The Plein Air Podcast has been named the #1 Painting Podcast by FeedSpot for two years in a row.
In this episode, Eric Rhoads interviews plein air landscape painter Kathleen Hudson on painting waterfalls, what’s in store for her this year, and much more.
Bonus! In this week’s Art Marketing Minute, Eric Rhoads, author of Make More Money Selling Your Art, shares guidance on when it’s the right time to approach an art gallery, and words of advice for newly graduated art students.
Have a question about how to sell your art? Ask Eric at artmarketing.com/questions.
Listen to the Plein Air Podcast with Eric Rhoads and Kathleen Hudson here:
– Kathleen Hudson online: https://www.kathleenbhudson.com/
– Plein Air Magazine: https://pleinairmagazine.com/
– Watercolor Live: https://watercolorlive.com/
– Plein Air Convention & Expo: https://pleinairconvention.com/
– Eric Rhoads on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ericrhoads/
– Plein Air Today newsletter: https://www.outdoorpainter.com/plein-air-today-newsletter/
– Submit Art Marketing Questions: artmarketing.com/questions
FULL TRANSCRIPT of this Plein Air Podcast
DISCLAIMER: The following is the output of a transcription from an audio recording of the Plein Air Podcast. Although the transcription is mostly correct, in some cases it is slightly inaccurate due to the recording and/or software transcription.
This is episode number 236 with landscape painter Kathleen Hudson.
This is the Plein Air Podcast with Eric Rhoads, publisher and founder of Plein Air Magazine. In the Plein Air Podcast, we cover the world of outdoor painting called plein air. The French coined the term which means open air or outdoors. The French pronounce it plenn air. Others say plein air. No matter how you say it. There is a huge movement of artists around the world who are going outdoors to paint and this show is about that movement. Now, here’s your host, author, publisher, and painter, Eric Rhoads.
Eric Rhoads 0:30
Thank you Jim Kipping. And welcome to the plein air Podcast. I’m Eric and Happy New Year. I think this is our first podcast of the new year. And if not, I’m wrong. Okay. So we’re going to start the new year out we have a very positive person, you know, if you’re a resolutions person setting goals person, you will be really happy to know our guest today because she’s like the most positive happy person in the world. And a brilliant painter, her name is Kathleen Hudson, we’ll get to her in a minute. I want to tell you that I’m all about goal setting and really understanding where I’m going. I’m not big on resolutions, I break them too quickly. Although I guess if I had a resolution, it would be that I’m going to stop spending so much time on social media and so much time watching television, because I don’t want all that negativity coming into my head. And you know, if I watch the news, it’s negativity. So I figure if anything really important happens, somebody will let me know. So I’m staying away from I do a little social media, but I’m trying to stay away from the negative stuff because they’re just gotten so old. The other thing that I wanted to mention to you is that over the holidays, right before the New Year, I put something together about goal setting and also about how to manage your business and hit your goals. One of them was on the oil painters of America newsletter. So if you go to their website and find their newsletters, you’ll find it there. The other was video that I did on Instagram, and you can find me at Eric Rhoads. So we want to help you wherever possible. Coming up after the interview, we’re going to talk about some advice for art students who have recently graduated and how to become successful, which is a really big deal. And also a question about when is the right time and the wrong time to have a discussion about art galleries. And that’s in the art Marketing podcast. We are humbled to be number one in the Feedspot list of painting podcast for a second year in a row. And thank you for making that happen. Let’s let’s make it happen for 2023 at the end of the year, too. So thank you for for that. If you got a did not get a subscription for Hanukkah or Christmas or for a New Year’s president to plein air magazine, it’s a must got to do it still time. And I gotta tell you, my prices for printing just went up 30% 30%. That’s insane. But I have not yet raised the price of the magazine subscriptions but I’m gonna. And so if you were to go ahead and get that done here in the next say 10 days, you probably will be locked in. So I think it’s a good idea to get a tour going to 20 years subscription. Just go to plein air magazine.com. And any day now like hopefully, hopefully like next podcast, we’re going to announce our big celebrity guest who’s coming to the 10th Birthday Bash of the plein air convention. Yes, plein air convention is 10 years old. It’s going to be held in Denver, Colorado, our guest will be there. We’ll find out more about that soon. But you want to make sure to get a seat the hotel is telling us they’re like running out of hotel rooms and we’re gonna run out of seats. And when we had it in Denver before, before we cancelled, we had 1200 seats sold and we were pretty much sold out or close to sold out. So get it done pretty quickly when we announced this guest. I’m guessing that it’s going to sell out quickly. And by the way, this guest if you are signed up for our VIP program, you will also be able to get your photo with this guest and this is not someone that you would think would be coming to a plein air convention and it’s someone who is from, dare I say Hollywood. Okay, that’s enough on that. So To sign up at plein air convention.com. And also just just around the corner, just at the end of January, I have watercolor live, we have some incredible, some of the 30 best watercolor artists in the world who are going to be teaching, and I’m blown away by what they’re doing. It’s, it’s going to be remarkable. And you could still join us and we have a brand new video for people who are kind of like insecure about painting. Or maybe you’re feeling like you don’t have the talent. Or maybe you’re a little embarrassed about your work or you’re not sure how to get to where you want to be. I put together a little video at the watercolor live site that will kind of help you through that, because we’ve discovered that there are two lies that that we’re telling ourselves that prevent us from getting good. And so I have a video about those two lines. So just go to watercolor live.com And look at that video. It’s brand new, just went up yesterday or the day before so you want to check that out. Now my guest today is plein air artist Kathleen Hudson. Kathleen is a remarkable person. She was the winner, we got to know her. She was the winner of the plein air salon. In 2017, I believe. For her painting, Timberline falls, which was remarkable, best painting of the year for plein air painters the way we look at it. And she won a $15,000 check and and the cover of the magazine. And so she’s our guest today. She’s also a signature member of the plein air painters of America, a fellow in the American society, a marine artist, and truly a wonderful person her she lives in Colorado Springs, and so she’s going to be at the plein air convention. Kathleen, welcome.
Kathleen Hudson 6:57
Thank you so much. It’s good to be here.
