Welcome to the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads. In this episode Eric interviews artist Randall Sexton, who goes into why he has been experimenting with abstract art and how his approach has changed over the years, as well as thoughts on seeing color, painting greens, what happened when he added black to his palette, his art “confession,” and much more.
Bonus! In this week’s Art Marketing Minute, Eric Rhoads, author of Make More Money Selling Your Art, shares how to set reasonable art goals, and how to get more recognition as an artist.
Listen to the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads and Randall Sexton here:
– Randall Sexton online: https://www.rcsexton.com/
– Watercolor Live: https://watercolorlive.com/register-now
– Eric Rhoads on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ericrhoads/
– Eric Rhoads on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eric.rhoads
– Sunday Coffee: https://coffeewitheric.com/
– Plein Air Salon: https://pleinairsalon.com/
FULL TRANSCRIPT of this PleinAir Podcast
DISCLAIMER: The following is the output of a transcription from an audio recording of the PleinAir Podcast. Although the transcription is mostly correct, in some cases it is slightly inaccurate due to the recording and/or software transcription.
Eric Rhoads 0:00
Drumroll please, this is episode number 200. Today we’re featuring artist Randall Sexton.
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 1:04
Thank you, Jim Kipping and Merry Christmas. Thank you for all those announcements over the over the years. Today is a big day. Today is the 200th episode of The Plein Air Podcast. Hard to believe 200. This podcast has some absolutely incredible stats we’re reaching well over 80 countries, we’re hearing from people in countless places around the world. We’ve seen literally millions of downloads. And I just love that plein air painting is spreading around the world, this podcast is part of that spread. This is a good virus plein air is a good virus, right? Because we want it to spread. We want people around the world to pick it up. And I want to thank you for listening for sharing for talking it up to others, putting it on social media and so on. That’s really really really, really nice. Now, I should have some Christmas music because tomorrow is Christmas Eve, I want to just say to you guys, I want to say have a very, very Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart. I mean, I really mean that this is a bit of a tough year. We’re really glad 2020 is coming to an end I’m just saying I mean, you know we get in through it. And we are together as artists. And that’s been kind of nice. But I want you to have a really terrific Christmas with family and loved ones because it’s very important. our loved ones are more important than ever. And we want to have that time with them. And just remind them how important they are to us. A couple of housekeeping announcements if you will first off the end of the month, December 31 is your last chance for the month of December to enter the Plein Air Salon. And of course it’s not all plein air painting their studio paintings, there’s all kinds of categories 17 different categories 30,000 in total prizes 15,000 in cash, if you are the grand prize winner plus you get the cover of Plein Air Magazine. And there’s lots of other prizes and publicity and other things that you can win. So make sure this is a really good time. You know, if you’ve got some time between now and the end of the year before, well before the 31st you want to go ahead and go through your paintings and say what were the best ones for the last two or three years and enter those because if you enter and win in any category, you’re entered into the national competition and you’re going to be seen by art galleries, who are judges and this can can be life changing. We’ve had many people I was talking to Shelby Keefe the other day on my 12 noon daily broadcast. And she was talking about how the Plein Air Salon really changed her life because it gave her national exposure and of course, put her on the map as she was on the map regionally, but not nationally. And so this has been a great thing for her. She never anticipated that she would win. So make sure you enter. That’s pleinairsalon.com before December 31. Also coming up January 27 through 31st is Watercolor Live. We have an international audience many, many people from all around the world everywhere from Asia, India. Why I’ll tell you it’s a Saudi Arabia, Egypt. We have people registered from all over attending Watercolor Live and we have instructors from all over the world who are teaching. This is the the first giant watercolor conference of its kind virtual, where you’re seeing some of the very, very best and biggest names. You know some of the names probably all the names if you’re into watercolor some of them are kind of bridge other areas for instance, like Larry Maher is going to be teaching and he bridges not just watercolor but wash and Lloyd paint and other things. So check it out Watercolorlive.com. Also coming up February 14. We have the Valentine’s Day which is the early bird deadline to save five $100 on the Plein Air Convention now, you say to yourself, Well, I don’t know if I’m gonna go or not. Well, none of us really do right because of the state of the world. But if you get your ticket and you save the money, you can always get a refund. We want to you want to hold it because if we cancel Of course we have 100% refund policy or if you can’t come because of COVID for the same thing, but we think the main conference is going to take place it’s looking like it probably probably will. And it’s going to be a grand celebration everybody getting together because we’ve all been apart and everybody’s going to want to hug each other for allowed, but it’s kind of like thanksgiving for artists is a great place to get to know plein air painting. We got several stages simultaneous action on several stages teaching that we all go out and we paint together and Colorado is going to be spectacular. I’m so looking forward to it. I’m quite frankly looking forward to anything.
Eric Rhoads 5:57
Hey, coming up in the current issue of Plein Air Magazine, we’ve got a an article on five ways to boost your sales with Instagram. That’s pretty cool. Also, reminder to sign up for our newsletter Plein Air Today comes out weekly. Cherie Dawn Haas does an amazing job on that. And Kelly Kane does an amazing job on Plein Air Magazine and American Watercolor Weekly. And coming up after the interview. We’re going to be answering some art marketing questions and some things about planning because that’s something that’s important to us. So hang in there after the interview. Let’s get right to the interview now with Randy Sexton who was hand selected, because this is a special guest and a special guest for episode number 200. Randy played a major role in helping me discover and learn about plein air painting and look where it led me Look where it led all of us together. So thanks. There’s several key people that I like to acknowledge who had a role in that and Randy Sexton was one of those. So let’s get right to our interview. Randall Sexton Welcome to the Plein Air Podcast.
Randall Sexton 7:05
Thank you glad to be here.
Eric Rhoads 7:06
Sounds so official, doesn’t it? So you and I have some history. And I talked a little bit about this when we were on the 12 noon Facebook show when you were on recently, but for the benefit of the people around the world that didn’t hear that. I was I didn’t know what plein air painting was. And my wife had kicked me out of the house because she was pregnant with triplets and didn’t want the smell of solvent or oil paint in the house. And so I started going outdoors and I didn’t know what plein air was. But I saw something about a plein air festival in Martinez, California. And I think there was a poster and you were the highlighted artists on the poster. It was a image of the base of the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge. You remember that?
Randall Sexton 8:04
I remember well, yeah.
Eric Rhoads 8:05
So you were really kind of instrumental in and in my journey and getting here eventually. And we of course, eventually met I think I took a workshop from you pretty soon after that. And I learned all about everything I didn’t know anything about and some of those things I still can’t do, but I learned them from you.
Randall Sexton 8:28
Well, I am hugely honored. Eric, and you shared that story with me. You know, when we were speaking just a couple weeks ago, but I yeah, I just, you know, as a matter of fact, that same workshop that you participated in those, I have some photographs. I don’t know if there was I don’t think they’re from the whole group. But there’s some of the very first photographs that wound up in my photo library on my, you know, digital photographs because that was that was right at that time. But I think I just caved and thought a computer might be a good idea and so on. So they’re the very first photos on in my photo library that show up and I am hugely honored that you that that you brought that up and you remember that and and didn’t didn’t realize that trip to the scene on the streets. Martinez impacted you as much as it had, but obviously it did that you are you know, I have taken plein air to where it is.
