Welcome to the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads – rated the #1 painting podcast in Feedspot’s 2021 list. In this episode Eric interviews watercolor artist Tom Lynch; listen and learn how to build a career and make a successful living from someone who has done both.
Bonus! In this week’s Art Marketing Minute, Eric Rhoads, author of Make More Money Selling Your Art, answers the questions, “What should I do when people unsubscribe from my newsletter?” and “How important is it to have a painting framed at a plein air competition event?”
Listen to the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads and Tom Lynch here:
– Tom Lynch online: https://www.tomlynch.com/
– Plein Air Live: http://pleinairlive.com/
– SOAR online art workshops: https://soarworkshops.com/upcoming
– 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/
– Plein Air Magazine: https://pleinairmagazine.com
– Plein Air Today newsletter: pleinairtoday.com
– Submit Marketing Questions: [email protected]
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 206 of the Plein Air Podcast. And today you’re going to learn about how to build a career and make a successful living from someone who has done both. Featuring artist Tom Lynch.
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 1:09
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you Jim Kipping. And welcome to the Plein Air Podcast. The Plein Air Podcast is rated the number one in the world. In terms of podcasts about painting number one in the world from feedspot 2021. They have a list of the Top 15 and Plein Air Podcast is number one. Wow, we are so excited about that. Thank you for making that happen. Welcome. And thanks for tuning in. today. We’ve got lots going on around here first, some sad news. Well, we had to cancel the Plein Air Convention that’s coming up in May in Denver, very sad news. We’re going to put it in Santa Fe the following year in the spring. But the good news is that we have already scheduled Plein Air Live for April to kind of be kind of like spring training. And it’s a virtual online conference. And we’d love for you to go, of course, we can’t hold our conference. So we’d really love for you to go. Anyway. We have a world class faculty, we have faculty from all over the world, we will have attendees from all over the world, we have ways that you get together and communicate with each other. And we have people doing demos, and it’s basically three days. Plus there’s a beginner day, which of course if you want to see those masters, you sign up for that too. And for about the price of a dinner out for four, you can attend a three day conference on plein air painting with top masters. I mean, how do you get that elsewhere, it’s just great. And you can get up to a year of replay. So you can watch it over and over and over again. So do yourself a favor and check it out. It’s called pleinairlive.com. And of course, once the convention happens, it’s going to be you know, the, the dam is going to break loose, everybody’s going to want to come because we are tired of being alone. Now, we have also reinvented online workshops, we’ve got some new tools to help you learn better and faster. We call them the SOAR workshops. Because you retain more you learn more, you learn faster and you soar. And our first two are bill Davidson and Thomas w Schaller. You can learn more about those you should watch the video. It’s pretty interesting actually learn more about him at soarworkshops.com now the last time we did the Plein Air Salon, we were gonna do it at the convention. But of course, we couldn’t do it. So we did it online last year. Now we’re going to be doing it again online, it’ll be part of the Plein Air Live in April. That means you have just two more monthly fees to enter the February which you need to enter by February 28. And then there’s a half month in March because you have to enter by the 15th there’s a $15,000 Grand Prize the cover of Plein Air Magazine and $30,000 in total prizes. All category winners if you enter in any category, even a little tiny category like you know, pick one, pick one Nocturne painting, alright. And those small categories don’t get as many entries. Typically if you win in any category, you get entered into the national competition, you could win the national prize, which is the big bucks. All right. So pick your best paintings. They don’t have to be your freshest paintings. They can be older paintings, just your best. That’s what we care about is good paintings, and enter at pleinairsalon.com. Now I should tell you that the next issue of the magazine coming out is the 10 year anniversary issue of Plein Air Magazine. It’s hard to believe I mean Time flies when you’re having fun. Actually, it’s older than 10 years because we we were out three years and then we had to close down we skipped a few years and then we came back so we are celebrating the 10 but it’s really 10 plus three. In that issue. There’s a article called five steps for more satisfying commissions, which you don’t want to miss. Also, we have a newsletter called Plein Air Today it’s free. You can get it anywhere in the world. It comes out by email, and just go to pleinairtoday.com and get it or you can go to outdoorpainter.com to sign up. That’s our website. Coming up after the interview, I’m going to be answering your art marketing questions in the marketing minute. But first, let’s get right to this really, really, really good interview with watercolorist. Tom Lynch, Tom Lynch, welcome to the Plein Air Podcast.
Tom Lynch 5:22
Well, thank you, it’s a pleasure to be here. I have no place to go though. Because it’s five degrees and we got five inches on the ground.
Eric Rhoads 5:29
What do you mean, you have no place to go, you can go outside and paint you just don’t you can’t do it in watercolor.
Tom Lynch 5:36
Behind the steering wheel many, many times, you know, I really love snow scenes as well. And I wish it was more conducive to truly just dressing warm and getting out there. But you know, a frozen palate, it’s just like, it’s like bridge bridges over roads that it will freeze too fast. So you know, a big window and I have a big band. So just can’t get into those remote areas where the beauty is just a little better than a parking lot.
Eric Rhoads 6:02
Well, all my all my friends in Russia paint with vodka. That makes it into the painting. Okay, so, Tom, you have a career that has spanned? Oh, what 50 years?
Tom Lynch 6:21
Yeah, I’m 70. You know, and I was, you know, art school in the late 60s. So I did commercial art for a short amount of time, but I really felt, you know, I liked doing the landscape painting, but you don’t jump out of art school and, you know, head right into the galleries and so forth.
Eric Rhoads 6:40
You think, at the time you’re invincible?
Tom Lynch 6:43
And it is true. I’m dealing with that with grandkids. Yes.
Eric Rhoads 6:48
Yeah, well, that’s okay. So, so tell us the story how, let’s let’s go back, you know, you ended up being on TV. What was it on PBS or something?
Tom Lynch 6:59
There was no internet, no cable. Yeah, just straight antenna channels and Public Television. So I’ve really followed will call back up a step further to end and then get to that particular stage. So I went to wanted to go, I should say, to art school, and I was a child of four children or my parents, and I was the only son. Now back in the 60s, of, you know, parents worked two jobs to make ends meet. And they were so proud that their son me, had an athletic scholarship in gymnastics, or tennis. But I came to mom and dad said, I want to go to art school. But I had shown a great desire and interest. And I’m actually grateful I wasn’t really good. I wasn’t the best in class. So I worked harder at wanting to get something and then what I get it boy cherish that one to, you know, take it further. Versus I had fellow artists in school that where they could just sit down and just all of a sudden make it work. Oh my gosh, I had to I had to struggle a little extra. So anyway, I went to substandard classes through high school, taking art lessons. And because I had desired not because I had a gift. Least I didn’t feel it was so you, you can a lot of people come to me and the goal, they wish I could do this. Just take the time. What you can’t teach, I think is passion. And I had I had that magic ingredient Eric the passion to want to, to create to make art.
