Sunday, December 20, 2009

Workshop in Florida

Workshop 2010 - Indialantic / Melbourne, Florida
One Session Only This Year
Feb., 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 & 21 (Tues., Wed., Thurs., Fri., Sat. & Sun.)
8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. -- Studio and Plein Air!
You Can Choose Your Days This Year!

This year we are structuring the workshop differently -- choose your days! The cost is $60 per day and a deposit of $50 will assure you a spot in this popular class. Please call Jeanne Andre, 321-773-2434 in Indialantic, FL, or me in Woodstock, GA, 770-926-3623. Classes will be held at 3800 N. Riverside Dr., Indialantic, FL 32903 and the local area. E-mail me (address below) for address to send your deposit.

The workshop will be studio and/or plein air (outdoors from life) according to those students that sign up for each day. Locations in the Melbourne / Indialantic area are yet to be determined -- if we leave the Riverside property. This property has many beautiful areas that will work for plein air if we don't leave!  The demonstrations will be in either pastel or oil.

The workshop is appropriate for beginning to advanced students. All students receive individual attention geared to their level and medium. If you are painting in studio, bring photographs (no copyrighted material, please), or you may paint from mine. You may choose which of the days you can attend, according to your schedule and needs, and plan studio or plein air.

Pastel is my main instruction medium, and beginners will be very comfortable taking this workshop to learn pastel techniques. Students taking the workshop using oil or acrylic should have some experience with their medium, but will receive the benefit of my experience in oil and acrylic. Most theories are the same no matter the medium you use. Call or e-mail me if you have questions about this. A supply list will be sent upon payment of deposit.

The workshop emphasis is on composition and value, with temperature and color a strong second! There will be added emphasis on quickly creating a thumbnail sketch to work from, blocking in the darks and lights,  choosing your colors and developing the painting. This class is not just to paint a pretty painting from start to finish -- or to learn to paint like me. The principles of design, starting and working through the painting are most important. If you are painting in studio from a photograph, there will be discussion about the limitations of photographs and how your observations on location can help.

Please contact me or Jeanne Andre ASAP to sign up. Sometimes it fills in a hurry and with the reduction in days this year, you might miss out. This is a fun class, especially inspirational with all the artwork being created around you by the other students. Class size is kept small with no more than 15 students. Believe me, you will say "You're back already?"

For more information about me, my bio and my artist statement, see my web site,, or you can call 770-926-3623 (Woodstock, GA.), or e-mail me at

I hope to hear from you!

Friday, December 18, 2009

A New Work in Progress

I've started a new oil painting on canvas. It is the first canvas painting I have done in quite awhile. I forgot how much the canvas can bounce, especially since the canvas is quite large . . . 30" x 48"! I have been painting on panels and birch boards, so it is really a different feeling. I tend to be an energetic painter and so sometimes the canvas is not in the spot I want a brushstroke because I am rapidly putting strokes down. I guess I need to slow down a bit.

Here are four shots of what I have done so far from the first strokes to what I have done up through the latter part of today. There is a bright spot on the upper left because of the lighting in my studio -- but be assured it is not quite that white looking. So here is the beginning:

I toned the canvas with some red and wiped it down with a cloth so it would not be too bright. I paint thinly so don't worry too much about how things are a little messy looking in the beginning. I just want to get some colors on the canvas -- mainly because in the late stages I love going into those thin areas and doing some negative painting to create the trees, limbs and trunks. You never know what accidental things can happen on the original lay-in that might be a beauty spot later! Here is the second photo:

Here you can see that I have continued across the canvas laying in something to look like background tree shapes. I have also straightened up the cabin posts and porch (I'm not sure I don't like the original look where it was a little skewed!) -- and added a few of the larger tree trunks on the left. Also beginning to put just a little into the river. At this point I am playing with color combinations. Also I have the light coming from the left side and am keeping the right side somewhat darker because of the tall trees. And, on to image number three of this process:

Here I have added more to some of the tree and foliage colors -- along with the obvious addition of some colors for the water. So far there are no reflections, but you just wait to see later. But, the water does flow quite swiftly and the reflections will be pretty distorted. Okay, the last image for this post -- even though I did a bit more before I left the studio today. . . I did not take the last shot as the light was really getting darker:

Here you can see I have started adding some rocks along the edge of the river -- these have been placed there by the owners of the cabin. Also I have added some of the skimpy limbs we so often see on those tall pine trees. There are also some limbs that have no pine needles, just the myriad of small  branches. I like them so far, but we shall see if they detract from the painting. I have also started adding some of the little things the owners have hanging from the porch. We shall see what makes the final cut!

