PleinAir Podcast 213: CW Mundy and the Principles of Painting
Welcome to the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads – rated the #1 painting podcast in Feedspot’s 2021 list. In this episode Eric interviews American impressionist CW Mundy live during the Publisher’s Invitational in the Adirondacks. Listen and put these principles to work to help your painting improv right away.
Bonus! In this week’s Art Marketing Minute, Eric Rhoads, author of Make More Money Selling Your Art, answers the questions: “How do I negotiate arrangements to sell my art in a restaurant?” and “What’s the best way to get local museums interested in my work?”
Listen to the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads and CW Mundy here:
– CW Mundy online: https://cwmundy.com/
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– Eric Rhoads on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ericrhoads/
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– Plein Air Magazine: https://pleinairmagazine.com
– Plein Air Today newsletter: pleinairtoday.com
– Submit Marketing Questions: Eric@artmarketing.com
FULL TRANSCRIPT of this PleinAir Podcast
DISCLAIMER: The following is the output of a transcription from an audio recording of the PleinAir Podcast. Although the transcription is mostly correct, in some cases it is slightly inaccurate due to the recording and/or software transcription.
Eric Rhoads 0:01
This is episode number 213 featuring artist CW Mundy and the principles of painting – you don’t want to miss this.
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 1:04
And I am proud to report that the movement is strong and people are getting outdoors and painting again, and events are coming alive again. And thankfully, we are getting back to some sense of normal. I apologize. I’ve been gone for a couple of months and view regularly listened to the plein air podcast and I’m usually here weekly. Well, that didn’t happen. I had tragedy in my family, someone in my family got very ill I wanted to spend as much time with them before they passed. And I got a chance to do that. And then of course, we had to go through all of the difficult things that go with all of that right, I want to get into detail. And then you know once once all of that was done then it was piles of work on my desk to get caught up from being away for a month and a half. And then of course the publishers Invitational happened, which is my publishers retreat. It’s a painting retreat I have in the Adirondacks, every year this was the 10 year anniversary would have been the 11th. But of course we canceled last year. Anyway, thank you for your patience and give me a chance to get some of that done. I normally don’t skip this and just couldn’t manage to get it done. So I do apologize. We are honored that the plein air podcast has been rated number one in feet spots 2021 Top 15 painting podcast list. So that’s pretty cool. Thank you so much for making that happen. Coming up next month, we’ve got our virtual online conference for pastel and it is booming, booming, moving. Anyway, this is our first pastel event dedicated to drawing and painting with pastels and even if you don’t consider yourself a pastel artists, I hope you’ll check it out because you’re going to learn a lot of concepts that will apply to whatever your favorite medium is. I learned some techniques. For instance, from Albert Handel, he sent me a little video privately the other day, some things he’s going to be teaching. And I said, you know, Albert, I think I could apply those to oil painting. He said, Yeah, absolutely you can. But this is a technique we use in pastel. So I like Oh, cool. This is cool. And I when I attended watercolor live or watercolor event, I learned a bunch of things about watercolor and I got to be much better at watercolor, which is really convenient for those times when I don’t want to take my my oil paints. But I also learned some techniques I could apply to oil painting. And the same is going to be true for pastel painting. So you’re going to have a lot of fun. We have a beginner’s day on August 18. And you can come to that and learn all the basics. Before we dive into three days. Back to Back workshops with some of the absolute best painters in the world in pastel. You have until midnight Pacific on the 11th of July to save up to $500 it’s your last chance to save money on this conference. Go ahead and do it. It’s 100% guaranteed if you attend the first day and you don’t feel like in the first day you got your entire money’s worth. We will refund your money just ask and we will do that. I think we’ve only had to do it one time. And because it was somebody thought it was about modern art and we didn’t do modern art. So anyway, but we stand behind it. So go to pastel live and check that out. coming up soon after the interview I’m going to be doing and marketing minute also, we recently gave away a $15,000 check to the great Lori Putnam for winning the 10th annual plein air salon art competition. She will be getting her painting on the cover of plein air magazine. Actually she has her painting it’s out now. And we’ve now started the next round. So please visit plein air salon.com. By the 31st of July enter your best works. Each month we have highly respected judges choosing the top paintings and everyone who is a winner in each of the categories including the top three overall. Then you get entered into the national competition for the big bucks which is a $15,000 Grand Prize cover plein air magazine and plus there’s a total of about $33,000 in prizes, so you don’t want to miss that. If You have not checked out our newest video from streamline art or from Little at all. Check it out. It’s called elegant landscapes featuring Cindy Baron who does painting and teaching of art for more than 35 years and you may know her as a watercolor. So that’s what I did. But when I saw her what her oil painting, I was blown away and asked her to do a video. She has a five star review. People love this video, it’s seven hours of instruction. And it is incredible. Now I just want to tell you that I spent some time with Cindy on the video and she worked with me on a couple of little things that she demonstrated on the video. And it completely revolutionized the way I paint. I changed all my colors. It changed everything. And I don’t do that very often. But she really cut through and told me some things you know, I noticed she got such elegant, rich colors. And her paintings look so wonderful, but they don’t look garish. And so anyway, check it out. Check out Cindy Baron, elegant paintings at streamline art video, just go to streamlineArt video.com you can search her name, Baron, or you can go to the new releases section on the homepage and you will find it there. Also, in the current issue of plein air magazine, you’re going to find a feature article on the acclaimed watermedia artist Stephen quiller, who influences artists worldwide with his color theory and painting techniques. You don’t want to miss that and check out our free weekly newsletter plein air today, it’s a great way to stay connected to plein air groups all across the country and even in the world. You can go to outdoor painter comm or website outdoorpainter.com and sign up for plein air today. All right. Coming up after the interview, I’m going to be answering some art marketing questions in the marketing minute. But first, let me tell you about this interview. I invited CW Mundy to join me in the Adirondacks. He’s been up many, many times to our our event he paints with us but I asked him, you know, normally it’s just you know, we’re all equals. But I said CW got so much information, would you do something with us. And so he set up on stage with me, and we did the principles of painting. Now he did, I interviewed him, and I recorded it on video for a video that he’s doing. But I wanted to share this with you as a podcast today. So today we have CW Mundy, the principles of painting. Now keep in mind, this is with a live audience. And so it’s not edited. It’s nothing fancy. But I think you’re going to get the great ideas out of the principles, put these principles to work, and they will really help your painting right away. So let’s get right to the interview with CW Mundy. I had I had a really interesting moment in time. And it was a kind of a realization moment for me.
Eric Rhoads 7:43
I went painting up in Vermont with CW and Carolyn Anderson, Todd writers who got violently ill that week, Peter Miller, I’m not sure who else, Carolyn Anderson. And we had a rainy day like this. And we had painted outdoors together. And this is probably 10 or 1215 years ago, I don’t know it was a long time ago. It’s kind of the first time I ever met these guys. And I was pretty intimidated painting with all these amazing painters, as you can imagine. And they’re all kind of coming over and they’re given me tips, and everybody’s telling me something different. So again, Carolyn would come over and tell me to do this. And then CW come over and tell me to do this. And Todd would come over and tell me to do something different. And so that afternoon, it rained like it did today. And so we went into Peters studio, and they all took this big painting that I I was working on and I said okay, you’ve each told me something different. I want you guys to finish it. So they all finish that painting, you remember that. And it actually turned out pretty good. Because it was a combination of different styles. So Carolyn would work on it and the CW would and then I made them all sign it so I’m going to retire on that painting. Good luck. So um, one of the things that I think that we we I think we go through these phases as painters, were not not everybody but when we first start painting we kind of tend to want to be photorealistic or we tend to want to be tight. What are your feelings about that? I know you know, there’s no right or wrong but what what are the phases that we go through and where do we ultimately end up because it seems like people end up starting tight and start out tight and end up much more impressionistic or or abstract.
