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ArtsyFartsy News
Our shameless, irreverent self-promotion newsletter...
October/November 2007

Welcome back...

This issue of our free artist newsletter is an October/November combo -- sorry about that. While we were in Seattle with the Northwest watercolor Society, Kate had a computer crash! It's taken us a little longer to get back on track. I know many of you can sympathize. That's why I don't fool with computers! I have said many times that yelling at a computer screen is not the best usage of my time. Anyway-- enough of that.

I also want to add that we have heard quite a few of our subscribers are having problems receiving this newsletter. Since you are reading this - I know I'm preaching to the choir - but if you run into any problems, make sure you:
1. Check your junk mail folder or spam folder. It just might be in there.
If so, reset your spam filters to NOT AUTOMATICALLY send messages to trash. 2. Put our email address in your Address Book or on your white list.
3. It all else fails, all the ArtsyFartsy Newsletters are archived on our website. You can always find the most current and any back issues. We even have an Index - so if you are looking for a specific subject or article, go to our website and click on the Article Archive (click HERE) The Index is updated monthly so you can always find what you're looking for.

Hope this helps!

Bob with Circus Series
Bob with Circus Series

I am very excited about a new series I have just completed in my studio. William Zimmer Gallery, my latest partnership and association, featured twenty-three of my new series of paintings in the Chicago SOFA Show earlier this month. It's based on my ethereal circus days as a trapeze flyer.

I love the circus and all that it stands for. It is what it is... entertainment on all levels. So I'm finally out of my creative slump after the opening of my Wingland Show.

After an exhibit opens, it usually takes me some time to get going again with fresh challenging concepts for a new body of work. Developing a new series is very important to me right now. The process motivates me to create many paintings that are a variation on a theme and style. NEWS FLASH! "The more I paint, the faster I learn how to paint. The faster and looser I paint, the faster I learn how to paint... the faster I paint, the looser I learn how to be fast!"

To see the Circus series, click HERE

My Artist's Statement is there too!
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Product Spotlight

Hot Art Marketing Workbook Cover
Hot Art Marketing Workbook Cover

"Hot MARTketing: The Business of Selling your Art Workbook"

Speaking of artist statements... this month we are featuring our Hot Art Marketing Workbook. Our eight week "fast track" course starts January 22 at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, CA. Other one day and two day Art Marketing workshops are scheduled for 2008.

Learn the "secrets" from professional painter and teacher, Robert Burridge and his marketing director, Kate Burridge, in an information-packed workbook filled with handouts and lecture notes from their successful course of Art Marketing. Even if you have already read all the art marketing books, you still need the hard-working information directly from the artist and his marketing manager who do this everyday.

• Setting Goals and Creating Your Marketing Program
• How to Get into more Juried Shows
• Goof-Proof Commissions
• Pricing your Work to Sell
• Presenting your Work to Galleries
• Planning Your Solo Show
Over 100 pages
$24.95 + CA sales tax (if applicable) + S/H
For info on ordering go to:

Workshops in the Spotlight

In March we return to Sedona for a series of workshops at the Sedona Art Center and an exhibit at Kinion Fine Art. Our Sedona adventure begins on Friday, March 7 - that's First Friday gallery walk for Sedona. We did this last year too. Glen and Roberta Kinion have a wonderful gallery on the main drag- Highway 179 in the Hozho Center. There are two giant chrome horse sculptures out front! Then on Sunday, March 9 Kate and I tag-team-teach a one day Art Marketing Workshop at the Sedona Art Center. My 5-day "Postmodern Painter Meeting the Contemporary Collage Artist" workshop starts Monday, March 10. Join the festivities! Contact Sedona Art Center, (888) 954-4442. www.sedonaartscenter.com

Special note: We will be doing a painting workshop in Tuscany in 2009 through the Sedona Art Center's Field Expedition Program. Click HERE (scroll down to bottom of page) for more information.