Eric Rhoads 8:33
I think that’s what the gift is because, you hear what we have constantly people who think, well, I can’t paint because I don’t have any, any natural gifts or any natural talent. And I you know, I’m sure there are people who have that, but most of us didn’t start out that way we started out, you know, we just never gave up. Right? It was all about just having that passion and just saying I’m gonna just keep doing it until I get it right.
Tom Lynch 9:00
There you go. That’s exactly it. So that’s that that magic ingredient, the passion, you know, to sustain, you know, the failures and the struggle along with it, I compare it to golf, a lot of times, it’s not a game of how you handle the successes, it’s how you handle the failures, how you miss a shot, how you recover, you know, mentally as well as, you know, with the accuracy. So we had a little deal with my parents. And they were the they just almost wanted to cry but I hit was so active in high school, in the arts, athletics, and I use the athletics is really my direction. extra effort, extra practice, gives you the results you’re looking for. So I took that sports athletic drive, and then put it into my same philosophy as as art or whatever profession I was going to go into you put the extra time and put the extra effort in and hey, you’re going to get to get the result that you’re looking for instead of just wishing and hoping you know that things will get better.
Eric Rhoads 10:01
What did your parents do to give you that, that sense of work ethic, because I’d sure like to know how to bottle that and give it to my kids.
Tom Lynch 10:08
By example, Eric, my dad worked, you know, a couple of jobs. He would, he worked for the railroad and accounting, he, although he was an accountant, he had to train to graduate college graduates on how to do the accounting that he was doing all along. And then early mornings, he would drop off mail in a mailbox that the post postal carrier would pull a loaded and reset his bag, and then continue his walking route. And then once a month, he would work as a bartender during a banquet. And so I saw him, and then he comes home from work, and we have a meal, and he’s out fixing something, or shoveling whatever. So, you know, I was around this attitude of, that’s just what we do. We just need to get some extra time, we get up and do it, then we do some extra. And then I saw my mom, you know, too, when, when after she’d raised the kids, and they were still now going to school full time, she would find a part time job that would only be after the kids left for school, and then she would be home when the kids came home from school. So that that showed me a lot. And then I had athletic coaches. You know, my freshman year coming into high school, I saw that tennis captain and the coach just saw me with such a, I guess a look of all in my eyes, he goes to to really admired the, you know, Captain Bob or whatever. Gosh, yeah, he goes, you could be Captain someday, I go home like not know, how do you mean your skill? Well, he did. all summer he was practicing the season was over, he was still practicing, you know, and he helped motivate his teammates and so forth. And so through that extra effort, his results both in sports and watching my parents, that’s where I just automatically became a part of it. And I wanted something desperately to make this art. So I really want to go to art school. And they knew that but they don’t they teach art at the college, which they did. But it wasn’t the very formal traditional format was a little more creative. So I went a year to university. And then I went, we did a deal. So we went to university, I came, I collected those paintings, I went to art school, collected those paintings. So what was I going to do next actually was a semester I’m sorry, this semester. And so I came back and had a little formal meeting with my parents and laid out just the artwork on the table. And not silly, not saying which one was which are from where and so my, my dad would pick up one of these, and he looked at it with a puzzled look in his face. And as a high end, he turned it upside down, and then didn’t know what to do. He set it down, grabbed another one. He had a smile on his face, his eyes lit up. And yeah, I can I can picture this one, I go dead. The first one that you were puzzled with was with the university. And the one that you liked that I liked was the art school. And that’s why I really, I’m gonna move back home. I’m not gonna, you know, stay away at college. And I got a part time job. I want to go to art school now for the next semester. So they could see it, and they could they agree with it. And I, you know, here, a college kid, he wants to move back with his parents. And he actually got a part time job so that he could fulfill this desire this passion. So went to the American Academy of Arts that was a great institution in this time. Richard Schmidt, who we both know, you know, was a forerunner out of many other great artists that came out of that school. This is in Chicago. Yes, sir. Yes. And I lived in the suburbs of Chicago. So it was that’s why I moved back home, versus going to Southern Illinois University, which was out of 150 miles away. So I, I had actually taken some Saturday classes there when I was in high school and wanted to go back. And then, so I followed both a painting, you know, tutorial, as well as a illustration, gravitated to a black and white illustration, spent my three years there. And then came out and worked as a home furnishings illustrator doing black and white renderings for newspapers. Because in the 70s, the photography didn’t have the clarity and the contrast that we could create, with pen and ink and wash for the newspaper to showcase whatever. I was a home furnishing specialist. So anything in the interior of a home is what I was doing. In fact, I always apologize to people saying, Well, the reason that you were probably fooled into coming to the store to buy this sofa, is because my job was to make it really plush and luscious, and tufted and, and I would dress up these backgrounds, you’re looking out the window and the setting of the room and the shadows coming out the window. So that you were forgetting about the sofa. But what little you saw was much beyond what you were seeing when you lived there to buy it.
Eric Rhoads 14:48
Well what great training when you think about that. I mean the two things about that. First off is the idea of storytelling in an inanimate object and something that you know it it just In, it seems like it would be difficult to make it exciting. And then also this idea of just painting values, I mean, painting values for for that much time had to have a huge impact on your on your painting.
Tom Lynch 15:13
Yeah, absolutely. And I like what you said earlier, because I hadn’t thought of it as telling a story. But I’ve always thought of it as a great tutorial training for drawing, as well as what you said value study. So you know that that common phrase, you know, color gets all the credit, but value does all the work for our paintings, I couldn’t agree more with. So my training, you know, working for five years in a studio work of black and white toner, and wash and then to dress it up with, you know, shadows and light, you know, a brick of rack on the table next to the item that you were selling and whatnot. So that’s a yes, that was a unbeknownst to me, it could have been a better, better training for any level of in any medium of painting head and having worked in black and white. So then it was a point in time where I was able to work part time with the studio, and then develop, you know, my repertoire of clients for paintings, which was every art for every bank, every hospital, every library, whatever would show art, I was rotating, you know, paintings or prints constantly for years doing street shows, but I was wise enough to collect a lot of names, collect a lot of build a following. And so when I went to galleries, I had a database instead of coming in Hatton hand, and portfolio limited my arm, would you like to take my work, I go, I’ve got, you know, 500, I got 1500, I got a couple 1000 names of people and I looking for representation so I can get out of the art fair circuit?
Eric Rhoads 16:42
Well, I want to stop and pause on that. Because I think that’s really a critical importance. You know, as you know, I teach art marketing. And you said two things there that I think are worth echoing the first one is building that list. And I want you to address how you did that. Because I think that’s still very valid today. It’s it’s different technology, but building a list. And then the other idea of, you know, of going to an art gallery and saying, look, look at what I have that is that gives you value that separates you that says, you know, I’m offering something, I’m not the typical artist that’s coming in and saying, Hey, would you look at my portfolio? And would you put me in, you’re coming in and say, Hey, I have a successful business. Now, I don’t want to have to manage that business. I have a group of customers and I have a list of potential customers, and you’re gonna make a lot of money off me. I mean, you’re gonna stand out like a beacon.
