PleinAir Podcast - Kim Lordier
Landscape painter Kim Lordier, featured in the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads, Episode 172

Welcome to the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads. In this episode Eric interviews Kim Lordier about painting from photo references, creating atmospheric perspective, and more.

Listen as Kim Lordier shares the following:
• How a love for horses inspired her to become an artist
• The moment she became captivated with painting outdoors
• The process she recommends for figuring out what exactly to paint once you set up en plein air (Hint: She creates a notan, which she also explains)
• Tips on creating atmospheric perspective and using contrast
• The advice she received about painting with pastel in order “to be a real artist”

Bonus! Eric Rhoads, author of Make More Money Selling Your Art, shares advice for artists who may be ready to start advertising, and marketing for established artists in this Art Marketing Minute Podcast.

Listen to the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads and Kim Lordier here:

Kim Lordier, "The Forest Has Ears," 16 x 20
Kim Lordier, “The Forest Has Ears,” 16 x 20

Related Links:
– Kim Lordier online:
– Eric Rhoads on Instagram:
– Eric Rhoads on Facebook:
– Sunday Coffee:
– Plein Air Convention & Expo:
– Plein Air Salon:
– Publisher’s Invitational:
– Value Specs for Artists:
– Paint by Note:
– The Great Outdoor Painting Challenge TV Show:
– Figurative Art Convention & Expo:

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 172. Today we’re featuring pastel artist Kim Lordier.

Announcer 0:18
This is the plein air podcast with Eric Rhoads, publisher and founder of Plein Air magazine. In the Plein Air podcast we cover the world of outdoor painting called plein air. The French coined the term, which means open air or outdoors. The French pronounce it plenn air. Others say plein air, no matter how you say it. There is a huge movement of artists around the world who are going outdoors to paint. And this show is about that movement. Now, here’s your host, author, publisher and painter, Eric Rhoads.

Eric Rhoads 0:56
Thank you Jim Kipping and welcome to the Plein Air Podcast. I am loving my freedom here in Texas we’re open for business, and life has resumed in a new normal. Best of all, it’s springtime, it’s painting season. And I’ve managed to sneak out and get some painting done, which is a good day for me as far as I’m concerned, still keeping my social distancing with friends, but it’s nice to paint with friends again. I’m working on my greens. I’m inspired by the great Russian landscape artists, and I’ve been doing copies out of their books so I can master greens like they have. And then I’m going out and seeing if I can do it on location when I’m looking at greens that don’t look as same as the greens I’m producing. It’s challenging, but it’s also lots of fun and I’m happiest when I’m growing. Speaking of fun, there’s going to be a grand celebration. Everybody in the planner world, when we’re allowed to get together again, this holiday Is the plein air convention kind of the center of the plein air universe, we will celebrate our friendships and our love and passion for plein air painting at the plein air convention. Now, we might be doing jazz hands instead of hugs. It’s hard to know, we don’t know what the requirements are going to be. But we’ll be together painting, learning, being with our tribe of painters. And we have a powerful lineup of faculty and over 600 registered guests for the new date already in August. And remember, it’s our first and only summertime conference. So if you’re a summertime person, the only time you can get out is summertime, if your school teacher or something like that. This is the time and we’ve rolled back prices so that you can still come. We have plenty of seats at the moment but that will expire soon that price will and as soon as we hit our limit, then of course we we can’t let anybody else in but go ahead, get registered and know that we have our country. COVID guarantee meaning that if there is a change or cancellation based on our ability to get together, you’ll have the ability to apply your money to next year’s convention or a future convention or rescheduled or something else or get a cancellation. And if you’re new to plein air painting and you want to learn more about it, we have a free ebook called 240 plein air tips and you can get it for free at and of course coming up after the interview I’m going to be answering your art marketing questions. So the marketing minute speaking of tips, you’re going to get some great ones with this interview. The amazing Kim Lordier. Kim Lordier welcome to the plein air podcast.

Kim Lordier 3:47
Hi Eric, how you doing today?

Eric Rhoads 3:48
I am excited because I’ve been wanting to talk to you. I think this is a good opportunity to let everybody get to know you a little bit.

Kim Lordier 3:57
Well, I’m not sure people want to know the real me but I’ll pretend as much as I can here.

Eric Rhoads 4:02
Well, this is a real good time to reveal what the real you might be.

Kim Lordier 4:07
Okay, cool.

Eric Rhoads 4:09
Yeah, dark secrets that you need to talk about.

Kim Lordier 4:13
Let’s see. Let me scratch that one out. Probably not at this point.

Eric Rhoads 4:22
for the people who may or may not be familiar, because people are listening all over the world, tell everybody what it is that you do.

Kim Lordier 4:32
Well, ah, I’m a mom. But um, my painting primarily a pastel list who paints in the field and in the set in the studio. Yeah.

Eric Rhoads 4:46
All right. So you’re a mom tell us about that.

Kim Lordier 4:51
we have a great 15 year old son right around the age of your triplets. And so balancing the whole mom and painting and husband in house has been a part of my journey for the last 15 years or so.

Eric Rhoads 5:12
So let’s talk about that because I think that’s an important discussion to have. How do you balance that because you have managed to build a national reputation. You’re in some very fine top tier galleries. You have been on stage teaching at the plein air convention. You do lots of workshops, and yet you’re still pulling all of that off. How do you do it?

Kim Lordier 5:39
Well, first and foremost, I’m grateful to my family. When Ryan our our boy was really super young. I had my mother in law and my mom who would step up one day a week and and each and give me a few hours to devote to my painting and I kind of took Ryan out plein air painting in his stroller or his little and I’ve had a tremendous support system, and I’m very grateful. And my husband’s very supportive about what I do as well.

