I just wanted to say a thank you to my new friends at The San Fernando Valley Art Club who were just so darn charming toward me at my portrait demo for them last night.
I was amazed as the membership crowd just got bigger and bigger with over 80 artists filling the room to watch me paint my beautiful artist friend Diane.
I hope I did OK...nice things certainly were said but maybe the coffee was spiked. Someone even said it was like John Singer Sargent was in the room. I wanted to kiss her. Everyone was incredibly warm and generous and I enjoyed judging the members' art competition. Some very fine work there. Obviously a thriving art group, some 65 years old.
To paint in public is not for the faint-hearted; over 80 pairs of artists' eyes watching you, random questions galore, a video camera recording your every word, and your image put up on a huge screen. Wish I had done my roots. You are really doing performance art or a "stunt" as Mr. Everett Raymond Kinstler often calls them and he should know. He can write the book on portrait demos.
This demo was done in a total of one hour and 15 minutes with just one break. 18 x 24 Phew!
Here are some tips in case you do one:
Have a pee before you start
Don't drink caffeine just before...is that your hand shaking or the video?
Wear something that looks good from behind.
Draw, draw, draw ahead of time. No rusty nails...they come after! Hic!
Make friends in the audience before you start. Who wants a hostile audience?
Don't swear when you drop your brush. That pesky microphone.
Know your model ahead of time. Know what they will be wearing. No crazy kaftan surprises.
Give out LOTS of free stuff. People always want free stuff. I know I do.
Keep it simple stupid! Don't get clever. Paint what you KNOW.
Think what you would want to get from a demo. Endless stories told by the artist about him/herself OR endless tips that you can use in your painting? Durrrr...
Have your cards and mailing list handy...that's what stunts are for.