Artwork for podcast The Thriving Artist
Find the Best Representation for Your Art
11th August 2017 • The Thriving Artist • The Clark Hulings Foundation
00:00:00 00:36:56

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Stephanie Birdsall is a painter who has exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in London and the National Arts Club in New York. She has received over 60 awards in national and international juried exhibitions, including Best in Show at the Bridgeport Museum of Arts and Science, and her work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of the Everglades. When she isn’t traveling to paint en plein air, she teaches painting workshops and is the producer of two DVDs on painting.

On Belonging to a Painting Group

  • “When you’re around master painters, you can’t help but learn from them, but it’s really about putting in the miles, getting the work done.”
  • “When Richard invited me to join the Putney Painters, that was a massive confidence boost because it meant that what I was doing was real.”
  • “When you have support and people believe in what you’re doing—and that can come from a painting group—that makes a difference.”

Finding the Right Representation

  • “One thing I say to people who are just getting started: it’s really important to find the right gallery because galleries play to different collectors.”
  • “People think galleries are becoming obsolete, but I love them because they’re an opportunity to see work in person that you don’t see online.”
  • “I love my galleries and I love social media too, so I try to make them support each other.”
  • “You need to be aware that galleries may not be selling you, so it’s important to find a gallery that your work looks like it belongs in.”

Recognizing Business Opportunities

  • To make painting a viable business “you have to plan in advance: what shows you’ll be in, where you’ll submit, and you need to feed your galleries. I really look at it like a job.”
  • “Someone approached me to teach a painting workshop and since then, I find that I’m becoming a better artist and teaching has made me a better painter.”
  • “I was doing a demo for a vendor, another vendor asked me to teach at a convention and then people wanted to learn how to do what I do. I started to get invited to teach.”
  • “As a true artist, one always wants to be open to learning, so if I can learn from someone else’s workshop, I’ll take it in a second.”

On Success

  • “In a perfect world all I would do is paint, but our society isn’t like that anymore. Things move so fast with social media, you have to keep on top of your business to stay in front of people.”
  • “I see a lack of confidence standing in people’s way, they don’t trust what they’re thinking, they don’t trust what they’re painting, and as soon as they get a little confident I see a huge change.”