Savvy Painter Podcast with Antrese Wood

By Conversations about the business of art, inside the artist studio, and plein air oil painting

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Savvy Painter is a weekly podcast for artists who mean business. Antrese Wood talks to expert painters about the business of art and how it gets created. Want to know how leaders in the fine art world of plein-air and landscape painting got their start? What habits do top artists have in common? Savvy Painter digs deep into the struggles and successes of contemporary painters. Artists spend enormous amounts of time alone in their studios. It's easy for them to believe their challenges are unique when in fact they are not. Fortunately, others have been there before, and by sharing our stories with other artists we all win. The collective intelligence of the artist community is infinitely greater than the individual. Here's how you can tap into it.

Episode Date
Exploring Embroidery Artwork, with Cayce Zavaglia

Where does the inspiration come from to explore embroidery artwork? What is the process like going from the canvas to the embroidery and back again? How do the two mediums complement and contrast? I put all these questions to my talented guest, Cayce Zavaglia. In our conversation, Cayce opened up about how she got into embroidery artwork, what led her to the theme of family portraits, what it was like returning to Australia, how failure is a close link to success, and much more. I know artists like you will get as much joy as I did hearing from Cayce’s intriguing perspective.

Necessity is the mother of invention.

You’ve heard the phrase, necessity is the mother of invention, right? That saying really rang true for artist Cayce Zavaglia. During a period of creative flux, Cayce was also pregnant. This reality forced her to look for ways to continue to create in a non-toxic studio. After experimenting for a whole summer with various mediums, Cayce still hadn’t found what she wanted to work with. Back in the recesses of her mind, she kept coming back to this embroidery work she had done as a child. Tugging at this thread, Cayce decided to start experimenting by sewing a portrait. Little did she know, that this experiment unleashed a new creative endeavor that would stay with her for years to come. Make sure to check out images of Cayce’s embroidery artwork located at the end of this post.

You don’t have to choose between parenthood and an art career.

It seems to be an unwritten rule in many circles that you can’t be both a parent (oftentimes more specifically, a mother) and an artist. These two roles in society are often pitted against each other, you have to choose one or the other. Is that really accurate, do you have to choose? While some may choose to devote themselves to parenthood or their art career for a period of time, artists like Cayce serve as a prime example that you can embrace both! If you are struggling with navigating these two roles, I hope you see Cayce’s story as an encouragement!

Viewing failure as a close link to success.

What is your relationship like with failure? Do you fear it and avoid it at all costs or do you lean into it? What if I told you that failure has a closer link to success than you may have thought? Artist, Cayce Zavaglia says that she goes out of her way to look for mistakes, accidents, and failures in her artwork. Sounds crazy, right? Cayce has learned to view failure as the closest link to creativity and then to success. In her view, if you are putting yourself out there creatively, that means you are taking a risk and that’s where the greatest opportunity for success thrives! Do you agree with Cayce’s perspective?

Don’t stop creating.

While the draw of instant recognition and reaction to your artwork is enticing, Cayce Zavagila urges caution. Let’s face it, Instagram can serve as both a blessing and a curse. It can be a wonderful resource for inspiration but it can also serve as an unhelpful sounding board. Cayce says that one of the best practices that an artist can get into is the habit of spending time alone in their studio honing their craft. It’s not sexy or flashy advice but it is good advice! I’m sure there will be a wide range of opinions on this topic but I’m really thankful that Cayce is willing to step out there and provide her helpful insight!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:50] I introduce my guest, Cayce Zavaglia.
  • [4:00] How did Cayce end up working with embroidery?
  • [8:30] Cayce talks about how her embroidery work influences her painting.
  • [11:45] What led Cayce to work with the theme of “Family?”
  • [16:00] How did Cayce get back to Australia for her project?
  • [18:30] Memorable reactions to Cayce’s embroidery work and challenges she has faced.
  • [21:15] You don’t have to choose between being a parent and an artist.
  • [24:00] How did Cayce get exposure for her artwork?
  • [29:00] Failure is the closest link to success.
  • [39:00] What is the next project for Cayce?
  • [41:00] Cayce talks about her children and how she encourages them to create.
  • [42:30] Where does Cayce go for inspiration?
  • [45:00] The habit of making.
  • [48:20] Advice Cayce would give her younger self.
  • [50:15] Merging craft and art.
  • [52:00] The role of gender and how art is perceived and recognized.
  • [56:00] What advice does Cayce have for artists just starting in their career?

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Aug 09, 2018
Landscape Painting and the Value of Staying Put, with William Kocher

What does it look like to stay put and get to know a location inside and out? What insights and lessons can you learn from this helpful discipline? How does staying in one location impact your growth as an artist? It was my privilege to explore these questions and a lot more in my conversation with artist, William Kocher. We also touched on how William got his start as an artist, why it’s important to connect with a community of artists, what colors William enjoys using, why we need art as a society, and so much more. I know artists like you will enjoy learning from William’s interesting journey and unique perspective!

Why it’s helpful to connect with a community of artists.

Have you had the chance to connect with a community of artists? What value have you found in spending time with people who share your profession? In my personal experience, connecting either in person or online with a community of artists has helped me in countless ways! Artist William Kocher says that making similar connections with artists in the Cape Cod area had a huge positive impact on his growth and creativity. Whether you can find one and plug in right away or if you have to create one yourself, I highly encourage even the most introverted artists to take the risk to go out there find a group you can contribute to.

Studying the landscape.

Many artists love to be constantly on the go looking for new and exciting places, people, or objects to inspire their creativity. Does that sound like you or do you find yourself of the more stationary variety? It was refreshing to hear from an artist like William Kocher who seemed less interested in finding new locations to spark his creativity as he was more concerned with getting to know a particular place inside and out. For William, that place is his family's farm near Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Due to his relentless study of the farm, William knows which trees the birds perch in, how the sunlight falls at just the right time of day, and so many additional hidden secrets and gems revealed only to the most astute observer. How does William’s approach strike you?

Why we need art.

As our society continues to evolve there are some who question why we need art in schools, public spaces, and sometimes as a profession altogether. How do you respond to these questions? Are you able to engage or do you feel your blood pressure start to rise because you find it insane that people question the value of art? I love the way that William Kocher puts it, he says that “Art elevates life, it is a vital form of communication.” I completely agree! Especially in our society today, we must continue the work to emphasize the value and beauty that art brings to our culture in a myriad of ways.

Art doesn’t have to be complicated to have value.

Do you struggle with finding depth in your art? Are you ever intimidated by artists who have all these wonderfully complex and philosophical motivations and messages in their artwork? What if that’s just not you? Is that ok? The truth is, art doesn’t have to be complex to have value! I was thrilled to hear a similar message from William Kocher in our conversation. He encourages artists like you to avoid stressing out about the complexity of your artwork if that doesn’t “fit” your approach. Find your voice, tap into your creative energy and just make something beautiful!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:45] I introduce my guest, William Kocher.
  • [3:25] What led William to a career in art?
  • [8:30] Why it’s so important to connect with an art community.
  • [10:30] William talks about painting outdoors for the first time.
  • [12:30] Enjoying the opportunity to get away to paint.
  • [16:15] What colors does William use on a regular basis?
  • [18:00] How does William start his paintings?
  • [21:20] Choosing motifs and painting on the family farm.
  • [26:15] What is William challenged by? What is William proud of?
  • [30:00] You need a little arrogance to be an artist.
  • [32:20] Why do we need art?
  • [36:30] What is William’s dream project? Is there artwork William wouldn’t sell?
  • [37:30] How Hans Hofmann’s work has impacted William.
  • [40:15] Advice that William has for fellow artists.
  • [42:00] Is a more complicated approach to painting necessary?

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Jul 26, 2018
Creating Accessible Art, with Bartosz Beda

What does it look like to create accessible art? How does that topic become a passion project for an artist? What comes to mind when you think of “Accessible art?” My guest, artist Bartosz Beda is working on a project that centers on this very topic! In our conversation, Bartosz opens up about what led him to his career as an artist, where his residencies and fellowships have taken him, the role themes play in his artwork, why he started Execute Magazine, and much more! There are some many wonderful paths that our conversation takes, I can’t wait for you to get to know Bartosz!

What is the $7.25 project?

On a quest to create accessible art, Bartosz Beda started the $7.25 project during his summer residency at GoggleWorks in Reading, PA. Bartosz started this project to engage with the issues and challenges that minimum wage workers face every day. Inspired by immigrants from Mexico and Puerto Rico who are settling in Reading at record numbers, Bartosz wanted to represent their struggle and that of many people in the area who strive to meet the demands of daily life while working position that pays minimum wage. With this in mind, Bartosz decided to paint one hour per day throughout his residency at GoggleWorks. Each day, the resulting painting, produced in one hour of work, will be offered for sale at $7.25, or Pennsylvania’s minimum wage.

Perceptions of color.

As an artist, you know that your relationship to certain colors can take on an almost personal relationship. Have you ever thought about your use of color in terms of seasons of life or different geographical locations? I was really impressed with Bartosz’ unique take on his particular relationship with various colors in his artwork and how he sees color as it relates to the different countries that he’s visited. For instance, Bartosz says that blue is the primary color that he thinks of when he considers America. This perception comes from the blue in our national flag, the uniforms of police officers, and the general sense of adventure and creating something new that our country represents. I found Bartosz’ take on the perception and use of color absolutely fascinating and I have a feeling that you will too!

When you create work you are passionate about, people will find you.

Which one comes first, recognition or work that deserves recognition? The chicken or the egg? In some ways this question seems like an easy one to answer, the artwork comes first and then the following/recognition. But be honest, which one are you chasing? I’m not trying to give you a hard time but let’s face it, there are too many voices out there telling us to go after a following or chase recognition when we should be focused on creating artwork that we are passionate about! Artist Bartosz Beda shares a similar perspective, he isn’t too worried about who will connect with his work - he’s focused on creating projects that come forth from his passion and creativity. I hope you can catch a bit of Bartosz’ passion and perspective, I found it really helpful!

Execute Magazine and creating more platforms for artists.

On a similar vein of creating accessible art for the public, Bartosz Beda has also gone to work creating a platform for artists who are looking for ways to hone their skills and learn from fresh perspectives (sounds kind of familiar). Seeking to serve the art community and looking for a way to create something that he could share with his young daughter later in her life, Bartosz created Execute Magazine. While he’s still working to improve and refine the operation, Bartosz is very proud of the work he and his team have been able to create. Make sure to check out images of Bartosz’ artwork and the link to his magazine by checking out the resources section at the end of this post!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:35] I introduce my guest, Bartosz Beda.
  • [3:20] Bartosz talks about his start as an artist.
  • [6:00] How does Bartosz choose residencies and fellowships to participate in?
  • [9:15] Bartosz explains why he started his current project on the minimum wage.
  • [14:45] How does Bartosz describe his artwork? What is his process?
  • [19:00] Memorable reactions to Bartosz’ work.
  • [21:00] Changing color combinations and branching out.
  • [24:30] Bartosz opens up about facing challenges and building his business.
  • [29:15] How did visiting New York impact Bartosz?
  • [31:30] When you create work you are passionate about, people will find you.
  • [33:00] It’s OK to talk about business and art.
  • [36:45] What is Execute Magazine? Why did Bartosz start it?
  • [40:45] The habit of hard work and fighting back procrastination.
  • [42:45] How does Bartosz fight through challenging periods?
  • [47:30] What will the end of the Bartosz’ residency in Reading, PA look like?

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Jul 12, 2018
Honing Your Craft and Replenishing Your Creativity, with Aubrey Levinthal

As an artist, you’ve likely struggled with honing your craft and finding ways to replenish your creativity over the years, I know I have! That’s why I loved my conversation with Aubrey Levinthal and I know you will too! In our conversation, Aubrey opens up about how she got started as an artist, her experience in art school, how she’s honed her craft, what she does to replenish her creativity, and so much more! I know many of you will also enjoy images of Aubrey’s artwork, located at the end of this post, don’t miss it!

Honing your craft.

What have been some of the unique challenges you’ve faced on your journey to hone and refine your artistic craft? Have you been plagued with self-doubt? Do you struggle with a block in creativity? You are not alone! There are so many of us who have been there and struggled in silence. Artist Aubrey Levinthal has had her fair share of milestones and struggled along the way. The constant in Aubrey’s story is an inner drive she’s cultivated and nurtured over the years. Aubrey holds herself to a very high standard and wants to bring her work to a level of creativity and quality that goes beyond her wildest dreams. Can you relate? What can you learn from Aubrey’s story?

Lessons learned from what doesn’t work on the canvas.

Too often we can get so focused on what we can learn from the good that we forget the lessons we can learn from the negative or challenging aspects of the creative process. Have you learned some valuable lessons recently? Aubrey Levinthal has a refreshing perspective on what doesn’t work when she approaches her canvas, she sees an opportunity to learn. I love that! You and I need more positive perspectives like Aubrey’s! Let’s leave the negative terminologies and negative mindsets behind and see setbacks as opportunities to learn. Imagine the impact that simple shift could have on your creative process and your career as an artist.

Replenishing your creativity.

Do you have any tips on replenishing your creativity as an artist? What have you tried? Are you looking for a way to reset and refresh right now? In my conversation with Aubrey Levinthal, we touched on this important topic. Aubrey says that one of the best ways to replenish her creativity to step away and visit a museum or an art gallery to tap into the reason why she loves creating art. Everyone needs to find what works for them, don’t let yourself burn out! The world needs your unique artistic voice, take care of yourself!

The answer is in the paint.

When you are young and inexperienced, you tend to make mountains out of molehills. At least that was the case for me! Too often I would get sidetracked or let myself get distracted by some seemingly larger than life challenge, I wish someone would have shared with me Aubrey’s wonderful advice! Looking back at herself ten years ago, Aubrey would tell herself, “The answer is in the paint.” Instead of allowing herself to get overwhelmed at all the options or all the possibilities, Aubrey wishes that she would have given herself the permission to try and fail. At the end of the day, as an artist, your job is to create. Whatever you need to do to cut through the noise and put your paintbrush to canvas, do it!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:00] I introduce my guest, Aubrey Levinthal.
  • [2:45] How did Aubrey sense the call to become an artist?
  • [4:15] Artists that inspired Aubrey from an early age & how her parents empowered her.
  • [6:00] Aubrey talks about her experience at art school.
  • [9:30] Discovering your voice and working through criticism.
  • [12:45] Aubrey describes her artwork.
  • [14:00] What catches Aubrey’s eye for her motifs? How does she use her sketchbook?
  • [17:15] Aubrey’s process in her studio.
  • [19:30] Honing in on surprises and a sense of mystery.
  • [23:00] Aubrey opens up about her habits and routines.
  • [29:00] Lessons learned from what doesn’t work on the canvas.
  • [31:00] What is Aubrey working on right now? What does she do to refresh herself?
  • [34:00] Grappling with the perception of the romanticized artist.
  • [40:00] Does Aubrey have a painting that she’d never part with?
  • [41:30] If Aubrey could have artwork from any living artist who would she choose?
  • [43:30] The answer is in the paint.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Jun 28, 2018
Large Scale Paintings and Trusting Your Instincts, with Palden Hamilton

What captures an artist’s imagination to create large-scale paintings? How do you tap into the boldness that's necessary to follow your instincts and create something that feels impossible? My guest is Palden Hamilton, a representational painter from Baltimore, Maryland. He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago where he earned his BFA. In our conversation, we talk about chaos and order, finding your voice, what materials Palden uses to paint on, his upcoming large-scale paintings, his desire to connect with the external world and so much more! I can’t wait for you to hear from Palden’s unique take on life as an artist.

Life lessons from observing trees.

What is it that inspires your creativity? Is it great literature? Is it beautifully composed music? What resonates so deeply in you that it ignites the spark of creativity? For artist, Palden Hamilton it's a desire to connect with the external world. It was a feeling of longing and an emotional response to nature that led Palden to start drawing. In our conversation, Palden also touched on some life lessons he has learned from observing nature and in particular, trees. As an artist in residence at the Ladew Topiary Gardens, Palden enjoyed studying the trees and observed how they are a great analogy to many aspects of life.

Branding, telling your story and cultivating curiosity.

Let’s face it, in the art community, “Branding” is often a dirty word. It doesn’t have to be! Think of it this way, branding is just a way of communicating your story. What is the story that you want to tell with your art? As an artist, you’ve cultivated a sense of curiosity for the world around you. Don’t stop! Continue to cultivate and nurture that sense of curiosity in your work and use it to tell your story. Palden Hamilton is passionate about telling his story and continuing to explore various aspects of his creativity as an artist. At the end of the day, Palden refuses to let others dictate his direction as an artist and he encourages artists like you to do the same. Tell your story with boldness, the world needs your voice!

Pursuing the dream to create large-scale paintings.

When was the last time you allowed yourself to go crazy and chase that rabbit on an unexpected adventure? As you follow your curiosity, you’ll discover different angles that will spark a new perspective. It’s up to you if you are ready to pull that thread and see what unravels. Palden Hamilton has been pulling those threads for a while and has arrived at a new project, large-scale paintings. He’s been considering this new project for some time and now he is ready to move forward. I loved hearing Palden’s passion and excitement for his new project and I know artists like you will geek out with me as he describes his intended approach.

Find your voice and be you!

One of the biggest themes from my conversation with Palden Hamilton was the desire to find, articulate, and communicate his voice as an artist. I’ve struggled with this topic over the course of my art career and I know that many of you have as well. From our discussion about his new large-scale paintings to his observations from nature, Palden was kind enough to open up about these topics and everything in between. I hope you are inspired by Palden’s boldness and the risks he takes with his art. Don’t forget, your voice is valuable! Make sure to check out images of his artwork located at the end of this post!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:00] I introduce my guest, Palden Hamilton.
  • [2:30] Palden talks about how he started with his passion for art.
  • [5:00] What was it like growing up with Japanese and Himalayan influences?
  • [8:20] How Palden decided to pursue an art career.
  • [10:20] Life lessons learned from observing trees.
  • [12:30] Tackling the unknown and cultivating curiosity.
  • [15:40] Palden describes his artwork.
  • [17:15] A desire to connect with the external world.
  • [20:20] How dreams have impacted Palden’s imagination.
  • [24:30] Palden talks about his plans to create monumental paintings.
  • [33:20] Stepping back and getting perspective.
  • [35:00] The struggle of second-guessing yourself.
  • [41:00] Why it's important to find your voice and be you!
  • [42:30] Trust your instincts.
  • [46:00] Why we shouldn’t live with regrets.
  • [51:00] Wrestling with the “Truth.”
  • [54:00] Palden talks about getting an “Epiphany.”
  • [57:00] Setting parameters on creativity.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Jun 14, 2018
Plein Air Artwork and Studying the Landscape, with Matt Smith

What goes through the mind of a plein air artist? How do they study the landscape and come up with that one viewpoint that draws them in? Do the habits for success come quickly or do they unfold slowly over time? My guest, Matt Smith is an accomplished plein air artist who has spent much of his developing years in Arizona. In our conversation, Matt opens up about artists who have influenced and mentored him, how he studies the landscape, what it takes for an artist to find their voice, the value in self-criticism, common mistakes made by inexperienced artists, and much more. I can’t wait for you to hear from Matt’s seasoned and helpful perspective!

Celebrate what ignites your passion!

Can you think back to that moment when you first noticed that passion and excitement that awakened your desire to create? What was it that moved you in such a significant way? Did that moment lead you to find your artistic voice? For artist Matt Smith, it all came down to spending time in the desert and paying attention to what that environment awakened within him. He looks back at that period of his life as a turning point that really unlocked a new stream of creativity and direction in his career. What can you learn from Matt’s story? How do you celebrate your passion? Make sure to check out images of Matt’s artwork located at the end of this post!

The value of self-criticism.

Let’s face it, we all hate those artists who give off an air of having “Arrived” in their art career. What’s the solution? How do you fight back the ego and maintaining a healthy dose of humility as you grow as an artist? According to Matt Smith, a great way to stay humble and keep growing as an artist is to practice self-criticism. While this can be a slippery slope and lead some people to be too hard on themselves, it’s value and merits shouldn’t go ignored. What stage are you on in your journey? Do you need to up your game and give yourself some long overdue critiques?

Studying the landscape.

How do pick your next project? As an artist, I’m always fascinated with what captures my peer's eye as they go about creating their next work of art. I feel like by understanding how others see the world around them, it starts to grow and heighten my awareness too. When I asked Matt what it is in the desert that captures his imagination he said that it generally comes down to contrasts that catch his eye. He was quick to add that it tends to shift from painting to painting but he always tries to circle back to the fundamentals of drawing, value, design, and color. Hearing from Matt’s viewpoint was really eye-opening and hope you get as much value from it as I did!

Slow down, pay attention, and don’t be in such a hurry!

Time and time again when I sit down with experienced artists I keep coming back to this theme of slowing down and paying attention. When I ask my guests like Matt Smith to share some advice they’d have for their younger selves they all end up saying, in one way or another, slow down. Are you slowing down enough in your routine and schedule to notice the scenes around you? What practices or habits have helped you slow down and pay attention? At the end of the day, we all could use a good reminder to stay aware of the beauty and significance that we pass by each day.

Outline of This Episode

  • [4:30] I introduce my guest, Matt Smith.
  • [6:00] Artists that inspired Matt along the way.
  • [7:30] How spending time in Europe impacted Matt.
  • [9:20] What is it that moves and inspires Matt to create art?
  • [11:30] How did Matt connect with artists he admired?
  • [16:30] Transitioning from “Art student” to professional artist.
  • [19:00] The value of self-criticism.
  • [20:30] How does an artist find their voice?
  • [22:30] What is Matt currently obsessed with?
  • [26:00] How has Matt’s setup changed over the years?
  • [29:30] What catches Matt’s interest for motifs?
  • [32:00] Common mistakes made by inexperienced artists.
  • [34:30] Does Matt finish his painting outdoors or does he finish in his studio?
  • [37:00] Challenges with bringing a larger idea into the studio.
  • [40:30] Encouraging and discouraging trends in the art world.
  • [43:30] Artwork that Matt would love to own from a living artist.
  • [45:30] Slow down, pay attention, and don’t be in such a hurry!
  • [50:30] The failures make the success so much more exciting.
  • [52:00] What does Matt have coming up on his schedule?

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

May 31, 2018
Observational Art and Finding Your Way, with Elana Hagler

What comes to mind when you think of observational art? Are there specific artists that you think of? Have you dabbled in observational art? My guest is art educator and observational artist, Elana Hagler. In our conversation, Elana opens up about her journey as an artist, early influences in grad school, how she struggled to find her way post-grad school, what she looks for when she starts a project, the role of art in our world today, and much more! I can’t wait for you to hear from Elana’s unique perspective. Make sure to check out images of Elana’s work located at the end of this post!

The challenge of finding your way as an artist.

Whether you went the traditional route via grad school or you found your way as an artist on a different path, most of us have all faced that moment when we had to ask ourselves, “Now what?” For many of us, this question comes after the structured environment of grad school, was that your experience or did it come at a different point? Artist Elana Hagler had just finished grad school and had experienced some significant losses in her family when she and her husband decided to move to Denver to be closer to his family for support raising their young children. During this “Exile” from her community of artists, Elana had to find a new way forward. While it was a scary and difficult time, Elana looks back and is grateful for the changes and challenges faced that helped her grow as an artist.

Observational art and finding a “Problem” that’s almost too hard to solve.

What is it about observational art that draws the viewer in? Is it the focus of the artist? Does something get telegraphed from the subject to the artist to the painting? How does this all play out from the artist’s perspective? According to Elana Hagler, it’s the “Problems” that draw her in and help her to focus her attention on a specific subject. Elana loves to challenge herself with juxtapositions and contrasts that are almost too difficult for her to handle. These challenges for Elana go beyond just light vs. dark and sharp edges vs. soft edges, she looks at the contrast of the intimate vs. the monumental. I know artists like you will appreciate and value Elana’s distinct viewpoint of her subject matter and how she approaches the canvas.

How influences and styles show up in artwork.

When was the last time you looked at a piece of artwork and knew almost instantly where that artist had studied or who their major influences were? I don’t know about you but I do this constantly and I don’t think that it’s necessarily a bad thing. In my conversation with Elana Hagler, we discussed the ways that different styles and schools of thought show up in today’s artwork. I also share my personal thoughts on the divide between west coast and east coast artists and how that connects with Elana’s helpful viewpoint as an art educator. Who have been some of your greatest influences? Do you think they show up in your artwork?

Why it’s important to slow down and pay attention.

Too often, in our world today, we are trained either actively or passively to make quick judgments on things that are valuable and worth our time and the things that aren’t. This quick and reflexive discernment can be attributed to the rise of technology and our seemingly endless stream of visual stimuli. The benefit that art brings to our world today is the call to slow down and pay attention to a crafted and cultivated object that is worth consideration. I hope artists like you can find some hope and encouragement from Elana and I’s conversation around this important topic.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:00] I introduce my guest, Elana Hagler.
  • [3:00] How Elana got started as an artist.
  • [6:00] Elana talks about her art education.
  • [10:30] How Elana describes her artwork.
  • [12:30] Leaving grad school and figuring out how to start a career.
  • [19:00] Elana tells a story about stepping out and taking a risk.
  • [26:30] What does Elana look for when she starts a work of art?
  • [29:00] Elana shares some technical aspects of her process.
  • [36:00] How influences and styles show up in artwork.
  • [41:30] Elana goes over some observations from her role as an educator.
  • [46:30] What is the role of art in our world today?
  • [50:00] Don’t be afraid of painting something you find beautiful!
  • [51:30] Artwork that Elana wishes she could have back.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

May 17, 2018
Expanding Your Painting Skills, the Drawback of Viewing Art Digitally and more with Claudia Rilling

On your journey as an artist, have you experienced a season where you wanted to expand your painting skills? What helped you in that season? What would you suggest to others who are in that season right now? My guest, Claudia Rilling was kind enough to open up about this topic as it relates to her own career as an artist. In our conversation, we also touch on Claudia’s search for direction, her time studying under Israel Hershberg, the technical details of her time in the studio, what attracts her to a subject, and much more. I can’t wait for you to hear some of the powerful insights that Claudia has to share.

Searching for direction.

As an artist, you are most likely very familiar with the sense of searching for direction in your artwork and in your career in general. What has helped you on your journey? Were you better off finding your path on your own or did it help to be connected to an art community? In my conversation with Claudia Rilling, she shares aspects of her journey and how she struggled and then eventually found her voice and diction as an artist. Specifically, Claudia points to a season of life in her twenties where she struggled with mark making. Before long, Claudia ended up going to grad school where she would continue to wrestle with and then hone her voice and approach as an artist.

Honing and expanding your painting skills.

What does it take for an artist to get to the point where they finally feel comfortable with their painting skills? Is that even possible or does the artist have to come to terms with a lifelong struggle in this area? Artist Claudia Rilling explains that in her experience, expanding and honing your painting skills is something that most artists continue to work on throughout their career. Having said that, there comes a point where an experienced artist feels more comfortable with their skill sets and abilities. I hope artists like you get as much out of the technical aspects of my conversation with Claudia as I did! Also, don’t forget to check out images of Claudia’s work located at the end of this post.

The drawbacks of viewing art digitally.

One of the questions I like to put to experienced artists like Claudia Rilling is finding out what they see in the painting world as it sits in today’s landscape. As usual, I was intrigued by Claudia’s response. In her opinion, due to the numerous closures of art galleries and the increased proliferation of art being viewed online, we’ve lost an important feature in the art world. While many artists are becoming more technologically and digitally astute, Claudia maintains that the move to a digital and virtual experience with art is not necessarily a good thing. What do you think of Claudia’s take? Do you agree? Do you view the digital movement as a positive step or a negative one?

How to tell when a painting is finished.

A question many artists struggle to answer is; when is a painting “Finished?” Do you still struggle with this question? What strategies or methods have you used to help you conclude your paintings? While there is no perfect answer, my guest, Claudia Rilling was kind enough to share her thoughts on this important step in creating artwork. In Claudia’s experience, it all comes down to getting the input of fellow artists. She quips with a great expression, “How many artists does it take to make a painting? Two! One to paint and the other to tell them when to stop.” Are you the type of artist who has the confidence to stop on their own or have you found it helpful to get the opinion of fellow artists?

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:00] I introduce my guest, Claudia Rilling.
  • [2:40] How Claudia got started painting.
  • [4:00] Artists that inspired Claudia early on.
  • [9:00] How Claudia describes her work.
  • [12:00] What was Claudia’s post undergrad career like?
  • [15:00] Claudia talks about lessons learned in grad school.
  • [20:00] How Claudia chooses her subjects.
  • [22:00] What does Claudia do when she approaches the canvas?
  • [28:30] An update on Claudia’s process and why she changed it over time.
  • [30:00] Claudia talks about different adhesives she’s used.
  • [32:30] How do you know when a painting is finished?
  • [36:00] What is Claudia currently working on?
  • [42:00] The drawbacks of galleries closing down and view art digitally.
  • [44:00] What Claudia wishes she would have known as an inexperienced artist.
  • [47:00] Overcoming challenges along the way.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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May 03, 2018
Interior Landscapes, Still Life Paintings, and the Absence of Curation with John Lee

What does the journey of a responsive painter focused on interior landscapes and still life paintings entail? How do you cultivate an awareness of the world around you in a way that can come to life in your art? My guest is artist and painter, John Lee. In my conversation with John, we cover his journey into artistry, how his ideas for projects from, his perspective as an art instructor, what he’s been working on during his break from teaching, the insufficiency of labels, and so much more! I can’t wait for you to hear from John and his engaging story.

Interior Landscapes and Still Life Paintings

John Lee’s work is based on what he sees in the world around him. He doesn’t like to paint things that he doesn’t see, rather he focuses more on genres like still life paintings and interior landscapes. In the end, it’s kind of hard to really nail John down in one particular vein, he enjoys the complexity and ambiguity. I know that artists like you will really enjoy and appreciate John’s unique voice and style. Make sure to check out images of his artwork located at the end of this post!

Learning to see, not look.

How does the role of an art instructor impact the work of an artist? Does that responsibility bleed into and influence their creative work? How can teaching draw out different aspects of the artist? My guest, John Lee teaches in Williamsburg, Virginia at the College of William and Mary. What’s fascinating about many of the students that John teaches is that many of them do not end up pursuing a career as an artist. In light of this, John focus on exposing these students to a world they are unaware of through art. He hopes that time in his classroom helps students learn to see, not look at the world around them.

The absence of curation.

When you look at the channels for art in the world around you, do you notice that there is a distinct lack of thoughtful and intentional curation? What is the solution? How do we start to move back or begin to appreciate once again the careful attention to detail that curation provides? In my conversation with artist John Lee, we discuss how increased access to art databases can actually have a limiting effect on the creative mind. John also touches on what he is doing as an art instructor to help expose students to resources that will grow their perspectives.

Paying attention to what captures your interest.

As an artist, what is it that captures your imagination and ignites your interest? How do you nurture those impulses and learn to make them part of your creative process? According to my guest, John Lee, it is vital for us as artists to make note of what lights us up. John encourages artists to experiment and find their way to inspiration through trial and error. He also explains how he tunes out the noise that can be distracting to focus on the task at hand. What can you learn from John’s story? What has worked for you with your creative process so far?

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:00] I introduce my guest, John Lee.
  • [2:30] John talks about his start as an artist.
  • [7:00] How does John describe his artwork?
  • [13:30] What does John do with ideas that come to him? What inspires him?
  • [19:00] John talks about his time away from teaching and what he’s been working on.
  • [25:00] What’s going on with art students? Is there a moment happening?
  • [30:00] How art schools impact students.
  • [40:00] What role does art have for the non-artist? Learning to see, not look.
  • [46:00] How do you tune out all the influences or only focus on the ones you want?
  • [49:00] Paying attention to what captures your interest.
  • [51:00] John talks about his post art school career.
  • [54:30] One step forward, two steps back.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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Apr 19, 2018
Discover How to Sell Your Art Online and Grow Your Audience, with Jenni Waldrop

What does it take to sell your art online successfully? Do you need to hire someone else to do it or are there tools and resources out there to empower artists like you to run your business effectively? My guest, Jenni Waldrop has built a successful online business herself and now works to help others do the same. In our conversation, Jenni opens up about how she got started, lessons she has learned along the way, what you need to do to start building an online store, and a whole lot more. If you are looking for a way to cut through all the complicated and confusing barriers to building your online business, this is the episode for you!

Leveraging online platforms can help you succeed.

Let’s face it, building something from scratch is difficult. While you probably aren’t afraid of hard work, wouldn’t you rather spend your time on your art than building an online presence that garners enough traffic to sustain you financially? That’s where utilizing online platforms like Etsy come into play. My guest, Jenni Waldrop is a pro at getting the most out of platforms like Etsy to help artists like you sell your art online. Learn from Jenni about all the advantages and yes, the work that’s necessary to build an online shop and in a successful and sustainable way.

Why it’s important to understand your target audience.

If you want to sell your art online, you’ve got to know who your target audience is and what they are looking for. This doesn't mean you have to compromise your principles or “Sell out.” Rather, think of it as a method for you to find out how you can connect with your fans in a way that allows them to support your work. Remember, the majority of your target audience doesn’t look like you! They don’t think like you, shop like you, or spend their time online the same way you do. Find out how to understand and connect with your audience by listening to Jenni Waldrop’s expert advice!

Work smarter, not harder!

Did you know that understanding how to read data and analytics can help you sell your art online more effectively? It’s true! You don’t always have to work harder to get the results you are looking for, sometimes is better to work smarter. In my conversation with Jenni, she explains how artists like you can locate and understand data from online sources like Instagram, Pinterest, and Etsy that will help you better understand where your audience is connecting with your activity. Wrapping your mind around this data is easier than you might think, once you’ve done that you’ll be better equipped to build your business and market your artwork.

Building an online shop can really pay off.

