Acrylic Abstracts, 20" x 24" x 1.5" diptych
The Artists Helping Artists show topic this week is Extreme Painting. It's all about the crazy stuff we do as artists. You know, like painting outside in Alaska or painting in the desert in 120 degree temperatures. It's about painting nocturnes, painting in locations accessed by a helicopter, or painting in a small dinghy boat. In very rough waters. It's all about getting the perfect scene in the perfect spot. No matter the conditions.
As artists I think we enjoy the extreme conditions (occasionally) as it's fun to get out and try new things. If you haven't caught the show you might want to listen to it here. (Its on Friday at 10:00am PST) At the least, you can listen to it while painting in your nice and warm studio while sipping hot chocolate ... Haha. Just kidding!
What are the most extreme conditions you have painted in?
And for me? Well, for a while I was painting in the Carriage House in nearly 100 degree weather (ok, maybe it was low 90's) before I installed air conditioning. I know you are thinking that doesn't count since I didn't backpack ten miles up to a remote location to paint amongst bears and coyotes in extreme heat. But it really did feel hot and awful. I promise.
Or there was the time I was painting at the beach and fifty mile an hour winds (ok, maybe not 50 mph but it sure felt that windy) came upon us. I lost my painting, palette and previous finished painting, all which blew about thirty feet (or perhaps 10 ft.) away and landed, of course, face down. Talk about finding sand everywhere for months afterwards ...
But my most extreme condition? Hmmm. I am still thinking ... I know there must be something dangerous and cool that I just can't remember ...
Abstract Acrylic, 24" x 20" x 1.5 "
One of the questions my abstract students frequently ask me is "Where do you find your design inspirations?". Truthfully, most of them come from my head. Once I have my color, composition and room inspiration I just start putting the paint on the canvas and see where it goes. But when a student tells me they aren't seeing or feeling the inspiration I tell them to look right in front of them
I think I can explain this best if I share the inspiration that I see in front of me right now. I am sitting at the Daily Grill at the Westin Hotel in Los Angeles, trying to enjoy my four hour layover before my flight to Hawaii. (Unfortunately it just isn't enough time to head home as I would have to turn around again in minutes to fight our lovely LA traffic.) So I took a few photos of what is right in front of me. And this is without even getting up from my chair.
Can you guess what they are?
The three on the top row, from left to right are my memo book, the lining (and zipper) inside my Kate Spade purse and my grilled chicken lunch. The bottom row, from left to right are my fork, the glass divider next to the table and the ice cubes in my water.
Do you see how these six photos could make great inspirations for abstract paintings? So open your eyes and look what is right in front of you! You can and will always be inspired.
I will be painting a few of these for sure! Stay tuned ...
I have always considered myself as an "out of the box" thinker. But after visiting the Renwick Museum yesterday in Washington D.C. I am convinced I need to work on that a bit. Holy smokes.
My son Matt and I spent an afternoon visiting the exhibits at the Renwick and they were amazing. Fifteen foot trees built out of index cards. Millions of them. Traditional wallpaper created with bugs. Real bugs. Even ugly and creepy bugs. And trees created out of 500,000 jenga pieces. Seriously.
So here is what I am thinking. Now that I am painting abstract paintings I really need to step out of my comfort zone. In a really big way. I can no longer paint what's easy and comfortable. I need to really think more about my color palette, composition and inspiration. I want to push myself and really think outside of the box. But I promise I will still create paintings that I love. And it's not likely they will be made of bugs. Even real ones. No way.
Winter Beach Day
Abstract Acrylic, 20" x 24" x 1.5"
I was very fortunate to host a three day abstract workshop in Atlanta last week. Sixteen fabulous artists joined me and we painted, laughed, painted, ate, painted, role played, painted and laughed a lot more. As I have often said, this is just too much fun to be considered work.
I am truly convinced that artists are special people. They are fun and kind and caring and genuinely really great people. This past week there were many artists in my class who hadn't really painted abstracts before. Some hadn't painted with acrylics. Many hadn't painted with a palette knife. And none had made a presentation to a client with paintings created on canvas paper!
On the last day of the workshop I gave each of my students a portfolio which showed a picture of a room with fabric samples and paint samples. Each artist then created sample abstract paintings (on canvas paper) and then presented me (the client) with their ideas. The results were unbelievable. Absolutely fantastic. And the presentations were polished, informative and in some cases pretty funny. As a joke my class totaled up all of the "purchases" of their art that I made. Somehow I managed, as the "fake" client, to spend $64,000 that day.
