[from Cory:] When I started talking to Bill about some of the ways that he could market himself online, we were both really enthusiastic about his teaching videos. Bill has a warm personality and a love for teaching. He has done a tremendous amount of work figuring out how to create painting videos that are well-lit, fun, and highly useful. Check this one out:
Bill has decided to start hosting regular Google Hangouts with other artists to discuss various techniques and approaches. If you are a teaching artist, this might be a great way for you to expand your reach. If you are wanting to connect with collectors directly, this could be a great way to give them some direct time with you. This post is the first in a series about exploring ways to use the web to teach art.
My dad would go every morning and hang out at a local coffee shop shooting the breeze with his artist friends such as Sherry Sander, Joe Abbrescia, Bud Helbig and Mark Ogle. They discussed tips, techniques, and plenty of non-art related topics – one of the perks of living in an artist community in Montana.
Workshops were abundant and students could learn at the feet of masters, ask questions, and paint side by side with these talented men and women. I loved when I was older being able to drop in to one of their studios and see what was on the easel and soak up some creative energy from friends.
I don’t live in an artist community anymore. I am able to put together a couple of workshops a year, but time, travel and cost can be difficult for most who want to attend. Teaching is something I love doing almost as much as painting and rather than moving my family to a trendy artist community I have found a way to bring the artist community to me. I use Google Hangouts.
I was surprised to find that this wasn’t a norm in the art world yet. After surviving the learning curve headache involved in making my own instructional videos, taking it a step further and inviting people to come and join me on a painting session doesn’t seem like such a far-fetched idea. Google Hangouts provide a wonderful vehicle for an artist’s gathering and I can meet people from all parts of the globe.
Tips for Success on Google Hangouts
Google Hangouts allow 10 people to be visible to the host as well. This can be a fun opportunity for some of the guests to show their artwork and get critiques. Every registrant can of course see and hear what the host is doing; in my case ñ watch me paint, drop a brush from time to time and listen to me wax eloquent. All who attend can ask questions via the chat box – fortunately my wife will be there to read and relay as I paint.
To make my hangouts extremely successful and pleasurable I will:
* Make sure there’s a palette pic and listing of my paint colors available to all attendees. This is important for other artists trying to replicate hues and colors. Even though my palette will not be seen for the most part, I can always pan to it if needed.
* Have a fresh bouquet of flowers ready to paint. Although I haven’t painted a traditional still life since my college days, I bring flowers into my studio to see subtleties and then I use my imagination to place them in their natural environment. Yep, I make it up. That’s where painting on location is irreplaceable.
* Do a practice piece the day before. I want my painting to go smoothly. A 5×7 can take anywhere from an hour to 3 hours normally, so to insure the demo doesn’t drag on too long for viewers I work out possible problems ahead of time. That also gives me more mental freedom to handle questions and talk about my thinking process.
* Have my wife at the computer to read comments and ask me questions. It’s always nice to have an assistant, that way I don’t have to stop and read every new comment. Besides, I just like having my wife near me as often as I can.
* Not be overly concerned about finishing the piece. If the attendees require a different direction or take up the time with questions I want to be flexible, life is unpredictable.
Give it a try, even if it’s just you and a friend across town you’ll have a chance to explore and become familiar with the technology and open up all sorts of possibilities you hadn’t considered before.
To have some fun and see a hangout in action come join one that I’ll be holding on March 28th from 7-9 pm (EST).
image: Birdsong by Bill Inman