Trust me, I can understand how you may think that all of this talk about data and building an online shop to sell your art can be overwhelming and even daunting. I’ve built my Etsy shop and experienced less than impressive results. However, I’m convinced that Jenni Waldrop’s approach can work for artists like you and me. After considering all of Jenni’s advice and spending time with the information she’s provided, I’m ready to put give it another shot. Stay tuned as Jenni and I work on a special venture to rehab my Etsy shop and test how her approach can work for artists.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:05] I introduce my guest, Jenni Waldrop.
  • [3:00] Jenni talks about her background and what she does.
  • [5:30] How do artists on Etsy make themselves discoverable?
  • [7:30] If you build it, will they really come?
  • [10:00] What would Jenni suggest to revive or grow an Etsy business?
  • [14:00] Jenni talks about print on demand options.
  • [17:30] How do you build up and establish an audience?
  • [20:00] Why it’s important to understand who your audience is.
  • [25:30] Following the data can help you work smarter, not harder.
  • [28:30] What does it take to get an Etsy shop off of the ground?
  • [34:00] Advice Jenni would give to her younger self.
  • [38:30] Selling original pieces of art instead of prints.
  • [43:00] Parting advice for artists looking to sell their art online.

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Apr 05, 2018
Paint Brush Care, Techniques, and Q&As with Trekell Art Supplies

As I’ve been promising, here is my special conversation with Brian Trekell and Courtney Bridges from Trekell Art Supplies. In our conversation, we cover a ton of ground. Everything from how Trekell got started, what inspired Brian to get into the paint brush making business, a bunch of technical questions you sent in for Brian and his team, some history behind paint brush making, and so much more! It’s a ton of information but I know artists like you will appreciate the detailed explanations. Make sure to check out the special offer Trekell has made available for the Savvy Painter audience and the YouTube video of artist William Whitaker explaining his approach to brush care, you can find both in the resources section at the end of this post.

Letting curiosity lead the way.

Have you ever wondered how successful art suppliers like Trekell got their start? Are they just a faceless corporation or is there a heart somewhere behind the name? I had the privilege of sitting down with Brian Trekell and Courtney Bridges from Trekell Art Supplies. Brian founded Trekell over 30 years ago after spending time backpacking through Japan where he was first inspired by the art of brushmaking. Soon after, he traveled to Bechhofen, Germany, to fine-tune his skills. Now, Trekell is an established name in art. Brian continues to lead the organization with a relentless focus on delivering high-quality products to artists like you. I hope you are inspired by Trekell’s humble beginnings as much as I am.

Brush care really does make a difference.

As an artist, chances are you’ve picked up some bad habits when it comes to brush care over the course of your career. Brian and Courtney from Trekell Art Supplies are here to help remedy some of those bad habits and answer questions from the Savvy Painter community that will help you get more life out of your brushes. In our conversation, Brian and Courtney cover topics like which solution you should keep your brushes in, if using conditioner is a good idea, alternatives to rinsing the paint out on your hand, and much more. Don’t leave it all up to trial and error, get the best advice right from the supplier!

Expanding the product line.

While focusing on one specific product can lead to a lot of success, Trekell has taken the path of expanding their product line to bring their dedication and experience to other areas in the art world. In my conversation with Briand Trekell and Courtney Bridges, I got to hear their passion for working with other suppliers like Gamblin to bring creativity and high-quality products to a larger network of artists. Find out about Trekell’s offerings including panels, frames, primers, varnishes, and much more. I’m excited for you to get to know Brian and Courtney and their unique approach to offering as many tools to the art community as possible.

Maintaining a robust relationship with artists.

As you take the time to listen to Brian and Courtney explain their methodology and approach at Trekell Art Supplies, I hope you come to glimpse their passion for truly serving the art community. Through their partnership with the Savvy Painter podcast and hearing stories of how they’ve incorporated artists input throughout their history, I am confident that they care about their products and the people who use them. Trekell offers a number of professional grade sets, kits, and packages designed by the Trekell Pro Team which is made up of artists like you! From their partnership with William Whitaker to their efforts creating the Trekell Pro Team, they’ve taken the time to show that they are invested in the success of artists.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:25] I introduce my guests, Brian Trekell & Courtney Bridges.
  • [3:30] Why did Brian go into the brush business? Where did the name come from?
  • [8:00] How are acrylic brushes created differently than oil brushes?
  • [9:30] Who should use which brushes? Does it matter?
  • [12:30] What is the best way to treat your brush between uses?
  • [17:30] Why is wood used over other materials as the handle for brushes?
  • [21:30] Why did Trekell switch the color for their Legion handles?
  • [22:30] Why do brushes splay, even after they are properly cared for?
  • [24:30] How are the quill mops are made?
  • [25:30] When do you need to glue a brush, versus crimp it?
  • [27:00] Why does Trekell make some shapes and not others in each type of brush?
  • [30:00] Why is it so difficult to create a synthetic version of the natural mongoose brush?
  • [32:00] Is it true that I should not use brushes interchangeably between acrylics and oils?
  • [38:00] Any recommendations on how to soften edges with wet-on-wet?
  • [39:30] Do I need to seal the wood on the backside of the panel to prevent possible cracking?
  • [40:30] Courtney talks about Trekell’s coffin-shaped panels.
  • [42:00] How do you decide which is the best wood to use for your wood panels?
  • [44:30] What made you decide to start offering aluminum panels?
  • [46:00] How do you create the wood floating panels?
  • [48:00] Why did Trekell start expanding their product line from just brushes?
  • [50:00] How to do you measure spring in a brush?
  • [52:00] Should I try to make brushes with the hair of my animals? Does Trekell use animal hair?
  • [54:00] What is the most versatile brush? Which brush line is the most popular?
  • [55:30] If you could make a brush exclusively for a deceased artist and a living artist, who would you choose?
  • [56:00] Who was the first person to officially join the Trekell Pro Team?
  • [57:30] What should I use to clean my brushes before I'm ready to paint?
  • [1:02:00] What brushes would be best for me to use, using water mixable oil paints?

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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Mar 08, 2018
How to Crush the Inner Critic, Get Over Perfectionism, and Get Out of Your Own Way So You Can Create Your Best Work

I’m trying something new on this special episode! I want to tackle some of the common questions that I get from many of my listeners and fellow artists like you. On this episode, we will cover mindset mastery and how understanding and exploring your mindset can help you succeed and thrive as an artist. I also touch on an important topic, battling the inner critic as well as the significance of scheduling the important things in your life including downtime and studio time. I’m excited to share all of this with you and I look forward to hearing your feedback!

Why mindset is so important.

Did you know that your mindset impacts everything in your life? It’s true! It affects how you see your paintings, how you manage your career, your family life, the list goes on and on. What steps can you take to actively engage and direct your mindset so you can grow and thrive as an artist? The first step is becoming aware of the current state of your mindset, are you in a good place producing good results or have you taken a bit of a nosedive lately? Once you recognize what state your mindset is in and the tendencies you lean toward, you empower yourself! I hope you get a lot of value out of this framing of mindset mastery, I truly believe it can transform the way you work and create as an artist.

Keeping a schedule can be a game-changer!

What has your relationship with your calendar been like? Are you on good terms or is it in need of some rehabilitation? While most people don’t fit into that stereotypical “Type A” personality, even the most unstructured individuals among us would benefit from the use of a schedule or calendar. This simple shift can help organize and prioritize the most important things we want to dedicate our time to. It’s been said that what you put your attention on becomes important. Based on how you spend your time, what are the most important things in your life right now? Do you want to make a change and shift your time to something else? Schedule it! I’m not saying that it’s easy by any stretch and I’m happy to share my struggles, but I’ve learned the hard way that keeping a schedule can be a game-changer for your creativity and productivity.

Don’t let that inner critic hijack your life.

The first thing you need to know about your inner critic is that you aren’t alone! As I’ve talked to and interviewed many artists over the years, one thing is constant, we all struggle with pushing back the voice of our inner critic. Don’t fall for the lies that your inner critic likes to pedal! Here are three helpful starring places to minimize the influence of your inner critic. One, hold on to the truth that you aren’t alone, these negative or critical thoughts happen to every artist, this helps to break it’s isolating power. Two, you can choose to ignore your inner critic, you have that power. Three, you can opt for defeating it with humor, laugh at it, go ahead what is it going to hurt? Some artists have found this approach to be really effective! Find what works for you and consider taking the step to discuss it with your fellow artists, this can help break it’s power too.

Make sure to be strategic about your focus.

If you are looking to make a change in your mindset and your general approach to life as an artist, consider how you can be strategic about your focus. This goes back to what we talked about with scheduling, what you put your attention on becomes important. Don’t put it off and think that you’ll make changes down the road, now is the time! As an artist, you know that where you put your focus can significantly change the way you view your subject. Take the time to consider and implement some of these concepts, your career and your life is worth the investment! I’d also love to hear about what strategies and practices have helped you find focus, get in the right mindset, and battle your inner critic.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:05] I introduce this special episode tackling some of your questions.
  • [1:00] Mindset impacts everything!
  • [2:10] How do you carve out time for painting between life with kids, a partner, and everything in between?
  • [4:15] I share a personal story of how I struggled to find enough time to paint.
  • [10:00] Why it’s important to schedule your time, especially down time!
  • [14:00] What you put your attention on becomes important.
  • [17:00] Be aware of what is going on inside of your head!
  • [19:00] How you can start fighting against the inner critic.
  • [24:00] Why you should be strategic about your focus.
  • [28:30] Mastering your mindset is about being present.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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Mar 01, 2018
Narrative Painting and Discovering Your Artistic Voice, with Gabriela Dellosso

I’ve heard from many of my fellow artists about the struggle to find their artistic voice. Have you struggled with finding yours? What has helped you in your pursuit? My guest is narrative painter, Gabriela Dellosso known for her homage portraits, she paints historical representations of women artists using herself as a model. In our conversation, Gabriela shares how she found her artistic voice, her evolution from freelance illustration work to painting full time, stories about her mom posing as her model, stories of women artists that she has painted, and so much more. I can’t wait for you to get to know Gabriela and her wonderful journey as an artist!

Finding your artistic voice.

It’s a given that at some point, an artist will struggle with finding their voice or articulating it in a way that other people can understand. What is your story? Did it come easy for you early on or did you struggle to find your voice for some time? Gabriela Dellosso, like many of us, struggled with finding her artistic voice for quite a while. She looks back on that process as vital to shaping who she would become as an artist. Gabriela's advice for those who are struggling to find their voice is to go with what they are passionate about and meditate on ways to communicate that passion and concept to a wider audience. Gabriela has a wonderful way of talking about this topic and I hope that those of you who are currently struggling to find your artistic voice and find some encouragement!

The challenges and distractions of social media.

What is your relationship with social media like, as an artist? Do you find it useful and encouraging or do you find it supremely distracting and frustrating? My guest, Gabriela Dellosso and I talked about the role of social media and how it impacts artists in our conversation. While we both find it can be incredibly distracting and lead us down the path of comparing ourselves to other artists, we do note it’s helpful aspects. Have you found a helpful balance between using social media and taking the time to step away for a break? Do you have any helpful tips or best practices when it comes to this topic?

A parent’s love and support.

Who was it that nurtured and encouraged your growth as an artist? Was it a family member, a close friend or a mentor? What was it about their encouragement and support that helped you locate your artistic voice and passion? In our conversation, Gabriela Dellosso opened up about the impact that her mother had on her growth as an artist. She was kind enough to share with me some heartwarming stories about her mother serving as her model for many projects, one which led to her creating a whole series on clowns. I hope you can get the sense of love and support that Gabriela enjoyed in the early stages of her career from her mother.

Finding the right inspiration.

What is it that really moves you and fuels your inspiration for your artwork? How did you find it? What do you do to incorporate into your creations? My guest, Gabriela Dellosso has found her inspiration in the women artists who have gone before her. As Gabriela studies and learns about the incredible women who had to fight for a place at the table and still were able to produce stunning works of art, she feels compelled to lift them up and celebrate them in her own work. How can Gabriela's amazing work and beautiful inspirations inspire you and your creative expression? Make sure to check out images of Gabriela's work at the end of this post!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:45] I introduce my guest, Gabriela Dellosso.
  • [3:30] How did Gabriela get started as an artist?
  • [14:30] Gabriela talks about branching out and finding her voice.
  • [19:00] Advice for artists trying to find their voice.
  • [26:00] The challenges and distractions of social media for the artist.
  • [31:30] What is Gabriela currently working on?
  • [33:00] Learning from women artists.
  • [49:00] How Gabriela chooses artists to research and draw inspiration from.
  • [53:30] What is Gabriela's process and approach in her current series?
  • [58:00] Where do we get our influences as artists?

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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Feb 22, 2018
Constantly Learning and Refusing to Quit with Figurative Artist, Vonn Sumner

What is it that keeps you going as an artist? Where do you find your “Can-do spirit?” Is it a constant struggle for you to stay motivated and energized in your work? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone! My guest is figurative artist Vonn Sumner. In our conversation, Vonn talks about growing up in Palo Alto, CA where he was exposed to a lot of art, specifically bay area figurative artists. Vonn also talks about his decision to study at UC Davis and his experiences there with the artist, Wayne Thiebaud. Further on in our conversation we talk about painting, the eternal gap between the artist's vision and what comes out on the canvas, and much more!

Why it’s important to have a mindset of constantly learning.

As many eager art school graduates launch out into the choppy waters of navigating their new careers, the mindset often shifts from learning to creating. What has been your experience of the shift from formal education, if you went that route, to building your portfolio and marketing your work? My guest, figurative artist Vonn Sumner shared with me what his mindset was after leaving UC Davis. Vonn worked hard at continuing to cultivate a mode of constantly learning and questioning. He points to this attitude and mindset when we talked about his inspiration for painting. What can you learn from Vonn’s unique take? Make sure to view images of Vonn’s work located at the end of this post!

Wisdom learned from studying under Wayne Thiebaud.

Which individuals have been some of the important figures that impacted you in your career as an artist? Were they family members, mentors, instructors, or someone else? For figurative artist Vonn Sumner, it was his time studying under renowned artist Wayne Thiebaud at UC Davis. In our conversation, Vonn shared a few important gems of wisdom that he learned from Wayne. As hard as it can be to convey through words, Vonn said that Wayne taught him and his peers “How to see.” Vonn says that this is more than translating the world through art, it had a deeper component, it was about how to see painting and the world in a way that was rigorous and personal. I loved hearing all of Vonn’s stories and insights from studying under Wayne and I hope you do too.

Setbacks and challenges along the way.

What has your journey as an artist been like? Have you been through the mountain tops of success and down in valleys of despair? What have those experiences taught you? In my conversation with Vonn Sumner, he walked me through his early career and what it was like to find success and then make the decision to walk away when the market started to change. While Vonn’s move from sunny and artsy California to quiet Pennsylvania was difficult at the time, he now looks back at that episode as a period of growth and flourishing. It was really refreshing to hear Vonn’s take on this chapter in his life and I hope artists like you can connect with his journey.

You’ve got to make the decision to refuse to quit.

As many of you know, the life of an artist can be full of exciting highs and frustratingly long lows. What do you do to keep sight of the reason why continue to create? My guest, Vonn Sumner was kind enough to open up about his own struggles and some important advice he received on this topic. When Vonn was working at UC Davis as a teaching assistant under Wayne Thiebaud, he approached him looking for advice about his career. In response, Wayne said that most artists quit when they are about 45 or 50 years old. From that experience, Vonn walked away with a determination to stay in the game and refuse to quit. How does Vonn’s take resonate with you?

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:00] I introduce my guest, Vonn Sumner.
  • [2:30] Von talks about early art influences.
  • [6:00] The gap between what you imagine and what you can create.
  • [12:00] Von talks about his inspiration for painting.
  • [16:30] The mindset of constantly learning.
  • [23:00] Takeaways from learning under Wayne Thiebaud.
  • [28:30] What did Vonn do after art school?
  • [38:30] How 9/11 impacted the art scene in New York.
  • [43:00] Setbacks and challenges along the way.
  • [55:00] Refusing to quit and pushing through.
  • [1:02:00] The struggle with art and business.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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Feb 15, 2018
Enriching Relationships with Fellow Artists, with Karen Offutt

What has your journey as an artist been like? Have you benefited from rich and vibrant relationships with fellow artists? Or have you struggled to find your tribe of peers who you can collaborate and travel the journey with? My guest, Karen Offutt was kind enough to open up in our conversation about the impact that her fellow artists have had on her, struggles she’s endured along the way, how she’s navigated relationships with galleries, how parenthood has impacted her art career, and much more! I can’t wait for you to hear from Karen’s dynamic perspective!

Finding your tribe and learning from fellow artists.

Can you think back to that moment when you realized that you found your tribe? What was it like once you felt like you belonged among your fellow artists? My guest, Karen Offutt described for me the moment when she finally found a community of fellow artists and experienced a challenging and enriching environment. Before she found a community to “Belong” to, she struggled with expanding her skills and never really felt sure in her journey as an artist. Once she found her tribe, everything changed for Karen. Through the highs and lows that many artists struggle with, Karen is thankful for her fellow artists who have been there with her, every step of the way. What can you learn from Karen’s story?

Early challenges with galleries and finding the “Right one.”

What has been your experience connecting with and featuring your artwork in galleries? If you are anything like most artist’s I’ve spoken with, you’ve had your fair share of challenges and successes. Figurative artist, Karen Offutt experienced some difficulties early on as she tried to navigate her way through interacting with galleries that wanted to feature her paintings. She looks back at those early opportunities with gratitude due to the positive experiences she had before some of the more negative ones that came along. A big takeaway from Karen’s story and a maxim that I often repeat when it comes to good galleries is to cherish them and treat them like gold because they can be hard to come by!

Navigating the ups and downs of parenthood and life as an artist.

Trying to figure out life and balancing your art career and parenthood can be extremely difficult. I’ve had the privilege to speak with many artists, both fathers and mothers who have told their story and how challenging this balancing act can be. I believe there are some really helpful lessons to be learned by taking the time to hear from our fellow artists who navigate this path with grace and endurance. Karen Offutt took the time to describe her journey and unique challenges that she’s faced along the way as a parent. I hope you feel as inspired as I was by the tenacity and passion that Karen exudes for both her family and her artwork.

For the love of figure painting.

What do you love the most about the type of artwork you create? Is it the landscapes that draw you in and make your imagination come to life? Or maybe it’s the abstract colors and shapes that spark your creative pursuits. For Karen Offutt, it’s the idea of figures coming out of her paintings and the various ways she is able to play with different images that excites and animates her as she approaches her canvas. Karen was kind enough to describe her process and her deep love and passion for figurative artwork in our conversation. I know artists like you will get a lot of enjoyment out of the way she talks about her process and her creative journey. Make sure to check out images of Karen’s artwork located at the end of this post!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:50] I introduce my guest, Karen Offutt.
  • [3:00] How Karen got started as an artist.
  • [8:30] When did Karen get the instruction that she needed?
  • [15:00] Karen talks about how she learned to loosen up with her painting.
  • [17:00] How did Karen start to get her work in galleries?
  • [21:00] Challenges Karen faced working with different galleries.
  • [23:30] Karen talks about her children and how parenthood has impacted her career.
  • [36:00] What is Karen’s process? How does she spend her studio time?
  • [40:00] How does Karen choose her models?
  • [43:00] What is it that makes Karen so drawn to figurative painting?
  • [45:00] Karen’s pride in her work.
  • [47:30] The goal to put more time in the studio.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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Feb 08, 2018
An Exciting Journey as a Self Taught Artist, with Erin Spencer

What does it look like to build a career as a self taught artist? What are the unique challenges and thrilling rewards of forging a path on your own? Can you really succeed and thrive as a self taught artist? My guest is self taught, landscape and cityscape artist Erin Spencer. Her work is greatly influenced by her time spent in Holland. In our conversation, Erin and I talk about her early start selling her art on Etsy, struggling with the imposter syndrome, making the time to paint with a young family, and much more. I can’t wait for you to get a peek into Erin’s exciting journey and the fascinating perspective she brings to the table.

Taking the leap into the unknown as a self taught artist.

What has been your journey as an artist? Have you been through formal education or does your story look more like Erin Spencer’s? What does that leap into the unknown look like? How do you navigate it? While the journey wasn’t always easy, Erin says that as she looks back, she knows that this path was meant for her to travel in her own unique way. Erin describes her journey as going through a lot of trial and error, studying art at museums and shows, and reading about her craft. While she doesn’t describe her path as easy, Erin is passionate about how much the process has meant to her and her growth along the way. Make sure to check out images of Erin’s landscape and cityscape work located at the end of this post!

Knowing your own limits and setting goals for growth.

How often do you push yourself in your abilities as an artist? Do you find it easy to stretch yourself or is it painful and difficult for you? If you struggle with going past your personal limitations, you aren’t alone! Artist Erin Spencer revealed to me in our conversation how much she struggles with the idea of going to art workshops to work around and learn from other artists. I applaud Erin for knowing her own limits and boundaries and finding the determination to set a goal for stretching past those limits in the future. What can you learn from Erin’s story?

Making the time to paint as an artist and a parent to young children.

How do artists with children find the time to focus on their artwork when the demands of parenthood constantly rear its head? Is it possible to do both without failing at one? My guest, Erin Spencer spoke with me about how she has been able to make time in her day to focus on her painting. She also talks about how her children have grown up in her environment as an artist and they’ve learned to understand and adapt to her space and creative work. If you’d like to get a good understanding of what life as an artist and parent looks like, you’ll enjoy hearing from Erin’s honest viewpoint.

Accepting opportunities and discovering your roots.

When was the last time that you accepted a challenging opportunity? How did that go for you? Can you think of a time when you followed an impulse or a whim to find yourself embarking on a new and exciting project? In our conversation, Erin Spencer was candid enough to share with me what she is currently working on and a fun personal journey she is taking to explore her roots. Both projects capture Erin’s imagination in different ways, the first project is stretching her abilities and the second project is taking her on a creative journey with her family background. I hope you catch the excitement and passion that Erin exudes as she talks about both of these projects.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:05] I introduce my guest, Erin Spencer.
  • [2:30] How did Erin get started as an artist?
  • [5:30] Taking the leap as a self-taught artist.
  • [11:30] What have been some of the more difficult techniques for Erin to learn?
  • [17:30] Where does Erin sell her art?
  • [19:00] Struggling with the imposter syndrome.
  • [27:00] Why workshops are intimidating for Erin.
  • [30:30] A moment of personal success for Erin.
  • [39:00] Dealing with challenges along the way.
  • [46:30] What is Erin working on right now?

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Feb 01, 2018
Paint Colors, Techniques, Best Practices, and more! Special Q&A Session with Gamblin

Have you been experimenting with your paint colors lately? Do you have questions about different colors and the best way to mix them? You are in luck! As I’ve been promising, our special color episode with Gamblin featuring Scott Gellatly and Robert Gamblin is here! In our conversation, we go over the pigments used in modern paints, the emotional content of a color, what makes student grade paints, “student grade,” the best paints to use for plein air painting, and so much more. You don’t want to miss a minute of this in-depth and fascinating conversation with Robert and Scott!

Why modern paints have more pigments.

Have you ever wondered why modern oil paints have so many more pigments than older ones you see on display in galleries and museums? What has changed with the process over the years to account for this? My guest, Robert Gamblin was kind enough to give a bit of a history lesson on the production and use of colors and pigments from historical eras and why it’s so different today. I’m excited for you to get the chance to learn from Robert’s expert perspective and dig a little bit into the process and production of the paints you use day in and day out.

What is the emotional content of colors?

Did you know that colors have an emotional content? How does that impact the paint production process? Robert Gamblin says that the emotional content of a color is its primary communication. He goes on to give the example of Cadmium Red Medium, saying that it presents as a very hot and intense color, it could be used to express the feeling of rage or the intensity of a love that you can’t handle. Robert contrasts this color with Magnesium Blue Hue, which presents as a very cool color. I hope you find Robert’s explanation of the emotional content of colors as fascinating as I did!

What makes student grade paints, “Student grade?”

You’ve probably used student grade paints before, but have you ever wanted to know what makes them, “Student grade?” Do you still use student grade paints for some of your projects? My guest, Robert Gamblin took the time to explain what student grade means and how it varies from some of the other paints they offer. According to Robert, the difference between student grade and more premium paints comes down to the pigments. At Gamblin, student grade paints are made with 50% of the pigment load that is used in their artist grade paints. The remainder of the student grade paints are made up of extender pigments, other than that, the production quality and process is the same as the rest of their top quality products. What ways will you use student grade paints in the future?

The different characteristics of black oil colors.

The last time I had the chance to speak with Robert, we talked about the different characteristics of white oil colors. This time around, Robert goes over the characteristics and uses of black oil colors. He starts off talking about the most commonly used black, Ivory Black which is made of burnt bone. Ivory Black is so common because it is an all-around good mixing black color. Robert then goes on to explain how Mars Black differs from Ivory Black because of its opaque nature. Mars Black is best used when you want to utilize black as a color in your paintings because of its strength. Robert has so much to say about all the different blacks and how to best use them, I hope you enjoy his expert perspective!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:15] I introduce my guests, Robert Gamblin and Scott Gellatly.
  • [3:00] Why does modern oil paints have more pigments than older ones?
  • [6:00] What is Gamblin’s guide to color making?
  • [8:30] Robert talks about the emotional content of a color.
  • [10:30] Are there paints out there that painters often misuse?
  • [15:00] The difference between modern pigments and mineral pigments.
  • [20:00] Robert talks about Gamblin’s color pallet.
  • [24:00] What are lake colors?
  • [26:00] What is a hue and what hues does Gamblin feature?
  • [29:00] What makes student grade paints, “student grade?”
  • [34:30] What is the best medium to use prevent “dead spots” in my painting?
  • [40:30] Are their plans in works to expand more skin tone colors?
  • [49:00] Common mistakes to avoid when putting together a personal pallet.
  • [52:00] What are the different characteristics of black oil colors?
  • [59:00] What are the best paints to use for plein air painting?
  • [1:04:30] A question about creating a pallet and the relationship between pigments.
  • [1:08:00] What are Scott’s “Secret weapon” colors.
  • [1:10:30] Robert talks about his trip to Greenland and his work painting icebergs.
  • [1:15:00] What is a good white for glazing?
  • [1:17:00] How are transparent earth colors different from ochres, umbers, and siennas?
  • [1:19:30] Why are cadmium and cobalt colors so expensive and are they really worth it?
  • [1:22:30] What are some of the best colors for blacking out a painting in the beginning?

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Jan 25, 2018
Fueling a Passion for Art, with Kelli Vance

What is it that fuels your passion for art? Can you trace your passion back to an early age or is it something that was awakened in you later in life? How do you continue to fan the flame? My guest is artist Kelli Vance. Kelli is a figurative artist from Texas, she got her BFA from the University of North Texas and her MFA from the University of Houston. Kelli’s current paintings of women explore spirituality and invite the viewer to decipher their meaning. In our conversation, we discuss how Kelli fuels her passion for art, where her ideas come from, how she brings her vision to life with the help of friends who model for her, and so much more. I can’t wait for you to hear Kelli’s story and her fascinating perspective.

Falling in love with creating art.

Do you remember that “moment” when everything clicked for you and you just fell in love with making art? If you didn’t have a specific moment, what was it that pushed you to start your journey as an artist? Kelli Vance and I had a wonderful discussion where we both took the time to share how we both had a moment where everything clicked for us. It was really exciting to hear from a peer who had a similar experience as I did. We both marveled at the fact that there was nothing spectacular about the assignments that we were given but we fell in love with craft all the same.

The difficulty of wrestling with personal expectations.

Holding to high standards and rigorous expectations for yourself can really be an asset that keeps you focused and striving to create good art. However, there is often another side to that coin. In our conversation, Kelli Vance and I discuss our relationship with personal expectations and how they’ve helped and hindered us over the years. We also touch on a sort of antidote to our high expectations, getting around other artists who can look at our work and assure us that we don’t have to critique every little thing along the way. What has been your relationship with personal standards and expectations?

Stoking the flames of passion for art.

As with many things in life, the longer you live with something, the more ordinary it begins to feel. Something that once took your breath away, can easily be lost to boredom or indifference. What have you done to keep the passion for art alive in your mind? How do you keep that flame lit after so many years? My guest, Kelli Vance opened up in our conversation and shared with me a few examples of what she does to keep stoking the flames of passion for art in her life. One aspect that she mentioned is how she is moved by art shows like the one she recently viewed in LA. Kelli also says that getting away and exploring nature has a rejuvenating effect on her creative spirit. What can you learn from Kelli’s story? What helps you keep your passion alive for art?

Nurturing a habit of curiosity.

It is so fascinating to hear all the different responses from all my guests when they talk about habits that have helped them succeed as artists. Kelli Vance says that the habit of curiosity is the one habit that has helped her grow and find success in her career. She describes herself as constantly curious, researching ideas, talking through them with friends and cultivating an ever-present awareness of things all around her. Kelli also points to a specific friendship she has with a fellow painter who has challenged her and acted as a sounding board for all of her creative ideas. What habits have helped you on your journey? What role has curiosity played in your development as an artist?

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:00] I introduce my guest, Kelli Vance.
  • [3:00] How Kelli got started as an artist.
  • [9:00] Kelli and I talk about that “moment” when we fell in love with creating art.
  • [13:00] Kelli talks about her time in Roswell as an art resident.
  • [17:00] What is Kelli working on right now?
  • [20:00] Having friends participate as models.
  • [24:00] A moment of personal success for Kelli and responding to challenges.
  • [29:00] Wrestling with personal expectations.
  • [32:00] What keeps Kelli excited and passionate about art?
  • [36:30] Artwork that Kelli would love to own.
  • [38:00] Kelli’s relationship with fiction.
  • [42:00] The habit of curiosity.
  • [43:30] Why Kelli doesn’t keep any of her artwork around.
  • [45:30] Just make the painting.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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Jan 18, 2018
The Ebb and Flow of Art Sales, with Kenny Harris

How do you as an artist navigate the ebb and flow of art sales? Is there a method to the madness or is it all guesswork? What lessons have you learned in your career to help you navigate this important topic? My guest, artist Kenny Harris joins me on this episode as we discuss the ebb and flow of art sales and many other topics. Throughout our conversation, we touch on self-promotion, personal development, questioning assumptions, Kenny’s marriage to fellow artist Judy Nimtz, and much more. I am so excited for you to hear from Kenny’s distinct perspective!

The wisdom of understanding there is an ebb and flow to art sales.

What have been some of the best advice you’ve received in your art career? Did it come from a mentor, family member, or close friend? Did you have the opportunity to connect with a community of artists with seasoned members? My guest, Kenny Harris was kind enough to open up to me about his journey from life in New York to moving to Venice, California. His move started out as a visit but he quickly found himself embraced and welcomed by the art community, particularly among the “Old guard.” It was during this transition in his career that Kenny received the advice that art sales are cyclical and to why it’s important to fight the impulse to play to fashion. Have you received similar advice like Kenny received? Did you take it?

What is it like being married to a fellow artist?

Do you have someone close to you who shares your passion for art? Is there a family member or close friend who you can collaborate with and learn from? Can you imagine what it would be like to have your partner share in your profession as an artist? During our conversation, artist Kenny Harris spoke at length about the special connection he enjoys by sharing the same career as his spouse and fellow artist, Judy Nimtz. Kenny speaks fondly of the influence that Judy has had on his artwork and how he sees his influence coming out in her work as well. They also enjoy filling their time bonding over painting together, going to shows and exhibits, and giving each other feedback. I enjoyed hearing Kenny describe the influence his wife has on his work and I hope you benefit from it too.

Questioning your own assumptions.

Sometimes you can get to the point in your career where you inoculate yourself to criticism and introspection. Have you experienced that? How do you fight against that impulse? My guest, Kenny Harris was candid about his own struggle and revealed to me that it took going back to school to really help him begin to question his own assumptions. This led to him becoming cautious about his own use of caution in his artwork. Kenny’s journey led to massive growth both internally and professionally. While the process sounds exhausting, reflecting back on this season in his life, Kenny says it was ultimately rewarding. What has been your experience with challenging your own assumptions?

The benefit of preparing for tomorrow’s work.

What steps have you taken to push yourself to get into a rhythm of productivity in your studio? Do you have a process that you feel comfortable with? What habits have helped you on your journey? Kenny Harris says that it wasn’t one single habit that helped him get on track and make progress in his career but multiple little things that have helped along the way. One step that Kenny tries to practice on a regular basis that stood out to me was the habit of preparing for the next day’s work the night before. It sounds like such a simple step but the way Kenny described it had me fascinated. Does Kenny’s process sound like anything you’ve tried before?

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:30] I introduce my guest, Kenny Harris.
  • [3:30] How did Kenny get his start as an artist?
  • [7:30] Kenny talks about getting settled in with the LA art community.
  • [16:30] Questioning assumptions in your own work.
  • [19:00] What makes Kenny so curious about artwork?
  • [21:00] Is there a difference between voice and style?
  • [27:00] Kenny talks about breaking his own rules.
  • [29:30] What is it like being married to another artist?
  • [33:30] A marker of personal success and growth.
  • [43:00] The struggle of simplicity and focusing on what matters.
  • [49:30] Habits that have helped Kenny succeed.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Jan 11, 2018
The Benefit of Being Part of an Art Community and Taking Risks, with Julie Beck

The results are in and I am happy to announce the three winners of our art competition. Take a look at the end of this post for images and links for our second and third place winners. Our first place winner is Julie Beck. Julie is an artist from upstate New York who currently lives and works as an art instructor in Boston. In our conversation, we discuss the benefit of being part of an art community, why it’s important to take risks, how she signs her paintings, and much more! I can’t wait for you to hear from all three of my guests, starting with the talented Julie Beck.

What is so great about titling paintings?

Maybe you are like me and you really don’t enjoy the process of coming up with a title for your artwork. Then again, maybe you are more like my guest, Julie Beck. Julie loves the process of deciding on a title for her paintings. In fact, Julie talks about the process a bringing a further depth and layer to her artwork. In our conversation, Julie opens up about how she decides on a title and she even shares that she has a list of “Orphaned titles.” What is your process for deciding on a title like? What can you learn from Julie’s process and passion for this task?

