#173 Tracy Verdugo: World Traveler Helping Others to Paint their Stories

Artist Tracy Verdugo lives on the southeast coast of Australia. Normally she spends the summer traveling the world to teach her classes. In fact, I tried to get her on the podcast last year, but she was traveling so much I couldn’t pin her down! I’m glad to be talking with her today. Tracy is a teaching artist with a unique, brightly colored painting style. You may know her from her book, Paint Mojo, where she showcased her paintings as well as the art of 16 other artists. You also may have taken one of her many art workshops that she teaches all over the world. While she’s had to put the in-person teaching on hold, you can still take one of her 8 online creative courses. Her next course will be called Story Painting.

Listen here or download from iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, CastBox, or Stitcher.

Tracy Verdugo

Tracy’s website is tracyverdugo.com.

You can find her online courses here.

She also can be found on Instagram.

You are welcome to join her Facebook Group called Abundant Creative.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. Tracy was involved in a big event that took place in Fiji last year and was to be in Vietnam next. Because of the uncertainty in traveling, they’ve decided to hold it in Australia and mainly promote it to Australians. Switching your retreats to a more local location may give you a stronger chance of pulling them off.
  2. Well, here’s a suggestion when you’re able to do distance teaching again. A few years back, Tracy got some retreat classes lined up in California. She announced this to her online community, and a few of them asked if she could teach at their location too. Soon she had workshop dates set up so that she could do a teaching tour. It’s a great idea to book a few classes together so that you just travel once to do many classes.
  3. Even with online courses, the students can still interact with the instructor. For Tracy, she sets up a Facebook group for each class, and she also has an alumni group for anyone who has taken any of her classes.
  4. She will add bonus tutorials in the Facebook group as well to give additional class content to her students.
  5. The Facebook group will exist beyond the original time of the class, it just won’t be as active. But anyone who purchases the class later can go back through the group and see what others have posted.
  6. Students are able to purchase her classes at any time so that they can do them at their own pace.
  7. It’s nice to give those that have signed up for your email list extra things. It might be they are the first to know about a sale of your art, or a launch of a class. It might be that they get a discount for purchasing a class. You should treat your email list as your special fans and reward them accordingly.
  8. A great way to find out what your students want in a class is to just ask them. That sounds so simple, but sometimes we don’t think of this. Talk to your community on Instagram or Facebook and find out what their needs and desires are when it comes to online classes.
  9. It’s good to explore different materials to see what you like and what works for you. You also want to try things at different price points. You may be using a cheaper paint or a cheaper brush, and you just can’t get the result that you want. Try a new art supply – it may be the quality of the materials and not your level of skill that’s giving you trouble.
  10. Sometimes when you’re not satisfied with a piece of art, you just need to put it away for a while. Pull it out a few weeks or months later, and you may discover just what it needs to be completed.
  11. Right now, while we still have travel restrictions, if you’re shipping your art out of your country, speak to your customer to find out about the shipping rules in their country. Some countries aren’t accepting shipments by air right now, so you may have to save some orders to mail at a later date.

#172 Susan Nethercote: Creating a Practice with Abstract Floral Paintings

Artist Susan Nethercote, from Victoria, Australia, paints beautiful acrylic abstract floral paintings. She previously taught in person workshops in her own studio, and hosted art retreats in France. While that has been put on hold, she has developed her first online class called Painting as a Practice. She will also be creating two more classes that will build on this. In addition, she hosts a podcast once a week called The Insider Studio, where she helps artists with projects and business challenges.

Listen here or download from iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, CastBox, or Stitcher.

Susan Nethercote

Susan’s art website is: susannethercote.com

If you would like to be one of the first to hear about her newest art for sale, join her Collector’s Club by signing up for her email list through her website here.

Her education website, where you can find her online classes, and later, her in person classes is: susannethercotestudio.com

Her podcast is called the Susan Nethercote Studio Insider Art Podcast. You can find it on most podcast apps, or from her website here.

Susan is also on Instagram.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. When Susan makes her botanical abstracts, she often paints over and around shapes to bring things out from the background. Painting over something that you like is a bold move, but it will often result in something that you love.
  2. When using oil pastels in your mixed media art, you’ll need to spray a fixative over it so that it will adhere.
  3. Susan advocates for painting as a practice, meaning, you need to paint a lot to develop your own visual language. The more you paint, the more you’ll notice that there are certain marks and shapes and colors that you go back to and have become your style.
  4. If you want to explore something new with your art, why not set up a challenge on Instagram so others can explore it with you? That will encourage you to keep going and will engage your artist community.
  5. Susan tries to trust the process when she paints, and this works for her. She also did that when she was deciding on the topic for her first online class. She worked in a nonlinear way, and just trusted the process. As a result of hosting a challenge on her Instagram, that allowed the idea for her class to form.
  6. Working on paper rather than canvases is a less expensive way to try new things and create a large body of work. Plus, they don’t take up much space when you’ve created dozens of them.
  7. As you’re learning art techniques by taking classes, you have to practice your art enough so that you get beyond the stage of copying your teacher. You need to keep working toward your own style.
  8. When you create online classes, it’s important to add a community aspect to it. Often, a Facebook group will be set up for the class so students can engage with the instructor and other students.
  9. Susan has a podcast called the Studio Insider Podcast. Listening to podcasts are a great way to get art business tips and learn from other artists.
  10. Susan has a unique way of dealing with the anxiety that comes with having deadlines: She doesn’t give herself deadlines. That takes the anxiety out of the picture, but she’s still able to get her projects done.

#171 Tonia Jenny: Awakening Her Radiance with Art

Artist Tonia Jenny spent years as an art book editor. She now provides editorial services, coaching and online art courses. When I talked to her in Episode #35 in September of 2018, she had created a couple of art courses. She now has 10 on her website, and she tells us about her next one that will be coming out soon. In the past couple of months, she reevaluated her website to be sure that it adequately reflects what she is doing today. She summarizes it with two words, awakening radiance. This is how she describes her mission: “You have an innate radiance; a light intended to illuminate specific areas of darkness in this world, in ways intended for no one but you. I am passionate about encouraging you to remember this. My mission is to guide creative individuals in refining their unique messages of inspiration and offerings, while determining the best means for them of sharing it.”

Listen here or download from iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, CastBox, or Stitcher.

Tonia Jenny in Sedona, Arizona.

From her upcoming online course -- Available near the end of July, 2020.
From her Little Light House online course
Her T-Shirt designs

Here are some of the things we discussed in this episode (click on the names to follow the links):

This is Tonia’s website: toniajenny.com

She also can be found on Facebook and Instagram.

Tonia offers mini classes on her website here. 

Tonia also offers Awakening Radiance Coaching on her website.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. On Instagram, people love to see work in progress photos or process videos of your art. You don’t have to wait until your art is finished to start posting it.
  2. When Tonia is developing a new project for her online classes, she makes a few different versions to see what works best and which is her favorite.
  3. For making videos, Tonia uses her phone, and she attaches it to a boom that is attached to her tripod. The boom extends the phone out and over her hands to film what she is doing.
  4. She also includes an intro video for her classes, and the camera is on her face rather than her hands. An intro video can act as the sneak preview or summary of your class.
  5. Don’t be afraid to use unusual materials in your art projects. Tonia has used cement to make small art pieces.
  6. So much has changed in the world these past few months. It’s a good idea to look at your business and see if your goals have changed. Evaluate how things are working differently for you, and think about making changes to your website to reflect what’s happening with you now.
  7. Tonia used Squarespace to create her website. It has website templates you can use then modify to fit your needs. For creating the artwork for each section of her website, she used Adobe Illustrator, which is a program you can use when you need to make vector art. Vector art is art that can be scalable to any size and it doesn’t lose its details.
  8. Tonia recommends Society 6 and Red Bubble if you’d like to put art onto T-shirts. She likes the quality of the shirts from Society 6 and the variety of clothing from Red Bubble.
  9. An art business for you can be more about just making art. It can also include making courses, or licensing your art, for example. You can also do other things you may not think are art, but you do them in a very artistic manner.

#170 Andrew Hollimon: Self-Taught Oil Painter

Artist Andrew Hollimon is originally from St. Louis, but he’s been in the West Palm Beach area of Florida for the past few years. Andy is a self-taught painter, and he creates portraits, animal paintings, and some abstracts. He exhibits his oil paintings in galleries as well as in outdoor art shows. He uses color to create a realistic scene with a touch of surrealism. His paintings are luminous, mysterious, and joyful.

Listen here or use a podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Spotify, or Stitcher.

Andrew Hollimon

Musing VII
Moonlight Serenade
The Reader
Unfinished Melodies
Musing Sunflower
Opus Moon Reflections
One Love War
Nubian IV

You can find Andrew’s artwork on these sites:

Singulart: Andy Hollimon

ArtFinder: Andrew (Ana’ Alu) Hollimon

FineArt America: Andrew Hollimon

He is also on Facebook and Instagram (@anaalu8).

