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Johanna Spinks — Cultivating Curiosity & Human Connection

The BoldBrush Show: Episode #87

Show Notes:

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For today's episode, we sat down with British born portrait artist Johanna Spinks. Johanna shares with us her journey of becoming a professional portrait painter after careers in journalism and makeup artistry. She emphasizes the importance of continuous learning and improvement, citing her mentor Everett Raymond Kinstler's emphasis on values, curiosity, and doing one's homework. She also stresses the importance of surrounding oneself with mentors and leaving ego aside to receive constructive criticism for growth. Johanna also reminds us to protect one's mental well-being as an artist facing criticism, especially online. We also discuss tips for starting a career as a portrait painter, working with agents, honoring client expectations, and the power of capturing people's stories through portraiture. She gives us marketing strategies and advice on contracts, productivity, and balancing creativity with social media demands. Finally, Johanna tells us all about her upcoming workshop in a chateau in France focused on Renaissance gilding techniques.

Visit Johanna's FASO site:

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Johanna's upcoming Chateau 2025 workshop:

Johanna's article "Don't Believe in Fairy Tales":



Johanna Spinks: 0:00

My main thrust is still the as much direct communication as I can get with people is still my goal. You know, I mean, I'm you know, even in the the thrust of my artwork, I'm interested in the direct interaction with people, the sitter, the person on the street, you know, people watch I I'd rather be sitting in a sidewalk cafe than in a forest. That's just me. You know, I'm interested through my portrait art in you know, the unique thread of humanity that connects us all.

Laura Arango Baier: 0:37

Welcome to the BoldBrush show, where we believe that fortune favors the bold brush. My name is Laura Arango Baier, and I'm your host. But those of you who are new to the podcast, we are podcast covers art marketing techniques, and all sorts of business tips specifically to help artists learn to better sell their work. We interview artists at all stages of their careers, as well as others who are in careers type the art world in order to hear their advice and insights. For today's episode, we sat down with British foreign portrait artist Johanna Spinks, Johanna shares with us her journey of becoming a professional portrait painter after careers in journalism and makeup artistry. She emphasizes the importance of continuous learning and improvement, citing her mentor Everett Raymond Kinstler, emphasis on values curiosity and doing one's filming. She also stresses the importance of surrounding oneself with mentors and leaving ego aside to receive constructive criticism for growth. Johanna also reminds us to protect one's mental well being as an artist facing criticism, especially online. We also discussed tips for starting a career as a portrait painter, working with agents honoring client expectations and the power of capturing people's stories through portraiture. She gives us marketing strategies and advice on contracts productivity and balancing creativity with social media demands. Finally, Johanna tells us all about her upcoming workshop in a chateau in France focused on Renaissance building techniques. Welcome, Joanna to the BoldBrush show. How are you today?

Johanna Spinks: 2:02

I'm great. Thank you, Laura. Thank you for having me here. So Pleasure to meet and talk with you. Yeah, yes,

Laura Arango Baier: 2:07

it's a pleasure to meet and talk with you too. Especially because we've had quite a unique experience, you know, having learned from, you know, one of the most important portrait painters out there and having had such an interesting trajectory as well. And now you yourself being a very well known portrait painter, I would say, at least in the circles that you work with which, gosh, I feel like anyone would want to reach that level if they were portrait painter to just live off of commissions and making beautiful paintings as well, which you do. So congratulations on that.

Johanna Spinks: 2:41

Thank you. Thank you. That means a lot. Yes. It's it's been quite a journey. I've been a portrait artists for almost 25 years now. Yes, so what a journey and Everett Raymond Kinsler was definitely one of the most important chapters of the journey so far. And it was a many years chapter. And yes, and taught me so much about, you know, how to paint values, the value of values was really his main thrust of teaching. But also, you know, always to be curious. Curiosity was a big thing. And I think all of us artists should keep that going forever, and not to get jaded and such. And, yes, curiosity. And also doing your homework, you know, always Always do your homework. Yeah. So you know, in terms of doing your homework, Ray was a big fan of prep sketches. And, you know, he would, he would send me stuff that I was working on, with little tidbits of information, how to do better. For example, a book on Rex Harrison, of my fair lady that I was painting for the players club, arrived with, you know, the suggested photo reference, and, of course, a little drawing. And I really treasure these now. And this was another one I did with the player players, Howard Lindsay and more notes, you know, just to, you know, do your homework and look at this a little deeper, look at this a little further. This was a Angela Lansbury facts I caught. You know, saying, well, let's let's consider this didn't make it more of a caricature or was was what he was saying about that, or think of making it, you know, more like a caricature. And this was a portrait that I was working on for the Forbes family, Forbes magazine. And he gave us some great feedback there, you know, just the hand in particular, look how he sort of darkens down most of that hand. So yeah, I love getting these and that they're real treasures for me now. And I have a whole whole box of you know, notes and copies of emails. It's delightful. This was a corporate corporate commission I was working on which I sent for review and suddenly that showed up a week later the sketch arrived that he had painted, you know how to keep the value hadn't really simple. Yeah, just lovely. And then this was a gentleman from originally from Scotland heritage who was painted in a kilt with a Scottish view. And, again, the simple light and shadow and, you know, dipping down the landscape horizon. Just so helpful. I was so, so lucky, so blessed.

Laura Arango Baier: 5:23

That's amazing. That is such a wonderful experience to have had with Raymond Kinsler. And

Johanna Spinks: 5:29

life honestly has not been the same without him.

Laura Arango Baier: 5:33

I can imagine. Yeah, yeah. Yep, I completely agree with that. I feel like, it's so easy to fall into a pattern or fall into a formula and then just stay there and stay stagnant instead of continuing because, you know, like, with painting, especially, we know that it's very much a thing where it's about vision, and it's about seeing something. And if you stop looking, you'll stop seeing right. So you need to have that curiosity, as you said, to be able to move forward as a painter to improve because it's a lifelong thing. I feel like when someone just stops improving. It's a little bit sad.

Johanna Spinks: 6:18

Yes, absolutely. And I think one of the traps of certainly people who have become the sort of, you know, prima ballerinas, if you like, and they've, they've got a huge body of collectors, they've got, you know, top notch galleries, then they can't paint any different, they can't really experiment too much more, because, you know, they've had, they've hit the big time. And not many people do, really. But there's also a great mid level of artistry, where you can work comfortably your whole life, which I think is what I hit. Hopefully, you can have take anything for granted, especially in the economy right now. But I think that is that is one of the dangers. It's not that they're not curious and curious anymore, it's just that they are almost kind of trapped in, you know, a way of painting that they have to continue. And I have a very dear art friend who is very, very successful painting, selling, you know, in the 100 1000s or so. And he said to me, you know, if I see a rose by a, he actually mentioned a telephone box, because I was British, and he liked the rent telephone box AD. He said, I cannot go off and paint that. Because I have to do what my, you know, collector base is expecting and wanting? And yeah, and that really stuck with me that COVID thought it was quite sad. It

Laura Arango Baier: 7:45

is yeah. And you bring up a really great point, because it becomes, oh my gosh, it's like, what happened to painting for the sake of painting? You know, like what your friend said, you know, he could still paint it, he can't sell it, or he doesn't have a collector base for it. And then also, he probably doesn't have time, right? Because he's so busy taking on commissions or Yes, finishing pieces for a gallery. And I think that's the point where it gets very, very sad. Because you're now doing something that you love, but you're also not able to do what you love at the site. It's kind of ironic, you're in like this shredding cat situation.