One more word about the colors -- the left side looks quite light blue and it is somewhat . . . but not to the extent my lightening shows in this photograph. There is a spot there that reflects from the lighting fixture in the room. Apologies for that. Ask any questions you wish . . . would love to hear your thoughts.

So, until next photos, Happy Painting!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Where are you with your Art?

I have been doing much reading about marketing of my art and how I should be going about it. This is not something new for me. I have always been someone that loves to read about the best way for whatever!

Yesterday morning when having coffee and reading, I saw an article about what happens when we spend too much time researching, using the computer, marketing, etc. . . .  and not enough time in the studio. I wish I could remember who wrote the article, but I am bad about clicking through to many links from one article to the next. Bad!

The gist of the article was on the premise the if you "work" and "produce," the rest will follow. They had a split of time for about 20% for marketing and 80% for producing studio or plein air time. I had always heard it was closer to 50% each. I think lately I have been trying too hard on the marketing end and not spending enough time in the studio -- or plein air.

Some of the article discussed how easy it is to create buzz about your work, and on the internet create a persona that seems to be one of the better artists. You read all the time about someone winning awards, and the author of the article commented they would like to know what the awards are! I think it was a "she" writing the article -- and I agree with her. You can make a biography sound like you are one of the best artists in the region . . . and then really not have anything to back it up.

I think I have been so focused on not losing ground with my marketing and networking that I have lost sight, somewhat, about what I am doing. Don't get me wrong, I love my networking and the other artists I have met! These people are key in learning where to go from here . . . here being where I am now with my work. But, I talked to Haywood (my husband) last night during dinner about needing to spend uninterrupted time in the studio . . . much more of it. And, I need that time to be about painting, not producing work just for the gallery, or a show, etc.

I need to play, which is what I talked to my night class about in their last class. Play is what I call it! The ability to work and try different things. I truely believe we learn more from our mistakes than we do when it happens to come out right the first time. Now, don't get me wrong! I know certain theories and will apply them to my paintings, but sometimes in different combinations, the outcome will not be good!

Also, what is my voice? What am I trying to get across to my viewer? Who is Marsha Hamby Savage in the painting? These are things I will be exploring over the next months in the studio. What do I love about a scene? I need to make better choices about subject matter. That does not mean I will quit painting trees -- which is the biggest thing I am known for here in my regional area. Just how can I do it . . .  so that it is better than just a pretty painting of a tree?

Cypress Evening
Pastel - 12" x 9"

This painting is my latest finished piece and it was started as a demonstration in one of my classes. I think it turned out pretty well, and we discussed it in one of my other classes about the choices I made. It is all about the light! If you would like to critique it, please feel free. I would love to hear your thoughts, both good and critical. I don't want just a pat on the back. It might feel good, but it tells me nothing really.

Back to the article, and the thoughts I had from reading it . . . I know there are artists out there that think they are too good to associate with a local, non-nationally-known, artist. But, how did they get where they are? It is not just talent! It is hard work! Of course, spending time in the studio learning and perfecting their craft is key! But, there were people out there that helped them understand what made a better artist. Teachers, of course. Friends and peers all help. In my opinion, discussions among those I know are important.

Chime in and let me know what you are doing. We learn from each other.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Art Marketing is Conversations by Clint Watson

Here is a reprint of an article written by Clint Watson -- which I receive as a subscription to the service at FineArtViews. I have reprinted his article and another one just below this post according to his instructions on "republish" an article. I copied them according to his instructions, but all the formatting did not translate into this blog post. I have gone back in and created links where he has them, so that it works as he intended. I think these two post are extremely important and hope you will read them through. Go to his site and subscribe. I think you would enjoy his and his guest authors' posts!

Art Marketing is Conversations by Clint Watson

Today's Post is by Clint Watson, founder of FineArtViews. Follow Clint on Twitter.

Since writing about Art Marketing for Artists Who Want to Change the World, I've had some more thoughts about art marketing: Art marketing is conversations.

Ignore your friendly magazine salesperson and/or marketing "guru" who tells you marketing is all about "branding:" "branding" is for sissies, branding is dead - MARKETING. IS. CONVERSATIONS. (Hint: If you're having conversations, you'll "automatically" develop a "brand").