Eric Rhoads 6:14
Very grateful. So you really took the attitude of I’m not gonna let anything stop me or get in the way of this.

Kim Lordier 6:20
Now that’s kind of a selfish side of me.

Eric Rhoads 6:24
Well, it’s the old, sealed sitting on the airplane, when they say when the mask drops, give yourself oxygen first. You know, you have to have the ability to…, painting gives you oxygen painting as part of your DNA.

Kim Lordier 6:41
It’s my life. That’s absolutely the truth. Yeah,

Eric Rhoads 6:45
yeah, this journey began. When did you start first learning that you had interest in becoming an artist.

Kim Lordier 6:53
I kind of had that in fifth grade. I don’t know if we really want to go back that far.

Eric Rhoads 7:00
Well, I know it’s a long, long, long journey, but let’s go there.

Kim Lordier 7:08
Always uh, I was kind of a horse freak from birth and so when I was little I was always drawing horses and, and actually pretending to be a horse which is kind of silly. Well okay, here it goes one of those secrets that wasn’t supposed to get get out. Anyway, I was drawing and in fifth grade, a couple of my drawings or crayon drawings ended up in our local newspaper. And I think that kind of outside acknowledgement, even at that early age, kind of sparked that realization that oh, maybe I can do this. And I’ve just you know, for the most part, dabbled in it until high school, and then I started was an active core show. I traveled to California. Oh boy, mumbling here, I would go to horse shows and started painting animal portraits for people. And that kind of turned into a little bit of a way to help pay for my horse habit as a young adult. And then

Eric Rhoads 8:21
did you have a horse?

Kim Lordier 8:24
Yes, we had. At one point we had four or five horses during my growing up years. And my grandfather raised and train running quarter horses when I was before I was born, and he gave me my first horse when I was nine years of age. And that kind of led me down that in fact, a horse that he gave me was, my mom was pregnant with me. When she wrote that horse when she was pregnant with me, and that was my first horse, that agent

Eric Rhoads 9:02
Well, that’s wonderful and, I was going to mention earlier about the the idea that of being in the newspaper I sometimes I like to stop and just say point things out because I think they’re really important. That story about recognition is one I hear a lot here on the podcast that somebody got some some recognition from a school teacher at a young age or an article or somebody put their painting up on the wall or you know, parents encouragement, and those things are what people latched on to that made them interested in having a career.

Kim Lordier 9:41
Yeah, I know it certainly spurred me along and when I was doing the animal portraits, you know, that kind of thing when that the emotional call when somebody saw their, their horse or their, you know, loved dog in a painting You know you cry and and it just it speaks to you and I guess I realized that early earlier age that that emotional tie was important so that the correlation between you know the doing of something that you absolutely love that you end up in, kind of in that Zen like state where the world goes away there’s no trouble and you’re painting and and and then somebody sees what you’ve done and and you whether it’s a memory or something you spark in somebody else, it’s it’s a beautiful connection to have.

Eric Rhoads 10:42
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So what happened after horse portrait land? What did you continue to do that for a while or I went to

Kim Lordier 10:51
I studied at the Academy of Art, went straight from high school, to the Academy of Art in San Francisco and studied Commercial illustration, which I just thoroughly did terrible at kind of cut most of my classes and barely made it through. I was very insecure there about my work and my internal drive about, you know, putting my work out there. And so I became a flight attendant after that. And I continued to do the animal portraits during college and during being a flight attendant was flying. And I also showed horses up until my four early 40s. So that helped. That, I don’t know I just kept with it. But it really wasn’t until, like around 2001 911 that I found my absolute passion and the reason that I’m doing what I’m doing today.

Eric Rhoads 12:03
So how did that happen?

Kim Lordier 12:05
Well, three things kind of came into play at that point in time I had been doing had been, drawn doing the animal portraits. But I saw my first early California impressionist exhibition at the Oakland Museum. So traveling show from California’s Nature Conservancy and Irvine museum. And at a time, I was also just starting to learn how to paint plein air from a local teacher here. And then of course, 911 happened. And so we were on as a flight attendant, we were given a took a volunteer furlough, and so all those things kind of culminated around in the same time frame and the earlier scene. The early California impressionists was really the First time I was brought to my knees with art or with, you know, with art, I mean, I’ve been to the loop I’ve been to the Met. I’ve been, you know, several beautiful museums, but this was really the first time I saw a group body of work that really just turned me on.

Eric Rhoads 13:21
Yeah, that’s interesting. I had a very similar reaction to that. So were there some of the artists that that you can recall that really cranked your clock?

Kim Lordier 13:31
Um, well, there’s one particular painting by Edgar Payne It was his, his golden colors of a sycamore tree. And this kind of circular composition, and it just drew me in right into this beautiful turquoise Green, Blue back, little color note and it was the color but it’s also the tone. It was just this marriage of kind of tonal ism. Broken color from the French impressionists that just came together. And it just really was the first time I just had to sit down and stare at a painting for I don’t even know how long you know guy rose William ritual friends be Sean Percy gray at the time, his watercolors very much more tonal. But that I think the tallest and the and the California impressionists just really? I don’t know. It’s just amazing. He just has really resonated within within me.

Eric Rhoads 14:37
And do you consider yourself a tonalist today?

Kim Lordier 14:42
It’s funny, I have elements I think of both. At the moment in time when I walk into my studio, particularly this period of time that I’ve been we’ve been in for the last month or so I’ve been exploring tone and color and to a much on a much deeper level. So I’m not sure I’m kind of both I love both and but right now what you’d see if you walked into my studio doors would be a lot more kind of a tunnel almost flair what I’ve been experimenting with.

Eric Rhoads 15:28
So what what was the first time you went outside and painted was it was it prompted by that exhibit?

