Last week, I participated in Easels in Frederick, a plein air competition held annually in Frederick, Maryland. I don’t normally participate in competitions, I don’t really like the concept of competing when it comes to art. So, why did I do it? I teach a lot of drawing and painting classes, and I felt I needed a break for a week to just get away and paint without doing demos, explaining what I’m doing and why, and painting with the intent of teaching instead of just painting. As anyone who is self employed knows, time off from work does not come without a price–lost revenue, so I decided that a plein air event would be a good way to justify a week of just painting, while not completely giving up the opportunity to earn some money from sales. Let me say upfront, I did not at any point consider myself a serious contender for any of the big prizes, doing so is a great way to set yourself up for disappointment. And no, I did not win any awards, which is not the reason I did this in the first place so I was not bothered by that. I did however sell 2 paintings at full gallery pricing, which means two new collectors who may become repeat customers. [Read more…]
The pastel above does not show the entire subject. The sheet of PastelMat it is painted on is pure white and highly visible in areas surrounding the image. Some areas of the painting are more detailed that others. Yet the painting is finished, I will not do anything else to it. How can that be? [Read more…]
Extremely busy right now, can’t write too much but want to let everyone know about a fun local event taking place this weekend at The Artist Framer in Cranford, NJ. Myself, Tony Conner, Pratima Rao and Frank Constantino will be painting in Cranford during the week and exhibiting the work we produce at the gallery on Saturday. The painting above, which I painted this morning, is included in the exhibit.
There is also a fun, local paint out and all artists are invited to attend. The fun begins at 1:30 pm and details can be found here at The Artist Framer web site. Hope to see you there! Stick around for the reception afterwards from 5 – 7 pm.
Painting outside in public is really not scary, especially in New York City. While that may seem odd the fact is that NYC is one of the most artist-friendly places to paint. Most people will walk right past you, they are busy getting to where they need to be and have probably seen things a lot more unusual than someone painting in public.
Those that do stop will do so simply out of curiosity, and for the most part are tourists. I use these types of encounters to make people feel welcome to the city–I ask them where they are from, if they paint, what type of art they like, etc. If they are still interested in watching me paint, I will often just go into demo mode and start explaining what I’m doing–at that point, they either become truly interested which could result in a sale or new student relationship, or they get bored and leave–either of these results works for me.
They key is to remember that you are doing something you love to do, forget about everyone else and what they may or not may think of your painting. You are not doing it for them, you are doing it for you! Stay focused on what you are doing and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Really concentrate on the painting, carefully observe your subject and confidently put it on the paper.
Here are a few ways to attract less attention to yourself and to get through any encounters that do occur:
- Reduce your visibility – leave the big equipment home and just bring a sketchbook and some watercolors or pencils.
- Find a place to sit or stand with your back to a wall, tree or other surface so that people will have to walk directly up to you if they want to talk. This greatly reduces the number of encounters.
- Paint with a group or take a workshop (I have two coming up in NYC–Bryant Park on 7/31 and the Flatiron Building on 8/21–click here for details)
- Look visitors right in the eye and offer a big friendly “hello”! Remember, you are doing something you love, let them know how much fun you are having. No one can put you down for doing something you love to do!
- Work in a size that suits your pace–I never go bigger than 11×14 when I work outside and most of the time I work smaller than that. This allows me to finish each piece in one session and to get further along faster. The more finished your painting is, the less to explain to visitors.
Have fun and remember, you are out there for your own enjoyment and learning, that is something to be respected and admired!