CW Mundy 9:57
Oh, that’s pretty much The way it always is. And it’s the same thing. Same way with collectors, you know, the collectors, you know, they go looks just like a photograph. Like they’re really cutting the mustard, you see what I mean. And then after that collector spends 10 or 15 years looking at artwork, going to museums, studying, you know, the great painters, then they go to school and they say art is much more than having to be a slave to to pictorial realism. But I want you to understand this, I have no gripes about photo realism, as long as it’s great, I, I love everything from conceptual art, all the way to photo realism. My only my cut off point is, it’s got to be moral, if it’s immoral, I don’t want anything to do with it. That’s just, that’s just me. And so I God has given me a great gift to be able to appreciate photorealism all the way to really good conceptual art. So the artist is the same way, you know, they, their mind tells them, you don’t want to be a painter while I look at something, that’s real estate. So you’re going to try to end up making it look realistic, which is really pretty hard to do, and almost an impossible task in the very beginning. So there’s a lot of frustration there. But we don’t have to be a slave to the subject. And as a general rule, but there are things that you need to be a slave to the subject when you’re painting. And that is paying attention to the value relationships, the color relationships, and the edges and the things that might appear the way that you would want to is your painting. And those things. So there are things that we need to gain that mileage in. But it’s so many the artists, they would come to my workshop. And they’ve done that for the last 2025 years. Because they like the way that I paint. But they find out when they get into the workshop, what I do is I take them back to square one and start over. And in fact, I’m one of the few artists out there that is professional, I love to get somebody that doesn’t know, diddly squat. And the reason is they feel really like intimidated. And oh my gosh. But I love that because I don’t have to deprogram them. Because there’s so many so many students that come off, you know, they come to class, they go, Well, my high school teacher told me that, and I decided that that’s why they were your high school teacher. They weren’t out in the field, and they weren’t painting the freedom. And of course, back in those days, there weren’t, there wasn’t the accessibility to to making money like there is now this is the greatest time in the history of America to be a loving artist, and be able to make money to enjoy your craft. So I don’t know if I’m going off on a tangent of that.
Eric Rhoads 13:36
How many people in the room are currently selling your paintings? All right. Now hands down. How many people in the room? Don’t ever cut care if you ever sell a painting, that you’re not here to sell paintings, okay, several of you. And how many have not sold paintings yet but aspire to be someone who sells paintings. Alright, so a few of you. So majority of people are selling paintings.
CW Mundy 14:05
You know, I want to say I did this really cool that he asked that question. Because I get students that come there too. There are a lot of students that would come to my workshops, they don’t care about having a career. They were just smart enough to come to somebody they thought they knew something that can help them enjoy it. Because you know, so I have a great affinity for those people. Because, you know, I we know how to talk about business because I’ve been on for a long time. But I like those people that just want to have the enjoyment of painting and, and really guys and gals I’m telling you, it’s the journey and the experience that it’s all about. It’s not the completion of the painting and, and getting aggradation and stuff like that and last year, really You know, you’re trying to move up the ladder. And there’s, there’s some validity in that. But it should, first of all, it’s got to be that enjoyment. And this is one of the reasons that I love to teach because we’d probably get into this point. But I tell my students all the time, I mean, in the workshops about the second day or the third day, and I go, you guys are working way too hard. You know, you’re forgetting the primer and the root rudimentary and the foundational stuff, and you’re trying to dress the windows, and put all the knick knack paddywhack junk on your veining that doesn’t belong there in the first place. But you know, they have to be told that so when you can give them a real good vision of what it takes, which we’re going to talk a little bit about that. It’s, it’s really wonderful. And I love those people that just want to have the enjoyment of beignet and money is not an issue, the careers not an issue. They want to do something they can enjoy. And I can promise you what the correct and right teaching, you can have a ball.
Eric Rhoads 16:10
It’s really fun. So before we get into that, I want to just touch on that. At fall color week, a couple of years ago, I offered some free counseling to people. And a couple of people took me up on it. And I was sitting there with these people, and they’re like, Okay, I need to figure out how to sell paintings. And I said, Do you need the money? And both of them said, No, I’m retired, I’ve got a good pension or whatever, I don’t need the money. And I said, Why do you want to sell paintings? And they said, well, because I thought that’s what you were supposed to do. And I suggested, maybe what you’re really looking for is recognition, not a sale? And is are there other ways to find that recognition? So I’m curious, you know, there is a lot of pressure to make a living, especially if you’re full time as an artist. Does that pressure impact your ability to paint what you love and what you want to do? Doesn’t mean Yeah,
CW Mundy 17:12
I don’t have any pressure because we, you know, I got as blessed Rebecca, my wife, Sarah, on our career, unbelievably, and, you know, we don’t need any money. You know, I don’t need any money, I got all the money I would ever need. But when I never started my goal, I never started it out to see how much money I could make. That was never my goal. My goal was, how much talent do I have? And how can I nourish that talent? And how can I paint at a high level of art, that was always my goal.
Eric Rhoads 17:49
So talk to me about being the Steven Spielberg of your own painting.
CW Mundy 17:56
This is a crucial thing, and most workshops are gotcha. Nobody ever talks about this. But I got news for you, you know, you’re only gonna paint as well as we direct. And most people don’t even think about that. In fact, you know, Dan guards told me in 1995, one of my first workshops, he said, You got to solve all the problems up front, before you ever dip or brush and I’m gone. Well, that makes a lot of sense. You know, and, and it really does so. So being a Steven Spielberg, let’s put it this way. If you’re in the movie business, and you’ve got a, you’ve got the greatest cast, the greatest screenplay, the greatest musical score, and the greatest actors, and the director spins it with a sea level, it’s never going to be up for the Oscars is a no way. So it’s the same thing you can be a goofy, you can be a really good painter, and you can have a really good subject. And then you can paint that, but if you will, direct you will have so much more and that pain will be like the Grand Slam for you, you know, not a home run, we’d like to get home runs, but hey, man, it’s really great when you know you that’s a Grand Slam. So, so directing it is really crucial thing. And so that’s why I use that illustration, because that’s the way it is and the Oscars and that’s the way it’s going to be and the receiving class of people are going to look at your paintings, and, and, and tell you the greatness of it or the lack thereof. So it’s really crucial and there are certain things that you have to understand that go along with that directing. And some of that is are some of the things that you know We’re gonna talk about this is kind of like a mini talk workshop. But I told Eric because I love this guy what he’s doing for given a dream for so many people, and his dream is pure, he just wants people enjoy painting, why not? You know, and so he’s based a lot of his, his career on doing that. So you know, that’s, that’s what I want to do as as a gift to everybody else and try to help them. See the things that are pertinent, that are really important. And that’s why I discussed with him, I said, if you wanted to have this time, I would love to love to give that to the audience so that they can, they can maybe think about some things a little bit different and tread a little bit different water than just always been. What am I gonna do in that, so the same is gone south.
Eric Rhoads 21:02
So we’re gonna have, we’re gonna get into some specific principles here, but explain what you do when you’re directing your own painting. What when you walk up to that we’re talking plein air painting, in this particular case, when you walk up to that scene, and you study that scene before you even figure out what your canvas is going to be what’s going through your head.
CW Mundy 21:29
Many people don’t know because I’m so old now. But my I launched my career in plein air painting, I went to Europe in 1995, and painted a whole collection, my wife was a professional videographer, she did a, we did a video, we saw that we had a catalog of big professional catalog. And I painted that whole collection plein air there and didn’t touch it with a brush when I came back. Because that was, that was my point. That’s what I want to do. And I really didn’t know much about plein air painting. So I didn’t approach it that way. Because I had nothing to start with. I had no starting point. Nobody told me anything. So, but what I even in the last few years, and it was that realization of the directorship how important it was even for me at the level that I contain, that you know, you are really, you know, you’re really doing a lazy job here, you know, you have you know, so much, why don’t you figure out and really look at it and assess it. So the first thing that I would say to you, which is getting your point, which is very important. Why in the heck are you setting up in front of that subject? You got to ask yourself, why am I What is it just, you know, people, they’ll go to any spot, break out their equipment, you know, they got a landscape broken boy, they’ll just bring it out, they won’t look at anything, and they’ll just start painting. And you know, you’re a wave on the ocean. You know, that’s a train wreck waiting to happen. So like Dan totally explained to me, you got to solve your problems up front. So the key issue is why is this thing begging me to be painted? And that is the question you have. Now a lot of times maybe like, here and there because of the time elements and this and that in and out of rain jars and stuff. You can’t be as particular. But you have to ask yourself, what is why am I drawn? And and, and what I wanted to say is, if it’s not begging you to pain it, go find something else. Don’t even waste your time. Your heart’s not in your heart is a big part of the painting process. And you’ve got to be motivated. And when you’re excited about something like you know, you go here and observe the first time, you see what’s the falls, they were say resist Well, yeah, say you look at it, say oh my guys, I hear the pounding on the water. I can see the water splashing and flubbing up I can see the sky behind it, you know, and you get really emotionally connected to it well, then that’s a good thing. You got to have that. So that’s the primary thing. Then, within that if you’re going to paint in a representational time, the history of art cruises, one thing and design and that is a primary, a secondary and a tertiary. You can read it and all the history books, anybody that knows anything about academic and representational art, there’s a primary, a secondary and a tertiary. The primary is your sensuality focus. That’s why you’re going to paint it if it’s If you’re on a hill, and it’s a big snow of big snow, and you’ve got a little, little child with a little red hat on a sled, and you got all this value that’s like a two value or a one value of snow, what’s gonna be your central focus? That’s gonna be the red, the red cap. Right there are if it was a black cap because of the value. So you figured out what is it that what is the the main theme of the saying that I’m looking at? Is it that like, because people were talking the first day I was there, and it was that little patch of that light, you know, it’s set up for that can be a nice attention getting and then everything else has to play secondary and has to play tertiary. If the secondary battles the primary, you got a problem, don’t ya? Because they don’t know whether to love here are loved here or wherever
Eric Rhoads 26:00
this is a common issue. You know, you see two I faced it today, you see two things that you really love. And I was like, out there a Norman Ridge Road, it was the mountains in the barn. I really love that. And then I thought, Oh, I love this tree. And you know, I so I had to try and make a decision that I was going to focus on that tree, but I wanted to make everything look great. But it fights you.