Tom Lynch 17:36
Yep. Yep. Yep. That’s without question that was the one of the secret sauces to other success of my career. So to answer your first question, any place that I had an exhibit without me there, I had a little box, and a little tab, some of the terrible sheet of paper sliders and blocks that had a little lock on the front. So it looks secure. It was the tiniest little lock that someone’s, you know, a kid would have. But anyway, it was just this idea. So prominently there above it was my biography, you know, here’s what I am, here’s what I’m doing. Would you like to, you know, know about my next show, you know, tear off this farm, or just write your name and address. And then I kept, you know, that list kept updating it once a year, I wouldn’t receive them. But once a year, I would send postcards to that mailing list, either what’s going on, or where I would have a show and I even started building a home show an exhibition in my house, where I took out all my furniture, but a few things. And then I would have my artwork on display, where people could walk around and then one sofa instead of a sofa, loveseat kind of a thing. And so that became a, you know, an annual event that was the Friday after Thanksgiving, you know, went into the big travel day. And I was having, you know, a couple 1000 people come into my house, I had to get a special permit for parking and having this once event once a year event so forth. But that mailing was where I was there not if somebody came by I was I had a pocket full of business cards. If I could, I looked at how good the show was, was it with the checkbook head in it? I looked at how many business cards I handed out how many more names that I get in my list that were new. At the back of every painting that I sold. I didn’t have one biography I had I had 10 biographies in a folder. So when someone bought a painting and someone said, Hey, I really liked this What’s going on? Oh, he’s got an extra one of his flyers. You know, in the back of I was one of the first is putting color pictures on, you know, flyers. When you know, back in the day it was everything was black and white. I mean, even American artists magazine, my first article with them, it used to be only one page was in color. All the others were black and white, back in 1980. And I was the first one that ended up with nine color images in the watercolor page. first verses now here’s how it happened. I happen to have had color separations already made for some other projects. So I went like you said to the gallery, I went to America Artists, Steve dorrigo Hey, let’s, you know, look at to do some features, but I also have a whole lot of these color separations of images. And I was looking at your magazine, and nothing has been said about doing night scenes and watercolor just added does that interest you? You know, so I brought to them something that they hadn’t had before watercolors doing night scene, color separation, so it saves them, you know, $300, an image to separate. So that was ready to go into magazines, so they could go beyond one image and color to having multiple images. So 1984 boom, featured in my, one of my first features in American artists magazine.
Eric Rhoads 20:35
I gotta stop you again, because, you’re just filled with nuggets, and I just want to make sure that people hear these nuggets, because they’re, they’re so important. I mean, what you as an editor of a magazine, you know, the one thing that that nobody really understands, is that we struggle to find articles, every every magazine in the world struggles to find articles, because you know, it’s like, Alright, you there’s the same 20 or 30, or 50, people who are, you know, everybody thinks of all the time, but you’re always looking for the next great artist, and the next great idea and something like that. And sometimes you’re in a bind, you have a moment in time, when you’re like, Oh, you got a deadline looming, you got to come up with a story today. And you got to come up with images today, and you’ve got nothing. And then you’ve got, you’ve got a file of things that people have sent you. And sometimes it’s a pre written article with a bunch of images and your particular case back, when separations were required, you fulfilled that. And so if you made it easy for them, and you made them look good, that was absolutely fabulous. And then of course, I’ve always taught the idea of the bio on the back of the painting, and the information on the back to reach you and so on. But I never thought of the idea of putting, you know, 10 copies of it in there, you know, have one glued to the back and then have more in there. So people have something that they can kind of hand hand out to their friends, because they’re inevitably their friends are going to say, Who is this artist? They’re looking at it in their house.
Tom Lynch 22:07
Right? And if they like it, the person that’s giving out the bio feels good that I’m actually helping my friend. Like, I need a recommendation for getting my car repaired. Do you know anybody? Yeah, I’m liking the art in your home? Do you know anybody still? Yes. But I got it, I would not finished, let me know. But I just went to take a look at it. I will be honest with you. I did submit an article to American artist magazine. Prior to the one I got, I finally got one out. And the only thing framed in my office. And I’ve had some great awards, I’ve had some great paintings that I’m proud of. And all of that it worked hard for it. But the only thing I frame so that I ground myself is my rejection letter from American artists magazine. 1978. Say a top Thank you very much. We really appreciate what you got, you know, keep at it. But just the idea that you kind of submitted that was reading between the lines here it was a one paragraph maybe two sentences anyway, just said no. So and I kept that rejection letter is the only thing framed in my office now. And then next to it is with the use one of my paintings on the cover of watercolor magazine, which was an American artist publication. So prior to the brilliant idea, so I got this rejection. And and it’s happened many, many times, what did I do wrong, I. In other words, I feel the proposal was wrong, I don’t think I was rejected, I didn’t give them what they were looking for. So I went to the library looked at all the magazines, and you know what, somebody already told them that blue and yellow make green. That’s how you make trees. So that’s what I thought that was a brilliant idea. But my idea was old, and had been told before, that’s where I then looked at my paintings in the studio, you know, I didn’t see the night scene scenes of watercolor in the, in what I was looking at past issues. So that’s where I then resubmitted this idea, then I tagged in the, you know, the bonus of, of the separations. And what I did, for whatever reason, different topic, I wanted to get my one of my paintings in the field of stream magazine. And I sent them you know, a sample of it, and I got rejection letter back. And you know, the hat was too big, that fishing pole was too large. And so you know, was the artwork was good, but you’re not, it’s not someone who knows fishing is going to look at this, you know, and laugh at it. So I then asked him, I said, Fine, great. That’s the idea. I’m gonna make a do my research. Now give me an idea of an article that’s coming up maybe in a couple of months to three months down the road that you haven’t even begun to search for an artist for it. I would like to at no charge, submit two or three different examples for you to select from no obligation. You don’t have to use them, you can reject them, but I’d like to play with some ideas down the road. Sure enough, they use one of them. And I say it was an article about woman’s first time going out and hunting and what the story was about, you know that experience. And then I created a couple of images so I gave them samples more than one which no one does. And then I gave it before the article was even ready Before the pressure the deadline came in. And so I’m looking for what I can do. And here’s the secret sauce better or different?
Eric Rhoads 25:07
Well, I think also, you know, you’ve done something that doesn’t happen very, very much anymore. And I hear this all the time, I want to break through, but how much should I charge, it’s like, just get it out there, get it out there. And, and, you know, get some recognition, you worry about charging later. And then you just, you did just that, and you were using your head.
Tom Lynch 25:30
So true, I use that sample. So, I mean, I bought dozens of copies of the magazine, so I can have that as a sample to sell the next client, I’m already published, or I’m, you know, there’s others using me. So I’m in the system, I’m in the game, it all went away, which was an important, you know, aspect to that entire process, I still make dozens and dozens of copies of any articles and features included, you know, when a painting goes out, I mean, there’s practically a folder of all copies of articles, copies of features. So it’s a, a pedigree of sorts, and I’m listing all the places that this dog has been showed, and in some cases, that one best to show if it didn’t, it was still in this or that show. And so, you know, I liken it to that to show the pedigree of this item that I’ve created so that it has some importance down the road, or as I laugh and say, when your grandkids show this on Antiques Roadshow, the more documents they have, the more they’ll get for it, they’ll go buy a car someday, because of this painting.