As you can imagine I was very impressed ...
11" x 14" Oil Painting
I get emails all of the time about the best ways to ship your artwork. I don't think there is one perfect solution that applies to every situation. Thus I do think the best plan is to check out your options.
I usually ship my paintings, large and small via the USPS or Fedex.
I love USPS Priority mail, especially if I can use one of the boxes provided by the post office. Their envelopes and small, medium and large boxes ship at a flat rate regardless of weight. The boxes only work for smaller paintings but the cost is very reasonable. I always keep a few sizes of each in my studio (they are free).
You can also use Priority Mail to ship your own box and since most paintings and canvases don't weigh much their rates are still very reasonable. If I am shipping a larger painting I always weigh it and then go online to compare the rates for USPS and FedEx.
The FedEx rate I love to use is called FedEx Residential to Residential. It is listed as 2-day but you should know it could take four days if it is going coast to coast. Their rates only apply if you print your own label at home (hence, that's the first part of "residential") and are shipping to someone's house (hence the second part). Their rates are often in the $20 - $30 range for large paintings, such as 36" x 36". I think their rates are often much lower than USPS. You really need to check these out!
The key is to do your homework. And recycle shipping supplies. You can save a lot of money by saving and reusing packing materials!
"Red-dy and Waiting"
Oil Painting, 12" x 12"
Many of you might be wondering, "what is a social media campaign"? And even if you know what it is, you are probably asking "why do I need one"?
Most of us post on Facebook. And Pinterest. And Instagram. And our blogs. And even perhaps Twitter. Usually we finish a painting, take a photo and post it all over social media. That's good. But you need to re-think your strategy and actually have a social media campaign. Why? Because posting the same thing (such as a painting) everywhere is boring. It doesn't give your followers any reason to follow you because they are pretty sure they will see your art ... someplace on social media.
So what if you really thought about where and what you post on social media and organized it? That's what I call a social media campaign. See, it's not that complicated.
So here is my social media campaign
1. Facebook - Facebook is where I post current events which include what is happening in my art business right now. This is where I post news, events, finished paintings and current events. I will be using Facebook Live to host "Morning Coffee with Leslie" to help my followers get to know me and more about my art!
2. Instagram - this is geared 100% to promoting my abstract paintings to interior designers, galleries and buyers of abstract art.
3. My blog - "The Everyday Life of a Working Artist". This is where I post about my life as an artist and offer marketing tips everyday for artists. I include photos of my paintings in posts whenever possible.
4. Pinterest - Pinterest is not a priority right now, although I have 6,000 followers of my "beach house page" so I need to incorporate this very soon in to my social media plan.
If you look at my plan, there are reasons for artists, workshop students, collectors, interior designers and potential buyers to "want" to follow me on multiple social media sites. You might want to take a look at how you are using social media to simplify and organize it. It sure is a lot more fun!
I discovered an amazing online program last week that I think every artist needs to use to upgrade their images on social media. It's called Canva. (And yes, there is no "s".) For most artists, ramping up your next social media campaign by adding beautifully designed graphics is a must-do.
Canva has a library of professionally designed layouts for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and more. The layouts are all set up with the right dimensions to create badges for social media. And the best part is you can create these social media campaigns for free. If you’re an artist just starting out or an existing one looking to improve your social media strategy – good visual content will help establish your online identity.
Between Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, almost three billion people are active social media users. So how can you leverage them to your business? The answer is simple – by creating interesting and engaging social media graphics.
Canva’s social media layouts can be used on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram. Get free acesss to over 100 layouts, allowing you to create stunning graphics in just minutes! The program is free unless you choose to use one of their pay-to-use graphic images (with a cost of $1.00). Many images are free.
The four graphics pictured above were created using a template for a Facebook profile photo. Just selet which template you want (such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) and have fun!
Tomorrow I will make suggestions as to what kinds of social media campaings you can create to use these great graphics.
For those of you who joined me yesterday on the beaches of Ventura via Facebook Live, thank you! I was nervous because I was afraid the connection wouldn't work (it was my first time on Facebook Live) and even worse, I was afraid no one would join me. Finally, I was worried that maybe we wouldn't find any sea glass. That would have been a bust.