Johanna Spinks: 8:23

Yes. And to be honest, Laura, it'd be lovely to experience that for a couple of years. To be in the 1% prima ballerina, I'll take it for a couple of years.

Laura Arango Baier: 8:33

It has pros and cons. I mean, I have heard often other, you know, painters who are already in that level, of course, but you want to be in that level. But at the same time, they do say, enjoy your anonymity. And enjoy those years where you can't, I mean, not not that you can't but enjoy those years where you can paint anything. And experiments enjoy your free time to because before you know it Your time has been monopolized by exhibitions and taking care of paintings for exhibitions and workshops or whatever else you have to be doing. Even interviews, marketing, like it gets us busy. So I completely get that. But before we continue talking about all that, do you mind telling us a bit about a bit more about how you got started? And my biggest question is also how you started off in the path of the artist.

Johanna Spinks: 9:25

Right? Okay. Well, I have been in the arts my whole life. I started out training as a journalist in Britain with the National Council for the training of journalists, which was a very rigorous three year program, working on a newspaper and you took your your qualifications around that training program. And I graduated that was in the journalism world for quite a long time moved to New York. ended up working for the New York Post on Sundays on the city desk as as you know, the murder fires muggings reporter in the morning calling around all the time police precincts. And so that was the early part of my life. You know, I wouldn't say writing for tabloid newspapers is particularly creative. But it is a certain skill set of investigative knowing how to use a phone, interviewing people, and all of that I that skill set, I definitely have taken on into everything else that I've done in my life. So then, you know, time went by, I had a couple of kids. And writing was something that I always thought I was going to get caught out at that I always had this feeling inside that I wasn't, you know, good enough. So after motherhood, I sort of well, I'm going to go in a different direction. And I had been around the music world through my husband for quite a bit of time. And I decided, well, I'm going to go off and learn how to do studio makeup. And that and that was an incredible journey. And I had an incredible career doing that, I was assigned with self esteem, which is the just shut down, actually one of the biggest makeup agencies in Los Angeles. And again, I was learning light, I was learning color. And so then I got actually sick, I got this virus, which I had for two years, and I had to stop working in the makeup world. And I signed up for a few art classes in my hometown. And I just absolutely loved it. And I thought, you know, I could actually do portraits here, because I had a knowledge of light, I had a knowledge of color color theory. And but, of course, it wasn't that easy. I didn't know how to draw well. And I had to go off and learn that. And that really has been one of my biggest challenges coming to the fine art world later in life, which I did. So that's yeah, that was that's been one of the biggest challenges. The drawing aspect.

Laura Arango Baier: 12:00

Yeah, I feel like drawing is even now drawing is still the thing that we continue to always Hone more and more, because the painting side, you know, the rendering side, it's, it's a bit more obvious and easy. But of course, you need that structure of the drawing always to make it work. So drawing is I always say this, but it's about 90% of a great painting. So I totally get that even after years. Drawing is still the most important element. Absolutely.

Johanna Spinks: 12:31

Yeah. And my mental counselor said to me that in his opinion, there were two types of fine art or two strengths in a fine artist. And it was rare that a fine artist had both strengths in equal measure painting, and drawing. And I apparently, which I knew, but he said to me, you are a natural painter, but boy, you know, you will always have to work on your drawing your whole life. And at the time, I was like, oh, Ouch, that hurts. But he he was nobody he was absolutely right. And and you know, one of the things that truly helped me around all of this, you know, the noise you have in your head, round drawing, I decided to go off and do a year I called it 365 days of drawing. And this was in the very early days of Facebook. So I put it out very publicly, I had a public portrait page when it just began. And this led to just the most incredible experience and the drawings were they weren't quick sketches. I really spent my time on this year. And what happened was the most remarkable thing I no longer ever had to do this, you know, that this, this and this, the plumb line, my brain to hand coordination was forever improved. So I still have to work on my drawing, I draw from I do a figure drawing every week, and I do a portrait painting from life every week, just keep that you know, and then sketching out on a balance, you know, so I think it's, it's incredible when you do and this is a piece of advice I would give to maybe people earlier on the path the journey is to surround yourself with people that try and get a mentor of some sort who you know, they are further along in the journey. And you know, you can trust them when they give you advice, you know, you know to listen and with with Ray Kinsler. The one thing that happened with him is he was really a very the more we got to work with each other, the tougher he was on me, and he said, you know, there is no point me giving you unnecessary compliments. He said, That's not useful to you. I want to give you, you know, the points that you really need to hear about and he did, and I remember every one of the harsh the harsh critiques, and they always came from a place So have compassion and caring it wasn't, you know, it was necessary. And so I would say yes, if you can surround yourself with a painter who knows more about drawing and painting than you do, or your particular art form still life landscape, that's huge, you know, because we we work in a vacuum in our studios, or wherever we paint. That progress happens with a little bit of outside help, usually, yes,

Laura Arango Baier: 15:31

yeah, having an expert, I definitely helps someone from the outside to look and say, This is the issue. And it's, it's very interesting, because, you know, I, I've had that experience with my students as well, now that I'm teaching a bit where you almost, you don't want to hurt them. But at the same time, you know that by telling them objectively, hey, this is how you improve, they'll improve like they need it. Yeah, oftentimes, though, they are a bit sensitive, especially when they're young. And it's like, well, you can't attach your ego to your paintings, because your paintings can always improve something else completely. And that's one of the hardest things,

Johanna Spinks: 16:13

leaving your ego at the door is one of the biggest challenges in the learning process. And one thing that I learned to do talking of leaving your ego at the door, was, you know, I was going to the National Arts, the Art Students League in New York, sorry, and the National Academy of Design to study with Mr. Kinser, I think, a 10 year period, in November in February, and I looked, it was a very, very full, two rooms of students of quite a high level. And I learned to not walk around the room in the beginning of the day, or maybe through to lunch, just focus on what I was doing with my canvas with the model, and with his instruction. Because the moment I started walking around the room, seeing all these wonderful painters, the voices would start in the head, like, Oh, I'm gonna go, I'm not doing this right, or I'm gonna go south. So I had to be protective of that side of my learning. And I learned to do that. Yeah, and the other thing that actually someone who had studied with cancer before I showed up in his world, said to me, when he touches your canvas, put it to one side, and don't touch it again, like go home with the brushstroke that he has left on your canvas, because, you know, his brushwork was extraordinary. He painted eight American presidents all of them living in his lifetime, who's who of America, you know, just an extraordinary level of painting. So I learned to do that. But that involved leaving my ego aside, because at the end of the day, I wouldn't have a lot to show, you know, whereas other other people who had worked on their marvelous, you know, sketches, and they were marvelous, they will survive. Oh, yes, I did this today. And I'd be standing there with Well, I did this today. But I came home with these amazing teaching tools for later. Because also, as I'm sure artists listening will know, your brain will only take in so much at one time. Right? But where on the journey where you're at your brain can only take in what it can learn them, but you go back to those sketches, three years later, Mr. Cancer sketches after three years of life painting on your own, and you will see something that you did not see before. And that's the same with rereading an art book again, or, you know, all those things. I mean, and that's a constant surprise to me how when I go back to things, you know, even now, as a sort of older artist in the room, I still go back and go, Wow, I didn't take that in at the time. So that was again, leaving the ego at the door.