Why is it important to be connected to an art community?

What has been your experience with getting connected to an art community? Have you had good and positive experiences or have you struggled to find your tribe? Artist Julie Beck says that finding a vibrant and robust artist community has had a profound impact on her development and growth as an artist. Julie goes on to share that one of the best ways to break out of a funk or difficult season as an artist is to get around other creative individuals, it doesn’t have to be other artists. I hope artists like you get the chance to connect with a supportive and inspiring art community like Julie has!

How taking risks can grow you and help you succeed.

Does taking risks come easy to you or do you find it to be difficult? What has informed your relationship with risk? Were you taught to avoid risks or were you taught to chase them? Do you see risks as beneficial or dangerous? My guest, Julie Beck has, at times struggled with taking risks. Her painting that won our contest serves as her evidence that she is fighting her impulse to avoid risks. In our conversation, Julie shared with me how she came to branch out and try something different with this painting. As she describes it, this was a departure for Julie, she usually works in a very controlled and measured process. It was fascinating to hear from Julie’s perspective and how she embraced this scary, vulnerable, and rewarding experience. Make sure to check out the image of Julie’s work that won our contest at the end of this post!

The power of reminding yourself that you are a professional artist.

What habits have helped you build your confidence and succeed as an artist? Are you still looking for tips and insights that will help you as you grow in your profession? Artist Julie Beck was kind enough to share a helpful practice that might encourage artists like you as try to find ways to stay motivated. For Julie, things started to click for her when she made that decision to take herself seriously as an artist. To keep the momentum going, Julie created a folder on her computer desktop titled, “I am an artist.” As she continued to create and build her portfolio, she would add to that folder, gaining more and more confidence each time. I hope you pick up on the sense of accomplishment and success that comes across from Julie’s story and I hope you find your way to a similar experience!

Outline of This Episode

  • [2:00] I introduce my guest and first place contest winner, Julie Beck.
  • [3:30] Julie talks about her painting that won the contest.
  • [11:00] Why Julie loves titling paintings.
  • [15:00] Julie and I talk about signing our paintings.
  • [18:30] Finding efficient ways to accomplish tasks.
  • [20:00] Julie talks about her process working with oil paintings.
  • [26:00] When does Julie choose to pick which brush to use and why?
  • [30:00] Julie opens up about her work at The Academy of Realist Art, Boston.
  • [36:00] The artist’s struggle of wondering if you are good enough.
  • [38:00] Why community is crucial to creative expression.
  • [40:00] Julie and I talk about our dream to create an artist commune.
  • [45:00] The impact of the book, Free Play has had on Julie.
  • [50:00] Julie talks about her love of cozy and intimate spaces.
  • [52:00] Is there a painting that Julie won’t sell?
  • [54:00] Julie talks about the artists whose paintings she would love to own.
  • [55:30] Habits that have helped Julie succeed.
  • [59:00] I introduce my second guest, Suzi Zefting Kuhn.
  • [1:00:00] Suzi talks about the artwork she creates.
  • [1:02:00] The impact of being part of robust art community.
  • [1:04:00] Advice for artists who are considering entering contests.
  • [1:06:00] Dealing with disappointment.
  • [1:08:30] Habits that help Suzi succeed.
  • [1:10:00] I introduce my third guest, Randall David Tipton.
  • [1:11:30] Randall talks about his process and where he gets his inspiration.
  • [1:13:30] What is Youpo and how does Randall use it in his artwork?
  • [1:16:00] Randall talks about his artwork that won third place in the contest.
  • [1:17:30] Advice that Randall has for artists who are considering entering contests.
  • [1:19:00] Habits that have helped Randall succeed.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Jan 04, 2018
Cityscape and Landscape Art, with Adam Harrison

What does the process of creating cityscape and landscape art entail? How do those artists choose their locations? What does it even look like to create a portable studio? My guest, Adam Harrison is a cityscape and landscape artist who paints on location and lives in Santa Monica. Adam’s paintings range from four to six FEET! In our conversation, we talk about Adam’s process and strategy, how he connects with the public who live around his various locations, and so much more! I can’t wait for you to hear from Adam’s unique perspective and get the chance to view images of his artwork located at the end of this post.

The first approach to painting outside and on location.

What is it like taking your studio outside for the first time? What lessons do you learn in the process? My guest, Adam Harrison was kind enough to open up and share with me his first experience going outside and on location to start a project. Adam says that on his first outing, he carried two 4ft by 4ft panels made out of a quarter inch birchwood plywood, his studio easel, a lawn chair, a glass pallet, and a couple of reusable bags full of odds and ends. Can you imagine the scene? He took this setup to the Dodger Stadium area where he would end up spending the next year creating his first landscape work. From this experience, Adam came away with a lot of lessons, most notably, making sure to pack sunscreen next time. What can you take away from Adam’s story? What have been your experiences painting outside?

The benefit of having a deadline.

One of the most important things for any creative individual to find out about themselves is how they are motivated. Are you internally motivated and find that you can hit goals and benchmarks that you hold yourself too? Or are you more externally motivated and thrive when you set yourself up with deadlines that other people are counting on? My guest, Adam Harrison shared with me that he operates out of external motivation. Once he realized this, Adam was able to set up external deadlines and benchmarks that others would be dependent on, and this allowed Adam to thrive. Which process works best for you?

The process of picking a motif.

How do you pick your projects and motifs? Do you find inspiration in the settings around you or do you like to branch out and look past the familiar? Artist Adam Harrison has developed three “Have to’s” in his process that helps him pick his motifs. These are the three criteria he uses when he starts a painting.

  1. A sense of “Wonder” or “Wow.” Something that blows him away, that he loves looking at.
  2. Does this image resonate? Does he continue to think about it days and weeks later?
  3. How practical is it to get in front of the image on a weekly or daily basis?

Adam says that these criteria have been instrumental in helping him filter through all the options and ideas that he comes across to pick the right one for him to spend his time on. What has worked for you? What are your criteria for picking a motif?

How predictable patterns and habits lead to success.

What habits and practices have contributed to your growth and success as an artist? Are you still looking for those patterns that will help unlock your creativity? My guest, Adam Harrison was candid enough to share with me some of the daily practices and habits have led to his success as an artist. Adam points to his practice of having between 5-7 paintings that he works on throughout the week that allows him the freedom and flexibility to create wherever his work week takes him. While Adam’s approach may not be for everyone, it is really fascinating to get his take and the creative journey and how he discovered what works for him.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:30] I introduce my guest, Adam Harrison.
  • [3:30] Adam talks about how he got started as an artist.
  • [5:30] Artists that influenced Adam early on.
  • [7:30] What would Adam do when he felt inadequate.
  • [15:00] Adam talks about his first experience painting outside.
  • [20:30] Struggling with frustrations in the creative process.
  • [22:30] The benefit of having a deadline.
  • [28:30] Lessons learned from painting outside.
  • [34:30] Interactions with the public while working outside.
  • [40:30] What makes Adam pick a motif?
  • [43:30] Habits and rituals that have contributed to Adam’s success.
  • [49:00] Adam talks about a setback early in life.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Dec 28, 2017
Abstract Painting and the Freedom to Create, with Allison Gildersleeve

What is the evolution like for an artist that focuses on abstract painting? How can the work of abstract painting provide additional avenues that encourage a freedom to create? My guest, Allison Gildersleeve was generous with her time and candor as she opened up about her journey as an artist and her work with abstract paintings. We also discussed her time working in Vermont and Sweden, why she paints with layered images, navigating her career as a parent, and so much more! I can’t wait for you to get a glimpse into the journey and story of this talented painter!

Layered artwork and evolving as an artist.

When was the last time you really stretched yourself and experimented as an artist? Is it something you do often or do you have intentionally put yourself in situations where you can experiment? My guest, Allison Gildersleeve was kind enough to share about her time working with a printmaker in Sweden. During that time, Allison was able to experiment with layered drawings. You can tell from how she describes her time in Sweden that this was a very formative and liberating time for Allison. I hope you can catch the joy and enthusiasm that was evident in Alison's perspective like I did!

The struggles and inspirations of navigating an art career as a parent.

What has been your experience as an artist and parent? Do you find challenging, inspiring, or a mixture of both? How can you encourage and support your fellow artist who is at this stage of life right now? Artist Allison Gildersleeve discussed with me her experiences as an artist and parent, the challenges and the inspiring points in our conversation. While her life as a parent and artist was difficult at many points when her children were little, she also looks back at early parenthood as a time that required her to focus more intentionally on the time she had to create. What lessons can you learn from Allison’s experience? Do you resonate with what she shared?

The value of being part of a thriving art community.

Are you a part of a local art community? Do you connect with other artists to commiserate, collaborate, and get encouragement? Or do you find that life separated and isolated from the hustle and bustle give you more freedom to create? My guest, Allison Gildersleeve shared with me about the impact that being part of an artist community had on her years ago and continues to impact her today. She looks back at her time as an art assistant for Joan Snyder as being a pivotal point where she was able to connect with other artists and enjoy being part of that unique type of community. How has being part of an art community impacted your journey?

The hard work of slowing down and paying attention.

Do you ever find it challenging to slow down and pay attention to what is going on around you? What about your process, do you find that you have to make a deliberate effort to make sure you are challenging yourself? My guest, Allison Gildersleeve says that her challenges at this point in her career as an artist are to slow down and yet at the same time continue to challenge herself. They sound like they’d be opposites but both of these areas really make sense for Allison’s current stage in her career. I hope you can find some encouragement in Alison's story and don’t forget to check out images of her work located at the end of this post!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:20] I introduce my guest, Allison Gildersleeve.
  • [3:30] Allison talks about how she got started as an artist.
  • [7:30] The value of being part of an artist community.
  • [10:00] A key moment of personal success for Allison.
  • [13:00] Allison talks about leaving behind certain aspects of her work.
  • [18:00] How has Allison’s work changed over time?
  • [23:00] Allison talks about disconnecting and creating a space for free form.
  • [30:30] Advice for artists with young kids.
  • [37:30] Rituals and habits that empower Allison in the studio.
  • [42:30] Learning from setbacks and challenges along the way.
  • [49:00] Why it’s important to slow down and think things through.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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Dec 21, 2017
Art Critique, with Melinda Cootsona

What does it take to whether an art critique and come out the other side ready to continue to create? How do you receive criticism and move forward? I had the pleasure to sit down with the artist, Melinda Cootsona. In our conversation, Melinda opened up about how she transitioned from her work in interior design to painting, how she organized her very first open studio, why it’s important to put yourself out there early, her work with cold wax, and so much more! I know that artists like you will get a lot of enjoyment out of Melinda’s distinct perspective and her helpful advice to budding artists.

What it’s like to organize and hold your first open studio.

Have you ever held an open studio for your artwork? What was it like? What kind of feedback did you receive? How early in your career did you hold it? Artist Melinda Cootsona held her first open studio early on in her career. She held the open studio in her home and enjoyed the feedback via purchases and responses from her viewers. She’s had several since that first one and encourages artists getting started to go for it and hold an open studio as soon as they have a good collection of work to display. What can you learn from Melinda’s experience?

How to receive criticism and move forward.

How do you receive a critique of your artwork? Do you seek them out and look forward to learning from them or do you struggle with receiving them constructively? My guest, Melinda Cootsona was candid enough to open up and share from her perspective and how she faced critiques of her artwork. Melinda says that she experiences a sort of detachment from the criticism that she hears regarding her work. She doesn’t take the criticism personally and encourages artists to do all they can to cultivate that sort of healthy detachment that keeps them from taking the critiques personally. What has been your experience with criticism?

Why it’s important to connect with a mentor.

Do you have people in your circle that you go to and receive feedback on your artwork? Are there other artists that you are in contact with whose opinion you can trust? Artist Melinda Cootsona shared with me during our conversation that she has relied heavily on mentors as she has progressed in her career. She also encourages artists who are just getting started to take the initiative and connect with a mentor as soon as possible. Melinda says that connecting with a mentor can have a huge impact on an artist's ability to get feedback, push toward goals, and expand their perspectives. Have you connected with a mentor? What was your experience?

Overcoming self-doubt and the downward spiral.

What do you do when you run into self-doubt and the occasional downward spiral that can plague the experience of an artist. Are there best practices that have helped you address this difficulty? My guest, Melinda Cootsona took the time in our conversation to open up about her own experience with self-doubt and the downward spiral. There is two point that Melinda touches on in addressing this difficulty among artists; first, she says it’s important to understand that every artist goes through this, you are not alone. Second, Melinda makes the point that the only way to the work is through the work, meaning, if you want to break out of the downward spiral and figure out what to do next, you’ve just got to start working. Can you relate to Melinda’s perspective? Share what’s worked for you!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:00] I introduce my guest, Melinda Cootsona.
  • [2:30] Melinda talks about how she got started on her journey as an artist.
  • [4:00] What was Melinda’s first open studio like?
  • [6:30] Receiving an art critique.
  • [9:00] Melinda talks about personal successes along the way.
  • [13:00] Why it’s important to connect with a mentor.
  • [18:00] Learning from setbacks and failures.
  • [24:30] Melinda talks about her work with cold wax.
  • [31:00] How Melinda starts a painting.
  • [35:00] Melinda’s habits in the studio.
  • [37:30] Using music during the creative process.
  • [40:30] Don’t wait too long before you approach a gallery!
  • [45:00] Dealing with self-doubt as an artist.
  • [47:00] Artwork by living artists that Melinda would love to own.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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Dec 14, 2017
Figurative Art and Choosing Women as Subjects, with Amber Lia-Kloppel

How are women represented in figurative art? Can you tell the difference between figurative art created by a woman and a man? What is it about women painting women that stands out? Figurative artist, Amber Lia-Kloppel was kind enough to sit down with me and discuss these questions and so much more. In our conversation, we also touch on her time at the New York Academy of Art, why she chooses women as her subjects, voyeurism, confrontation, navigating motherhood as an artist, and so much more. I know artists like you are going to enjoy Amber’s unique and fascinating perspective.

The Female Figure

Throughout the ages, the woman’s figure has been explored by artists the world over. But with each artist, the inspiration is a little bit different. I wanted to know why my guest, Amber Lia-Kloppel was so drawn to painting the female figure. Amber opened up and shared with me that the reason she is so drawn to the female figure, in part, is because they are self-portraits. She means this both literally and figuratively as she occasionally uses herself as a model but she also sees a reflection of herself in the models and the work she creates that are represented by the female body. It was a joy to hear Amber’s take on figurative art and the portrayal of the female figure. Make sure to check out images of Amber’s work at the end of this post!

Navigating an art career as a parent

How do parents and mothers, in particular, manage their time in the studio? What does it look like to navigate an art career as a parent? How does parenting influence the artwork of an artist? Amber Lia-Kloppel was gracious and candid in our conversation as she shared her experience navigating her role as an artist and a mother. She told me about projects she created that reflected moments she shared with her daughter. Amber also went on to describe how parenting has brought her to cherish and make the most out of her time working in her studio. I got the sense from my conversation with Amber that parenting enhanced her imagination and scope in some fascinating ways. I’m curious to hear what you take away from my conversation with Amber.

Evolving as an artist

How have you evolved as an artist over time? Have you made subtle changes here and there or have there been dramatic shifts in your approach and style? What caused the changes you’ve made over the years? My guest, Amber Lia-Kloppel described for me a pivotal moment in her career as an artist when she started to attend the New York Academy of Art. It was in this environment that Amber developed and refined her approach. Amber told me about how she learned new techniques and enjoyed the freedom and permission to expand her abilities in this environment that challenged and empowered her. Have you had an experience like Amber’s?

Learning how to let go of a painting

As artists, when we create, we pour part of ourselves into the process and ultimately into our creations. What are the ramifications of this creative process when we are unable to complete a project? What happens to that energy and passion that were poured out? My guest, Amber Lia-Kloppel discussed this artist's dilemma with me in our conversation. I appreciated Amber’s honesty as she admitted that she still struggles with letting go of her paintings that she just can't seem to finish. She hates to let go because, as she has gotten older, her starts are better, so there is so much there to salvage. Amber also holds herself to a high standard, she wants every painting to be her best painting. Can you relate to Amber’s struggle?

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:50] I introduce my guest, Amber Lia-Kloppel.
  • [3:00] Amber talks about how she got started as an artist.
  • [10:00] What attracts Amber to painting the female figure?
  • [15:00] Amber’s process and using herself as a model.
  • [19:30] How Amber incorporates being a mother in her painting process.
  • [23:00] Amber talks about approaching the canvas.
  • [29:30] Pivotal moments in Amber’s career.
  • [35:00] How art school helped Amber evolve as an artist.
  • [37:00] Amber talks about her current project.
  • [39:00] Learning how to let a painting go.
  • [42:30] Artwork that Amber would like to own from a living artist.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Dec 07, 2017
Mural Art, with Ralph Gilbert

Have you ever been involved in creating mural art? Do you know the intricacies and details involved with creating artwork on such a large scale? What about commissioned mural artwork in public spaces? My guest, Ralph Gilbert was kind enough to open up and share about his experience creating mural art and winning several commissioned art projects. He also goes on to share about his personal artwork, how poetry influences his art, his creative process, habits that have helped him succeed, and much more! Make sure to check out images of his artwork located at the end of this post.

Mural Art and working in public view

An interesting aspect of mural art is it's large a scale and how rooted in place it is. These are just two of several aspects of mural art that artist Ralph Gilbert and I talked about in our conversation. Ralph shared a couple of fascinating observations from his recent work at the Saint Paul Union Depot in Minnesota. During this project which included arched tops and much of the work on scaffolding, Ralph experienced unique interactions with the public as his work was ongoing. He tells of one interaction with a community member that influenced an on the spot change in the work he was creating, it was to include a depiction of an individual with a physical disability. I was enraptured with Ralph’s stories of creating mural art and I know artists like you will get a lot of enjoyment out of it too.

Commissioned Artwork

Have you had any opportunities to create commissioned artwork? What was your experience like? What impressions or assumptions do you have about commissioned artwork? My guest, Ralph Gilbert had the opportunity to work on a handful of commissioned pieces throughout his career as an artist. In our conversation, he explained what the process was like to enter and be considered for committed artwork in a public setting. While commissioned artwork only represents a small portion of Ralph’s portfolio it was great to get his input and perspective on this important and public expression of art in communities all across our nation.

Visual imagery and text

What are the subjects that inspire you and spark that impulse to create your artwork? Is it a landscape, the human body, everyday objects, or something different entirely? My guest, Ralph Gilbert shared with me that poetry captures his imagination and provides that creative spark that inspires him often when he approaches his canvas. Ralph doesn’t see this work he creates as an illustration per say, it truly is more of an inspiration than anything else. He went on to describe the type of poetry that he associates with his creative process and they tend to always focus on human relationships and an insight into the nature of being and desire. It was really intriguing to hear Ralph describe his relationship to poetry and how that informs and inspires the artwork he creates.

The Habit of Showing Up

What are some of the habits that have empowered you in your creative journey as an artist? Is it a ritual you go through each time you approach your canvas? Or maybe for you, it's music or that one art book that just somehow seems to get the creative juices flowing. When I asked my guest Ralph Gilbert what habits have helped him on his journey as an artist, the first thing he put forward was the habit of showing up. It may not sound sexy or unorthodox but it is a very real and honest truth. As the saying goes, “80 percent of life is showing up.” Ralph finds a lot of truth in that saying and how it plays out in his success as an artist. He also shared with me that the habit of working on multiple projects at once has really allowed him the freedom to move in and out from one piece of artwork to another one depending on where he feels like spending his time on that given day. What lessons can you take away from Ralph’s story? What habits work well for you?

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:50] I introduce my guest, Ralph Gilbert.
  • [3:20] How Ralph got started as an artist.
  • [9:00] Lessons Ralph learned from working at Disney.
  • [10:30] Ralph describes his mural artwork.
  • [16:30] How public input influenced Ralph’s mural work.
  • [23:30] Commissioned and public artwork.
  • [33:00] Ralph talks about his personal artwork.
  • [35:00] Poetry and it’s impact on Ralph’s artwork.
  • [38:30] The association between visual imagery and text.
  • [40:30] A series based on the dream life of babies.
  • [45:00] Ralph talks about his process when creating his artwork.
  • [48:00] How being colorblind has impacted Ralph’s work.
  • [53:00] Habits that have helped Ralph succeed as an artist.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Nov 30, 2017
From Freelance Artist to Art Instructor, with Jane Davies

What is it like to move from working and earning a living as a freelance artist and begin a career as an art instructor? What impact does that transition have in the creative process? My guest, Jane Davies was kind enough to open up and share parts of her journey and how she left her work as a freelance artist behind to throw herself into the role of an art instructor. Jan has some helpful insights and lessons to share about her journey and how she grew and evolved as an artist over time in light of this pivotal point her her career. It was a joy to have Jane share her story and I know artists like you will get a lot of enjoyment from hearing her unique perspective.

Embracing the role of Art Instructor

Jane Davies spent over fifteen years creating production pottery and taking on other roles as a freelance artist. She eventually got to a point in her journey where she didn’t want to make art that way any longer. Now, she focuses less on selling her work, though that would be nice, she has turned a lot of her energy toward her role as an art instructor. Talking with Jane, I could really get the sense that this is where a lot of her passion and excitement are rooted. It was great to hear Jane’s angle on this subject and to hear where she is spending her time expressing herself.

The Need for Community Among Artists

Do you have a community of fellow artists that you connect? Where do you turn for inspiration and camaraderie? Have you been looking for that missing piece on your creative journey? In our conversation, my guest Jane Davies and I discuss the impact that being in community with fellow artists can have on your own creative output. While each person’s journey will have its own variables, don’t neglect this important aspect in the life of an artist. Even if you can’t be part of an artistic community locally, find other ways to connect either digitally in a community like this one or find ways to meet up once or twice a year with other artists. What steps are you taking to stay connected to a creative community?

Art is Never Easy

Have you ever had someone tell you that art is easy? How did you react? While there may be moments of inspiration where the creativity just flows through your fingertips, by and large, the work of an artist is far from “easy.” In my conversation with artist Jane Davies, we discuss this topic and misnomer that once you find your “voice” as an artist, the work becomes easy. Jane shares her experience as an art instructor and assumptions she encounters from young artists who are longing to find their voice. While techniques and concepts might become easier to hone and master, the work of an artist will always include striving, struggling, and challenge. What has been your experience? Do you resonate with Jane’s perspective?

A Commitment to Constant Creation

What habits and routines have helped you succeed as an artist? Do you take comfort in rituals and processes? How do you tap into a current of motivation and inspiration that can keep you focused on the work that you create? My guest, Jane Davies shared with me that it’s her commitment to constantly create that keeps her focused and drawn back to the canvas over and over again. Jane also gives herself the permission to just create, she doesn’t hold herself to a perfectionist standard, in these sessions she gives herself the freedom to just create, it doesn't have to be perfect or “good.” What are your takeaways from Jane’s story?

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:30] I introduce my guest, Jane Davies.
  • [2:30] Jane talks about how she got started as an artist.
  • [14:00] A pivotal moment in Jane’s career.
  • [17:00] Jane talks about her role as an art teacher.
  • [21:00] Mistakes Jane made as a teacher.
  • [24:30] Positive experiences as a teacher.
  • [30:30] Art is never easy.
  • [34:30] Jane talks about her time in her studio.
  • [42:00] What led to Jane’s decision to start writing books?
  • [48:00] Jane and I talk about formulas and basic concepts for artists.
  • [53:00] The future of art and culture.
  • [58:30] Jane talks about her habit of constantly painting.

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Nov 23, 2017
An Evolving Approach to Selling Art, with Jose Trujillo

What is the best approach to selling art? Have you found it more effective to be your own advocate or to connect with galleries and agents who promote your art for you? My guest, Jose Trujillo was kind enough to open up in our conversation about his journey and his evolving approach to selling art. We also discuss Jose’s artwork, how he got started as an artist, what it takes to connect with an audience, the importance of consistency, and so much more! I know artists like you will get a lot of value out of the insights and lessons that Jose has to share.

Marketing and Presenting Artwork

What makes for a great and compelling presentation of artwork? Have you been able to present and market your work in a way that draws people in? In my conversation with Jose Trujillo, we discussed his approach and the components he has found useful in marketing his art to a large audience. From a young age, Jose has been searching for an audience for his artwork. I could tell from listening to him that his passion and eagerness really shines when he talks about getting his art in front of people. At the end of the day, it all comes down to your willingness to put your artwork out there, again and again, adapting and learning from each interaction with galleries in the process. If you want to know more about what it takes to approach a gallery and evolve your approach over time, you’ll find some helpful insight from Jose in this conversation.

Finding Channels to Promote Your Artwork

Where do most people go to interact with artwork? Where does your target audience tend to spend their time viewing art? Don’t underestimate this vital aspect of knowing your audience and getting your artwork in front of them! Artist Jose Trujillo is passionate about connecting with people who want to view his artwork. He doesn’t expect them to come to him, so he does everything he can to get his work in front of them. In our conversation, Jose explains the many channels he uses to find his audience and expose them to his artwork. What steps are you taking to bring your artwork to a receptive audience? What lessons can you learn from Jose’s approach?

The Power of Consistency

One of the most important aspects of success for an artist is producing content. Is there any hope to sell your work or gain a reputation if you don’t produce content and practice your craft? My guest, Jose Trujillo shares from his own experience of committing to a regime of constantly creating artwork. It sounds easy but Jose will the first to tell you that it can be a struggle to show up and continue to practice, especially when you don’t “Feel inspired.” I really resonated with much of what Jose had to share on this subject and I hope artists like you can connect with it in a similar way.

A Practice of Gratitude

What practices or habits have helped you in your evolution as an artist? Do you find habits and rituals to be helpful or do you feed off of chaos and unpredictability? I enjoyed discussing this topic with my guest, Jose Trujillo as he opened up and shared how practicing gratitude has impacted him on his creative journey. I have also found a lot of benefit out of practicing gratitude and think artists like you will be able to connect with the positive impact that these habits can create. Jose talks about this practice as grounding him and helping him through the ups and downs of his career as an artist. Have you experienced this same grounding experience?

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:50] I introduce my guest, Jose Trujillo.
  • [3:00] Jose talks about how he got started as an artist.
  • [5:00] Marketing and presenting artwork.
  • [9:00] Jose talks about pricing his work.
  • [13:30] Jose describes his artwork.
  • [19:00] The impact of technology in the art community.
  • [27:00] Finding channels that can help your artwork succeed.
  • [29:00] What is the ‘Game?”
  • [33:00] Reaching an audience that’ll connect with your artwork.
  • [41:30] The importance of consistency and showing up.
  • [49:30] A habit of gratitude.
  • [52:30] What excites Jose about his artwork?

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Nov 16, 2017
Collage Work & Mixed Media Art, with Lorette Luzajic

Have collage work and other forms of mixed media art been a part of your artistic journey? What influence have different forms of artistic expression had on your development as an artist? I had the pleasure to sit down with the wonderfully talented mixed media artist, Lorette Luzajic. In our conversation we discussed her journey as an artist, how she got her start creating mixed media art, how literature has impacted her journey, and much more! Lorette brings a fascinating and unique experience that I know artists like you will appreciate. Don’t forget to check out images of Lorette’s artwork located at the end of this post!

Discovering a Career as a Visual Artist

What led to your career as an artist? How did you become convinced that art would become the work that you would end up dedicating your life to practicing? Was it intentional or an accident? My guest, Lorette Luzajic opened up in our conversation and shared how she came to discover and embrace her path as a visual artist. Lorette was firmly on the path to becoming a writer and had dedicated much of her education toward this goal when she fell in love with visual arts. To hear Lorette tell how she got started with visual arts is inspiring. Believe it or not, it all started with a desire to learn and then create tarot cards. I hope you find Lorette’s story as captivating as I did!

A Joyous Encounter with Art

One of my very favorite questions to ask an artist is if they’ve had any memorable reactions to their artwork. Have you had any unique reactions to your artwork? Have you found yourself reacting to other artist's creations in a particularly noteworthy way? I put this question to my guest Lorette Luzajic and as usual, I got a fascinating story in response. She tells the story of when she presented her work at an outdoor art festival that featured an odd creature. The image she created drew the attention of a nearby two-year-old child. This child was enamored with the creature that Lorette created and ended up with a joyous encounter with her artwork. This story definitely tops the list of notable reactions, I’m so glad Lorette shared this story!

Keep Pressing Forward, Don’t Give Up!

How do you stay motivated when things don’t seem to be going your way in your career? Do you find yourself spiraling downward? What helps to break you out of a funk and get back on track? My guest, Lorette Luzajic was candid in our conversation and shared how she has pushed through difficult situations to remain motivated and determined to succeed. Lorette recalled an encounter she had with another artist where they explained that if their work impacted one person, that it would be worth it. Ultimately, we create art because we resonate with the creative process and what it does in us.

Organization is KEY

What steps have you taken to become more organized as an artist? What role has organization played in your journey as an artist? While artists are typically portrayed as cluttered and unfocused, that’s not necessarily a fair depiction. In our conversation my guest, Lorette Luzajic shared with me how vital a role organization has played as she has evolved over the years as an artist. It took her some time to figure it out but once Lorette was able to move away from procrastination to embrace a more regimented and focused approach she saw her artwork flourish. What can you learn from Loretta's story?

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:50] I introduce my guest, Lorette Luzajic
  • [3:00] Lorette shares how she got started as an artist.
  • [9:00] How does Lorette’s writing intersect with her art?
  • [10:30] Memorable responses to Lortette’s work.
  • [12:30] Overcoming fears and disappointments.
  • [15:00] Where does Lorette’s inspiration come from? How does she begin a project?
  • [22:00] Lorette talks about her studio process and archival considerations.
  • [25:30] Does Lorette ever get stuck?
  • [27:00] Lorette shares how she uses her notebooks.
  • [30:00] Book recommendations from Lorette.
  • [33:00] Routines and habits in the studio.
  • [38:00] Keep pressing forward and don’t give up!
  • [40:00] Lorette’s dream project and art she’s like to own from a fellow artist.
  • [43:00] Organization is key for a successful artist.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Nov 09, 2017
Finding the Freedom to Create Your Art, with Lynn Whipple

Do you ever struggle with finding the freedom or giving yourself the permission to create your art? Maybe you try to convince yourself that the work you make to pay the bills is the art you want to create if that’s the case, great! But if you struggle with the tension of creating your art and creating art to keep food on the table, then you will find my conversation with Lynn Whipple relevant. Lynn is such a gracious guest and our conversation branches out from creating your own art to daily routines, to how she got started as an art teacher and so much more. I hope you enjoy hearing from Lynn as I much as I did!

Creating “Your Art”

Have you reached that point in your career as an artist where you were able to finally put in the time working on “Your Art?” What did it take for you to get to that point? If you haven’t reached that point yet, what steps are you taking to inch closer to it? My guest, artist Lynn Whipple struggled for a long time working as an artist for Universal Studios. She eventually reached that point in her journey where she was able to settle in her mind that it was time for her to start creating artwork that was “hers.” Coming from a similar background, I really resonated with Lynn’s story and I hope artists like you can find inspiration and encouragement from what Lynn has to say on this subject.

Working with Art Collectors

What has been your experience connecting with art collectors? Have any collector's been attracted to your artwork? Has it been more of a transactional relationship or have you been able to build a more organic one? Artist Lynn Whipple took the time in our conversation to open up about the relationships she has built with art collectors over the course of her career. Lynn speaks of the relationships she has built with art collectors as a unique privilege and one, you can tell, that she holds dear. It’s refreshing to hear an artist speak about the business side of her career that still connects on a personal level. What can you learn from Lynn’s story?

The Benefit of Deadlines

As you navigate your own journey as an artist, what have you found to be helpful practices? Are you internally motivated or are you externally motivated? How does that impact the structure of your time in the studio? My guest, Lynn Whipple shared about her difficult transition from working in a structured environment at Universal Studios to working for herself. I also connected with Lynn’s struggles in this area as I transitioned from working in a professional setting to working on my own projects. Lynn and I both discussed the role of setting deadlines and how that has been a helpful aspect in our growth as artists. What role has the use of deadlines played for you?

The Art of Noticing

What daily rhythms and rituals help get your creative juices flowing? Is it that cup of coffee you just have to have each morning when you wake up? Or is it that same routine and flow as you approach the studio that does it for you? My guest, Lynn Whipple had a beautiful aspect of her day that she was kind enough to share with me in our conversation. Each morning, before anything else, Lynn goes out to the dock by her house and sits there with a sketchbook. Sitting there, Lynn forces herself to pay attention to the world waking up around her. With each thing she notices that morning, Lynn challenges herself to linger a few seconds longer than she usually would. Lynn calls this captivating and motivating daily practice the “Art of noticing.” The way Lynn described this daily ritual moved me and I hope it has a similar effect on you.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:50] I introduce my guest, Lynn Whipple.
  • [2:50] Lynn talks about her background as an artist.
  • [5:00] Lynn describes her artwork.
  • [7:00] How Lynn built her business as an artist.
  • [9:30] Connecting with galleries and building a cohesive body of work.
  • [17:00] Working with art collectors.
  • [20:30] Lynn talks about getting started as an art instructor.
  • [23:00] Facing and overcoming challenges and setbacks.
  • [31:30] Creating deadlines can make a huge difference.
  • [33:30] Scheduling out the whole year.
  • [36:30] Advice for artists starting out.
  • [43:00] Honing the art of “noticing” and Lynn’s daily routine.
  • [48:00] What Lynn would tell her younger self.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Nov 02, 2017
Art and Business, with Katherine Sandoz

One of the most pressing topics on the minds of many artists these days is the role of art and business. This subject can lead to heated debates about the difference between making “Pure art” and art for profit. What is your opinion on this subject? Is there room for nuance and flexibility on this subject? My guest, Katherine Sandoz provides a helpful perspective on the role of art and business. In our conversation, we also discuss Katherine’s artwork, lessons she has learned as an art teacher, her use of mixed media art, how to approach art you dislike, and much more! I know that artists like you will enjoy the unique perspective that Katherine brings.