Eric Rhoads 26:29
That’s right. Well, you know, I think that that you’re really stepping up there and showing us some, some really great ideas and how to do this. This is fabulous. Let’s keep going. So what happens next,
Tom Lynch 26:40
your thought of keeping you know, keeping it good at getting out there, I think is really valid. I hope your listeners have that in mind, just like you said, Just get out there, get it started, get the game going. And then more things will happen exponentially.
Eric Rhoads 26:54
I gotta tell you this, I gotta tell you this, I don’t mean to keep interrupting you. But I there are salient points. You know, I could probably count on on one hand, how many artists have been featured in fine art connoisseur plein air magazine, sometimes on the cover. And they will buy, you know, one or two copies. And then they’ll send out photocopies to people if they do that. Yet, I know some artists, they’ll buy a call and they’ll say I want to buy every extra copy you have because I’m going to use it for 20 years, I got pitched by a very well known artist on on doing an art instruction video with us. And in that pitch package were 10 magazines, full magazines with a sticky note on the open up to that article. And when you you know, it’s one thing to see it photocopied. But when you see the actual magazine, and you hold it in your hands, and I have people who you know who they’ll buy up all these magazines, and then they’ll send them to their collectors, because it just makes it it says to the collector, hey, I’m I’m valid. I’ve been you know, I’ve been written about by a prominent magazine, those kinds of things really matter. And yet, a lot of people just not doing it, because they’re you know, they don’t want to spend the money or they think, you know, just sending a photocopy is all that’s needed.
Tom Lynch 28:14
I couldn’t agree more I I actually caught American artists off guard because I asked for 100 copies go? Well, we don’t we don’t have a price for 100 copies, we we sell them you know, of course, you know, to stores and restaurants and bookstores and whatnot, I meant to say, and they’re not used to that they didn’t have that number. Let me get back to you on that we’re not sure we’ll have to you know, change the run or something of that nature. So but that’s exactly right. That’s, that’s the actual copy of looks good, and looks sharp. So. So it’s a slow transition out of out of the work in commercial art. And I was then every weekend was doing art fairs in the Chicago area for that summer seasons as well. And building more of a following. And I was suggesting even to people you know, that I have galleries and no but you know, check with Merrill Chase, I think down the road, we’re going to build a relationship. So that was a gallery that I had interest in and wanting to be associated with, was one of the main galleries at that time. And so I was using actually my audience to go to that gallery to actually market for me, do you have any comments, you know, art, so forth. So that’s when I presented myself to them. There was a seemingly an interest, there was people connected, and I was showing to them, I wasn’t wanting to work for them or have them work for me. I’ve learned to work together. This was a joint effort, I want to, you know, build a relationship that will help us both and so I think if someone has had in hand would you sell for me, as opposed to I’m going to give you samples of when I have a magazine article, give me some promotion, I’m going to add names as I picked them up. And I’m not gonna quote compete with you. I’m not going to be doing you know, any any sales in the area or whatnot. I have my home show. So you’re aware of that going in. It’s not about Your takeaway is wanting to build this together, I think is an important part, as opposed to having a gallery think, well, what are you going to do for me today?
Eric Rhoads 30:09
I think that’s critical. You know, again, you know, my experiences, within my own situations, you know, it’s sometimes you just begged the artist to, like, do something help us out here, you know that because, you know, they expect sometimes it’s like, well, it’s your job, you do all the marketing, and it’s like, Yeah, but you have also, you know, an audience and a following. And you need to do that as well, you need to help yourself out. And when you have that attitude of let’s work on this together, it makes a huge difference. And I can tell you that that the artists that I know that have that attitude, when they’re dealing with art galleries, sell a whole lot more art than the, than the artists who are just waiting for everybody to do everything for them.
Tom Lynch 30:54
Sure, that’s the best. The you know, the answer for marketing is, do I want to take a marketing class or do want to take a sales class and don’t take, I don’t want to take sales, but I want to take a marketing class, there was a phrase that someone said to sell john Brown, what john brown buys, you must see john brown through john Brown’s eyes. In other words, I look at it from the customer’s point of view. And so when I’m going there for commission, you know, let me show you different sizes, let me show you a different, you know, framing let me show you a different, you know, options that we can work with, instead of, well, I’ve got these three paintings, you know, in the inventory, which one do you like? I’m wanting to, you know, again, as I would do commercially, as well as I would do in them and find out how this can work? Can this work for you? How would you like this particular, you know, scene and so forth, develop that, would you like to see the stages and kind of bring them into the process and take photos of the stages of the building of the painting and include that so they can, you know, show others as at the same time. So as I then got out of commercial art, it was a transition, you know, slowly from having built that group, and that mailing list and so forth. And the same thing I used when public television was showcasing bill Alexander and Bob Ross, I began a letter writing campaign. And boy, if I don’t, if I don’t not forget to say it, I’m gonna say it now, if I don’t say it often, and so much now, today, as well, the power of the handwritten letter was the difference. Man, oh, man, I can’t say enough about it. The when I sales, you know, for spray bottles, somebody, you know, bought three of them, I still put a handwritten letter for buying my little custom spray bottle versus if they, you know, bought a $3,000 painting. And so that’s I think now is even becoming more important. And I make good use of it, you know, back in the day, so I began this letter writing campaign to the studio that was producing the TV show of doing art, Phil, Alexander, Bob Ross, and so forth and saying great thing going I like what you’ve got to great public, you know, great activity that we could see on PBS, but you’re missing watercolor. So And oh, by the way, I do watercolor. But still, if I went up at my last art fair, I did a count for you. And we had, you know, 80% were watercolor people that were that were painters, and just kept every now and then sending letters to this particular studio. And oh, by the way, here’s a sample of something I know, it showed well on TV, you know, it was a nice high contrast image and so forth. I never got a reply. Never, never got to, but I still kept on. And I knew who I was writing to was the producer of that particular PBS, it was at a college. And finally, I get a call one day. Well, it turns out the person that worked for him, the producer of these TV shows, had someone in the office can do an art fairs, bought a print, add some extra biographies on the back, showed this particular picture to her boss, who was the producer, it looks this goes, Oh, I never thought watercolor could could be that way. So he had this image of high key watercolor, a lot of white doesn’t show well on television. And he sees this nice scene that I had created the city scene of Chicago. And then she looks closer and sees my name. He tells this lady, he gives us to you knowing who I am, because she didn’t know who I was, let alone. What do you mean, who you are. He goes, this guy’s been writing me for six months, and I kind of feel guilty. I’ve never responded to him. So they finally give me an audition. And even though they had prepared and found somebody that they were going to use to do a watercolor series, they decided to give me an audition. So I went out spent spent the last 100 bucks on a video camera one of the ones you get to put on your shoulder they’re so big. That’s all the money we had the bank Honey, I gotta buy this camera. I gotta do some testing. And I, I wish I wish I wish I had saved that first video. It was terrible. And so I go, I gotta get better than this before I go there and do it. Do an audition with them. So I called up a local place that was just a classroom studio art in the barn. It was called. And I said can I do a demo for one of your groups in a week or so says Yeah, sure. I’ll live demo. Sure. Come on in. So I brought the camera with set it up in the back of the Did my demo, watched it? and go, Oh, that was so much better? Well, what was the difference? So I looked long and hard about pretending like there was people there, instead of just a camera, stop teaching, like it was a college course, and that there was something for, you know, amateurs and hobbyists, and those who just like to watch art be created. So did my practice went there, in California, did my audition I asked everybody for makeup, the lighting the sound? What’s the secret sauce, what makes this work? Oh, be yourself, have some fun, you know, make it you know, make it interesting, light hearted, not just, you know, formal. And sure enough that that was the secret ingredient, it worked. They then had me come back and produced several 13 weeks shows. So my marketing campaign, through the magazine to get exposure was now exponentially exploded because of Public Television. And the chance to watch this watercolor guy do an art not all of my art trends Go on, you just sold your soul. You feel you, you’re gonna get you’re not you’re never going to get the gallery again, because you’re doing art on television, you’re making it look easy. And, you know, fun. And there’s bill Alexander, you know, had an image of using this three inch brush and how the happy painter and so forth, and I go, No, I think that could be a still an element of quality. And But still, it could be looked like I’m having fun making it. And not everything is exceptionally hard to do so. And I did them break the mold of being, quote, the TV painter that paints gimmick art versus the gallery painter, I found a happy medium in between.