Laura Arango Baier: 19:00

Yes, yes. And I love that, what you said about revisiting, because it is so true, you know, when you're at an earlier stage, you can really only see the next couple steps in front of you. But then when you're further along in that journey, and you can see other things you perceive that like the lessons and the advice in a different light, because you are you have all of this other experience that helps create more of that understanding and that is so vital. And again, that's part of the path of the artists and continuing forth and practicing like you did with your your drawing for a year of practice. I think that is so vital and so helpful for anyone who watched my drawing saw, it's like, Well, you got to draw more or you just got to keep practicing with intention.

Johanna Spinks: 19:47

Hopefully, I mean, I taught for quite a few years at the Los Angeles Academy of figurative art, the California Art Institute, and I edited combined, portrayed from the model and still life class because I think we learn from both of those disciplines. If you can paint an apple, well, then you can start to paint a face level. But if you can't paint an apple, well, with good form, it's going to be a challenge for you. But the one thing that I would say, and I was very blessed to have, you know, repeat students there, but that they would come to a certain point in their life sketch, and then it was the thing about certain students, and the thing would stop. And I would, and it was always the same issue. And I would say to them, you know, did you did you practice your drawing this week? And it was a weekly class? Well, no, I didn't. And I would say, well, you next week, go to this, you know, range of drawings, I'll show you what to practice. And that will help you. But people get so interested more in the painting than the drawing, I think, you know, and as you as you said earlier, the drawing is really 90% of the battle. Yes, yeah. Yes.

Laura Arango Baier: 20:57

I totally get that. Yeah. And I think there's also that point, when you're students where you hit the point of, I don't know what I don't know, which again, you know, brings us back to having that expert eye to tell you like, Oh, this is this is clearly what you're missing. Because it's it can it can be can get really complicated, especially at the beginning, because your skills reach a certain point, but your brain hasn't really caught up yet. The understanding hasn't caught up. So yeah, that's where you start feeling like, oh, I don't I don't know. I don't know anymore. Yeah. Can I even draw can even paint.

Johanna Spinks: 21:28

But yeah, and paralysis by analysis. You know, that's a huge one for artists and including myself and everything I talk about here, you know, I've done it, I've seen it, and I felt it. One of the biggest battles in my journey has been with my own head, you know, and, and keeping that part of of my process protected. You know, one of the things that happens is when you do start putting out your artwork out there publicly, which I have certainly done with my you know, face Avenger, or portrait projects face of Malibu face of Charleston. You know, when I've done public demos, and you know, a lot of that has been put out online and fats, a huge amount. And then you start getting the keyboard warriors, having a go at you. And you you want to talk about having to protect your head then it is so so hard. And I felt tremendous sympathy the last few weeks for the British portrait artists Jonathan Yeo, who did the portrait of Prince Charles King Charles sorry. And, you know, really got universally, you know, taken down for it on social media. And I had a similar experience last year, not painting King Charles unfortunately. Last, but I painted a famous shackling in France, and I was thrilled to paint her I've been such a fan, I am such a fan, wonderful lady, very talented. So we did a live setting for hours for her YouTube channel, and it was tied in with my friend shadow workshop that I was doing. And, you know, I thought I'd done a pretty good job in four hours, and she loved it, she took it away, she was thrilled. Anyway, the portrait dropped in the sitting, video dropped. And really, it was 24 hours where I couldn't get out of bed. And, and nobody really talks about that side of being an artist, but putting your out artwork out there publicly. But the one thing again, that we're up, we're learning lessons all the way through the journey. The one thing that I learned was next time you see somebody being taken down like that have a lot of empathy for them because it's not a sport, you know, and that artists Jonathan Yeoh got the commission pieces he's a very talented artists he delivered his style. I mean, come on. So get so going back to protecting the head the the mental side of being an artist, which ever stage you're at, I think, is the number one thing we have to do and these days of rampant you know, the IDs and Instagram and all that stuff. It's really quite a challenge. We get we get the sort of Magpie glittering object thing, we're just going to try to hang on for a little bit. And oh, that's, that's great. That's glitters. I'm gonna go for that. And I've been guilty of it.

Laura Arango Baier: 24:42

Yeah, no, I totally get that and so sorry, went through that because it is so hard. Because you yourself are proud of yourself and then other people just have a go at you and it's not and they they don't and most of the time, those people don't even paint at that level either. are, you know they don't they they're oftentimes just, it's easier to criticize when you don't know what you're doing right when you don't or like you don't do the thing. It's like people who watch the Olympics. And they criticize a runner because oh, they could have done better. It's like do you do you distance run in the Olympics like it, there's a big divide there. And I agree, it's so important to protect your your head, so much relate to your your will your sensitivity as well, because there are scumbags out there. And like there are people out there who they will say things to just be trolls or just to be really rude. But oftentimes, they don't really know you will only ever be criticized by someone who does less than you. Like, that's what I've read. And it's, and it's so true, because a person who does more than you, what they will do is congratulate you for even doing it. So it's very important to remember that but it's usually, yeah, don't don't do as much or don't make as much of an effort, or just really rude. Who even try to say mean, things like that. So I'm really, I think out the other side. It

Johanna Spinks: 26:09

took it took a while. And you know, collectively, I mean, I think us it's the art world is a competitive world, I mean, any world where, you know, there's commerce involved is going to be competitive. But I think, you know, collectively as, as artists, we all need to, you know, kind of stick together and, and defend the other, you know, and lift the other up, you know, share your knowledge, you know, share your knowledge freely. I mean, obviously, we, you know, we teach, and we want to earn a certain fee for that, because, you know, we're all trying to pay on mortgages and stuff. But yeah, just just just be a generous artist. And don't be a stingy artist, you know, like, let's collectively lift each other up. And let's aim for that in this crazy world that we live in right now. Yes,

Laura Arango Baier: 27:03

that feels more and more divided. For some reason, it's so strange, the more connected we are, the more divided it feels like, I blame the internet for that. Me too.