Kinion Fine Art Gallery
Kinion Fine Art Gallery

Palm Springs Art Museum in March

I am doing two workshops at the beautiful Palm Springs Art Museum:
Loosen Up with Aquamedia Painting, March 24-28 and Contemporary Abstract Figure Painting, March 29 & 30.

The Loosen Up workshop is my "Flagship" class. Great fun to get loose, relearn some basics and enjoy the act of painting again. I say it's like 4 years of art school in a week. The Abstract Figure Painting Workshop is fun, challenging and is not based on how well you draw! It's all about learning how to expressively paint the undraped model. Lots of paint sketching, gestural drawing with the brush and finger painting. The goal is bold, free, light and intuitive!

Figure Painting Workshop
Figure Painting Workshop

You can read descriptions, see photos and the materials list for any workshop on my website. Click HERE for more information. For information on the Palm Springs workshops, call the Artists' Council at (760) 325-7186 x150.

Don't forget this one:

February 29-March 2, 2008
Another new workshop titled "Fix & Finish" created for Jim Ferry's 20th Street Art Gallery in Sacramento, California. Here's the description:
Check your ego at the door. Bring in your turkeys, your dogs, your biggest embarrassments, your unfinished "bad" paintings... Robert Burridge, nationally known workshop instructor, can help you refocus your painting intentions and your goals to get your painting finished, signed, varnished and out the door!

Once your painting is "fixed," we continue on with a looser series Burridge calls "cool down" paint sketches. Be prepared to paint more confidently and have the answers you're looking for to produce more meaningful paintings.

Daily... demos, handouts, lectures and constructive critiques. For more info, contact Jim Ferry, jim@20art.net. He keeps the 20th Street Art Gallery hopping! There is always lots of stuff going on www.20art.net
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Recommended Book

de Kooning: An American Master
de Kooning: An American Master

de Kooning: An American Master
by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan
Published by Alfred A. Knopf

I just finished reading a terrific book - de Kooning: An American Master. After I finished reading, I looked at the book jacket again and noticed it was one of the New York Times "Ten Best Books of the Year" and the winner of the Pulitzer Prize. For good reason! It is a thorough account of Willem de Kooning, the painter.

I found it difficult to stop reading and when I did, I felt a huge urge to run to my studio and paint. The book appears to be an authoritative and very detailed account of what it was like to be de Kooning during the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s -- all the way thru his dementia in the 80s. He outlived all his fellow painters.

He is my hero. No matter what was going on around him, he painted in his studio. While Elaine went to parties, he stayed in his studio and made art that now sells for twenty million dollars! But I digress...

After reading this book, I felt I just spent hours with the man in his studio. Of course, I sense his presence lingering in my own studio. But I wanted more-- I wanted to hear him, not just read him. So Kate ordered the VHS series - Strokes of Genius: Willem de Kooning. "de Kooning on de Kooning." This is a must-have, dynamic portrait of one of America's most important artists. Both book and video make a great and complete package for anyone who wants to know what it's like to have been de Kooning.

de Kooning: An American Master by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan. Published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York 2007. ISBN 978-0-375-71116-9 Buy at Amazon Red Square

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

Melody Cleary of Beaverton, Oregon asks: I am an emerging artist in my local area. This summer I was invited tojoin a group showin a small, new local art gallery/frame shop in my home town.I was one of 4 artists.I had (4) 20x24 acrylic works that I decided I wanted $400 for each. The gallery set the price up 50% which was fine.I was called and asked if I would accept $600 from an interested buyer (who also is a benefactor/collector of the gallery), and I said yes.I was so pleased to make a sale and this is the highest price I have ever gotten for my work.

My question is, I worry about consistency in pricing from venue to venue.In Sept. I am hanging the same art with others at another venue that only takes a 30% commission.Is it okay to adjust retailprices like that? I feel it is wise to consider the current economy and make my work still affordable. Am I being foolish?