Kim Lordier 15:37
No I had hired started with the class prior to that I saw this woman. I belong to a local art group, the Society of Western artists and this woman gave up a demonstration of plein air demonstration. And the only time I’ve ever painted outside prior to that was When I was in school in college, and it was just this overwhelming oh my gosh, I cannot handle this feeling because we were at the Palace of Fine Arts and in San Francisco, and the architecture and you know, it is overwhelming the fountains, the water, the reflections, the people, I was I just never felt comfortable in that environment. But when I saw this lady, her name is Bridgette Kurt. And she gave this this painting demo outside and her enthusiasm and love and passion of what she was doing. I just saw her and I felt this sense of I’m meant to do this and I started taking a class with her outdoors and in oil. And I very quickly realized that, I still loved my pastels and found a way to way that she was working in the oil. I kind of that’s how I started doing my under painting process with my pastels and started working outside on location in my medium.

Eric Rhoads 17:18
Interesting. You know, we were interesting parallel lives because I was in the Bay Area during 911. And it was about that time that I started playing with the idea of going outdoors to paint and then eventually started plein air magazine and so on. And we were maybe 20 minutes apart but didn’t know each other.

Kim Lordier 17:40
No, no. Why wasn’t I there was no reason. It was a small community. But you know, I know you’re across the bay and I was on a peninsula and I do know that I still have my very first copy of the plein air magazine and I was so thankful that you brought the magazine back

Eric Rhoads 18:00
It’s a collector’s item, hang on to it, you can get a whopping $23 for it on eBay. So well, you know, it’s interesting because at that time, I don’t know if it was the case for you. But for me, I didn’t know that there was such a thing as plein air painting. I certainly didn’t know that there were any, any people that doing it. And it took me a long time to kind of stumble into the few people who are out there doing it. I don’t think there were a lot. It’s changed a lot in in the last 15 years.

Kim Lordier 18:37
Dramatically. Dramatically. Yeah. My very first plein air event. I was pregnant with my son. So that was 2004 was Carmel art festival. And I started painting with Bridgette, probably. Well, it was somewhere around 2001. And so in that. I think that was it. Pretty quick amount of time to test it was pretty fast test

Eric Rhoads 19:14
you were talking a little bit about, getting used to figuring out how to paint in the elements and it was so many so overwhelming because of all of the stimuli, right the fountains, the water, the sky, the beauty up there, of course up there at the Palace of Fine Arts, it’s about one of the most beautiful spots in the world. And so what do you tell your students now how do you deal with, getting all that stimuli and figuring out what you’re going to paint? What you’re going to ignore? Do you have a process that you recommend?

Kim Lordier 19:53
Definitely. I mean, if you’re setting up out there, it’s big shapes, no detail And a lot of people are do thumbnail drawings I do notans with these three value pens and I really need to see things I now see things in shape and light and dark because of that and when I teach a workshop, that what we start out with are is almost an entire day of just understanding the value and shapes.

Eric Rhoads 20:30
So explain a notan for those who might not know give it a little bit more depth.

Kim Lordier 20:34
Okay. I learned about notan from Barry reybold who has put together the virtual Art Academy eyes had a workshop with him a long time ago and he taught me this process with the pen so no tan is Japanese term is loosely defined as light and Dark design, black and white, narrow focus on your values and shapes.

Eric Rhoads 21:13
And you’re breaking it down to three values,

Kim Lordier 21:16
three to four values at the most. And so I like a number five value, a light value and a dark value and then the white of your sketch paper. And so I try and have people squint and break down their shapes to the simplest form compressing values so that people start to see in terms of design and value first before the hardest thing I think when you’re out on location, or even working from photo reference, which I do as well. It’s so easy to get caught up in the object that you’re painting and naming it and therefore you start rendering it versus thinking of it in terms of design and value first And if you think about it in terms of design and value first, that really helps to emphasize what your concept or the idea that you want to express it role really helps to support that. And it’s easy to move elements around easier to move elements around that don’t support your idea. Does that make sense?

Eric Rhoads 22:20
Yeah, makes a lot of sense. So how much teaching are you doing?

Kim Lordier 22:26
Not very much. I don’t have time. And it’s funny. You know, there’s so many great teachers out there, you know, artists / teachers. You know, I still feel like I have tremendous work to do myself to understand. You know, I’m very aware of my, my weaknesses and strengths and in my own painting, and so the teaching part comes very unnaturally to me, I think in terms of, I’m happy, more than happy to share what I know, or what I understand and my particular process. But like, if somebody were to come to me, you know, are the things that people have said to me that they love about my work is my color, but I’m not a color theorist in any way. Color is very emotional for me. And so to try and explain, you know, what I think about color theory is I don’t really go there in my head ever. So, it’s hard to teach that. I think it’s easier for me to teach the idea of value and, and design and those types of things. But so I guess to answer your question, once I get into the teaching mode, I’d love it. But to get to there, it’s difficult for me so I don’t teach a Lot.

Eric Rhoads 24:01
So what are the principles that you find? People have the most trouble with that you try to help them through? In terms of, let’s say, when you’re teaching, What kinds of things do you find consistently people struggling with that you’re, you’re trying to help them overcome?

Kim Lordier 24:25
Well, I think many artists who are teaching find that the drawing skills are really the first and foremost things. I don’t really teach a drawing per se, because that’s something my draftsmanship still needs work on a tremendous amount. But really, if somebody’s gonna take a workshop for me, I see value atmospheric perspective and, design really been the places that I can help somebody.