Johanna Spinks: 27:12

But it is very useful. I mean, in terms of marketing, and your brand's only, there's never been an easier time to get your artwork in front of eyeballs. If your aim is to sell your art, I have many good friends who they have no interest in selling their art, and they are fabulous painters. So that doesn't apply to them. But if you are interested in selling your art getting into galleries, or whatever it is, the internet is a wonderful tool if used wisely. I when I first started, you know seeking out Commission's that there wasn't an internet, it was all Can you imagine it was all done by a Let's send out a mailer, let's send out a, you know, a holiday greeting card, etc, etc. But the good news of that was you were doing direct one to one marketing, where you were sending a handwritten note to the person you knew the person they knew you. And that was, that is something that I'm still very grateful for. Because those early commissions, those people are still now reading my email newsletter, and we're talking 20 years later, their kids have grown up, you know. And to me, that's, that's something really to learn that that that one to one is still very, very important. And I think in terms of marketing our art, we have forgotten that for those of us that have really in the sort of new world digital world forgotten and, you know, in my opinion, I can only speak from my own opinion. But Instagram and Facebook are just part of, of what I think I should be doing. My main my main thrust is still the as much direct communication as I can get with people is still my goal. You know, I mean, I'm, you know, even in the the thrust of my artwork, I'm interested in the direct interaction with people, the sitter, the person on the street, you know, people watching, I'd rather be sitting in a sidewalk cafe than in a forest. That's just me. You know, I'm interested through my portrait art in you know, the unique thread of humanity that connects us all. And I know from my my face project, which was a project done over a good seven years, and it was tied in with three different newspapers, one in venture one in Malibu and one in Charleston. And the sitter would come in do a two hour sitting no more because they're real people, they're not marvels. And then they would be interviewed for their life story, what they felt about being painted and that would Go into the newspaper, and newspapers cycle. So that to me, you know, the sitter's life story was as important as you know, my painted sketch and some of those sketches talk about putting your ego at the door. They weren't that good. But I have had a lot of them weren't that good. But my thrust was on my mission was the direct interaction. So the moment that person left the room, their essence had gone. And you in my opinion for me, you know, if I start touching it up from a photo afterwards, it's okay. It's, it looks more polished. But it is not. It's not the life force there anymore. So you have this juggle with are you Oh, yeah. And my job was no, I'm doing it that way. And it worked for me. And it was a tremendous experience. You know, I think I did. Oh, my goodness, 67 people for the face of insurer, I think 58 For the face of Malibu, and then I did 18 For which is one of my most favorite series of portraits, the face of Malibu rebuilds, which was people who had lost their homes in the Woolsey fire. So, talk about seeing someone at their lowest lowest, and I interviewed those people and and did watercolors of them, you know, when they were no longer in their houses, and they were in floods of tears. But, yeah, it was it, that was the most extraordinary experience. And that will be the thing that I will never forget the power of that and actually kind of get choked up talking about it now, because it was just such a powerful thing, you know, and how also that art, but simple as it was, because these were pen and ink and watercolor drawings, it somehow meant something to them. And also, you know, getting their little store of not little that big story in the paper about how they lost their fire what they were doing. And by the way, this was the very early days of the fire. And I was displaced in a hotel to my at the back side of my house, got badly hit by the fire. So I was doing this from, you know, a hotel that, you know, with a bunch of the fire refugees, and yeah, that's the power of of art and how it can help just a little bit. It's not going to bring their house back. But but it did help. It was, you know, and I got I got so many emails after each one of those came out that it meant something to them. Yeah,

Laura Arango Baier: 32:25

I completely agree. Because that's basically what we seek as creatives and what we seek as people who make images. You know, the image isn't complete until you have somebody who views it. Right. And just as you're saying to with with having a sitter, there's that connection. Right, you want that you're seeking that connection, and you're seeing them in their most vulnerable state as well. And you're respecting it. Alongside telling their story force,

Johanna Spinks: 32:55

yes. telling this story. Yeah.

Laura Arango Baier: 32:58

And that is, yeah, yeah, that is, you know, one of the greatest goals, I would say, for someone who is a portrait painter is, like you said earlier to, to capture that essence of that person to basically be a safe place for them to be themselves and to be vulnerable, which, like, we were saying, to, you know, there's that I feel like that's a little bit what's missing in the world today. And I love that you still do, you know, the one on one, and you prefer that over online, which I completely agree, even today, I would recommend for people to do what you're doing with, or what you used to do with sending a postcard or like, still do those people? Yeah, because I think even today, we value that one on one connection even more, you know, so from your reaction to having painted these people, and creating such amazing, like, it's such an amazing series of paintings as well, that's a lot of lives that you have touched, which is like, you know,

Johanna Spinks: 33:54

they've touched me too. It's a two way street, you know, and the conversations that we had, and by the way in the face has been sure we I linked in with the newspaper and a regular, all those sitters went on to a radio show, too. So after the sketch had been painted, so it really was about, you know, telling the story. And I think that's what made it powerful, actually, I will say if you're going to do these kinds of things, again, if you're interested in putting your artwork out there in terms of marketing, and we have to talk about marketing, that the you know, b2b kind of thinking, Well, you know, what is the endgame of this as well, you know, because going off and painting 130 portraits of people is a big time commitment, as you know, doing a show like this, those things are a time commitment. You've got to arrange it, you've got to do this, that and the other and it was a significant part of my yearly thing doing that. So I was very aware right from the beginning, that they were never going to be for sale, that they were I think I sold one of them, and then said why did sell one of them and it was a very bad idea changed my mind and asked if I could have it back and give her a painting instead, which, which she lovely, lovely. So agreed to, because this, the Boone Special Collections archives had asked if they could take the Malibu and rebuild series into their collection. And she was one one of the paintings that was missing, I needed I needed to have her included. So in terms of marketing and building your brand, you just decide where you're, you know, what you're aiming for, I mean, I really wanted those portraits to be archivally stored somewhere. And I just started with that intention from the very beginning. And it took a lot of effort, and a lot of very good people in the towns to help me achieve that. And that goes back to the one on one contact with people, you know, the people that that are your connectors, you know, just you know, nurture those the connectors you know that somebody said somebody famous and I hope I'm not misquoting but you know, if you ever have 100 Sincere collectors, that will last you a lifetime. And I say if you have 50 Serious connectors, you know, people who like you like your art and stay with you over the years that will take you so far, you know, the connectors are as gold as the connectors, collectors are, connectors are as gold as collectors. So I yeah, I would say always have in mind, you know, the mountain you're trying to reach in terms of, you know, well, could this go somewhere. So, with the 365, straight days of drawing, you know, there was a show, there was a book self published book, there was a article in American artists magazine that was so never think I've done this. That's it like think, well, what can I do with it afterwards? Because a lot of the stuff for me happened after the individual Town projects finished. The paintings were in storage. And then I said, Well, now I stopped the what do we do with this? Yes,