Eric Rhoads 9:45
Well I’ve been sparely reflecting what’s been going on. But thank you, I know you have had a huge impact on a lot of people’s lives. So we’re going to talk about that today. And so I kind of would love to roll back the film to the cradle. that very first moment when you had a toothbrush, I mean a toothbrush a a paintbrush in your mouth instead of a, whatever it is they put in baby’s mouth. What, was your first recollection of being interested in this art thing?
Randall Sexton 10:25
Well, art in general, I have to confess was, I was born, there’s a little bit in my DNA. I was born into a family that my dad was a craftsperson in the 60s 70s. A little bit of a jack of all trades kind of character. And but, he did a lot of different types of projects. He was always in a studio. So he was a big influence on me when I was growing up because of that. He had a silkscreen, handmade, silkscreen, like greeting card line, but, you know, sort of briefly during the 60s until at least, I guess, the late 60s until the recession hit in the 70s. I think that was the key thing that kind of turned him away from that. And so had he started doing some other projects, wood carving, and he worked with metal did some collage. So he was he was always in his studio. He, he was a frustrated business person. But he was, he worked all the time. And I think that work ethic, and just, you know, being around that was very impressed, you know, imprinted me very early on. And then a couple of teachers had a big impact to art teacher in high school was a huge influence on myself in a number of other of my fellow students.
Eric Rhoads 12:05
Did you grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area?
Randall Sexton 12:08
I know it’s every back east, in the center of Connecticut, right smack in the center. Basically, there’s Middletown, which is right between Hartford and right in the middle of the state between Hartford and New Haven. And I grew up across the river in a small rural town of East Hampton. Uh huh. Originally dental town. In fact, my, as my family went that a number of generations and the bell factory was where they a bunch of them worked. even have some of the some of the old tuning bells from, from one of my great, great, great I think it was an uncle of cool, like, you know, grandfather, but he was he was a tuner he was in, he tuned, made sure that the bills were had like a model that they would tune them to.
Eric Rhoads 13:09
Never ever think about tuning bells.
Randall Sexton 13:13
I mean, I love I don’t think they have to tune each one. But I mean, they do have to, to, you know, there’s there’s some type of some type of way to, to, to regulate how they.
Eric Rhoads 13:27
So there was a moment in time when you use said, Hey, I’m going to San Francisco.
Randall Sexton 13:34
Yeah, how’d that happen? Yeah, that was that was a bit of a, on a whim. Right after college, I, I wound up going to the University of Connecticut with being encouraged by the same high school teacher to go to UConn, because they had a pretty strong art department, especially sculpture that I was kind of that was what I started off in, and then I want that painting and in that same school, and when I graduated on a whim basically moved out to San Francisco, just to see what it was like on the other side of the coast. had some friends that were that were also just kind of tentatively or temporarily moving out here. And, and then I, I thought I could be here for three months, and I’ve been here for over since 1980. So 40 years.
Eric Rhoads 14:36
Yeah. Wow. Well, that’s that’s a terrific story. And and what an interesting time to be in San Francisco. I mean, you’ve seen so many different areas. I lived out there as you know, for a while and I got to experience being part of the.com era. But there’s been so many different things that have happened since you’ve lived there and it’s always been a really impactful place. Was there something about the area that that attracted you from a visual perspective for, you know, for for painting? Or were you painting at that point, are we still doing some some other form of artwork?
Randall Sexton 15:16
Well, I, I experimented with some different art forms. I came out of the University of Connecticut, with more of a abstract painting background, and painted like that here for three or four years, until I met my ex wife, and actually had a couple of experiences that just inspired me to start on another avenue with my painting. And one of those experiences was going to trip to the four corners. And coming across the ancient bristlecone pine forest, and seeing these trees that are 3000 4000 years old, and standing in front of them, and just feeling this incredible sense of time and, and I was just so inspired, I wanted to, I thought, you know, what I really like to do is, is learn how to paint for representationally. So I can kind of get into that potentially get into interpreting the person compliance treats, because they’re so stunning for one. And, and so when I got back to San Francisco after the trip, I enrolled in some drawing classes at the Academy of Art, and then some more classes and in figure and portraiture to work on my drawing chops. And then everything just shifted from working more abstractly to working more representationally. And then once I started getting outside, I was really addicted, or, you know, attracted to the adventure of being outside in the freedom. Would you say area?
Eric Rhoads 17:20
Would you say that when you graduated from art school at UConn, that you didn’t really know how to draw?
Randall Sexton 17:28
Well, I did have a strong drawing. It wasn’t that I didn’t know how to draw. But in fact, the my drawing skills were what steered me towards painting while I was at school, because that we did have a pretty, you know, art school in the 70s, which was, you know, the late 70s was a little more like, like an art appreciation. Crash Course, I think for for myself is like exposing you to various different ways of thinking. And then in some ways, it was just kind of do whatever you want. And then talk about, I mean, that would seem like if I could sum it up really, you know, in in a, in a very cryptic way that would that sort of what that, that that experience was like, and it did open. It did. I did a lot of drawing. But the drawing that I did was a little looser. And I just wanted to be able to work that into my paintings. I guess that was it. It wasn’t it wasn’t the translation, the the way that that drawing, those drawing chops weren’t really playing into my paintings was more learning how to paint representationally. But the drawing part, I think, is where I started out on their return.
Eric Rhoads 19:00
The reason I asked that is because I I’ve heard so many art stool art school horror stories of, you know, people who went to art school, and they, you know, they were told to express themselves and so on. But they weren’t really, oftentimes not taught any principles, or I’ve heard from people who’ve told me, you know, they went to four years of school and never had a life drawing class. You know, things that I think a lot of us considered to be essential. Just were not happening throughout, you know, the 60s and 70s, you know, because of, and part of that was because representational art was just kind of not considered to be anything anybody would ever want to do again.
Randall Sexton 19:47
Yeah, exactly. I mean, we know it was the time that that even Sergeant’s paintings were in the bathroom. or what have you know, they were just sort of hidden in in the Boston museums and Exactly. I mean, I did I was exposed in that, you know, during my education to a lot of different types of work. And then and some that really stand out at the moment, you know, I mean, that was when I first learned about Diebenkorn, for instance. And, and I was really intrigued and interested in his work as well as spiritual Porter. So there were there were there was inspiration. It was just hard to put all that stuff together, you know, in that, in that particular experience for myself, and I can’t speak for everyone, you know, in that time period, or what have you, even in that school. There were good teachers. And, but it was kind of piecemeal. And, and then I, and abstract painting is a tough one. And that there were a lot of a lot of teachers that had that same school that were tenured, and had been, they were, they were all a lot of them were from Yale. And they worked abstractly. And that I kind of was, you know, I just painted like that I enjoyed painting like that what I do I still, I still do, actually.
Eric Rhoads 21:15
Yeah, you mentioned when you were on the broadcast that the noon broadcast that you had kind of started returning to some abstract work.
