Yesterday, Carolyn H. WarmSun of Montclair, California asked, “Do you ever do telephone consultations with artists? If so, at what price and how are they arranged? I am imagining us both on the phone in front of computers where you can see my website as we talk. I’m looking for straightforward advice. With all these paintings around here, I feel like an orphanage matron — I need to get these kids out in the sun and find them a good home.”
Thanks, Carolyn. I’m sincerely sorry, but I don’t arrange telephone or computer consultations and, when they happen, I don’t charge for them. I’d love to consult with folks this way, but I’d need two weeks tacked onto every day.
Carolyn’s paintings exude the colour and warmth of the American Southwest. Broadly abstract and Zen-like, they are loaded with texture and commonly-found materials. Glass beads, fiber paste, tissue paper, even Halloween spider-webs add to the mystique. You can tell she’s the kind of artist who likes to look at her work-in-progress and see what’s happening — watching the paint going here and there. A seeking, exploratory and curious worker, she’s having a lot of fun. Some examples of Carolyn’s work are below.
Requests for straightforward advice come to my inbox every day. Many are wondering what to do with the buildup of orphans in the studio. Like the art of poetry, where there are more poets than readers of poetry, the art of painting is heading in the same direction. My job, as I see it, is to try to give tail-wagging encouragement and informed comment on our miraculous vocation. My suggestion to reconsider chartered accountancy is a last resort.
It’s not just a North American phenomenon, but people often feel the need for green feedback to justify their actions. In painting, this concept may be unsustainable. Perhaps the best advice is, “Keep at it and let the joy build your proficiency. Fall in love with your own unique processes. Don’t hide your stuff under a bush. Know in your heart that there is no such thing as an undiscovered genius.”
PS: “My goal as an artist is to be seen as relevant, unique, and excellent by artists whose work I respect and admire. I also hope to help people experience their connectedness to Mother Nature.” (Carolyn H. WarmSun)
Esoterica: Artists generally need a lifetime to build acceptance. Painters like me coast on a legacy of not deserting the ship. Periods come and periods go, times are up and times are down, but someone is always in the engine room. My heart goes out to true-to-themselves painters like Carolyn, and there are millions. Still, things happen to those who keep a steady hand on the tiller. And it’s human nature to keep buying the tickets.
I had a good friend, now deceased, whose path through life was unfocused and lackadaisical. He lacked gumption. “When my ship comes in,” he said, “I’ll be at the airport.”
Carolyn H. WarmSun
The secret to success
by Shirley Peters, Putney, NSW, Australia
I think I know the secret to success. It is to not give up. Keep painting. I have spent almost a lifetime looking for a gallery to represent me.
Now in my 60th year, a gallery owner, looking at my web site, made the comment that I am ‘prolific’…! And that seems to be the clue. My first show in his gallery will be in July. By continuing to paint, you make two things happen. 1. You get better. 2. People start to believe in you because you obviously believe in yourself.
There are 6 comments for The secret to success by Shirley Peters
The art of self-reliance
by Rick Rotante, Tujunga, CA, USA
Much of what artists search for can be found from within, if they take the time to look. It’s a hard lesson for any artist to be told to be self-reliant when it comes to guidance, but the fact is this is the best advice one can give. Throughout their lives, artists are advised on what to paint, how to paint, what is acceptable and what is not. While we all seek advice and guidance in our work, ultimately it is we alone who decide these issues. If, at some point in your life, you are lucky enough to come across a person who is trustworthy and knowledgeable about art and painting, someone who is honest and truthful, then maybe you may have found someone from whom you can ask advice. Even then, be careful what you ask, for you may not get the answers you seek.
There are 3 comments for The art of self-reliance by Rick Rotante
Lower your prices
by Jerry Palmer, St. Petersburg, FL, USA
I do plein air paintings, on the small side, and sell them for $50. Of course I think they are worth more than that, and my artist friends do, too, but I don’t have room in my condo for orphans. I want my paintings to be enjoyed by other people, and the reality is a painting will sell for what others think they are worth, not necessarily what the artist think they are worth. A lot of people walking through art shows and farmers markets can spare $50, including myself, but not much more. I went to a watercolor demo a few years ago and bought a glorious painting for $40 that would normally have sold for $300, but the well known artist had brought a slew of his orphans. So for anyone with lots of orphans, I suggest lower your prices.
There are 11 comments for Lower your prices by Jerry Palmer
Physical evidence of failure
by Jill Charuk, Vancouver, BC, Canada
What do you do with the orphans? A gallery owner suggested that only 40% of your yearly output would be sold. Reasonable. So in producing $100,000 to get $40,000, what do you do with the ever increasing number of pieces? Not all are dogs… sorry Dorothy.