CW Mundy 26:26
Yeah, because your mind will look at it. You got a red barn over here. And you’ve got, you know, white lilies over here and the red barn over there, and you paint them with the same amount of believability and the same amount of attention. It’s a dog fight. You know, the viewer is looking at, they don’t know where to look because you have not directed the painting.
Eric Rhoads 26:54
So there’s a great debate. There are two philosophies on this that I know of probably more your philosophy is centrality of focus. That’s in focus. That’s where you have your sharpest edge, your brightest Chroma, your darkest dark, you could have you could in theory, and then everything gets softer as it goes out. Now you ask somebody like joma girl, and he says, I want everything in focus I want because the AI moves around.
CW Mundy 27:25
Well, but see, that’s not the traditional. What joma girl is talking about is what the modernists came up with and you know, everyone I know Quang hos work. Yeah, really good friend of ours, and I just love that guy, get him in a headlock and give him a deathtrap. He’s like my little little child what a tremendous artists but he loves the gentleman girl thing the that’s called the modernists came up, you only have sensuality and focus on primary and secondary and tertiary. For histories of art. The modernists came along, and they came along with what you’re talking about the equalization theory. And the equalization theory is they threw the baby out with the bathwater, they don’t want a landing spot. They want your eye to go all over and leave one thing to another and they will just want your eye moving through the whole thing. Miro Kandinsky are so many well, Jackson Pollock Hello. But there are so many artists of those moderates. That’s what they did. There was no landing point. And that was their duty. They wanted your eye to Rome. But but but the art, the history of our that was never really anything that was going in that direction. And probably because a lot of the art that was produced at that time was religious art. And it was the cardinal All right, it was you know, Mario berry baby Jesus, or whatever but it was it was it something that in a narrative painting that was that was it and then like, like Eric mentioned, then the further you get away from the the primary, the brymer the centrality to focus, your edge work becomes less edgy and softer, and less detailed and when you get further and further out of the parameters, then it’s it’s really like I’m going to get into that restaurant action flat shapes on that so so that’s why jelmer girl does that because all of that is important. But there are times that you look at some of the gentleman girls paintings, and he’s got a screen and sons on Hello. That thing is gonna bug as it’s like knocking your eyes out. It’s gonna be the central bug, right? But the point is this. Neither one is correct or incorrect. It’s knowing from the science of painting what you want to accomplish in your painting. If you want to paint a representational bhaineann, you want everybody to roam all over the place. Well, they’re all the central focus out the door. You don’t have to, but that’s why we teach. And that’s why people need to know so that they know. Well, this falls under that category. So I’ll go with that sort of a concept. You see what I mean? It helps you develop human level Dan, the greatest landscape painter ever Russian lover Dan would do sensuality and focus sometimes. And then the other ones as they were equalisation. It was it was a scene, a male Group, a bad calf, a lot of those guys on the East Coast, those scenes, those were scenes, and they painted the scene, they were called scene painters. And that’s more like Jomo girl. That’s an equalization theory, there’s not one dominant thing that he’s trying to latch on to. But for me, what I love that challenge, I, when I came across this idea, I did 14, nine by 12, still alive, I put the central focus center in Station Number one, then I went over to station number two does the next pain there station number three in Station Number four, if you take a tic tac toe board, and and they divide up to nine equal rectangles, where those lines intersect, could be station one station to station three, station four, only as a starter, it doesn’t mean that they have to be there always is just a understanding to make that a starting. And so I get like 14 of them. And then this is really funny what I learned that I didn’t know I was going to learn, I locked in and the 14 and five or six of them either locked you so much ended the centrality of focus that you couldn’t escape. You couldn’t go to the secondary and the tertiary because you’re like, you’re just like locked in. So those are things that you know, you learn as you create.
Eric Rhoads 32:23
Okay, so let’s talk about simplified value structure.
CW Mundy 32:27
Why, you know, this is one of the big things that I mentioned, Eric that I thought would be this is or how many are more in the new young painters, how many young painters that we have out there? Come on, don’t be guys. Okay, so that’s probably for those those couple that those two guys back there something to think about? I was so shocked and surprised because I thought I would be cheating. When I started playing, they’re painting that if I move this or I moved that or I did this or did that, you know, that’s cheating. No, you got to painting exactly what you say boy, and then you’re really gotten the muster. Know, if you read Edgar Payne’s book on design, he talks about that, if you’ve had a move that rock or if you got to move that cabin, like for you, he got to move the tree, he got to seen what the tree looks like, with that value in that light. And he could have moved it over closer to the barns. And then he could add something in the sky or cloud or something. They get to add all three of them anchored right there and data composition like that. But see what happens is you don’t think you’re allowed to because I thought well this is cheating. You know, you know you’re so they tell you that people that don’t know a lot, you know, you just have to pay Well, you see, well that’s good in the beginning. But one of the greatest quotes that I can give you tonight is the greatest art or artists that ever paint, paint what they can’t see. I just got I just my carotid arteries that have been going down I just had a Nirvana I just go on right there. I just got so much confirmation, because that’s the truth. The greatest painters out there paint what they can’t see why. Because they know from mileage, it’s gonna work, and it’s going to make much better painting. People get way too trapped into thinking that they got to paint well, right what’s in front of them. Sometimes you got to shift the values to make the values work better, to get a better composition. That’s where the painters you go from being a mediocre painter, to a good painter, and then proportionally from a good painter to a great painter. And from a great painter, if you want to use the word Master, that thing’s thrown around like everybody, you got to Facebook, everybody is a master. You know, I laugh at that they come how I shouldn’t say that. I kind of chuckle about the comments when people say about me, you know, so, anyway, but that that’s the way it works. So think about think about that one, quote, the greatest painters paint what they can see. So when you’re painting something there, how could what could you do to that waterfall? Or what could you do to that barn, let’s say you push the Chroma, you don’t like it looking dead orange, reddish brown, you push it, push the Chroma, which is the intensity, the color, and you make more of a brilliant read or whatever, you know, you’re allowed to do these things, people aren’t going to drive up to that spot and buy your painting, go, Hey, now, wait a minute here, that part’s not that red. You know, so you know, you got to do what you got to do.
