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Old 02-26-2016, 01:22 AM
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Grotius Grotius is online now
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Dealing with spectators?

Hi all,

I like to draw (and paint) from life as much as possible, but doing so outside often draws a crowd of onlookers -- certainly in the city, but even in suburban parks or such. I guess one answer is to work in the countryside, but what if one wants to make a cityscape (which is what I really love)? Do you just get used to all the people coming up to you, asking what you're doing, offering to help, asking if their kids can try, etc.?

I appreciate the attention if it's benign, but even so I find it distracting, and I have trouble concentrating. How do you all deal with this? Thanks.
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Old 02-26-2016, 04:12 AM
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Yorky Yorky is online now
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Re: Dealing with spectators?

I love spectators

Best to find a shady spot with your back to the wall or sit in a café window if you are shy, but part of the fun for me is interacting with the environment and spectators are a fun part of it. When looking back at my plein air sketches I remember the weather, the sounds and smells and the people who came up and made remarks.

Of course the most common remark is "I wish I could do that" followed by "I have some paints at home" or "My daughter paints" I was once mobbed by a class of schoolkids and had to explain what fun it was to sketch outdoors. I hope I inspired some of them.

Doug
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Old 02-26-2016, 05:23 AM
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ScarlettRose ScarlettRose is offline
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Re: Dealing with spectators?

A tip I read in an art magazine a few years ago in the letters section suggested, if you place a hat/container with some change in it by your side, then the onlookers won't bother you.
Not tried that of course, but some artists I know say it works.
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Old 02-26-2016, 05:44 AM
Sam B Sam B is offline
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Re: Dealing with spectators?


Love that idea!
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Old 02-26-2016, 08:16 AM
Myse Myse is offline
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Re: Dealing with spectators?


For now i am too shy when people go to see what I do, and i cannot paint easily if they stay around me.
But I think when i will be a better painter, I would Like to remember all the scene when i look at my painting at home.
The idea of the hat is a good one for the moment!!!
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Old 02-26-2016, 09:46 AM
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Re: Dealing with spectators?

I have not plein air painted much this year. Last year and before I painted outdoors a lot here in Salt Lake City. I have been visited by folks ranging from friendly school kids to a belligerent drunk. I have been propositioned twice by prostitutes. Most folks are nice and will move on after taking a peek at your work. