100 episodes

Savvy Painter is a weekly podcast for artists who mean business.

Antrese Wood talks to experts in the field about the business of art and how it gets created. Want to know how leaders in the fine art world of plein-air and landscape painting got their start? What habits do top artists have in common? Every week, we talk about representational painting, abstract art, alla prima painting, art competitions, art materials, watercolor, oil painting, how to get into an art gallery, how to succeed with your art business and so much more!

Savvy Painter Podcast with Antrese Wood Conversations about the business of art, inside the artist studio, and plei

    • Visual Arts

Savvy Painter is a weekly podcast for artists who mean business.

Antrese Wood talks to experts in the field about the business of art and how it gets created. Want to know how leaders in the fine art world of plein-air and landscape painting got their start? What habits do top artists have in common? Every week, we talk about representational painting, abstract art, alla prima painting, art competitions, art materials, watercolor, oil painting, how to get into an art gallery, how to succeed with your art business and so much more!

    The Growth Of An Artist, with Shana Levenson

    The Growth Of An Artist, with Shana Levenson

    As you look at your career as an artist, do you notice how much you’ve grown and changed over the years? What led to the big moments of growth and change for you? It was a joy to sit down with my guest and fellow artist, Shana Levenson. In our conversation, Shana opens up about her experience as an art instructor, how her children have influenced her art, how she’s grown over the years, and much more. I know that artists like you will get a lot out of Shana’s helpful and unique perspective! 
    Empowering others Who was it that helped you along in your growth as an artist? Did you have a family member who took special interest in your creative development? Were others in your family supportive of your creative and artistic pursuits? Following in her brother’s footsteps, Shana Levenson had wanted to pursue a career as an artist from a young age. As she slowly carved out time to go to art school over the years - Shana fell in love not only with art but also with teaching. Shana got into teaching as a necessity but found that she really enjoys empowering others as they develop creatively. 
    Parenting and painting  As she finished her Master’s degree, Shana was also dealing with the end of her marriage. Not only did Shana have to navigate the challenges of life as an artist, but she also had to figure out parenting and life as a single mother. Juggling both parenting and painting wasn’t easy for Shana - especially when her ex-husband said that she could not continue using their children in her artwork. I couldn’t imagine facing the challenges that Shana has faced as an artist and a parent - I hope artists who navigate both find Shana’s story inspiring!
    Dealing with criticism  How do you respond to criticism and critique? Let’s face it, criticism and less than positive feedback are the worst part of putting something out there for the public to consume. In spite of the challenge that facing criticism can cause - doing so confidently is a key area of growth for most artists. Shana is the first to admit that she has had to strengthen her muscles over the years when it comes to dealing with criticism. Don’t assume that criticism won’t come - it will! You need to decide right now, how you plan to respond when negative feedback comes your way. What can you learn from Shana’s story? 
    Push yourself Do you have a habit of pushing yourself creatively? Does a new challenge thrill and excite you or do you find yourself running in the opposite direction? As I got to know Shana over the course of our conversation, I really wanted to get to the heart of what makes her tick. Considering my question about her positive habits, Shana was quick to point out the fact that she loves to push herself beyond her limits. A good example of Shana’s desire to push herself is her desire to work with lace in her paintings - something she had never done before. You can find images of Shana’s artwork located in the resources section at the end of this post. 
    Outline of This Episode [0:40] I introduce my guest, Shana Levenson.  [9:00] Shana talks about her experience as a teacher.  [13:00] How Shana’s art changed after her divorce.  [19:00] Pushing through difficulty and finding a new way forward.  [23:00] Dealing with rejection.  [28:00] Shana’s criteria for entering art competitions.  [32:30] Negative and positive reactions to Shana’s artwork.  [38:45] Shana talks about pushing herself beyond her limits.  [49:00] How does Shana approach the canvas?  [55:30] Closing thoughts.  Other artists mentioned on this episode Pablo Picasso Henri Matisse Jodie Herrera David Kassan Resources Mentioned on this episode Shana Levenson - Fine Art www.savvypainter.com/faso Daily Rituals: How Artists Work Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise Connect With Antrese On Facebook On Pinterest On Instagram On Twitter

    • 57 min
    Defeating Overwhelm and Finding Clarity 

    Defeating Overwhelm and Finding Clarity 

    If you are anything like me, you find yourself fighting back the feeling of overwhelm from time to time. What do you usually do when you start to feel overwhelmed? How do you cut through the usual complexity that life brings and find clarity? As we start the New Year, I wanted to take some time to go over some helpful tools and insights that I've gained over the years through experience and learning from my peers. I hope that artists like you will find something of value as I share some useful practices and lessons that I've gathered over the years. 
    Beginning with the end in mind  If you want to start finding clarity in your life, it can be helpful to begin with, the end in mind. Too often, people get overwhelmed with the idea of significant change that they give up before they get started. To make big change more manageable, try breaking it down. 
    Author Annie Dillard once wrote, "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days."
    How do you want your year to look? Why not set some goals and start to work your way backward from there? If you're going to make a trip to another country, start planning out what you need to do each day, week, and month leading up to the trip. What works for trips can work for your art projects as well! 
    Say no to the right things One of the hardest lessons that I've had to learn over the years is to disappoint the right people and to say "No" to the right things. Let's face it, you can't make everyone happy, and you can't do all of the things! Part of ordering your life and your career is learning how to prioritize your time, energy, and relationships. You may want to take every opportunity that comes your way, but the truth is, that is not sustainable. If you're going to keep a healthy work-life balance, you need to decide on your priorities and stick to them. 
    Take action!  One of the worst aspects of getting overwhelmed can be finding yourself frozen with inaction. How do you react when you feel overwhelmed? If you want to make some positive changes in your life, you need to start somewhere. Even if you need to make a small step toward change, take it! I challenge you to write down the one thing that you will do today that will make you feel accomplished. Here are a few examples that you can use: 
    Knock out a small painting like an 8x10 or even a 3x5.  Set your studio up for tomorrow, so you are ready to go.  Open your sketchbook up and sketch for just 15 minutes.  Prepare canvases for the weekend, so you are ready to paint.  Choose one small section of that large painting that you will resolve today.  Write that email that you've been avoiding.  Make that decision that you've been agonizing over.  These examples are just intended to get you started. Pick an action step that makes sense for you - but don't put it off!
    Outline of This Episode [2:30] I give a shoutout to a few listeners.  [6:40] Why you need to figure out your life design.  [9:00] Where are your priorities?  [11:30] I describe my ideal day.  [19:20] Finding clarity and focus.  [22:00] Saying “No” to the right things.  [24:00] Action steps you can take today! [26:00] Closing thoughts. Resources Mentioned on this episode www.savvypainter.com/faso Connect With Antrese On Facebook On Pinterest On Instagram On Twitter

    • 29 min
    Why Art Matters In The Painful Places Of Life, with Erin Mcgee Ferrell