Laura Arango Baier: 37:11

yeah, that's to create points. Out BoldBrush We inspire artists to inspire the world, because creating art creates magic. And the world is currently in desperate need of magic. BoldBrush provides artists with free art marketing, creativity, and business ideas and information. This show is an example. We also offer written resources, articles and a free monthly art contest open to all visual artists. We believe that fortune favors the bold brush. And if you believe that to sign up completely free at BoldBrush That's BOLDBRUSH The BoldBrush Show is sponsored by FASO. Now more than ever, it's crucial to have a website when you're an artist, especially if you want to be a professional in your career. Thankfully, with our special link, you can make that come true. And also get over 50% off your first year on your artists website. Yes, that's basically the price of 12 lattes in one year, which I think is a really great deal considering that you get sleek and beautiful website templates that are also mobile friendly e commerce print on demand in certain countries, as well as access to our marketing center that has our brand new art marketing calendar. And the art marketing calendar is something that you won't get with our competitor. The art marketing calendar gives you day by day, step by step guides on what you should be doing today, right now in order to get your artwork out there and seen by the right eyes so that you can make more sales this year. So if you want to change your life and actually meet your sales school this year, then start now by going to our special link That's Forward slash Podcast. I'm definitely having an ankle definitely having that. You know, what am I trying to take? Where am I trying to take my work? And why? Yes, because if that gets confused, or if there's no goal, then you can get lost, you can lose your way and end up doing something maybe you didn't intend to do. So it is very good to have that in mind. And I didn't want to ask because you've painted so many portraits. I can't imagine a number that even because it's probably 1000 at this point. But I wanted to ask if someone wants to become a portrait painter who takes on commissions, where do you recommend that they start?

Johanna Spinks: 39:36

That's a really good question. I would say start out local, which is exactly what I did. And you know paint if you want to be a portrait painter starting out first of all, definitely get your skill set a little better, because you don't want portraits out there hanging on walls that 20 years later you regret now I had that scenario. Got a little bit of black humor. And I hope this is okay to say this. Quite a few of those were in Malibu homes, the very early portraits, and four of those burnt in the Malibu fires four of those ugly, I shouldn't say ugly, but not as good as I would like to see them now. And I remember thinking, Gosh, that I feel, of course feel terrible for the for the homeowners, you know, but it you know, maybe it's not such a bad thing that those portraits actually went. So and I'm happy to redo them. If any of those people ever listen, and those lovely people know who they are, I'm happy to redo the portraits. So, at the end, Jonas Edward Jones, who was the former chairman of the portrait Society of America, who died, sadly, in a terrible accident a couple of years ago, he did an article called Getting Started in international artists magazine. Let me check I got that right. Yes. And he talked about he actually featured me in that and Rose Frandsen and Garen, Baker, three artists that have gone into their communities and started to look around, what can I do? Could it be a collection of parks a collection of whatever collection of patisseries or I don't know that fruit, whatever people. And he said, you know, this, I thought it was very interesting. And if anyone wants a copy of that article, I'm not sure if you can get it online, just email me and I'd be happy to, to Xerox it and send it to you the old fashioned way or email. So yeah, and then he had this quote in that article, which I think really sums up an awful lot for me. Edie says, I've always said success is a result of a continued effort toward becoming the finest artists possible, and then getting your work before as many people as possible. So, when you're starting out as a beginning portrait artist, I would say, Start local, you know, and very quickly get a website. You know, I think people websites are still very important. I believe that people think, Oh, I'm not ready for that yet. You know, as soon as you've got a few good images, you're ready, you know, it's your, what's your portable portfolio. So, you know, definitely do that. And then your, your biggest asset, honestly, is your subscriber list. So, always carry cards around, always have, you know, a little, your iPhone ready to take the contact, you know, and by the way, we still have to ask to add people to our subscriber list, I'm stunned by the people, number of people still who just add you on to their list that they are not, legally, you're not allowed to do that, just so people know that you have to ask for permission. And so you know, enter local art shows and enter if you want to be a portrait artist, enter portraits, if you want to be a landscape artist, it's again, it's that goal, you're trying to reach art fairs, I did a lot of art fairs in the early days, and paint in your art booth. People don't like static things, but they love it when an artist is painting. And you know, they will come up behind you. It's not intimidating, people always love watching artists create, I used to do that. And it was successful to me. Open Studios, you can have an open studio, in your living room and do it online to you know, Facebook Live or something like that. Or you can have once you've built up a little body of work, you can have, you know, a holiday party at your house. I've done a lot of that. And it's been very successful. You know, it's about that, that direct thing again, you know, and you know, you can sell all sorts of things at those things, you know, little landscape studies, I mean, I do landscape studies, little still lives, obviously you're not going to be selling them for 1000s at a holiday open house at your home but you know, sales or sales and think about starting to build your resume you know, you know quite early on Enter local art shows repeatedly once you build up a few successes there which you will then start going out to bid further afield art shows that's what I did you start entering national art shows, and hopefully get a bit of that a bit of leeway there. But that takes time. So yes, I'm just trying to think what else somebody could do, who's starting out, basically, anybody you meet, just think of them as a potential person to like your artwork and show them going on airplanes. I can't tell you how great that has been for me, you know, start talking, hey, this is what I do on Here's my card. I mean, I've given out so many He cards at airports, you know, and make those cards the best you can afford. Yeah, best you can afford. You know, I mean, I I have been a long believer, I'm not sure we can see this. Can you see that? Wow. Yeah, like a little glossy brochures, you know, and you've got your buyer there. And people, people just take it and even if it's even though it's quite large, you know, people go, Oh, they put it in a bag they you know, yeah. So, just remember that everybody you meet, you're selling it yourself and your journey as an artist, whether it's whatever the art form, you know, your unique selling point, as they call it in marketing, your USP. People are buying your story there is an your soul, your passion. I hate the word buying, but it's kind of what we're talking about. You that's an artist on every street corner all over the world. And there are usually some very, very good artists on every street corner all over the world. You have to tell the world if you want to sell your art, or if you don't, what about your art? Is it what's your story? You know, what, what is your story and my story, you know, because I had to think about this. My story is, you know, I'm a I'm a storyteller of people. You know, I'm, I'm not somebody you know, one of my dear friends Jeremy Lipking, who is the most incredible artist, and just you know, jaw dropping Good and a super, super nice guy, no ego, someone who's as massively successful as he is. And Jeremy is obviously one of the world's best figurative artists and creates these incredible stories through his canvases and just talking too much. I am not that artists, you know, I'm, I'm, I'm an artist that wants to tell the story of the person. And I think that's, that is why really portraiture is my, it's my heart and soul, you know, and I do do some figurative work. But it's, that's my story. And that's what you have to want has to work out, you know, what, what are you who are you as an artist? What are you trying to tell the world? You know, I mean, when I looked at your website, Laura, and I saw the beauty of your work, I can tell what your story was, is your message is very clear. And I think that that is what we have to get over, you know, because also, there are very few artists that that can do it all and do it all really well. I mean, still alive landscape figure, you know, that they they are there, you know, obviously, Jeremy dango hearts, and you know, Richard Schmidt and all those great guys. But generally speaking, it's so hard to get really good at being a painter that it does help if you have an area that you really are into, and you hone in on that. And you go, Okay, I want to be a portrait artists. That's the that's my, that's my mountain that I'm trying to reach. And, and the other thing I like I've been reading really interested recently in this motivational article James clear. And he's written a very successful book called atomic habits. And he doesn't call it a mountain, he calls it an iceberg, right? So you've and this was very interesting. I was just listening to his masterclass on the plane back from New York last week. So he calls it an iceberg. And you know, what is that iceberg bit at the top there, maybe it's a collection still life paintings, you're trying to sell, or art workshops, internationally, or whatever, or getting a big portrait commission. So you've got the tip of the iceberg. And then you have underneath the ice underneath the water, you have to get your systems in place, he calls it your systems in place. Because chances are, if you don't put those systems in place, you're not going to get that workshop filled internationally, or you're not going to get that big commission, or you're not going to get that collection of beautiful still lights into a gallery. And those systems in place, of course, are all the things that we have talked about, you know, your subscriber list, you're, you're getting in front of as many eyeballs as you can, but a fairly worked out plan of what you are going to do to make that happen. And, and the other thing he talks about, is that just do a little bit every day, you know, because sometimes the task seems so overwhelming and I have felt that that you kind of go off yeah. So you know, okay, you got it. You've got to go and write another newsletter and you don't know what birth you're going to write about yourself. Because it's a delicate balance. You're selling yourself in a newsletter but you have to make it look like you're not.

