Art Marketing Plan part 3: Video preparation for artist demonstration

horse drawing video
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Going to extremes while making artist tutorial videos is a great way to prepare for a painting demonstration.

horse drawing video
Initial watercolour drawing for a wild horse on Dartmoor painting (still from video)

We’ve previously discussed some of the benefits of giving artist painting demonstrations and how to go about making a poster for your talk. Today, we’re looking at making an artist video as a way to prepare for your artist demonstration. Filming yourself paint or draw is a great way to self-review and optimise your presentation style.

For most of us, painting requires a certain level of concentration and, for many, speaking in public requires the same but with an added level of fear! Combining the two may seem daunting, but if that’s the case, making videos are a great way to get some practice in without the pressure of a live audience.

It can be tricky to balance the amount of talking in your demo with the amount of painting. You want to inform your audience and chat with them but they are, IMHO, primarily there to see you paint. A good way to find a happy medium is to practice the extremes.

Extreme 1: Don’t do any painting, just talk

A good first step is to practice simply talking about one of your paintings. Check out the brief video about the sheep painting ‘Summer Light’ below:

Talking about your work, or perhaps just one aspect of a painting, on camera really makes you ask yourself “what do I want to say about this picture?”. Much better to practice answering the question now than get stumped on demo night :-). Next, let’s look at another extreme…

Extreme 2: Paint and talk, non-stop

In this series of horse painting videos, I filmed the creation of  ‘Roaming Free’ (first episode below) while narrating each step of the process:

Initally, you may find talking and painting (or drawing) at the same time a bit like patting your head while rubbing your belly but it’s worth persevering. Although talking non-stop may not be the optimum presenting style, if you can achieve this with some fluency it’s then easier to back-off a bit, speak less, and thereby achieve a happy medium. This brings us to our final extreme…

Extreme 3: Paint, don’t talk

Next, don’t talk at all! (or more accurately, talk very little). An example of this contrasting presentation style is shown in the sheep painting video below where I create “We Three“.

I’ve noticed that while audiences at art demonstrations definitely enjoy a passionate and entertaining speaker they are at times also very happy to simply watch somebody paint away and have great empathy and understanding for the struggle we all go through to, for example, “get the nose just right”. Making a video with very little talking is an interesting experiment to see how long the viewers’ attention can be held by simply watching the artistic process.

Having practised these three extremes, I find it much easier to settle somewhere in the middle and tune each demo to the circumstances presented to me on the night. There’s no recipe for a perfect painting and I believe the same is true for the perfect artist demonstration. I think the best we can do is practice being in different circumstances so we are well-equipped to cope with whatever the audience throws at us during the performance…hopefully not literally! 🙂

Hope you enjoyed this article, please feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.


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Mike lives and works in Devon, UK and is constantly inspired by the incredibly beautiful landscapes there along with the animals that occupy the fields and hedgerows.
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