Eric Rhoads 36:05
But those are key things to think about. Okay, so three values,
CW Mundy 36:11
three values. For you two guys in the back, you know that we’re talking about, you know, you You said you more beginners, the beginners get all i and I’ll tell you what, a lot of mediocre painters aren’t even good painters don’t really know this until they really understand it, it’s better to simplify the value structures out there. So there’s value harmony, you know, there’s harmony and color. There’s harmony and edges. There’s harmony and paint manipulation. And there’s harmony and value. Why would you paint the sky, a to value and then your mount range is six, and then your and then your land cover? Or maybe the mountain range is seven or eight value, you go from A to value to an eight value on the mountains, and then the ground cover is a four value, why would you make that great of a shift because that line along that skyline is going to be so powerful, because of the values are so far apart, you see what I mean? So why not take, why not take a sky that’s a two value sky of seven value mountain and have three or four value land cover. Why not shut the sky down and make it instead of a two value, make it a three and a half value, make it a little darker. And that’ll be a closer value to that maybe take the mountain range value and hit it a little lighter. And the grand cover, these are the things that you know when you’re going out there and like I’m looking and looking out there, and I’m looking at the sky and I’m looking at the tree line and in the waterline that that base rate is a two value. That’s that’s a two back. And that’s good. So at consensus, let’s say we simplified your Sunday to three days, then here’s the wonderful thing. Once you lay in those three values, you get your sky value, the mountain value and the ground cover value. You lay all that in and get your values right. All you got to do is do shifts on top of those values. You may go on the on the foreground cover, you may put some three cover or three value, three and a half to values. And then you may go five and a half and six as value accents. But they’re only accents. Your paintings are only going to be great if you simplify the value relationships and keep them that’s why they have Why didn’t Why do they have all the great painters talk about high key middle key and low key? Do you guys know what all that is? Does everybody understand high key as any as our values between? Well, first of all your value scale should be as they’re all way those stupid things that you buy at the pad the parts, stars or whatever that are 10 values. They’re worthless. And why are they worthless, because you never train your eye to see the half tones the half value and that’s on a nine scale. It’s a five, you’ve got four values that are lighter, you’ve got five the half tone, and then you’ve got 678 and nine four values going darker and you can train your everybody knows what what nine is black. Everybody knows what one white is you got train yourself to learn to see that halftone, if you don’t have that in a nine value scale to look at and train yourself, you don’t have that on the 10, because it’s in between the five and the six, and there’s no value for you got a six value and you got to find value, that you don’t get a five and a half value, that they show you on a 10 value thing. So those are wrong. And they’re stupid. And Richard Smith, if he were still alive and back that up, because when I read his book, I was so thrilled that he said, Oh, yeah, go with the nine value scale, and attach them Mr. Schmidt knew a lot. So the nice thing is, if you can, if you can get it down to three basic big shape values, then you play accent values, on top of on top of those different like the clouds, if you got a sky, that’s a, say a three value well, and then you’ve got some clouds in there, then you’ve got room to make a little bit of a lighter value. And then maybe, if it’s if it’s dark underneath the cloud there, you can make that a little darker. So you do accents, values, and sparingly and sparingly over the major value scales. Because the worst thing that you can do is have spotty value paintings. I remember when I used to go into our home, after plein air painting, I’d set it down on the floor, and I turned the lights down. And oh my guys, the bags were pounce on all over the place. It showed me Don’t do that. Don’t do that. You fracture the value relationship. You can fracture a painting with color. You can fracture painting with value, you can fracture a painting with edges. And you can certainly fracture a painting with paint manipulation. All of those are the key things that I talked about drug drawing, squinting, design, value color edges, and paint manipulation, and variety in unity. And each one of those visible ones and I talked about the alien factor that the association factor in the face factor, which we won’t have probably time to talk about unless people want to ask some questions.
Eric Rhoads 42:22
So you mentioned shapes, talk to us about big shapes, because that’s really essential as part of this.
CW Mundy 42:30
Well, it’s everything you know, Carolyn Anderson, who’s one of my closest friends, and I think one of the most brilliant mind art minds in America. And certainly one of the greatest painters, how many nover work Carolyn Anderson? How would you guys agree with me? Yeah, she she’s, she’s phenomenal. Well, she, she, she brought up the point, I didn’t even think about it. Carolyn Anderson skirt is all based on mark making. Now, mark making was usually achieved and started by people who were portrait painters. Because it’s like, I’m making that mark. I’m doing this part here. You know, I want to do the eyes, the nose, I see the nose and the two eyes and I see the mouth. Well, when you’re doing this sketch and study, I make marks, you see what I mean? But you don’t do that when you go out. And plein air painting. If you do that, you know, you’ve got that window of light that’s going like this. And you know, when you got to two, two and a half hour window where the values and shadows are going to be the same. That’s all you got. You don’t have time to do a mark making vein, you paint shapes. And Carolyn Tony said, Yeah, we’re two different artists here. You know, you paint shapes. I’m a mark maker. And I love her work. Oh my gosh. But she doesn’t make paint very few. She made a few landscapes. And that’s the reason because she hasn’t found a way successful for her to do mark making the way that she likes with her hands and her figures. And, and it’s troublesome. She can’t take that to the landscape, although she’s done a lot more now. So anyway, the values are key or essential. As soon as you identify them by squinting and seeing the relationships of the values. It’s all about relationships. its relation to sheep, she straightened me out on a point we were driving down to teaching down in new harmony. And I was talking about warm color, cool color and she goes See that? Yeah. It’s not warm color and it’s not cool color. It’s warmer or cooler. Because everything is relational for somebody that I’d say read well, they will have some warm color blue. That’s a cold color. Well, yes, on the color wheel. You could say that, but you can have a cool Read. And you’re gonna have a warm read you a cool read, you add violet or blue to it, and it’ll cool it off and you add why it’ll be pink or lavender pink or a little bit away from red. And so the same thing you can warm up blue by bringing in that sort of tertiary on the color will have a brown and that’ll warm up that blue. So, so it doesn’t go to green.
Eric Rhoads 45:35
Yeah, great if you want to take some pictures. Okay, so talk to us about was, so when you lay in the big shapes? Are you we take some pictures. Thank you Are are you trying to make sure that the shapes are theirs? They’re not equal. You want one of the dominant shape?
CW Mundy 45:57
Yes, yeah. Everything is relational again over. So what happens if you have a shape like this here? And then you got a shape like that over here? Well, why would you do that? Because it would be monotonous and boring. You know, you want to have variety. The key and variety and unity, which I talked was a discipline, if you’ve got too much variety, in those shapes, your thing could be fractured. If you have too much unity in those shapes, it can be boring. So the key is to get as in all the disciplines, is to get as much variety as you can get away with and still have a unified. It’s crucial. It’s crucial. But for example, if I would have paid still alive, why would I take a rectangular ball? And then paint apples and pears? Why would I do that? And last, the ball was going to be the head. And it’s totally different because it’s relational. It’s not organic. It’s a rectangle. So already with with with organic apples and oranges, or pears or lemons or whatever it is that are round and circular. Why would you stick a rectangular shaped thing and they’re just stupid? Because there’s no there’s no there’s no uniting of a you know, you want the shapes, but you don’t want them to be so that everything is the same size. You know, sometimes I’ll call cheap, I’ll make the pair in the foreground. I’ll cut him off down here and have a big top over here. Like he’s really in the front. And I’ll break the outside edge over there and do something different that and, and so that you get a variety of variety of shapes. So it is really crucial to do what Eric’s talking about, is to make sure you don’t have the same thing. It’s like there was a lady I don’t remember her name. But she was showing her her tree her her paintings of the trees and I liked them because there was unequal spacing and different sizes and shapes of those trees. Which made it interesting.
Eric Rhoads 48:22
It was Dennis Wasn’t it you were doing the trees out there and they at the center? Yeah, wasn’t that was it wasn’t you? It was oh zoo. Okay. And then there was a lady from Croatia as of slat flats or slats her first name I met Anyway, she was doing that. And I complimented her because there was a variety and yet the things were unified in value. But there was a variety of those types of bands. And they weren’t over over designed what man does.
CW Mundy 49:14
But what man does is he over? doesn’t see the beauty and the variety that nature gives us from all of the points and we over organize that have you had people Thank you. Have you had people say well, you know, I like the pain but you got you got three shapes, what they look like that that are right next to each other and they’re the same spacing. Well, that’s a no no, because it’s it’s boring and it’s it’s bad design. And by the way, design is the most crucial aspect of all pain. I don’t care what anybody says. But anybody that knows the history of art, and study from the greatest greatest painters design rules. If you don’t have a great design, your paintings gonna be served on the drain. You know, design is everything, but it’s not that hard when you understand some of this stuff, drink some water.
Eric Rhoads 50:20
So, talk to us about paint manipulation and start with what you do with big shapes with paint, because that’s kind of your that would be the foundation of your house before you start adding the the elements of decor.