Fortunately it went really well. There were almost 200 of you on the live feed and more than 1,000 have viewed the video on my Facebook page. Holy smokes! I am very intrigued by Facebook Live and I am ready to use Facebook Live for my art business. I like that I can open the "internet wall" that exists when using social media and invite all of you into my everyday life of a working artist. The kinds of things I hope to include in my "Morning Coffee with Leslie" episodes are marketing tips, visits to my studio, visits during my workshops, visits to my clients homes and "field trips". Someone suggested a tour of our beach house in Ventura so I will do that too! I would love to hear from any of you if you have ideas about what you would like me to share on Facebook Live. Just leave a comment on this post as I would love your input.
Meanwhile, if you missed the hunt for sea glass, you can enjoy the video of the live broadcast above. And if you are wondering, I found a lot! (And I did kind of squeal when I found the big piece of aqua glass ... oops.). The photo below is all of the sea glass I found today.
This week's Artists Helping Artists radio show is titled How To Use Facebook Live to Promote Your Art Business. My co-host Margaret Sheldon and I will explain exactly how to use Facebook Live and how we think you should use it to promote your art business. So please tune in to this Thursday's AHA show! You can enjoy the show live at 5:00 am PST, 8:00am EST or listen to the recorded version any time. You don't want to miss it. Thanks again everybody!
Abstract Triptych, 20" x 20" each.
News flash ...
Join me this Sunday, March 13, at 8:00am PST
for my first Facebook Live "Morning Coffee with Leslie" broadcast.
I am taking you all on a hunt for seaglass! Join me live on the beaches in Ventura, Ca. Many of you sent me emails with this idea so I thought, why not? Plus, I think you can help "with the hunt". Just leave a live comment when I walk right past a beautiful piece of sea glass ... and I am not kidding, it happens all of the time! I have lots of fun tips (like how not to end up in the ER when hunting for seaglass...) And just to clarify, you will be lucky one drinking coffee. Not me! I will be busy hunting and talking and holding my iphone and ...
New Topics for the Artists Helping Artists Show
I have only one recurring dream. Perhaps I should call it a nightmare. While it doesn't happen that often, it's basically the same dream. The dream always takes place on a Thursday morning. It takes place just minutes before the AHA show is supposed to air and I have no topic, no guest and no co-host. I call it the "AHA nightmare".
Many of you may not realize it takes a lot of preparation to host the Artists Helping Artists show every week. If it wasn't for my amazing co-hosts I don't think I would have been able to keep it up. In just a few months we will begin our sixth year of the show! And yet I still stress enough over the show to cause my recurring nightmare!
My biggest challenge is coming up with show topics for the show. I have finally created a way to keep track of show ideas from our listeners. I have a very simple form you can fill out that will be part of a database for show ideas. PLEASE take a moment to make a suggestion. All you have to do is think of any topic you would like to know more about!
Please help. I would love your suggestions. You can also suggest a guest to be interviewed on the show. And if you are interested in being a guest host for the show you can indicate that too!
Thank you very much for your help!!!
Hosting workshops at our beach house in Ventura is really fun. Although we paint non-stop and work really hard, the time spent "outside of the classroom" is just as important. My favorite times are sitting by the fire, with a glass of wine (or two) while talking about art. We talk about painting, marketing, social media, selling art, other workshops and a million different things. I am sure my neighbors can hear our laughter!
Last week I hosted a workshop with these lovely ladies featured in the photo above. We had some really great meals (home cooked and at the Wine Cave) and really got to know each other well. I am often asked, "Are you ever worried about opening your home to strangers?". It's a funny question. Because so far, every artist that has stayed at the house has been fabulous, kind and really fun to hang out with. I absolutely love our long walks on the beach, great dinners and beach time. This past week we even hunted for sea glass. Of course don't forget the seven hours we spend painting every day!
I have a website/blog that I created when I remodeled the beach house. It has "before and after" photos that I think you might really enjoy. It's called the ventura beach cottage. Be sure and click on the tab The Remodel Blog to see photos of my nine week remodel project! Plus there are posts on how to make my sand fencing headboards and pillows.
If you would like to join me for a workshop at our beach house just check out my workshop schedule here.
Mom. Wife. Artist. Marketer. Teacher. Radio Show Host.
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