Eric Rhoads 7:00
Well, I see the mountains in the background. Oops, I’m not allowed to refer to the video. Oops, well, I should tell people that we have a video version of this. And you can listen to audio or video. So Kathleen, we’ve had you on before. But now that we’re doing video, and we’re we’re kind of going back to the most popular ones and getting them done again. Tell me what you’ve been up to lately. You recently moved to Colorado. What was that all about? And what’s it like? Living in Colorado from Kentucky? Being a plein air painter?
Kathleen Hudson 7:35
Yes. Well, I’ve moved along with the family in June of 2021. So we’ve been here for over a year now. Okay. And, and I’ve loved it. I grew up in Kentucky, and then met my husband in Boston, Massachusetts, where I lived for eight years, and then moved back
Eric Rhoads 7:53
to where you were at Harvard. I forgot to mention that. That’s right.
Kathleen Hudson 7:57
Yes, we met shortly after I graduated. And then when we started a family, we wanted to be back near near my family in Kentucky, and his family in Ohio. So it made total sense to move back. And we ended up making the switch to Colorado because of his job. So we hadn’t really been looking for a reason to move. But it just came up through his work. And I was thrilled at the idea of moving to the Rockies because I’ve done plein air events in the Rockies. I’ve traveled here as a small child and had such strong memories of being inspired by the landscape here. So for me, I you know, it was no, no hard thing to to go move right to the foothills of the Rockies and Colorado Springs.
Eric Rhoads 8:46
So I think you’re a real inspiration for a lot of us. But especially for the young women who might be watching because you’re managing very effectively to juggle a fantastic career as an artist, which requires a lot of travel and a lot of other things. You’re raising a couple of kids and also dealing with, you know, life as a married person. What’s that? Like? How do you how do you do that?
Kathleen Hudson 9:20
Yes, well, I think it’s it’s been helpful to do these plein air events, because that’s a way of giving me focus time where I can just paint and to do that I’ve really relied on a village so my mother will travel in from Kentucky occasionally. My husband picks up obviously more slack than he would typically have to in terms of childcare whenever I’m out of town. And I do limit my events to about five or six a year apart and so that way I can fly my mom or my mother in law out to to stay with the kids and make sure that we They are well taken care of, they actually look forward to it because my mom tends to do things like taking sugar, yes, sugar, the zoo, different museums every day. They love it feels like a treat for them. So I don’t think they, they miss out on anything when when I’m gone, but but that’s been really helpful just because it’s it’s great practice for me on also making the most of my time because if any of you listening who have done one of these events knows that you really do have to put in a lot of hours in a limited, you know, limited amount of time, whether it’s a week or shorter. And it does make you focus really hard on doing your best possible work. And, and so that it’s almost like training. So when I come back, and I have, you know, hours in the studio, while my daughter is in school, and you know, my son is in, in public school in second grade now. So I, when I come back into the studio, I I can make the most of my time there too, because I know, I know what I can accomplish in the space of a few hours, if I can do it outside with all the attendant challenges of painting on location and, you know, just the environmental stuff, then I can definitely do it inside the studio. So it’s it’s really helped me see what I’m capable of doing and work more efficiently.
Eric Rhoads 11:23
Yeah, aspects of running your business. What, what, what kind of time demands does that part of it take, which is beyond painting,
Kathleen Hudson 11:32
right, that’s not the fun part. I think most artists probably feel that way. But what I found is, is I can, you know, if I try to set up workshops and your different my different calendar events, and have that in mind, at the start of a year, then I can plan travel, I can try to minimize the amount of time I spend thinking about that, throughout, you know, a day or a week, if I try to line those things up early. And then the day to day stuff like social media posting, or, you know, newsletters, those I try as much as possible to schedule or automate. So for Instagram, for instance, and for Facebook, I use a service called Planoly, where you can upload, you know, 30 to 60 posts in advance, and then they just post on a schedule. And that way, I don’t have to think about it. I mean, I’ll get on and reply and you know, talk to people when they comment. But I don’t have to, I don’t have to set aside time each day to think about crafting a social media post or, you know, creating that kind of content on the marketing end of the business. Because that’s that’s not the part that I enjoy. I’d rather focus more on painting. And, and have the other be something that I do that kind of serves the purpose of getting my paintings out there in front of people, but not something that takes away from my studio time.
Eric Rhoads 13:06
Yeah, I think that’s very smart. We use one called Agora Pulse, which, unfortunately, is about $25,000 a year now. We also are feeding, you know, multiple sites, right? And we have full time people who just do that. And but it’s very efficient, because you know, I will sit down oftentimes and Just Craft eight or 10 posts and schedule them. And then it’s out of the way. Now I also still post randomly, which is nice. And I’m sure you do too, from time to time. So what’s your best advice to someone who is kind of facing what you have faced and a little inspiration for them?
Kathleen Hudson 13:51
Yes, well, I would say don’t, don’t write yourself off just because you have more home commitments than some of the artists that you admire. Most of my career success has come since I had my first child and 2015 I only did my first plein air event in 2014. And that one wasn’t juried. So my first juried event came when I was the mom of a one year old. So I would really encourage people to you know, to rely on whatever support networks, you have to also involve your children in the process. You know, last January year ago when the Omicron variant was running pretty rampant. We actually kept our one year or that then she was to put our two year old daughter home from daycare, because at that point she was still diagnosed with a heart problem that she was born with. And it’s has luckily since resolved, but we were worried this heart problem is associated with higher risks. Whenever she got a virus it was I mean, we had to monitor anytime she got a fever. So We just kept her home so that that would be a lower risk for her. But it meant that I had to spend all of January when I had all these tainting deadlines with her at home. So I just set her up in my studio with watercolors. And it was a mixed bag, I’m not going to pretend it was easy. But she was, she she’s much more demanding than my son is when it comes to more constant interaction. But she, she loved it. And I ended up finishing a couple paintings I needed to finish and it worked out. It’s more challenging for me now than it used to be because my mom used to live 15 minutes from me, and now that’s no longer the case after the movie just dropped him off. Right. But, but yeah, so rely on those networks that you do have and try to carve out time for painting. And try to you know, if you can manage some travel and even bringing your your kids along, try to make some time commitments to events that get you out there with other artists and ones that will expand your your horizons a little bit ones that will, you know, force you to create some of your your best work. But you know, no stress with that either. Because it’s plein air painting is fun, you know, doing these events should be fun. And if if I talk to people sometimes who feel stressed by them, and I don’t, I don’t think it serves a great purpose. If you know somebody goes in to an event, just feeling feeling stressed, but do things that really make you flourish in your art. And that’s different for each person? Well, I
Eric Rhoads 16:39
think it kind of goes down to base listening to what you have to say is it kind of goes down to two things. One is mindset. No, tell yourself that you have these limitations, of course, you have to have a supportive community, supportive spouse, or whatever. But also, it’s the old airplane saying, right? You know, give yourself the oxygen before you help others, you have to give oxygen to yourself, you have to take care of yourself. So many people put their lives on hold to take care of their kids and their their husbands or family members, and they’re not doing anything for themselves. And then they crash and burn much easier when they you know, they don’t have any hope. But when you’re doing something that you love, it makes things a lot better, I would think,
Kathleen Hudson 17:27
well, that’s very true. And it’s a great example for my kids, you know, there are times when I do feel a little guilty for being gone during, you know, my son’s basketball game, or I think I missed Well, actually, I didn’t end up I had to cancel a trip last fall. But I was scheduled to be on a trip where I was going to miss my daughter’s birthday. And that one was going to be hard. But things like that were you know, I really there are times when I don’t feel great about being gone. But if I if I am able to balance it well to make the most of my time at home. And then if I’m really selective about the travel that I do choose to do, then I come back and my kids love hearing stories, they love looking at photos of where I’ve been out in the field painting. You know, they they love it, they feel like they’re experiencing it a little bit by curiously when I come back from Texas and have photos of all of these ranches with horses. They were
Eric Rhoads 18:26
and that will serve them long term. You know, I I’ve heard stories, I haven’t experienced this personally. But I hear stories of people that I’ve interviewed who, you know, their parents did things like that for them at young ages and, and then they never were interested. And then all of a sudden they were and you know, I used to take my kids to museums, and give them a pad of paper and say find something you love and see if you can draw it. And I only did that to give myself some time to look at other paintings. And you know, my kids still haven’t, you know, migrated towards art, but I can see it coming. And I think what you’ve done is remarkable. The other thing that I think you’ve done is remarkable is you know, I have the pleasure of getting to know a lot of artists and watching their careers and seeing how how they develop. And it may be this is just me not seeing the struggle. But it seems like you made massive amounts of progress in a very short period of time short being, you know, five to seven years where sometimes it takes somebody 20 years to get to the level that you seem to have accomplished. Did you have a deliberate way of going about that that might be helpful for others to understand?
Kathleen Hudson 19:49
That’s a good question. I do feel like things fell into place for me and a large part because of the plein air salon and 2017 I mean that was that was out of left field for me but I did have years of painting experience under my belt before I even learned about plein air events before I learned about plein air magazine, for instance.
Eric Rhoads 20:10
And you did take you did take a big leap. I mean, you did a beautiful job. You were doing great work by the time you were doing, you want the plein air salon, but to see where you are today, what what is that five, six years later? I mean, you have made massive changes, you are good, but you’re so much better now.
Kathleen Hudson 20:32
Oh, well, thanks. Well, I try to make each painting my best one yet. And that’s not true of small studies, I’m talking about more the studio work. But I do like to challenge myself. And of course that doesn’t, it doesn’t pan out most of the time. But when I have an idea in my head for a painting, I try to visualize it, I want it to be the best possible version of you know, of that painting. That can be and and I think some of it too is my experience growing up going to art museums all the time, and seeing beautiful work on the wall. It was always really inspiring for me. And it wasn’t I don’t think I ever went into a museum thinking that all of that work was somehow magical, I knew it was the result of an artist having a vision and honing it really well. And, you know, stretching themselves. And you know, so there’s not, there’s not really a magic element to the great master works that you see in museums, it’s all the result of things that that are accessible to you, you know, building skills, being becoming a good self critic, looking, you know, looking for inspiration, knowing yourself and what will draw the best paintings out of you. Those are all things that that I learned fairly early and was able to implement as I watch my career, and it’s still something I think about a lot. You know, I tried to be a good self critic and and think through those things with every single painting.
Eric Rhoads 22:13
I think that’s the hardest thing about painting is being a self critic,
Kathleen Hudson 22:16
it is hard. Well, I think the big problem with it is that we often think of criticism as a negative. Yeah, you know, as an I like to encourage my students in workshops to think about it as you having a high ceiling. You know, if you go into a gallery with a lot of paintings by artists you admire, or go into a museum and see Master works. Don’t Don’t think of those things as impossible are unreachable. You know, those, you have the ability as an artist to keep growing and keep, you know, keep keep improving your skill set. And to paint works like that. I mean, they’re, they’re not magic, they’re the result of things that that you can do. And that’s, I think that that’s what really helps me when I’m thinking about ways of improving, because I don’t think of the being a good self critic as beating down on my, you know, my painting and progress or my skill set, I think of it as, where’s there some room for improvement,
Eric Rhoads 23:19
you know, all, all improvement in our lives, all the good, all the good things that happen to us in our lives are a result of pain. And if you embrace the pain, which is embracing criticism, because it can be painful. That’s important. Now, you mentioned you went to museums a lot. The was there a painting that, you know, maybe when you first went to museums that stood out as something that just completely inspired you a painting or a particular artist?
Kathleen Hudson 23:50
I would say there was definitely a particular artists because I remember it well. I was I may have been nine or 10 and went to visit my aunt in DC with my mom in the National Gallery that week was featuring this on the big Sergeant retrospective in the late 90s. That that had traveled throughout the US and i i At that point was painting in watercolor I had taking lessons from from a Latvian artist who was trained in the kind of classic Russian school and I but I only done you know pencil charcoal and watercolor. But I saw those those big oil paintings and thought that I really wanted to try it. I love the tactile Yes, there’s one of them that’s not painting is glacier streams. And it’s yeah, there are just some some amazing paintings you can look up. I would recommend anyone who’s following along on the podcast to just spend some time looking at high resolution images of you know, of artists who inspire you but for me that was Is that was Sergeant and you can find great, great quality reproductions online.
Eric Rhoads 25:04
Oh, Google Arts is the best because they you know, they get them from the museums and they’re super, super high res. You can zoom in on them. See the brushwork? Yeah, so there’s Sergeant what else?
Kathleen Hudson 25:17
Yes. Well, Sergeant sergeant was the one that I kind of fell in love with as a, you know, nine or 10 year old and that was before I knew sergeant had kind of seen the new, a new Vogue art students in the US and painters. But I wasn’t aware of any of that growing up as a kid in Kentucky, but I, I just, I knew there was something really special about the the lushness of oil paint. And, and I also like the idea that I could paint a little bit more freely because I painted really tightly in watercolor. Since you know, you, if you make a mistake in watercolor, it’s there. So I love the idea of being able to paint with a little bit more flexibility and knowing that I could go back over and correct things or change shapes, adjust values after the fact. And so I switched to oil when I was by the time I was 12. And so I painted in this weekly workshop that my grandmother attended. And that was a special thing too, because she she had always encouraged me in my painting as a child. And she had started this art workshop. She started she started attending it when she was in her 60s. And that was after a an entire adult lifetime of really not painting much because she majored in studio art in college, unlike me, but her husband, my grandfather was very utilitarian. And when they got married, and she told him that she wanted to continue painting, he laughed her out of the room. I mean, he just thought that was absurd and fruitless. And so she, she stopped painting, when she raised my dad and his two siblings, so it wasn’t until much, much later. And after my grandfather retired that she started painting again,
Eric Rhoads 27:12
maybe that maybe that’s what drove you to the attitude you have about not putting your life on hold.
Kathleen Hudson 27:19
She did she was she was completely dead set on making sure that I could make the most of painting since she really hadn’t been given that opportunity.
Eric Rhoads 27:29
Now, other inspirations for you?
Kathleen Hudson 27:33
Yes, um, well, I am always drawn to painting water. And that’s, that’s been kind of a lifelong thing. I’ve loved traveling and being near water, I recognize that I’m in a very landlocked state right now. But I do have water there. They do have some nice rivers and a couple of reservoirs, but, but yeah, I do I love you know, painting the ocean. And so I remember seeing Winslow Homer’s high cliffs of Maine in the National Gallery when I was a kid, and that one stood out to because you can, when you look at that painting, or a reproduction of it, take note of the texture that you see. And then the way that it’s the painting is actually mostly rock. And the composition has this really strong diagonal and strong diagonals and compositions will emphasize movement, they make a more dynamic composition. And so look at the texture in the rocks when if you get a chance to look at that painting. And then also look at the water where Winslow Homer was like Sargent would use his brushstrokes to indicate the direction of water flowing off of rock or crashing up or creating mist. And, and, you know, he likes Argent used oil paint to the very best of its, its ability to recreate the feeling of of water and and rock and that’s something that inspires me because I that’s a subject that I return to oftentimes and I love the fact that with oils, tactile nature, you can create this, this feeling of, of texture and depth and atmosphere in in rocks and water.
Eric Rhoads 29:21
And okay, so there’s Sergeant there’s home or anybody else.
Kathleen Hudson 29:25
Oh, there’s so many too many to count really. But yes, I love your atmosphere. I love looking at Monet and you know, and the color vibration there too because I used to be afraid of having big stretches of you know, just maybe like a sky gradient and a painting or you know, big areas where there wasn’t a lot going on. And but when you employ something like color vibration where you’re using two colors that are the same value but slightly Different hues next to each other, it creates interest. So you can, you can have a large mass in a painting. That is a pretty similar value. But you can still create some some dynamism within that by
Eric Rhoads 30:14
some pattern creation. pattern is powerful. So I’ve just been curious. You started out watercolor now your oil have been since you were 12, which means you’ve been doing it for 10 years.
Kathleen Hudson 30:29
A little, a little more than that.
Eric Rhoads 30:31
Maybe it touched me. And have you gone. Have you tried watercolor since you’ve got good at oil.
Kathleen Hudson 30:37
I’ve gone back a few times for commissions. And then I did some I did a wash painting last year just to test that out as hot as it is. And it was actually really fun. It was nice to be able to do some of that luminosity that you can achieve in watercolor. That is a lot. I
Eric Rhoads 30:55
started doing a lot of watercolor. Because I didn’t want to be the guy that was hosting a watercolor event. Not doing it
Kathleen Hudson 31:05
at a practice what you preach.
Eric Rhoads 31:06
And it’s actually it’s really informed by oil painting a lot, which is really interesting, as did pastel. So it’s a watercolor is fine. I’m just curious how much your watercolor changed, it had to have changed tremendously.
Kathleen Hudson 31:21
It has you know, I haven’t done enough of it to to really see a strong before and after difference, but
Eric Rhoads 31:29
okay, well, we’re gonna challenge you to do one. Okay. Let us know how it goes. So tell me about this whole plein air thing? Obviously, we know all about plein air or we think we do. But you had a choice. You could do studio painting, which most people do, or a lot of people do. And they just do that their whole life. Why plein air.
Kathleen Hudson 31:54
For me, it was always something that I had done. Before I knew that there was even a you know, a resurgence in plein air painting. With plein air painters of America with the painters in California that a lot of it was was more I guess, located in the Western US. And I grew up as a kid in Kentucky with I think I had a subscription to American artist magazine in the late part of it. Yep. But apart from that, I really I wasn’t all that aware of what was going on. And so, but what I did do was I loved painting and watercolor. And I would frequently take a little watercolor sketchbook and travel kit and paint whenever we went on family vacations. And so I had these little sketchbooks that are full of paintings from when I was you know, 1314 and even earlier, and that was something that I did really regularly. So I started plein air painting. Well before, you know, I knew anything about the events. And so then when I I went to college didn’t really pursue anything art career related while I was in college, because that that was pretty time consuming in itself. And I majored in a in history and literature. So not in painting. And it wasn’t until I graduated and then had worked in the nonprofit for a year as communications director that I launched my art career on more full time basis. And I had at that point, just done my mostly done Commission’s and then did studio landscape painting. And I realized that when I when I moved back to Kentucky in 2013, I realized that I needed a community of people around me because I did not know anyone who painted. And I hadn’t really known many people in Boston either. And it was isolating. And I love working with other people. I’m inspired by being around other people. So I knew that I needed a community. So I re subscribe to plein air magazine, and found out about the first brush with spring event in New Harmony. It was starting the next day from when the magazine arrived. So I actually got online registered and then got up before sunrise the next morning and drove to New Harmony to take part in that event. And I loved it. I mean it was great to be around other artists. It was I got some good feedback. It was actually kind of funny. The first painting I did in New Harmony I set up in this place right on the banks of the river. And about 30 minutes into my painting. A group of people started pouring out of this barn, you know, glorified barn building that was not too far from my painting location. And then this guy comes up behind me and starts To comment on my painting, and he’s he’s being really nice. I turn around. And it’s Quang Ho and he looks at me. He said, Oh, you’re not in my workshop. It turns out that Quang Ho’s workshop was was going out to paint and I happen to be right there. But yeah, that was my first plein air event experience experience. And I did, I loved it. I mean, I learned a lot from it. My paintings weren’t that that great.