Eric Rhoads 25:07
I like to always have a couple of tidbits in here for people who are at different levels. We’re well over a couple million downloads. Now we’ve got people listening all over the world, and we never know what stage someone is in their process. some are curious. They’re just learning others are pretty far along. Others are professional. But I like to have a couple tidbits in there for those people who are kind of trying to learn. So give me a couple of thoughts on atmospheric perspective. It’s a term a lot of people wouldn’t even know. But you do it beautifully. So perhaps you could kind of touch on what it is and how to accomplish it. Obviously, it’s different depending on the scene.

Kim Lordier 25:55
Oh, absolutely. And also I have a tendency In my own work to push the colors, let’s see, how would I say that? exaggerate. Yeah, I would exact. In my own work, if I’m seeing more of a, let’s say we’re talking about a scene where you’re out at the ocean and you’ve got a lot of spray and mist that diffuses the values and shapes as they they go back into space and sometimes it it can look to the eye. As you travel back in space, it gets a little bit less clear. Sometimes I’ll create a little bit more of a cleaner color in the background to help create a feeling of, of light and sense of depth. That really doesn’t make much sense.

Eric Rhoads 26:56
No, it makes a lot of sense. I’m looking at your website while you’re talking about this, and I see that, your atmospheric perspective is wonderful. And I can see so many areas where it feels to me like you probably pushed it considerably. And it really works. I don’t know very many artists who do that I know a few. And, every time they create a painting, it just makes it so much stronger. Because, they’re creating that sense of Mystique or that, you know, that sense of space.

Kim Lordier 27:30
as opposed to the fundamentals of how to create, you know, the warms and cools and how the color drops off and it cools off and Gray’s down your contrast gets closer together as you drop back in space. But I think one of the things that I’ve been working on, you know, with students in that is, in terms of teaching is kind of, you know, pushing your idea and understanding that it’s, it’s your A world that you’re creating. When you’re there, for when I’m on location, I am trying to develop the the feeling of the moment in time that I’m out there and but I also allow myself to infuse my own spirit into that. Does that make sense? And, and that’s what I try and push in my workshops is is, is to teach that people need to trust themselves and their instincts. And you know, I don’t want to change who they are as an individual in terms of how they make their marks. But I’d like to be helped be a guide to, make suggestions for them about pushing ideas a little bit further.

Eric Rhoads 28:53
Well, you have to I think you have to help people understand that they’ve got to get the baby basic premises of painting down before they can go too crazy and be too creative and I saw there’s a fine balance I I remember going to a photo workshop and complaining to the instructor that I wanted to go out and take photos. Because he had us working on some technology stuff. He said, Look, you you cannot be free and accomplish what you see in your heart or your mind. You can’t accomplish it until you know the technology and how the technology works. You need to be able to know how do I make this foreground darker than it appears or how you know etc. And I think the same is very clear with painting. So you know, there’s that fine line between go ahead and be creative now but you need to learn these basics.

Kim Lordier 29:48
I absolutely 100% agree. But one of the things in teaching I’ve found over the years because I’m I’m more self taught Then anything is that people sign up for a workshop for many different reasons. And I have learned to send out a pre workshop questionnaire to find out why people are taking my workshop that helps me to set up my curriculum. and, not everybody’s always there to learn the fundamentals. So I think it’s important for me to tap into the individual absolute so somebody worry if somebody really wants to have a deeper understanding of value or know can I push everybody through those, those foundational things about design shape values, and at the beginning of every workshop that I that I teach, and then But then I, you know, when it comes time for people to be more expressive and we go out on location or they’re working from their photo reference, I don’t want to change the way or who they are, I just want them to note things that are off. Maybe compositionally or, you know, understand what happens when you’re traveling back in space. If there’s too dark of a value back there, you’re bringing your pop in that hole, you’re losing miles and you’re painting. So, I try and really work with the individual versus it just being a, you know, a classic. we’re learning, atmospheric perspective today and tomorrow, we’re learning. You know, that kind of thing is I don’t think I teach a traditional workshop. Does that make sense?

Eric Rhoads 31:57
Yeah, well, okay. It sounds sounds to me, like it’s very customized, which is really important. So I want to probe a little bit because I love to probe these things. But when people call me and they’ll say, Eric, she said that, but you didn’t ask that question you you talked about contrast, and how the contrast gets closer together when things change, do you want to articulate that a little bit.

Kim Lordier 32:27
So that in terms of atmospheric perspective on you know, the greatest degree of contrast and values is the closer an object is to you, you have a greater degree of contrast on on an object or let’s talk about like a bank of trees in the mid ground, and then the same type of tree is, you know, five miles back in the distance when when the lights hitting it In the middle ground trees, and there’s a certain degree of contrast of light and dark. And when when you travel back in space, that that five miles, there’s still the same light that’s hitting the trees if there’s no clouds, but the contrast of light and dark gets closer together as you travel back in space, so there’s not as great a degree in value shift, as well as temperature shift that temperatures get a little bit closer together as you travel back in space as well, to some extent.

Eric Rhoads 33:37
All right. So talk to me about pastel because a lot of people listening to this are trying to figure out what their thing is going to be. What was it about pastel that that pulled you in?

Kim Lordier 33:50
I’ve worked in pastel since I was 15 years old. It’s basically it’s a yummy place. I love opening up My box and looking at the candy store of choice of colors. It was my outdoor kit or my kit and in the studio it’s my security blanket if that makes any sense. That’s a I understand the medium I know what is going to do. I even had you know, and a lot of folks, you know, that I’ve talked to I love painting oil as well I don’t get the same amount of time to do it and at one point period of time in earlier part of my career. I’m very fortunate to have a mentor and good friend and Jean Stern, the executive director of the Irvine museum. I approached him one day and was kind of asked his thoughts on this is gonna sound terrible. Last time I asked, Jean to be a real artist should I be painting in oil? And he looked at me and he just shook his head and he says, Kim, you just keep making a name for yourself and go down in history as a pastel artist you don’t need to be. It’s not the medium that’s going to make or break you paint what you love and paint with what you love. And that was some very, very beautiful advice that he gave to me. And

Eric Rhoads 35:32
so why did you even raise the question? What was it that prompted you to think that

Kim Lordier 35:37
because historically, works under glass have not been perceived as, as relevant as as oil painting in in a traditional sense.