Laura Arango Baier: 49:50

Yeah, so because it can feel a little bit slimy.

Johanna Spinks: 49:55

Yeah, and I'm sure quite a few of mine have felt slimy but some cars Selling. Yeah. So so probably it's something that I put off. I mean, I certainly don't do more than four a year, mindless do not want to hear from me every month, that's for sure. And actually three years better for me. But I put it off, you know, because it's just overwhelming. And you've got to do all the links, and you've got to this and you do that. And I'm like, Oh, I'll do that tomorrow. I'll do that tomorrow. You know, and then I'll, you know, say what, if I just go in and do five minutes today, just put a few images in there, and then do five images tomorrow. And then the thoughts that I'd want to write about what actually come to me because obviously, the images are usually something you've been creating recently. And then also share something if you can, about, you know, how to framer or hang a painting in the best possible way, or, you know, try and share a little bit too. Yeah,

Laura Arango Baier: 50:50

I love that. Because it is so easy to get overwhelmed as an artist, especially because I really like to compare it to the 8020 rule. It's a little bit like what you said about the iceberg, where, if you want 20%, right, 20% is the important stuff, right? But it takes 80% of everything else, that of those systems. So systems are that 80%. Yeah, making sure you're even painting, of reaching out to collectors of updating your website of sending out the newsletters of basically keeping everything just in order. So that you get that little 20% at the top that's peeking out of that iceberg, which can be really overwhelming. And also, I love the Kaizen thing where you know, taking it a little bit at a time doing a little bit each day. It's kind of like if you have a giant cake in front of you, right? You can't eat the whole thing in one sitting. But you can eat a little piece every day. And before you know the cake is gone.

Johanna Spinks: 51:47

That's so true. And the other thing I really liked about Mr. Clear, is that he said saying no, and this is something that I think I have learned over the years, but it was good to see it and writing saying no, is the biggest productivity hack, you know, because how many times do we say yes? To things that take up so much time? So if you're going to say yes to something that you know, maybe to the more beginner artists building their careers, if you're going to say yes to something, make sure that yes, is leading you to your goal. I have said yes to so many things over the last 25 years that I thought would benefit me. And you know, it just turned out well, wow, that just took a huge chunk of my day, my week when I could have been painting and doing that newsletter.

Laura Arango Baier: 52:42

Yes. All the important stuff. And actually, that makes me wonder a little bit because you know, you've been painting portraits for so long that you obviously know you haven't experienced now you know what to say? Yes, no to. But I wanted to ask you what is, you know, maybe what is one of the key rules or some of the key rules that you personally follow as a portrait painter who's taking on a commission?

