The Plein Air Converence in Vegas was great. Met lots of like minded people. Here are my notes for those who missed it.


Plein Air Conference Notes

Clyde Aspevig

Clyde Aspevig “Nature is never gaudy.”

Paints the shapes within shapes (fractals) in as much variety as he can imagine.

Gil Dillenger

When choosing a gallery, don't choose the biggest and best even if your work fits there, but choose an aggressive good gallery in which you are sure to stand out.

Erich Rhoades – Marketing

Price is emotional

Don’t assume buyer’s know who you are

Ask buyer’s to “Tell me what it is about my work that touched you.”

Know what buyer’s are like.

When considering magazine advertising – Have them tell you about the profile of their subscribers.


Most likely person to buy art from you is someone who already bought from you.

With a gallery, can’t sell direct unless you have an arrangement with the gallery (such as you sell anything smaller than 8x10)

Sole purpose of a website is to get names

Newsletter – It’s not about me and what I did, but what’s useful to them.

A website without promotion is like a wedding without invitations.

Blogs work if you feed them weekly.

Facebook – Post everything you do four times.

Magazines with perishable information are crashing, but magazines with valuable long-term information are thriving.

Four quarter page ads are better than one full page ad.

Ads get perceived as content

Sell with emotion. All art is an emotional purchase.

Never run a photo [of my artwork] without a caption.

Story on the back of paintings

Wall cards with story alongside painting at gallery

Call gallery and tell sales people story

Use web and ads

We wrongly assume people can see what we see.

High priced paintings are assumed to be “better” than low priced paintings.

Low price can damage reputation.

Law of comparison – post one high priced painting and similar ones at one-third the price, so buyers think they’re getting a deal.

Halo marketing – guilt by association.

Buyer stages from successful advertising – Awareness, then interest, then intent, then purchase, then preference, then loyalty

Advertising Mistakes

Poor creativity

Lack story

Ad (bad) vs campaign (good)

Short term vs long term

Spread too thin

Poor targeting

Lack frequency

Single point of failure

Lost momentum (starting and stopping)

Assuming people pay attention

Telling, not creating emotional desire

Don’t advertise if you can’t afford to

Elements of Story

Clarity more important than creativity

Get buy to where he has a need

Don’ t tell, show

Fantasy (“reminds me of…”0

Shapes, color, names of familiar things

Verbs create movement

4 Target Buyers

Methodical – Spock

Competitive – Donald Trump


Humanistic – Ghandi

Nikolai Dubovik - Professor at the Surikov Institute in Moscow

Sky and earth reflect each other

Should feel like you can toss a stone and it would land at bottom left of canvas

What’s important is the relationship of color to color and light to dark, which is easier to see with some [very broke] pigment over the entire canvas.

Important to choose a good motif

Intimate motif is more productive with a more convincing outcome

Sometimes when you paint wet-in-wet you can still glaze if you paint thinly.

Stalin – “Art should be realist in tradition and socialist in content.”

Rules vs Laws

A great painting never matches the sofa.

Ken Auster

Slaps or sprays some pigment on canvas so that he can stand back, align photo (that has same proportions as canvas) with canvas and use splashed marks to draw from.

Painting shouldn’t have problems. That is, figure out solutions before painting.

Painting process is an “intellectual sandwich” with and intellectual beginning, a passionate middle and an intellectual finish.

A good start makes the painting. Without a good start, wipe out and start over.

Be influenced, but not held hostage, by what you see.

[Arbitrarily] picks a warm side and a cool side or warm near, cool far.

Blocks things in then paints the negative shapes around them.

Puts light on only one side so he gets form.

The stronger the focal point he more abstract you can get. The more abstract you can get the bigger you can get.

Scott Christensen

The real story is a lot of bad paintings

Learn to see your own work as it is.

The hardest part about painting is to be vulnerable.

One of the best ways to see color is to look at it upside-down.

Doesn’t want to use a dark dark anywhere in painting.

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Comment by Tonya Zenin on April 19, 2012 at 10:52am

Thank you for the post Keene. So much great information and very nice of you to share it with us. Please post more if you can!

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