Eric Rhoads 35:52
I don’t think I don’t think that Percy gray had that problem, do you?

Kim Lordier 35:55
do know, but he painted in oil too.

Eric Rhoads 35:58
Yeah, but his watercolors were very desirable.

Kim Lordier 36:01
Yes, but I still think that, the valuation of them is less that well, not now, that he’s no longer with us. But I think I went into I went into my career that I there’s two sides of my career and then there’s my creative journey. They’re trying really actually keep them very separate. And so on in terms of the career part, I think that’s why I felt compelled to ask, Jean, his feelings about that.

Eric Rhoads 36:49
what what if he had said, Yeah, Kim, you have to become an oil painter and you have to focus on oil painting what what would have happened that

Kim Lordier 36:57
I honestly couldn’t tell you because the fits and starts that I’ve had in time of the easel with oil painting which I love anytime I get to paint the figure I do still live or do something outside of my, my traditional genre you know I use that opportunity to paint in oil and but I always come back to what feels right in my hand and that that’s the pastels and I do feel I am confident enough in my own creativity now and even back then when I had that question. I knew pastels were were my are my medium that.

Eric Rhoads 37:51
So you said something earlier and I just wanted to probe that too as you were talking about broken color. Obviously the Impressionists were the ones who invented this idea of broken color. How important is that to you?

Kim Lordier 38:10
I, I think broken color based on top of a sound tonal value, structure is everything for me. That is, that is why I truly believe the early California. When I was exposed to the early California impressionists, they really brought me to my knees you know, the it’s just seen luscious, rich color. And with this strong sense of design, be able to Taos artists had that. You know, the, the, you know, Pennsylvania impressionists, while they have beautiful broken color based on strong tones. You know that the early California precious and then the more kind of illustrate of house artists, they really played with color. And for me those two, those two things are, I think part and parcel to who I am on the inside as a creative person, that’s what I’m drawn to. And that is, those two things are everything to me. So you know, not to mention the the Russian artists.

Kim Lordier 39:34
You need to come with us to Russia. I’m taking a group in September of 21. would be to go to all the museums and and go paint in the countryside is going to be pretty cool. So in terms of broken color, any advice to people on how to use it and how it’s oftentimes misused?

Kim Lordier 40:05
I don’t know if I have a intelligent comment on that other than, I think broken color. It really depends on what your, what your concept and and why you’re using that, you know if it’s to be to create a sense of iridescence or depth in a painting. You know what I think a broken color I also think of more loose brushwork, but that comes from, you know, being, you know, success with that comes with being a fabulous draftsman. So, there’s so much goes into that idea. I guess I don’t think of it just as a impressionist thing. Because we still even as a tunnel as you’re still laying one color on top of another. So I don’t know if I can answer that intelligently.

Eric Rhoads 41:05
Okay, talk to me about your process and the stages of painting.

Kim Lordier 41:13
I’ll do not so much now I see imagery in terms of value, and shape. And, and that’s. So I will talk my favorite. I’ve kind of coined this phrase, I call it drive by painting. And it’s, you know, that time when you you’re driving down the road, and you glance out the window and you’re going to 80 miles an hour, I mean, 55. And you see all these elements, light, dark shape, come together, like us in a second, and then in two seconds, that whole thing is blown apart and then gone, and That’s been aware of what your inner sensibilities are about how shape, and light and dark come together. And so that’s how I see now over the years of painting, and so when I’m out on location or you know, flipping through my my photo reference, I see something that resonates with me that way. And then I’ll either do a note tan, or think about the structure and what I want to say. And I did write in, I’m not a thumbnail girl, I don’t, I don’t care to do prep a lot of preparatory work in, in creating a painting. So I did dig right in, use a hard pastel to lay out my design. And then I do what is a traditional oil painting process of creating an under painting and I do that with pastel Hard pastel and terpenoid and a hog bristle brush. And the larger the brush the better because I am able to just keep large shapes

Eric Rhoads 43:08
so you’re actually you’re turning it into a liquid and creating a kind of a wash.

Kim Lordier 43:16
Absolutely it’ll, it’ll look like when it’s it dries in about five to eight minutes. Excuse me and then it’s it looks like a traditional oil painting it looks like or a watercolor, the beginning of a walnut watercolor study.

Eric Rhoads 43:33
Between a hard pastel and a soft pastel. I obviously everyone’s hard but

Kim Lordier 43:39
the density of it so hard pastel feels more similar to and they’re generally longer in shape and they feel more like a drawing tool, where a soft pasto is usually stuck much sturdier and much more softer so it lays when you lay a stroke down on yourself. Surface a lot more of the pastel digs into the tooth of the paper. And yeah and so that kind of comes towards the end towards the end of the process using those thicker pastels.

Eric Rhoads 44:13
Cool. So you’re laying in and under painting then you’re going and laying on soft pastel on top of the under painting.

Kim Lordier 44:21
Absolutely. And then I’ll refine my shapes and then I let the painting sit for a while if I’m in the studio, on location now you know I can’t come down and dirty I just get it done as quick as possible not finished but get the information that I want. And then I am on to the next I don’t I don’t like to finish stuff on location. I just want to bring that that kind of guttural mark making and and choices made and bring those back into the studio to have access to

Eric Rhoads 45:00
So do you do you ever paint from photographs?