Conversations are going to happen with or without your participation.

There's an old saying in advertising, "Tell your story, or someone else will tell it for you." But, if you don't participate in the process, the story that gets told may not be the one you want told.

Consider what Brian Clark, of Copyblogger wrote, "People tell stories about themselves. They even buy things in order to say something about themselves. They don’t give a hoot about your story unless it furthers their own personal narrative. If it does, your story comes along for the ride. If not… too bad for you. You’re not the star of this story. Smart marketers don’t even try to be the star. Smart marketers want to be indispensable supporting characters...People respond to marketing stories when they either identify with the hero, or desire to become the hero. Your story must put the prospect front and center as that hero."

This is another way of describing Hugh MacLeod's Blue Monster idea. People want to tell their OWN stories to each other and connect with each other. You just want to become part of that conversation and have your story.....your art, your artist story "come along for the ride."

Your followers are going to talk to each other and you want to be able to encourage that behavior. Helping them connect with one another is a good thing.

Hindering conversations is a bad thing. And this is where we turn to the subject of art galleries.

"Marketing is conversations" applies to you art galleries as well. I'm speaking to art galleries now. Art galleries listen - get this fact in your mind and accept it: Your clients ARE going to talk directly to your artists. Be part of the conversation or bury your head in the sand and ignore it (and be excluded). The Internet has changed the equation. This subject came up recently in my twitter stream and artist John T. Unger said, "Making the intro (of the collector to the artist) insures the gallery stays in the loop. NOT making the intro has more potential to hurt their sales." John's exactly right: If you introduce your clients to your artists, you're guaranteed to be part of the conversation. If you don't, you're guaranteed to be excluded. Which option do you want?

Art is all about communication. When a buyer purchases artwork, he/she is “purchasing” the artist as well as the artwork. The stronger the client-artist connection, the more likely the person will become an ongoing collector. The progressive art dealer realizes that instead of hindering these connections, he should foster and encourage them. Indeed, building relationships is the essence of the dealer’s job. Instead of hiding the artist’s web site, why not enthusiastically share it with clients and encourage them to visit it? Instead of blocking access to an artist, why not pick up the phone and introduce the prospect to that artist? Heck, why not even give the artist’s phone number to prospects? Each of these actions would make a sale more likely; after all, wouldn’t YOU feel special if you were invited to personally call the artist? Galleries and artists need to quit playing games and work together as a team and trust each other.

If I were an artist today, I wouldn't work with any gallery that tried to limit my freedom to have conversations directly with collectors online and offline. I also wouldn't work with any gallery that didn't agree to provide me with contact info of people who purchased my work so that I could strengthen my connection with my collector clan. To reciprocate, I would make sure that each of my galleries trusted me completely. I would NEVER, NEVER, EVER sell directly to collectors that discovered me through my galleries. I would NEVER sell my artwork for a price lower than what it would sell for in a gallery.

Now go change the world.

Sincerely, Clint Watson
Software Craftsman and Art Fanatic

PS - If you ever break trust with your galleries, realize that the story surrounding you may no longer be the one you want told. Remember conversations are going to happen with our without your participation.

This article appears courtesy of FineArtViews by Canvoo, a free email newsletter about art, marketing, inspiration and fine living for artists, collectors and galleries (and anyone else who loves art).

This article originally appeared at:

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Now be sure to read the post below also. It is important to your marketing!

Written Statements by Keith Bond

I subscribe to an e-mail newsletter from FineArtViews by Clint Watson. Here is a reprint of an article I thought worth posting here in my blog. It is a little long, but hope you will read it. I apologize to Mr. Watson as he has a way he wishes you to "republish". I did all he asked, but the formatting did not translate into the blog post. Nothing was omitted though, and I did create the links to anything he had as a link in his original post. I hope you enjoy it! Look for his blog and sign up. It is a good one.

Written Statements by Keith Bond

This article is by Keith Bond, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.

It can sometimes be difficult to sort through all the advice we receive about marketing art. Some of the information seems contradictory – even when offered by the same person. I have probably given such contradictory information. Personally, there is a topic which has been causing me some frustration for a while. I am referring to writing your bios, artist statements, blogs, newsletter articles, press releases, etc. – really any written statement about you and/or your work. Perhaps some of you are also a bit bewildered about them.