Eric Rhoads 35:30
So it was, I think that’s, you know, that’s an important thing to make sure everybody understands. You know, one of the most freeing days for me a moment was I was on the phone with Richard Schmid. And he was lamenting about this painting that he had just botched. And I was so happy to hear that I thought I, you know, I was the only one. And so it’s it’s nice to know, that people like you had had to go through some struggle. And Oh, for sure. And everybody goes through it. It’s just, it’s again, it’s embracing the pain, you just got to get a lot of mileage. Definitely. So you did this whole project, which was a solo focus on waterfalls. Tell me about that.
Kathleen Hudson 36:16
Yeah, that was my solo show that opened September 1 of last year. You’re already well, yeah, believe it or not, almost half a year, I guess. But, but yeah, I opened that in Montana, at fo are fine arts in Whitefish. And when they offered me a slot for a solo show, and I didn’t have a ton of work already on hand. Because of moving, I tried to sell most of the inventory that I had, or ship it off to other galleries. And so I had kind of this blank slate where I could start with a unified theme. And I went over a few different options, but I decided to actually keep it subject related. And I knew that would be a challenge. Because when you’re looking at making, you know, 15 to 25 paintings, it’s, it’s a little hard to stick on the same subject, when you’re, when you’re creating a wider body of work. But I thought it would be a fun challenge. And I did think that waterfalls were ideally suited to that, because they are value studies, I mean, any waterfall that you paint, unless it’s just a minor feature in a much larger landscape is going to be about rocks and water. And so you’re looking at Shades of Grey, mostly, and brown, and some of these these more neutral tones. And then what I what I do with that is, it does give me a chance to focus a lot more on design, because I can move rocks around, I can change things, you know, no one will really know or care if if some of that gets gets adjusted for a painting. And then I get to be selective about where I choose to put highlights where I choose to put some areas with color. And that’s often when Sun goes through mist, if some lights hitting a waterfall, then you’ll see some rainbow effects where sun is going is filtering through mist. And you can choose to amplify some of those colors. And so I got to do a lot of that and and look at you know, different dimensions different, you know, different areas, different waterfall subjects. And yeah, it was I loved the challenge of creating I think I ended up with like 25 paintings of the same subject, but really varied work just because of choosing different dimensions choosing, you know, to, in some cases, zoom way in on a waterfall and then also paint one from a distance.
Eric Rhoads 38:53
And you know, I know you did, you did a waterfall video with us for paint tube.tv Last year, but for the people who haven’t had the benefit of being able to watch that, what what would you say are two or three things to think about when you’re painting waterfalls because I find them at least before your your video incredibly difficult. Because my tendency is to put all this white paint and streak it down and then it just doesn’t look right.
Kathleen Hudson 39:23
Yes, well on that note, I would say the first the first thing I would tell people is to reserve your highlights. Because when you look at a waterfall, you are seeing a lot of gray and the highlights only come in a few select places where you see that you’re that white that might be centered slightly warm or slightly cool depending on the overall light of the day. And so reserve those highlights for the places that really need it. And then look look in you know, you can only do this when you’re plein air painting a photo will totally flattened out color in a waterfall look like gray if you’re in person and look for shifts in color. Where Where do you see some warmth? You know, is there a section that is where, say you’re looking at a waterfall in sunlight on a day that you know where the sky is clear. And what you’ll notice is that there will be areas where the light is, or the highlights are really warm, where the sunlight is pouring through mist and then hitting, you know, the the water cascading over a rock. But then there also will be areas of shadow formed by rocks, and you know, and water where things will shift. Cool. So you might see more blues, more violets, even some, you know, some deep blue greens, depending on where you are, and look for those color shifts. And if you’re painting on location, if you have a chance to then then make note of those color shifts when you’re painting, and that you can carry that information back into the studio. Because that’s something where your photos will probably not capture. I’ve always found that photos fall a little bit short with water, waterfalls, especially in sunlight, because they get overexposed. There’s just too much, you know, too dramatic a value shift for a camera to capture all of that
Eric Rhoads 41:14
advice. So you recently, I don’t know how recently over the last couple of years, I suspect, I suppose you were nominated and brought into the plein air painters of America. And that’s a pretty big deal.
Kathleen Hudson 41:28
That was I was not expecting that I got a call. I think it was early last February. And they invited me in. So that was a huge honor because I did grow up following American artists magazine and the first iteration of plein air and I remember seeing a lot of the the pop artists featured in plein air. So to be part of that group is is a big honor.
Eric Rhoads 41:54
Absolutely. Well congratulations on that. So what what’s in store for this year for you?
Kathleen Hudson 42:01
Well, it’ll be a little bit different. So I usually try to pick about five or six plein air events and then teach a couple of workshops. But this year, we are actually expecting twins. Oh boy. So it could I had to cancel a few things I had to cancel on Maui, which was really a gut punch and then also on Forgotten Coast, which is one of my favorite events. And that one takes place in Florida and Door County. I mean, I had to make a lot of phone calls.
Eric Rhoads 42:34
Yeah, you’re gonna be a pretty busy person. Yes, as a father of triplets. I can relate.
Kathleen Hudson 42:40
You can in a way that few people can. So yeah, that was a bit of a surprise to find that out. But what I’m I’m looking forward to doing some more studio work. I’ve actually missed Aspen season both falls that I’ve been in Colorado because October is kind of a big month for plein air events with Texas and yeah, so I ended up not seeing Aspen’s really in Colorado. So this year, my goal is to make sure I get to see that. Yes, and you know, and just to enjoy having to two small babies, I’m still I don’t think it’s really sunk in. I think it won’t happen until they arrive. But But yeah, I’m looking forward to seeing two more kids unpack the world. And that’s let’s open her
Eric Rhoads 43:28
up for the task. If anybody can handle it, you can. Oh,
Kathleen Hudson 43:32
thank you, I hope more studio painting and then I have to two solo shows. So everything is happening in twos this year. Oh, wow. So yeah, I have one coming up in in Edmonds, Washington at the coal gallery. And that’s going to focus more on coastal work and I’ll do some mountain paintings. And then I’m really excited about doing a series of Texas paintings for a gallery in Santa Fe. McClary. Fine Art. We’re in Santa Fe,
Eric Rhoads 44:02
on Santa Fe. Okay. Yes.