Randall Sexton 21:23
Right, I had that abstract piece at a recent piece right behind Thomas when we were painting. portrait. Yes. And one thing I do feel like it still informs my painting style, or the way that I approach painting is that I am not I am not a good planner. I or no, that’s let’s take let’s start that, Oh, well, that is somewhat true. But I really appreciate the adventure and the discovery in the process of painting, that I don’t know, always where I’m headed in the painting is a good thing. If I know, if I try to plan things too much. It’s that experience usually go south. For me, if I, for instance, I have one, I don’t know if I have shared the story with before. But once you know, frequently, I’ll do demonstrations for art associations. And one of them you probably even remember being, you know, at least aware of, we’re either in pleasant Taylor, or Alamo. And I replied, there’s this type of situation, you go to a meeting that they’re having. And they usually do like a half hour of 20 minutes of some, you know, announcements and so on. And then you’re on stage to paint for an hour. And it’s difficult to finish up the paint painting, and then I can paint fairly quickly, but it is different, difficult to finish up something. So one gig like this, I put together I had a reference that I had painted out and tell you right, I had a little sketch that I had painted out until I had the photo with me that I blew up. And I had pre mixed all the paint that I was going to use. So it was ready to go right out of the box. And it just crashed. It was the worst thing that I think that ever got into in terms of a demonstration because it’s not wasn’t, was so sort of formed, you know, like, it was almost like I had a recipe in front of me and here’s, here’s this and it just went south really quick. So I do still feel like that experience of being in in college and, and the experience of playing with paint and and, and the adventure of the whole experience being the process.
Eric Rhoads 24:07
But when you did that video with us, which was painting an old turquoise mg out in the field, so you were you were talking about abstract shapes and and, you know, painting shapes instead of painting things.
Randall Sexton 24:23
Yeah, I think that a lot of but you know, I I think identifying that things have shapes. You know, you can call it abstract, but they do have that shape. They’re trying to see things as shapes and things is I think what informs a lot of my painting and that’s what I try to encourage people to, to understand and see in their own journey.
Eric Rhoads 24:54
I think that there is you know, we all go through our our As you say, our journey, and we sometimes don’t, we can’t appreciate something that’s being taught to us until we’ve accomplished a certain level of something understanding, I suppose. And I remember you discussing that in a workshop that I took with you in I think we were in Oakland, and maybe Bolinas and, and those things, even though intellectually they resonated, it was hard for me to be willing to let go of where I was at the moment to go for those big shapes. And then later, in my path, it’s like, all of a sudden, it hits you. And it’s like, Well, duh, you have to do that. I mean, that I mean, there’s not a must have to do, but what is the best way for someone to kind of get rid of that letting go, I mean, when we first start, I, when many people first start painting, they operate under the idea of they want to duplicate a photograph, and meaning they want things to be photorealistic. And then, you know, they kind of get that down, and then they kind of start loosening up and letting it go, and so on. Now, some people start out right away being looser, but I think that at least in my particular case, you know, I was trying to be highly, highly detailed, representational, and it was not until I really understood that idea of a big shapes because I was putting the decorations on before the cake was made.
Randall Sexton 26:38
Hmm. Right. I like the analogy to that, when you’re painting, it’s more similar to sculpting, that when a sculptor, you know, works with the portrait, so portrait is a good example of this. Because it’s a little easier to visualize, everybody knows what a head looks like. That when a sculpture, sculpt, they’re taking that big ball of clay, and, and they’re roughing in the overall shape of the head first, they’re not starting off with an eyelash, or an eyebrow, you know, they’re, they’re trying to get the bigger forms. And, and then carve into and as a, as a painter, I, I make the analogy to cut to the sculpture as carving, you’re carving, each time you’re putting the brush to Canvas, you’re, you’re establishing an edge somewhat somehow, and, you know, an area and the play between positive and negative shapes, or arriving at that edge is much like the way that a sculptor, you know, manipulates that clade pushes it around to try to arrive at the right edge, or the right form. So it’s, to me that, you know, that analogy that, that I think resonates for a lot of people. And, you know, I, I’m not really sure how else to, to describe or to, you know, to express that I think that’s a good way to, to talk about it.
Eric Rhoads 28:35
So how do you learn to see shapes? Is it just a matter of squinting? And just telling yourself, you’re looking for big shapes first?
Randall Sexton 28:47
Yeah, I think so. It’s the other the other. Another thing that I think helps people to understand this, too, is like that, when you’re in plein air, especially saying it working outdoors. The big challenge is simplifying. The complex, like, nature is just so varied. You know, thankfully, so it would, it would, if it was if we were on Mars, things would be different. But there’s just so much you know, and when you’re outdoors, it’s us, it’s a lot to process, but like you say you’re swinging swinging down to see, I tell folks that I have to see a lot of contrast and whatever, whatever that subject matter is, I have to see a fair amount of contrast first. So I I gravitate towards things that do have that, you know, I mean, I that’s why part of the reason I like to paint vehicles or figures and you know, there are painters that can paint green on green on green. Morgan Samuel Price, for example. Amazing. I have one of her paintings and In house and I just look at that all the time and think, Oh my god, how did she do that? Because that is such a nuance the you know, the subtlety between the greens that she’s able to manage, you’re just exquisite and beyond my skill set, I like to play with big shapes and, you know, kind of move things move the pain around, that’s what I enjoy is kind of getting into the visceral juiciness of pain. And I wish I did it even more. So you know, get was able to get it thicker, and so on. But another, I think another little analogy helps in that is that in plein air painting, it’s kind of as if you’re learning a whole language. In another language, it’s sort of like, it’s you’re creating a life that you do in order to suggest more with less, that you’re suggesting, shape, you know, things out there with shape and color. And that it’s the language is a little bit like shorthand, that you’re learning a language, it’s like, learning shorthand. And you can’t learn that whole language all at once. No matter how you, you know, how smart you are, or how good at you you are at shorting. But he, you know, you take baby steps, so you learn how to, I think that a good, you know, I’m working with, like a mentorship program at the moment. And one of the exercises that I that I put out is very first exercises just to just to take the various tree shapes, and try to design them different ways, not just copy. But you know, see what you can do to generalize the shape first suggests the shape, but play with that whole notion of the, you know, the positive and negative shapes. To just work with that wood design, then, as an example of just that, you know, not not trying to get all the grass in the foreground, and, you know, like 180 degree panoramic. You know, manage everything, it’s just a sky against a tree against the sky. And, and we get that going, and then we’ll move on from there, you know? So that’s, I think that’s a good that’s an another good way to think about it is that you’re building a shorthand, you’re building a language. And to take baby, don’t expect that you can do it all at once. But to go gradually?
Eric Rhoads 32:50
How would you say that? Your plein air painting has changed? From the time you’ve been painting? You’ve been teaching plein air painting for how many years? 20 years?
Randall Sexton 33:04
Or at least I mean, yeah, I think that when you took that class, it was probably in the year about 20 years.
Eric Rhoads 33:11
Yeah, well, my kids were not born yet. So my kids are 18. So, so how let’s use 20 years as the marker what changed in your work and the way you approach painting now versus 20 years ago?
