One of the great ways to spread the word is by speaking to more than one person at a time. We understand if you’re not used to public speaking, but which is worse? Some person who should learn about plein air painting never knowing about it, or stretching yourself for an hour? You decide.
We’ve made your job easier. Here is the process:
1. Contact the organization and say this: “My name is ____, and I’m an artist who paints outdoors. There is a huge movement of artists painting en plein air, a French term for outdoor painting, and I believe your (audience/students/members/etc.) would be interested. I have a brief, one-hour presentation I do, which includes a well-produced documentary about plein air painting, and I’ll open and close by talking briefly about my life as an artist. And, if you wish, we can increase the length and I can demonstrate painting in person.”
At that point you set it up with them, arrange for a projector and a DVD player, and a microphone. See, it’s easy!
Who should you contact?
Elementary, middle, high schools, and colleges. You can work with career days, the art teachers, or the principal’s office. We think it’s a good idea to make the point that plein air painting is available as a career or hobby.
Community Centers and Senior Centers
Make the point that baby boomers are taking this up, and it gives them great enjoyment, something to challenge them and keep them interested.
Clubs, Country Clubs & Corporations
Any place with lots of people, or even a few, is a good possibility for speaking.
Some painters are advertising locally that they can teach painting at conventions that come to town, setting up easels and actually letting people paint as a team-building exercise. You can get schedules for convention centers and hotel ballrooms near you; it’s easy to find out in advance who is coming. Contact the organizer and suggest a speaking engagement. Many conventions look for fresh, “off-topic” subjects to keep things interesting.
What should you say about yourself?
Every speech needs a strong opening line, like: “When I was a kid I loved to paint, but who knew I would grow up and become a professional painter and actually get paid for it?” (That is, of course, if you are a professional.)
Introduce yourself, tell them what you do. Talk to them about plein air painting and explain what the term means, and talk about why you love it. Things like:
– I can be creative.
– It’s very relaxing; I can’t be thinking about anything else when I’m painting.
– I love to be outdoors.
– I make lots of friends
– I get paid to paint when my paintings sell.
– I get to travel to beautiful places.
– I have memories that I’ve painted all around my house.
You can show pictures of your adventures and your paintings too.
Then introduce the documentary and hit “play.” That will do the rest and reinforce what you’ve said.
When it’s over, ask if they enjoyed it.
Then (and this is important) we need to get them interested — and lots of people are interested but don’t believe they can do it. We need to convince them to try. The best way is something like this:
“I never thought I could do this, but someone showed me how and it was pretty simple. I had to practice, but with practice I improved. But even after a few months, I was doing a decent job. You can do this, and I encourage you to try it. If you are interested in learning to paint, I’ll be handing out some brochures for a website called PaintOutside.com. It’s easy to remember because that’s what we do. We paint outside.
That website has free video lessons on it, plus everything you need to know about painting. It will get you started.
“It also has a directory of artists, events, workshops, and more. The brochure has my contact information on it, and I’d be happy to inspire you, teach you, or help you understand how to get started. If you don’t take a brochure, look up PaintOutside.com. The documentary is also up there, so you can look at it again or show others.”
The more you repeat the website, the more likely they are to remember it. Lots of people will be too embarrassed to come up, but they might go to the website after, so it’s important that they remember it.
Then thank them, end, and ask anyone who wants to learn to introduce themselves.
Of course, you can also talk about collecting art if you’re not into painting it. Send them to the website too for information about collecting.
Make sure you remind them of your name and contact information, and hand out brochures (our pre-made ones that you’ve customized with your data). And be sure you register at PleinAirForce.com so your listing will appear on PaintOutside.com in your town.
Break a leg (that’s show biz for good luck!).