Lessons Learned as an Art Teacher

How can teaching concepts, theories, and subjects shape the way you think about them? Have you had an experience where conveying the topic has made you look at it in a new light? Artist and educator Katherine Sandoz was kind enough to open up about this subject with me in our conversation. Hearing from Katherine, you can really get the sense that teaching art has had an impact on the way she interprets and even reconsiders some of the topics she presents to her students. I was honored to get such an honest and transparent take from Katherine on this subject and I hope you find her insights and candor as stimulating as I have!

The Role of Art and Business

Does there need to be a defined and hard-line in the sand between “Pure art” and art made for profit? What is the right approach to the role of art and business? Could it be that a hard-line approach to this topic is unproductive and unhelpful? My guest, Katherine Sandoz shared her thoughts on this subject with me during our conversation. Katherine believes that a more balanced approach is necessary when we discuss art and business. She sees things existing more on a spectrum meaning, as, with a diverse array of types of art, there also exists a range of avenues where profit can come into play. What has contributed to your opinion on this subject? Do you agree with Katherine?

Using Mixed Media Art

Have you experimented with mixed media art? Is it still part of your regular pattern of creation and exploration? How can playing with other mediums expand and enrich your primary mode of creative output? Artist Katherine Sandoz started to utilize mixed media art primarily as a way to stay busy. Because you can’t paint effectively or on a large scale in a moving vehicle, Katherine found her way to experimenting with quilting and stitching as a way to exercise her creative expressions while she travels with her family. Katherine uses this example to explain why she encourages her students and as many artists as she can that the present is the best time to start practicing your craft with any means possible. Don’t hesitate and kick the can down the road! Does Katherine’s story resonate with you?

How to Approach Art that Doesn’t Connect with You

What is your reaction to artwork that doesn’t connect with you? Is there a constructive and beneficial way to respond to art that we don’t necessarily like? Could it be that the old adage is true, “If you don’t have something nice to say, say nothing at all?” My guest, Katherine Sandoz was quick to explain her take on this topic. Katherine says that there is a reason why we don’t like certain works of art and if we can communicate that reason to ourselves and others what we feel isn’t working that we’ll both be better for it in the long run. What is your opinion on Katherine’s perspective?

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:35] I introduce my guest, Katherine Sandoz.
  • [3:00] How did Katherine get started as an artist?
  • [5:00] Lessons learned as an art teacher.
  • [11:30] A blossoming art career and starting a family.
  • [15:30] Katherine describes her artwork and her process.
  • [22:30] What caused Katherine to branch out to mixed media art?
  • [27:30] The role of art and profit.
  • [37:00] Katherine and I discuss our perception of art that we don’t care for.
  • [40:30] What makes Katherine want to create a painting?
  • [48:00] Which artist’s work would Katherine like to own?

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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Oct 26, 2017
Light and Art, with Peter Fiore

The relationship between light and art is a beautiful and nuanced one. You can really tell when an artist has a deep passion and knowledge of how to use light in innovative and unique ways. My guest, Peter Fiore is an expert when it comes to experimenting with light in his artwork. In our conversation, we discuss his fascination with nature, his artistic process, why he uses music in the studio, the importance of fighting back fear, and much more! Our conversation takes a lot of twists and turns but I know artists like you will get a lot of enjoyment from Peter’s depth of experience.

Embracing a Fascination with Nature

What is your relationship with nature like? Do you find a significant level of inspiration and creativity well up when you are in the wilderness? Or is it the city and an urban environment that fires you up and excites you? My guest, Peter Fiore has a deep love and appreciation for nature. In fact, this love for the wilderness caused him to move out of the city and into a more quiet and serene setting. Peter described for me how much this move impacted his creative process and how connecting with nature resonates with him on a spiritual level. To hear Peter talk about his area and the beauty and creativity it draws out of him can be quite moving. What can you learn from Peter’s articulation? Where do you tap into that source of creativity?

The Role of Music in the Creative Process

Have you ever been moved by a song? Seriously, think about it. There seems to be an interesting divide on this issue among the general public. Some people love music and the way it intensifies their thoughts and feelings, then there are others who don’t feel particularly strong about it. Artist Peter Fiore definitely falls in the camp that loves music. He enjoys music so much that he has incorporated it into his creative process. You’ve got to hear him describe how he feels and reacts when he turns on Beethoven in his studio as he goes to work on his art projects. Does this resonate with you? If it’s not music, is there something that animates you when you are in your studio?

Pushing Fear Aside

What would your advice to young artists just starting out in their career? Maybe you are a young artist who is looking for helpful advice so you can learn from those who came before you. My guest, Peter Fiore was kind enough to open up and share some helpful wisdom that he received from his father that he wants to pass down to young artists including his own children. The primary advice that Peter shares is to never let your fears dictate the art that you make. As difficult as that advice can be to follow, I know that there is a lot of truth to that statement. Don’t let yourself be consumed with regret when you are older because you failed to push fear aside!

Creating Art from Passion

There seems to be a certain element that is almost indescribable when you see artwork that comes from a place deep in a person’s soul. Have you experienced that? Art that comes from a place of passion and creativity has a certain texture to it. Artist Peter Fiore wants to encourage artists like you to find that place where you can create your artwork from. Even if you can’t profit from your passion projects, it's really important to consider creating a space where you can exercise the creative pursuits that make you come alive. Peter shares this advice in light of his years of experience as an artist and I hope you can catch a glimpse of what he is trying to convey. Make sure to check out images of his artwork located at the end of this post!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:50] I introduce my guest, Peter Fiore.
  • [4:00] How Peter got his start as an artist.
  • [12:30] Peter talks about his series on trees and a car crash he survived.
  • [17:00] A relationship with nature.
  • [20:00] Why is Peter so drawn to the subject of trees?
  • [26:30] Peter’s steps after he identifies a motif.
  • [35:00] Using music to facilitate creativity.
  • [39:00] How many studies does Peter go through in a series?
  • [46:30] No one needs another painting, you’ve got to make them want it!
  • [48:30] Peter’s advice to young artists.
  • [57:00] Don’t let fear hold you back.
  • [1:08:00] Working on multiple projects.
  • [1:11:00] Understanding the “Why.”
  • [1:13:00] Suffering and Art.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Oct 19, 2017
Symbolic Art, with Noah Buchanan

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “Symbolic Art?” Are there certain assumptions and presuppositions that come to mind when you think of that phrase? My guest, Noah Buchanan uses symbolism frequently in his artwork. He is attracted to images where there is a divine force or mythological reference. In our conversation, we discuss what drew him to become an artist in the first place, what emboldened him to create artwork on a large scale, surprising reactions he’s had to his paintings, and so much more! I know artists like you will enjoy hearing from Noah’s unique perspective. Don’t forget to check out images of his paintings located at the end of this post!

Inspired by Giants

Who helped usher you into the world of art? Was it a fantastic art teacher? A mentor or a family member? What was it that captured your imagination and fueled your creativity? My guest, Noah Buchanan was fortunate to have a stellar art teacher who encouraged their students to marvel at and become inspired by the work of artistic giants like Albrecht Dürer and Michelangelo. It’s amazing how the passion and empowerment by one person and change the course of someone’s life. Who is that person for you? Do you think you’ll ever have that kind of impact on some else’s creative journey?

Working On a Large Scale

Have you ever taken your work to a large scale? I’m talking 80 inches by 62 inches LARGE. Needless to say, work on that scale is striking, to say the least. My guest, Noah Buchanan was kind enough to open up about his current project that fits that exact dimension. The figures he has created in that work are actually life-sized, which is impressive. Noah’s project is inspired by a recent trip to New York where he saw the work of 17th-century French painter, Valentin de Boulogne showcased. The sheer scale and grandeur of Boulogne’s work captured Noah’s imagination. You’ve got to hear him describe it, he takes you right there to the exhibit in New York. You can also catch images of Noah’s current project at the end of this post.

Surprising Reactions

All artists want their work to evoke something within the viewer. What reactions do you think your work evokes in others? Are there notable reactions that you’ve received from other regarding your artwork? Artist Noah Buchanan has on occasion created paintings for the Catholic Church. Having created artwork that would be displayed in such a sacred and worshipful setting, Noah has received some unique responses, typically by email that are markedly different from the response to the artwork he typically shows in galleries. I hope you find Noah’s stories and insights as riveting as I did!

From Live Models to Using Photographs

Among many artists, this is a contentious issue; live models vs. using photographs. What side of the debate do you come down on? Have you always felt that way? Are you willing to hear the other side out? My guest, Noah Buchanan use to be staunchly in the camp opposed to using photographs as did I. In our conversation, we discuss what caused our opinion to change, why we embrace the use of photography, how the change has impacted our work, and more! Whichever side you find yourself on, I think it’s helpful for us as artists to really hear out and understand where the other side is coming from and appreciate the end result on its merits regardless.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:45] I introduce my guest, Noah Buchanan.
  • [3:30] What led Noah to get started in painting?
  • [7:30] How does Noah choose his motifs?
  • [9:30] Noah talks about the project he is currently working on and it’s scale.
  • [19:30] Notable reactions from Noah’s work.
  • [24:00] Personal successes along the way.
  • [36:00] Noah describes his studio process & working from photographs vs. live models.
  • [44:00] Where does Noah get his models?
  • [49:00] What habit has beneficial for Noah?

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Oct 12, 2017
The Role of An Artist in A New Technological Age, with Frank Lombardo

With headlines about plans to send people to Mars and other groundbreaking technological accomplishments, do you ever wonder, “What is the role of an artist in this new tech centric age?” This is one of many questions that my guest, Frank Lombardo ponders aloud with me in our conversation. Frank also opens up about how he became interested in art, what draws him to certain subjects, how he approaches galleries, and so much more! Frank has a fascinating perspective on the world and how artists bring out unique and valuable qualities to our society. I know artists like you are going to intrigued by our wide-ranging conversation.

The Role of An Artist

For so long, the role of an artist has been to help bring shape, image, and meaning to some of our culture’s most profound and mundane concepts. As we rapidly approach a new digital era that is starting to leave behind much of the old systems we’ve become accustomed to, what role can the artist hope to play in this radically new space? My guest, Frank Lombardo is at the point in his creative and personal journey where he has really started to consider this broader question. He hopes to see art continue to play a role in keeping our society grounded and rooted in the ways of poetry and aestheticism. Where do you think the role of the artist is heading?

Facing Setbacks and Pushing Forward

How do you respond when something you’ve poured your heart, soul, time, and resources into utterly fails? If you are anything like me, you can’t help but feel at the very least, that tinge of bitterness and disappointment. Is there anything to be learned or gained from these disappointments and setbacks that we all will inevitably face? Artist Frank Lombardo is no stranger to setbacks on his creative journey but he is convinced that there is something we can recover from encountering failure. In Frank’s case, he was able to come to a place where he could admit that he wasn’t getting where he wanted to go with a particular project. Once that happened, he was able to acknowledge what happened and move on, starting fresh with something new. What lessons can you learn from Frank’s story?

Approaching Galleries

One of the most difficult aspects of being an artist can be the process of promoting your work. Some artists take to it seemingly effortlessly, others find themselves constantly looking for ways to improve. Where do you land? My guest, Frank Lombardo shares his approach to promoting his work and holding himself to a preset plan. Frank’s goal is to approach one gallery or publication a day or do something that moves the ball forward for his artwork. This method really seems to motivate and keep Frank on track, what works for you? What can you take away from Frank’s approach?

On Colorblindness and Asking for Help

Is there an aspect of your workload that you need help with? It could be trouble with scheduling studio time or technical aspects of your art, or maybe for you, it comes down to promoting your artwork. What is holding you back from reaching out? In our conversation, Frank Lombardo was kind enough to discuss the topic of his colorblindness and how it has impacted the way he works in the studio. Frank says that after trying to overcome this difficulty with technology, he ultimately had to rely on help from others to better utilize his time in the studio. It was an honor to have someone as talented as Frank really open up about a sensitive subject. I am grateful for his candor and I hope you will find encouragement from his story.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:50] I introduce my guest, Frank Lombardo.
  • [3:00] How did Frank move toward a career as an artist?
  • [9:30] Frank describes his artwork.
  • [11:00] Why is Frank drawn to the subject matter he chooses?
  • [21:00] Frank’s strategy for approaching galleries.
  • [25:30] What is Frank’s role in society as an artist?
  • [29:30] Facing setbacks and pushing forward.
  • [34:00] Negative feedback from one of Frank’s paintings.
  • [38:30] Frank talks about his colorblindness and how it impacts his work.
  • [49:30] What is Frank’s dream project?

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Oct 05, 2017
How to Sell Your Art Without Selling Out and More! With Maria Brophy

Like most artists you’ve probably wondered how you can sell your art at some point along your journey. Some artists pick it up quickly or partner with someone who can help this navigate the business side of making a living as an artist. Then there are others who really struggle with this aspect of surviving as an artist. Where do you land? Wouldn’t it be great to get some helpful professional insight on this topic? Then you’ve come to the right place! My guest, Maria Brophy has spent the last decade and a half, acting as agent and brand manager for her husband, artist Drew Brophy. In our conversation, Maria opens up about the process of moving to a full-time career as an artist, when to say no, how to position yourself as a high-value artist, and much more. I know artists like you will get a ton of value out of our fascinating and wide-ranging conversation!

Know What You Want

What do you want out of your career as an artist? Really!? For too long, we have been trained by society to think that what we want isn’t realistic or right. Maybe you find that you’ve pushed what you want aside for so long that you found yourself spending energy and time doing what others have directed you to do. It’s time to put that thinking behind you! Really take the time to discover what it is that you want out of your profession as an artist. Maria believes that if you learn how to take the time to hone in on what it is you really want, you’ll end up being more productive and happy in the process. Maria has lots of helpful insight like this that I know will be of great value to artists like you!

Moving To A Full-Time Art Career

Have you taken the plunge yet and moved into a full-time commitment to your artwork? If not, what is holding you back? I’ve been there, I know the struggle and I want to do everything I can to encourage you and support you along the way. That’s why I knew that I needed to sit down with Maria and get some tips from her to help artists like you looking for motivation. Maria has traveled this road too, she helped her husband move toward and eventually completely transition to a career as a full-time artist. In our conversation, Maria shares what this process was like as well as practical advice that you can use if you are struggling at this stage on your journey.

What Would Richard Branson Do?

Let’s face it, most artists aren’t cut out to be successful businesspeople right off the bat. In fact, this tension between making art and selling art can really cause a lot of sleepless nights. You are not alone! I’ve struggled with the business aspect of my art career too. In my conversation with Maria, she shared a funny tool that helps her and her husband make tough business decisions. She simply thinks to herself, “What would Richard Branson do?” It sounds funny but it really helps her frame the decision-making process based on business parameters rather than emotional or egotistical ones. I hope you get the chance to hear more of our conversation and the additional insights and tips Maria has to share.

How to Sell Your Art

How do you sell your art? What is your strategy? Do you have a good idea on how to show, market, and price your artwork? Could your approach use an update? In my conversation with Maria, she shares the driving mindset that will help you sell your art. Maria explains that one of the best ways to get started is to remember that your artwork is valuable to someone. Never lose sight of the fact that your creation will become valuable to someone in the marketplace! This mental shift can make all the difference in your approach to selling your art. Maria has many more tips and lessons for artists like you, make sure to listen to more of our conversation and check out her book, “Art, Money, and Success!”

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:50] I introduce my guest, Maria Brophy.
  • [3:30] Maria talks about how she started managing her husband.
  • [6:30] Knowing what you want.
  • [15:00] Steps toward working as a full-time artist.
  • [18:00] Lessons Maria and Drew learned from stepping out on their own.
  • [23:30] What would Richard Branson do?
  • [29:00] Knowing when to say no.
  • [31:00] Communicating your worth to friends and family.
  • [40:00] How to price your work.
  • [44:00] Positioning yourself as a high-value artist.
  • [49:00] How to sell your art without selling out.
  • [55:30] Habits of successful artists.

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Sep 28, 2017
The Process of Artistic Development, with Sally Strand

What really goes on behind the scenes when it comes to artistic development? Is it a straight path or are there a number of twists and turns along the way? What part of the process is active and what part of it is passive? My guest, Sally Strand opens up in our conversation about her journey and the process that led to her development as an artist over the last thirty years. Sally is open and transparent about the difficulties along the way but she is also quick to relish in the joy and beauty of the process as well. I know artists like you will get some helpful encouragement from Sally’s unique perspective.

Evolving As An Artist

How have you evolved as an artist over time? Has your artistic development been incremental or have you had specific moments that have shaped you along the way? There is no right answer to this question! Some artists make intentional shifts and some take the more gradual route. My guest, Sally Strand describes her development as more of a gradual process. The way she describes her past and how it slowly opened up to who she is as an artist today is fascinating! What will Sally’s story stir up in you? Let her story encourage and inspire you as you push forward on your journey!

Overcoming Challenges Along the Way

How do you react in difficult situations? What impact has that left on you as an artist? There are helpful lessons to be learned as we encounter difficulty and adversity on our creative journey. Sally Strand has learned that the best way to handle difficulty is to push forward and don’t let it bog you down or change you in a negative way. She also recounts a particularly difficult episode in her life where she struggled to understand what was happening in the world around her and how it would come to impact her artwork. I hope you find Sally’s perspective as captivating as I did!

Deciding What to Say “Yes” To

One of the most difficult aspects of the life of an artist is navigating your time as a friend or family member. You can feel like you are constantly torn between two worlds that you love deeply but you can’t inhabit simultaneously. How do you decide where to draw your lines? My guest, Sally Strand was kind enough to open up and explain how she works her way through this complicated and difficult area that all artists face at some point in their life. Sally’s method of dealing with this conflict is taking a moment to ask herself, “What can I not repeat?” This question allowed Sally to decide what moments in her life needed her attention and which ones could be accomplished at a later date.

Habits of a Successful Artist

What are the habits that have contributed to your success as an artist? Each one of us has a different spin on the answer to this question. As we continue to explore our artistic development, it can be immensely helpful to get the perspective of other artists, especially ones as experienced as Sally Strand. When it comes down to it, Sally says that scheduling her studio time and sticking to it has been a huge part of her journey of success as an artist. She doesn’t paint it as an easy task, but she does believe strongly that if you can commit to an appointed time and stick to it, creativity and inspiration have a high probability of making an appearance.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:35] I introduce my guest, Sally Strand.
  • [3:00] Sally talks about her start as an artist.
  • [7:00] The struggle for meaning and purpose as an artist.
  • [9:00] The impact of travel on Sally’s development as an artist.
  • [14:00] Everyday life as a theme in art.
  • [17:00] Sally talks about her decision to go back to school.
  • [21:00] Evolving as an artist.
  • [27:30] Overcoming challenges as an artist.
  • [29:30] Deciding what to say “Yes” to.
  • [31:30] What does it mean to be a “Successful Artist?”
  • [36:30] Habits of a successful artist.
  • [45:00] Sally talks about her studio routine in light of caring for her mother.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Sep 21, 2017
Graffiti Art, Acrylic Painting, and more with Greg Simkins

What does a creative journey that starts with graffiti art then moves to video game work and then ends up on a smaller scale working with acrylics look like? What lessons and tips can other artists learn from such a journey? My guest, Greg Simkins opens up about all these various transitions in his life and how he has been able to build a thriving art business with his wife. Greg’s story is fascinating and unique and I hope you can catch the lively and infectious passion that he exudes for his work. Don’t forget to catch some images of Greg’s artwork located at the end of this post!

Encouragement Along the way

How did you get started as an artist? Was it a gradual progression? Did you know from a young age? Or did you come to the realization later in life? Who helped you along your creative journey? Did you have mentors, friends, or family members who encouraged you along the way? My guest, Greg Simkins describes the wonderfully supportive relationship he shares with his father who was vital in encouraging and nurturing his creative impulses early in his journey. What can you learn from Greg’s story? Does the impact that other people have had on your journey as an artist inspire you to do the same for others?

Graffiti Art

How does a mild mannered and shy AP student find himself involved with the skating and punk rock crowd? How does this association and engagement translate to a career as a successful and respected artist? My guest Greg Simkins shares the story of how some students in high school noticed his drawings and introduced him to the world of graffiti art. From there, the encouragement of his friends and his father led to greater confidence in his artistic abilities. Greg’s story is an interesting and non-traditional one that will leave you intrigued and curious to how many other paths exist out there for artists to find their way.

Working With Acrylics

Do you remember the first piece you completed in a new medium? Can you remember what you learned through that process? Was it frustrating or rewarding? My guest, Greg Simkins described to me his first experience completing a piece of art using acrylics. This experience also happened to be Greg’s first foray into being commissioned for his artwork. Greg recalls the experience as being difficult and not absent of errors he had to correct along the way but ultimately, this encounter led Greg on a path to begin working with acrylics more and more. Now Greg works predominately with acrylics and looks back fondly on this moment as one of the first steps of his journey.

Struggling With Time Management

What do you do to structure your time as an artist? Do you try to spend some time each day in your creative flow or do you designate whole days that you can dedicate to projects? Artist Greg Simkins explained to me his struggles with navigating the complexities of raising a family and balancing his time in the studio working on his projects. At the end of the day, Greg had to get to a place where he could really learn to slow down and structure his time. He had taken his time for creative endeavors for granted when he had his father close by to assist him, but when his father moved away he found himself in a state of chaos. What lessons can you learn from Greg’s story? How will you ensure that you have time to complete the work you are passionate about?

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:35] I introduce my guest, Greg Simkins.
  • [3:30] Greg talks about how he got his start as an artist.
  • [13:00] The first time Greg painted with acrylics.
  • [18:00] Moving from big scale work to a smaller scale.
  • [20:30] Greg talks about working with acrylics.
  • [28:00] Experimenting with different mediums.
  • [36:00] Struggling with time management.
  • [43:00] Running the business as an artist.
  • [45:00] Greg’s advice for artists who run their own business.
  • [52:00] What is Greg working on right now?

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Sep 14, 2017
The Future of Painting, with Burton Silverman pt. 2

What is the future of painting? How will the next decade of painting stack up given the current trends compared to what’s come before? Is the painting community on a positive trajectory? Or do we need to make some course corrections? My guest, Burton Silverman joins me for part two of our conversation. Burt opens up about the impact of past artists, how he chooses his subjects, the future of painting, and so much more! Burt has such a depth of experience and knowledge I know you will find his insights and perspectives as fascinating as I did!

The Future of Painting

Do you have an idea of where the painting sector of the art community is headed? Does it leave you troubled or optimistic? I put this question to artist Burton Silverman and he provided a helpful and nuanced response. Burt used the word hopefully to describe his outlook and I found that really encouraging. He was also quick to add that he wants to see the future of painting push the bounds and really challenge the concept of authenticity that has been proclaimed as of late. I loved Burt’s take on our corner of the art community and hope that you find the hope and challenge as welcome as I did.

The Difference Between Style and Voice

What is the difference between an artist’s style and their voice? Is there a difference in your mind? How would you explain it? What illustrations would you give to describe it? Artist Burt Silverman explained how he sees the difference between style and voice in our conversation. Burt says that your style is the language by which your voice may or may not come through. He goes on to explain that if you change your language or your style, then your “voice” shifts and gets expressed with a different sound or accent to it. Burt really has a wonderful way with words and describing these complicated topics in a helpful and imaginative way.

Advice to Young Artists

What does it take to succeed as an artist? I’ve had just as many answers to this question as I have had guests to interview! Consider this, what would you say to someone who is just starting out on their journey as an artist? What do you think would be helpful advice for them to follow? Artist Burt Silverman struggled to answer this question because he is sensitive to the unique journey and circumstance of each artist. Having said that, he did manage to explain the importance of really knowing yourself and why artists should spend the time to plumb the depths of their interior and let that experience inform their art.

Seeing Without Observing

What skills are necessary for an artist to create meaningful works of art? Does it all rely on talent or is there something beyond the technical ability that makes for compelling and captivating art? Going back to the question of the future of painting and pairing it with the question about advice to young artists, Burt Silverman explained that we need more artists who practice the skill of observation. He used a wonderful line from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that says, “You see but you do not observe.” Does that line resonate with you? I think that Burt hit the nail on the head and I hold out hope for the art world and for myself - may we observe more and more each day.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:50] I introduce my guest, Burton Silverman.
  • [4:00] Burton and I discuss the lasting impact of bygone artists.
  • [8:20] How Burton chooses his subjects.
  • [15:00] What is the future of painting?
  • [22:40] Is there a difference between your style and your voice?
  • [32:30] What advice would Burt give to young artists?
  • [38:30] The problem of seeing without observing.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Sep 07, 2017
Components of “Good Art”, with Burton Silverman pt. 1

What does it take to create “Good Art?” Who decides? What elements or components are necessary to deem something good? My guest today is the renowned artist, Burton Silverman. This is part one of our two part conversation where we discuss a wide range of topics from the components of “Good Art,” discovering your artistic voice, the role of setting and presentation in art, racism and the fear of “the other,” and so much more! Burt draws from his vast wealth of experience and thoughtfulness and I know artists like you will value his contributions as much as I have.

What makes for “Good Art?”

How would you describe “Good Art?” Have you thought about it? Do you have a definition of it? How did you arrive at that conclusion? Artist, Burt Silverman opened up to me about what he thinks are the components of good art. Burt says that it comes down to craftsmanship and the ability to record the world in an accurate way. He further elaborates on this idea by explaining that there is an element in good artwork that transcends technical ability and taps into something deeper. In our conversation, Burt didn’t explain this “deeper” aspect further but I appreciate that he was willing to welcome an element of mystery and the unknown.

The Artistic Voice

A common question I get when it comes to diving deeper into the life of an artist is, “How do you discover your artistic voice?” So what was it like for you? What was your journey like that led you to move more and more into creating the art that you are passionate about? My guest, Burton Silverman was kind enough to consider this question and provide his insights. Burt says that for him it comes down to tapping into an inner sense from your gut and out of that flows the feelings that you believe you are compelled to share with the world. There are so many angles to this topic I know there will be some of you that really resonate with what Burt shared and others who come from a different approach - the diversity of thought is wonderful!

Setting and Presentation

What role do context, setting, and presentation have to play when it comes to viewing art work? In your opinion, does it play a role at all? Is there any difference between art that is completed and admired in the studio and artwork that is presented and shown in a gallery? How does setting impact the viewing? These are all questions and lines of thought that Burton Silverman and I discussed in our recent conversation. Burt pointed out that there is some sort of transformation that takes place from the studio setting and context to when the artwork is displayed in an intentional and meaningful way.

Creating Room for Freedom and Expression

What is your relationship to the concept of freedom when it comes to the creative process? Do you feel free to express yourself and work in a place outside of the lines? Or do you find yourself shackled to rules and boxes that you can’t cross? In our conversation, Burton Silverman and I talk about the role of rules and school of thought. Of course, they have an important role to play but they can also get in the way of our ability to push the limits and think outside of preconceived norms and expectations. I hope you get a sense of the freedom of expression that Burt and I discussed and make sure to come back next week for part two of our conversation!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:50] I introduce my guest, Burton Silverman.
  • [4:30] Burt talks about attending Fiorello Laguardia School of the Arts.
  • [10:30] What is it that makes a work of art “good?”
  • [15:00] Discovering the artistic voice.
  • [24:00] The role of setting and presentation in art.
  • [39:00] Racism and fear of the “other”
  • [47:00] The role of rules and schools of thought.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

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Aug 31, 2017
The Hard Work of An Artist, with Steve DaLuz

Do you struggle with putting in the focused and hard work required of you as an artist? You aren’t alone! I’ve struggled with carving out the time and maintaining that focused attention to the craft that I love. All artists struggle at some point with staying focused. What has worked for you? How have you been able to push through the difficulty? My guest, Steve Da Luz opens up and shares how he has wrestled with this obstacle in his life. I value Steve’s transparency and honesty and I know that you’ll find it just as refreshing and inspiring as I did.

Misconceptions of the “Art World”

What does it mean to follow the guidelines of the “Art World?” Is that something that you are bound to as an artist? Who are the gatekeepers of the art world? My guest, artist Steve Da Luz discusses with me what it means to be an active participant of the art world. We come to the conclusion that there isn’t some abstract and amorphous art world “out there” somewhere, but that it’s creative individuals like you and me that make up this community of artists. I’d love to hear your thoughts on mine and Steve’s discussion and how you feel about the concept of the art world.

Moving to an “Off Site” Studio

What works best for you as an artist, working from a studio space at home or having an “off site” space that you can use as your creative space? Does it really matter where we end up creating our art? What role does space play in our motivations to create? Artist Steve Da Luz walks through his decision to create an “off site” studio where he can focus on his work away from his home life and all the distractions that can bring about. It was fascinating to hear from Steve as he explained why this separate location really motivated him and spurred on his creative process. I’m excited for you to hear from Steve’s intriguing insights and the unique story that he has to share.

Luck Favors the Prepared

I know, it’s a hot topic among many in the “Art World” but I went there again with my guest Steve Da Luz as we discussed the role of luck and talent in the career of an artist. Steve comes out strong with the opinion that if you are ever going to “make it” as an artist, you need to put in the work and as prepared as possible for that “lucky moment” if it ever arrives. He used the phrase “Luck favors the prepared” and I think that he made a lot of valid points in our discussion. Wherever you land on this topic, if it’s pure luck or if it’s solely based on talent or a combination of the two, I hope you take the time to hear from Steve’s experienced perspective.

Surviving Slings and Arrows

The hard work of an artist not only includes finding the time and space to practice your creative process but it also includes taking your share of ups and downs and surviving the slings and arrows tossed your way. These can be literal roadblocks and difficulties that arise in the form of finances and critics but it can also include your own demons that can trip up your artistic expression. How will you survive the slings and arrows that come your way? Take a moment and hear from Steve Da Luz as he shares his story and how he’s been able to overcome the difficulties that have come his way in his prolific career.

Outline of This Episode

  • [2:00] I introduce my guest, Steve Da Luz.
  • [4:00] How Steve decided to develop the focus of his work.
  • [9:30] Misconceptions of the “Art World.”
  • [15:00] Steve talks about his decision to move to a off site studio.
  • [19:00] The financial struggle to survive as an artist.
  • [22:00] The role of luck and preparedness regarding success as an artist.
  • [27:00] Not everyone is going to connect with your work.
  • [31:00] Surviving the slings and arrows.
  • [37:00] Facing setbacks.
  • [42:30] Steve talks about his process and technical aspects of his paintings.
  • [58:30] The common thread in Steve’s work.
  • [1:02:30] What painting would Steve LOVE to own?
  • [1:07:00] Projects that Steve is currently working on.
  • [1:11:00] Steve talks about paintings of his that he’ll always keep.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

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Aug 24, 2017
Narrative Painting, with Nathan Lewis

What comes to mind when you think of narrative painting? Do you think of a particular painting or a series of paintings? What is it about painting with a narrative that captures an audience? My guest, Nathan Lewis is an accomplished narrative painter. In our conversation, Nathan and I spoke about the language of painting, multi figure paintings, painting through frustration and doubt, and so much more! I know artists like you will enjoy hearing from his unique perspective. I am really excited for you to get a glimpse into the world of narrative painting by hearing Nathan’s fascinating story and insights.

The Draw to Narrative Painting

Do you remember what drew you to your style or type of painting? Was it an artist that captured your imagination, a teacher that opened it up to you, or was it more of a gradual revelation? For artist Nathan Lewis, he was drawn to narrative painting through his personal pursuit of finding meaning in life. Nathan describes his attraction to art as an attraction to live a life of meaning and to find some way to interact with the world. He goes on to explain how once he got a handle on his understanding of art forms, the narrative connection just started to fall into place. Make sure you take a minute to look over Nathan’s artwork at the end of this post.

Pushing Past Fear and Failure

What do you do with fear of failure as an artists? Does it over take you sometimes? Do you use it for fuel? What is a helpful perspective we can have on this subject? Nathan Lewis has struggled with fear, doubt, and failure as an artist. To get through those difficult and potentially self defeating emotions, Nathan commits himself to his artwork at hand. He has found pushing through (not ignoring) those emotions and engaging in his art to be a helpful solution. What has worked for you in the past? What is your plan for when those feelings creep back in? I hope that hearing from Nathan can help you start to wrestle with these emotions in a way that’s helpful for you.

The Role of Memory in Art

As an artist who also works from photography I was curious to get Nathan Lewis’ perspective on what role memory has in his artwork. The fact of the matter is, there are aspects that get lost, and some aspects that get captured when we utilize photography to assist us in our paintings. Nathan explains how he enjoys using photography to take his time with a subject. This allows him to avoid the need rush to capture something that he won’t be able to remember from the subject or scene later on if he were forced to rely on his memory. I really resonated with a lot of what Nathan had to share on this subject and I hope artists like you can connect with his unique perspective.

The Artist’s Social Life

As an artist it can be a struggle to engage with others on a social level. There are a few factors involved in this difficulty. One is that non-artists don’t really understand the demands that our craft has on our time and availability. Another struggle arises when we only socialize with fellow artists and lose that connection with other sectors of society and culture. Which one do you find yourself more drawn to? Have you taken the time to consider why that is? In my conversation with artist Nathan Lewis, we discuss our own experiences with each side of this coin. I hope you find our conversation encouraging and helpful as you navigate how this plays out in your life too.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:35] I introduce my guest, Nathan Lewis.
  • [3:15] Nathan describes his work and how he got started as an artist.
  • [8:30] What drew Nathan to the narrative style of painting?
  • [17:00] Pushing past the fear of failure.
  • [19:30] How Nathan chooses his motifs.
  • [30:00] What is the role of memory in Nathan’s work?
  • [42:30] Connecting with a non-artist social circle.
  • [46:30] What is Nathan currently working on?

Other artists mentioned on this episode

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Aug 17, 2017
Oil Painting Questions and Answers, with Gamblin

Do you have questions about oil painting and the best materials to use? Look no further, it’s here! Robert Gamblin, Mary, and Pete Cole join me to answer your biggest questions about oil painting and more! I’m so excited for you to hear their helpful insights into some really great topics. You’ll hear them go over questions about pigments, stories about pigment sources, why some paints have more oil separation, some great information on oil paints and toxicity, and much more! This will serve as a great resource for artists like you to keep in your back pocket. Learn how you can connect with Gamblin and utilize their great resources!