Randall Sexton 33:30
Interesting you and i a really good question. And I think that there’s certain shifts and I don’t even recognize them. When they happen so much. I know that I’m always striving to, to sort of get beyond myself and move somewhere else. And that Lately, I’ve been moving in even more abstract or looser direction that has more to do with Jeff’s atmosphere, more to do with atmosphere. I think, I think my like when you first started painting with me, and I had been painting before that I had been painting for another another decades before that, outside my, I think I was drawn to much like what you were describing, to not not necessarily photo realist work, but like continually trying to get more information. And my paintings just got more complicated for a while. And now I I’ve cut back on that goal and, and my paintings have a little bit more about mood and atmosphere and depth. And that’s the easiest way I can describe it in one of the Well, I think one of the it’s not all plein air work either, you know, some of the more of it is studio work. And in this in this context series of barbershop paintings that I did you know, there’s those interiors were super, super busy. Just tons of stuff. If I put all that stuff in there, I would, it would make me nuts first. But I it’s not the way that I wanted to try to portray these interiors. So. So I started editing a lot more and playing with just what was in front of me in terms of painting and not referring to the references much.
Eric Rhoads 35:57
So that would probably be the best way to describe it, it seems to me, and maybe this is just an incorrect observation. But it seems to me that as artists mature, after you’ve been painting, and I can’t say that it’s happening, in my particular case, it’s happening a little bit. But as we mature, at the more time, behind the easel that we spend, we tend I’m seeing artists tend to go more, more abstract, much looser, leaving a lot of information out and even maybe muting color a little bit more. I think, you know, the, the seduction of color when we’re young and Well, maybe not. It’s not about young, but young as artists, you know, oftentimes, it’s that color that seduces us. And if if I look at a lot of people’s early paintings versus their paintings, now, you know, the early ones are saturated. And the more recent ones tend to be kind of more muted more grade down, there’s still the sense of color because of they know how to they know how to manipulate color from a standpoint of warms and cools and, and how to how to bring color to certain highlighted areas. But there’s so they still feel colorful, but they’re not as colorful, do you find that to be happening in your particular case?
Randall Sexton 37:31
Good question. I hadn’t even considered that. I know that. A don’t. Like I say I tried it. I like to use a lot of contrast in my work. So color does play into that. I was I was gonna say maybe it’s just because people’s eyesight kind of
Eric Rhoads 37:54
Well, that was true with Monet. I mean, Monet’s cataracts are so bad that, you know, everything, everything became very fuzzy. But you know, and I do that actually might have something to do with it.
Randall Sexton 38:08
As well, maybe. But I know that myself, I know, I wear glasses when I paint I never did before. And, and for a long time. I think that that, that when I wasn’t wearing those glasses, then probably could have that things were getting looser, until I started preparing. And seeing what, you know, really looking at seeing my canvas that much more clearly in front of me.
Eric Rhoads 38:35
Well, I’ve heard stories about artists who have cataracts, of course, you know, back in the day when Monet had him, I mean, it was a big deal to get rid of cataracts, if you could at all. But you know, cataracts tend to color our vision. And I’ve heard stories from artists, many we both know, who have said, You know, I had the cataract surgery and all of a sudden I realized how far off my color was or how how warm things were leading. Because that’s what they were seeing.
Randall Sexton 39:08
Yeah, you do, you know, that one phrase, you know, that people do see things differently is, you know, you never really you don’t take things that but you don’t think of it as being that phrase being literal, you know, but, but there is some act of that people do see colors, different women see more color than men. On average. Men, it’s all about what the cones are the rods how many cones or rods you have in your eyeballs. Right. And, and I think that I could be wrong on this. Butterflies have lots of like 24 I think women have fortified men less.
Eric Rhoads 39:58
So I don’t know that That may be true. I know that there is scientific evidence that says that women have more neural connectors, which explains what they used to call a woman’s intuition. It’s just that, you know, they’re able to think things through more clearly more rapidly because they have better connections in their brains typically, that scientific, it’s not a sexist statement. So there may be something to that, that idea of better cones or more cones, or maybe it relates to that ability to have better perception of color, because of the narrow connectors.
Randall Sexton 40:34
Or, and just in this context, that people do really see things differently. You know, it’s, and, yeah, you know, my palette has stayed relatively the same. It’s only recently that I have used the same palette of the same colors. Basically, I’ve shifted a couple of colors out, like, like, for instance, up until like, read alla prima, I’d never heard of transparent red oxide before. And once I got that, I was like, Oh, my God is magic. You know, I love that color. So I’ve done that on a pallet and I switched switch coin aquadome for alizarin crimson, I mean, I swapped out from Alizarin Crimson to one aquadome red because it has more punch. And but all the other colors are pretty much the same that I’ve been using for 20, 25 years. And the same amount except for black added after Andrew Zorn that in the traveling museum show vendors orange…
Eric Rhoads 41:43
You added black to your palette.
Randall Sexton 41:45
I added black, ivory black, realizing well I tried the the limited palette of his bait I not enough, it was exactly the same colors that he used, but, but the four colors, black, red, yellow, and white. And and then when I started doing that, I realized that black is actually kind of a fun mixing color for greens. And for some other things not if you lean on it too much, you know, you really kind of everything gets really heavy. If you just use it as a as your as your dark influence on the rest of your palette. But yeah, but I yeah, I liked that dream that I was coming up with. So like kept it.
Eric Rhoads 42:31
Greens are a whole nother issue. I think, you know, this is something that again, a lot of beginners really struggle with, you know, out of the tube greens and and, you know, I’m I’m staring out at my yard right now and the greens are absolutely vibrant. But I’m not so sure if I painted them that vibrant, they would look right. And right. And so you know what, what are your best thoughts about you know, mixing greens, what do you what do you typically put into your greens? Dude? Do you ever use two greens? Or do you mix them all? Do you put other colors into them? Do you gram down? What what’s your process?
Randall Sexton 43:11
I try to I try to mix them more. But when I am looking I use the I use Holbein Druid in hue. So it’s a little bit of Halo it’s pretty punchy, like the quinacridone those two jazzy players on my house. And I so that is so electric that I have to stay away from that unless I’m using it as like this, like a real rogue accent color. What I would I do try to encourage people to do I think it helps to manage greens is to whatever the scene is that they’re painting. That if they can identify the greenest green, the most saturated green in the scene, because there’s there’s probably going to be just one you know, a lawn for instance is going to be a lot more saturated out of the tube type of green then then others so if they can identify the most saturated green in the scene, then see how different other shapes are in the in the composition and bass key into that difference while they’re mixing and I do mix you know use the Ultramarine Blue and Yellow Ochre for darker greens. That black and black in the end. Yep, and black, ivory black and cad yellow will give you a very organic type of green that can either be used as a dark word, or you can use the black to kind of cut down the saturation on On the cad yellow, so a little bit of both ways on that I will lean on, I try to encourage people not just use the green out of the tube. And that is a big issue for the big issue is, is that people thinking that something has to be green, because it is a tree. You know, they think that greens got to be there because something should be green. And that’s when, you know, kind of get a little more heavy handed with, with that, especially two colors, it gets out of control.