CW Mundy 50:36
Excellent point, Eric. I found this out about five or six years ago doing still lives. Well, how many old Rosemary brushes. Okay, she’s got a fat, thick five inch fan brush. That should be you need two or three of those. You need to go get them and buy them and get them. Those little stupid little fan brushes that only have you know in there about, you know, an eighth of an inch thick are worthless, they’re not going to do you any good. Get you that big, fat thick, they’re about that thick. And five, they’ve got the five inch, they’ve got the three inch or whatever. Get the large and the medium and they get a smaller one but get those big fat fan brushes. Because here’s what I found out and I was just sharing that with Eric. Tonight. If you look at john fountain, Latour is still alive. How many are familiar with fontanella? tourists? No lies. Okay, how about Emil Carlsen. Okay, two of my favorite artists, okay. If you really look and study those paintings, you’re gonna see a phenomena that I just figured this out, you know, you know, a few months ago, really, literally, and now I’m saying how important it is. You I and you’re here, this is this is not a thick, heavy vein, those, those big fan brushes are not going to work really well. with thick, heavy pain better if you put on just right, or tube strength, pain. And don’t put it on really thick and use a soft bristle mongos or something and lay down your pain, you lay down all your shape. Then you take that big fat fan brush and you take it and you start doing this to all that to all those shapes and they take it you don’t want to get in the back end of the gamsol You don’t want that you just take it and rub it on a towel, get the tops off of it, take it and do it again. Take it and do it again and do it again. Those three values that come to each value comes up to another area already now you’ve softened a razor sharp edge. You see what I mean? You’ve already softened it. And that’s a great thing because as word is a difference between being a poor painter, a mediocre painter, neither one of them know anything about edges and don’t know don’t care to the the good painters even a lot of painters that are good really don’t know what how important heads work is. And then the difference between the good and the great and the Masters. All of those play in a totally different vernacular. Because edge work is everything. So what I and then think about the brushwork we talked about that. When I first started paying, I was a charismatic, you know, impressionists and I just slung paint all over there. And everything and I add action and everything we’re going to talk about that. But you have to what I’ve and I’ve learned this from a long time ago, I started neutralizing all the land stuff right off the bat. And I can remember when I first started you know like all of you, you know, you’re you’re laying in your painting, you know, and you’re gonna go Oh, I love that brushstroke. Oh I love that brushstroke and you’re in the lay in stage. I got news for you. I have not gone to work not gonna happen. You’re most likely not going to get away but if you’ve painted a beauty stroke when you’re doing the land, it’s way to say forget about it. So what I don’t want any brushwork to be making any any if you can lay you can lay that stuff down. And lay it down loosely and freely. But it’s still got structure to those, the stration of the hairs. If you’re using mongoose, that’s, you know, pig bristles that’ll make it more strident, the softer bristles won’t do that. But nevertheless, you’re going to have a brushstroke there. I’m not like to neutralize those, and why would I want to do that in the beginning, because I want my brush strokes to count. I want them to, I want them to be important. And I want them to be important, where they’re supposed to be important. You see what I mean? The most important stuff is going to be in the primary, the not as important, but care. But the place in that vernacular as not being as important not as brushy not as powerful are going to be in the secondary and the tertiary. You may you may not even want to see a brushstroke.
Eric Rhoads 56:00
Don’t hang the pictures in the house until you have the walls up.
CW Mundy 56:04
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, why I say that to my, my, my students, I said, you know, you guys are you guys are dressing the windows on your paintings. And you have dug the footing and and poured the footing yet. You know, everything has a logical way of change and order. And you could you find those logical ways to do it. But it doesn’t mean you’re trapped to do that the rest of your life, you can always change that and tweak it, tweak it and do things different to throw a curve, throw yourself a curveball. I challenge but so I want my brushstrokes to count and be noticeable where they’re supposed to be, instead of just random out there, but I’m going to tell you I would professi probably 990 percent of the painters today, nobody thinks really they don’t think about that. They don’t think about that at all. And that’s why you know, they’re not going to be like an Emil Carlsen Fontane Latour, our Monet knew how to do that. And he was a serious I just thought he was a broken and color you know, artists like you know, they talked about everything and I didn’t know that he had solid masses and shapes and certain areas and the clouds and stuff and hard edges up there. Because he understood that he understood that rhythm of all that all that science.
Eric Rhoads 57:49
So you want to talk about the other tools the Mundy mops and pellet knife and Yeah, I did. Are we going to talk about the rest action or that come up? That comes up later? Yeah. Okay. And look, the Mundy mops I didn’t name him the Mundy now the Mundy mops Rosemary did because rosemary and I are very good friends. I’m not trying to sell you guys anything. I’m just trying to tell you. This is the way I roll and that’s really working for me and it’s worked for several my students people that I got started with are some of the top painters today because they paid attention and they listened and they work on their craft. And but the Mundy mops, she called them because I liked them the Mundy mops or are they have a we have a small one that’s about the size of your pinky. They got another one that’s a little bit thicker than that one about that size and then one that’s bigger than that, about from here to here. And they have more long handles or short handles and they’re big, thick and fat. In fact, they you know, women would understand this, you know, the makeup brushes that he used. That’s really what a mop brush is. It’s a make is a dig saw was not super soft, it’s not mongos natural hair is it’s a real soft version of I think a Brussel but they’re fat and thick and I’m gonna tell you some, those things lay on pain out of the tube quicker and better and more efficiently than anything else you’ll ever use. And you can come up right and get a hard edge with them. If you want a hard edge. You can you can go on there and soften everything up of those things. I use a little detail brush, a little brown, if I’ve got to do some nicknack paddywhack accents and stuff. And then the other brush that that I really love that is a key element in painting is learn how to use the palette knife. I did a collection of paintings that we went over my wife Rebecca and I, we went to Dubrovnik. We went on camera. Let’s see. Bruce rose. What’s the city? starts with a B. Bruce, near Bruce, Brussels, Brussels.
CW Mundy 1:00:30
no sharps or the B. Viana? Yeah, oh v Yeah, when I, when I did that trip, I spent a month and a half, I like tied my hands up, I couldn’t use, I wouldn’t allow myself to use a bangbros I spent a month and a half painting everything before I went over a bank that collection with a palette knife, then I went over and then painted a collection of paintings. So the palette, the palette knife can be your best friend, because the problem that we all face as human beings, we’re control freaks, and will suck the blood out everyday if we get a chance. And the power knife, especially in the beginning won’t work for you. Because you can’t control it. And that is the blessing. That’s the whole blessing. Because I see this, the students come in and they’re doing this, you know, they got their Canvas coming up behind and watch some paint and they take their brush and they paint that what happened square, they must have put 40 strokes on there for why? or Why? You know, you just cancel out the other 39 and the first one was perfect. Get the brush on there and move it get it moving. But the power of an eye is so wonderful because even with heavy pain, it’s great. Not so heavy pain and medium and then very thin pain. The power knife is a tremendous tool because it will make registrations that you can’t calculate and that’s to our advantage because we’re such control freaks. I could walk around and I I wouldn’t do it but I could walk around and I can see who are the control freaks and who have escaped things by just by looking at their paintings. You know, because why? I’ve been there done that. You know, it’s it’s all by experience. Donald Putman told me two things. One of the greatest painters ever teach at art center in Pasadena to private lessons with some other guys how many no damn McCall’s? We’re glad. Well, Dan McCall is more of a modern is now with Dan and I were in his class and Pat’s death, he said, See Darby and Dan, there’s two things I want you to remember. It’s mileage, and its value. Those three things and mileage, you can’t escape it, you’re only gonna be as good as the mileage you put in. It’s not by osmosis. You got to pay your dues, the more mileage you get, the more you know what to do, and what not to do. And then value is the other thing that you’re going to be battling until you take your last breath. value is a hard thing to conquer, but it can be greatly learned and, and discovered and, and helped me become a very good painter, but I, I, I’m 75 years old, I’ve been doing all this stuff. Plus, I had an illustration for for 25 years. That value, I still screw it up.
Eric Rhoads 1:03:47
Do you need value specs? (laughter) I’ll buy you a pair. Okay, talk, talk to us about rest and action, proportion and design.
CW Mundy 1:04:04
Okay, restaurant action is one of the key things that I learned recently. How many LTL and Lawson’s were. Okay, how many know Bill and Tom’s work the western artists. Okay, those were two guys that I went after, and had conversations with them about it, because I noticed that they had something and I didn’t have in my work. And so this is what you do. You know, when you see something that you that you think is really important. Interesting. You go to the source, you find out you know, these people they got such terrible egos and pride and well, I don’t, I don’t know or are like, Well, I’m not going to share this stuff that I know
Eric Rhoads 1:04:48
where I’m self taught.
