eighth of an inch or something. And so you know, you get a lot more quality in that. So I think professional photography is really important. So check that out. And yes, I think it’s important. How do you find it? You know, how do you find anything anymore? You Google it? Right? Okay, well, I think that probably answers those questions.

Announcer 56:04
This has been the Marketing Minute with Eric Rhoads, you can learn more at

Eric Rhoads 56:11
Well, a reminder to check out the Plein Air Convention at and also to check out the worldwide event in January. It’s called Watercolor Live and you don’t want to miss it. It’s going to be a lot of fun. and of course, enter the Plein Air Salon at If you’ve not seen my blog, where I talk about philosophy and art and life and other things, check it out. It’s called Sunday coffee. We are up to like well in advance of a quarter million people reading it. It’s just pretty cool. Anyway, you find it a, and then you can subscribe. It’s free, and then it’ll just show up in your mailbox every Sunday morning. I do it every Sunday morning. Once in a while. I’ll skip one and I’ll repeat one but it’s pretty rare. Also since COVID, I’ve been on live daily on Facebook and YouTube at 12 noon, Eastern Time and 3pm eastern time at 12 noon. I’m interviewing artists and usually we’re doing painting demos together at 3pm. I’m doing samples of the many hundreds of art instruction videos that we’ve produced here. And we do those seven days a week. That my day, my 12 Nunes or five days a week now I did seven months in a row of seven days a week and I kind of burned out. So I’m taking weekends off now. Anyway, you could check that out. And also I would encourage you to go to Instagram and Facebook and follow me My name is Eric Rhoads, RHO a DS and there’s no E, right. Oh, this is fun. We’ll do it again sometime like next week.

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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