Eric Rhoads 45:35
Well, that kind of goes back to what we were talking about of things that beginners tend to do. You know, we tend to want to make trees look like trees, you know, which is oftentimes a lollipop or a cone and our broccoli, and we tell ourselves that you know that that pine tree is green when in fact that pine tree might be blue or gray or brown.
Randall Sexton 46:02
Right. Yeah, comparing and keying into the other colors and made that whole notion. You know, that was one of the things from from college, that learning color theory and in more in terms of pain. That just threw me off from the beginning. Is that warm? That a sort of a rule that you might hear that warm colors come forward and cool colors received? Well, that sounds good. But especially in terms of abstract paintings that just confused the heck out and you know what? Like, okay, well, I can only use that when I want to shape the component, what does that mean? Exactly? You know, so there are some things that we hear about color, that, that if you take them, so literally they they can kind of like stymie. And, and, you know, and not allow you to kind of for me, I think it’s a lot of it is just color matching what you see color trying to color match, at least, at least the same relationships. That’s what I was getting with this is like green, and when you hear that color is all about relationships, it’s all about relationships. And yeah, that’s true. It’s easy to say that, it’s hard to, you know, it’s hard to really wrap your head around what that what that really means in terms of what practical practically that is useful. But in pre mixing, I think is a good way to go. I mentioned that that demo that I did that went south and I do pretty mixed mic. colors. Not always when I’m playing air painting, and not always when I’m when I’m working with a figure, say, but, like, from life, but but when I’m working on a larger studio piece, I always premix so you are looking down at your palette, you can actually see how things you know, how they how they’re prioritized in terms of both value and color. In fact, he can’t remember if it’s one of the portrait painters. And I can’t remember which one and so great, you know, demonsaw demo portrait demo killing the guy who was great at it at this moment, but I remember him saying that, that there should be another we should be able to say color value, we should be able to identify you know, the both or the both involved. When you’re mixing up something it’s you’re you’re you’re defining both color and value. So it’s we should be good if we could think of them together instead of just two separate things. Which I thought was an odd I haven’t expressed that the same way that he did it was much more eloquent in the video but but it is, you know, you do have to eat when you’re premix that’s what you’re identifying is what your darkest dark you know, what’s your lightest light, everything has got to go in between there. What’s your most saturated color and then or colors? There may be more you know, more saturated areas than just one color that’s saturated but so if you can can identify those then you can kind of fit everything else in between. and I will exaggerate that when I’m color mixing it. Okay, well, you know, and at first, it’s a little bit more average if you try to block things in and softer. shapes are softer edges and I try to get close to what I see is sort of the average color but I’m strive strive to kind of push Or exaggerate as if you’re in iPhoto, or in your photo library and adjusting your photographs and just ramp up the saturation a little bit. That’s what I do with my paintings kind of, you know, bulk up on the color. I think I still do that. I don’t know whether I’m changing up my color mixing, although I have been thinking about, about using the playing with just a few colors, like the purple and yellow, you know, just doing some, some limited palette paintings with that or different approach just to see what happens.
Eric Rhoads 50:49
Yeah, well, that’s always fun. And it was the one thing I love about being around you, as you have a little bit of an experimental mentality, which I think is playful, I guess it’s the word are curious. And you’re always trying new things and experimenting. And I think that’s probably what’s what’s really led you to being such a strong artist is that you, you’re willing to not stick to what you learned 30 years ago, you know, it’s I mean, you’re, you’re obviously sticking to some of it, but you’re also trying to kind of get yourself out and try new things, which is, you know, the idea of doing some abstract paintings along with your, your other paintings and so on, I think that’s fabulous.
Randall Sexton 51:34
Oh, yeah, I have to say I do, I do get restless with that. I get restless is the right word. So I want to try to keep it kind of couldn’t get away from my don’t want to see my own hand. Move. That’s what pushes me different directions.
Eric Rhoads 51:58
Well, and I think that’s what keeps us really interested is that, you know, if you, we both have friends who, who kind of developed a style and a look, and they kind of become these, these manufacturing plants of that style and that look, and they’re never pushing their boundaries. I’m not being critical of them. I, you know, I think everybody should do what’s what works for them, but, but I also, you know, I hear from artists, I’m so bored. And it’s like, well, you know, get a palette knife out and go crazy and start playing with it and do something different, then, you know, people don’t want to mess with what they’re working on. But it’s that’s what play is, is a really great tool for growth.
Randall Sexton 52:46
Absolutely. And then, you know, I have to I have to confess something to on that. Well, oh,
Eric Rhoads 52:53
We need a confession. We haven’t had a confession on this broadcast. What’s her name? [laughter]
Randall Sexton 53:06
Well, sometimes I think, you know, when you when I was contacted about doing this with you, if they asked about a couple of themes I might want to touch on in this time of year, I have to confess is always a time where I just have a really difficult time painting altogether. We from Thanksgiving until New Year’s, it’s just that it’s it’s just an a loan to realize that it’s part of my rhythm. At first, I think for a few you know, quite a few years, I would just be like forcing myself to paint. And it does might not just be from thanksgiving to New Year’s it might. It might be you know, even longer where it’s just really difficult. And I have to force myself and then I thought well pick, unfortunately something what’s the point? So I mean, you know, you do need you have deadlines and so on. But if I’m really forcing myself, I need to just what is it I have to do here and I have to back off and, and fill up the well, so to speak. And maybe the well is an empty, I just need to throw some things in there that make it taste better. So that that I can, you know, kind of go at it with more vigor and more excitement if I get to feeling like I’m bored. Like you’re saying, then, yeah, that’s just, you know, it’s not a good place to be.
Eric Rhoads 54:37
Everybody needs a break. Everybody needs vacation. Everybody needs to get away from their work once in a while. But, you know, you’ve got you’ve got the benefit of some fabulous museums, too. If you get stuck, you can take a walk over to the Oakland Museum and and be blown away by some of the people who came before you that were doing incredible work.
Randall Sexton 54:58
Yeah, that’s a wonderful music I’m in the Crocker Museum in Sacramento. Oh, yeah. And, and they have fabulous shows that the I mean, they had that Andrews Orange Show at the Dion. Yeah. So, yes, indeed.
Eric Rhoads 55:16
The Hagan museum out… And you’re not too far away. So well, I, you know, those things are all helpful. I’m curious about another thing is, you know, the same question, the 20 year question. Have you refined anything about how you approach composition? Now versus the way you’re used to? Is there I hate I know, hate the idea of formulas. But is there something that you do more consistently or differently now than, than then
Randall Sexton 55:55
I’m more open to editing and combining reference. And I mean, I’m trying to think of specifics, but I can’t, I think I, except for saying that, and that is the truth. And I, when I 20 years ago, I would edit, and with Look, just like cropping a photograph, for instance, to try to see what you know, worked out a composition, at least in my mind. And then I’d kind of just go for that. Now, I’m more open, to moving things around. To design to think of the painting as more of a design from the get go, and realizing that, you know, I can make changes right away to, to, to my liking, and so forth, and or combine references together into, you know, one piece. So that’s, that’s, that’s been a gradual development over the years.