CW Mundy 1:04:50
Yeah, I don’t want to I don’t want anybody to get better than I am. You know, those are the kind of people you don’t want to hang around. But anyway. tiongson are to loss loss. And they’ll add time I saw in their work, this concept of rask versus action. So if you think about it logically, and so importantly, you need to have that combination in your painting. And this is a perfect place to do it. Because you’ve got a lot of big shapes and stuff, you know, out there that are shapes, if you can paint, don’t buss those up, you know, be very careful about bus and bus room up, you know, sometimes you know, you got a tree, and then you’ve got the sky and you’ve got trees over here, and then you’ve got all the other stuff going on. These people get because they see it, they start busting up the holes and putting the sky holes in those shapes. And they don’t realize what they’ve done is they’ve just, they’ve just fractured a real solid shape by busting it up. So So wrasse and action is having the big solid shapes. And what you want in that big solid shape as you can have a slight color, slight huge change from from a reddish gray to a greenish gray. But the value is almost the same value, but it’s a slight temperature change, and out of shape will stay flat. Or you can deal with a value say that whole value in that shape is a six value. On part of it, you could have what’s a six and an eight value. And on the other part, you can maybe just keep it as a six, or maybe take it selected the other way. But you don’t want any action happening in there, the rest value is to be very restful, but it doesn’t have to be all the same color. And it doesn’t have to be the same value. But it has to be very close in those two things. And then you have those isolated abstractly and balanced. In a very great representational painting where you’ve got, you know, some, if you got land cover down here, don’t be painting all the grass and then the little weeds and there’s a little rock over here, leave that junk out, keep that shape nice and flat. And then start the activity that you want is where you put the juice while you’re doing the painting. If it’s that lay, if it’s that lake and the shoreline, you put activity and rhythm and choppiness and and get some activity going in there and you keep the other stuff restful. So the key is to have the proper abstract amount of rest, with the proper amount of activity. And the most activity will be where center focus, center focus. And then you back that off, if you think about this is a great way to think and it said, Scott person, so did a beautiful painting that he after I talked about, he said, Now darn, I wish I had the soul. But he had this Bob, of off cream like boss, and he had these flowers on there were smaller, but he painted some and this one sort of the left of center, and he painted them as realistic as he wanted them to be. So that you would kind of get an idea, you know, hey, there are flowers, and you might be able to guess what they were. But then the flowers that are present or that are next to those become more aloof and a little bit less detail. And, and more organic and not as detail. And then the ones in the periphery that are back there in the flowers. They’re just a stroke at a value at a similar color. And that’s all they are because that’s the association factor. And your mind will fill in the blanks and for the greatest painters of our impressions, knew this. They don’t lie to sleep with painting everything the same way. If you want to do that, you’re going to have a boring painting, I’m telling it’s just gonna be boredom. So you need that’s why it’s interesting and good to understand that so rask and action is a recipe and I’ve been working on that if people have if any of you been seeing me on Facebook, I’ve been doing a little bit more realistic stuff because I can
Eric Rhoads 1:09:42
it feels hyper realistic.
CW Mundy 1:09:45
But if you look at the sections where the action is, that stuff is is organic and wild and crazy, but it’s it’s the highlight or the heavy pain or whatever, but it fits within that real And it’s not like most people, when they paint a realistic painting, they trace and trace every little nuance and trace are they and then paint inside the, you know, the lines and stuff like that. That’s a horrible way to paint Charles Hawthorne talks about that all the time in his book, you know, Hawthorne and veiny don’t do that. And, and, and their real estate paintings are really boring. But my photorealistic paintings have gotten the acceptability of from people and be very exciting because all of the Jews, and the hot action is really like, very charismatic, but it works. Because the rest of the stuff, the outlining of the things that are that are, are, are the shapes of the objects and they haven’t been, the shapes haven’t been really distorted. Or
Eric Rhoads 1:10:55
if you haven’t seen it, go to CW Facebook and look, because he did one of a stick, just a stick. And I felt you know, it’s like a 3d movie, right? You felt like you could reach out and grab that stick it was, I said, it was one of the finest paintings I’ve ever seen in my life. I mean, just so fantastic. And it’s really interesting to see where you’re going with that, because some of the things he’s doing are so hyper realistic. And yet when you really study them, they’re just big shapes, big abstract shapes. And they’re not you know, most people think in terms of realism is putting every little knick knack in there. And it’s it’s not that at all.
CW Mundy 1:11:34
That’s you don’t want to pay realistic paintings like that, you know, it’s, there’s no joy in it, there’s no fun. See, I get it, I get to do all the juice at the end when you know. So I have to do all the preparatory stuff and get it the way it’s supposed to be. And then all the thrill and the excitement, I told David lafell and Sherry McGraw. And we were over a backing over over their home. And David was sitting across the table. And so we’re talking. And so finally I just looked at Dave and I said, David, I don’t know I said, I just want to see what I get away with. And I don’t know if David liked that comment or not. But anyway, that’s really me. I’m like a child trapped in an adult body. As long as it’s moral on man. You know, I am and I am and I want to have fun. I want to have fun. That’s such a joy. And I’m 75 I haven’t even scratched the surface. I don’t know diddly squat. You know, we’ll all die not being the painter that we could be if we could live. You know, back in the days of Noah, you know, 99? Could you imagine being an artisan playing 900 years, you would be believable.
Eric Rhoads 1:12:58
Before I go on with the rest of the list. Talk about the importance of plein air painting versus studio painting?
CW Mundy 1:13:06
Well, you know, it’s, it’s a key issue. And I as God, if he if you allow him to run, the show just sets a program in front of you. And you don’t even know you’re being manipulated. And that’s wonderful. And that really was the plein air experience. I cut my teeth, Rebecca and I spent I can’t tell you the money on this trip because she doesn’t want me to talk about that. But we put a lot of our most of her because we had not been married that long, most of her money that she had saved into this investment. I talked and the Lord taught me how to do the plein air painting I didn’t know. But I there are so many wonderful stories about that first trip to France, the facades of France but, man, you know, you – I had to teach myself you know, I had to teach myself how to plein air painting. And so the key thing about plein air painting and or painting from life, you gotta have that as a good backbone. You know, you really need that because it’s going to train you like no other way. Now I am a big proponent of being able to paint from photography. Why? Because I can because I spent all those years. My undergraduate I had my master’s degree, I had all the advanced drawing classes I drew from live. We didn’t paint from life. They didn’t do planar painting back in 73. Some of them did, you know, the big boys, but it wasn’t a thing like what Eric’s got going with a lot of us now. So anyway, but planar painting is really good because here’s part of it. You have to you have to find the subject. You’re like on a safari. The subject Guyana down, you get your junk out, you squeeze the pain out and then you have added and you’ve only got a window of light. And here now with the re, like a rig word for it well, so is the other. Yeah, Rick, I got Jason one painting place for the acts of the neck, you know, and that’s true. So you’ve only got so much time so you are forced, you’re forced to act and respond and pain in a certain period of time. You got to solve all your problems up front and that’s when then you haven’t laid down any shadows you haven’t laid down any guys or anything you solve all those problems. And then you have added you got to ask yourself, you got to know what questions to ask yourself. How am I going to do what is it that I want to accomplish? What is it that is a trip in my trigger? Why do I have to paint this? Why am I so excited and figure that stuff all out and then squeeze out your paint get the if you have to do a little sketch hatch has a hash, Mark sketching and stuff like that. Do that and then you got your paint squeezed out and bingo. Another thing with plein air painting that I would talk to you about as Scott Chris and some taught me that is to have little piles of pain premax pain when you’re looking at it that before you’re going to start painting after you solve the problems, mix up some pain. So you got the pain to work with because you get pulled right out of the zone. Oh, I heard you got the railroad there I can borrow I ran out you know, or whatever, you know, are you got to squeeze pain and then you go back to pain and then you were in the sand hill. Am I you know, what was I doing? You know? So like if you got three values, mix up three values are part of that color that will run you through that painting. And you can always use that for the next one. You can remix it, revalue it, change the values and do that you don’t have to throw it away. So
Eric Rhoads 1:17:03
So plein air painting is neurological you know you’re you’re getting exactly what you’re seeing. And it’s going through your mind in you know down in through your system and out to your hand. And so we’re painting what we see we’re photograph sly there, there are purists CW who’s who say, heaven forbid you ever use a photograph? Forget about it. And so talk to me about use of photographs because you use photos a lot and you even use photos when you’re plein air painting some Yeah,
CW Mundy 1:17:37