A Dedicated Focus on Oil Painting

You’ve heard that old phrase, “Jack of all trades and master of none” right? That’s what comes to mind when I hear Robert Gablin talk about why his company solely focuses on oil painting instead of branching out to provide water colors, acrylic paints, and other materials. Instead of being a jack of all trades, Robert and his team have decided to focus on being a master of one, oil paint products. Their narrow focus has paid off, they have displayed an amazing passion for detail and improvement on their niche subject. Just hearing from Robert, Mary, and Pete I could tell that they really know their field - they are the experts when it comes to oil paint!

Is the New Blue Worth it?

If you follow news about pigments and breaking developments around that subject like I do, then you’ve heard of the new “YInMn Blue” that was discovered at Oregon State University. This new color was discovered in 2009 as a byproduct of an experimentation. Since this news has recently been making the rounds on social media again it led me to get Robert Gamblin’s take on the new color and if they’ve found it worth it to start producing the color themselves. Robert explained that they found that it is not effective to produce the color for a few reasons. Their primary reason is the enormous cost it requires to create the color. This is due to the fact that the color requires three compounds and two of them are rare earth minerals. Robert’s vast knowledge was on display during our conversation and I know that artists like you will find his insights very helpful.

Mitigating Toxicity Risks

Do you find yourself concerned about your health when it comes to your time in the studio? Are you nervous about how your lifestyle as an artist will impact your health in long run? What would it mean for you to have supplies that are responsible, not only for the environment but for artists like you? My guests from Gamblin are happy to share with artists like you that their line of high-quality products are free of toxins. They want to see more artists use products that are sustainable and health conscious. Don’t let your time in the studio get clouded by concern for your health. Hear from the Gamlin team and how their products could be the best fit for you!

What is FastMatte?

Don’t you hate it when you are in a creative flow and you have to make the decision to pause and let your paint dry before you can proceed? What if there was a way to avoid that pause and continue with your creative momentum? That’s where Gamblin’s helpful product, FastMatte come in. FastMatte colors are a unique type of oil colors, every color dries fast, every color dries matte. These qualities make them perfect for underpainting techniques. FastMatte also serves as an excellent way to come back to oil painting for those painters who have switched to acrylics

because of the need for a faster drying rate. I was seriously impressed with this helpful solution that Gamblin has developed and I hope you get the chance to find out for yourself!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:15] I introduce today’s special Q&A session with the Gamblin team.
  • [2:30] Robert Gamblin joins the podcast and shares how he started Gamblin.
  • [6:00] Why does Gamblin only provide oil paint?
  • [8:00] Robert shares some interesting pigment formulations.
  • [16:00] Dreaming about color combinations.
  • [17:30] Has Gamblin made custom colors for well known artists?
  • [23:00] What is the value of white in the painting process?
  • [32:30] Advice for artists who have never used oils before.
  • [38:30] Warm and cool objects.
  • [44:30] Explaining the reason behind oil separation.
  • [47:30] Does Gamblin have any plans to start making water mixable oil paints?
  • [52:30] Pigment history and toxic pigments.
  • [1:00:30] Advice for artists who work in small enclosed spaces.
  • [1:04:00] Avoiding toxins and working with a baby nearby.
  • [1:06:00] Should I use a retouch varnish? Why varnish in the first place?
  • [1:11:30] Is there a good alternative to cadmiums that are opaque?
  • [1:14:30] Working with the cold wax medium.
  • [1:17:00] Solvent free mediums.
  • [1:22:00] What is the shelf life of oil paint?
  • [1:24:00] Will Gamblin consider changing the size of their caps?
  • [1:26:00] What is FastMatte?

Other artists mentioned on this episode

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Aug 10, 2017
Urban Paintings, with Ehsan Maleki

Have you ever wondered what urban paintings out of Tehran might look like? What about the status of the art community in Iran in general? My guest, Ehsan Maleki is an Iranian artist whose painting primarily focus on urban settings and nature. In our conversation, he describes “Iranian Miniature” paintings, the impact that artist Mahmoud Farshchian has had on him, why abstract art is so hard to talk about, the role of personality in artwork, and much more! Ehsan was very gracious with his time and really helped me climb into the perspective of the Iranian art community. I’m certain artists like you will get a lot of enjoyment from our conversation.

Iranian Miniature Art

What is Iranian miniature art? My guest, Ehsan Maleki launched into a very concise and helpful explanation of what this art form entails. Iranian miniature art has a long history stretching back to the 10th century. It was mainly used as the illustration for poetry books so it is traditionally very small in size. The paintings are usually of gardens, lovers, and other idyllic settings. The shapes and lines in Iranian miniature art usually have no angles and are depicted with more curves and wavy lines. Another aspect of these paintings is that these works of art are usually highly detailed. It was a joy to hear such a detailed and fascinating description of this pocket of art history and form, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Why is Abstract Art so Hard to talk about?

Have you ever had a difficult time discussing abstract art? Do you feel like you have a good handle on what abstract art is and the role it plays in the art community yet still have a hard time talking about it with confidence? You aren’t alone! Ehsan Maleki and I both spend some time in our conversation talking about abstract art and how it has left its impact on us. At the same time, we wrestle with discussing it because of its abstract and hard to grasp nature. Ehsan puts forth the thought that to a degree, all art is abstract - and I agree!

Rethinking Art

Sometimes the people closest to an industry or content need to rethink the way they approach the subject. This is something that the art community needs to consider as well. Have we lost sight of what’s really important? Is our collective understanding and perception of art due for a reimagining? My guest, Ehsan Maleki believes that just such a rethinking is necessary. In our conversation, he explains how he has perceived the focus sway too much toward money and other endeavors that the focus on creating and experimenting with art is falling by the wayside. Even if you don’t agree with Ehsan’s assessment, the questions he’s bringing up are important to consider.

Art and Personality

How much of your personality do you let shine through in your art? Is it something that you actively bring with you when you create or is just passively there leaving its faint trace on your work? I have had the great privilege of interviewing artists who have a wide range of opinions on this subject. My guest, Ehsan Maleki wants his art to be about more than just himself. He really wants to be able to step out of the way and enable his viewer to really connect with the vision that he had in his mind when he was creating the painting. Catch a glimpse of Ehsan’s paintings in the images at the bottom of this post!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:30] I introduce my guest, Ehsan Maleki.
  • [10:00] Ehsan describes the “Iranian Miniature” art.
  • [16:30] Ehsan talks about how he got his start with art.
  • [19:00] Why did Ehsan decide to focus on the “western” style of painting?
  • [22:00] Art and nature.
  • [28:00] Why is abstract art so hard to talk about?
  • [32:00] Ehsan talks about his subject material.
  • [42:00] Ehsan’s rituals when he approaches the canvas.
  • [47:30] Can you experiment too much?
  • [52:00] What are some common perceptions of Iran?
  • [54:00] Positive psychology and learned optimism.
  • [59:30] Parting thoughts from Ehsan.
  • [1:03:00] Art and personality.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

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Aug 03, 2017
Abstract vs Figurative Art, with Mario Naves

Do you find yourself in the abstract or figurative art group? Most artists end up in one group or the other, but there some who start in one group and migrate to the other. My guest, Mario Naves is an accomplished painter, art critic, and teacher. In our conversation, Mario opens up about his journey from starting out as a figurative artist and moving more toward abstract art perspective. Mario also goes over reactions to seeing his old artwork, shedding perfectionism, his creative process, and much more! I know artists like you will enjoy hearing from such a talented voice like Mario.

Reflecting on Past Artwork

Have you ever taken a trip down memory lane with your artwork? Doesn’t it almost feel like it was someone else who made those pieces? Artist Mario Naves told me a story in our conversation about a time when he was reflecting on one of his paintings that hangs in one of his friend's homes. While some artists might cringe or feel uncomfortable looking back on work they produced years ago, Mario looks back on that work fondly. He describes that moment as one of recognition but also of separation. It was fascinating to hear Mario talk about this unique and almost out of body like experience that he had while looking at this old painting of his. Make sure to get a glimpse of Mario’s artwork in the images at the end of this post.

Giving Yourself Permission to be YOU

Some artists thrive on the pressure and high expectations that they receive from others and also the person they see in the mirror. Do you find that to be helpful motivation in your creative journey? Artist Mario Naves told me that in his younger years he found himself wrapped up in his own expectations and the expectations that others had of him, lately, he’s been shedding expectations. Mario describes himself as a “recovering perfectionist” and attributes most of this change to his age. Now he feels the freedom and permission to really open up and do what he really wants to do deep down when he approaches the canvas.

From Figurative Art to Abstract Art

Every artist is on a journey. Some of us do a lot of “exploring” when we are younger and some find that impulse to branch out and “explore” later in their career. Mario Naves grew up focusing on figurative and representational art. Then there came a point where he started to branch out and move toward experimenting with abstract art. When I tried to pin down when and how Mario started to move toward abstract art, he wasn’t able to really point to a specific moment, it seems that it was more of a gradual change for him. I had a wonderful time exploring this change and evolution that Mario went through and I know that artists like you will enjoy our conversation.

Unpredictability and Structure

The beauty of the creative processes is that there is a large range of diversity in theory and practice in the art world. Much like the contrast and different approach that abstract and figurative art gives us, Mario Naves and I discussed unpredictability and structure in our conversation. It seems like these two thought processes and ways of art creation and viewing the world conflict with each other. In a way, these two approaches do contradict each other but they can also be housed in the same mind of an artist. This tension can seem like it’s impossible but Mario and I discuss how this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:30] I introduce my guest, Mario Naves.
  • [5:15] Mario talks about his work.
  • [10:30] What is Mario looking for when he goes to the canvas?
  • [13:30] Mario’s surprise when looking back at his old paintings.
  • [18:30] Shedding perfectionism.
  • [23:00] How does Mario spend his time in the studio?
  • [25:00] Mario’s artistic process.
  • [29:30] What made Mario get involved with abstract art?
  • [45:00] Unpredictability and structure.
  • [50:00] How teaching impacts Mario’s artwork.
  • [53:00] Advice Mario would give his younger self.

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Jul 27, 2017
Intuitive Painting, with Alan Feltus

What is intuitive painting? How does the intuitive process work? It has been said that the goal of intuitive painting is to allow yourself the space to be inside color, paint, and process while locating the inner core of your creative self. My guest, Alan Feltus is an intuitive painter who has a rich depth of experience to share with our Savvy Painter audience. In our conversation, we discuss the impact Sari Dienes had on him growing up, his move to Italy, his creative process using mirrors, his advice for young artists, and so much more! I can’t wait for you hear from Alan and learn from his wonderful insights.

Growing up with Sari Dienes

Can you imagine growing with the unique opportunity to learn from an artist like Sari Dienes? What would it be like to watch her work? Artist Alan Feltus opened up to me about his childhood and how he learned from the talented Sari Dienes. Alan talks fondly of spending time with her and watching her creative process. No artist learns in isolation and without an influence, they can point back to. Some artists don’t get that influential person in their life until they are much older, Alan got to experience this time with Sari early in his life. Who is that person for you? Do they know the impact they’ve had on you?

The Freedom and Opportunity of an Artist

What drew you into the life of an artist? Were you captivated by the creative process? Did you have a hero that you looked up to and wanted to create like they did? Or was it the freedom and opportunity that the artist's lifestyle provides? When I sat down to talk with artist Alan Feltus, he described that one of his favorite aspects of being an artist is the freedom that he was able to exercise. Early in his career Alan and his wife Lani decided to move to Italy. They seized the opportunity because they both were represented by galleries at the time and they wanted to utilize their freedom to settle in a place that they could choose. You’ve got to hear Alan describe this time in his life, the passion and excitement that Alan exudes is infectious!

Intuitive Painting

The chance to climb into an artist’s brain and really get to understand what makes them tick is a privilege that I relish. I’ve always been enthralled by intuitive painting and artists like Alan Feltus. In our conversation, Alan described his process that includes the use of mirrors. He is constantly adapting and changing his process to get that unique angle that he’s never captured before. I found Alan’s process, including an on the spot description of how he would paint me in our interview, fascinating. To get a glimpse of Alan’s work, make sure to check out his images included at the end of this post!

YOU Make your Art Unique!

As we expand in this increasingly globalized world, it has become evident to many that there really isn’t a “new” way to make art, or so it seems. Everyone is influenced by someone else and that influenced can be traced back and so on. To break the monotony, artist Alan Feltus encourages younger artists to let their personality shine through in their work. He explains that some of the most captivating and unique art out there incorporates the artist's unique story. Don’t hide behind what’s easy, do the hard work of looking inward and using that as fuel to create something only you can!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:30] I introduce my guest, Alan Feltus.
  • [3:30] Alan talks about the impact that artist Sari Dienes had on him as a child.
  • [17:30] What led Alan to decide to study art and become an artist?
  • [21:00] Alan talks about studying in Rome on the Rome Prize Fellowship.
  • [25:30] Why did Alan and Lani decide to move to Italy?
  • [30:30] Alan’s process using mirrors.
  • [42:00] What is Alan working on right now?
  • [46:30] Alan’s advice for young artists starting out today.
  • [1:01:30] Finding your voice as an artist.
  • [1:05:00] Have artists lost their playfulness?
  • [1:16:00] Making art personal and developing over time.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

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Jul 20, 2017
The Path of a Self Taught Artist, with Julian Merrow Smith

Have you ever wondered how a self taught artist fares in today’s art scene? Do they have the same difficulties and opportunities as artists who have been through the traditional route? What unique lessons can we learn from this subset of creators who defy conventional expectations? My guest, Julian Merrow Smith is a self taught artist who has plenty of insight to share about his journey. In our conversation, we touched on his move to France, how he taught himself how to paint, why he decided to start teaching workshops, how he works through disappointment, and much more. I can’t wait for you to get to know the side of Julian that came out in our interview!

Creative Inspiration

What inspires you to create your artwork? Is it people, places, concepts, or something else? When I get the chance to peer into the mind of an artist I enjoy the wonderful opportunity to explore what inspires them, what really makes them come alive. It intrigues me to hear what inspires various artists as they approach their canvas. Artist Julian Merrow Smith shared with me that he likes to use what he sees around him each day at his home in the countryside of France. He draws inspiration from peaches at this point in the season when I spoke with him. Catch a glimpse of Julian’s work captured in the images section at the end of this post!

Discovering What NOT to do

It’s always a privilege when I get to sit down and talk to artists whose career path has been different than my own. I love hearing from artists who discovered their passion for art late in life and from others who found their way as a self taught artist. Julian Merrow Smith took the time to share with me his journey and the lessons he has taken away from the experience of teaching himself how to paint. One of the key insights that Julian shared with me is how he was able to discover his unique voice and creative path by putting in the long hard hours and by deciding after each completed work what aspect he did NOT want to continue to produce from that painting. Julian was kind enough to share many more insights and lessons from his art career - I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

From Self Taught Artist to Teacher

Can you imagine the pressure and stress that comes with teaching students to do what you’ve only discovered how to do on your own? Imagine you have no frame of reference to look back upon, no formal teaching in the subject matter in which you are being asked to teach. Self taught artist Julian Merrow Smith found himself in that very scenario. Students and established artists alike have been drawn to Julian’s work and want to learn from him. In proper response, Julian has begun offering workshops. The unique circumstance is not lost on Julian, in our conversation we discussed his feelings of serving as a teacher in a subject where he didn’t have one.

Momentum can be KEY

How do you keep the ball moving as an artist? What practices do you turn to that keep you coming back to the canvas over and over again to hone your craft? I’ve heard from artists over and over again that once they’ve stepped away from their work for a period of time, they find it very difficult to return. Yet, I also have heard from well-known artists that stepping away for a period of time has been essential for their mental and emotional capacity to continue to create. In my conversation with Julian Merrow Smith, we discussed how this topic has played out in his creative journey. There may not be a one size fits all solution, but the KEY is figuring out what works for YOU.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:40] I introduce my guest, Julian Merrow Smith.
  • [3:30] How Julian got his start as an artist.
  • [8:30] Why did Julian move to France?
  • [11:00] Julian talks about teaching himself how to paint.
  • [13:00] How do you find your voice as an artist?
  • [16:00] Julian’s process in the studio and what inspires his paintings.
  • [21:30] What led Julian to start teaching workshops?
  • [30:30] Julian talks about his approach to the canvas.
  • [35:30] Working through disappointment.
  • [42:30] The difficulty of stopping and starting.
  • [45:30] Sometimes you just need to go paint.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

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Jul 13, 2017
Art and Play, with Jeremiah Palecek

What comes to mind when you think of art and play? Do you consider art as a playful act? Imagine how this shift in mindset can bring forth a wide range of freedom and joy in the creative process. My guest, artist Jeremiah Palecek takes time in our conversation to detail how he appreciates the role of art and play. If you’ve been around the Savvy Painter community for very long, you know that this is one of my favorite subjects! I had a wonderful time discussing this topic and a wide range of other subjects in our conversation. Make sure to check out images of Jeremiah’s artwork at the end of this post!

A Family of Artists

Who helped shape your creative imagination as a child? Was it a parent or grandparent? Did it take longer for you to discover your creative spark? Maybe for you, it was a teacher that helped usher you in on your journey as an artist. For Jeremiah Palecek, it started at an early age surrounded by art in his grandmother's house. But it wasn’t just his grandmother, Jeremiah’s father also took an active role in helping to shape his exposure to various artists. On top of all these wonderful experiences and influences in his early years, Jeremiah also shared with me that he married a fellow artist. With all of these wonderful influences, it’s interesting to see how Jeremiah’s journey has led him to where he is today, creatively speaking. Don’t take for granted the influence you could have on the next generation of young artists!

Art as a Playful Act

Carl Jung once said, “The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect, but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity.” Does this perspective on art and play resonate with you? Do you find that your creative inspiration comes from a deep place of “inner necessity?” Artist Jeremiah Palecek describes his process saying, “I jump in before my ideas are fully formed.” During the course of our conversation, I got the sense from Jeremiah that this idea of following the “inner necessity” is something that he is very comfortable with as it influences his projects and the way he prepares for a new series of paintings. It was wonderful to get Jeremiah’s perspective on art and play and I know artists like you will enjoy it too!

Technology, Facial Recognition Software, and Art

One of my favorite things about the Savvy Painter community is the diverse symphony of perspectives and influences that we get to celebrate. The range of artists vary so vastly from landscape work to framework, from shapes to portraits, and on and on I could go. My guest, Jeremiah Palecek is no exception to the celebration of unique perspectives. Jeremiah is currently working on a fascinating project that draws inspiration from facial recognition technology and how computers view human faces. We spent some time in our conversation centered on this fascinating and peculiar angle on portraits and the human face, I know you will find it as interesting as I did!

Consistency and the Creative Process

Do you struggle with finding the right rhythm to create your artwork? Are you looking for a way to cut through all the noise and figure out what it will take to hone in on your creative process? One KEY way to stay on course and cut through the noise is to practice consistently. Imagine the ground you could cover if you could set aside a consistent slice of time each day to work on your art? Sure, there will always be time for excuses and give yourself the grace of the occasional exception - but don’t underestimate the power of consistency! Don’t just take my word for it - my guest, Jeremiah Palecek attests to the creative energy that is unlocked when you give yourself the permission to show up at the same place and time each day to allow your creative vision to unfold. So what are you waiting for? Try it out!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:22] I introduce my guest, Jeremiah Palecek.
  • [3:40] How Jeremiah’s grandmother influenced his decision to become an artist.
  • [8:30] Artists that have influenced Jeremiah.
  • [10:30] Jeremiah explains his artwork.
  • [16:00] The power of sight and perception.
  • [21:00] Technology, facial recognition, and artwork.
  • [23:30] Art as a playful act.
  • [28:30] The KEY is consistency.
  • [34:00] Jeremiah talks about his process.
  • [40:30] A moment of success and pride for Jeremiah.
  • [54:00] Jeremiah’s dream project.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Jul 06, 2017
Art and the Impact of Social Media, with John Wentz

With the impact of social media and the ability to get instant feedback from your audience and fanbase, an important question for artists to consider is “What are you willing to compromise?” If the majority of your followers don’t find your new experimental process or project interesting or if they go so far as giving you negative feedback, what do you do? Do you give in to popular opinion or do you follow your convictions? This problem is unique to the issue of having your artwork exposed to the public via social media. Artist John Wentz and I spent time going deep into this subject during our conversation. He has some great points to address when considering the level of engagement an artist should have with their digital audience given the difficulties that can arise.

Social Media and the inability to Slow Down

One of the drawbacks to living in such an increasingly modernized and advanced society is the impact of social media on our ability to slow down. Every spare moment can be filled by pulling out that smartphone and checking Facebook or Twitter. Can you imagine how this has impacted the way we think and process what should be quite moments in our lives? Consider the implications of not being able to slow down and be present, that can drastically change the creative and artistic process. My guest, John Wentz believes that the impact of social media has distracted us in more ways than we realize. He says that we need to be vigilant of this influence and work intentionally to create those spaces, especially as artists, to be present and at peace in mundanity and stillness.

Appropriation vs. Influence

What is the difference between appropriating art and being influenced by it? What does it mean to understand, appreciate, and respect someone's artwork and genuinely let it influence you without appropriating it? Artist John Wentz devoted some time in our conversation to this topic and how he sees it’s impact on the art world. He focused more on the meaning behind the use of an individual who sees work they resonate with and tries to incorporate that into what they are trying to create. John also posits the idea that maybe social media is the new art and we are more of a hive mind now rather than when we use to operate more as individuals. Our conversation was a fascinating one that I thoroughly enjoyed and I know you will too!

The benefit of stepping away

How do you take care of yourself creatively, emotionally, mentally, etc.? What is your plan to avoid burning out and getting turned off of the work that you do? If you don’t have one in place, it might be a good time to consider creating a plan to help you recharge. Artist John Wentz spoke with me about a recent period in his life where he was able to step away from painting and take a two-month break. John speaks of this break from the creative process as being extremely helpful and rejuvenating. He found that when he was able to step away for a period of time when he returned to his work at the easel, he was able to really reconnect to his inner place of motivation.

The Draw of New York

Many artists find themselves drawn to the city of New York. There are a number of factors involved with this draw, from the dense population to the history, and even the iconic nature of the city, what’s not to love? John Wentz devotes a large portion of his current work that is being shown in galleries to the city of New York. He tries not to be too “heady” with the concepts that he puts forth but you can tell in our conversation that his passion and fascination with city really shines through. I was able to really connect with John on this note because he mentioned that he enjoyed just sitting back in Union Square and watching people go by all day long.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:40] My introduction to this week’s guest, John Wentz.
  • [3:30] John talks about how he got started with art.
  • [14:00] Where has the time to slow down gone? How does that influence artists?
  • [19:00] Appropriating Art and the influence of Social Media.
  • [25:00] John talks about taking a break from art work how that helped.
  • [36:00] John’s process.
  • [42:30] John and I talk about his relationship with abstract art.
  • [48:00] What John is working on currently.
  • [58:00] Following your convictions and passions even if it’s not popular.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Jun 29, 2017
Discover Your Passion in Life, with Deborah Paris

Have you discovered your passion in life? What is that one thing that lights you up like nothing in the world can? Imagine going through life without realizing or experiencing your passion in a consistent way. Deborah Paris realized one day that she wasn’t following her passion in life. From that moment on she set out to make a change in her career and focus on what really mattered to her. She went from a career practicing law to connecting with her desire to become an artist. Deborah’s message to people unsure of their future and career is to follow your passion. Don’t let another day go by without taking the steps to really engage in what matters to you.

A Reaction Beyond Words

Can you think of the most powerful response to your artwork that you’ve ever received? Some artists have a few of these interactions to choose from and others haven’t had any notable reactions at all. In my time interviewing artists, it really does vary - there doesn’t seem to be a pattern to how people respond. In my recent conversation with artist Deborah Paris, she shared with me a particularly notable reaction she received to someone who purchased her artwork. This reaction was so strong, the individual couldn’t even speak and put into words the emotion she was experiencing. To me, that is a beautiful story. There are times we experience beauty in this world that no words can do justice describing.

Easing into a Workflow

How do you approach your daily or weekly work patterns? Do you jump right in and find that the creative juices start flowing right away or do you find that you need some time to prepare and ease into your workflow? I had the great opportunity to sit down with artist, Deborah Paris as she opened up about how she approaches her workload each day. Deborah’s approach is to tackle the simple things first and then build up to the more challenging aspects of her day and the work that she is creating. To see the amazing products of Deborah’s workflow, make sure to catch images of her work at the end of this post!

Sharing Wisdom with Others

If you were to write a book, what would the subject be? What topic do you have the experience and wisdom on to share with the world? That seems like a very bold and out there question but like the life of an artist, a writer has to create from the core of their being. My guest, Deborah Paris is writing a book about her journey of discovering her passion in life. She told me that she doesn’t want to write another “How to Book” but maybe a “Why to Book…” Inviting others along that journey of discovering what they were meant to do in this life. I’m looking forward to Deborah’s book and think you will too!

Enjoying the Work

You’ve heard that old saying; “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Have you found this saying to be true in your life? Do really love what you do day in and day out? Artist, Deborah Paris is just now getting to experience this truth in her life. She started her professional career practicing law but then pivoted to her dedicating her focus to a career in art. The transition wasn’t a perfect one but it helped Deborah really understand what she was meant to do. If you are struggling in finding your path when it comes to a career as an artist, I know Deborah's story will resonate with you.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:20] My introduction to my guest, Deborah Paris.
  • [3:00] How Deborah got her start as an artist.
  • [7:00] Deborah talks about making the shift from a law career to an art career.
  • [9:30] Skills that helped from Deborah’s law career.
  • [17:00] Memorable responses to Deborah's work.
  • [22:50] What does Deborah look for in a subject for her paintings?
  • [31:00] Deborah’s process for painting.
  • [36:00] Does Deborah plan several steps ahead or just respond as inspiration comes?
  • [39:00] I talk about my obsession with Marble White.
  • [42:00] Deborah’s habits in the studio.
  • [50:00] Deborah talks about working on her book.
  • [56:00] The blurred line between work and play.

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Jun 22, 2017
Finding Your Artistic Voice, with Nancy Gruskin

Often it can take an artist years to discover their “Artistic voice.” It comes to each artist in a different way, some find it by learning from mentors and instructors over years, others find it by teaching the nuances of art theory or art history. There are so many beautiful paths that different individuals take to discover their unique artistic voice. My guest, Nancy Gruskin had a fascinating story to tell as she spoke with me about her journey to discovering and sharing her artistic voice. She didn’t take the “Typical” route to her career as an artist but it makes total sense for Nancy and it's an inspiring one that I know you will enjoy!

Getting “Established” as an Artist

Part of the process of discovering your voice as an artist is getting to that place where you feel “Established.” Similar to finding your voice, getting established comes at different points for each artist. For Nancy Gruskin, her career as an art history instructor has played a significant role in her journey and arriving at that place of feeling established in her career. She talks about how teaching and bringing value to students even when her art isn’t selling is still validating for her. Nancy was very forthcoming in sharing her thoughts and feelings in our conversation and I know her story will have an impact on other artists that get the chance to hear from her.

Acrylic Wash and Finding What Works

How did you discover what medium or process works best for your creative expression? Have you stuck with that same method for years or have you adjusted and changed it over time? My guest, Nancy Gruskin shares how she had modified and stumbled upon different approaches in her paintings and artwork over the years. In our conversation, Nancy told me how she stumbled into working with acrylic wash and how working with acrylic works much better in her home studio than working with oils like she did in the past. It was great to hear from Nancy and how she has adjusted her approach over the years and is still finding her creative impulses shine through that adaptation.

Creative Inspiration

Some artists share that they find their creative inspiration in some of the most mundane aspects of their life, others still find that inspiration strikes through the abstract. There is no “Right way” to tap into that creative inspiration, each artist must find what it is that inspires them. My guest Nancy Gruskin shared a touching moment from her life that inspired one of her paintings. Nancy’s story just goes to show you that you can’t bottle the creative process! It was great to hear how yet another individual uses the flow and circumstance of their life to create something beautiful. Make sure to catch images of Nancy’s paintings at the end of this post!

Overcoming Self-Doubt

It takes a lot of courage to bare your soul and share with a large audience a glimpse into your inner thoughts and feelings. Is that something you can imagine doing? My guest, Nancy Gruskin felt bold enough to share that she struggles with self-doubt from time to time. In our conversation, Nancy told me that she felt like she wouldn't’ have anything noteworthy to share with a wider audience. This could not have been further from the truth! I had a wonderful time speaking with Nancy about her journey to become an artist and how she has tackled other challenges along the way. I know you will also enjoy hearing from such a transparent, unique and bold artistic voice!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:50] I introduce my guest, Nancy Gruskin.
  • [2:00] Nancy’s journey to becoming an artist.
  • [10:30] How has Nancy’s background with Art History influenced her artwork?
  • [13:00] Finding your voice.
  • [18:00] Nancy talks about being included in a group art show.
  • [22:00] Feeling “Established” as an artist.
  • [27:30] Nancy’s process in approaching her time in the studio.
  • [34:30] Technical aspects of Nancy’s artwork.
  • [47:30] Facing self doubt and challenges along the way.
  • [53:30] Healthy habits.
  • [56:30] What art would Nancy LOVE to own if money wasn’t an issue?

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Jun 15, 2017
The Art of Being Present, with Joseph Todorovitch

What does “Being present” mean to you? Do you find that it is easy or difficult to be present in your studio time? With the cacophony of noise and distractions in our world, to be is present and in the moment could be considered an act of defiance. Artist Joseph Todorovitch is dedicated to honing in on what it means to be present with his artwork and to center on that place of stillness and focus. In our conversation, Joseph was open and transparent about his journey and how he finally found himself at a place where he is comfortable but still challenged.

What does it take to be a good draftsman?

The work of a draftsman is full of focus and clarity. It’s not an easy process that should be taken casually. I was curious what Joseph Todorvitch’s take would be when I asked him about the qualities and skill sets necessary to succeed as a draftsman. Joseph shared that it takes a particular type of motivation that comes from a desire to represent something faithfully. He also shared the importance of engaging in exploration and dedicated practice in the process as well. The two aspects of that Joseph ultimately highlights in our conversation is how critical it is to continue with a robust and thriving curiosity as well as a drive to be present and in the moment.

Slowing Down and Being Present

It takes a lot of dedication and practice to succeed in any given field of study. Malcolm Gladwell is famous for having written that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to become masterful at a particular discipline. In our conversation, Artist Joseph Todorovitch shares what he would like to impart to his students as he tries to convey what it means to be a dedicated artist. Ultimately it comes down to the ability of the student to be patient with the process and put in the time to get their work finished. In our society, we want to move things along at a breakneck pace but Joseph teaches the necessity of slowing down and being present.

Healthy body, Healthy mind

The connection between our physical healthiness and the state of our creative mind can sometimes get downplayed. But the truth is, there is a huge link between how healthy and active an artist is and how they feel creatively. Artist Joseph Todorovitch is convinced that his ability to push himself creatively in the studio is due to the fact that he starts his day working out and pushing himself physically. This practice is part of his effort to clear out all the noise, once he has had his workout Joseph is much more focused on being present in the studio. Because of the power he’s found in this practice, Joseph encourages his peers and those coming up in the art community to make sure they take the time to care for their physical health which can only help the creative process.

Advice for New Artists

A huge advantage for many artists starting out in today’s art scene is the ability to tap into the insight and advice from artists who have been on the scene longer. With many artist writing books, giving lectures, and interviews the opportunities are endless. Into this plethora of voices offering their advice is Joseph Todorovitch. Joseph wants to help new artists get a good head start in their career. He suggests that these artists starting off consider their work ethic, work habits, and the materials they work with day in and day out. You can tell that Joseph has given these subjects great thought from his vantage point in his career as an artist thus far.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:10] My introduction to today’s guest, Joseph Todorovitch.
  • [2:00] How Joseph started down the path to becoming an artist.
  • [5:00] Early influences from other artists.
  • [9:00] Joseph’s post-college path.
  • [16:30] What it takes to be a good draftsman.
  • [21:30] Concepts that Joseph would like to impart to his students.
  • [30:30] Facing challenges along the way.
  • [36:00] Paintings that Joseph is particularly proud of.
  • [40:00] How exercise has helped Joseph stay motivated.
  • [42:30] Advice Joseph would give to a younger artist.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Jun 08, 2017
Embracing the Unknown, with Lani Irwin

Some artists love to tell a very intentional and direct story with their artwork, and some focus on embracing the unknown. Artist Lani Irwin has a fascinating relationship with her paintings and their seeming tension of embracing the known and embracing the unknown. Lani’s work is very focused when it comes to the shapes and figures she creates but the unknown comes in when you step back and look for an underlying narrative or dialogue in her work, it’s not there. Lani likes to revel in the fact that her work embraces this tension, you can’t pin it down, you can’t define exactly what she is trying to say. Sometimes Lani wishes she had a story to tell in her paintings, and sometimes she loves the fact that there is nothing to tell.

Letting the Painting Speak

Many artists come to the canvas with an idea in mind and let it evolve over time or they just bring to life that original idea that existed in their head. Lani Irwin doesn’t go to the canvas with an idea in mind, rather she starts with a gesture or an object, or even a series of objects and she lets them speak to her. From that point, inspiration ebbs and flows as she listens to what the painting wants. The way Lani describes her process is fascinating and almost like a whirlwind because things will change very quickly as she listens to and adapts her approach to the painting. As she described her process, I was instantly transported to her studio and I could image this process unfolding and I hope you get that sense too. Make sure to catch images of her artwork included at the end of this post!