Kim Lordier 45:03
Yes all the time. And how do you make sure that your paintings don’t look photographic, So, Is it because of the plein air experience that you’re just able to interpret photographs so that they feel more like they they’re their natural light? Because obviously photographs lie. Right? Well, I probably speaking to if you spoke to a photographer, they they would beg to differ about the line part of that but i do state that definitely when I teach my workshops. So the photos for me are definitely a starting point. They, they pretty much I stopped looking at them probably after the initial work gets, you know what I don’t they’re a starting point for me they’re an inspiration a jumping point. And so I really I rely on them but they also get pushed into the background I use my, you know, on location studies and I’ve, I have you know, spent a fair amount of time out painting outside and my memory muscle memory building that up and and so all that kind of comes into into play.

Eric Rhoads 46:45
Now let’s talk about career because you’ve turned a an early interest into a career a hobby into a living. That’s not easy as it

Kim Lordier 46:59
I don’t know if easy, it’s, it’s definitely work. But it’s, it’s not work in the form of drudgery. It’s, you know, the highs and lows. It’s the roller coaster ride of painting. But it’s also I, I guess when I started paint painting from life, I never really intended my intention was not to be in galleries nor to sell my artwork. My my intention at that time was you know, to get better and, and that’s really still now is my intention is to get better and to understand more and understand deeper hop on the flip side of that. You know it. I’ve been very blessed with being accepted into shows and Having these amazing gallery folks support me and work so hard to sell my work and that kind of came along with the journey. It’s not something I strived for and other I don’t know if that sounds counterintuitive, well, it’s probably you know, that’s definitely not marketing 101 that it’s, I’ve all I know it myself to be unnaturally competitive. So early on, I was submitting, you know, paintings to magazine shows, you know, prior to, you know, plein air magazine being in existence, I was getting the pastel journal and they had a competition and and you know, so I’d submit to that and, you know, the artists magazine where Steve Doherty At the time, before he came on with you guys, you know, he’s the editor for that, and they had theirs. And so I, I’ve always kind of put my work out there to see where it’s stuck. And I’ve been very fortunate to see it it stick a few times.

Eric Rhoads 49:18
to that point about competitions. I think you also made another interesting point and that is that you, you put yourself out there even though you didn’t have the confidence you didn’t know what’s what’s driving you knowing that there may be better painters putting their work into a competition, what’s driving you to do it anyway.

Kim Lordier 49:45
so, I want to go back to the first plein air convention, you had…

Eric Rhoads 49:50
to go back to because I’d been nine years or younger.

Kim Lordier 49:54
But your first marketing bootcamp Well, the question that you put out Audience like completely blew me away. You mentioned you can only pick one do you want to be famous? Rich? Do you want to have your work in a museum collection, respect from your peers, leave your mark in art history, I will never ever forget that. And I realized at that point in time, and I’d already kind of, you know, been in industry for quite a while, but I realized that what I may never sell another painting I, I certainly am not famous. But I think the biggest thing that resonated with me is from a very early age, I had already decided that I wanted respect from my peers and, and the later I get into this, I want to, I feel like I want to leave my mark in history. And so that kind of leads down that idea of on a business side or the creator of the market. Inside of what we do is, is climbing that proverbial ladder, you know, where you have shows and awards and, and magazine articles and you’re trying to get gallery representation and name branding and the notoriety, all those things come into play. But that is also you know, there’s there’s also a perception about that proverbial ladder and…Well, I think the ladder… hard on social media to see sometimes it’s difficult to see all the great things that are happening to other people and you want to try and avoid climbing somebody else’s ladder, and you need to bring it back home and really relish your own climb up each rung. I also had great advice from Jean Stern, to not be in a hurry to get to the top of what I thought my ladder the top of my ladder looks like the perceptions out there can get self you can get too caught up in that. So I think staying grounded and knowing who you are as an individual well if you’re super sensitive about um you know critique and that kind of thing. It’s it’s figuring out who you can trust to give you honest feedback without you know, tearing you can’t say that on a podcast

Eric Rhoads 52:36
You can sure you can see it but I’m sure some people might be offended.

Kim Lordier 52:41
Yeah. Okay, there you know what I mean? I think knowing that the wrongs to that that proverbial ladder are really unique to your individual journey.

Eric Rhoads 52:56
well it I think to the point you talked about before from artwork boot camp, if you would imagine that, that there’s a barn. And the top of the journey is the barn, and you’ve got a ladder leaning up against the barn and there’s five barns in the, in the, in the farm. And you know, a lot of people are running up one ladder, then they’re running down and then they’re running up another ladder, then they’re running down to it, because they’re trying to do it all. And as a result, they never get to the top, versus somebody who just keeps climbing those rungs steadily and consistently. And then they get to the top and then when they get to the top, they might go well, now I also would like to get museum recognition. So then they work on that, you know, so one ladder begets another ladder in some cases, but but they’re not always the same one. And I think that there’s this perception among many of us in this world that that we have to do this because of that. are doing it. I ran into some people I was coaching some people at fall color week, one year and, and this guy said, You know, I want to talk to you about how to sell my work and how to how to get it move in. And I said, do you need to do that? He said no. I said, Why do you want to do it? He said, because I thought I had to. And I said, No, it you don’t have to use this. You’re allowed to continue to be a hobbyist. And just be the best hobbyist you can be you don’t have to sell your work. And I think that we all tend to get a little distracted about what is my purpose? Why am I doing this?

Kim Lordier 54:37
I absolutely agree. I’ve always been very tunnel vision about my movement forward. I really don’t haven’t been distracted by Too many other things that way. And maybe that makes me a little bit boring. But that’s, I understand that is part of my core. And, you know, for somebody else who’s, you know, you know, coming up in the industry right now and has all these different avenues to have choices to make him to go down. That’s exciting and, but I think it’s being self aware of, of what your personal process is and, and you know, we’re so kind of bombarded with all this information now thanks to the, to the internet and and it’s harder to keep, you know, focus I think a little bit, especially for the younger generation.