yeah. Well, I was forced to do that because my wife and I would we are we don’t have any children and Rebecca sister Julie hadn’t homeschool nine children. So we have the finances because the Lord has blessed us we’ve got money you know that we can spend and reinvest back. So we pay for their vacation, pay for their lodging and guess what the kids have to pose. We drive we buy have we bought outfits for them. We bought we had to find yachts we took to put the band on Lake Michigan they’ve been down to Captiva they’ve been down to Sanibel Island, and I know those places and then some places in Indiana, I’m late and we take those kids Well, the kids especially if they’re you know they’re I like to do because they’re more precious it’s just the thing with children the younger the smaller ones are just just blow my mind they’re just so they don’t know anything. They don’t have to know anything and and they’re trusting in their parents and they’re having a good time. But we put them up with a neat little hats for the girls and white white little dresses or our and the boys a little soft sailor suit with a sailor cap on and stuff like that in the pond. Yeah. Well, they’re not going to sit there in the sun and 80 degree 90 degree temperature. Ah, hey, Peter, you look Peter, get that jet up and go. crying. They’re sweating. Actually, one time my niece almost passed out when I was painting her prom live. I was doing a quick study. And some lady at the beach got really ticked off at me. She thought it was like child abuse. She came over and read me the Yo, your Moto G she almost died. She always passed out. I said lady I’m sorry. We got it under control. I didn’t know she was having a problem. And but but the point is, so what do you have to do? You go out and you do a photo shoot, you shoot that? If you got a train that’s on a track that’s running by, you’re not going to do a plein air painting. We got a guy on a bicycle coming down a really neat cobblestone road, a road in France and you go Hey, wait a man leaned against the wall and Whoa, stand up looking you know, it’s not gonna happen. I saw the camera has its place. The point that I would agree with were the people who are paying from like Nazis, which I feel bad that they are, but they’re out there and I’ll tell you why. They’ll let you know. No, I have to worry about that. But if you have to do that this way you know you you’ve got to do it. Don’t be an idiot, don’t be a fool. But what helps painting from photography is all the editing skills that you learn when you’re painting plein air. Why, because you’ve got that window, you’ve got that window of time, your Forester, my wife, and I, when we go to Europe, the first trip to France, after I was painting, you know, four or five days, she goes, Okay. And those were, those were hour, hour and a half 16 by 20. and a half paintings says, Okay, it’s time we’ve got to start the clock, we’re going to half an hour and get down to 9am, nine by 12. You the clock starts, you can mix up the page, you can even do your little sketch you got you got half an hour to do this song. Sometimes we do a 45 minute, sometimes there’s a half an hour, sometimes we do a 15 minute, because when us know that you’ve got 15 minutes and the clock is gonna start. It forces you to go in areas in the brain here. You see what I mean? That you’re not really comfortable or they’re not really used to and that’s good. And the 15 minutes, it might might kind of look like a train wreck. But guess what, the next 10 minutes, you can fix it. You see what I mean? So those are really key things. So plein air painting, and painting for live Make no mistake, the greatest painters all could do that. But But to say that you know, the lower class because you think you know, it’s really Shame on them because they’re lifting themselves up and wanting to put you down like you’re a lesser, no, but I can promise you like Eric said he asked a very important question. You need to have a lot of ours behind you mileage plein air painting, going through the struggle that everybody else has to go. That’s part of the joy. I didn’t realize that that I learned and later after coming back from Canada, and I don’t have time to talk about that term. But I finally figured out that that struggling and suffering was something that I had to go through in my paintings if I wanted to rise to the next level. So I had to set up my painting so that on purpose, I did everything wrong, I would just put color down and guys not even do anything and knowing what I was going to paint and just do that. Then I had to say okay, now here’s the thing that I’m going to paint, I had to scrape paint some paint off and I could lay a value or something in that area and let some of the scraped off stuff work and and look great. So sometimes when you scrape back, it’s great because why you got a variety of bank quality paint quality we haven’t gotten to that is one of the key Paramount aspects of painting having a variety of paint quality. That’s why I call it paint manipulation, not just brushwork. You can do it with your thumb. You can do it with a stick. I use a stick to put twigs on a tree if I want. I don’t do it with a brush. Why would I do that? Because I can’t control it you see only to a point put the right amount of paint on it and drag it and see what happens.
Eric Rhoads 1:23:51
I’m gonna take this one next and then we’re gonna go to that that out. So you paint upside down. Yeah, so doesn’t the blood rush to your head?
CW Mundy 1:24:04
It used to but when I find out I can take hydroxychloroquine much don’t go there. Like one of the things I love that movie came the first time Derek stayed he made a statement when the whole thing started. He said no, read my lips. No drama. And we’ve never forgotten that. Have we read? We wrote a song. We’re gonna play tonight. No drama. Go ahead.
Eric Rhoads 1:24:37
Alright, so talk to us about painting upside down.
CW Mundy 1:24:40
Well, the blood does rush your head. You get few minor headaches. I know. If you’re gonna paint from photography, I made this bold statement to some people that were I took on two friends of mine and did a three day workshop for him because I can And I did that. And I told them, I looked him straight in the face. I said, if you ever paint from photographs, do not paint them right side up. You’re stupid if you do. Yeah. And I’ll tell you, you can go ahead and do it. But I tell you, you’re stupid if you do. And the reason that you’re stupid is this very factor. When you, Carolyn Anderson, bless her heart talks about this all the time. The problem was so many of us artists that are representation artists, we paint things. And that’s because their brain is down. Yeah. Oh, you’re paying that sycamore tree that bark better luck, like sicker mark is a bit doesn’t, I’m gonna remind you because I’m your brain. I’m the computer, Jeff. So you get trapped your brain, the left side, the analytical side of your brain tells you right side up, you better make sure those look like fingers. On that hand, not like sausage links. We’re not paying zazie lights, we’re banging fingers. So your brain is telling you this? And why is your brain telling this, your brain will always tell these people that are at the middle stages, early stages of their painting career, because the brain doesn’t know any better. It’s trying to do its job. Hey, those old guy fingers, they like like sausage blanks. You know? So so your brain here is always kind of control is trying to do its job. When you paint upside down. This is so wonderful. You trick your brain. The brain is tricked. The brain is tricked, because you’re looking at stuff upside down and the brain is not seeing that that’s upside down barn are that’s what ever is it just doesn’t recognize anything.
Eric Rhoads 1:27:01
Do you find the same effect with a mirror?
CW Mundy 1:27:04
Well, I always use a mirror because I knew that all the Masters did. And there’s a reason because it’s a way of checks and balance. If you look back in the mirror, when you’re painting in the studio are out on location, I used to do this and people come by, I be I hold my mirror and then I go I’m looking at myself. I do that in Europe all the time. Some guy slap me on the back and go, boy, it sure must be fun. Nice to be a tourist, we come here and paint. I go man, it’s a blast to drive, you know. And if I told him the painting was gonna go for 8500 he has told me, You are crazy. Who would pay that for that? I said, Well, like Barnum and Bailey said, there’s a sucker born. Somebody is gonna love it. You know, people have money, they got to spend it on something. They just got to spend it. They’re spenders.
Eric Rhoads 1:28:06
So anyway, so what was a painting upside down?
CW Mundy 1:28:07
Yeah. So. So yeah, you trick your brain. So when you’re painting upside down, you’re doing what you were supposed to be doing right side up, not thinking about things. But making sure you get what the right value relationships, the relationships, the right color. And what you’re going to do with the edge work, and this and that. And you can you can kind of see how the paintings develop. I and I’m going to shift stick this in there right now, because I didn’t mention this. But when you’re doing when you do those big shapes, and then you fan breath, and a lot of you don’t have that, and you can’t do that here. But you can certainly do that when you go and buy that equipment, you do that. Don’t start going and doing the periphery stuff as a next step. Go for the juggler, start working on the sensuality of focus and work on it somewhat. And you’ll find out airy, that you don’t have to go back and wipe out stuff that’s not working. I did that with a lady she had way too much busy on the tree over here and we’re over there. And I said, if you back that down, that’s going to relate more with the big shake. It’s over busy. It’s like way too much white noise. You don’t need that much noise. You need some because you want to activity but you don’t want a lot of unnecessary wide nose. That’s the thing that if you guys can get to the level where you keep the white noise out of your painting. And and it takes a lot of work and takes a lot of skill level to get that but anyway, so do the sensuality focus start working on that. And when you get that and you’re like you’re looking at your painting, you’re going Wow, it looks really great. Well then don’t go psycho in your secondary and start putting a whole bunch of crap in there. You see what I mean? So off site, so I’m saying going from the flat shapes to develop, the reason that you’re there, develop that a little bit and then do the periphery stuff later. Because if you go the other way, you’re painting all this crop and periphery stuff, you know, and do all this stuff. And every day and then then you get none you’re doing thing you finish the painting, and you got way too much junk everywhere. It’s nothing but a bunch of white noise that doesn’t do anything that take the painting the level of the veiny way down. You know the words kiss keep it simple, stupid. There’s a reason that’s a hallmark thing. And it’s for every painter that’s worth its salt. Again, I’ll bring up a male Carlson look at that guy’s work both still alive, not the landscape and look at the still lies, hey, don’t have any noise in that thing at all. It is dramatic, and it is great. It’s like saying pain, a couple of things. Phenomenal. And you don’t have to do anything else than the rest of the pain. But people will throw everything but the kitchen sink in there. Because they’re gonna hit on something by golly, you know, but then they show god 600 things in our paintings that they doesn’t need to be there, and it’s not going to help the painting. And it’s just gonna be it’s just gonna be a babbling you know, math.