Eric Rhoads 36:39
So I’m curious about this, because I’m working on a TV show. I can’t say that the network, but I’ve got a three letter network. And but I’m curious what happens. You know, once you’ve been on television for, let’s say, the first 13 week episode, which is National, distributed nationally, what kind of things did you start seeing, what was the result of that, or did anything happen for a while?
Tom Lynch 37:07
A lot of stuff. I mean, every art club that I didn’t know, was an art club or where they were. So I was getting a lot of tremendous amount of requests to come and teach workshops, to come to the do a demonstration in front of their art group. And the Dallas just flew me in to do a demo for their 300 members that they have meeting once a month. And that was kind of a test to see if the people liked it. Would you then like you had this artist back in Brazil teacher workshop, so that in the in the teaching room was was national was just immediate, and exploded nicely, then the gallery markets and it did work as well not as exponentially of an explosive, but did also showcase that name recognition. And the paintings that I was showcasing to them are much more elaborate, much more complex than the one bucket on the side of the building, you know, at the farm, you know, seen you know, that close up of the inside of a bar or something like that. So I was doing similar scenes to TV that was that you could showcase, you know, in our 26 minutes, you know, for the 13 week show, and so forth. So they didn’t necessarily see it as a competition that was kind of like, well, this guy is, you know, able to do both more complex, which is our gallery art, as well as doing the parts that gave him some great exposure. So that was able to crossovers to showing images and then other TV show I was showing something, I use the same idea. Now it’s a much more elaborate seeing there, as you can see five or six stalls instead of just one wall. And, and I would give them a feeling of the simple idea that I was showing for the TV was also a forerunner to the start of something that could be more complex later. So I’ve always kind of bridged a little bit the gap of fun and simple art that a beginner might be interested in. And then the more complex arts that are more experienced painter. And then just my personality of having fun along the way, was fun for those that didn’t even want to create be an artist, but they liked to watch the creativity process. So it helped both in both galleries, and the teaching cycle. Then it went into the books now the back back to the magazine. Oh, by the way, I put up this national TV series, I guess we thought we’d like to do another story article on YouTube. You know, what, what do you have interested in that would be, you know, for us. And so that’s opened a lot of doors, I should say for me to get get going on my career. That’s, you know, I would say to the audience, as well, that diversifying has been a secret ingredient because with my longevity of 50 years or more, I’ve endured, you know, like the housing crash. I mean, there was an 80 cycles, there was an 80s crash, there was an 80s crash, there was an overweight crash. And so having that just relied on the galleries only and all my buddies are telling me What’s this Do just travel to this teaching, you stay home, you do a painting, you ship it to the gallery, and they mail you a check what’s wrong with you? I go well, I still like giving back I still like teaching I’d like to travel doesn’t bother me. It’s a change of pace. I’ve been away for a week. Boy, I can’t wait to get back in the studio. So I’m more excited about doing my studio paintings, after I’ve been away from it, showing other people, some simpler version of paintings. And so that diversification has kind of saved me through a lot of economic ups and downs. W
Eric Rhoads 40:28
also say to address that also, you know, there’s a theory, if you imagine the Parthenon, and the Parthenon, the top of the Parthenon, I don’t know what they call that part. But the top of the Parthenon is resting on a single column in the middle, and a car backs up, knocks that column out, and that piece comes down crashing down. And that’s one of the things that every artist needs to understand is if everything is relying on one particular thing, let’s say it’s Facebook, or its Instagram, or its magazine advertising or its galleries, or you know, whatever, if it’s on one particular thing, when things get bad, and that column crashes, you’re dead in the water. But if you’ve got three or four or five or six or eight columns, nothing’s going to make that thing topple unless they all come down in 2008 is a great example of it. So 200 art galleries go out of business. We saw a lot of people, you know, never sell paintings again, you know, because they, you know, they, they were stuck in their, in their own way, and it crushed them. But you know, by having that diversity, it really made a huge difference.
Tom Lynch 41:38
Yeah, I think the diversity of size, diversity of style. A lot of artists I feel are, you know, constantly asked about style. And to me, I tell them, point, like I said, to me, the sign of a successful artist is it can work in different mediums, but moreso that can work in different styles. So I can do loose, I can do light, high tea, I can do dramatic, I could do dark, dark, I could do black and white, I could do small eight by 10. I design 12 plein air events. And so there’s a plein air painting. And so I in my workshops, I hand out a sheet that says there’s four different things that I’m doing. I’m doing a workshop painting, I do studio paintings, I do plein air paintings, and I do illustrations I do, you know, renderings that are very close to the photographic accuracy that someone as a collector, or some institution, you know, may want to have for still making me to do art for them. So don’t have it be where you’re trying to convince them. This is what my work looks like. And this is what I do. So I tend to take, you know myself out of the equation, I want to make a living as an artist, I don’t want just the lifestyle of being an artist. And so that diversifying is the reason I’m, I’m surviving a year from today, I walked out of a workshop at Marco Island, and they just said we’re canceling, we’ll still send you a check. But we’re not going to have class. I’m sorry, you had to drive all the way from Chicago. So when I got back 22 hours later, first thing I did was okay, let’s, let’s let’s start getting going on this broadcast thing. Let’s get the cameras out. Let’s set up the studio. Let’s try a different couple different versions. Do I want to use what format YouTube zoom, you know, and so forth, to do my broadcasting and, and I was up and running March 1, and I did the Mrs. Fields cookie trick, her secrets of success. And I listened to a lot of other businesses and I read a lot of books. There’s a book called I’ll come back to in a minute. And so I was giving away demos for free. For over, we’re just going to start offering demos here it ends and the link is the watch it, click it so forth. And I did that for a couple of months. Only in June did I start charging for the demos and the classes and the workshops that I was, you know, recent, the pig or whatever, for getting people interested in what I’m doing, and making that transition from going to a live class to going to a online class. And the book The title of the book is called Good to Great. And it’s about why certain businesses are successful. Why they were the best a&p was the best going, you know, business after the war and Why all of a sudden Cobra came up and blew him out of the water. Because ANP wouldn’t change. They said we got cocky floats. People have been shopping on concrete floors wherever we don’t have to change. We don’t need to put a cleaners in a grocery store is groceries that we sell, so forth. Many of the businesses they were not willing to change. And so I listen to these, you know, that’s one of my favorite books on tape. It’s got nothing to do with art. It was why this business is great like Pitney Bowes, you know, was able to pivot and here was it That’s exactly what I did. I got home first thing I did was that woe is me. I’m not gonna have any workshops. I’m sure I’m out of business for the year. How can I address that next step, or the interim step?
Eric Rhoads 44:55
The book was written by Jim Collins. It’s a classic and it is, you know, it What I’ve realized, and I read that book, oh, way back, you know, everything changes about every three years. Yeah. And it’s and and actually, the rate of changes is happening faster now because of all the technology. And, you know, we we saw, like I said before, we saw so many artists who they they just and galleries, they said, Okay, this is the way we do business and everything back before pre 2008 was, you’re waiting for people to come in the door, when you had this perfect storm in 2008, when you had Amazon come about and the internet was coming about and then you had the economic crash. And so as a result you you had all of a sudden, everything changed. And everybody thought, well, it was just come back, it’ll come back and it didn’t come back. And so the ones who survived, actually no have a gallery that that launched in 2008, and became one of the top selling galleries within a year, which is unheard of, because all the other galleries stopped advertising because they were afraid. And he’s just started advertising like crazy took all their customers away. And we all forget that in any economy. There’s always people who can spend money. Now there may not be as many people. But if you have a strategy, where you’re the one that’s out there pushing it, which it sounds like you were doing, you’re going to get that income rather than somebody else.
Eric Rhoads 46:32
So the plein air thing. Talk to me about that. Because you obviously, you get outside, you still get outside and paint tell tell me a little bit about the whole plein air side of things.
Tom Lynch 46:43
Well, that’s to me, as we had said before is the part of the circle, part of the links that you’ve got to do your you just, I as a teacher can teach somebody, certain things and less was sitting in front of that particular tree, or that particular scene and see, so you can, I can talk about the color or the edge or the shape and so forth, we both can’t look at the same photograph, we can’t look at the same subject, we pull kids find that it’s more texture and a tree that we’re looking at this one or the bark is not it’s not a tree, it’s not a bark, it’s, it’s an artwork in a way. So I find the planar painting time is a training tool for me to get better. Now, I’m glad that I can go to plein air events, and get paid to be trained to get better by doing paintings, and then selling them at the end. But for me, it’s the beautiful time to paint live, love the pressure of other artists doing it there as well. And I want to, I gotta, you know, do something really good. Because I know Charlie Hunter is gonna knock me out of the water and his black and white image for what I’m doing. So I’ve got to take it up. So that to me is the pressure of having, you know, I announced the show, I’m going to do a series of outdoor cafes. Why I’m going to have the show because I need to get better at painting figures in my landscapes. So I’m about to tell everybody that I’m going to be doing a series of outdoor cafes, and I better get good at painting people because I just told everybody, there’s going to be a big show at the end of the year. So I put that pressure to me, I love it. I love going out painting plein air, it’s part of being trained. It’s another look to a painting that’s different than what I would do in the studio. And not only black and white, but you know most of our color. But still I like the idea of doing doing both I like the smaller size, the quicker gesture, the simple elegance, you know, that I’m looking for and creating, it becomes a visual guide for me to look at at the studio. When I’m developing a painting I looked at plein air, not even the same scene. But just plein air paintings first, you know, while I’m getting a painting started, so I can have that secret ingredient underneath all those extra brushstrokes that necessarily are needed each, you know, each and every time.
Eric Rhoads 48:54
And so it sounds like you’re reinventing yourself all the time.
Tom Lynch 48:57
I need to without question I need to. And I you know, we called it a location painting of a film that, you know, a bunch of years ago and now it’s a it’s a whole genre unto itself. And I love it like being a part of it. I like lecturing and demonstrating when I was at the you know, convention for you. It was always thinking what can I do extra. After watching a couple of them I went back to the hotel room figured out some handouts went to the the the printing store, I eat 150 copies of these because I want to print out some handouts for people that are going to come to you know, my demo, and they’ll have a little something extra that you know, in their hand instead of making a via book, give them a little brochure that talks about what my thinking or my philosophy is. So they can watch instead of taking notes because I saw people with their head down take notes, they should be having their head up watching what’s going on. But yet you want to remember part of it or certain elements to it. So that better or different philosophy is, you know what I brought to, you know, your convention at the same time. It’s an important part of wanting people to get the idea, get the message, you know, and give back.
Eric Rhoads 50:00
You know, and you’re also getting something in their hands that hazard data on it, you know, you have a website that sells all kinds of cool stuff that, that I just bought some stuff as you know. And so now you’re not only giving them something of value, you’re also giving them something that if they, they want to remember your name, and they want to remember, visit your website or whatever, you’ve got that.
Tom Lynch 50:21
Yeah, I look more at what I can give out, versus what I can get for it, of course, because it always pays back. So I don’t any longer have to maybe way back when when I was spending maybe money that was going to be on the credit card that I’m putting those extra color flyers or whatever Am I going to get the return on this. And so now I can say without questions to everybody, you’ll get the return, you know, give the extra, whether it be in a in a handout or do the painting for a client. So they can choose between two or whatever, you’ll sell the other painting, you’ll get more reward for it, it pays back the dividends, you no longer have to worry as I did, is this is worth it. Because I can tell you hands down, it is worth it. And to this day, I’m still you know, doing it that particular do the extra go the extra step, you know, think of what extra I can do, not what I’m getting out of it, you know that I’m not just, you know, go out there just to do a demo I brought there to meet a whole new audience and I want to make sure I have a business card for each other.
Eric Rhoads 51:18
Right? You’re a true Pro, let me ask you a couple of very succinct questions, because we’re gonna run out of time if we don’t do it. The first one is, I’ll ask both of them. And then you can you can address in both. The first one is best advice for training yourself as an artist. And assuming that a lot of the people listening, this might be at an early stage. And part B of that question is best advice of pushing yourself to the next level. And then Part C is best advice for building an art career.
Tom Lynch 51:55
Alright, go to somebody who’s 70. If I can multitask, you remember the best.
Eric Rhoads 52:02
So 70 is the new 30. You know,
Tom Lynch 52:05
yeah, that’s okay. Composition and drawing best advice for an artist, don’t seek a style, your style finds you. And if anything you should diversify and have more than one style is one way in which you know, one genre that you can create. And in that creative process, I can’t say enough about the drawing, even if it’s abstract, or representational, drawing as a foundation composition, in my checklist of you know, the shortlist and seven along this is close competition is number one, you know, bury yourself in all those that, you know, can teach you about the composition because I feel a technique can save a bad composition. If the trees in the middle middle of the painting, if it’s a lollipop, and it’s got no contour, it still is no skillful artists with a brush could save it. And so that would be first and foremost, not someone who has new new skills, even a primitive style, if it’s a good composition, that it’s still going to be a successful image. It isn’t the style that saves the image. It isn’t the technique, even though I teach technique classes, but I also teach, you know the composition part and tell my students in a workshop, that’s where we got to, we got to start with and we can add whatever skill level you have, to a good composition, you’re going to have a good painting at the end of the day, I feel. So that’s the answer to question number one. What was question number two? Because I was thinking of the answer, while you’re asking me.
Eric Rhoads 53:33
Pushing yourself to the next level, because we hear that a lot. And that is, you know, I kind of feel like I’m stuck. And I want to I know what I’m doing isn’t as good as it should be. But I don’t know how to get there.
Tom Lynch 53:46
So you really looked at, you know, not only the Masters, but you look at the contemporary greats. And just take that painting apart. I mean, I would when I got a book, I painted the painting of the painting that was in the book, I just didn’t look at the practice parts later on. So every book that I have is dog eared, and it’s got smudges on it, because I was copying the painting. So like the kids have, you know, the little things like put their little easel in front of, you know, on top of the Masters just to get some kind of formulation of why what’s the difference between their rendering of that scene, what was the brushstroke was a left to right, top to bottom, which is a better color, better contrast. And so vicariously the looking closely at a copying, you know, works that you admire, then having I’ve always said to people stop having a picture of a photograph when you’re making art, whether it be someone else’s art or whether it be paintings that you’ve done that you’ve liked, really well have looking at art while creating art would get you there faster, but you you aspiring to something better than what you’re doing. And so, I mean, I was never an oil painter, but I would look at every Schmidt painting I bought every one of his books I would look long and hard. What and how, what’s the what’s the How can I translate this to watercolor? What’s the secret ingredient? You know, so still, I drove 900 miles knocked on the door, john pike in Woodstock, New York and said, I really liked what you’re doing and watercolor, is there any chance I could ever watch it? Watch you do it? And I’ll, I’ll pay you and so forth and go great. You were were part of town you from I go, No, I’m really from Chicago. Well, how did you know I was here. And I said, I took a chance. And he goes, he wishes to come on in, you know. And so I showed that I bet determined, and I did the same thing with many others. So I would look to see what I was worst at, then go to the bookstore, look to see who was great. So I was lousy at composition, I went to bed when I was bad at having value changes, I found, you know, john pike, I needed better color, California, Robert, he would just say, you know that color edges solten sabalan? Well, you’re the greatest one of having variety of edges, I gotta watch and see what you’re doing. And so I slept in my van to go see this guy, have a workshop in Phoenix, Arizona, so that I can have better foods, I want to have good meals, or do I want to have a good bed. So I slept in the van for the bed, and I had a chance to have good meals while I was there watching him paint. So I went that extra effort to to take apart my own paintings. And then it wasn’t about that I wanted to get a little bit better, who was the best at it at this particular time at angle for Impressionism. Charles Reed for the first wash or Ben Shapiro’s laying down color. And so I would seek out, you know, these as if I just got one little nugget out of a book, it was well worth for that particular book, if I could just get a feel for what they were doing. And before video, you know, was even available to have it in your own home. And so I would just slowly look at the grades, but I would see what part of them that I wanted to put into my art, not necessarily the overall they didn’t want to become a mini me of, of necessarily a great painter, which is all that bad, if you want to be Scott Prichard sent or so forth. But what you know, I just his his rocks, I mean, there’s just something about what he, it isn’t a rock, it’s just a pure piece of art. And so I would look long and hard and watch them if I could or attend with them. So never stop learning never stop, you know, getting better, but, and be open to change. And so there’ll be people that say, Hey, your artworks kind of going, you know, a little more colorful than it used to do and so forth. You may lose a customer or two, but you’re going to gain twice as many. Because you’ve diversified and you’ve improved that. I don’t think Be careful. Don’t be careful painting.
Eric Rhoads 57:31
Yeah, well, you’re a risk taker, you know, i, you and i have a lot in common, I will get on an airplane and pay 15 $100 to attend a seminar to get one hour of one guy and hope I get a chance to meet that guy in person. And, and sit down with him for 10 minutes. Because sometimes you can gain just one little nugget that changes your life, which is It is literally what happened to me to reinvent my business. And you know, when when you were early in your career, there were no art instruction videos now today, you know, for, you know, somewhere between 50 and a couple 100 bucks. You can you know, even if you’re just going to learn one little nugget, it can be life changing.
Tom Lynch 58:13
Absolutely. Without question.
Eric Rhoads 58:15
Okay, so the third, the third question, and then we’re gonna wrap it up. The third question is best advice for building a career for those who want to make a living as an artist?
Tom Lynch 58:25
Diversify, and build a following collected names. So now the internet wonderful thing that we do better than I have? I mean, I could still take lessons on building a better business through the internet, but still diversify. Don’t do one thing one way. And then and then just collect that following service that following on something that they could gain from it. I mean, whether right like I did in the beginning of this last year, giving away the demos for free later on now, would you like to have a more complex lesson other than just watching a demo created so give them something in exchange for their giving you the interest in their particular name? You know, I have a spot on my mail on my website where you sign in to Thomas calm and you add to the mailing list and I immediately give that person a free video to watch online. Just because you said you’d like to know about what I’m doing and teaching. The first thing I offer something for free. here’s a here’s a link to a free demo. Thanks for clicking on my Tom lynch.com mailing list. And oh down the road. I’ll tell you more about when I’m going to have classes but you’re kind enough to be interested. Was it paintings? Was it Prince? Was it education? Or just the curious of all the above or plein air when I’m going to do my next event you could come and you know see it. And so I encouraged that diversifying and do more about giving in exchange for getting people to let you know who they are, where they are and how you can get in contact with them. Should you have something to offer down the road?
Eric Rhoads 59:54
Well, that’s the spirit of generosity. I think that’s a great way to operate. Tom. This has been fabulous I’m gonna put you on the spot and ask you a question I’ve got, you know, I just came off of watercolor live, which was one of our virtual events, which we’ve had to do because of our conventions. We’ve now learned that the plein air convention is going to be cancelled for this year. just learned that today. And so you know what, we’re gonna do watercolor live again next January, would you be willing to be on the faculty of that?