But as we paint and get better or at least stronger, many of the works are not indicative of our style and can demand the price point. Donate a few… but even then, I want it to be a decent piece, reflecting current work. The more orphans, the more unmotivated I become.
PEOF… I have called it “physical evidence of failure” Do you have a shed, a burning day, a HUGE house?
There are 6 comments for Physical evidence of failure by Jill Charuk
by Linnette Johnson, Austell, GA, USA
I had not painted for about nine years after I first started dabbling at the Edna Manley School of Art in Jamaica. You could not tear me from a canvas when we went plein air painting. I brought all my painting stuff with me here, but did nothing. One day the ‘painting spirit’ hit me and I said aloud, ‘Where do I start Lord?’ and the Holy Spirit’s immediate response was “Start small.”
Every community should have one
by Beth Kurtz, Manhattan, NY, USA
There is a charity in NYC named “Housing Works,” which helps homeless people afflicted by AIDS. They have a sharp group of managers, who know what’s good from what’s bad coming in the door. Often over the years I have needed to clean out, and have taken big piles of my work to Housing Works (not the best of it, naturally!), including studies, sketches, & the like. There they are priced from $5 for a small drawing or quick sketch to about $150 for a large (24″x30″) painting. The place seems to sell everything I bring them.
By virtue of those sales I figure I have given thousands of dollars to Housing Works. I have the satisfaction of knowing that somebody, somewhere who can’t afford to pay “real” prices is enjoying my work on some level, and somebody else, somewhere else, in dire straits, is benefiting by it in a material way. It doesn’t get better than that. Every community should have such an organization.
There are 3 comments for Every community should have one by Beth Kurtz
Inspiration by tragedy
by Carolyn Newberger, MA, USA
In one terrible instant, a young boy’s life was lost. The lives of other boys and girls in Boston have changed as well. For the boys in this painting, the innocence of play gives way to a new awareness of vulnerability.
I began this watercolor before the 2013 marathon bombing, thinking about the uncertainty in the lives of these developing boys. With the bombing and the loss of eight-year-old Martin’s life, this painting became very specific for me. I finished the painting absorbing the pain of his loss, and with a new and very personal fear for the children in my life and in others’ lives. This painting will be shown in the exhibition, “Violence Transformed 2013, Discovering the Transformative Power of Art,” at the Massachusetts State House, Doric Hall, from April 22 – May 3, 2013. The opening reception is April 23 from 3 to 5pm.
There is 1 comment for Inspiration by tragedy by Carolyn Newberger
An intense week
by Nancy Schempp, Bristol, RI, USA
Having spent these last many days watching the challenges as the result of the bombings at the Boston Marathon, and not being far from the Boston community, I was so grateful that the search for the second young man has ended. But it has been an intense week and just now felt led to watch your video “Shenandoah” once again and can’t tell you what a sense of peace and quiet came to me. I just wanted to thank you again for doing such a beautiful job with this video and for sharing it with so many of us.
by Robert Bissett, Naples, ID, USA
I was invited to jury a student art show at the local library — first grade through eighth. I was presented with two dimensional art in a wide range of subject matter, media and ability. A careful viewing turned up several nicely done realistic pieces from the upper grades. Of those, probably the best was a rendering in colored pencil of a deer’s head by an eighth grader. Obviously, a talented artist had spent a lot of time copying a photo and had everything just right. Being more interested in emotional content than accurate reporting, my eye returned again and again to a depiction of a snowman. In what appeared to be tempera on colored construction paper, it communicated freedom and joy with the confident strokes of a master. No reworking or refining here. Just honest, bold painting from the heart by a painter in grade one. Nice composition, too. It grabbed me like nothing else in the show. I gave the snowman first prize and the deer second prize. No one said anything, but I could tell they were not pleased with my choice. I’ve never been asked to be the juror there again.
There are 4 comments for Wrong choice? by Robert Bissett
Enjoy the past comments below for Straightforward advice…
oil painting, 9 x 12 inches
You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2013.
That includes Jane Crick of FL, USA, who wrote, “Alyson B. Stanfield has a very good book on marketing artwork called, I’d rather be in the studio! Now I am taking her Art Biz Bootcamp which has already given my art career a big boost in sales and exposure.”
(RG note) Thanks, Jane. Several artists have written recently to say that Alyson Stanfield’s Art Biz Bootcamp was very useful.
And also Patti Morris of Red Deer, AB, Canada who wrote, “I’m a fabric artist. When I’m not sure of something I ask my husband or my girls, ‘Is this art or is it a placemat?’ If they say placemat, I cut it up.”