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May 2007

Bob in New Studio
Bob in New Studio

Welcome back...

Welcome back! Our fifth online newsletter. May is my month for starting off the summer and I can start wearing white again - until September anyway (talk about rules! Jeez!) Thank you again for enjoying this free monthly newsletter. I look forward every month to writing it! It feels like I'm writing to my closest friends AND it's cheaper than mail. As you may have noticed from last month, I'm in my new studio and it didn't take long before the walls were christened with Marigold, Katsura Blue and Opera paint. I'm back!

Getting Started in the Colorado Workshop
Getting Started in the Colorado Workshop

Colorado Workshop Demo
Colorado Workshop Demo

I signed on with a new gallery this month, helped Kate open the International Society of Acrylic Painters 10th Annual Exhibition at the San Luis Obispo Art Center, worked on a few commissions and started a fresh new body of work. Kate and I conducted a one day Art Marketing Workshop for The Artists Guild of San Francisco, took part in a Media and Public Relations Symposium, and traveled to Larkspur, Colorado for a painting workshop. Rumor has it that we'll be sneaking off to a spa in Mexico for a few days, where I'll be able to wear all my whites! Red Square

Product Spotlight

Robert Burridge's Workbook & Studio Notes
To order click HERE!

Robert Burridge's Workbook & Studio Notes.
The newest and biggest "Robert Burridge's Workbook & Studio Notes" features more creative ideas for loosening up your paintings and your artistic life. Includes: 12 Compositions for Designing your Next Masterpiece, The New Burridge Color Wheel, Making Meaningful Abstracts, Creating Landscapes and Still Lifes, Splashy Florals, Critiquing your Art, plus How to Photograph your Art for Juried Shows.

More painting assignments than ever before. Inspirational thoughts lifted from his sketchbooks. All new Collage techniques and "Drawing the Figure" have also been added. 140 pages, color cover, black & white photos and drawings.
 Red Square

For info on ordering go to:

Workshops in the Spotlight

News Flash! Learning Product Expo, the premiere October Trade Show in Southern California has a new date for this year's show and a new location! Join us at the Pasadena Convention Center, October 11-14, 2007. Registration for classes starts on August 1st. "Immerse yourself in the only weekend experience for artists in Southern California where you can visit an exhibit hall packed with art material manufacturers and choose from a program of 200 art classes!" www.learningproductexpo.com

Please Note: Due to the date change, Bob will be at the Learning Product Expo only on Thursday, October 11th for an all-day Abstract Workshop. Sign up on August 1st!

Sign up now for a Burridge Workshop at Dillman's Bay Resort & Creative Arts Foundation in beautiful Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin - www.dillmans.com In 2007, Dillman's Creative Arts Foundation (DCAF) is in its 30th season of bringing nationally known artist instructors and special interest programs to the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin. There are state-of-the-art meeting rooms for self contained conference retreats or creative art workshops. Classes are taught from May to October in the fully equipped classrooms overlooking pristine White Sand Lake. Bob is teaching his flagship workshop, "Loosen Up with Aquamedia Painting" at Dillman's from September 9 - 14, 2007. Red Square

Dillman's Creative Arts Foundation
Dillman's Creative Arts Foundation

Robert Burridge's Guatemala Workshop, November 12-21, 2007 - A nine day painting, cultural tour and vacation experience with Bob and Kate Burridge.

Hailed as the most rewarding memory of the colorful Maya culture, this painting workshop tour in Guatemala is highlighted in Patricia Schultz's book, "1000 Places to See before You Die," (Jeez!) When you sign up, our hosts, John and Anita send you a very well-written and detailed travel guide they wrote. It is a worry-free, day-by-day activities account and exotic history of where we will be painting.