Every Step Revealing the Artist

Sometimes we can get so keyed into figuring out what that one moment or that one inspiration is that led someone down the path they chose. To be fair, there are many artists and other professionals that can clearly point to a moment of inspiration that acted as a catalyst for them on their career trajectory. Then there are artists like Lani Irwin who look back and find that it wasn’t just one moment that led to her decision to become an artist. For Lani, it's a compilation of events, ideas, and impulses that have guided her journey, she looks back at every step and sees it as an arrival.

Quality over Quantity

Even though her advice for younger artists might be geared around encouraging them to spend a lot of time in the studio, Lani Irwin has found that her time is now better spent with intense focus and precision. She finds that in order to maximize her time in the studio she needs to build up to it, honing all of her creative inspirations into that moment. One way Lani does this is by simply folding a paper crane before she goes into the studio, she does this as a meditative practice that centers her and brings her inspiration and focus.

Work Hard and Know Your Voice

There are many pressures placed on art students in the current industry climate. They tend to feel a very acute pressure to build a body of work and make a big splash in the art world. But for many, that seems hopelessly out of reach and a massive burden to bear. Artist Lani Irwin encourages young artists to put in the hard work and long hours, not only to produce a large body of work but to refine and master their craft. She also stresses the need for young artists to really understand who they are and what their artistic “Voice” will be.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:45] My introduction to today’s guest, Lani Irwin.
  • [2:30] Lani talks about how she started to become an artist.
  • [7:00] The impact that moving from place to place had on Lani.
  • [12:00] Why did Lani decide to settle in Italy?
  • [15:00] Lani talks about her artwork.
  • [27:00] What narrative or dialogue exists in Lani’s work?
  • [33:00] Knowing and Unknowing in Lani’s paintings.
  • [38:30] Lani’s time in the studio.
  • [48:30] The thread that runs through Lani’s work and how she’s changed over the years.
  • [59:30] Advice Lani would give artists just starting out.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Jun 01, 2017
Art Writer: John Seed

John Seed is an art writer, art and art history professor, and an artist in his own right. In our conversation we discuss his formative experience learning under Nathan Oliveira, his time working in galleries, what it was like hanging paintings by renowned artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Eric Fischl, and so much more. It was an honor to speak with such a gracious and talented artist and writer, I know you will have a great time learning about his progression from art teacher to art writer as well as all the great insights and lessons he has to share from his years in the art world.

From Art Teacher to Art Writer

It’s been said that every step we take in life is one of arrival. To hear John Seed explain how he found his way from being captivated with art at a young age, to working in art galleries, then teaching art and finally to writing about the subject is an engrossing story. Though each step along the way you really get the sense that John was meant to tell the story of artists because of his deep respect and genuine fascination with the creative process. If you are anything like me, spending time with John’s story will help fan the flames of creativity and passion for the art that you were meant to create.

John’s First Assignment as an Art Writer

Have you ever had on of those moments where it seems that the stars aligned to set you on a particular course? When I heard John Seed describe his first assignment as an art writer it seemed like a date with destiny type of encounter. John shares how he found a painting at a thrift store that grabbed his attention, he purchased the painting and proceeded to sell it on Ebay for a modest profit. It turns out that the buyer on Ebay was a private art dealer - John and this individual struck up a friendship. Soon after, this art dealer paid John $1000 to write an article about a well known artist in Hawaii who committed suicide at a young age. Over the course of the next year, John wrote an in depth article that ended up winning the Society of Professional Journalists Award for the best art article published in Hawaii that year.

Leaving a Legacy as an Art Writer

We all want to leave some sort of mark on the world. Most of us want the world to have been a better place because of the art we’ve created and the way we’ve treated others. Each one of us has to find that unique legacy that we want to leave behind. John Seed’s legacy rests primarily but not exclusively in his work as an art writer and an art teacher. He relishes in the fact that he has been able to have an impact on his art students in a similar manner that teachers like Nathan Oliveira had on him as a young student. But when John thinks of his legacy, he goes to his writing. He wants his impact to revolve around the public understanding and appreciating representational painters and other artists he knows who aren’t getting the type of exposure to the general public that he’d like to see.

Tips for Artists who want to tell their story

Many artists love to express their personal story through their artwork. As beautiful and symbolic as that expression can be, more and more artists are seeking to share their personal story through the written word. Art writer John Seed wants to help artists express themselves through the exercise of writing their story. John suggests that artists start by sharing their story on their websites. This can be done in big ways and in subtle ways depending on the comfort level of the artist. John also encourages artists to spend time with other artists and interview them to hear other artists tell their stories in their own words.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:15] My introduction to today’s guest, John Seed.
  • [1:30] John shares how he started getting involved with art.
  • [8:30] Lessons John learned studying under Nathan Oliveira.
  • [18:00] John’s journey to start writing about art.
  • [26:30] From teaching art history to writing about art.
  • [32:00] John’s first writing assignment and facing cancer.
  • [37:30] John’s legacy in writing.
  • [41:30] Advice for artists who want to tell their story.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

May 25, 2017
Layered Paintings, with Chris Liberti

I’ve always been intrigued by layered paintings. I don’t know if you’ve had that same draw but there is something about the textures and the grooves that draw you in and makes you wonder why the artist added that piece or that mark in a way that is unique in its own right. My guest, Chris Liberti has a similar draw and fascination with layered paintings. In our conversation, Chris describes why the layered effect has such an influence in his work. I also share how it connects to a personal story in my life.

Connecting artwork to a personal space

Do you have a favorite place you like to work on your art besides the studio environment? What is it about that place that resonates with you in a way no other place does? Artist Chris Liberti shared with me that one of his favorite places to go and paint is in his parent's basement. Didn’t see that coming did you? The way Chris describes this space and why he likes to go back and paint a particular utility sink is really touching. As he describes what that artwork and that space meant to him, I was instantly transported to that location. I have a feeling that Chris’ story and the way he looks at his artwork will resonate with artist like you.

Preparing for a Gallery Show

I’m sure many artists like you wonder if your habits and processes for preparing for a gallery show are similar to other artists or if YOU are the weird one. Luckily, I caught my guest Chris Liberti in the middle of his process preparing for an upcoming gallery show. Chris was kind enough to indulge my questions about how he prepares and what he likes to do to get his work and himself personally ready for the sometimes herculean feat of showing his work. I found it fascinating to get a peek into Chris’ process and I know you will enjoy it too!

Working through the artistic process

I know many artists will resonate with that famous line from a U2 song “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for…” That seems to be an accurate description when discussing the artistic process and understanding what an artist is trying to connect with or convey with their artwork. Chris Liberti discussed with me how he focuses on the colors he uses and how he lets them sort of “Speak” to him along the way as he is creating his artwork. You’ve got to hear how Chris talks about his process, it’s fascinating and unique, also don’t miss examples of Chris’ fabulous work at the end of this post below.

Parenting as an Artist

There are many different aspects of an artist that gets drawn out when they become a parent. I’ve had the pleasure of talking to both mothers and father who are artists and each brings a very unique and fascinating perspective on how parenting has influenced and even changed their approach to their artwork. Chris Liberti has two little girls and in our conversation, he touches on their influence in his artwork as well as how being a parent has shaped his time and his perspective. It was intriguing to hear from yet another parent who incorporates their artwork and their time with their children work in a balanced way.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:35] My introduction to today’s guest, Chris Liberti.
  • [4:00] What inspires and drives Chris as an artist?
  • [7:30] Chris talks about working in his studio and how he starts a project.
  • [12:00] Artwork that Chris is particularly attached to.
  • [15:00] Chris talks about the layered effect of his paintings.
  • [20:00] Mediums Chris uses.
  • [24:00] Projects Chris is currently working on.
  • [27:30] How Chris prepares for a gallery showing.
  • [34:30] Artists that have influenced Chris.
  • [37:20] What is Chris trying to convey or connect with in his work?
  • [44:00] How being a parent has influenced Chris’ work.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

May 18, 2017
Art and Spirituality, with Dozier Bell

When most people think of art and spirituality, they think of religious art. But what if there was a more subtle approach to art and spirituality that subverts the more common public expectations? Dozier Bell creates wonderful works of art that often convey a sense of “Presence.” She doesn’t feel the need to overtly draw the viewer's attention to the concept of God, rather she creates in a way that resonates with her spiritual experience and the way she sees the world. Once you get the chance to see Dozier’s artwork you will get a feel for the concept that she tries to convey, make sure to view some selections of her work at the end of this post.

Fitting into a new environment

Have you ever wanted to travel to a new location and get rooted into a new culture? Imagine the impact that would have on your worldview and artistic development. Dozier Bell had always wanted to spend time abroad expanding her skills and knowledge along with her creative pursuits. She finally got the chance when she was awarded a Fulbright scholarship and traveled to Germany in the mid 90’s. This experience had a profound impact on Dozier. She spoke at length with me about what it was like fitting into a new environment and gaining new creative inspirations along the way. This also happened to be the time in Dozier’s life where she taped into an exploration of art and spirituality.

Missing the Mystery in Art

The most beautiful aspect of art can be described as expressing through images what cannot be expressed through words. This is the wonderful and mysterious space of creative expression. Artist Dozier Bell revels in this sense of wonder and mystery. In fact, she believes these aspects of mystery and wonder are fading in an art world that increasingly trains students to have an articulated answer to what they’ve created. Dozier encourages artists to connect or reconnect to that sense of mystery, to truly explore it and resist the urge to define and quantify it.

Finding Your Voice as an Artist

One of the most difficult things to do as an artist is to find your “Voice.” You can learn many different techniques and find yourself influenced by other artists, but at the end of the day, you need to discover your unique artistic voice. Dozier Bell recounts an episode from her time in graduate school where she struggled to clarify what her voice would become. She talks about how grateful she is to a mentor who helped her see that she was spending time going in the wrong direction creatively. Dozier’s thoughts and insights into what it means to find your voice as an artist are very authentic and relatable, it was a pleasure to have such a candid conversation with her.

Facing “Painter’s Block”

Just as many writers tackle “Writer’s block” in different ways, various painters have their own methods to deal with “Painter’s block.” Some find it helpful to get an external perspective, while others find it helpful to plot away and stay faithful to the process, and others still consume a lot of chocolate. Artist Dozier Bell recently faced her own episode of painter’s block and she took the time to discuss that experience with me in our conversation. If you’ve struggled with this experience in the past, you might find our conversation encouraging and helpful.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:30] My introduction to today’s guest, Dozier Bell.
  • [2:00] Dozier talks about the beginning of her art career.
  • [3:40] How Dozier’s time in Germany impacted her.
  • [19:30] Dozier talks about her spiritual journey and how it impacts her art.
  • [28:00] Losing a sense of mystery.
  • [33:00] How Dozier develops a motif.
  • [36:30] Dozier talks about finding her “voice.”
  • [43:30] Dealing with getting “stuck.”

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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May 11, 2017
Experiencing Artist’s Block, with Jason Cytacki

Have you ever struggled with “Artist’s block?” We’ve all heard about how difficult and frustrating “Writer’s block” can be for an author who is used to having the words flow out on the page, but do artists ever face a similar difficulty? Jason Cytacki is a talented artist and educator who bravely opens up about his difficulty facing artist’s block at a particular chapter in his career. Jason’s transparency, honesty, and ultimately hopeful perspective are a breath of fresh air. I had a wonderful time discussing his work, personal journey, and everything in between.

Art Inspired by the American West

Often many artists are inspired by things that impacted them as children or early in their life. For some artists it’s the ocean, for others it’s human faces, other still it’s landscapes, and on and on we could go. For Jason Cytacki one aspect of his childhood that has inspired his artwork is the entertainment genre of westerns. This inspiration has led to Jason creating some amazing pieces of art that incorporate that tv and movie genre and even comment on it. The way Jason describes his relationship to the American West and the western genre is intriguing and I know you will appreciate his unique and creative perspective. Make sure to catch images of his work at the end of this post!

Exploring Artist’s block

Have you ever been stuck? Whether it’s getting stuck relationally, geographically, or professionally, it really sucks. What lessons have you learned from those occurrences in your life? Jason Cytacki goes right to the heart of this difficult and personal subject for many creative individuals. He talks about a chapter in his career when he faced a professional crossroads and he really couldn’t figure out which way to go. Jason goes on to describe this feeling of being in a new setting and almost having to rediscover his creative inspiration. Eventually what helped Jason work through this experience of artist’s block was getting an external perspective from people he trusted like his wife. If you’ve ever faced this frustrating experience, I think that you will find Jason’s story encouraging.

Compound Growth as an Artist

You’ve heard of the financial concept of “compound interest” but what about the artistic concept of “compound growth?” Do skill and creativity grow over time in steady increments in a similar fashion that interest grows in an investment account? In our conversation, my guest Jason Cytacki and I discuss the role of technical and creative growth and development over the course of an artist’s career. We both look back and chart how we’ve grown and how the concept of compound growth is one that rarely gets discussed in many artist circles.

Hard work and Persistence that pays off

There are a lot of opinions out there that go back and forth on the topic of “success” and the artist. Whether you land more on the “luck” side of the debate or on the “hard work” side of the debate, it’s helpful to hear from artists themselves and how they describe their journey. Getting their perspective on the subject grants unique insight into how they view their work and their place in the art community. My guest, Jason Cytacki spent time in our conversation to explain how he views the role of hard work and persistence in relation to his journey toward success.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:30] My introduction to today’s guest, Jason Cytacki.
  • [2:20] Jason talks about how he got his start as an artist.
  • [10:00] Challenges when approaching the canvas.
  • [15:00] Jason talks about his work inspired by the American West.
  • [23:40] Memorable responses to Jason’s art work.
  • [29:00] Facing “Artist's block.”
  • [37:00] Compound growth and getting an external perspective.
  • [41:00] Art work from a living artist that Jason would love to own.
  • [42:00] Hardwork and persistence are key to Jason’s success.
  • [44:00] The perfect day in the life of artist, Jason Cytacki.
  • [47:00] Navigating the work and life divide as an artist.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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May 04, 2017
Women Painting Women, with Alia El-Bermani

Why don’t we see more women painting women? The subject of some of the best paintings and sculptures throughout history has been the female form. However, the majority of those works of art have been created by men. This has led to a distinct bias in how women are portrayed in an artistic fashion. My guest, Alia El-Bermani hopes to change that portrayal and give the power of female representation back to women artists! "Women Painting Women" explores how contemporary women painters are handling women as subjects. The blog was founded by artists Alia El-Bermani, Diane Feissel and Sadie Valeri. Check out the link to the blog in the “Resources” section at the end of this post!

Lessons learned as an artist working in a gallery

You’ve heard the perspective of gallery owners on this website before. I’ve had the fortune of interviewing some AMAZING gallery owners. In this conversation, there is a little bit of a twist on the gallery perspective. My guest, Alia El-Bermani spent some time early in her career working in an art gallery. Given this unique perspective as an artist having worked in an art gallery, Alia shared with me some key lessons she learned from her time working there. One lesson that she shares is the realization that it truly is a two-sided relationship between the artist and the gallery. Too often the perception is that of a one sided relationship but that wasn’t what Alia observed. She generously shares more insights from her time in the gallery over our wide-ranging conversation.

Unique Challenges Faced by Women

Women have a uniquely different experience in the workplace than men. They have to fight and claw their way to earn the same type of recognition and respect that their male counterparts enjoy. My guest, Alia El-Bermani and I discuss the different treatment that we’ve experienced in the art world because of our gender. Our goal was, to be honest, and open with how we’ve been treated and to shed a light on the uniquely difficult career trajectory that women face in the art industry. It’s not always easy to be so open and transparent but my hope is that it will be beneficial and informative for followers like you!

Following the path of artistic inspiration

What do origami, snowflakes, and painting have in common? Strange combination right? For my guest, Alia El-Bermani the answer is; inspiration. All three of these creations ended up influencing Alia one day to embark on a new art project. She followed her creative impulse and asked for artists in her community to mail her paper snowflakes, like the ones you made in school as a kid. This idea came to her after playing with an origami kit that one of her children had laying around the house. The product of Alia’s experiment is fascinating, I have been blown away and inspired by her story and I hope you will be too!

Personal Value and Art Value

One of the common missteps that younger artists can tend to make is to shy away from putting a value on their artwork. The other side of that is usually falling for the comparison trap by seeing if they measure up to successful artists that they admire. My guest, Alia El-Bermani faced these difficulties early on in her art career. As she looks back, she wants to encourage artists of all walks to really own and appreciate their story. Alia also stresses the need for artists to feel free to confidently make a living by selling their art.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:45] My introduction to today’s guest, Alia El-Bermani.
  • [2:50] Alia’s decision to become an artist.
  • [6:40] The post-college career path.
  • [10:00] Lessons learned working in an art gallery.
  • [15:00] Women painting women.
  • [22:30] Unique challenges faced by women.
  • [31:50] Alia’s studio schedule.
  • [35:30] Incorporating paper into the painting process.
  • [46:00] Advice Alia would give to her younger self.
  • [53:00] One piece of art from a living artist Alia would like to own.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Apr 27, 2017
Personal Art, with Julyan Davis

You know that art that you love to make, that personal art that you know won’t sell in galleries? Don’t be discouraged, you aren’t alone! My guest Julyan Davis has a personal collection of art that he makes for himself. This is his way of separating his personal art from what he knows will sell on the marketplace. In our conversation we talk about creating art that no one will ever see, making deep personal connections, professional habits, personal promotion and much more. Julyan also tells the fascinating story of how he made his way from growing up in England to establishing himself as an artist in the American South that you won’t want to miss!

Art that no one will ever see

Would you still make art if no one could ever see it? That’s a difficult and fascinating question. Julyan Davis and I discuss our own answers to this question. It raises an important point, especially with the way that Julyan separates his art. Because of his style and the way that he likes to experiment, Julyan has created two different categories for his art, the personal art, and the public art. He describes two reasons for this separation. One reason is financial because he knows that a lot of his personal art won’t fit with what many collectors are looking for. The second reason for the separation is that the artwork is personal, he makes it for himself.

Making deep connections

In our hyperconnected world, one thing that can get easily left behind is deep and meaningful connections with those around us. The internet with all its wonderful social media brilliance can give us a false sense of personal connection. As artists, we can tend to suffer from this a bit more acutely than others because of our private and at times isolating creative process. Artist Julyan Davis discusses this tendency with me and how he’s taken steps to ensure that he connects relationally with people around him. If you’ve struggled with your sometimes isolating life as an artist, I know this conversation with Julyan will be helpful.

1 key to success and growth as an artist; Habit

There is no one right way or formula for success that will work for every artist. You have to find what works for you. Often one of the best ways to find your own path is to hear how others have found theirs. Julyan Davis goes through his typical day in the studio and explains that regularly practiced habits have contributed to his own growth and success. He has also created self-imposed deadlines that help him stay focused and on schedule. The last piece of insight that Julyan shares is how he pushes himself to learn about subjects that challenge him. Hearing how Julyan has grown as an artist over the years inspired me and I hope it has that same effect on you too!

Promote Your Art

With so many “Done for you” solutions out there in the marketplace for small business owners, one key aspect can get left behind, self-promotion. As an artist, you’ve got to promote yourself and your artwork. You can’t rely on “Being discovered.” You have to get out there and be your best advocate. This doesn’t mean you have to be egotistical and self-centered about it. If you’ve created something from your heart, a part of your story you want to share with the world then go for it! Artist Julyan Davis is a huge fan of this direct approach and he encourages as many artists as he can to adopt it.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:45] My introduction today’s guest, Julyan Davis.
  • [2:30] Julyan’s start in his art career.
  • [4:20] Early artistic influences for Julyan.
  • [7:00] Julyan talks about visiting the American South in the 80’s.
  • [14:00] The decision to stay and put down roots in America.
  • [16:00] How Julyan established himself as an artist in a new country.
  • [19:00] Making art to show but not necessarily to sell.
  • [24:30] Why did Julyan land in the South? How important is location to the artist?
  • [26:00] The importance of making deep connections with others.
  • [33:30] Julyan’s typical day in the studio.
  • [35:30] Would you continue to paint if no could ever see it?
  • [44:30] Julyan talks about the “Murder Ballads”
  • [47:00] What living artist’s painting would Julyan like to own?
  • [52:00] One habit that contributes to Julyan’s growth and success as an artist.
  • [55:50] An important piece of advice from Julyan.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Apr 20, 2017
Becoming An Artist, with Kami Mendlik

The public perception of a person's journey toward becoming an artist is usually an ethereal and happy go lucky one. As many of you know, that’s not the case. In my conversation with artist Kami Mendlik, we discuss her journey of becoming an artist. Kami emphasis that luck had nothing to do with her skill, talent, and success as an artist. She isn’t shy talking about the stubbornness, difficulty, and perseverance that is required to have a thriving art career. In our conversation we also touch on the impact of a mentor, finding the time to paint, her life raising children and much more.

The impact of a mentor

Can you think back to a time when someone helped you on your career path in vital ways? Everyone doesn’t get such a special person in their life. Usually, a mentoring relationship doesn’t just fall into your lap. Kami Mendlik had to hunt down and pursue her mentor Mary Pettis. Kami was relentless because she knew she had to learn from one of the best in her field. Mary was a huge hero and mentor to Kami and only asked for one thing in return for the time and insight she gave, that one day Kami would do the same for another young artist. Kami has fulfilled that promise and delights in the joy of passing down what she has learned on her journey to up and coming artists.

Finding the time to paint

One of the most common refrains among aspiring artist is “I’ve got to find the time to paint.” The struggle to carve out the time to focus on something so important and intimate can be difficult. Artist Kami Mendlik empathizes with this struggle but is a strong advocate of helping artists push through this difficulty. In order to succeed as an artist and a single mother, Kami had to get creative with her time. In our conversation, she tells me a few beautiful stories of her children growing up around her painting habits. If you’ve ever struggled to find the time to paint this conversation will be a huge encouragement to you.

Don’t wait until you’ve “Arrived”

The difficulty of navigating a career toward becoming an artist is fighting off the mindset that everything will come together once you’ve “Arrived.” My guest, Kami Mendlik strongly urges that artists fight that impulse. Kami describes her career as a journey. In fact, she couldn’t pick a particular moment in her career where she “Felt like an artist.” Rather, Kami describes her path as a series of stepping stones along the way. She encourages budding artists to avoid the trap of comparison and focus on discovering their own journey and finding their “Voice” in the process.

Incorporating children into life as an artist

Many professionals and even some artists are tempted to compartmentalize their work life from their life as a parent. To some degree, this has to be done to carve out that time where you can get “In the zone” and focus on your work. But because much of an artist’s process bleeds into the rest of their life you have to find a way to incorporate family life into the artistic journey. My guest, Kami Mendlik shares her experiences raising her children and navigating her path toward becoming an artist. Kami is delightfully transparent and honest as she explains the joys and difficulties that have come along the way. I know you will benefit greatly from our candid and in-depth conversation.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:55] My introduction to today’s guest; Kami Mendlik
  • [2:30] Kami’s journey to become an artist.
  • [5:20] Every step an arrival.
  • [11:00] Not luck, hard work.
  • [20:30] The difficulty of finding your way after art school.
  • [23:00] Determination and making your way.
  • [29:00] The impact of a mentor.
  • [34:00] Raising children and pursuing an art career.
  • [40:00] Fighting the impulse to make “Perfect art”
  • [45:40] Pushing through fear.
  • [51:00] Don’t wait until you’ve “Arrived”
  • [54:45] Incorporating children into life as an artist.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Apr 13, 2017
Tips for Artists (From a Gallery’s Perspective), with Jennifer Farris

Wouldn’t it be great to hear inside tips for artists from a gallery’s perspective? Most of my interviews are with artists but I jump at the chance when I get to connect with a gallery owner. They provide such a helpful and unique perspective! My guest Jennifer Farris is the owner of Studio Gallery. Jennifer and Rab opened the gallery in 2003 to showcase the work of Bay Area artists. Jennifer and I discuss the role of social media in the art world, the story behind the artwork, setting the right prices, helpful tips for artist engaging with galleries and much more!

Leveraging Social Media to Promote Art

With the interconnectedness the internet age gives us, it can seem like brick and mortar stores are becoming increasingly irrelevant. You might be tempted to think that social media promotion threatens the role of galleries in the art world. Gallery owner Jennifer Farris doesn’t see social media promotion as an obstacle but rather as a platform she can leverage alongside the artists her gallery works with. In our conversation, Jennifer paints a helpful picture of the relationship between social media, artists, and galleries. If you are interested in hearing her inside tips for artists, make sure to catch this interview.

The Story Behind the Artwork

Don’t forget that one of the most powerful tools you have is your story! It doesn’t matter what type of medium you are engaged in, people want to hear the story behind the artwork. What inspired you, what moved you, what were you going through when you created your art? This is what resonates with people. I know it can be scary to put yourself out there, and not every artist is ready to do that - that’s OK. When you are ready, share your story. In most cases, it’s the story that enhances the artwork in a similar way a quality frame helps it pop. If I haven’t convinced you, my guest and gallery owner Jennifer Farris will. She has seen the power a story can have in appreciating and selling a work of art.

Setting the Right Price for Artwork

Figuring out the right price point for their artwork is something that many artists, especially inexperienced artists struggle with. How do you determine the right price range for your work? What is the best process and approach? My guest, Jennifer Farris is happy to shed some light and share some tips for artists on this otherwise difficult process. Jennifer is the owner of Studio Gallery and regularly walks new artists through the process of pricing and showing their work for the first time. Her helpful perspective will help you get an inside look at the art world from the gallery angle.

Do’s and Don’t’s of Approaching a Gallery

As an artist, have you ever wondered what would be the best way to approach a gallery you want to go into business with? You are in luck! Gallery owner Jennifer Farris is eager to share some tips for artists who want to start off on the right foot with galleries.

  1. Visit the gallery if possible. Get to know the feel for the type of work they show. Is it a fit?
  2. Understand the right timing. Don’t ambush a gallery owner, make an appointment.
  3. Respect the process. Don’t expect special treatment. Work with the gallery’s process.

Jennifer has some wonderful insights that will help artists navigate the gallery landscape. I had a wonderful time learning about her gallery’s process and I know you will too!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:35] My introduction to this episode.
  • [2:00] Jennifer shares the story behind Studio Gallery.
  • [4:20] The difficulty Jennifer and Rab faced opening their gallery.
  • [7:40] How does Jennifer help an artist decide which artwork to show?
  • [10:45] What criteria is used to determine if an artist is ready for a solo show?
  • [12:20] How can artists work with galleries in a harmonious way?
  • [15:00] The story behind the artwork.
  • [21:00] Social Media’s influence on galleries.
  • [25:00] Setting prices for artwork.
  • [32:40] Do’s and Don'ts of approaching a gallery as an artist.
  • [39:20] Jennifer’s plans for her gallery’s future.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Apr 06, 2017
Artistic Motivation, with Scott Conary

What is your artistic motivation? Has it always been the same, or has it changed? Artist Scott Conary would say that it has changed over the years. He describes a time when his artwork and his career came from a different place of motivation, that was before his daughter was born. Once she came into the world, Scott’s life, including his artwork took a new direction. In our conversation, Scott shares about his struggle with perfectionism, why every question doesn’t need an answer, the health difficulties that his daughter has faced from birth, and so much more.

The illusion of perfectionism

As a creative individual, you want your art to resemble the vision you have for it in your mind as much as possible. This can be both frustrating and exciting. When it comes together just right and looks exactly how you envisioned it - satisfying. On the rare occasion that it exceeds your expectations and imagination - ecstasy. My guest Scott Conary and I spent some time in our conversation around the subject of perfectionism. Scott explained how much the illusion of getting everything just right can derail the creative process. Scott will be the first to tell you that most of his artwork can’t be described as perfect. But because of the lessons he has learned, he would call them complete.

Every question doesn’t have an answer

Do you ever have a hard time silencing the noise in your head? Does your mind race with what feels like hundreds of questions or ideas? What do you do with those thoughts? My guest, Scott Conary spoke with me about this struggle. He told me about his battle to fight through all that noise and focus on what really matters. We both arrived at a consensus that not all questions need to be answered. You don’t have to follow every thought or idea down the rabbit hole. As difficult as it can be to resist that urge, it can be very freeing to just say “No” and bring your focus back to a singular goal or objective. When you are able to find this type of clarity, your artwork will benefit.

The experience that colored everything

Have you had a moment that changed the course of your life? Scott Conary’s daughter was born with “Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.” He talked to me about her birth, and how that moment is the “Experience that colored everything.” As you can imagine, Scott and his wife had their world turned upside down with the diagnosis that came shortly after their daughter’s delivery. Scott was very gracious and transparent in our conversation. He shared about how the art he creates now holds a different meaning for him, it really shifted his artistic motivation. In what sounds like a contradiction, Scott says that his work has less significance but at the same time holds a new kind of meaning. The way Scott described it to me made perfect sense. As serious as his daughter’s condition is, Scott was quick to tell me how much joy she brings their family - at the time of this writing, she is seven years old and thriving.

Art as an avenue for healing

In light of the diagnosis that Scott and his wife received for their daughter, I wanted to ask Scott if creating art has contributed to healing on his journey. As you can imagine this was a difficult question to answer. Scott was gracious enough to give me an extended answer and discussion on this topic. Initially, Scott said that he didn’t necessarily see his creative pursuits as contributing to his healing process. However, the question resonated with Scott so much that he wanted to take another shot at answering it. On the second pass, Scott shared that he has experienced a sense of healing as he has taken his emotional trauma with him into the studio. Scott’s transparency and vulnerability were on full display and I was honored that he felt like he could trust me with such raw and honest responses.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:35] My introduction to this episode.
  • [2:40] How did Scott get started with his art career?
  • [4:20] Scott talks about family and career struggles.
  • [9:30] What Scott tells prospective art students and those starting their art career.
  • [12:40] Scott’s “Why”
  • [17:50] Is painting “Fun?”
  • [28:10] What is Scott’s daily routine?
  • [33:00] The illusion of perfectionism.
  • [37:30] Do all questions need answers?
  • [41:50] Scott’s current projects and obsessions.
  • [49:20] Scott talks about continuing his artwork and
  • [56:20] The story behind Scott’s daughter’s health difficulties.
  • [1:02:00] Has art contributed to healing in Scott’s life?
  • [1:05:30] Scott gives another answer to art’s healing in his life.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Mar 30, 2017
Inspired Art Framework, with Holly Lane

Most people don’t stop to consider the artistry involved with the framework that houses paintings. In many cases this is done on purpose, too elaborate or extravagant framework might detract from the detail and message that the artist is trying to convey. But artist Holly Lane has a different approach. She combines both aspects in a harmonious creative endeavor. The result is breathtaking. Holly carefully and litigiously plans how her work with carving and designing her frames will complement and enhance her painting as if they were one unified piece of art. Words don’t do Holly’s work justice, you have to see this brilliant and gifted approach - make sure to scroll down to the bottom of this post to see the images she provided.

Early affirmations in carving out a creative path

Not all artists receive the encouragement and enthusiasm for their early work as much as they’d like. Many artists use this adversity and challenge to fuel their creativity drive to succeed and make a name for themselves. Artist Holly Lane was fortunate enough to receive some early affirmations from her professors partly because of the unique nature of her work. In art school, Holly really discovered her passion, not only for painting but also for crafting and cultivating a skill for creating intricate frames that enhance her paintings. Holly’s journey wasn’t easy, she has faced her fair share of challenges but it’s refreshing to hear such a positive and encouraging start to an illustrious career.

Art Inspired by Animals and Mythology

It is an absolute joy to get the chance to hear from so many artists about what motivates and inspires their creative process. I asked my guest Holly Lane about her creative journey and how she conceptualizes her work. Holly explained that she gets a lot of her inspiration from “Interspecies compassion” - philosophical proofs that animals can think. She also delves into the imaginative journey and contemplates the backstory and implications of myths like the Roman goddess Fortuna. Holly has a vibrant and infectious energy that really comes alive when she opens up about her passion for her work. It's always wonderful to hear from such a talented and gracious artist.

What is the Stendhal Syndrome?

Have you ever heard of the Stendhal Syndrome? Neither had I until my conversation with Holly Lane. Once you hear what it is, it will sound familiar to you. The Stendhal Syndrome is a psychosomatic disorder that causes strong physical reactions and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to an experience of great personal significance, particularly viewing art. Holly and I discussed our experiences with this phenomena and she told me about a meaningful moment someone had encountering her work. For an artist to see someone react so viscerally to their work is a powerful and meaningful moment and that certainly comes through when Holly tells the story.

Keeping the artist's dream alive

What is your dream project? Where would you go? What would you take with you? Artist Holly Lane was kind enough to indulge this question that I posed to her over the course of our conversation. Given the inspiration and type of work Holly engages in, her answer shouldn’t be too surprising. She said that she would like to travel to the great castles and cathedrals of Europe. There she would draw and take pictures, then compose a body of work to be exhibited either in a church or in a forest. Holly didn’t miss a beat when I asked her this question so you can tell this is something that is near the surface and that she's been dreaming about. I hope she gets to follow her dream and I hope you have one just below the surface that you will follow too!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:35] My introduction to today’s guest, Holly Lane.
  • [2:15] Holly talks about her work with frames.
  • [5:40] Does Holly carve all her frames herself?
  • [9:15] How does Holly conceptualize her work?
  • [17:20] Holly talks about finding her path after school.
  • [26:00] Working with grants.
  • [29:00] Memorable responses to Holly’s work.
  • [36:30] What does Holly do when she gets stuck?
  • [38:40] Surprising artists that influence and inspire Holly.
  • [42:30] What is Holly working on right now?
  • [43:50] Holly talks about how she sets up her studio.
  • [45:30] What is Holly’s dream project?

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Mar 23, 2017
The Impact of an Art Mentor, with Joe Gyurcsak

Do you realize the power an art mentor has? They have the ability to guide and shape the next generation of artist. Unfortunately, this relationship is often underutilized. My guest Joe Gyurcsak believes strongly in the mentoring relationship. He has experienced the impact that older artist have had on his life AND he has had the opportunity to act as a mentor to the generation of artists coming up behind him. In our conversation, we cover the impact of having a mentor, his transition from illustration to fine art, how creative writing enhanced his artwork, and much more.