Dear Melody, Yes, you should be concerned! The bottom line is this "your price is your price." Do this: Instead of thinking of your pricing as "what I want" and "what they get as a commission" - think of pricing your work in RETAIL TERMS only. Whenever we meet with a gallery, I always refer to our retail price list, when we sell directly thru open studios, internet, commissions, etc. If you are looking at $800 retail for your piece and the gallery charges a 50% commission, that's $400 for you and $400 for the gallery. Now if that same $800 piece goes to a gallery that only charges 30%... do you lower your price to accommodate the commission? Absolutely not! Same thing goes when you are doing a juried show - if the venue takes a 35% commission, stick to your retail pricing. The commission is "cost of doing business."

Thanks Melody - hope this helps!

Martha Wakefield asks: Who is responsible for the shipping costs of the art work?. Is it the buyer who pays this in addition to the cost of the painting or does the artist foot this bill as an additional expense?

Martha, I have great news for you! Think of your art making as a business. That said, whenever YOU purchase from a company and they ship their products to you, who pays for that shipping? You, the customer pays!

So, yes-- add the shipping charges onto your painting price. When I sell Bob's work, I always use a duplicate receipt and I breakdown all charges: Painting price, sales tax (if applicable) and shipping/handling. If you absorb these costs, what you are doing is lowering the price of your work. Great question!

Side note: When an artist ships work to a gallery, the artist pays the shipping. When the gallery returns work to the artist, they pay the shipping. That's just the way it works!

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

Thanks for asking Kate!
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 Kate Your Art Marketing Girl and her assistant Sophia
Kate Your Art Marketing Girl

Click HERE for top of page.

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The Composition of the Month

Constellation - Number Six in our featured series.

Constellation Black & White Sketch
Constellation Black & White Sketch

A constellation composition is exactly what you think it is: Design elements in your painting are located all over the place. Design-wise, there appears to be no beginning or a final place for the eye to focus. The same holds true when scanning the night sky. Trillions and billions of stars... too much information! However, the brain comprehends all this visual information by grouping together like or similar stars; thus, the zodiac.

Your painting may be a constellation structure when elements are all over the grid - However, the viewers will go to some focal point. The focal point will be the part of the painting that is the most different. The part that draws attention to itself, or the reason why the artist painted this work in the first place.

Black & White Constellation Composition
Black & White Constellation Composition

The constellation design might at first appear haphazard and all wiggly. A strong structure or design may not be initially apparent. The trick here is a balancing act between "out of control chaos" and purposeful placement of things to create the strongest visual impact. Think of it as a mess - with intention and purpose. Otherwise, it's just a mess.

Spanish Plaza, Constellation Composition
Spanish Plaza, Constellation Composition

In October I was offered the opportunity to create just such a painting - 30 feet long and 50 inches wide. It was a fund raiser for the Santa Maria Arts Council. The concept was for me to paint a continuous constellation design on a long roll of watercolor paper. The fund raiser part called for the viewer to select one of several sized mats. Using the mat as a cropper, the viewer picked out their own abstract painting. The cost of their painting depended on the size of the mat.

For me, the challenge was to pull out smaller paintings from one long painting and to make every area important. The fun part was painting a huge supply of possibilities for small paintings. This poured out of me like water and light.
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Bob Painting Long Abstract Constellation Design
Bob Painting Long Abstract Constellation Design

Studio Tip

Why and How I Gesso Everything

Bob Uses Gesson on Everything
Bob Uses Gesson on Everything

Gesso is an acrylic primer. It is applied to canvas prior to painting on it. The purpose of gesso is to seal the cotton or linen canvas, resulting in a solid, hard acrylic surface. The gesso not only protects the fabric from decay, it also provides an excellent bond for the paint to the canvas. Acrylic painters as well as oil painters use gesso on their canvas. Generally, canvases are already pre-gessoed when you purchase them in art materials stores, to save you the time of applying it yourself.