Eric Rhoads 57:31
I like to ask this question, because and the answers are all over the map, but you teach a lot. You find students struggle with certain things. One of the things that you just like to just like to shake everybody and say, Would you just do this, just do this one thing, and it will just completely revolutionize your work?
Randall Sexton 57:56
Well, I think that, you know, on, it’s a good segue, because realizing that you’re the designer, and not, you know, not that you don’t have to be that you don’t have to render what’s in front of you, that you don’t have to copy the photograph. If you’re using reference, as you know, the same way to think to really think what is going to work better, and to, to draw the viewer into the painting and, and to create more contrast at the focus, say, you know, a lot of things that we that, I think that any teacher would, would encourage, I think the other the other side of this, though, is to, to really identify what it is that you are excited about painting, you know, to try to, to not just follow along, what seems like the way to go, you know, the right path. But to, but to, to really try to, I think having that urge and that desire and that that excitement in the beginning. For me, it has to be there. And I don’t know that everybody you know, can appreciate that. And they, they might just do things because they feel like they have to. So that’s, that’s the other thing is is really trying to listen to yourself. And, and, you know, I think the other thing is just giving people permission. It’s a tough for big people that are just beginning. It’s a steep learning curve. And it’s a, I remember just just being so frustrated. And I in fact, one of my first workshops that I took myself as a landscape as you’re trying to do landscape, plein air work was with Michael Lynch, I saw his work in in the john pence gallery showed there for a few years. And the first time I saw his work, and oh, my God, that is the Bob. I need to know he was teaching I signed up for a couple of classes with him. At the Donner ranch through the session. What I don’t know if they still do any classes there, but the Fashion Institute? Yeah. Or fixing fan? Oh, anyway. And I took a couple classes there with them. First one, I remember standing, I guess, on to the road somewhere in Taos, and thinking, Man, maybe someday I’ll like this. Maybe someday. It’s just so dang hard. But you know, get a stick to it?
Eric Rhoads 1:01:19
Well, it is hard. The, you know, it’s the the thing that I am constantly trying to overcome for people is is this this sense of talent, right? I mean, you’re a talented guy, but most of your talent probably comes from hard work. And, and, and learning things over the years. And so I hope that doesn’t sound offensive, but I don’t think most of us and I don’t think most of the artists that you and I know, are the kind of people who were, you know, doing Da Vinci level drawings when they were 10 years old. It’s something I’m there are people who certainly have those occasional skill sets. But I think the thing that we need to communicate with people is that everything is about a learned process. And talent comes into it somewhere along the line. And you know, there are people who are definitely more talented, but it may have just been the amount of time and effort and applying themselves putting in the work. But I think as instructors. And I think you’re pretty good at this kind of thing. But we need to be saying to people, look, here’s what your pathway is going to look like. I mean, it’s going to be different for everybody. But it’s actually Okay, to get frustrated. And it’s part of the learning processes. And then when you get the most frustrated is when you’re about to learn the biggest lesson. And if we if we can help people understand that early in the path, I don’t know about you, but I know a lot of people who have given up that’s like, I can’t do this. And I would imagine you had your moments when you wanted to. I know I did.
Randall Sexton 1:03:08
Mm hmm. Yeah, thinking of it as a career, especially when I was in my 30s. I was like, What am I doing? Where the heck am I going with this? Yes, I hear you. And you’re right, it’s, there’s it is you do have to, you know, you have to keep at it and take it does take a lot of work. But there’s huge reward to and I have to remind myself about that wrestling part, you know, that, that frequently. The most painful place in the middle of a painting is where it’s going to turn around and you’re going to be good on the other side. And there’s always a bit of a wrestling with it, if it was just a you know, paint by number type of arrangement. And if it was easy, then, you know, it wouldn’t be so precious. And we have to inject ourselves into it. You know, will will Wilson was and I think I’ve even shared this with you before. But Wilson was one of the painters that john pence that was just amazing, is an amazing artist. More of the in the Trump loi more of the photo real photo realist because he does a lot of what he knows very imaginative with his work. But he he does large paintings with you know, probably to hairbrush, you know, a lot of effort. I mean a lot of them. Yeah, a lot of time and very traditional painting approach. He shared great metaphor with a class of mine that I brought to the studio. He said, you know, painting is like a train ride. Some people get off at the first stop. Some people get off at what is it New Canaan or really out of out of New York. And then some folks have to take that train all the way to New Haven, or wherever, you know, end of the line, let’s say Chicago to San Francisco, and, and it’s your personality, that’s going to tell you where to get off the train. So no matter what, you know, what you want to paint, or rather, what you aspire what you wish, you painted, like, you’re gonna think like yourself. And and then he added at the very end, he said, and your personality, in many ways, that’s what you want to show. So, you know, don’t don’t dodge it.
Eric Rhoads 1:05:49
So when it comes to that, you know, you’ve got the biggest question I think I get is, how do I find my own style? Do you think that? Yeah, did you think you’ve, you create it? Or do you think you’d, you just, it just kind of comes after? That it’s kind of like handwriting, it’s like, your handwriting just becomes who you are? And, and it just happens? It’s
Randall Sexton 1:06:12
Yeah, I think I think there is a little bit of that. But it’s, you know, you’re the one that feeds you, you lead yourself you are you follow or you are attracted to certain things like myself, you know, at first with Michael Lynch, you finding I found that really inspired? I wish I could paint like him, but I can’t, but I can’t.
Eric Rhoads 1:06:41
The same I wish he could do.
Randall Sexton 1:06:43
Even if I did, it wouldn’t, you know, I mean, so what there’s, I mean, without naming names, there’s a there’s some styles that are painting that are out there that are very attractive, very loose, like, like, a broken down images that are, say very abstract, and, and then you see knockoffs. You see a whole bunch of people painting like that. Yeah. And you think, Oh, my God, there is that means that the artist derivative is the right word. But, you know, if you do try to paint like somebody else, intentionally and get good at it, then what does that mean? Even though we do, like, I catch myself even, you know, getting attracted to influence or feeling drawn? And, and desiring you know, a certain thing in my painting that I’ve seen somebody else’s paintings. It’s just, I think it’s natural, I think it’s human.
Eric Rhoads 1:08:07
There’s certainly certainly lots of examples of people who are going to workshops and, and studying with somebody and knocking off paintings during the workshop. And that’s fine, because that’s, that’s part of the learning process. But then, sticking with that, and doing only that I yeah, I think there’s two or three artists that we can both think of who, and they’re well meaning artists, but the students themselves are knocking them off. And I’d be on the phone saying, hey, knock it off, knock off knocking me off, you know, because come up with your own thing.
Randall Sexton 1:08:42
Because especially the imagery, I mean, you know, it’s one thing, it’s like, we’re all trained to teach help people with the basics initially, and then as, as people get more experience, then more nuance and more subtle things about whatever medium we’re using. But to take the same type of subject matter for instance, and play with it the same way. That just yeah, that gets my hair standing up.