Here is where I find contradictions in what everyone is saying:
Tell Your Story
Firstly, you are told to tell your story. Why do you create what you create? Why do you use your chosen media? Why do you paint your chosen subject matter? Why do you use certain techniques? What is your motivation? What do you want to say with your art? Etc.

Also Tell Anecdotal Stories
Every work of art has a story. Some of these stories may emerge when answering the above questions. But often there are additional anecdotal stories that add even more to the work of art. Perhaps while painting en plein air, a gust of wind blew your easel over and carried your painting away. You finally retrieved it 100 yards down the hill. Click here for other examples of this type of story. You’re told to share your stories.

What’s In It for Me (WIIFM)?
This is where I find the contradiction. We are advised to write from the collector’s point of view. Put yourself in the collectors’ shoes and ask “What is in it for me?”

I recently read an article on the topic. Unfortunately I can’t remember who wrote it right now. The point was made that every landscape artist is inspired by the landscape. Every figurative artist is inspired by the figure. Don’t write a statement that simply states, “I am passionate about the landscape.” I am guilty of doing this.

So, What Do I Write?
So, how do you write your story and make it unique and interesting when it is the same as everyone else’s story? Or how do you tell your story, share your inspiration, and even add interesting anecdotes, but do it all while addressing WIIFM? This is the challenge. I am slowly figuring it out. Maybe you are quicker than me and have it all figured out already.

I think that there are different levels or classifications of written material for marketing.

The more formal written material is where I think the more carefully crafted writing is found. I include Bios, Artist Statements, and Press Releases here. Make them interesting. Write them in a way that makes the viewer want to look at more of your work. Make them compelling. Consider the WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) question. If you are careful and creative, you can write a statement that includes your story and addresses the collectors’ perspective. Take enough time to write and rewrite these. Revisit them from time to time and update or change them as you grow as an artist.

Less Formal
These may include your blog or newsletter. You don’t always need to craft these as carefully. There are times when it is important to address the WIIFM, but there are also times when you simply can’t share your story in that way. If you write enough blog posts, you have the freedom to move back and forth. Some blogs focus more on you, some more on the viewer. Don’t neglect the audience’s perspective. Give them reason to come back. But you can insert a bit more of yourself here.

What about Twitter? Alyson Stanfield recently wrote a great blog about using Twitter. She suggests that only 5% of your tweets should be self promotional. If you want to compel your followers to visit your website, these 5% need to consider WIIFM. Don’t simply write, “Visit my website to see my latest work.” This isn’t compelling enough.

So, To Summarize
You need to write your story, but wherever possible consider the WIIFM. If you are creative enough, maybe you can add it into almost every written statement. At the minimum, the most important statements need to address the WIIFM. The less formal statements should include it wherever possible, but don’t force them into areas where they simply don’t work (such as anecdotal stories).

Happy writing, Keith Bond

This article appears courtesy of FineArtViews by Canvoo, a free email newsletter about art, marketing, inspiration and fine living for artists, collectors and galleries (and anyone else who loves art).

This article originally appeared at:

For a complimentary subscription, visit:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Another correction!

Here are the latest changes I have made to the painting I have been working on! I knew there was very definitely something I did not like about the painting. The pasture and foreground just did not jive with the rest of the painting. Or maybe the trees did not go with the pasture. But . . . I did not think the pasture went with the background trees. At this point, I wanted the beautiful colors of the background and the sky to be more the point of interest than the pasture and the trees.

I tried changing the pasture to more a reflection of the sky blue color. I have always told my students that the sky determines many of the colors you choose. Reflected colors from the sky will usually show up on the flat planes of the ground or the top of anything such as a barn roof, tips of leaves facing the sky, etc. But, when I put the colors in, I was not pleased. So, I even changed it to a more pinkish color, then to a more peachy color. But none of these seemed to please me. I also decided I wanted to play down the little roadway. It was demanding too much interest.

I think I brushed off the bottom half of the painting at least three times in about one hour. I have a load of pastel dust in a dish now to create a neutral stick of pastel!

I then decided maybe the pasture needed to be a more neutral color so as to not compete with the background and the sky. So, I used a somewhat cool green in a light value for the middle pasture. Then I decided to make more interesting marks in the foreground before it rolls over the hill to the middle  pasture. Now I am starting to like the look. Then I decided to add more blues back into the pasture.

