Thoughts for Students of Painter Elin Pendleton, AAEA, NAPA, WAOW
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Horse Paintings by Elin Pendleton
Animal paintings by Elin Pendleton, AAEA
Figurative paintings by Elin Pendleton, AAEA
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Updated 3/25/12

Words of Wisdom, Quotes and Thoughts

Answers to Common Questions from Students

Videos/DVDs of Painting Methods by Elin

Elin's Book, Horses in Acrylics

Words of Wisdom (Thoughts for Students)

     "Read and learn from lessons and instructors whose work you admire.  But don't be bound by what they teach.  You'll find your own style over time, which will be a very personal message from you to the world at large." 

     "Painting is a passion for me, something I must do. I see color in everything, beauty in the natural world around me.  You need to find your OWN passions about your art and your growth as an artist." 

     "Art is an evolving process, not a single product.  It's a journey whose end might be dreamed about, but never quite reached. Because if you reach it, what more is there?" 

     "There are no shortcuts to good painting. Good drawing ability comes with repetitive lessons. Draw every day. Paint what you love." 

     "You need to practice, practice and practice. Learn from others. Take workshops and apply the knowledge there to your own work. Learn about design, value and composition." 

     "All artistic endeavor is a process, not a product.  You will make good products in the "process" of becoming the best you can be.  Celebrate these, but do not decry the lesser work.  These "lesser works" are the stepping stones to your better pieces.  But you'll NEVER get to those better pieces if you FAIL to do the stepping stones.  To not create out of fear of the stepping stones is THE TRUE FAILURE."

"Art is a journey, not a destination. You'll go through the beginning stages of copying finished works, copying from photographs, painting from your imagination, and then, hopefully, combining your developed vision with only a moderate tipping of your hat to source material." 

Answers to Common Questions Students Ask

Do you ever have paintings you don't want to sell?

I used to think I did, but then I read and re-read the line in W. Joe Innes' book "to be successful, you have to let go of the good ones."  That little line made me place my foot on the stepping stones of my career.  I knew if I stayed on one stone for too long, inertia would take over and I'd never see what was beyond the next stone.  Each painting is a stepping stone, and I can hardly wait for the next one!
   Had I held to the good ones, and never let go of them (emotionally and physically), I wouldn't be where I am now.  And I'm really excited about what's happening for me, and how fortunate I am.  And all because I let go of the good ones.
An interesting side note, in that I still have images of those "good ones" from ten or fifteen years ago, and with the eye and mind I have today, I don't think they are so good any more!

Do you use a lot of paint?

I hadn't seen the bottom of too many paint tubes--at least not until I really kicked into high gear and started cranking out the work.  (See the Daily Paintings, and subscribe to receive one a day! Before, I would have all these tubes (you know, garage sales, great aunt bequeathments, etc.) and would never seem to use up any of them.  I used to have drawers full of half used tubes of colors I thought I'd probably never need.   But on this topic, today I made a realization that bits of dried paint are doing me NO service, and have scraped and cleaned out my bins and put all new paint in there.  It was like cleaning house!   I've come to the belated realization that bad materials will slow and impede the painting process.  I can't let that happen due to some misguided thinking that frugality works for making art.  It doesn't. So I now remember that even a half a tube is probably the same cost as a good dinner, and just go ahead and toss the dried paint.
I do use some other colors in exploration and experimentation, and enjoy the effects, but my palette is either the five colors plus white or the 12 colors I use with my Color System.

I can't get a good sunset.  How do you do your skies?

Try this... In all of the sky areas except near the sun:
Use ultramarine blue for the blue.
Use alizerin crimson for the pinks.  Mix it into the blue for any purple you might see.
Use white to lighten, but not a lot.
Use Yellow ochre for any spot not in the sunset itself (shadows on clouds, orang-ing up the alizerin, dulling down the purples, etc.)

THEN:  in the area where the sun is actually setting, use cadmiums... yellow, red light, and orange.  Do NOT use white!
Paint the sun itself white, with a fleck-teensy-bit of thalo green in it (a whisper).
   Instant brilliance!

Can you give me ideas for a portfolio for presentation purposes?

Folders are designed for their audience, remember that. What kind of folder to use may be different, depending upon where you are going to present your work.

I had a portfolio that I submitted to AAEA good enough to get a request from the director to use it in a seminar on good business practices.
It consisted of a dark navy blue linen-look business folder with a cutout in the front, into which I inserted my logo and name printed on grey granite paper.  In the pocket inside, I put my CV, slides, some lessons from the web site, and an artist's statement.  I sent it with a cover letter, introducing myself and citing the contents.
   The business folders come in a pack of four at your local Staples or office supply.
   If you are doing a presentation folder, I'd follow similar guidelines, but with 8 x 10s of your your presented in clear sleeves with the information about the piece on the back of the previous page.
   Would also be sure that if the folder/binder is closed, that your name and signature is on the front.  First impressions, y'know.

You can use a ring binder for images for a gallery, but be sure to have 8 x 10s made of your best work. Now photographing art is a whole 'nother chapter!

Just curious, Elin.  What did your first (and second, third, etc.) paintings sell for?

I can't remember that far back.  I recall I did a lot of trading back in my early school years... I know it was enough in exchange to let me release them from my inventory without feeling I was giving them away.  The price doesn't matter.  The criteria is still the same:  I part with paintings without feeling I am giving them away, or I part with them because I feel better with that person having the work.  Pricing is immaterial, irrelevant and because of that, I'm probably "selling" more work than I would if I were focused on pricing. I always give discounts to repeat collectors!
      Prices are secondary, in that I don't paint to a certain price.  It is about where you sell and to whom, and consistency.  I believe it is wrong to keep seeing your art as some kind of product like the items on a store shelf, and to have to have a price in your head for all of them. Think about where you show and to whom.  And remember the mid-price people. 

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Email Elin with your questions, or with your comments about these thoughts for students. I enjoy replying!