Eric Rhoads 1:09:22
Yeah, well, I you know, I people are well meaning I don’t take anybody’s intentionally doing it. But I remember a discussion with an art art dealer who I went to a show and he had told me this particular artists was selling for a lot of money and that every time he got one in that, you know, they’d sell right before they even hung on the wall. And I went to this art show one time and and there was not a red.on this particular person’s painting and I said, Yeah, you told me that these things sell before they even get on the wall is he said, used to not anymore I said, Well, why he’s Because this person has taught so many people how to knock himself off, he said, Look, come over here. And he showed me two other paintings that to an untrained eye were equally as good. They were not as good. But to an untrained eye, which is your typical consumer. They’re like, why should I pay $40,000 for this one, but I can pay 2000 for this one, and it’s the same subject matter and it feels the same and, you know, same dramatic light and so on. And so, you know, it to some extent, the artist did herself or himself a disservice. Not again, not intentionally, but I think that’s the one thing that we all have to communicate to is look don’t become Randall Sexton. You know, become you.
Randall Sexton 1:10:46
Yeah, we don’t need any more of them. Yeah. Yeah, be yourself.
Eric Rhoads 1:10:54
Randall. We’re well into our time now and I want to make sure that that I kind of stick to it. Tell everybody your website.
Randall Sexton 1:11:04
Sure, I am at rcsexton.com.
Eric Rhoads 1:11:17
rcsexton.com. Yeah, and you’ve got a you’ve got a new mentoring thing that you’re doing online, and you’re doing some other training and so on. So we’ve got a video with you. So go to your website, go to go to Randy’s website and check out all the stuff that he’s got. He’s a great teacher. He taught me a lot. I would, I would love now 20 years later to do another workshop with you just because I would be able to actually understand so much more.
Randall Sexton 1:11:51
It’d be fun. Just to paint if you get out here too. Yeah, I know that last time I was in Austin, we painted a tour studio just figure portrait. Yep. I’m just getting. I’ve been doing half size groups, they just started doing that. Even, you know, might studios like 1000 square feet. So I have enough space for four of us to spread out. Plenty of space in between. and I’m just started to get that going. This weekend will be on the second weekend.
Eric Rhoads 1:12:26
I miss that. You know, and I my space isn’t very big. And so I gotta I can’t do my weekly model yet. So yeah, I guess it’s kind of nice to take a break, actually. But I’m ready to get back to it. Well, Randy, thank you for being part of the the Plein Air Podcast today.
Randall Sexton 1:12:48
My pleasure. Thank you.
Eric Rhoads 1:12:53
Well, thanks again to Randy Sexton what a terrific painter. What a great mentor, great teacher, great guy. Make sure to visit his website and just give him a round of applause is really a terrific guy. All right. Are you guys ready for some marketing ideas?
This is the Marketing Minute with Eric Rhoads, author of the number one Amazon bestseller “Make More Money Selling Your Art: Proven Techniques to Turn Your Passion Into Profit.”
Eric Rhoads 1:13:21
In the marketing minute I answer your marketing questions you can email yours to me at actually [email protected] So here’s a question from Jay Taylor in Arveda, Colorado, Jay says as we wrap up the year and look forward to the next I’d like to get some art goals. But I don’t know what they should be. What are some reasonable goals we can set as we look forward to next year? Well, Jay, I recommend everybody sequester themselves and set their goals between Christmas and New Years Take, take it seriously. If you actually want to hit goals, if you actually want to accomplish something, it takes planning, it’s not something you just go, Hey, here’s a couple of cool goals. And then you announce them on January 1, and then you’ve you’ve blown them by February 1, right? So you want to actually take some time and and all great goals are measurable. All right. measurable means you need to be able to know if you’ve accomplished them. And so you want to you want to do your goals in that way. So I can’t pick what are good goals for you. I can give you some general things that artists and others might be thinking about. I don’t know what your goals are going to be. And quite frankly, if they’re not your own goals, you’re not going to hit them. You got to believe in them. You got to think about them. You got to constantly monitor your goals. I talked a lot about this and Sunday coffee, my my blog and I also talked about it in art marketing comm a lot of goal setting is very important to me. I set my goals for 2021 back in September. I have big four days. have meetings with my team for goal setting, because that’s how important it is. And we monitor those goals every single week, we have a meeting as a team. And we go through the goals and we say, Okay, here are our goals for the quarter. How are we doing here are goals for the year? How are we doing? What are the steps, we make sub goals, steps, you know, they say the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, right? So you’ve got to take that elephant and break it up into, you know, monthly goals, and then weekly goals and sometimes even daily goals. And you’ve got to pay attention to them. And you’ve got to take the steps. Because if you don’t take the steps, you won’t hit the goals. You can’t just say, Alright, I’m making 10,000 a year and I’m now I want to make 100,000 next year, you know, there’s a there’s positive thinking, and you can think positively about that all day long. But if you don’t have a system in place to hit those goals, you’re not likely to hit it. So here’s some things to think about. Where am I now? And where do I want to be? What is the gap? What you know, how do I get to where I want to be? What are the steps necessary to get there, and then break them down to weekly and monthly and daily and so on? Are my goals realistic and attainable? Are my goals measurable? In other words, measurable goals, let’s say an easy measurable goal is I want to make $100,000 a year. And let’s say $120,000 a year to make this easy. And that means Okay, now the monthly goal is I got to make $12,000 a month well now the weekly goal in that is, you know, you got it, let’s say we’re based on you know, four weeks in a month, it’s probably a little bit different 4.5 weeks or something but so now you got to say, all right, if I got to make $12,000 and I got to make $3,000 a week, well, how do I do that? Well, now I got to say, all right, I got to make how much per day to make 3000 a week. And if you have a monitoring system that you put in place, you know, what am I doing today, to reach that, you know, $500 or $1,000 in sales that I get to get for today or for this week, then you’re going to be thinking about those things. And so you want things measurable now, it’s not just measurable when it’s about money, you need to know other goals and how you hit them. So you might have a goal of buying a new car, while buying a new car might translate back to money. A trip might translate back to money, but some things don’t transfer back to money. For instance. Everybody needs different kinds of goals, like you need family goals. So a family goal might be I’m going to spend, I need to get closer to my kids. Well, how am I going to do that? Well, I’m going to spend one Saturday a month taking my each of my daughters to daddy daughter date or I’m going to spend I did that you know what are the different things that you’re going to do? And you need to break them into goals and monthlies and weeklies and so on, because you need to be able to measure those.
