Art direct

December 13, 2005

Dear Rodney,

Yesterday, Elin Pendleton of Wildomar, California wrote:
"Starting in mid October--until whenever--my adventure is to do
a daily painting. It's been exciting and extremely rewarding!
I've garnered a large mailing list from placing my little
paintings on eBay. This has re-awakened the need for past
collectors to own yet another one--as they get one in their
email daily."

Thanks Elin. Not a bad idea. I've noticed that some folks just
seem to know how to use a medium. We all ought to note a few
things about how Elin has been able to make the Internet work
for her--and you need to take a look at her website in order to
understand what she's doing right. I've asked Andrew to put up
some examples of Elin's work and directions to her site in the
current clickback. See URL below.

Elin's idea of seeding her potential collectors with
inexpensive "calling cards" is inventive and fun. Add to
this--her quality control is consistently high. Many of her
paintings are gems. And because she's dealing directly with the
public she's not afraid to let her work go out into the world
at reasonable prices. Further, she's openly embraced eBay, the
world's biggest selling spot, as a way of getting her work
seen. Elin has all the world for her clientele. Also, because
she keeps her operation simple, she can dedicate plenty of time
to her daily painting process. And, because she has the
'worker's edge' she stays on top of her style. You can see by
her website that she's a committed painter. And while she's
actively selling, we still get the idea that it's the art that
she loves. Elin's teaching as well as her books and videos show
her love of life (and horses) and that she's the kind of person
who is willing to share.

'Art direct' may not appeal to all. I've chosen the art dealer
and art gallery route because of the privacy they give--and the
higher prices one tends to achieve in the long haul. I'm a
believer that the website ought to be there to empower an
artist's dealers. But for many artists, Elin's online approach
may be worth taking a look at. The viral nature of the Internet
is the wonder of our age. This twice-weekly letter is testament
to that. Friends make friends and those friends make more
friends. For those of us who might turn friends into customers,
the friendships are out there for the making.

Best regards,

Robert

PS: "I say to my students that painting is not about the
product, but about the process--voicing for them the philosophy
that drives my life." (Elin Pendleton)

Esoterica: There's a friendly little note at the end of Elin's
letters. "Emails always answered," it says. Simple, but
profound, I thought. A month or so ago I hung a sign beside our
own studio computer: "No emails unanswered," it read. For a
while we were on top of it, until late one night I found Andrew
face down in the broadloom. Poor chap. He was delirious and
mumbling incoherently. Something about "automatic response
machine." "Never," I said, dragging him to his car by his feet.
How blessed we are.