Normally gesso is white. There is also black gesso. In fact, Holbein offers eighteen different colored gessos. (Available thru black-horse.com) Holbein's gessos are a very high quality gesso and has a good, hard finish. A more economical gesso is now offered by Cheap Joe's Art Stuff (cheapjoes.com) It's cheap and it works. However, when dried, it has a softer feel. Utrecht has a professional grade gesso that is thick, buttery smooth and dries hard. It is also very economical. (utrecht.com) Try all three brands and decide for yourself which one works the best with your paints.

Bob With Pre-Gessoed Canvas
Bob With Pre-Gessoed Canvas

I gesso everything. Even the pre-gessoed canvases. It's my way of telling the canvas who's the boss. That perfectly pre-primed, white canvas is now not so intimidating. I have ownership. I also paint on excellent watercolor paper - Fabriano Artistico, cold press, 300 lb. (buy in packs at Cheap Joes!) Gessoing watercolor paper cancels out all the beautiful, absorbent qualities of my good Fabriano paper. It seals it.

I paint with acrylic (not watercolors) on my gessoed watercolor paper. The fact that the surface is now nonabsorbent, I have a longer working time with the paint. I can move it around and play with the paint longer. Plus, since the surface is nonabsorbent, when the final coat of varnish is applied, the varnish seals the painting and does not soak into the paper.

The question is raised: Why use good watercolor paper if you are canceling its absorbent qualities? Why not use cheap illustration board or a lesser grade paper? Several reasons... I'm a professional. My work is sold in high-end galleries. I'm giving the buyer the best quality product I possibly can. I won't have to worry that the painting will fall apart later on. And besides, I was on the American Board of Advisors in developing Fabriano Artistico. The paper stays flay (even the 140 lb), won't curl up when wet and has no unpleasant aroma, like so many popular papers.

How to apply the gesso? I pour it on and squeegee or trowel it around with a piece of cardboard, leaving some of the trowel marks. I like the hand-crafted finish and texture. Now you know!
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Bob & Patricia Discussing Gesso
Bob & Patricia Discussing Gesso

Lighten Up!

Ever wonder why your painting looks so flat? It feels dead. It's probably due to you skipping one of the most basic and essential steps before you paint... determining your light source. If you don't have a strong light source coming from some direction, your painting will appear flat. All the color values will be even. There will be no shadows and a dark side of a three-dimensional object. Besides, if you want to have a visually powerful image, you might consider objects that have a light side and a dark side, thus giving the illusion of a 3-D form.

Try these two painting exercises:
1) Paint a white egg on a white field. One with a strong light source causing a shadow and a darker side of the egg.

2) Paint another egg on a white field with an even light source, like the middle of a well-lit room.

The egg in the second painting exercise may appear flat.

I see this problem in many group exhibitions I jury. The paintings appear flat. Objects are not grounded and appear to "float" due to no shadow underneath them.

Having said all this, now consider the type of light source. It will be either a very strong spotlighted beam light source (very theatrical) or a broad beam light source (like the sun). The "beam of light" will light one side of an object and continue across the scene, also lighting up the back wall. Whereas a broad beam will light up everything near its source. As the light travels across the scene it will begin to fade to darkness. To illustrate my point, below are two paint sketches of two light sources on a pear. Practice these two paintings so it will become automatic for you and one less thing to think about while making a dramatic and effective painting.

Spotlight Light Source
Spotlight Light Source

Broad Beam Light Source
Broad Beam Light Source

Trick/Hint/Suggestion: What color is your shadow? It's generally the complimentary color of the light source. I'm not making this up! Go outside and look at your shadow on a sidewalk. The sun is yellow, so your shadow will be blue. Crazy, huh?

Rehearsal Break/Blue Shadow
Rehearsal Break/Blue Shadow

Pears - Spotlight/Blue Shadow
Pears - Spotlight/Blue Shadow

Pleasures in Paradise - Broad Beam/Blue Shadows
Pleasures in Paradise
Broad Beam/Blue Shadows

Think about this...

Vision without action is day dreaming.
Action without vision is a nightmare!
Vision with action is a painting worth doing.

Bob and his Studio
Bob and his Studio

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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