Eric Rhoads 1:31:26
Well, that was the principles of painting from CW Mundy, which we recorded in the Adirondacks at my publishers Invitational event. I’ve got another publishers Invitational event, coming up, it’s called fall color week, and we’re doing it for the first and only time in the Adirondacks. Last year was here for the first time in the fall. The color was so magnificent that we set up a rare opportunity with one of the great camps that normally has other people occupying it, but because of COVID we were able to get this one week only one week one time ever, and it’s gonna be a great thing. So check it out a fall color week. But anyway, are you guys ready for some marketing ideas?
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 1:32:13
I am working on another book and I’ll get that done one of these days but in the meantime, if you haven’t got my book, Hey, you know what to do. In the marketing minute I try to answer your marketing questions you can email your questions to me Eric@artmarketing.com Steve from San Francisco in the Bay Area says I have recently been painting on the coast near a lodge and associated restaurant after linking the lodge on my Instagram post from the previous week and asking my permission to paint on the grounds. They remembered my Instagram posts later while painting the lodge manager came by and expressed interest in hanging my paintings in their cottages. How cool is that? So we set up a meeting and I’ll be bringing a dozen framed paintings to show her we briefly discussed a range of possibilities from purchase to commissions to hanging the paintings with sale signs and to the best of my knowledge the lodge and restaurant are not showing any other artists can you offer any negotiating arrangements and ways to parlay this opportunity? Well you know I’m not big on you know negotiation games. I think you know just kind of say what’s on your mind but you know hold back a little bit you know, you don’t have to put dump all your candy in the lobby so to speak. And decide the outcome that you most want you know there is a desirable outcome you could leverage this in a lot of ways you could you could make money from it, you could get more money from it by showing paintings you could do a lot of other things so do you want a bulk sale to the hotel? Do you want them to put your paintings in every room? Do you want to show in the hotel and if it’s in the hotel you want to show where do you want to in the lobby or in the rooms Well, if the if the rooms are going to see it but everybody can’t see every painting then you’re going to reduce your possibility of sales. I think so. I think you know you could do both but I would suggest that you try something like first off. Tell them that you will not hang paintings in rooms that are for sale because it’s too risky for damage or theft or otherwise. If they want them in their rooms then they could cut a deal for a bulk amount of paintings you know let’s say you’ve got 30 rooms and they want 30 paintings. You could do that or you know if they’re not going to go for that you might be able to say well we could do prints and you could cut a deal for prints and then you’ve still got the paintings you can sell.
Eric Rhoads 1:34:27
And so that’s nice because you could give them Gk g clay prints framed at a lower price. But asked him to do a lobby shore restaurant show for three four months and especially at the peak of their season. And people who see them in the room will also want prints or originals you want to sell prints in the gift shops. I sold paintings in the gift shop of a very high end Hotel in Lake Placid for many many years. And you know they sold and they sold well and they sold for a lot of money just because It’s a gift shop, you know, if it’s a high end hotel, somebody who’s paying a high price, they don’t seem to care. But people want to be able to buy on the spot, you know, you see art shows where it’s like, you see this painting and contact the artist and it’s like, No, I’m not going to contact the artist have had a couple of drinks, I don’t want to do that, you know, you might intend to you take a picture of, of the of the artist tag or something, by the way, make sure you put one of those little QR codes on your tag and say, take a picture of this with the painting and that way they remember the QR code comes up and they can contact your website. But I would rather they be able to say, you know, to purchase this painting, tag this tag into the store, and the gift shop and do it that way. Sell small paintings, they can throw in a suitcase, or a car for their their memory of their trip, also have a big monumental painting in the lobby for sale now don’t offer discounts unless they ask keep saying no on discounts. And at some point you may have to cave but I suggest that you, you know, if you buy 10 paintings, I’ll give you a discount of 10% of you by 20. I’ll give you a discount of 20%. You know, that kind of thing. If you want all the rooms, I’ll discount it by you know so much. But you start without discounting. Because why give money away? You might not have to. The next question comes from Ray Richardson in kannapolis, North Carolina Who says I’m doing a lot of vehicle art trains, aircraft, boats, etc. And I’d like to approach museums with my work either for consignment or display in their gift shops. I talked to one but I’m not sure I went about it properly. What’s the best way to get local museums interested in my work? Should I just sell the original art to them? And allow them to resell? I don’t have prints made yet I prefer getting the original art in the shops. Is this a smart move? You know, Ray, there’s no right or wrong. I mean, you can you can go about this in any particular way. The idea here is, you’ve got to ask yourself why this is important to you, you know, is somebody going to a museum, going to go into the gift shop and spend a proper amount of money for a painting now they might or they might not. And it’s certainly worth testing. My goal is to test everything. So you could do you know, you could certainly do prints, people will buy prints, you know, people buy memories of something. What would be nice is to get a show in the museum if you could get a local museum to do a show and then put your work in there. And then keep your work in there. That would be kind of cool. But you know, ask yourself, you know, what is your goal? What What do you most want to do? Do you want to sell paintings? Do you want to get your paintings displayed, so other people will buy them in other venues? You know, ask yourself, What is your goal and then start with your goal in mind and then work towards that goal, whatever the goal is. But yeah, I mean, you know, you said you you don’t know if you went about it properly, you know, we’re gonna make mistakes. We all make mistakes, but, you know, make sure you’re calling back. You have a discussion with somebody, no, don’t, you know, let grass grow under that, you know, call him back, say, Hey, we had a discussion. I don’t know if it went well. Tell me what your thoughts were. And they’ll tell you I mean, you know, just don’t plan a games Be smart with them. And I think that will help. Anyway, that is the marketing minute.
This has been a marketing minute with Eric Rhoads. You can learn more at artmarketing.com
Eric Rhoads 1:38:19
Okay, I want to remind you of a couple of things I mentioned. First all fall color week is coming up. I think we can accommodate up to 100 people we got 61 registered so far, you’ve still got time it’s going to be beautiful fall color. And I don’t know if it’d be cold or not, but it doesn’t matter. We’re going to paint no matter what we’re going to be in a beautiful location one of the old camps, literally a camp and it’s going to be great in a lot of rooms and it’s just going to be very unique and you want to come this is the only time we’re doing fall color week up here. It’s the only time we’re really able to because the place we normally hold our Adirondack event has classes going on so we can’t do it there. Anyway, check it out a fallcolorweek.com. Also, don’t forget to enter the plein air salon at pleinairsalon.com and check out Cindy Behrens new art workshop online. Elegant landscapes you can stream it live or you can watch it immediately or you can of course get a DVD and register. You check that out and get that at streamline art video I also want to mention you should register for pastel live by July 11 to save $500 people from all over the world have signed up all over the world some of them are watching live Some are watching replay some people if they can’t make the dates they’re watching replay. You have different levels of replay you can get but anyway do this. You’re gonna love this pastel is so vibrant and colorful and there’s so many different ways of approaching it and we’ve got the world’s best on pastel live. So the earlier you sign up, the more you save and it’s a great deal. So get in there before July 11 and that’s at pastellive.com I’ll be hosting it. If you have not seen my blog where I talked about life and art. all kinds of other things. Check it out. It’s called Sunday coffee and you can find it a coffeewithEric.com in the news to subscribe and you get it free in your email every week. Right coffeewithEric.com. Well I’m Eric Rhoads, publisher and founder of plein air magazine and you can find us online at outdoorpainter.com. Remember, it’s a big world go paint it, and we will see you soon. Thanks for being here today.
This has been the plein air podcast with Plein Air 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.