Tom Lynch 1:00:26
Oh, by all means. So I love I love paying back love giving it forward. I like and I like to be able to watch what the others are doing as well. So, you know, that’s this little secret sauce. I haven’t gotten to, you know, see what’s going on in the competition. When I before I did art fairs. I went to art fairs every one I could find for a year. And I looked at saying, Well, I’d like this guy’s booth. I don’t like that guy’s booth this guy has he was sitting down eating a sandwich in front of his booth. This one was went behind his booth to eat. So I like it as well, because I want to learn how to be a better teacher better painter. So thanks for inviting me. And yes, I would be thrilled to be a part of it. So I’ve got my red educator, teachers hat. So I appreciate the offer. And please include me.
Eric Rhoads 1:01:10
We’ll get that done. Well, Tom, thank you so much. This has been fabulous. I could probably do this for about five hours with you. You’re just you’re filled with great information. You have great ideas, you are exceptional in the idea of going the extra step doing thinking things through about, you know, what’s the extra step that I need to take to make things happen? I’ve learned a lot from you today. Thank you so much. Oh, you’re very welcome.
Tom Lynch 1:01:35
I think you ended on a Perfect Note that extra step is a is a secret sauce that will help everyone along the way. But we’ve got a lot in common. We haven’t had had a chance to ever do this. We see each other in passing at the in the hallway and we waive or give a high five. So now we have a reason to sit down and have a break bread together someday.
Eric Rhoads 1:01:54
Absolutely. If we’re ever together again, hopefully soon. We’ll sit down and have a beer.
Tom Lynch 1:01:59
Okay, so you got it. Thanks an awful lot for including me.
Eric Rhoads 1:02:04
Well, thanks again to Tom Lynch. He is a machine I love that guy. 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 1:02:20
That’d be a good book for you to own. Just saying, okay, and the marketing minute I answer your art marketing questions, email yours to me at [email protected] Now here’s a question from Vicki Haley in Montgomery, Alabama, who asks, What should I do when people unsubscribe from my newsletter? Well, I think the first thing you have to do Vicki is you have to ask yourself, why do they unsubscribe? People don’t unsubscribe unless they don’t find the content valuable. And there’s a whole lot of things you can do to make content valuable, which we’ll talk about in a minute. Now you can have a way that you can ask people, if you get a rash of unsubscribes, you could take in theory, take those emails, write a little note and say, Hey, I noticed you unsubscribe, can you give me some feedback? I wouldn’t do it too many times. I wouldn’t repeat the same people. But maybe you can find out why they’re not reading it. But it always boils down to the same thing. They’re not reading it because they’re not interested. And they’re not interested because it’s not interesting. All right, sorry. You know, the problem is that most most artists in their newsletters, make their newsletter about them. Right? It’s the news of Vicki Haley in Montgomery, Alabama. Hey, I’ve got a new painting out, hey, I did an art show. Hey, I’m cool. The problem with that, Vicki is that that’s not very interesting to other people. It’s only interesting to you, maybe to me. So what do we do about that? Well, the first thing we do is we try to make content that people want now in my art marketing in a box program, I developed a whole bunch of content for people that they could kind of have content to do this on a regular basis. But the bottom line is you want to make it interesting. So what would make it interesting? Well, maybe you teach something about art now may or may not be teaching art itself unless the people getting your newsletter our students, but otherwise, you know, you maybe you you have an interesting story about art that you opened with each time and then you introduce other things about the stuff about you, you know, your paintings and the things that you’ve been doing and the trips that you’ve been taking, but you know, as a guy who gets three or 400 of those a month and you know, think about some collectors probably do you know, they go around, they sign up for websites and then you know, they start realizing well I opened it I read it I don’t get anything out of it or I don’t like the work or whatever and so they go away. Now if they don’t like the work that’s a whole different problem. And that’s always about getting better but look for ways to make it entertaining. Everybody wants to be entertained, everybody wants to be get to the point fast. If it’s really really super, super long and wordy are they going to read it you Do you have really great photos? Do you open with something strong? Make it really good. That’ll make a big difference. So ask yourself why? and ask them why and then make it better.
Eric Rhoads 1:05:10
All right. Now, here’s a question from Carrie Moore in Cheyenne, Wyoming who asks, How important is it to have a painting framed at a plein air competition event? I think carry I think it’s critical, I think it’s the standard, right now, you know, first off, you got to have that way to hang the painting in the show. And usually, that means it’s in a frame. Now, if you’re a painter who paints on these kinds of can buy canvases, which have the big thick square edges, and you paint around the edges, you know, kind of a modern look, then maybe you don’t need a frame. And some people will like that. But, you know, a frame really is there to make the painting stand out, you know, a beautiful frame makes it kind of enhanced. And that’s why we put our things in frames, because you’re making better and, and you know, the goal is you want to stand out, you want your painting to look great. And now I believe investing in great frames really makes a difference, you know, we we have a tendency to go cheap on our frames. And sometimes you can find inexpensive frames that are not cheap looking. And that’s okay. But if you you know, if you’re going into Walmart and getting a bunch of frames and just trying to put them in frames, they’re not gonna look right, typically, no, nothing against Walmart, or Michaels. But the idea is you want a really good high quality frame, you want something that’s going to really make the painting standout. And then you also need to kind of understand what are the trends of the market you’re going into like, if you’re going into a market that’s very traditional, then gold frames are probably more appropriate than dark frames, but dark frames tend to do really well and markets that tend to lean a little bit contemporary and you know, people will put paintings up that are not contemporary, but if the frames are contemporary makes it feel better anyway. So that’s my, my feeling about frames. I think frames are really critically important. Anyway, that is the marketing minute.
This has been a Marketing Minute with Eric Rhoads. You can learn more at artmarketing.com.
Eric Rhoads 1:07:08
Alrighty, well, I want to remind you guys about a couple of things. First off, I mentioned at the top of the show Plein Air Live, you want to get signed up for that the price increases on February 28. And that’s a really great bargain and get it while you can. Alright, secondly, check out the SOAR workshops to make yourself soar. Go even if you don’t think you want to take a workshop just go check it out. Watch the video. It’s very interesting. It’s soarworkshops.com not SRP but so AR like soar like a rocket. And then the last but not least is the Plein Air Salon. Make sure you get entered for the Plein Air Salon competition on honor before the 28th of this month. All right. lots to talk about now, if you’ve not seen my blog, where I talked about life and art and philosophy and things like that. It’s called Sunday coffee. It’s got a big readership. And we’d like to add you to that. It’s called Sunday coffee. But you can find it at coffeewitheric.com to sign it up, and you will get it for free. All right. Well, this is fun. I love doing this every week. And it’s really cool that we made the number one podcast in the world for painting. That is pretty cool. That means plein air is on fire. This podcast is on fire. Oh boy. All right. Nobody will ever listen again. Anyway, let’s do this again sometime like next week. I will see you then. I’m Eric Rhoads, the publisher and the founder of Plein Air Magazine celebrating 10 years. You can find us online at outdoorpainter.com. And remember, it’s a big world. Go paint it we will 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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