Andy talked about two artists from West Palm Beach, Florida who have created a dozen popup art galleries over the years. I have interviewed both of them, and they generously share how they got their start offering art exhibits in their home. You can listen to Anthony Burks in Episode #27 and Trina Slade-Burks in Episode #29.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. Local art associations are great places to meet other artists and find out what’s happening in your art community.
  2. Popup art galleries provide opportunities to display your work, but also allow you to learn how a show is put together and how art is arranged and hung in a gallery.
  3. In fact, I recommend that you volunteer your time when you have art in a gallery, because you will learn so much, and you’ll get time to talk to the curators and other artists.
  4. There are so many things that can spark you toward a certain subject in your paintings. For Andrew, it’s often the color he wants to use that will then inspire the subject matter. Think about that for a minute – that may help you when you’re struggling to come up with a subject to paint. Start with the color instead.
  5. Think about your paintings that are selling: Do they have similar subject matter or similar colors? Make what your collectors are attracted to, but of course, make sure it pleases you too.
  6. When you have collectors who you know like your art, be sure and email them when you have new art to show them.
  7. It’s O.K. if you have art with different subjects. Just try to make a few of each subject, so when you want to enter a show, you can enter with a couple similar pieces.
  8. Some shows and competitions have themes, so that will guide you on what the subject of your art should be.
  9. When you are exhibiting your art at a show, you will have a better chance of selling a piece if you attend the show and are available to meet and talk to the buyers at the show.
  10. If you don’t have a website, you can put your artwork on other third-party sites that will sell it for you. Some focus on originals, and some on prints and accessories.
Jazzman

#169 Mary Beth Shaw: Artist and Owner of Stencilgirl Products

Artist Mary Beth Shaw owns the very successful stencil business called Stencil Girl Products. Not only does she manufacture thousands of stencils designed by her and many other artists, but she also offers online classes and has created a community of stencil enthusiasts. You can hear about the origins of Stencil Girl Products in my previous episode with her, #130 from December, 2019. Mary Beth creates abstract and collage art in her studio near St. Louis, Missouri. She also teaches her art techniques throughout the U.S., using the stencils that she designs. We talk about how this pandemic has affected her business and her teaching, and what she’s done to support her artist community and fellow stencil artists.

Listen here or use a podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Spotify, or Stitcher.

Mary Beth Shaw

Mary Beth’s website is mbshaw.com.

You can go to her Stencil Girl Products site from her website or you can use stencilgirlproducts.com.

Her online classes can be found at stencilgirlstudio.com.

You can also find her online classes on the stencilgirlproducts website through the Tutorials tab. You can also find lots of free instructional videos there.

Mary Beth and her Facebook Live events can be found on Facebook at Stencil Girl Products.

Stencil Girl Products is on Instagram.

And Pinterest.

And Twitter.

And Youtube.

We talked about Nathalie Kalbach’s Creative Jumpstart. Mary Beth is one of the artist instructors for this. You can still download the 31 instructional videos through November 30, 2020 here.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. During this lockdown period, people are enjoying the sense of community they get when watching Facebook Live art events or Zoom get togethers. They are a great way to interact and make art with others distantly.
  2. Facebook Live events are a great way to virtually connect with your artist community. Mary Beth sets up her phone to film on her hands making art, and then she puts her laptop in front of her so she can see the comments and questions from the audience.
  3. It’s a good idea to do your Facebook Lives on a regular schedule, like every Tuesday afternoon, for example. That way your viewers know to expect it each week.
  4. Artists should try to develop a product or service that will provide them passive income. For Mary Beth, she is offering artists the opportunity to sell their stencil designs through her company. This way they are not fully dependent on just making original art.
  5. There are many ways you can help artists right now: Buying their art; buying from small art supply stores; or even buying gift cards for future classes.
  6. Mary Beth reminds people to remember about self-care during this time. People can definitely be susceptible to anxiety or depression when their business has changed, and not by their choice. For her, meditating and exercising has helped.
  7. We also talked about the social activism which is taking place across the country right now. What you decide to do right now is a very personal decision, and it’s OK if you do positive things but don’t announce them to the world. But taking any form of action right now may help you to feel a little more in control after this lockdown period of feeling that nothing has been in your control.
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