Archeologically rich Guatemala, Antigua (declared by UNESCO as a National and Cultural Heritage of Humanity), Lake Atitlan (the most beautiful lake in the world), the village of Santiago, the world famous Maya Indian Chichicastenango Market of Art and Crafts, textile tour and coffee plantations are just some of the places we will be going! Our hosts are with us all the way and handle all those pesky details everyday. We are well taken care of. Our hotels are first class including the Hotel Atitlan, described by NY Times: "One truly sumptuous hotel and place to stay." Of course there are daily painting demos, on site painting experiences including playas, cathedrals and volcano sites. We wind down this cultural workshop tour with a wine and boquitas party.

Sign up now. Your spot is waiting for you. Non-painters are welcomed. Besides, when was the last time you did something for the first time? This will be a vivid, overwhelming, colorful sensation for artists... That's You!

Go to www.exploreguatemala.com - you can register online or email John Korte at exploreguatemala@idworld.net Only a few spots are left for our Painting & Cultural Tour of Guatemala! Don't be left behind - November 12-21, 2007.
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Guatemala Photos
Click on image
to sign up!!!

Ask Kate about Art Marketing

ASK KATE! Every month, Kate will post your questions and her responses on the subject of marketing, sales, and promotion. If your question is selected for the newsletter, you will receive a Burridge Permission Mug. If you have a burning question that you would like to have answered -- for your benefit and everyone else's -- email Kate at kate@robertburridge.com

Deborah Kyle Hintergardt asks:

1. How does an artist know the number of prints to limit an edition to? I've been told you can do as many as 1000 but does that give them much value? When you are deciding on how many to make, you don't even know how popular that print will be.

Kate-- You can determine how large or how small your edition size will be. When Bob and I decide to publish a limited-edition Giclée print, we only publish those images that many people have expressed an interest in owning. Do we always get it right? No! There have been a couple of prints that absolutely bombed. Our most successful Giclée is the Party Animal - Pig in the Martini Glass. We have found that the more commercial an image is, the easier it is for us to sell it. In determining the edition size - I always look at the top Art Festivals - Sausalito Art Festival, for instance does not allow prints with a larger edition size than 350. Most of our edition sizes are 250 for the 11x14 and smaller sizes (each different size is an edition). The larger the print, the smaller the edition size. For instance, Party Animal is available in four sizes: 6x9 (edition size 250) 11x14 (edition size 250) 18x13.5 (edition size 100) and 27x36 (edition size 50) In my opinion, 1000 is too big of an edition - comes a little too close to the open edition which connotes poster and takes your fine art out of the limited-edition range.

Party Animal Giclée Print
Party Animal Giclée Print

2. Once you've decided on how many prints the edition will be, do you have to print all of them at once and store them, or can you print them on an as needed basis?

Kate-- That's the beauty of the Giclée print! Because it is computer-generated, you do not have to publish the entire edition at the beginning of the process. We make sure we have at least six available at any given time for shows, web orders, open studios, workshops, etc.

Janet Black from Ventura asks:

I have recently begun to receive commissions, and realize that I need to have some kind of standardized agreement/contract for this. For instance, specifying if the work will be framed or not (I work in collage, primarily), who pays shipping, deadlines (if requested), do I retain rights to the image for Gicléees or cards? Stuff like that. Please advise.

Kate-- I am so glad you feel the need to have a written agreement! Here's a great resource for you: Go to our website and click on Commissions, or here's the link: www.robertburridge.com/commissions We have posted our Customer Criteria Sheet as a PDF. Print it out and give it to your client to complete before you start the commissioned artwork. Your client is responsible for paying all framing costs, sales tax and shipping -- and you need to let them know this in the written agreement. About retaining your rights, yes, you automatically own the copyrights for all your artwork, including commissions. Copyright is a fascinating subject! When Bob and I teach our 1 or 2 day Art Marketing Workshops, copyright information is always a hot button discussion.

For more info, click HERE to check out our Hot Art Marketing Workbook.