    Why Art Matters In The Painful Places Of Life, with Erin Mcgee Ferrell

    It is difficult to honestly talk about the most painful places of life - the times when cannot avoid facing our mortality or need to come to grips with our value as human beings. But in this conversation, Erin McGee Ferrell spoke about those issues with such ease that I was grateful. The ease with which she deals with those subjects is a testament to the healthy way in which she's faced those issues herself.
    Erin lit up my day with what she shared and the way she shared it, and I know that you’ll be inspired and encouraged as well. A few jewels you can look forward to from this episode:
    Erin’s current studio: in a church rectory, overlooking a cemetery How Erin got involved in healthcare-related work - and the difference she’s making The relationship of art to the deeper things we all experience in life A South American experience where Erin discovered a culture losing its artistic history How Erin’s art serves as her personal diary Creativity poured out when Erin faced her mortality Amazingly, as Erin and I recorded this conversation she had just passed the 1-year anniversary to the discovery that she had breast cancer. Throughout that year she had experienced all the emotions and procedures you might imagine and many that you can only know if you’ve been in those shoes.
    She says that the experiences of the last year pushed her to a new place of expression, a place where she had to release the thoughts and feelings that were bubbling to the surface from the deepest places in her soul. She wrote bad poetry in the middle of the night and she created art related to the things she was experiencing.
    She says…
    “When you tap into those really deep places of facing your death - stuff just has to bubble up. When you go that deep, you hit something and it has to bubble out of it.”
    A research project that proves the power of art on cancer patients Even before her own experience battling cancer Erin was deeply interested in the impact art could have on those fighting life-threatening diseases. She was awarded a research grant from the state of Maine to do an 8-week study which was called, “The Effects of a Live Painter in a Chemotherapy Treatment Facility.” The project was designed to provide exactly what the name implies - and measure the results.
    With the help of a friend who is a Social Psychologist, they conducted the study and published their findings in the Journal for Oncology Nursing. What did they discover? There were four primary findings...
    The presence of the artist lowers anxiety It changes the feeling of the environment It creates a spontaneous community among the patients As a side-benefit: the project lessened the degree of compassion fatigue experienced by the nurses Clearly, art and the creation of it matters in life and death contexts, making not just the experience of those undergoing treatment better but also helping those who care for them to provide even better care.
    Art is about the human soul - and we don’t touch it as much as we need to  Perhaps one of the most powerful points Erin makes has to do with the greater function art has in relationship to the human soul. In her mind, art helps us touch the parts of ourselves that are the most important, give them expression, and benefit others in the process.
    Art provides a vehicle through which to express things like fear, loneliness, mortality, hopes, and dreams - and to process those things through our expression. Erin sees our honest connection to those parts of ourselves as being vital to health and our growth as human beings. 
    In all of that, Erin sees herself being a “seed slinger” - a person who tosses things out without a lot of planning but with the hopes that they will take root and grow to the benefit of others. A recent experience regarding the placement of some of her books in the Alumni Center of her Alma Mate

    • 54 min
    Letting Go of Art “Rules” with Michael McCaffrey

    Letting Go of Art “Rules” with Michael McCaffrey

    Do you ever find yourself wondering why you feel like a square peg forced into a round hole when it comes to following art “Rules?” Is there something wrong with you, the system, gatekeepers, or all the above? I was thrilled to sit down and discuss this topic and much more with my friend, Michael McCaffrey. In our conversation, we also touch on his work inspired by his father, the difference between figurative and abstract work, why putting in time matters, and so much more. I can’t wait for you to learn from Michael’s fascinating perceptive and expertise! 
    Follow the “Rules” or forge your own path?  Are you a rule follower or a rule breaker? Most people who see that question will automatically know which category they fall in. Have you always been on one side of that question, or have you shifted over time? For Michael McCaffrey - permission to break from certain art “Rules” evolved. Practically, Michael had to change is approach to painting his father because he simply wouldn’t sit still for portraits. Even when he took photos of his father and brought them to the canvas for a reference point - Michael still had to give himself permission to push the boundaries and create his own set of “Rules.” 
    A unique take on the familiar  When I first visited Michael’s website, I was like a kid in a candy shop, seriously! Taking a look around at all the different subjects and perspectives he paints is truly inspiring. Most notably, I wanted to hone in on Michael’s work with his father. Michael and I both have parents in their 80’s, and I was curious to hear how Michael’s experience has been spending time and incorporating his father into his artwork. As he observed his father in his home of nearly 40 years, Michael started to notice how his father would pay particular interest and care to one part of his home while neglecting other parts for years. Make sure to check out the images of Michael’s work located at the end of this post - I know you’ll find it as fascinating as I did! 
    Putting in the time If you’ve been around the Savvy Painter community for very long, you know that one of the big mantras that we often hear from seasoned artists like Michael is to put in the time at your canvas. It’s tempting to succumb to apathy or indifference, but the truth is, nothing can get you out of a funk quite like time in your studio. It’s also in the studio where you begin to refine and hone your skills as an artist - you can’t microwave skill and success. Think of your time growing and developing as an artist like slow cooking a good meal - you have to give time for those flavors to work together! 
    Tearing it down and building it up again  While Michael is quick to point out the “Rules” that don’t work for him as an artist - he’s also quick to explain that tearing down inevitably leads to building something in its place. Facing the institutional challenges and personal struggles of life as an artist isn’t easy, but don’t forget that there is a community of peers who can help spur you along. Michael found that through the process of tearing down rules, ideas, or even his own artwork, there was a kind of freedom to reinvent and breath new life into his artwork. What do you think of Michael’s perspective? 
    Outline of This Episode [0:30] I introduce my guest, Michael McCaffrey.  [3:00] Michael describes his work.  [6:40] Working from photographs and memories.  [12:00] Michael explains how his concepts develop from his time with his father.  [17:00] Bucking against the “Rules.”  [26:30] Abstract vs. figurative work.  [32:30] Putting in the time.  [37:40] Why Michael likes the idea of deconstruction and reconstruction.  [44:30] Change is growth.  [48:20] Art that Michael would love to own.  Other artists mentioned on this episode Wayne Thiebaud Lucian Freud Ann Gale