So . . . here are the latest "corrections" I have made. Who knows if I will still be pleased tomorrow when I go down to the studio. I think distancing of at least one day or more lets me look at it with "new" eyes. The left photo is the older version and the right one is the latest.

Oh, after loading the older version and the new one -- side-by-side -- I forgot, I did change the foreground tree! I decided it needed more interest in the shape. Also that helped me to create a little bush beside it. And I got rid of the gradation of color where the light is highlighting the edge. I am not sure the tree is correct at this point. But, I do like it better! Looking at it here, I can tell the little color and value change on the left corner where the pathway starts is still not a good shape. So . . . look for it to change also. It's getting there! And, I am always interested in any comments.

Monday, December 7, 2009

New Pastel Painting

Today I had a bit of time to analyze a painting I am working on and see what little changes might need to be made. I like keeping a painting on an easel and as I walk by each day, I can look at it and see if anything jumps out at me that is not quite right. The painting is on an Ampersand Pastelbord and is 24" x 36".

The first image is what I had done up until a few days ago. I knew there was still a good bit to make it into something worth framing -- maybe!

I want the front tree to be less "decorated"! It needs to be simplified so it fits with the rest of the painting. I also knew the clouds were not finished. Could I carry off creating a painting that had such simplification of the fields, but still have the road running into the distance and it not look too trite! I always like pushing the colors, but maybe this time I have pushed them a little too far. I love the colors I have used in the distance, but will have to decide if they are too intense. They might be, but they might be what I want to have happen. Breaking the rule of intensity being more in the foreground. So, the next photo is what I have done up to today.

Here I have added a tiny little barn at the back of the field, so that the road leads somewhere. I have also created more interest in the clouds and taken the largest one up and out the top of the painting.

Also, I have simplified the foreground tree some and changed the colors in the shadow side to a more intense blue-green.

At this point I have to decide -- is it finished. Do I have interest for the viewer -- enough to keep their interest? Would someone put this kind of painting and these color combinations in their home and live with it?

I thoroughly enjoyed painting this. I used a color I have always said was my least favorite color -- orange. It was play as far as I am concerned. An experiment using colors in a combination I don't usually do. Tell me what you think -- would love to hear your thoughts.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Demonstration in Blue Ridge GA

Two posts in one day! Whew -- I should have just added this to the other post about a sold painting.

But, for everyone -- I will be at High Country Art & Antique Gallery in downtown Blue Ridge, GA, this Saturday, Dec. 12 from about 10:30 until 5:00. I will demonstrate my pastel techinque and talk to everyone and answer questions! Come watch and visit! I would love to see you in Blue Ridge. The gallery is on East Main Street, just across from the train station (and it has a green awning over the sidewalk). It is easy to find!

I will also have a basket full of paintings that are not in frames -- just in an acetate / plastic sleeve. These paintings are mostly works I did for demonstrations, or plein air, or studies for larger work. A couple have been in the gallery but just did not meet their owner! I have taken those out of frames so I could re-use those frames. These paintings are reduced from my normal retail price just for this event, and because they are not framed, or course.

Come to Blue Ridge for the day -- and come into the High Country Art Gallery, see my paintings and say hello --  and watch me work!

Sold Painting at Quinlan Art Center

Well, so sorry, it has been a couple of weeks since I posted anything to the blog. This time of year is difficult because the holidays have a way of interrupting the time spent in the studio and on the computer. But good news was sent to me last Thursday from the Quinlan Art Center located in Gainesville, GA, to tell me I had sold one of the two paintings I had accepted into a "Members" show. Great news. In this economy that someone loved the painting enough to spend their hard earned money!

"Pool and Shadows"

This is a pastel painting about 11" x 14" on an Ampersand Pastelbord, but don't have my inventory book close so I can check the actual size. I also had another painting accepted into the show and will have to pick it up tomorrow.

The scene is from a photo I took at "Fiery Gizzard Preserve" near Monteagle, Tennessee. I would have loved to paint on location there, but the paths are a little treacherous to carry art supplies. So, instead I took many photographs and have done quite a few paintings from them. Even the other accepted painting was from the same locale.

The hike is relatively dark because of the overhanging trees and topography -- somewhat of a ravine -- and I thought the colors should help you feel the coolness of the day. So, I pushed the colors a little out of the "actual" local color you would see. Hope you can feel the coolness!