Wednesday, January 7, 2009


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 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.


Marian Fortunati said...

You did wonderfully!!!
I was proud to know you as my teacher and friend......
The crowd was WOWED and with well over 80 in the audience it's not an easy crowd. I've been there when the whole group is just talking away and not paying any attention to the poor artist.
You had them mesmerized!!
It IS a great group of artists... A lot of variety of favorite subject matter and mediums but you had them all glued to their seats.
THANK YOU... It was a great way to start out 2009!

Portrait Painting By Johanna Spinks said...

YOU are a dear Marian...thanks for saying such nice things and giving the introduction..I was very impressed by the group as a whole. See you tomorrow for more painting!

Rhonda said...

I wish I didn't live so far away, I would have loved to see your demo! I would probably freeze up. Sounds like you had a very enjoyable experience and the 80 artists picked up some good advice and information. What kind of free stuff do you give out? Do you have a demo on dvd for sale?


Sharon Weaver said...

It was the most successfully meeting to date. Thank you Johanna for a great job and taking the time to talk to so many of the San Fernando Valley Art Club members. The group mobbed you at the break with so many questions and they didn't want the demo to end.

Tina Steele Lindsey said...

I laughed aloud through this post. Great warmth and humor. So glad it was a great experience. You must still be glowing.

Portrait Painting By Johanna Spinks said...

Thanks so much everyone! It was a lovely evening and I was inspired by the energy of the whole group.

Rhonda: free stuff as in cards, articles, art notes.
As for DVD,,,watch this space! Are you still going to ERK in Feb? Maybe I will see you there. Hope so...