Eric Rhoads 55:53
You have to be willing to ask yourself why, you know, and you know, if you’re climbing to the top, you have Ask yourself, why am I climbing to the top? What what? What’s it gonna feel like when I get there? Is that what I really want? Because so many people do that climb, and then they get there and it’s like, I can refer to you right now to a painter. I won’t mention a name, but it’s a painter who was doing 12 or 15 plein air shows a year. And this painter called me one time and said, I, you know, I’m doing all these shows, I’m getting a lot of recognition, I’m selling a lot of artwork, I hate my life. because it because of the life that was required to be able to do that, you know, this person had to be away from the family was on the road constantly was alone a lot, etc. You know, and so you really have to kind of ask yourself about purpose before you go after these things.

Kim Lordier 56:56
I think that’s why you’re I think that’s why that comment. Or that suggestion or you made, you know, back at that first plein air convention was so triggering for me because I realize I kind of made that decision A long time ago, but I was never aware of it. And I think that really helped me to focus or to understand. And it’s really helping me actually now you’ll understand where I sit in, in the industry that this is actually become and where I didn’t feel like it was an industry back then. But I just wasn’t as as exposed to stuff, you know, back then was kind of starting. So but again, it still comes down to understanding who you are and how how you’re driven if you’re somebody that loves experimenting and trying new things, and and You know, that’s I wish I had a little element of that where I had, you know, was able to go down different roads with abandon, but I I don’t so I, I think that a whole idea of the security blanket that comfort zone, but what I get out of that, Eric is a sense of peace and love. When I’m painting when I when I go into my studio or I’m setting up my, my gear and just grounding my toes into the sand of the beach to pain there. There’s just as powerful. I don’t know, energy or exchange that happens.

Eric Rhoads 58:50
What was the most painful thing that you ever went through in your life, childbirth…

Kim Lordier 59:00
No, that’s physical pain. I think mental pain is way worse.

Eric Rhoads 59:04
Yeah, well, of course, but let’s use this analogy. Go ride with me on this. Okay, so let’s say it’s childbirth. Maybe it’s not, So you had this enormous discomfort for close to a year, you had this issue of giving birth and the pain that goes with that. And from that pain, you you develop the most wonderful thing that ever happened in your life, right? It’s there’s just absolutely nothing better. And this is where pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones is really important, because it’s not you can always go back to your comfort zone. But you can’t get to growth without pushing yourself out there and experimenting a little bit and trying new things.

Kim Lordier 59:52
Absolutely. I’m not saying that I don’t experiment or push myself but I always end up coming back. down a certain lane and I think, if you trust your instincts and you, have to trust your instincts you have because your instincts will take you down a road of learning solid work or creating solid work, you know, if you experiment and then you come back and you experiment and then come back. I think that belief that trusting your instincts allows you to go move down that path and that’s when the doors for you know, success. You know, that’s that’s the road that you’re meant to walk. So I don’t disagree with that, you know, it’s important to experiment and to try new things and, and get out of your comfort zone. But I think also understanding who you are is, is really important to us. Literally down the right path.

Eric Rhoads 1:01:02
Absolutely. So as we, as we bring this plane in for a landing, do you have, any final thoughts or things that you want to share with everybody?

Kim Lordier 1:01:12
I thank you very much for all this. I think we all can’t do this without the people that support us. I’m very grateful to our family and the people in this industry that have been tremendously, tremendously supportive. You know, with what we do, and, our world changes constantly and I feel that happiness comes from within and We make our own happiness and I think we need to develop a deep rooted resilience and humble satisfaction with our work and We need to have faith and and who we are and why we step up to the canvas and what we put down on the canvas.

Eric Rhoads 1:02:08
Well said, Now, for people who want to learn more about you, your website is

Kim Lordier 1:02:16
on it’s really long. It’s But if you just Google Kim Lordier I should come up.

Eric Rhoads 1:02:31
That’s what I did. I just googled you. All right. And you have you have a pretty big show coming up in Carmel summer of 2020. At riser fine art.

Kim Lordier 1:02:44
Yeah. Jim Rieser is

Eric Rhoads 1:02:46
– Rieser – I’m sorry.

Kim Lordier 1:02:48
Oh, yeah. Jim Rieser owns James J. Rieser fine art in Carmel. I’ve been so honored to be in his space since 2006. He took a chance on me and my pastels. And then and we’ve had a great, fabulous relationship. Since then, this will be my third or fourth solo show with him. And yeah, we’re so kind of working on particulars right now,

Eric Rhoads 1:03:21
I have to tell you something about him and that is that and obviously I mispronounced his name, but I met him way back, probably about the time you’re in the Carmel art show. And one thing I realized is that he carries, you know, most of what he carries are the, the early California impressionist and very few living artists. And I realized that if you’re one of the living artists that gets into his gallery, that’s really a big deal because it says that he values, your style and your work to feel like it would fit in with those California impressionists.

Kim Lordier 1:04:00
For me and my journey, there’s that is one of the biggest honors is to have a painting hanging alongside a leg or pain or, you know, not that I ever would equate my work with her pain but, you know, be shut off by Guy rose all those amazing artists. That’s, it’s pretty special, Eric.

Eric Rhoads 1:04:26
Yeah, it is special and that’s a very special gallery. So congratulations on that.

Kim Lordier 1:04:33
Thank you so much.

Eric Rhoads 1:04:34
Well, Kim, thank you for being on the Plein Air podcast today. This has been a real pleasure. I think we could talk for hours and I would encourage people to go and visit your website, check out what you’ve got, but also to consider pastel painting as an option.