    • 50 min
    The Transformative Power of Art, with Dean Mitchell

    The Transformative Power of Art, with Dean Mitchell

    Can you think back to a point in your career where you started to appreciate the transformative power of art? Maybe for you, it was the first time you went to an art museum or that one art class that opened your eyes to a whole new world of possibilities. From early childhood experiences to forging his own path in the art world - my guest, Dean Mitchell, came prepared to explore the whole spectrum in our wide-ranging conversation. I know that artists like you will really appreciate Dean’s valuable and seasoned perspective!
    Early influences matter As you look back on your start as an artist, was there an individual who encouraged you along the way? How did your early influences shape your journey as an artist? For Dean Mitchell, two key influences changed the course of his career and his life. The crucial first influence for Dean was his grandmother - not only did she raise Dean, but she also encouraged and empowered him on his journey to becoming an artist. The other key influence for Dean was his junior high school art teacher who wouldn’t let him drop out of art competitions. While we often shrug off these early influences in our lives, the truth is, they matter more than we care to give them credit for!
    How art can make you feel One of the most amazing aspects of art is the ability to evoke an emotional reaction out of the viewer. From sculptures that draw you closer to watercolors that transport you to another place entirely - art has the power to take you on a deep and personal journey. In our conversation, Dean was kind enough to open up about what he hopes to accomplish with his art. Beyond painting what most people want to see, Dean has been able to position his career in a way where he can challenge people with his art in ways they never thought possible. When was the last time artwork on an emotional level moved you?
    Taking risks Dean Mitchell will be the first person to tell you that the road hasn’t been an easy one throughout his career. From growing up poor and isolated from many of the opportunities, his peers outside of the south had to institutional roadblocks that are all too real for many black artists - Dean knew he was in for a challenge. To overcome these challenges, Dean needed to take some risks that most people would shy away from. Facing rejection and defeat at an early age would crush most budding artists, but Dean was determined that all these risks would eventually pay off - and he was right!
    Looking beyond social constructs What hope do you have for our society? Do you think things are getting better or are they getting worse? Let’s face it - headlines and news stories often push and pull us toward confirming our biases and keeping our culture compartmentalized. Imagine what it would look like if we started peeling away and tearing down harmful social constructs like the idea that one group of people is inherently superior to others. Dean Mitchell is convinced that art exists to play a definitive role in growing our imaginations and our expectations of how the world should work. What can you learn from Dean’s fascinating perspective? I hope you enjoyed getting a peek inside the mind of this talented and renowned artist!
    Outline of This Episode [2:15] I introduce my guest, Dean Mitchell. [4:20] Dean talks about what led him to his career as an artist. [10:50] Family dynamics and growing up poor in Flordia. [17:00] The value of early childhood art education. [26:50] Beauty in the midst of pain. [31:30] How art can bring hope. [38:00] Going to college and taking risks. [45:30] Dean explains how he became financially stable. [57:00] An insight into the mindset of many art collectors. [59:20] Dean opens up about his experience entering art competitions. [1:06:30] How art can grab you on a visceral level. [1:20:00] Why we need to see beyond our social constructs. Other artists mentioned

    • 1 hr 32 min
    Landscape Painting and the Power of Persistence, with Adam Hall 