The transition from illustration to fine art

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to junk your current career path and make an abrupt change? That is exactly what my guest Joe Gyurcsak did. One night after a frustrating project as an illustrator, Joe decided that he was done. He made the decision and walked away. It wasn’t really a decision to turn from one thing and begin another at that point. But before long, Joe began producing paintings for fine art galleries. He quickly found himself swept up into a new direction for his work in the art world. It didn’t go completely smoothly for Joe from that point on, he had some ups and downs but he was confident that he had made the right decision and he was creating the art that he wanted to make.

Reading and Writing as fuel to the artist's creative process

What impact can reading and writing have in your creative process as an artist? I’ve had the privilege to interview many artists recently who have discovered the enormous impact that reading and more specifically writing has had on their creative process. My guest this week Joe Gyurcsak, tells me that reading and writing had a HUGE impact on him during a period of his life where he had to work in a field unrelated to his abilities as an artist. It was fascinating to hear as Joe described how creative writing helped clarify his thought process and really enhanced his approach to his artwork.

Advice for artists early in their career

What lessons can artists early in their career learn from more experienced artists? Joe Gyurcsak has some great insights that he’d love for some of his less experienced peers to learn from. He starts by encouraging them to put their work out there - boldly and consistently. Joe empathizes with the fear, insecurity, and nervousness that haunts many artists just starting off. But he is convinced that it is absolutely critical that artists take as many opportunities that come their way to show their art and sell their art. In Joe’s experience, the more an artist’s work is circulated and viewed, the chances increase for the artist to learn and grow from those encounters.

Do artists need mentors?

What would it be like to have a mentor? Someone who can point out and identify things that you can’t see in your own work and life? Artist Joe Gyurcsak has enjoyed some wonderful mentoring relationships over his career. He’s been able to get advice and outside perspective on his work, technique, and how to navigate the art world. If you haven’t been convinced of the importance of having a mentoring relationship, hearing from Joe will change your mind. He is convinced that the success and growth he has experienced is due in large part to the generous investment he has received from talented artists.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:35] My introduction to this episode.
  • [1:45] Joe Gyurcsak joins the podcast.
  • [2:20] Joe talks about getting started with art.
  • [3:30] Artists that inspired Joe.
  • [4:10] Transitioning from student to working artist.
  • [5:30] Personal success.
  • [6:30] The decision to leave illustration behind.
  • [7:40] Difficulty transitioning to fine art.
  • [9:40] What advice would Joe give his younger self?
  • [11:30] What is Joe involved with right now?
  • [13:50] Joe’s process in the studio.
  • [24:00] Joe’s biggest setback in his career.
  • [27:50] What did Joe do to fuel the fire while he wasn’t employed as an artist?
  • [34:30] What is on Joe’s list right now?
  • [35:30] How do you establish a relationship with a gallery?
  • [40:00] What advice does Joe have for artists early in their career?
  • [43:00] How do you stay motivated when facing rejection?
  • [45:30] The significance of having mentors.
  • [49:00] How do you approach these mentors?
  • [51:00] How has working as a resident artist affected Joe’s art?

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Mar 16, 2017
Passion for Art, with Rey Bustos

When you meet someone who is passionate about a subject it can be contagious, whether you like the subject or not. But it takes a unique individual to really transfer and ignite that passion into someone else. It was a joy to sit down with my guest, Rey Bustos. Rey is a talented artist and an experienced educator. Our conversation covers the influence that Burne Hogarth had on both of us, his journey toward teaching art, and the role of passion and gratitude. We had a wonderful time discussing all these subjects and so much more.

Influence from a giant in the art world

When I went to school at Art Center I had the privilege to study under renowned illustrator Burne Hogarth. My guest, Rey Bustos also studied under Burne and ended up teaching his class soon after his passing. Rey and I had a wonderful time discussing the impact Burne had on both of us. He truly was a giant in the art and illustration world. Rey talked about how Burne’s passion and deep knowledge of illustration and anatomy ignited a passion in him that lasts to this day. It’s inspiring to reflect on the legacy and passion that one person can have over a generation of artists.

The journey toward teaching art

I have been fortunate to speak to quite a few artists recently who have also become educators. My guest, Rey Bustos also fits into that category. Rey tells the story that led him on the journey to becoming a teacher. He had taken a summer off from his time at Art Center to care for his first wife who would soon pass away. It was her words of encouragement that led Rey to move more and more toward teaching. She recognized his dreams of becoming a famous illustrator but she was convinced that Rey’s future and impact rested firmly in the teaching route. Eventually, Rey took more and more teaching opportunities and he’s never looked back.

An infectious passion for art

How do you pass on your joy and passion for art to others? Can it even be done? I asked this question to my guest, Rey Bustos who teaches art and illustration. He explained that for the most part, the students he gets in his classes these days sign up intentionally to take his class, it isn’t a course requirement. But Rey was kind enough to share what he does when he gets the odd student who didn’t quite know what they were getting into with taking his class. Simply put, Rey “Passions people to death.” That may sound strange but talk with Rey, and you can feel the energy and passion just radiate out from him.

Gratitude that fuels creativity

Learning from various talented artists over the years has been a joy and a privilege. Every artist has something that drives them, a creative impulse. My guest, Rey Bustos has many inspirations and motivations that he draws from. One of the key aspects that Rey points out in our conversation is his desire to highlight gratitude. He says “It is your choice to be happy or not.” Rey draws much of his artistic energy and inspiration from focusing on positive thoughts and the good things he has in his life. He has found this to be a better place for him to draw from then the things that aren’t going well in his life or about the things that he lacks.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:30] My introduction to today’s guest, Rey Bustos.
  • [2:30] Rey talks about what drew him to art.
  • [9:00] Rey and I talk about our time at Art Center studying under Burne Hogarth.
  • [12:15] What was Rey’s biggest takeaway from studying under Burne?
  • [17:40] Rey talks about mastering figure drawing.
  • [19:20] Rey talks about teaching analytical figure drawing.
  • [23:00] How does Rey energize students who aren’t passionate about his topics?
  • [34:10] Rey talks about a moment of personal success.
  • [36:40] The importance of family.
  • [43:30] Rey talks about learning from the example of his father.
  • [49:30] Overcoming fear.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Mar 09, 2017
Breaking the Mold, with Robert Chiarito

Sometimes you just need to shake things up. Routine and patterns can foster complacency and stifle creativity. My guest Robert Chiarito lives to change things up when it comes to his artwork. Much of our conversation centered around the theme of “Breaking the mold.” Our conversation spanned some great topics like walking away from gallery representation, to being critical of work that “Comes easy,” and cultivating a flavor of unpredictability in his work. Robert was exceedingly gracious with his time and with his level of honesty. Make sure to catch the images of his inspiring work at the end of this post!

Walking away from gallery representation

In an ever-changing art world, is it realistic to expect to make a living by showing your work in art galleries? Robert Chiarito resolved early on in his career to creating the art he wanted to make regardless of what galleries or art collectors wanted to see. This decision has afforded him the freedom to cultivate an unpredictable flavor to the artwork he produces. Robert’s work as an educator has contributed to the independence he is able to enjoy. Even though he hasn’t depended on the income from the sales of his paintings, Robert has had his work in galleries over the years. Each artist's path is going to be different. Find what works for you and above all, be authentic to the work you were made to create.

What’s behind the “Drive” to paint?

The beautiful thing about interviewing a wide range of artists is getting to hear what motivates and drives each one of them. There might be some common threads but each person gives their explanation in a unique way. Artist Robert Chiarito describes the reason why he paints as, “Discovering what will happen and to see where things go.” Robert is fascinated by the basic interaction of positives and negatives in any painting technique. He has an intriguing perspective that really made me see things from a different angle, I loved hearing him explain his motivations.

Skepticism for art that “Comes easy”

You’ve heard the saying “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.” Does that saying apply to art? Should you be skeptical when things come to you easily? My guest is artist Robert Chiarito and he is convinced that any work that he produces that comes easily should be scrutinized. This doesn’t mean that Robert never produces his art that just comes upon him in a rush of inspiration. At the end of the day, he has learned that if a painting comes easily it to him it usually lacks the depth and nuance he tries to cultivate.

Avoiding predictability in art

After practicing your craft over many years, there is a temptation to go into “Autopilot” mode. It happens to some of the best and talented artists out there. So how do you avoid this trap? How do you “Break the mold?” Artist Robert Chiarito has dedicated his efforts to continually change things up with his art for this very purpose. He looks for ways big and small to deviate from patterns and predictability in his work. Some challenges have arisen from this intense focus to stand out and do things differently. My conversation with Robert was fascinating as we explored his efforts and the insights he has gained along the way.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:30] I introduce today’s guest Robert Chiarito.
  • [2:00] Robert talks about what drove him to pursue art.
  • [7:30] What type of work is Robert involved in now?
  • [12:00] Finding your voice as an artist.
  • [14:20] Growth as an artist.
  • [16:30] Responses to Robert’s work.
  • [23:00] How does Robert deal with his changing interests and galleries?
  • [29:30] Why does Robert paint?
  • [33:30] What is Robert obsessed with right now?
  • [39:30] Why doesn’t Robert trust himself with a painting that doesn’t come quickly?
  • [44:00] How does Robert keep things fresh and avoiding autopilot?
  • [48:55] Which artist’s work would Robert love to own?

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Mar 02, 2017
Observational Art and Invented Imagery, with Langdon Quin

I had the wonderful privilege of sitting down with renowned artist and educator Langdon Quin. We discussed his work with observational art and invented imagery. Langdon was gracious enough to provide some images of his work that you can see at the end of this post. He shared how he started working with invented imagery and how his work as an observational painter has influenced his growth and evolution. Langdon’s passion for art is infectious, we discussed some of his influences over the years and how his role and educator has also impacted his life and work.

Invented Imagery Art

What is “Invented Imagery?” Invented imagery in the term artist Langdon Quin puts it is creating paintings of objects or scenes that he has created in his mind. This can also include a memory of a place the artist has seen but the art is created solely on that memory. Another fascinating example that Langdon shared was a painting he did of a landscape that he often travels by, but instead of painting that scene from the angle he had seen it in passing, he painted it from an aerial viewpoint. Langdon has taken an intriguing journey combining his skills as an observational painter and allowing it to evolve into his work with invented imagery.

Growing as an artist - Incremental change.

When you are in the middle of your career or a particular fast paced phase of life you lose track of your own growth and development. In the hustle and bustle, introspection and personal growth can take a backseat to the pressures of daily life. It was such an honor to sit down with artist Langdon Quin as he draws from his 35 years of experience in the art world. One of the most prominent topics we discussed was his growth as an artist. Langdon looks back on his growth as incremental - bit by bit he adapted and developed as an artist over time. He has never been in a hurry to make huge leaps and changes and he cautions other artists to heed this wisdom.

Keeping your creative spark alive as an artist.

Competition, innovation, and success are the idols that American culture worships in the marketplace. How does an artist fit into that ecosystem? Can an artist survive when competition and success reign supreme? Most artists won’t have a problem with innovation, the art world is built upon this idea. What about competition and success? To keep the creative spark alive, a good artist will resist the urge to let success define their passion. Competition can be helpful but often leads to comparison and envy. Artist Langdon Quin talks about his struggle to keep his work at the forefront. Langdon decided to focus on what matters, his work. Success will come and go and competition isn’t on his radar. He creates because he can’t image doing anything else.

Don’t expect things to be sequential in the art world.

Society often communicates to young people that you just need to get qualified in your field, work hard, and success will follow. Is that accurate advice for people pursuing their passion in the art world? Artist Langdon Quin doesn’t think it’s helpful to look at success in the art world in such a sequential way. Looking back on his 35 years as an artist, Langdon notes that the landscape is ever changing and a wise artist will learn to adapt to those changes. Success may come and go, sometimes it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Langdon advises artists to keep at it, don’t give up and don’t be discouraged. Success shouldn’t validate or invalidate your work.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:30] I introduce today’s guest: Langdon Quin.
  • [3:00] What caused Langdon to pursue art?
  • [5:50] How has teaching influenced Langdon’s life and work?
  • [8:00] What has been the common thread in Langdon’s work over 35 years?
  • [11:00] Langdon talks about his with invented imagery.
  • [19:00] Why do artists need “Permission” to do something new with their art?
  • [23:00] Langdon talks about his growth and change as an artist.
  • [26:20] Working with a model.
  • [34:00] Langdon talks about what he does with his time in Italy.
  • [39:20] How does Langdon spend his time in the studio? What is his process?
  • [40:15] Artists that have influenced Langdon.
  • [48:40] How does Langdon keep his creative spark?
  • [50:00] The changing landscape of the art world.
  • [1:02:00] What would you advise the artist you were ten years ago?
  • [1:05:00] What does the future hold for the art world?

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Feb 23, 2017
Painting in Gouache, with Phyllis Shafer

My guest today is Phyllis Schafer. You might remember her being mentioned from the interview I conducted with Parker Stremmel. Phyllis is represented by the Stremmel Gallery in Reno, NV. We had a wonderful and wide-ranging conversation where we discussed her work painting in gouache, her journey as an artist through her undergrad work in the 70’s, and some of the difficulties she faced in her graduate work in the 80’s. Phyllis has a unique perspective as both an artist and an educator. She currently lives and works in the beautiful Lake Tahoe area and her paintings reflect her stunning surroundings.

Discovering painting in gouache

Through her artistic journey, Phyllis Shafer has come to love and utilize painting in gouache. Gouache is a method of painting using opaque pigments ground in water and thickened with a glue-like substance. Phyllis was drawn to gouache partly because of the prolific use of acrylics in painting at the time she was in undergraduate school in the 70’s. As she started using oils and started branching out more in different techniques, she fell in love with painting in gouache.

Growing up Artistically in the Bay area

Every artist has that moment in their career where they “Come alive.” This can happen early in life or later in life, there really isn’t a set pattern to how this comes about, it's unique for each artist. Phyllis Shafer speaks of growing up artistically in the Bay area. She had moved there after spending years in New York. This was the place where she really got to work establishing herself and building her resume as an artist. To hear Phyllis talk about her journey both literally and artistically that took her to San Francisco and then to Lake Tahoe is riveting.

Facing disillusionment with the art world

How do you succeed in your field of study when it seems like the whole system is broken or not working for you? Do you give up or do you push through? Phyllis Shafer struggled with these thoughts as she navigated graduate school and the art scene at UC Berkeley in the 80’s. She faced some difficult decisions at this time in her life. Phyllis had dabbled in dance performance and had considered taking that route to fulfill her need for creative output. Ultimately, Phyllis came to terms with the fact that making images was so deeply ingrained in her that she could never give it up. Though her journey was difficult, Phyllis persevered.

Urban compared to Rural life as an artist

Does it matter where you live as an artist? Is it better to be in an urban setting or a more rural setting? My guest Phyllis Shafer has experienced both. She spent her early career in San Francisco, and then later moved to the Lake Tahoe area. Phyllis sees the benefits of both experiences and speaks to the unique opportunities she has enjoyed as an established artist moving from an urban to a smaller community. Phyllis’ insight is fascinating and provides a helpful perspective for artists both young and experienced.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:35] I introduce today’s guest; Phyllis Shafer.
  • [2:20] How did Phyllis get started with painting?
  • [4:30] Phyllis’ growth as an artist when she was in her 20’s.
  • [9:50] How did the move to San Francisco influence Phyllis as an artist?
  • [11:30] Phyllis and I talk about using gouache, oil, and water colors.
  • [15:30] Artists that have influenced Phyllis’ work.
  • [20:00] Phyllis and talk about making difficult decisions.
  • [24:20] Navigating politics and frustrations in the art world during graduate school.
  • [30:20] The differences of Rural compared to Urban art scenes.
  • [39:00] What has Phyllis been working on lately?

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Feb 16, 2017
Mathematics and Art, with Michael Schultheis

If you are anything like me, you might find math to be an intimidating subject. But math and art have had a harmonious relationship for hundreds of years. There is a rich history between the two subjects that I find fascinating. It is a huge honor to have artist Michael Schultheis as my guest on the podcast this week. Michael didn’t start his career as an artist, but he has always been captivated by the beauty of mathematics. After starting a successful career working at Microsoft in Seattle, Michael was struck with the inspiration to teach himself how to become an artist. The catalyst for this change occurred while Michael was listening to Terry Gross interview an artist who encouraged people to make art from what they knew. That set things off for Michael and his journey of bringing the two worlds of mathematics and art together with his own spin.

Exciting ways art is being seen and felt

When an artist can connect with their audience on a level beyond the visual, something truly special has occurred. For many observers, this level beyond the visual is usually an emotional connection that resonates deeply. However, when I asked artist Michael Schultheis about his experience with audience engagement, I received a surprising response. He told me about two different but fascinating reactions he has received from his artwork. The first was a blind woman who requested to feel his work with her hands so she could “See” his painting. The second was a young boy who focused on the numbers and equations in the painting. Both individuals “Saw” Michael’s art on a level beyond most viewers.

How do you know when a painting is finished?

It’s always interesting to hear from various artists about how they can tell when they have completed their artwork. For Michael Schultheis, having spent so much of his career dealing with algorithms and equations, he wasn’t sure when to “Finish” his artwork. That all changed one day when he had a conversation with the talented artist and storyteller, Jacob Lawrence. Michael learned from Jacob and his wife Gwendolyn to approach each painting as an experiment. They encouraged him to; “Do his experiment and then let it go.” That advice resonated deeply with Michael and influenced how he approached his artwork.

Art and mathematics as storytelling

I’ll be honest and admit that when I think of mathematics, I don’t think of storytelling. My guest, Michael Schultheis has opened my eyes and has given me a new appreciation for the beautiful way that math and art intersect to tell a moving story. As an example, Michael tells the story of his parents. He describes how they met, their relationship’s ups and downs, and ultimately how they grew closer than ever toward the end of his father’s life. Michael tells their story and intersects mathematical and artistic concepts throughout. It is absolutely stunning how he is able to bring these concepts together in an engaging and relatable way.

Artistic Inspiration from Galileo to Leonardo da Vinci to Picasso and more!

A lot of the artist I get to interview have a great list of individuals who have influenced or inspired their work over the years. As I sat down with Michael Schultheis, I quickly found that it wasn’t just fellow artist that inspired him but also many notable mathematicians and great historical figures from long ago. He draws inspiration from the likes of Galileo to Leonardo da Vinci to Picasso and many others! Michael’s fascination with these figures is infectious, our conversation had me on the edge of my seat as he talked about these artists and mathematicians as mentors.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:36] Background of guest: Michael Schultheis.
  • [2:30] How did Michael get started as an artist?
  • [3:29] Finding beauty in mathematical equations.
  • [7:40] Michael’s journey as a self taught artist.
  • [9:00] Each painting as an experiment.
  • [11:40] The correlation between math and art.
  • [17:20] Analytical Expressionism.
  • [20:00] The stories Michael is telling with his art.
  • [37:45] Michael talks about his parents.
  • [41:00] What responses has Michael received about his painting?
  • [43:15] What role does color play in Michael’s thought process?
  • [44:00] Artist and Mathematicians who’ve influenced Michael.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Feb 09, 2017
Incremental Change, with Deborah Zlotsky

Incremental change isn’t sexy. Big changes and bold moves get all the attention and headlines. But most of the world revolves around this slow but steady persistent and forward progress of incremental change. This has been the case for artist Deborah Zlotsky. She would be the first to tell you that she’s not someone who has many “Aha moments” but that’s ok, she loves the small changes she has piled up in her life. To hear Deborah talk about her creative process and the journey she has taken to become the artist she is today is awe inspiring.

Working hard to avoid being overwhelmed

It can be so difficult to drown out all the noise of life and focus on the work at hand and the things you enjoy doing. How do you avoid becoming overwhelmed? What brings the most focus and clarity? Artist Deborah Zlotsky struggled with distraction and an unsatisfying amount of productivity. Through trial and error, Deborah found her way to focus and clarity was through compartmentalizing her work into short bursts of creativity. These bursts of creativity ended up being highly productive for Deborah and have allowed her to avoid the trap of becoming overwhelmed. What’s worked for you? Have you tried this practice of short bursts of creativity?

The little things that make a huge impact

Many of us will go through life not noticing the impact we have on others. But especially for teachers, the little things, that moment of encouragement or one on one engagement can make all the difference. Artist Deborah Zlotsky remembers a moment she had in art school where one teacher made that big impact on her life. She had been enjoying and thriving in her art history classes yet not finding as much engagement in her studio art classes. Then one day an instructor took the time to engage with her artwork. It meant the world to Deborah, so much so that she thinks back to that moment even today. It goes to show you that we all have the ability, however, big or small to have an impact on others. It’s a lesson we can all take to heart.

Tracing creative output through different life stages

You’ve heard the phrase “Art imitates life.” For artist Deborah Zlotsky, that saying rang true for her during a particular period of her life. In our conversation, Deborah tells me about a time in her life where her paintings were dark and somber in a way. This also happened to be the time in her life where she was going through a divorce. Once she came out on the other side of this stage in life, she noticed that she wanted to make paintings that were lighter. Deborah was bold and unflinching in our interview and it goes to show how much of a graceful and exciting artist she truly is.

Writing that enhances the creative process

Sometimes in order to truly understand what is going on inside us, we have to work it out. Many artists know this to be true as their paintings can be the very expression of what thoughts or emotions they have running around inside. Another practice that can help this process is writing. My guest Deborah Zlotsky has found that the discipline of writing enhances her drawing. On this episode, we sit down and discuss the impact writing has on her creative process. Have you found writing or journaling to be helpful in your creative process? Deborah was kind enough to let me in on her process and I hope her experience is an inspiration to you!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:36] Background of guest: Deborah Zlotsky.
  • [2:02] I introduce Deborah Zlotsky.
  • [2:20] How did Deborah get started as an artist?
  • [7:29] Incremental growth and self discovery.
  • [11:34] What moves and motivates Deborah as she paints?
  • [16:45] How does Deborah manage her time and structure her creativity?
  • [23:36] Deborah talks about a personal success.
  • [28:46] Deborah discuss setbacks she has experienced as an artist.
  • [34:20] The impact writing and journaling has had for Deborah.
  • [36:07] Is there an art piece that Deborah would never part with?
  • [37:46] What one habit has contributed to Deborah’s success?

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Feb 02, 2017
Artistic Inspiration, with Ginnie Gardiner

There are a multitude of factors that contribute to crafting your personality. The familiar debate of nature versus nurture comes to mind. Just as there are various pieces involved in crafting a personality, so are there in finding artistic inspiration. What inspires one person would never inspire the next and so on. On this episode of Savvy Painter, I have the pleasure of interviewing artist Ginnie Gardiner. In our conversation, we discuss her work as an MTV music video producer, what art books inspire her, her creative process, and much more! I can’t wait for you to hear from this gracious and talented artist - make sure to listen in!

An artist inspired by her work with MTV

You wouldn’t think there was much correlation between working on MTV music videos and developing as a painter. However, that is exactly artist Ginnie Gardiner’s story. She worked as a producer for a video company to take “Flat art” and animate it for videos and television. This job working with digital art and music videos served as her early work experience right out of college from Cornell. On this episode of Savvy Painter, Ginnie shares how this experience influenced her significantly as an artist and later as a painter. Don’t miss out on our fascinating conversation!

Painting inspired by reading

Inspiration can be a difficult thing to come by for many creative people. Once you find what inspires you, it can unleash a flood of productivity. What have you found that inspires you? Is it always the same thing or does it change through different seasons of life? Artist Ginnie Gardiner finds inspiration for her paintings and collage work from reading various books. She loves to read books about artists and by artists. Reading these works have had a huge impact on her creative process. Ginnie has even added reading into her daily routine as she prepares and paints her canvases. To hear more about what motivates and inspires Ginnie, listen to this episode of Savvy Painter!

Finding the right routine and rituals to fuel creativity

When you have done things a certain way for so long, it becomes second nature. You don’t even realize you are practicing particular habits because it’s become part of who you are. These habits and rituals can be extremely helpful in fueling your creative impulses. Some people’s creativity thrives while they are listening to music, some need complete silence. I am always intrigued to find out what makes each artist I get to interview succeed. Artist Ginnie Gardiner has a number of these routines that she practices when she approaches her canvas. I know you will find her habits and rituals as fascinating as I did. Don’t miss my interview with Ginnie on this episode of Savvy Painter.

The magic of viewing art in person

Can you think back to a time when you were truly awe inspired? When was that last time your heart started racing and your jaw dropped? For artist Ginnie Gardiner it's whenever she gets to view world renowned paintings in person. On this episode of Savvy Painter, Ginnie and I discuss the powerful impact art has had on our lives. My hope is that our conversation resonates with you. Ginnie’s awe and wonder of the art world is contagious and had me planning my next trip to Madrid. Listen to this episode of Savvy Painter to hear more from Ginnie!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:36] Background of guest: Ginnie Gardiner.
  • [2:13] I introduce Ginnie Gardiner.
  • [2:41] Why did Ginnie become an artist?
  • [11:03] How working with music videos influenced Ginnie’s painting.
  • [16:38] Ginnie talks about the influence of Josef Albers and the use of colors in her art.
  • [23:18] The influence of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo on Ginnie’s work.
  • [27:19] The use of thumbnail drawings.
  • [31:42] Reading good books as inspiration.
  • [37:23] Routine and rituals that help Ginnie’s creativity.
  • [41:35] Ginnie and I talk shop - materials, methods, etc.
  • [49:20] The impact of viewing paintings in person.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Jan 26, 2017
Thriving as a Self Taught Artist, with Kirstine Reiner Hansen

Kirstine Reiner Hansen is an artist with a vibrant story. On this episode of Savvy Painter, I have the pleasure of sitting down with Kirstine to discuss her successful and thriving career as a “Self taught artist.” Our discussion ranges from the pros and cons of getting a Masters in Fine Arts (MFA), her experience as a self taught painter, keeping her audience updated, and making a substantial shift in her method and style of painting. Kirstine is a generous and gracious guest and I believe you will learn a lot from her wealth of knowledge and insight. Make sure to listen to this episode of Savvy Painter!

Is it important to keep your audience invested and interested in your work?

In the social media age, how important is it to keep your audience interested? I get the wonderful opportunity to sit down with artist Kirstine Reiner Hansen to discuss the importance of updating and including your audience on your journey. Much of our thinking around this idea is just reminding our audience that we are still around and working out our creative process. This can take the form of snapping a picture of a paint brush and posting it Instagram or giving them an exclusive “Peek” on our upcoming project. In this new global and interconnect society, artists need to think about the steps they can take to ensure their audience is engaged. Learn more from our in depth conversation on this episode of Savvy Painter!  

What is it like being a “Self taught artist”

Discovering your vocation doesn’t usually come easy most people. For those who find their “calling” easily, even that can be fraught with uncertainty. Kirstine Reiner Hansen discovered her passion and calling as an artist. As she has developed and grown as an artist and has experienced different art communities, Kirstine has struggled with the fact that she never procured her Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) degree. This is a hotly debated issue among many artists, is the MFA really necessary to have a credible and successful career as an artist? Kirstine came to the conclusion that for her, even though it would be nice, the MFA is not necessary. To hear more about Kirstine’s journey as a “Self taught artist”, listen to this episode of Savvy Painter.

Making the shift from observational to photo reference.

Leaving a style or way of doing things for so long can be difficult. Not many people enjoy and embrace change. One of the keys to moving from a place of comfort to a new and possibly better place is understanding that your current location is unacceptable. Kirstine Reiner Hansen understood this truth. She had been practicing an observational form of painting for many years but soon realized that she need to make a change. It wasn’t easy and it took a lot of courage and boldness to push into a new realm of painting. She now uses photo references in her painting and she is thrilled that she made the change. To hear more about Kirstine’s process and what it took for her make that leap, listen to this episode of Savvy Painter!

An unconventional method of painting  

Every artist has their own unique way of preparing themselves before they approach the canvas. I found Kirstine Reiner Hansen’s approach to her projects rather unconventional. As she prepares her canvas and other items (she uses collage work as well), Kirstine closes her eyes and picks objects at random and then figures out how to incorporate them into her work. She feels that it is the only way she can be fresh and present her work as surprising. The most exciting aspect for Kirstine about working this way is that she sees her work as a sort of intuitive puzzle. She has to stay very alert to figure out what step to take next. To hear more about Kirstine’s fascinating process, listen to this episode of Savvy Painter!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:36] Background of guest: Kirstine Reiner Hansen.
  • [2:01] I introduce Emily Leonard.
  • [2:25] Early inspirations in art.
  • [5:10] Self-promotion as an artist.
  • [7:18] Kirstine talks about a personal success.   
  • [10:54] A shift in technique and style.   
  • [22:31] Does Kirstine struggle with insecurity being a “Self taught” artist?   
  • [28:32] Keeping your audience updated.    
  • [31:52] Why was the shift from using observational to photo reference difficult?    
  • [36:50] What is Kirstine’s process for painting?     
  • [46:33] What is Kirstine working on right now?    

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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Jan 19, 2017
Good Habits Maximize Creativity, with Emily Leonard

No one has a perfect story. Light and dark, day and night, there seems to be a constant opposite element to contrast our experiences in life. We all have our moments of glory and times of difficulty. On this episode of Savvy Painter, I have the privilege to sit down with artist Emily Leonard. Emily’s journey is a fascinating one. We discuss her successes, her battle with depression, the creative process, the benefits of good habits, and much more! If you love to hear how artists have navigated their creative journey as much as I do, you don’t want to miss this episode!

That magical moment when everything “Clicks”

Have you ever had one of those magical moments when everything you are working on just “Clicks?” Artist Emily Leonard had one of those moments in her career that left a lasting impression on her process. She was working on a big solo show at a gallery in Seattle when she started a painting in which every brush stroke “Felt right.” She didn’t finish this painting in time for the gallery opening which was unusual for Emily. Usually, in those moments, she rushes the project to have it ready for the show but this one was different. This experience left a strong impression on Emily and has shaped the way she approaches painting projects and deadlines. To hear more from my exciting interview with Emily, listen to this episode of Savvy Painter!

Battling depression and refusing to use art as a coping mechanism.

Mental illness can be difficult to understand let alone cope with. There is a wide range of strategies and methods that have helped people who suffer from mental illnesses like depression. In some instances using art has acted as a helpful coping mechanism. Artist Emily Leonard discovered that in her case, she was using art as a coping mechanism but not talking about or talking through her difficulties. She had to make a clear distinction so she distanced herself from painting for a period of time. This decision made a huge impact on the way she navigated her mental health. To hear more about Emily’s story, don’t miss this episode of Savvy Painter!

Good habits and routines that maximize creativity

Everyone is looking for that one book, quote, or piece of advice that will help them maximize their creativity or productivity. Since everyone is created uniquely, it takes a variety of methods to find that personal inspiration and drive. What works for one person may not work for the next. That is why hearing from others who have found what works for them is so helpful. On this episode of Savvy Painter, I sit down with artist Emily Leonard. We talk about habits she has formed over the years that have helped maximize her creative process. Make sure to catch Emily’s inspiring story!

Can you balance work and family life?

Many men and women in the workplace today are asking an important question. How do you balance work life and family life? Emily Leonard is an artist and a mother so I asked her how she keeps it all balanced, does she have any tips? Emily was quick to explain that she doesn't have any tips, she is just doing the best she can to make it all work. At one point when her daughter was still an infant, her time in the studio was suffering and it forced her to ask herself this question; “How can my process and work adapt to fit my new lifestyle as a mother?” Since she asked herself that question, Emily has been able to adapt and streamline her process and time in the studio. I loved hearing from Emily’s unique story and I know you will enjoy it too. Hear more from Emily on this episode of Savvy Painter!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:34] Background of guest: Emily Leonard.
  • [1:35] I introduce Emily Leonard.
  • [2:00] Early inspirations in art.
  • [4:55] The beginning of Emily’s art career.
  • [6:27] How to get started as an artist.
  • [9:13] Emily shares a successful moment in her career.
  • [15:29] How painting has helped Emily work through her depression.
  • [19:06] What habits or routines work well for Emily?
  • [24:00] Emily’s process for starting a painting.
  • [27:03] Unexpected reactions to Emily’s art.
  • [29:27] What is Emily working on right now?
  • [33:36] How do you balance work and family life?
  • [40:34] If you could have a piece of art from one living artist who would it be?
  • [41:38] What advice would you give a younger you?

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode


Jan 12, 2017
Mixed Media Art, with Caren Canier

Mixed media art refers to a work of art where more than one medium has been employed. "Mixed media" tends to refer to a work of visual art that combines various traditionally distinct visual art media. For example, a work on canvas that combines paint, ink, and collage could properly be called a "mixed media" work. I had the privilege of sitting down with premier mixed media artist, Caren Canier on this episode of Savvy Painter. Caren brings years of experience and profound insight to our conversation about the art world. Hear about her experience as an artist, Rome Prize Fellowship recipient, and much more!

Establishing a “Commitment” to art

As an artist, you have to decide who you are making art for. If you are constantly looking for approval and checking “Which way the wind blows” your career is going to be very difficult. Caren Canier is an artist and teacher. She emphasizes the need to connect with your motivation for art. She believes that every artist needs to establish a commitment that comes from the inside out. In our fascinating discussion on this episode of Savvy Painter, Caren expands on these thoughts and shares about her journey. Don’t miss it!

The artist’s role in American society

What is the artist’s role in 21st century American society? In today’s context artists are largely divorced from culture. There seems to be a tension between commercial art and the “Art world.” Some believe the true role of an artist is to reflect back to people ideas about living and what it’s like to be human. Caren Canier shares this view, she also believes that the artist’s role is to express through art what it’s like to live in the times we live in and make sense out of things. It's a rarified form of communication that is extremely important. To hear more from Caren, don’t miss this episode of Savvy Painter!

Mixed media art and the creative process

Each artist’s journey is unique. Just as each piece of art reflects something that connected deep within the artist that created it. In hearing someone share their story and their heart, you get to discover a piece of your own. On this episode of Savvy Painter, I ask artist Caren Canier about her creative process and how she found her way using mixed media art. Caren’s story is fascinating and elaborate. You’ll love hearing about her experimentations with collage work and figure painting. Our conversation is wide ranging and fun, make sure to catch this episode!