Kathleen Hudson 44:03
So yeah, that’ll be nice. And you’re living in Colorado Springs, I only have to drive four hours to Santa Fe. So it’s one of those those rare shows that I get by with with driving work and not shipping everything which you know, is it’s a hassle. So
Eric Rhoads 44:21
give everybody a little bit of a feel for what that that is like, you know, I don’t think anybody really understands what goes into preparing for a plein air event. It’s not just a matter of showing up.
Kathleen Hudson 44:34
Oh, right. It is a lot more than that. Yes, so all most of the ones that I do require a flight now because you know, if it’s closer than 1516 hours then it might be worth thriving to spare the hassle of shipping and renting a car but um, but yeah, most of the ones that I do I fly to and you have to you know, obviously book Travel, find a rental car that’ll work for a painting event, which you know, I maybe some people get by with a sedan, but I usually have to have an SUV or hatchback at least and then you also have to ship frames and all your supplies ahead of time. So that’s that that really does add a lot of time, I’ve gotten it down to a little bit more of a system where I will usually ship panels directly from Jerry’s Artarama to either my host home or the organizing the whoever’s organizing the event, and that that’s cheaper because they ship for free. Yeah, and then I will sometimes order frames from them. Sometimes these events will have a framer, you know, like JFM, in Atlanta, and sometimes they’ll have them on location to sell friends. And that’s really helpful. But if they don’t, then you also have to ship frames ahead of time. And the trick is making sure that your panels line up with your frames. So I always make a note, you know, I’ll write out which frames I’m unpacking. And
Eric Rhoads 46:05
I guess you don’t want to get there and have our own frames for the wrong. Exactly. And that’s happened to all of us, but I try and you’ve also got to be prepared. You got to put hanging wires and all that nonsense
Kathleen Hudson 46:15
on Exactly. Yep. It’s a lot.
Eric Rhoads 46:19
So Kathleen, in the interest of since our time is going to run out so quickly. Lightning round. A couple of tips. Tips on painting skies.
Kathleen Hudson 46:34
Yes. Well, with skies, I love doing a transparent wash underneath and kind of figuring out what my composition will be because guys are a great chance to, to get get pretty, you know, get creative on the composition. Nobody knows what position the cloud was in. And no one no one cares that it’s accurate to your photograph. So you can you can design a cloud however you want. And, and so I love getting really creative with skies,
Eric Rhoads 47:03
you have I should mention that you have a video, one called Clouds and distance, and one called Creating dramatic atmosphere in landscapes. That’s right
Kathleen Hudson 47:15
in the waterfall and is coming out I believe this month, so that one’s gonna be. So these
Eric Rhoads 47:21
are all painttube.tv, which you can watch on your big screen on the app. Okay, in terms of color relationships, any ideas or thoughts on color? Oh, this was a Brian, I know it’s hard to simplify these things
Kathleen Hudson 47:38
is, well, I think I would just get back and remind people that color is still secondary to value. So make sure that your your values are correct. I started off almost every painting with a transparent value study underneath. And that includes plein air work, you know, if I’m painting outdoors with Gamsol and go really thinly, I’m using a method that I demonstrate in those videos, then it sets up enough that I can paint right on top of it. So I start off everything with a with a value under painting. And that way it frees me to play more with color, and it does all the heavy lifting for you. And then my other thing would be premix your color on your palette. If you find you’re having trouble with color harmony. You can you can limit you can use a limited palette. I tend to not do that because I love working with a wider array of pigments. But I can harmonize my colors by pre mixing them and making sure they look like they’re well harmonized on the palate. And if my if my paint mixes look well harmonized on the palate, they’ll work on the painting. So that’s that’s great
Eric Rhoads 48:47
advice. Well, Kathleen, our time went by far too quickly. But thank you so much. Good luck with the twins. Good luck on your twin shows and good luck and good luck on the release of the new watercolor video. And thank you for being here today.
Kathleen Hudson 49:05
Oh, thank you so much, Eric. All right.
Eric Rhoads 49:09
Take care. All right, that is Kathleen Hudson and her website is Kathleen B hudson.com. Her Facebook is KB Hudson studio, and her Instagram is Kathleen Hudson. That has been a lot of fun. Okay, so are you guys ready to improve your art sales for 2023 It’s time for the marketing minute.
This is the Marketing Minute with Eric Rhoads, author of the number one Amazon bestseller “Make More Money Selling Your Art: Proven Techniques to Turn Your Passion Into Profit.”
Eric Rhoads 49:44
I answer your art marketing questions you can upload a video question at artmarketing.com/questions or you can email me Eric@artmarketing.com. Amandine, my producer is going to read the first question I Last time we did a podcast, you were sick. So I guess you’re better now.
I feel better. Thank you. So the first question is from Jennifer from Jackson, Michigan. I’m learning and working on my craft, how do I go about building relationships with galleries? In the meantime, I don’t have any current connections to the art world. And I am wondering where to put my best efforts now. So that it might make it easier and quicker for me to get established with quality galleries when I’m ready. And any tips on what makes a quality galleries would also be helpful?