To download copyright registration forms, visit the Library of Congress website: www.loc.gov/copyright

Thanks for asking Kate!
 Red Square

Kate - Your Art Marketing Girl!
"Kate - Your Art Marketing Girl!"

Click HERE for top of page.

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The Composition of the Month

Black & White Horizontal Composition
Black & White Horizontal Composition

The third installment of the Composition of the Month features - Horizontal. Starting off my painting, I splash down all brush strokes horizontally. This first ritual of long, loose, horizontal brush strokes reminds me to stay put. Everytime I wander away from this simple composition, my painting gets weaker in design. Oh sure, I'll have other elements floating around the surface, but mostly the biggest and strongest design theme that comes across is a horizontal graphic design.

Six Horizontal Warmups
Six Horizontal Warmups

So this morning's warmup exercises were six, small 10x10 inch paper pieces all lined up and taped down on my painting table. The initial strokes were all playful horizontals. The theme or big idea you might ask? Elusive, abstract landscapes! Hey, it's a good start. Red Square

Hot Fire
Hot Fire
22 x 22 inches acrylic on paper
mounted on canvas

Say, What's the Big Idea?

I hear this line repeated many times in 1930s gangster movies. It got me wondering about making a painting... What's the big idea? I have found before starting a painting I need to have a big idea - an intention. A painting with a big idea will create more of a buzz in the art world (and with consumers) than a painting that just sits there, uninviting and simply showing off the painter's bravura. Personally, I'm not that interested in paintings that display an artist's technical skills. (John Singer Sargent is my only exception!) What I'm interested in is revealing a story, a theme, a concept: The Big Idea.

Whether you are interested in photo realistic paintings (such as Odd Nerdrum) or abstract expressionism, (such as Robert Motherwell) the successful paintings will have one central idea. Motherwell's were based on poetry. Nerdrum's are based on quirky dreams. So, think and recall your favorite painters --- I guarantee you that they painted big themes and took big risks. These and other risk takers trusted that intangible moniker called the "creative process" and made significant, meaningful art because they developed a big idea, and repeated that idea over and over. Think Monet's haystack painting series (200) or Richard Diebenkorn's Ocean Park series (150+). Once you have the big idea, you make the time to develop and repeatedly paint the "big idea" uninterrupted. (Now THERE'S a word we don't often hear these days - "uninterrupted")

Good Life Series - Red Chair
"Good Life Series - Red Chair"

What a Big Idea? Or what's a Good Idea? If the idea excites you, it's a good idea! The idea may not be a new idea or an original idea to paint. It may have been done before - but not by you! What you bring to the painting table is your take on the idea. Your interpretation. Your vision. Your risk-taking. Your big idea. Start painting. You may not have all the pieces to the painting puzzle at first, but if you just start with one big idea, the painting series will develop. I'm reminded here what Picasso said, "Inspiration does exist, but it must find you working." Red Square

25 Landscape Painting Assignments!

Free Range #14
Free Range #14
9x12 inches
acrylic on canvas

1. Search for new forms and shapes.
2. Paint with magical new colors as though you've just mixed a new batch of colors out back in the garbage cans.
3. Paint an image that will stop you in your tracks.
4. Four points to remember (then forget):
• Focal Point
• Center of Interest
• Composition
• Light Source
5. Look for "places of power" and paint them. Start off with realistic representation. Next, paint over it in an interpretive style. Finally, make your "place of power" come alive with your own imagination.
6. The languages of romance and landscape art have much in common.
7. Paint to lose yourself in thought - there is nothing else around.
8. Landscape paintings are just another forum for investigation of color; manipulate it and see how you can make it more fun to contemplate.