    Landscape Painting and the Power of Persistence, with Adam Hall 

    When was the last time you found yourself moved deep in the core of your being by a work of art or natural beauty? As an artist, you can appreciate the power that we have to draw on people’s perceptions and emotions. It was a pleasure to speak with the talented Nashville based landscape artist, Adam Hall. In our conversation, Adam was kind enough to open up about his connection to the ocean, how his time working in the music industry influenced his artwork, challenges he has faced along the way, and much more. You’ll want to pay close attention, Adam has some helpful insights and suggestions for fellow artists and parents. 
    Disaster and opportunity  Do you remember that moment when you realized that you needed to commit yourself to become an artist? Was it a decision to go to art school? Or did you find yourself slowly realizing that you needed to start drawing out your creative side? For Adam hall, the turning point in his career came when he went with his musician friends to volunteer for the Red Cross.
    In the wake of a massive tornado storm that impacted the Nashville area, Adam and his friends decided that they wanted to help the situation. In a twist of fate, Adam and his friends found themselves at the home of renowned Nashville artist, David Wright. Seizing on the opportunity, Adam peppered David with questions and sought his advice on how to move forward in his budding career as an artist. 
    Overwhelmed Fast-forward many years later, and you’ll find Adam thriving as a landscape artist in the Nashville area. Adam’s journey hasn’t always been an easy one; he has experienced his fair share of stress, creative struggles, and moments of overwhelm. Do you think that feeling overwhelmed could ever be a good thing? What if you could draw on the enormity and scale of an image or scene that was so powerful that it elicited an emotional response? 
    When Adam was faced with a particularly busy season of his life, he found himself going for an early run one morning. His mind was weighed down by the stress and frantic energy that seemed endless. Reaching the end of his run at the beach - Adam was moved to tears as the sun crested over the horizon. At that moment at the ocean, Adam experienced something that transcended all the chaos in his mind - it was almost like hitting the reset button. In Adam’s experience, feeling overwhelmed can lead to a positive outcome. 
    Navigating parenthood as an artist  I love to take the opportunity to explore the insights and lessons that my fellow artists have for their peers who also happen to be parents. Having explored this facet of life with many of my guests over the years, it never ceases to surprise me that while there are many similarities, everyone has their own unique take on parenting as an artist. For Adam and his wife, they found that their creative and professional lives thrived when they were able to plan and schedule their time effectively. Instead of a combative and haphazard approach to parenting - Adam and his wife were committed to carving time to their creative pursuits. What can you learn from Adam’s story?
    Outline of This Episode [0:55] I welcome my guest, Adam Hall.  [3:00] Adam talks about how he got his start as an artist.  [14:00] How has Adam’s approach to the canvas changed over the years?  [16:00] Artists who have influenced Adam.  [20:00] Adam talks about his connection to the ocean.  [26:45] How does Adam describe his style and artistic approach?  [31:20] Adam shares his routine and studio practices.  [35:00] How has Adam navigated life as a parent and an artist?  [40:00] Building relationships and networking.  [48:00] Refusing to take no for an answer.  [51:15] Adam talks about the challenges he has faced along the way.  Other artists mentioned on this episode Andrew Wyeth John Singer Sargent Gerhard Richter David Wright  Res

    • 56 min

Customer Reviews

treehousemama ,

Savvy painter is one of my favorite podcasts

I dig this show. It is very inspiring and informative. Thanks, Antrese!

weizel ,

So good to hear the truths

As an “aspiring” artist (painter) working in several styles and trying to occasionally sell things -
This podcast helps me immensely with interviews of a wide variety of working artists sharing their tips of how they stay motivated and focused, along with working through pitfalls like discouragement and finding time to work etc. it’s very “real” and practical yet the stories are told with enough humor and entertainment to want to “tune in next week”. I haven’t listened to the whole series yet but about five of the more recent episodes so far and I’m going to go back through all of them whenever I have to clean up the studio or wash dishes etc. because it helps lift my spirits

outdoorpainterGwen ,

Savvy Painter Podcast

The format of the show is fantastic. The host and the guests have lovely interactions and wonderful discussions on a variety topics from the art spirit to practical advice. I found this podcast last year and have been an avid listener ever since. Subscribe now and you will not be disappointed. I am always looking for kindred spirts and you are sure to find them on the Savvy Painter Podcast.

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