Johanna Spinks: 53:05

Sure. Well, certainly the number one thing which I learned on my first commission is always work with a contract. Always, always, always. And you know, you can download some contracts off the internet, I'd be very happy to share mine, if anyone wants to have an idea of how to do it. It's really important. And there's certain wording that you should probably have, like how you settle claims, if there is a situation which I've never had. But you know, I learned from Calvin Goodman, great art marketer now no no longer with us that that clause has to be in there. So work with the contract. And I also wrote about this for BoldBrush Find out us don't believe in fairy tales. You can Google that, that that article is online web fairytales working with a contract. And this also applies if you work with an art model. If you bring an art model into your home studio to paint, you need to have a contract with them. Okay, so that's the first big one. And in that contract should be details of the permission, the deposit, the final payment, your process, what you're portrayed, the details of your conversation with the client as to what the portrait is going to be all of it, so everything you can think of, but try and get it to two pages. No one wants to do any more than that. It also makes you look very professional when someone cold calls you off the internet, which often happens to me. And I say, Well, you know, we will exchange a contract. It's in the interests of both parties. You know, it protects you protects me and I haven't had a single person. Get funny about that. The second big thing and in the process is a non refundable deposit. Right now I used to do a A 60% and 40% on satisfactory completion. Now I am, I'll get as much of that deposit, like. Yeah, so, but, you know, case by case basis, but generally I'd be shooting for a 60% non refundable deposit, you don't start the portrait or the painting landscape, whatever until that deposit has cleared your account. You don't buy any, any supplies for nothing, no work stock, because you've already invested a lot of time by this point to get to that contract. I mean, I've chased port Trade Commission leads for two years before I've actually sometimes before I've actually got to the contract, but it's a cat and mouse game, sometimes you know, and you have to be prepared as a portrait artists to do that they don't just roll in and on the day you sign the contract. It's a little bit of a dance, and I actually enjoy that dance. So I would also say do your preparatory sketches for you, not for the client do not show the artists the prep sketch, I used to do that. I did that when I worked with a portrait agency, which I was working with a lot of sent shut down and they liked me to do a prep sketch for the client, I hated it, that the client has no idea how that prep sketch is going to be on a six week painting, it's just impossible. And you're already being judged to a negative sometimes on that prep sketch. So now I don't do that. But I do the prep sketch for me, for sure. Very important. The other thing I would say is only show the client the portrait when it is finished for you. Okay, don't don't show the portrait ahead of that time. Because it's again, it's about protecting your art brain, your art creativity, the moment you show it, and they have a slight negative thing to say or not, you're kind of you know, you're sort of, you're going on a downward spiral a little bit rather than finishing it to your satisfaction. And I'm sure you're like me, you're type A I'm very type A, and that portrayed is not going to be finished, you know, it's going to be looking pretty good by the time I show it to them, because I'm, you know, a bit like crazy like that. And then, you know, tips for you know, maybe more starting out is you have to be willing to make changes on your portrait, if you have a problem with that you should not go into the commissioned arena. When you're working on a portrait commission, you are working with the client on your shoulder. And if you're working with a portrait agency, which I often have done, you're working with a portrait agent on your shoulder and the portrait agency on your shoulder. So you've got three people, that is very hard. So yeah, I made that rule pretty early on that, you know, in the contract, I put a two week grace period for changes, okay. And they should be minor. Because by this point, you, you should have had such good communication with your client. You know, we're doing this we're doing that you do a photo shoot, I usually do a life sitting on the photoshoot as well, that like an hour and a half an hour quick like sketch, and I will tell them look, but that they're in person, so I can explain it a bit better than perhaps sketches in the studio. Look, this is like a doctor taking his notes. And they see the process. So they know that this is quick, right? It's different from the prep sketch where they haven't seen you create it. So in more recent times, you know, I came to the conclusion that the you know, this two week window was a little unfair. I would have people, for instance, come back two years later, and say I want the hands changed. You actually was three years later. And I thought to myself, it was a lovely client in Malibu. It was a client where you wanted that portrait on the wall to double portrait. And I said to myself, yeah, you're gonna you're gonna go in to do that, because I'm not in the business to have paintings on walls that people paint at all put in the cell. I mean, I know it happens to all of us, John Singer Sargent had, you know if you read any of his commission stories, believe it or not, he had people who didn't like some of his Commission's the clients, and that's impossible to believe, but it happens to everybody. It's the nature of the beast. You know, the portrait commission world is an ego based business talking about that again. So now I my, my take on it as I got older, and I have done a lot of portrait commissions is I really want people to be happy. I mean, certainly you're never going to have someone come back to you and say, I want the finger completely changed. That's just not going to happen if you've done your communication ahead of time. Well. Is it irritating when something like that happens. Yes. But you're you're working with the persons people business. And the goal is to have a client that is 110%. Satisfied. And you're it's good for business because you do not want people out there particularly on the world right now where people can get a Yelp, whatever it is, and you want you don't want to run the risk of people running into people say, Oh, well, you know, she did a blah, blah, blah, and she was hard to work with. And that's not going to get you more work. It's not good for, you know, and I hate to keep talking about business and selling, but the portrait commission world is selling. So I learned so much about that effect. It really was a selling business working with an agent portrayed agent. I mean, that was quite an eye. Oh,

Laura Arango Baier: 1:00:47

yeah. I mean, actually, since you mentioned it, because I, I mean, I am kind of aware of how some portrait commissions work where you do as a portrait painter, sign up for some sort of like you said, like an agency where they connect you with people who are looking for a portrait? Would you also recommend that? Or do you prefer to go on your own and do it on your own? Well,

Johanna Spinks: 1:01:09

I, I'm still with three portrait reps. So my big my big agency portrait itself closed down a couple of years ago, because the business wasn't there for them anymore, which was a shame because it had been a family business for a long time. And, and they were a great agency, I really enjoyed working with them. Would I recommend working with an agent? Yes. And I will tell you what, though, agencies are very, very hard to get into. Because the skill set of young artists like yourself, your training, and Florence and all that stuff we have now which we didn't have when I started this incredible body of young students who are highly trained like yourself, and you can't deny it, they're just they've done the Italys you know, they've done their training, and then they've put their own voice on it. You know, that is there. And there's, you know, it's a, it's, it's, and also, classical real ism is really what's in right now within the agencies. And really, I think in the fine art world, so if you're more of a big brush bowl painter like me, a little bit harder. That's not That's not that that's to put anybody off, because I certainly have people who who like that type of work, otherwise, I wouldn't get commissions. Why should also bear in mind that the portrait agencies take 40% That's four zero. Wow. So you know, if you're selling a painting that's in the several 1000 Mark, you're going to be giving several 1000 to the agency, which you know, the galleries take that too, right. The plus side of that is you wouldn't get the Commission's that you're getting through the agency. So you know, I got to do a lot of religious portraits, some bishops, the quite a few Pisco, Balian bishops, actually one commission I got through my myself, but I wouldn't have got those Commission's without that agency. And, you know, they do handle all the payment. They do handle all the travel, you know, they handle all the travel details or the hotel details. So, you know, that is you're paying for that, though. But yes, I would highly recommend that people seek out portrait agents or portrait ink is the top one, the hardest to get into. That's, that's the top top top one. I have been trying to get into that agency for about 20 years, I was a finalist in 2008. And they kept my portfolio for a year and then returned it because they wanted to focus getting was not as much work around because of the crash. And they were very polite and said they wanted to get their existing artists more work. But no, I've tried seriously to get into that every year for about, I think about 20 years. That tells you what it's like so and you know that that's the other thing that we as artists, we have to learn to handle the disappointments and you know, and Rick Kinsler talked about that a lot you know, and one story that he would say was he had to set certificates on his mantelpiece same painting entered into a competition the year before rejection letter, the next year, he got the gold medal for the painting and he kept it side by side those two certificates to remind him that you really you have to enter art competitions, I guess. But you can't judge yourself by too much you know, you're dealing with somebody else's the judges idea of who you are and you know, whether they like this, that or the other. So

Laura Arango Baier: 1:04:44

yeah, yeah. That's so cool, though. The fact that you know, there are agencies and, and I really love what you just said that ray can use them because it's so true as artists we faced so much rejection. And again, if If you let your ego get wrapped up in all of that, you're just going to end up suffering over nothing. Because truly, you'll have a set of judges who will say like, oh, well, this person was better doesn't mean that your work was bad. It just meant that some maybe they preferred someone else's. And then likewise, oh, well, this year, the judges thought, oh, this was the strongest piece and we really liked it. So yeah, it really like you said, it does depend. And it's the same with galleries. It's the same way, even with those portrait agencies where Oh, you just don't fit the I guess the roster that we want to have just because of the success. And maybe you might fit it the year after they change their people, their administration. So you never really know it is a game of a little bit of like, waiting and just trying dipping your toes a little bit and then okay, the water isn't ready for me yet, basically. Right? Well,

Johanna Spinks: 1:05:52

that old phrase persistence, persistence, meeting opportunity, you know, I mean, and styles do change. I remember, you know, because I've watched this stuff quite closely. And suddenly, it was like, you know, after the Obama portrait, the green background or the leaf background round, and suddenly, I noticed that a more modern artists are coming in, you know, popular. Liz Lindstrom is an artist and much more modern, a take on portraiture, and she is one of portraits, inks, busiest artists, quite rightly so. Stunning work so such that they do look for different things, different years. And it's fine. I mean, you know, talk about the disappointments you. And this is another thing that that Ray taught me, you know, you have to just keep chewing on an old like on the bone or chipping away at the marble block. You know, you've just got to keep chipping away, you can't let there are going to be obstacles, your face is not going to fit sometimes in certain groups and things. But you just keep going. You know, you keep going because you have something that you want to share with the world through your art.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:07:01

Yes, definitely. Oh, he was very wise.