Kim Lordier 1:04:52
Absolutely come to the dusty side for a little while. We’d love to have you on the dusty side.

Eric Rhoads 1:04:57
Well, thank you Kim.

Kim Lordier 1:04:59
Thank you. Eric Have a great day.

Eric Rhoads 1:05:01
Thank you Kim Lordier she is one of the most well loved most well respected people in our planner world because she’s such a generous and giving and sweet person. So thank you, Kim. Are you guys ready for some art marketing ideas?

Announcer 1:05:17
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 1:05:29
In the art marketing minute I try to answer your questions. All you got to do is email them to me [email protected]. Today both questions come from a listener named David Cruz whose first question is at what point in an artist’s career do you suggest they try advertising to reach potential buyers? Is it effective for artists still trying to establish themselves or is it better Left to more well established artists. Well, David, it starts by being ready. And what I mean by that is your work has to be developed and strong enough to sell. And you have to be able to do consistent enough painting so that your paintings are all pretty much consistent with one another. So you have more winners than losers. And you have to have that confidence to begin as fast as possible and never let up. And what I mean by that is that marketing becomes a lifetime commitment. If you’re planning on selling art for your lifetime, you have to plan on marketing for a lifetime. I’m in business. I have to constantly be marketing the minute I let up, my business stops, I don’t have any more customers. That’s the same for all artists. Now. There’s various forms of marketing. Part B of your question you said.

Eric Rhoads 1:06:53
You ask if it’s effective for artists still trying to establish themselves to be marketing or if it’s better for established Artists? The answer is Yeah, both. But let me tell you a story about an established artist. He was famous top of the game really big deal making lots of money selling lots of art. In fact, he had such momentum that he decided he could save all this money on his advertising. And he stopped because everybody knew him. And he was okay for a while because he had a brand he had some momentum, but his momentum was lost. And within a very short period of time, nothing was selling anymore. And as a matter of fact, he was out of sight, out of mind, all of a sudden, he wasn’t being invited into shows. He wasn’t being invited to galleries. And as I talked about, there’s a thing called attrition. So people are always in and out of the market, the average gallery or artists loses 10% of their potential buyers every year simply because those people are out of the market for some other reason. But there’s another group of people who may be coming in if you’re refreshing that well. He wasn’t doing that. So all of a sudden nobody knew who he was anymore he was it was a has been, I hate to use those terms. But he became a guy who went from being on top to being on the bottom making nothing and nobody knew who he was he was contacting artists and, and guy me and other galleries and they were like, sorry, you don’t know who you are. And so he had to re establish himself and rebuild his career. He lost a lot of momentum lost a lot of years, because he had stopped. The minute you become an artist professional, meaning selling your work, you have to start marketing on you’re working on your marketing, even if it’s a year out from when you plan to launch, you need to learn it. You need to make plans, you need to plant seeds, you need to develop strategy, you need to develop a marketing plan. Everything always takes longer than you think it will. We’re all optimistic things take time and you you have to build momentum. Momentum actually helps sales but you have to build momentum in the beginning and takes time to build momentum and experimentation and trying different things. Marketing is a life time commitment. Your next question is aside from quality, what are the major criteria that buyers look at to determine if a piece of art is worth paying 1000 versus 10,000 for? Well, it’s all perceived value and perceived value is emotion as a BMW seven series is the same car as a Bentley with a few extra touches, but it’s $100,000 more in price. perceived value comes from branding and looking successful and that branding saying that you’re successful in subtle ways. It comes from social proof, meaning other people prominent customers who are buying your work and it’s visible that they are social proof could be being in the right gallery. Everybody knows that gallery sells paintings that are expensive. It comes from having courage and it comes from A slow build up of a collector base, raising that collector base to buy your work and raising your prices a little bit every year, being invited to the right shows being seen at the right places. And I saw one artist who had some courage he put his price out there 200 K, he got it all of a sudden he was $100,000 artist. So you cannot typically launch your career selling hundred thousand dollar paintings, although I’ve seen it done one time, but it was from a famous sculptor who switched to painting and just put $100,000 price in his first painting and got it prices about perception. Who you’re seeing with being in the right galleries getting into the right shows into the most important museums, showing that your work is embraced and accepted at a high value. Now I go into a lot of depth in my books and videos about pricing. But everything you want to accomplish in your art career, other than your painting ability can pretty be accomplished through some form of marketing. It starts with knowing where you want to go, why you want to go there and then developing your strategy and your plan. I hope that helps. This has been the art marketing minute.

Announcer 1:11:15
This has been the marketing minute with Eric Rhoads. You can learn more at

Eric Rhoads 1:11:19
if you’ve not seen my blog where I talk about art life and other such things, check it out. It’s called Sunday coffee. You can get it for free weekly, but you have to find it. The first one to find is at A reminder now to book for the August plein air convention. Remember there’s a COVID guarantee so you can book safely and know that if it’s canceled, you’re okay. Visit This is fun. We’ll do it again sometime God Willing like next week. We’ll see you then I’m Eric Rhoads, publisher and founder of Plein Air magazine. Remember it’s a big world out there. Go paint it now. It’s becoming springtime in most parts of America. Of course if you’re listening in Australia it’s becoming winter. So anyway, we’ll see you, go paint, bye.

Announcer 1:12:11
This has been the Plein Air Podcast with Plein Air magazine’s Eric Rhoads. You can help spread the word about plein air painting by sharing this podcast with your friends. And you can leave a review or subscribe on iTunes. So it comes to you every week. And you can even reach Eric by email [email protected]. Be sure to pick up our free ebook 240 plein air painting tips by some of America’s top painters. It’s free at Tune in next week for more great interviews. Thanks for listening.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here