Eric Rhoads 50:34
All right, that’s a great question, Jennifer, congratulations. I, I’ve got a lot of different conflicting thoughts on this. But let me just say something, I think that, you know, life is about a long game, not a short game. And one of the things that happens, you know, somebody I haven’t heard from in six years, contacts me and needs something. And, you know, it just feels a little like abuse. And I’m happy to do it if I can, but you know, if they were somebody who touched base once or twice a year, and, and I got to know them a little bit better, you know, then when they call and ask for something, it just feels a little better. So, in terms of having a perspective of looking in advance, you’re playing a long game. And so I think there’s nothing wrong with that. But I just want to caution you and everybody else listening, you know, you’re a new artist, you’re getting to the point where you’re just learning and you’re growing as an artist. And I wouldn’t really worry or even be thinking so much about gallery contacts, right now, you need to do one thing, and one thing only, and that is to get your artwork to a point where it is worth showing. And I don’t mean to be rude, it may be worth it now. But you know, we all have a tendency to fall in love with our work before other people do, most important thing you can do is get your work to a quality level that is worthy of being sold, and getting some feedback from others on the outside who are going to tell you lies so that you can know when you’re really ready to sell your work. Now, if you want to develop relationships with galleries in the meantime, I think it’s okay. But you know, galleries have their radar up all the time, because, you know, artists are always dropping in and what do they really want? Well, they really want to be in the gallery. So artists get art galleries get inundated with emails and packages and pictures, and visits and and they get very busy doing that stuff. And they don’t have time to do what they need to do. So you don’t necessarily need to do that. Now. If you want to establish friendships, get to know him. I think it’s great, can’t hurt to get to know some gallery people. But I don’t recommend being the artist who is only trying to get them to look at your work. As a matter of fact, it can hurt you if it’s too soon. Because that might mark you with their eyes, right? So I made the mistake, I contacted this gallery one time. And I thought I had just done the best piece of work I’d ever done in my life this a long time ago. And so I thought, well, this gallery really should carry my work. So rather than being direct about it, I called the guy and I said, Hey, listen, would you be willing to critique one of my paintings for me, and he said, Sure. And then once he got it, he was not very complimentary. It was is matter of fact, he told the truth, which I needed to hear. And it turned out what I thought was a good painting was not in his eyes, a good painting. And that was a very important thing for me to learn. But, uh, my, my hidden motive there was to try to secretly get him to say, Oh, I love your painting, I want to put it in my gallery. And of course, they’re on to that because everybody’s done that. So it didn’t work out that way. So I kind of marked myself and that created a little bit of a negative I suppose. So I don’t do it till you’re ready. And, and then be careful about how you approach them the goal and I teach this in my book, the goal is to get them to invite you not for you to push yourself on them. And as a sales, trainer and person, I you know, my tendency is to want to push but, you know, pull marketing is a lot more effective. If you get to a position of selling your art. Then you’re going to learn a lot more about what it’s going to take. So one of the things you could do is you could drop into a local gallery. If you have time on your hands and you could say listen, you know, I’m an artist. I’m not going to show you my work because my work is not ready yet. But I would love to learn more about art. And I’d be willing to volunteer here helping you hang paintings or helping you sell or helping you do anything, I don’t need any money for it. And I am never going to talk to your clients about my art, I’m not going to talk to you about my art. As a matter of fact, I’m not going to show it to you, because it’s just not ready yet. And if you volunteer and you say, Hey, I’d love to, to work, you’re going to learn so much because you’re going to encounter what they go through. And artists think that galleries don’t do anything and they complain about how much percentage they’re taking. They do so much. They do so much more than anybody ever even can possibly anticipate and understanding that will help you understanding what they go through to chase clients down to get them to buy something, understanding how people respond to artwork, when they’re looking at it and and how to answer questions that will help you a lot. So the other thing is, your taste will change. Most of us, when we first start painting, paint very, we try to paint very tight very photographically oftentimes, and our colors tend to be garish. And, and there’s a lot of things that will probably change as your tastes develops, and you have to develop taste. And the way to develop taste is to be around a really good gallery. Now you might go into a gallery that you think has good taste. Five years from now, you might think they don’t have good taste that’s happened to me, I have paintings that I bought, you know, 25 years ago that I don’t like anymore, because at the time, I thought they were good paintings, but now I look at them and say, not so great. But I think that if you develop tastes that will help you more than anything else. It’ll help you make your paintings better. And the way to develop taste is go to galleries, go to art shows, go to museums, study the art, find out what it is that you really respond to which artists do you respond to what style what color palettes, what moods so that you find things that really work for you that’s going to help you a lot. I’d also recommend that learning about art is really critical. And you know, I have become one of these guys. I read every art novel, I buy every art book, sometimes people send them to me, I just constantly consuming things not only looking at the pictures, but reading the articles and I read incessantly. I read Fine Art connoisseur, I really read plein air, I read my competitors, a lot of other things. But you know, you want to just really get to a point where you really understand art in a bigger way. And so that’s all about developing yourself. So anyway, I hope that’s been helpful. Next question.
The second question is from Glenn from Palmdale, California. Here’s one I get multiple times every semester from my student. What advice would you give to an art student between 18 and 24 years old? Graduating from junior college or four year college just starting out for the first time?