Free Range #9
Free Range #9
12x12 inches
acrylic on canvas

9. Be interested in painting the inner glow of colors; alternate layers of contrasting and complementary. Manipulate textures and media.
10. After the strongest colors are applied, I add washes and stains to emphasize mood and atmosphere.
11. I begin abstractly and later interpret recognizable forms and images for development. (Psychologists refer to this as "projection", i.e. reading into vague accidental shapes.)
12. Dramatic, unorthodox compositions, incongruity of scale and radical cropping are key points.
13. Eliminate horizon lines and fixed focal points. Eliminate the comfort for the viewer by using wacky vantage points.
14. Richly colored shapes engulf the viewer and impose a feeling of hugeness and massive vistas.
15. Use very small images to emphasize scale.
16. Ask, what is my perception of the scene I want to paint? Exaggerate it - use a vivid imagination - create unsure footing.
17. Color, scale and composition express my childhood observations.
18. The underlying motto and higher law: "Put things where they create the most potent, desired effect." Take out what you don't need. Reduce it and simplify it.

Tree Light
Tree Light
30x50 inches
acrylic on canvas

19. Exaggerate contrasts and juxtaposition of extreme opposites. Good work is a summation of extremes.
20. Take chances. Jeopardize the comfort zone and buck accepted conventions.
21. I notice that some painters have a fear to take chances or to take risks... it's all risk-taking.
22. Increasing your range increases the possibility of new discovery - it is the very heart of the creative process.
23. Use all the tools and all the paint colors you have with you today.
24. Paint hundreds of small landscape sketches where ever you are.
25. Laugh more.
 Red Square

Studio Tips

Stuck Jar Lids?
Wide mouth jars may be difficult to open if we don't have pliers (usually not!) or if we had not taken our arthritis medicine in the morning. Solution: Place the wide mouth jar on the floor, on its side. Gently (very gently) roll the jar with your foot on top. Gently roll the jar back and forth a few times. Pick up the jar and the lid should open up easily by hand!

Loosening a Stuck Wide Mouth Jar Lid
Loosening a Stuck Wide Mouth Jar Lid

Stuck Cap on Watercolor Tubes?
We all know about running hot water on the cap or forcing the cap with pliers - that works great. But how many tubes have you twisted in half, only to split the tube and watch your expensive Cadmium Red flow out from everywhere but the tube end? Solution: Before I try to remove or twist a stuck cap, I wrap a few inches of masking tape around the "shoulder" of the tube. This reinforces the tube and prevents twisting the tube in half!
 Red Square

Reinforcing the Tube of Paint
Reinforcing the Tube of Paint

Recommended Book

Finding Your Visual Voice
Finding Your Visual Voice

Finding Your Visual Voice: A Painter's Guide to Developing an Artistic Style
by Dakota Mitchell and Lee Haroun

Dakota Mitchell has written and compiled a thoroughly inspirational and knowledgeable painting guide for artists who seek more clarity in their work. Published by Northlight, this how-to book took three years in the making. I am very pleased Dakota featured twenty-six of my paintings. There is even a feature section on how I create a step-by-step painting. I am proud of this publication and to be included with other fine artists. Go to www.amazon.com and check out the reviews of this book!
ISBN-10: 1581808070
ISBN-13: 978-1581808070
 Red Square

Everyone should be so lucky to live their dream!

• Invest some time in yourself.
• Surround yourself with supportive people.
• Lean over the edge a little.
• Test out your dream.
• Talk to others.
• Be passionate about it.
• Take the high road - you'll look and feel better.
• Stick with it - even though you don't want to.
• Be out of touch so you can get away.
• Cut away all the extraneous stuff that does not serve you.

Do not allow others to influence you if they do not have your same dreams! No person has the right to instill or insert their "baggage" on your dreams. Be aware of others who attempt to discourage you from doing what they themselves can't imagine doing. Be amazed at what you do by keeping your brushes wet.
 Red Square

The Burridges in Mexico
The Burridges in Mexico

Robert Burridge

Burridge Workshops

Copyright ©2007 Robert Burridge. All rights reserved.
If you wish to copy this material to other publications or mail lists, please ask for permission by contacting:
Robert Burridge Studio
Arroyo Grande, California

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