Finding value in setbacks and challenges

How do you respond when you encounter setbacks or failures? Is it even possible to rise from those experiences and grow from it? Accomplished artist Caren Canier encourages artists to remain patient. It has been her experience that even though you can’t see the way forward in times of difficulty, clarity will come. From her vantage point as an experienced artist, she has learned to take a longer view of setbacks and failures. Nothing she has experienced in her career has defeated her. She has remained true to her “Commitment to art” and she advises others going to through difficulty to do the same. Learn more from Caren’s wealth of wisdom on this episode of Savvy Painter.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:38] Background of guest: Caren Canier.
  • [2:21] I introduce Caren Canier.
  • [3:02] How Caren started her journey as an artist.
  • [8:20] Caren’s definition of a “Commitment to art.”
  • [11:15] The artist's role in American society.
  • [14:25] What connections does Caren see between painting and “New media?”
  • [20:35] Caren’s creative process. How she chooses her motifs.
  • [25:41] Technical questions about preparing a collage.
  • [33:30] Caren talks about a powerful moment in her early art career.
  • [43:02] A time when Caren faced a setback.
  • [47:47] The value of setbacks and challenges.
  • [50:23] Caren talks about what it was like to work with Philip Guston

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Jan 05, 2017
Finding Your Creative Inspiration, with Jennifer Pochinski

How do artists find their creative inspiration? The answer to this question is as unique as each person who asks it. Every artist finds their inspiration differently and that inspiration varies widely. But with each exploration of this question, you get a peek into each artist's journey. On this episode of Savvy Painter, I sit down with artist Jennifer Pochinski. We have a wonderful and wide ranging conversation about creative inspiration, painting techniques, and raising a family as an artist. Jennifer brings some fascinating insights on this episode, don’t miss it!

Using Instagram for Artistic Inspiration

Some artists retreat to the beauty of nature to find that creative spark called inspiration, some look to literature or the human anatomy. Then there are some artists who find inspiration from Instagram. In the 21st century, some artists are finding new avenues of motivation. On this episode of Savvy Painter, I get to explore this subject with artist Jennifer Pochinski. Jennifer likes to “travel around the world” by surfing the social media application, Instagram. She knows it's an unconventional method to find inspiration, but it works great for her. Make sure to catch this episode to hear more from Jennifer!

Disappointment as fuel for success

As you grow and develop your skills as an artist over time, you find yourself holding to higher standards. This may cause you to look at your older work unfavorably. How do you respond when you are disappointed with art you've produced? Do you allow it to discourage and disappoint you? Artist Jennifer Pochinski and I discuss how you can use your disappointment as fuel for success. As an experienced painter, Jennifer has years of expertise to draw from. Be prepared for powerful insight and inspiration on this episode of Savvy Painter!

How to respond when you get “Stuck” creatively

In every creative endeavor you eventually run up against a “wall.” Writers suffer from writer's block, ballerinas struggle to master a particular move, and musicians can struggle with hitting a certain note. Everyone deals with adversity and challenges differently. Jennifer Pochinski is a painter who has run up against this wall before. She found herself “In the zone” creatively when all of a sudden the well dried up. Life has a brutal way of treating every creative type to this struggle at some point. Either you have experienced this difficulty, you are in the middle of one right now, or you will be in one eventually. It is crucial to hear from others like Jennifer who have found their way through the other side of a creative block. Make sure to catch this episode of Savvy Painter and hear more of Jennifer’s story!

Pursuing your passion and raising a family. It can be done!

You’ve heard it said that “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.” This saying pokes at the very idea of possessing something and enjoying it at the same time. Many in our society believe you can’t do something like raise a family and find success pursuing your passion at the same time. While it sounds complicated, difficult, and messy - it is a real possibility! Artist Jennifer Pochinski has raised her two girls all the while pursuing her passion as a painter. She will be the first person to tell you that it isn’t easy but it is rewarding! On this episode of Savvy Painter, Jennifer and I discuss the early years of raising children as an artist and how her kids are doing today!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:40] Background of guest: Jennifer Pochinski.
  • [2:21] I introduce Jennifer Pochinski.
  • [3:19] Early inspirations in art.
  • [4:36] How Jennifer chooses what she is going to paint.
  • [7:20] How Jennifer uses Instagram for inspiration.
  • [12:11] What are some memorable responses to Jennifer's work?
  • [16:20] How Jennifer’s view of her paintings change over time.
  • [18:35] Have unsatisfying paintings challenged Jennifer?
  • [20:48] Jennifer’s ritual for preparing to paint.
  • [22:41] How does Jennifer prepare her paint technically?
  • [27:19] What Jennifer does when she gets “stuck” on a painting?
  • [31:17] How Jennifer keeps her creative spark.
  • [33:59] Pursuing your passion while raising a family.
  • [41:24] If Jennifer could own one piece of art she’d own…

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Dec 29, 2016
Synesthesia Art, with Krista Harris

Synesthesia is a sensation that some people have when one sense is being interpreted by a different one. Some people see a color when a number is mentioned. Others smell a lemon when they see a particular shade of green. Artist Krista Harris has incorporated this sensory phenomenon into her abstract art. She lives in rural Colorado which creates a perfect backdrop for inspiration through all five senses. For example, when she hears a blackbird singing she attempts to paint that sound. Krista’s art and her way of approaching the senses and the world around her is fascinating. Check out my exciting interview with her on this episode of Savvy Painter!

How do you approach your goals?

With the New Year fast approaching, many people are setting goals for 2017. How do you approach goal setting? Do you grab what was leftover from 2016 that you didn’t get accomplished? What strategy works best? Artist Krista Harris found a few methods that worked for her. To start off, she focuses on a clear, specific goal. Once she identifies the goal she works her way back from there. She asks herself, “What will it take to accomplish this?” Krista finds that a common mistake most artists make is having vague goals or aspirations. She encourages artists to be ruthlessly specific in what they want to accomplish. To hear more of my conversation with Krista, catch this episode of Savvy Painter!

Seeing challenges as opportunities for growth.

How you face obstacles and challenges in life says a lot about who you are. Do you allow setbacks to knock you down or do you see them as lessons to strengthen you? Krista Harris learned that when life gives you hurdles to jump over, don’t get discouraged - leap! It has been her experience as an artist that adversity and challenges make you stronger. It is all part of the process. When one door closes another opens. Learn more about Krista’s story and the struggles she has overcome on this episode of Savvy Painter.

Do you say “No” enough?

In our culture “business” is a virtue. But the truth of the matter is, a frantic and busy lifestyle can quickly lead to burnout. We are hardwired to accept every offer and seize every opportunity that saying “No” sounds strange. It even seems counterintuitive. Yet, artist Krista Harris told me it is one of the smartest decisions she’s ever made. She learned that saying “No” can be empowering. It forces you to evaluate what matters to YOU and not allow other people to drive your schedule. Don’t miss more of Krista’s valuable insight on this episode of Savvy Painter.

Painting from an “Empty place”

Most artists approach the canvas with some inspiration. Maybe it’s a word, color, emotion, etc. It seems very “out of the box” to produce art that has no inspiration. But for Krista Harris, it's all about coming to the canvas with nothing in her mind. This method takes serious focus and discipline. As she prepares the colors and the canvas Krista empties her mind as much as possible. She explains that this approach allows her to let inspiration strike in a unique way. To hear Krista talk about her method and results is fascinating. I enjoyed our conversation and I’m sure you will too!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:39] Background of guest: Krista Harris.
  • [2:33] I introduce Krista Harris.
  • [2:52] Early inspirations in art.
  • [5:15] Krista’s journey to becoming an artist.
  • [13:55] The necessity of goals.
  • [22:24] Is it ever too late to become an artist?
  • [26:00] Krista talks about on of her biggest challenges.
  • [29:51] The necessity of saying “No.”
  • [41:32] What goes through Krista’s mind while painting?
  • [49:01] Krista’s work with synesthesia and art.
  • [55:01] What is Krista currently working on?

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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Dec 22, 2016
Controversial Art and Sending a Message, with Hannah Yata

Controversial art is often provocative. The artist wants to make you feel something on a visceral level or they want to challenge the way you think. If you haven’t ever thought of art as a medium to send a message, then this episode for you! I had the wonderful privilege to sit down with a provocative and sometimes controversial artist, Hannah Yata. In this episode we discuss her journey of becoming an artist, finding her voice, and challenging the culture. Hannah has some powerful messages to convey through her work. She has evoked strong responses from audiences of all types. You won’t want to miss hearing from this talented artist!

Getting Started as an Artist

Plotting your way down a career path can be very difficult. Some professions have a very clear cut route, and others don’t. Hannah Yata found herself struggling through the process of getting started as an artist. As she was finishing up her time in art school, she wondered what the next step would be. An offhand comment from one of her teachers sent Hannah in the right direction toward her goal of becoming an artist. An email sent things into motion and Hannah was given a great opportunity to spend the summer working with artists Martin Wittfooth and Adam Miller. That summer was valuable and formative for Hanna. Her time there allowed Hannah to gather insight and skills she needed for the next phase of her development as an artist. To hear more about Hanna’s journey listen to this episode of Savvy Painter!

Sending a Message with Controversial Art

“There are only two things that pierce the human heart. One is beauty. The other is affliction.”

~ Simone Weil

The idea of beauty or affliction is front and center with most controversial art. The artist is trying to evoke something within the viewer. They want their art to resonate deep within. On this episode of Savvy Painter, I get to sit down with artist Hannah Yata. Listen as we discuss one of her most recent pieces of provocative art. Hannah describes the message she wants to convey through the piece and her motivation behind it. Don’t miss this fascinating story from Hana!

Living in a Productivity Obsessed Culture

An ancient proverb asks, “What good does it profit someone to gain the whole world yet forfeit their soul?” As a society, we can become blind to the damage that seemingly “good” things can cause. We live in a productivity obsessed culture. On the surface, productivity is good. However, when set on a pedestal it can cause men and women to sacrifice their well-being on its altar. On this episode of Savvy Painter, Hannah Yata and I discuss how productivity can become detrimental. We discuss the necessity of “turning off” and finding ways to refresh and remind ourselves that we are more than what we produce!

Keys to Success

Have you ever wondered what makes certain artists successful? On this episode of Savvy Painter, I sit down with Hannah Yata to find out the keys to her success. Hannah emphasizes two habits that have enabled her to thrive. One of the habits that helped her was establishing a routine. This is a common theme with many artists. Her other key to success is maintaining an appetite for reading. Hannah is convinced that a mind engaged with ideas and stories will produce thoughtful and engaging art. To hear more of our conversation around success as an artist, check out this episode!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:31] Background of Guest: Hannah Yata.
  • [1:59] I introduce Hannah on today’s show.
  • [2:19] Hannah talk’s about her very first painting.
  • [3:13] What made Hannah consider painting as a viable career path?
  • [13:52] How did Hannah feel after her first gallery showing?
  • [16:15] Hannah describes her work.
  • [18:59] Hannah discusses her most recent controversial piece of art.
  • [22:50] How do people respond to Hanna’s work?
  • [27:37] What is Hannah obsessed with right now?
  • [32:50] Living in a productivity obsessed culture.
  • [41:52] What habits contribute to Hanna’s success?
  • [44:24] What book does Hannah recommend to listeners?

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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Dec 15, 2016
The Creative Process and the Artist’s Responsibility, with John Brosio

The creative process works differently for everyone. If you are an artist you know that. It’s even possible that what works for you for some time, in terms of how you go about preparing to create your art, stops working later in your career. In this fascinating conversation with John Brosio, I had the privilege to chat about those changes and what to do when they happen. We also tried to dive deeply into what goes into the creative process and why artists are responsible to connect their work to things the viewer already knows in order to communicate with significance and power. It’s a great conversation with a fun guy, so I hope you take the time to listen.

What goes into YOUR creative process and what will you do when it doesn’t work?

During this conversation with John Brosio, I asked what his creative process looks like - I wanted to know the basics of how he sets up his studio and prepares himself to create. What I got was a quick lesson in dealing with distractions and the necessity of remaining flexible. That’s because lately John’s found that his old routines and rituals don’t work and he’s had to pivot in order to keep creating. But in time we did get to the extremely practical, talking about the kind of music or sound he needs in the room while he’s painting and how he is carving out more time for concentrated effort in the studio. I found it very helpful and definitely a part of the creative process that I could relate to.

Why John Brosio can’t keep creating the same things all the time.

It’s a place every artist reaches eventually. You’ve created something that people respond to. Galleries ask for more of the same. And you may be able to crank out a few more pieces along that line but is it something you can do indefinitely. Is it something you SHOULD do repeatedly? John Brosio says he can’t keep creating the same things over and over. He finds himself in a certain creative space for a season and then has to move on. Maybe it’s part of how his personal creativity ebbs and flows. Maybe it’s an expression of his keen mind and the many interests he has. Whatever it is I believe we’re all better off for it. You can hear John talk about this and many more issues he’s experienced throughout his career, on this episode of Savvy Painter.

He got his dream job working for George Lucas and it wasn’t for him.

One of the things John Brosio thought he wanted to do as he worked his way through school was to work with George Lucas on the Star Wars films. His keen interest in the unusual, the epic, the fantastic caused him to feel like it was an ideal fit. But as he got into the work - creating sculptures of monsters and alien worlds - he discovered that it’s very different to create someone else’s dream than it is to create what’s in your own mind and heart. When his internship was over he decided that he needed to do something else. And he has certainly done that! You can hear John’s artistic journey on this episode.

Why making art is a privilege artists can never take for granted.

Art is one of the finer things of life. To have the privilege to express beauty or communicate truth through a work of your own creativity is a humbling thing. But it’s essential that in the pursuit of our art we keep in mind that the price has already been paid for us to have the privilege to be artists. Someone has done the hard work of preparing the way, creating a culture that allows us the luxury of painting, drawing, sculpting, and more. A quote from President John Adams prompted John Brosio and me to chat about the importance of this issue - and a whole lot more - on this episode.

Outline of This Episode

  • John’s background: how he got started in the creative industry.
  • Artists that John was inspired by when he was young.
  • The journey through school and how John navigated his education.
  • How John sometimes remains “there” in a painting or season of painting.
  • Why an artist needs to be responsible for the relationships viewers know already.
  • How John coalesces his view of responsibility into his own paintings.
  • Steps toward selling his own paintings and how his career progressed.
  • John’s studio work and process for starting paintings.
  • The recent changes to John’s painting process because things weren’t working.
  • The piece of art by a living artist John would own if he could.
  • Connect with John Brosio:

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Connect With Antrese

Dec 08, 2016
Stremmel Gallery Manager, Parker Stremmel

Parker Stremmel is the Gallery Manager at Stremmel gallery in Reno, Nevada. The gallery opened in 1969 with an outdoor and wildlife emphasis, but by 2003, it evolved to reflect a modern focus. Today Stremmel gallery specializes in contemporary paintings, drawings, and sculptures by mid-career and established American and European artists.

In this episode, Parker and Antrese Wood talk about why galleries have limits with the number of artists they work with, the benefits of standing by artists as they experiment and grow, and how Stremmel talks to collectors. They also talk about the cornerstone of a healthy

They also talk about the cornerstone of a healthy artist-gallery relationship: honesty, communication, and why Stremmel Gallery employs some counter-intuitive tactics to help their artists grow and succeed.

Parker tells the harrowing story of when a visitor slammed his fist into a Trompe L’Oeil piece to see if it was real- luckily the piece was undamaged.

This episode is sponsored by Trekell Art Supplies. Go to and use promo code SAVVY16 to get 15% off your next order.

Dec 01, 2016
Figurative Artist Jennifer Balkan

Jennifer Balkan didn’t start out to be an artist. She earned a Ph.D in anthropological sociology, but after seeing master paintings in France, Italy, and Spain, she knew she had to switch gears and study art.

Jennifer shares about how she transitioned into full-time painting, her experiences with galleries, social media, looking out for yourself, and balancing painting life with family life. Jennifer offers tips on pushing yourself to be your best, determining which galleries to work with, and working through grief.

She stresses the importance of both working hard to learn the language of painting, and of playful riffs and exploration.

Nov 23, 2016
Chris Leib

Realist painter Chris Leib’s artistic journey began by way of anthropology and a near-miss with a career in real estate. An apprenticeship with Roberto Lupetti provided a foundation from which his talent could organically grow. Leib discusses overcoming setbacks, including an explosion that forced him from his home and studio, life with a fellow artist as your spouse, and the habits and mindset that contribute to productive creativity.

Nov 17, 2016
An Interview with Gillian Pedersen-Krag

Gillian Pederson-Krag paints still-lifes and figurative work from her home in New York. She received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1961 and her MFA from Cornell University shortly after.

As a child, Gillian visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York often. She was particularly fascinated by the Egyptian mummies and the concept of death. Later, she had a pivotal experience of being moved by the Egyptian artwork, and that experience of being moved, of connecting on a human level through visual language became a cornerstone of her work, something she continually returns to and strives for.

Gillian believes that part of a painters discipline lies in the act of daydreaming - spending a certain amount of time being a host to whatever images and feelings visit, and then allowing those to incubate until they from a painting.

Nov 03, 2016
Abstract Painter Brian Rutenberg

Brian Rutenberg is originally from South Carolina. He received his BFA from the College of Charleston, and his MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

I think you will really enjoy this conversation- Brian talks about his idea that in the big picture, art fails us, it is lifeless and incomplete. Wait— what?? When I heard Brian say that, I’ll admit I had a split second of judgment, you know, like someone had just insulted the love of my life and I needed to defend my love. But what Brian goes on to say is quite beautiful, and illustrates the role of the artist in this dance with our canvas.

Brian also shares his idea that art is part skill and part insanity. I loved diving down that rabbit hole- it brought us into skill, spontaneity and the difference between making and creating.

Then we talk about Brian’s painting rituals, his family life, and how that inspires his work.

Oct 21, 2016
Figurative Painter Zoey Frank

Zoey Frank is a figurative painter from Colorado. She studied at the Juliette Aristides Atelier in Seattle and then went on to get her MFA from the Laguna College of Art and Design.

Zoey is in love with the figure. She shares her process, and her experiments freely in this episode. I really enjoyed talking with her about her current work, in which she is playing with observation, imagination, and photography.

We also talk about the instability of this career choice we’ve made and how that can really affect our mood. Zoey shares the tactics she uses to deal with uncertainty- tactics that focus on reconnecting with the joy of making things and creating.

Oct 05, 2016
An Interview with Susan Jane Walp

Susan Jane Walp paints still lifes from her home in Vermont. Her compositions expertly balance silent spaces with a powerful geometry that pulls you in and holds you. Her influences range from Piero de la Francesca to Lennart Anderson whom she met and studied with at a summer program run by Boston University during her undergrad years.

Susan and I talk about how she constructs her paintings, and how she balances precision with those spontaneous a-ha moments. We dive pretty deep into how she sets up her subjects. She has the patience to leave things open enough for change and for something larger than herself to manifest. Susan also shares how painting phases coincide with the phases of the moon.

Sep 22, 2016
Billyo O'Donnell

Like many artists, Billyo O'Donnell struggled with the decision to pursue art as a vocation. But standing in his boss's office at a Missouri saw mill, Billyo came to a life changing realization.

He saw that there are no safe paths, and decided he might as well take his own chances.

So he carved his own path in the world of corporate illustration, negotiating a brilliant deal with his employer that got his paintings into corporate collections across the U.S.

After being rejected from multiple galleries in his home state of Missouri, a painting trip to California inspired Billyo to start his own painting ventures.

We talk about the uncertainty and dedication in multi-year projects, how the NEA contacted Billyo and expanded on his project, plus the book that followed: “Painting Missouri.”

We also talk about the plein-air events and what Billyo looks for when judging painting competitions plus how he sees the art world changing in the next few years.

Sep 16, 2016
Kathleen Speranza: Dancing On The Third Rail

Kathleen Speranza is a painter from Massachusetts. She earned her BFA from Boston University and her MFA from Yale. She teaches painting and drawing at Rhode Island School of Design.

Her current obsession is portraits. Portraits of flowers. And according to Kathleen, flower paintings are sometimes akin to stepping on the third rail. There are so many stereotypes that go along with this subject that tackling it can be dangerous. Particularly for a female painter.

But Kathleen, I think, is fluent in the language of color. She understands their subtleties and arranges them masterfully on her canvas. Allowing each its place so that the subject sings.

I am completely fascinated by, the topic of color so I grill Kathleen on her palette organization, her interest in the Munsell Palette and when she chooses to use it.

We talk about life, and yes, having one informs our art. As much as we’d like to lock ourselves in an ivory tower and paint 24/7, it just doesn’t work. We circle back to this topic a few times - as it relates to taking a break so that we have the opportunity to distil the stimulus into a painting. Maintaining an art practice after having a child, and how that actually makes you a better painter. We get into a little aside on artists who have more than one kid and how bad ass we think they are.

This episode is just chock full of wonderful bits of wisdom. I don’t want to list them all; I just want you to hear it from Kathleen herself, but one last jewel I want you to keep an ear out for: Kathleen’s insights on asking for help and how she became comfortable with frustration when she paints.

Sep 01, 2016
Trici Venola, Drawing Istanbul

You are listening to the 100th episode of the Savvy Painter podcast! To commemorate this exciting event, I’ve been working on something special for you. I’m collecting the very best quotes and observations from artists interviewed on the Savvy Painter into an ebook. You can sign up to get your free copy at

In the early eighties, Trici Venola was an early adopter and jumped into the digital art scene. She created fonts for Zap Comix artists including Robert Crumb. She got to know the comic artists she adored and was in the very first issue of Juxtapoz Magazine.

I was introduced to Trici by good friends of mine, Rachel and Dan DiPaola, back when I was a young punk, fresh out of college working at Disney. Rachel was the project manager, I needed some help, so Rachel brought in Trici.

Years later, Trici abandoned everything and moved to Istanbul, Turkey to draw the architecture and the people there. As she will tell you, it was a very bumpy road. She has many colorful stories of the experiences she has had in Istanbul. She candidly describes her mistakes and the consequences she and the people she loved suffered because of her decisions.

It has been 17 years since she fell in love with Istanbul. She has published two books: Drawing on Istanbul 1 and 2. Her obsession with documenting the culture and architecture continues unabated, despite the many obstacles in her way.

Aug 19, 2016
Abstract Painter Rebecca Crowell

Rebecca Crowell creates luscious abstract paintings which are inspired by her travels and memories of places.

In this episode, Rebecca and I talk about working with cold wax, and how playing with the medium encouraged her to switch from representational to abstract painting.

We also discuss the discomfort artists feel when they transition from a style they are known for into something completely new.

We dig a little into her process of both a painting and a body of work she might create after experiencing a place through her travels.

Because I know artists do have lives outside of the studio, I asked Rebecca to share what it was like when she and her husband started their family. She talks candidly about her challenges with raising her sons while keeping up with her painting.

I really appreciate Rebecca’s curiosity and love of creating. Although she might be most known for her cold wax paintings, she also makes mono-prints and is learning about carborundum printing, a technique I was unfamiliar with so I asked her all about it.

Rebecca is currently in the middle of a crowdsourcing campaign for Cold Wax Medium: Techniques, Concepts & Conversations, a book she co-authored with artist Jerry McLaughlin. The fundraising campaign reached its goal quickly, which is not a small feat, and they still have a few weeks to go. The campaign ends on August 17th, 2016

Aug 05, 2016
An Interview with Zaria Forman

Zaria Forman makes pastel drawings of glaciers and icebergs and the changing landscapes of places like Antarctica, Greenland, and the Maldives. She does this to bring attention to climate change and to honor her mother who started it all.

Zaria shares how taking risks and having the courage to grow has been an essential part of her journey. We get into the nitty-gritty of how she works: from curating thousands of photographs, getting just the right shades of blue for her pastel drawings, and even a bit on how she runs her studio.

Zaria’s work has been featured in National Geographic, she recently gave a TED talk and she was invited by Sven Lindblad as an artist aboard Lindblad expeditions. We talk about how all that came about.

Anyway, as you’ll hear, we geek out a little bit, and I loved every second of it. There is a moment in this interview when Zaria tells me about what she is doing with some noises she recorded in Antarctica.

My geeky little heart skipped a beat when she told me who is helping her and who stopped by her studio. I kind of had fan girl moment. You’re going to have to listen to find out who that is.

Jul 29, 2016
Symbolist Painter Greg Decker

Greg Decker is a symbolist painter, living in southern New Mexico. He holds two MFA (Master of Fine Arts) degrees, from Cranbrook Academy of Art (MI) and from the New York Academy of Art (NYC).  He’s studied with renowned painters such as Leland Bell, Fairfield Porter, John Moore, Vincent Desiderio and Martha Erlebacher.

I never thought I would hear Beethoven and the Ramones mentioned in the same sentence, but that’s what Greg does, he weaves together ideas from history, literature, philosophy and diverse sources to create his work. Thank you to Julyan Davis for bringing Greg and his luscious paintings to my attention.

Go to to see Greg’s work- it really is a treat, and for links to   everyone we mentioned. While you are there, make sure you don’t miss an episode- sign up sign up for show updates and free guides by clicking on the yellow button in the sidebar. I’m working on a couple more goodies for you as we speak.

A very special shout out goes to Liz Cutler, Aimee Hoover, Tracy Everly, Kaethe Bealer, Amy Fitzgerald, Rhonda Doré, Douglas Reina, Gail Hight, Art of Joy, and Barry Koplowitz - thank you so much for supporting the podcast.

Jul 21, 2016
Timothy Horn

Timothy Horn paints rural landscapes around Marin and Sonoma counties in northern California.

He fell in love with painting after a chance encounter with another artist who has been on this show- Stanley Goldstein. Just a few years later, Tim shut down his graphic design business to focus entirely on his painting and he hasn’t looked back.

In this episode, Tim shares how he got started, what he needed to learn about painting before he was ready to get his work out, and how he made the transition to a full time painter.

Tim and Antrese also talk about how Tim chooses painting events to participate in, how he managed his time starting out, and also the conflict that comes with being 100% dependent on the sales of your art, while having a family and making the time to paint.

Jul 15, 2016
An Interview with Ann Gale

Ann is a figurative painter based in Seattle. If you are not familiar with her work, you definitely want to spend some time to really look at what she is doing in her painting. On the surface you’ll note her distinctive brushwork, how she weaves ribbons of color through figure and background, and plays with edges. But as she will tell you herself, she is constantly setting up challenges for herself to push her painting further.


She’s a painter’s painter, which is probably why during these interviews when I ask an artist if you would like to own a painting by any living artist, whose would it be, Ann’s name comes up often.

She received her bachelor of fine arts from Rhode Island College and her MFA from Yale University.  

Ann has been the recipient of several prestigious awards for her painting - including a Guggenheim Fellowship. She has had solo shows at the Portland Art Museum  and the Weatherspoon Art Museum, in North Carolina. Ann’s work can be seen in person at the Dolby Chadwick Gallery in San Francisco and at Prographica Drawings in Seattle.

I met Ann last summer at the JSS program in Civita Italy where she was the guest of honor. I don’t think there are enough superlatives to adequately describe what a great painter and human being Ann is.  She asks the right questions to understand where her students are and then drops these knowledge bombs that tweak your perspective making it impossible to see your  painting in the same way again. I’m a little jealous of the students at the University of Washington School of Art, where Ann is a professor.

While in Italy, we went on weekly excursions to visit museums. Sometimes that meant a 3 hour bus ride. Several times I sat with Ann and we talked about art, life, and the unbearable heatwave that just wouldn’t die down. In Naples, we stood in awe in front of Caravaggio’s the Flagellation of Christ and dissected the composition, seeing nuances you just can’t get in a book.

On those trips and during Ann’s critiques, I often wished I could record the conversations. So I’m excited to have the opportunity again to chat with her and share the conversation with you.


Jun 30, 2016
Celia Reisman

Celia Reisman paints suburban landscapes - specifically the neighborhood she has been living in for over 30 years. 


In this interview discusses her process of creating these paintings and how she adapted her work methods to fit her personality. 


Observational drawings are integral to her work method. While she does paint plein air, it is her field sketches that feed her large scale studio paintings. 


She talks about memory, instinct and how she constructs her large scale works -not being satisfied with traditional proportions for example. Early on, Celia played with an extremely limited palette, which is probably why she has such a sensitive eye for color.


This episode is a lot about Celia’s process of making a painting: the shifting balance between planning and having control while letting the painting evolve throughout the process.


Jun 23, 2016
SPP Skip Whitcomb

Skip Whitcomb grew up on a Ranch in Colorado, without much encouragement to pursue art as a vocation. Following his parents advice, he enrolled in college to study business, but quickly realized his heart was somewhere else.

Skip has been painting landscapes of the western United States for over forty years now.

In this conversation, Skip and I talk about learning the craft and then taking every opportunity to flex your wings, to test them and see if you can fly. We talk about artist communities, their natural cycles and how having a sympathetic ear from time to time is crucial. 


Skip shares the frustration of pushing through dissatisfaction, or plateaus in his paintings. I think - or hope- we all go through this at some point as we master certain skills and go on to explore new concepts. How one deals with these issues greatly impacts our growth as artists. Eventually, technique becomes less important than why you are using it. “Why?”, not “how?” is the question we would be better off  asking.


Skip is a wealth of information, and a brilliant creative thinker.


Jun 16, 2016
An Interview with Plein Air Painter Ray Roberts

Ray Roberts is a California painter, who paints landscapes and figures both in studio and en plein air. He is best known for his seascapes, figurative work, and landscapes of California and the Southwest.

Ray has won numerous awards for his paintings including Gold Medal for "Best Painting" at the California Art Club and the Artists' Choice Award, the highest accolade from fellow artists, at several major Southwest art events. Several times in this interview, we mention Peggi- Peggi is Ray’s wife - the other half of the Kroll Roberts Studio- You may remember Peggi from an earlier interview on this podcast but if you have not had a chance to listen, check the show notes for a link to my interview with Peggi Kroll Roberts - she and Ray form a unique partnership and often host workshops together.


**Support the podcast** Savvy Painter is a labor of love. It takes significant resources to keep it going, if you find inspiration or value in the Savvy Painter interviews, please consider making a modest donation to show your support:

Jun 09, 2016
Kurt Moyer

Kurt Moyer is a landscape painter living in upstate New York. He pulls inspiration from nature, and from studying the master paintings that came before us.

As Kurt will tell you, some mysteries in painting don’t need to be solved in order to have a full,  rich experience with them. Kurt is content to let some of that be so that he can focus on light, color, and the thread that weaves through his work and ties  all the way back  to Cezzane, Balthus, George Sorrell, and many other artists.

In this episode Kurt and I talk about seeing. About getting that authentic impression of color and light and not being a slave to your own eyes. We also talk about how new experiences or simply time can completely change the way you look at paintings that maybe you have seen many times before.


May 19, 2016
Mark Daniel Nelson

After a successful career in illustration, Mark Daniel Nelson decided he would be more fulfilled working on his own art. He took his business acumen from the illustration world and applied it to fine arts. Through some smart decisions and ‘being in the right place at the right time.’ Mark created his own path to artistic freedom.

In this episode, Mark describes the calculated moves he made to build his career. And how he learned that those calculations will only get you so far. To sustain an art career, the artist ultimately must discover their authentic voice, that thing that keeps him fascinated and engaged with his art.

May 12, 2016
Martin Campos

Figurative oil painter Martin Campos describes himself as a late bloomer. He began painting in earnest in his late 20s and didn't go to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) where he teaches now until his 30’s. Martin describes a pivotal moment at PAFA when an instructor with a Cheshire Cat grin made a suggestion that ended up changing everything about Martins paintings.

Martin also talks about the domino effect in his work, how his paintings are almost premonitions of what his life will be, and why its so important to paint something that truly scares you.

May 05, 2016
Bobbie Burgers - Capturing Past, Present, and Future All In One Moment.

Bobbie Burgers is an artist living in Vancouver, Canada. She paints large scale portraits of flowers, but as Bobbie will tell you, these paintings are actually not about the flowers at all.

Bobbie and I talk about her inspiration, where it comes from and how changing studios gave her the luxury of seeing the progression of her body of work. We also talk about Bobbie’s reaction to having her work copied in Chinese art factories. I have to say, I love how Bobbie ultimately responded to this experience and how it has affected experimentation and her painting process.

We also talk about art residencies - Bobbie recently ran an Instagram contest where the winner gets to come hang out and work in her studio for a day - That lead to us talking about how changing things up a bit enables you to explore freely without expectations.

Go to show notes



Apr 21, 2016
Debra Huse – Plein Air Painting and the Debra Huse Gallery

Debra is a plein air painter from Southern California. She lives in Orange County where she has a studio and a gallery on Balboa Island.

She has been featured in Art of the West, and Plein Air magazine, this year, her paintings will be exhibited in Maui Plein Air, and at the California Art Club Gold Medal Exhibition at the Autry Museum.

Debra and I talk about….

  • What she teaches her students about simplification and avoiding the overwhelm of complicated subjects.
  • How she started her own gallery - admitting what you’re good at and delegating the rest.
  • Mistakes artists make when dealing with a gallery.
  • The many plein air events she participates in, and how she uses that consistency to move her work.
Apr 16, 2016
Felicia Forte

Felicia is a representational artist who paints Alla Prima portraits from her studio in Detroit. Her self portrait ‘Melting Point’ was accepted into he BP Portrait awards show in 2015.

After 15 years of waitressing, Felicia took a leap and decided to focus exclusively on her painting. It’s an inspiring story of faith in her abilities and pushing past the “oh my god, what did I just do” moments to become the artist she is today.

Antrese Wood and Felicia talk about the importance of human connection for artists, how connecting with artists in the real world as well as the virtual world creates a safety net and community. I especially appreciated Felicia’s candor in talking about a difficult period in her life and how the apathy she felt turned out to be the thing that allowed her to grow as an artist.

Apr 07, 2016