Eric Rhoads 58:21
You know, that’s a great question. And that’s from Glenn Knowles. And Glenn is a brilliant teacher and a brilliant artist. And we got to know each other when he came on one of my painting trips to Cuba. What a great guy he is. And it’s a really terrific question. And he knows him because he’s been teaching for a long, long time. So so what happens is that young people will go to art school, and they’ll be all enthusiastic, and they’ll learn about how to create really beautiful artwork. And then they graduate from school, and then the struggle hits. And the struggle can really beat you down. The struggle beats down a lot of people and they end up not doing what they love, and they end up taking a job doing something else because of pressure from family or parents or something. And they fail. So let me ask you this question which is, which is better failing, are learning about the art business? You see, if you learn about the art business, you’re going to increase your chances of success. And that’s going to help you a lot of ways I have said to friends of mine that own art schools and affiliates. I will voluntarily come over and teach a class on art marketing or I will happily create a course on RT marketing and if you would require your students to watch it and know the responses. Well, you know, that’s not what we do. Well, the problem is, you know, it’s, it’s put yourself in a different world, you know, any, any school, let’s say it’s medical school, they teach you how to be a doctor, but they don’t teach you how to run your doctor business. And that’s something that should be part of the curriculum. You, you want to be learning these things. So here’s what I’m gonna tell you. It’s not what people want to hear. But the type of person who becomes an artist doesn’t want to do business, but they want to sell their paintings. But if you’re selling anything, whether it’s paintings or heroin, I don’t recommend that you’re, you’re in business, you’re selling something. So you need to invest in yourself in your education. And I highly recommend you do it while you’re in art school, because you have free time on your hands maybe, and start reading, you know, read everything you can get your hands on. Now, my best advice is, you know, what they call make your bed every morning. And there’s a whole book about that. Really, what it means is have discipline, you want the discipline of being a full time, business artist, meaning you pay your creativity, you paint what you love, you paint what you think is going to be what people want. But you also have to spend time, I think 20% of your week, one, one day a week focusing on your art marketing. And then you know, there’s other things like planning and bookkeeping, and scheduling and, and strategy and all of that other stuff. So you need to study it. And the way to study it is to read books, I have art marketing.com, which has hundreds of articles on it for free, I’ve got books out, I’ve got videos out. And there are lots of other people who teach marketing. I recommend you don’t focus on things that teach art marketing, even though that’s what I do, I recommend you take a course in small business. Think about reading some books on small business, read some books on mindset mindset is critical. You know, start with thinking Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, and read it once every couple of years, the rest of your life, I need to do that. That’s a reminder, it’s very important to understand that these things influence you, but you got to go to work every day. You know, rather than staying up till three o’clock in the morning and getting up at noon, and going and painting again, you know, set yourself out a schedule so that you can do normal business so that you can be there available for calls with clients and galleries and things like that set a schedule of painting time set a schedule of work time, planning time, all of those things that will make a big difference. Now, I did a video about goal setting, which I put on Instagram around right before the beginning of the year, you can find that at Eric Rhoads on Instagram. Take, you’ve got to have goals, you got to break your goals out monthly. And I think you’ve got to break out your goals weekly. And you need to make them measurable meaning you can tell when you’ve achieved them, you know, a goal might be $1 amount a goal might be getting, you know 10 certain things done, you want to measurable. And I recommend, especially on the financial side, check your goals every single week. So let me give an example. Now I just wrote an article about this in the oil painters of America newsletter, which you can find online. And this video that I just did. But here’s how to think about this way. Let’s say I’m going to use round numbers that are easy. Let’s say that you wanted to make $10,000 a month. So how do you do that? Well, you break it down into $2,500. Every week, that’s you know, let’s say an average four week month, then you break it down into $500 every day. And then you have to have that discipline of if I’m going to survive, I have to make $500 today. Now, if you make $1,000 today that buys you an extra day, but if you fall behind, you got to make it up. And if you give yourself that kind of a discipline, it’ll make all the difference in the world. I hate that kind of stuff. But you got to do it. And it’s running a business. And I have a friend that’s a gallery owner or was you know, his salespeople have a certain amount of money they have to bring in every single day and he checks with him. And if they don’t, he gives him a hard time because that’s how he makes his numbers. You got to give yourself a hard time. If you can’t be accountable. Get somebody to make you accountable. I have an accountability group. I’m at a board. I have a board of directors, I have to go meet with them quarterly and if I miss my numbers, they give me a hard time. And they should because I shouldn’t miss my numbers and they give me advice and they give me help and it’s always good to get outside advice from people who know how to do this stuff. If you have a partner, a husband, a wife, a spouse, a friend and who you can say look after make $500 every single week, I want you to check in with me once a week and see how I’m doing. And when when you know they’re gonna do that it’s kind of like working out, right? If you have a trainer who checks in with you every day and says, Did you do your setups, you’re not going to want to lie to him. So you’re gonna do your setups, it’s the same thing. So accountability, the world that you live in, kind of revolves around social media, gaming, things like that. You have to ask yourself, Where am I spending my time? Is it helping or hurting? Is it helping my attitude? Is it actually helping me sell my art? Or is it not? You know, not everybody’s world is about the same things your world is about. And if you want to sell art, you need to know that there are many, many tools in many, many places. And it’s not all about what you think is cool. And those things are cool. But just because you’re spending all your time on Tiktok doesn’t mean that everybody who’s gonna buy art is you need to be every place that you possibly can be. That has what I call concentrated art audiences, right? Concentrated audiences would be like fine art connoisseur, which I have all these billionaires and multimillionaires who buy a lot of expensive art. And they’re all art lovers. And they all like the kind of representational art that’s in there. And so when you’re advertising there, you increase your odds, rather than just putting it out on, you know, anywhere, right? So think about those things. Listen to your customers, find out what they want, they will tell you exactly what they need, and listen and try to do those things. Those are some core principles. There’s a lot of other things, but most importantly, discipline, and study. Now, study is a lifetime thing. You know, I have a I have kids, and one of my kids is like, I hate to, I hate to read, I read almost every single night, I listen to podcasts almost every single day when I’m working out in the morning, I buy courses, I join organizations, so I can learn more. I am constantly learning. And I know a lot, but I don’t know everything. And if you imagine yourself standing on a dock in front of the ocean, and you’re looking out over the ocean and the sky and above the sky. That’s how much there is to learn out there. You got to just constantly be learning, especially if you want to stay ahead in life. And if you want to be a successful art business person, then that’s what it takes. Sorry. I know you don’t want to hear that. Anyway, that is today’s on that positive note. That is today’s art marketing minute.
This has been the marketing minute with Eric Rhoads. You can learn more at artmarketing.com.
Eric Rhoads 1:07:52
This has been a really fun time today. Thank you. I appreciate it. I want to remind you guys to join us at the plein air convention in may go to watercolor live, coming up in a couple of weeks and make sure you get a subscription to plein air magazine. If you’ve not seen my blog where I talk about stuff that really is about stuff my kids need to know. Things like ethics and the way to operate a life. You know, it’s called Sunday coffee. You can find it at Coffeewitheric.com and subscribe for free. I’m told they’re hundreds of 1000s of subscribers, but I don’t know. I don’t count. Also, I’m on the air daily on Facebook. My show is called Art School live. And it’s there every day 12 noon Eastern. And you can subscribe for free on YouTube. We just hit 100,000 subscribers on YouTube. That’s pretty cool. Thank you for that and get your subscription. And also follow me please. I beg you. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram Eric Rhoads at Eric Rhoads. And that’s me. Eric Rhoads, publisher of plein air magazine. Thank you for reading it. Thank you for your time today. And remember, it’s a big world out there. And it’s go it’s time to go paint it. We’ll see you bye bye.
This has been the plein air podcast with PleinAir Magazine’s Eric Rhoads. You can help spread the word about plein air painting by sharing this podcast with your friends. And you can leave a review or subscribe on iTunes. So it comes to you every week. And you can even reach Eric by email Eric@pleinairmagazine.com. Be sure to pick up our free ebook 240 plein air painting tips by some of America’s top painters. It’s free at pleinairtips.com. Tune in next week for more great interviews. Thanks for listening.