Johanna Spinks: 1:07:05

Sure. Sure. Yes, yes. Everything

Laura Arango Baier: 1:07:10

that you've said that he has said, because it is, ah, it's all those little things they really add up, you know, it's, yeah, it's amazing. And then yeah, I did want to ask you to? Is there something that you wish you had known when you first started in terms of like marketing or branding that, you know, would have really helped your career? Or do you find that, you know, it's, it's changed so much that it doesn't maybe apply? I think it has

Johanna Spinks: 1:07:37

changed so much. But I personally have always understood from my previous careers, that, you know, you have to kind of hustle a little bit, you have to put it out there. I understood that from quite early on. Yeah, but I don't have any regrets looking back, or, I remember that I had a huge learning curve around when the camera went digital, I remember that, you know, I think that would be the thing that I would maybe explain a little bit that my learning curve, you know, having to get used to maintaining a website, going from regular photography, on a portrait shoot to digital photography, and the getting really comfortable with loading it all up on the computer with the client watching you, you know, back in the day when this was new, that to me, was really a quite a big learning curve and quite terrifying, actually. And then, you know, just when you think you've got it down, you've you've learned how to make the video for Facebook and Instagram, then it's like, no, it's a real and, you know, someone said to me the other day, who is pretty successful on Instagram as a sort of influencer, how to get build more followers. You know, your videos are really not good. And I, I thought about it for a second. And I said to myself, to myself, I'm not a content creator. You know, I'm not, that's not my job. And I'd rather spend more time involved in learning renascence gilding, which is what I'm going down the rabbit hole in right now than learning how to create a super duper professional video. And if that's going to turn you off, as someone who follows my art, then we're probably not going to be friends.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:09:26

You know, that's the You're right. That's really one of the hardest things today as an artist to is, you're not just excuse me, you're not just painting, right? You're painting. And then you're also editing videos. So now you're also a video editor and a movie maker basically, and even a sound mixer because you have to figure out how to make the sound sound good. And that blink it's basically the painting falls down to like this level. Yes, everything else is up here, which it can be really overwhelming and I completely understand why a lot of people are abandoning Instagram and maybe just sticking to Facebook. or just sticking to Well, I already have my collectors, I'd rather just, you know, meet people in person go to exhibitions and like just stick to the in person connections. Because it truly can be overwhelming. Absolutely,

Johanna Spinks: 1:10:15

we, we have to limit our time on, you know, again protecting that headspace and limit our time and but it is useful, it's free eyeballs, you know. So if we're just a little bit I mean, you know, I'm sure sort of the younger folk listening would probably disagree with me, you know, because I am sort of older now and I'm not always on things and maybe younger people are a whiz on Instagram things reels, etc. But I think if we just are a little bit sensible about it, you know, maybe posting and you know, some background of how you're creating your artwork. So you're sharing, you're not just constantly Me, me, me, which we all do from time to time, myself included, I think that's that should be good enough. And the thing about all this stuff is the algorithms change constantly. You know, I mean, every day almost, and I think people are getting overwhelmed, I think people are doing that I got to go somewhere else for a bit. And you know, so let's not get burnt out on it, if you need to shut it off for a bit and not posts for a week or two do that. Because you know, they are designed particularly the scrolling on the iPhone, it is designed to get you into a negative space. That's how they keep you scrolling Facebook to it's designed to get you in a negative mood, angry mood. So we got to be careful about that, again, comparing ourselves to all these other artists that are supposedly, you know, doing better doing this, that the other.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:11:47

And oftentimes, it's a front, right, people only show what they want to show. So I personally, I have not posted in well over a year, maybe even two years at this point, because I got tired of chasing and running and then the algorithm, and I wanted to focus more on my work in myself. So I totally understand it. But I definitely like I mean if someone knows how to do it, and they know how to handle it. That's great. Awesome. Great. Keep going. me I'll hire you. But yeah, it's overwhelming. You know, being an artist you have to have so many hats. You know, nobody do taxes. You do you find the Commission's you talk to people you like there's so much that goes into being you know, a self employed artist. Yeah. So it's, it's really tough. But speaking of, you know, self employment, and you know, how artists we have, usually lots of things that we do to also supplement income, right. And you mentioned Renaissance gilding. So that reminded me of your upcoming workshop in France. Can you tell us about it? Absolutely.

Johanna Spinks: 1:12:54

I'd be delighted to tell you about it. So it's going to be launched July 12 of this year, through Manor and I did this retreat last September at a different chateau in France. I'm very interested in the French chateau world. I love all things I love romance. So and love the last retreat was so wonderful and immersive thing good food, good wine, culture, history, and of course painting. So I knew I wanted to do it again. And I found this this rate Chateau called chateau, Sandra man, Dupree and lovely host, Sarah and Steven. So I'm doing another retreat, we're going to be doing some gilding some, you know, basically elevating your art through new new things gilding palette, knife, work tone, color, texture, and all the great things are staying at the chateau. So we've got to look hold on blue Paris chefs coming in. We've got I wanted more daytrips this time out and about so we're gonna go to the markets pick up are still alive with the Paris chefs. We're going to go to the brocante to pick up our China for the still life. And I will be teaching simple gilding how you can put that into some of your paintings, because to teach medieval gilding, which I have actually been learning and doing. It's a it's a very labor intensive situation, certainly not enough to do in five days around all the other things we're doing. So simplify gilding, and I'm really looking forward to it. It's going to be next summer, July 5 to 25th. And that's my little car can see. Oh,

Laura Arango Baier: 1:14:32

that's so fun. Oh my God, that sounds amazing.

Johanna Spinks: 1:14:36

So looking forward to that. And yeah, I mean, I don't teach a lot anymore. But I love the immersive experience of of, of teaching, you know, and just seeing people's eyes light up to the new surroundings and screen. I love it. Yeah, yes.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:14:53

Yeah. And that brings it back to connection. Yes. Yeah, you get that with students, especially one on one And then where else can people find more of your work? Johanna

Johanna Spinks: 1:15:05 is a good place to start. The links are all there to the social medias. And yeah, and you know if you want to email me any questions you have about any of the stuff I've talked about Johanna Sorry. Johanna at Johannesburg. Stockholm. Yes.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:15:22

Awesome. Thank you so much to Hannah for Thank you, Laura, and for sharing all your tips. Oh my gosh. Thank you. So thank

Johanna Spinks: 1:15:30

you. Yeah, it was a delight. And thanks, everyone for listening to me. Yes.

The BoldBrush Show. Interviews with today's finest artists and creatives. Watch here or listen on all major podcast services.