Eric Rhoads 1:18:10
You also have to ask yourself, what are the sacrifices I’m willing to make? You know, because goals require sacrifices, things don’t just happen, you have to you know, if you have to work harder, you might have to paint more, you might have to do more things. And so you’ve got to ask yourself, Am I willing to make those sacrifices? are they worth it? You know, if I’m going to make $120,000 a year, but I’m going to have to work, you know, 10 hours a day in the studio, am I willing to do it Am I going to be you know, able to make the trips, the teaching trips, or whatever it is you’ve got to do. So every goal needs to also then be broken down to what if I hit them? What’s next? You know, what if I hit them early? What’s next? Will my life be better if my goals are accomplished? And do they really have a purpose? Because your goals need to have a purpose, right? If you just say, hey, I want to have a Gulfstream jet. Well, that’s nice, but unless you need it, unless you’re going to use it. If you say to yourself, Well, I’m going to the reason I want that is because I’m going to do these trips, and I need to have personal transportation and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, you know, then you, you might want to have purpose or you know, I do a goal. I want to hit a certain number financially every year because I know I’m going to take 10% of that money. And I want to be able to say look, I’m going to give X amount of dollars to this charity or that charity. So you need to be thinking in terms of that. Anyway, start picturing what your life should be. What is the ideal dream life for you? What do you want it to look like? And then you might not make it in a year, you know, it might take you 20 years, that’s okay, but you’ve just got to take it. So think about your ideal life and say, Okay, what can I accomplish this year and next year and so on, break it into goals that will help you a lot. I hope that’s been helpful for you. Thank you In terms of your dreams, and remember, think in terms of different kinds of goals like financial goals, spiritual goals, family goals, travel goals, painting goals, job goals, etc. You know, you might have a goal, like, I want to retire from my job in five years, and be making the same amount of money. Well, how do you do that? Well, you’ve got to back it up and say, well, you don’t just say, Okay, I’m going to leave in five years and then start my business. Instead, you say, I’m going to start my business and ramp it up over the course of the next five years. So by the time I am out of there, I’ve got the same income. Right? That’s the kind of thing I like to think about.
Eric Rhoads 1:20:35
Here’s a question from Melissa Morris in Overland Park, Kansas. Melissa says, I’m not worried about selling my paintings, because I already have a steady income. But I’d like to get more recognition for my work. What are some ways other than sales that I can validate validate myself as an artist? Well, Melissa, I think that’s a very mature statement. You know, I got a, I do a thing called fall color week and one in the Adirondacks called publishers Invitational. And sometimes I’ll offer to coach people on their marketing during those events, and I remember we were up in Canada, it was snowing, we had a little more time on our hands, because a lot of people didn’t want to go out. And so I offered to do some coaching, one on one coaching, and two different people basically said to me, You know, I want to sell more paintings. And I would say, Well, why. And they started going into it. And I, you know, I identified in both of their cases, that they didn’t need the income, they had the income, they had jobs, so they had money, and they had retirement or whatever, and they didn’t really need. And I and they both, they both said, Well, I thought I was supposed to do that, well, there’s no supposed to the supposed to is you’ve got to do what’s right for you. And for your life. What we identified in both of their cases, is that it was really recognition they wanted, it wasn’t sales, they want it to be recognized. So you’re already on top of this, Melissa? And I think the way to think about it is how do I get recognition? Well, you have to ask yourself, what kind of recognition you want? What kind of recognition is important? And And who do you want it from? So for instance, if if I get recognition from let’s say, my mother, may she rest in peace? When I would, you know, she loved all my paintings, you know, but she loved even though crummy stuff that I did. And so, you know, she’s just always gonna love me and then love what I do. So yeah, it’s nice to have recognition from your mom. But who do you want recognition from? Well, you want recognition from people who are maybe your peers or people who matter to you like, for instance, I had Daniel spiric visiting here in Austin, recently. And Daniel came over to my studio. And you know, when somebody walks into your studio and starts looking around at your paintings, you see them differently through their eyes, because you wonder what they’re thinking. And I showed my self portrait that I did during COVID, first parts of COVID, to Daniel, and he was very complimentary. And I thought, well, that’s, you know, he’s just not making up stuff. Now. He, he saw some of my other work, and he was like, you know, not saying anything. So it’s like, Okay, well, I maybe I didn’t do very well for recognition in that area. But so who matters to you? What kind of recognition Do you want, I like to use my work for charity auctions and silent auctions and helping out at the school and things like that. And to me, if somebody’s bidding on it, and ending up owning it, even if I don’t get the money, that’s recognition, because if people like it, they’re signing up for they want it. I think that’s a great way to get recognition, you know, so think about charities, you can help. I have some rules in my book about if you’re giving things charities, especially if you’re marketing yourself, you you might want to look at that and say, Okay, what else do I want out of that? Do I want publicity? Do I want mail lists? Do I want introductions? You know, I have a set series of things in my book, making more money selling your art, and I talked about that a lot. I think charities are a great way to go whether you’re looking to make money or not. A lot of people don’t like to give up a painting. I’ll give them up all day long. I don’t mind because I use them as tools to help me in other areas. So think about that. Anyway, that’s my thoughts on marketing this this week.
This has been a Marketing Minute with Eric Rhoads. You can learn more at artmarketing.com.
Eric Rhoads 1:24:32
Well, I went a little long on that one. But anyway, I want to remind you guys to Plein Air Convention early bird prices going to be up on Valentine’s Day makes a great Christmas gift. Just sayin. You might know somebody who loves you very much that needs a hint. Another hint would be Watercolor Live. A lot of plein air painters are into watercolor a lot of them are into wash and a lot of them are into having watercolor when they can’t take their their you know their other paints. with them, you know that sketching and things like that. So, Watercolor Live is the world’s leading experts in watercolor, the best artists in the world. We have an audience of a worldwide audience, there’s going to be 1000s of people attending and it’s going to be really cool. You can be part of it, it’s virtual. You will be connected with other artists through our breakout sessions. We do paint alongs and cocktail parties at night and we have a lot of fun. And once you’re part of that group, you get to be part of all the other interaction with the community for you know, for the rest of the year, which is kind of nice. So check out watercolorlive.com also, reminder that Plein Air Salon, not just all plein air paintings, but all kinds of paintings of $15,000 Grand Prize and lots of other prizes and recognition. And you want to enter before the end of December 31 at midnight pacific time. If you have not seen my blog where I talk about art and life and other things. Check it out. It’s called Sunday coffee. Just go to coffeewithEric.com, you can hit the subscribe button you get it for free. You can also follow me Eric Rhoads. r HOAD s with no ERHO a DS with no E and follow me on Instagram, Facebook and other Twitter and tik tok and all kinds of other things. All right, and check out my daily broadcasts 12 noon and 3pm every single day or every weekday, on 12 noon every single day, seven days a week at 3pm. I’m showing art instruction videos and I’m interviewing artists and doing demos and things like that 12 noon every day on Facebook and YouTube. And the way to find that is just go to YouTube, and search Streamline Art Video. And if you hit the subscribe button there, you’re going to get access to oh well over 250 plus days of content times two. So there’s a lot of content in there. Thank you for listening and for sharing this. This is show number 200 if you don’t mind sharing it, that would be really a terrific thing for you to do because we would like to continue to reach more people and get them into plein air painting. This is always fun. We’ll do it again sometime. Hopefully like next week, God willing, I’ll see you then I’m Eric Rhoads, publisher and founder of Plein Air Magazine. You can find us online at outdoorpainter.com. Remember, it’s a big world out there. Go paint it and I’ll see you. Bye bye.
This has been the plein air podcast with Plein Air Magazine’s Eric Rhoads. You can help spread the word about plein air painting by sharing this podcast with your friends. And you can leave a review or subscribe on iTunes. So it comes to you every week. And you can even reach Eric by email [email protected] Be sure to pick up our free ebook 240 plein air painting tips by some of America’s top painters. It’s free at pleinairtips.com. Tune in next week for more great interviews. Thanks for listening.
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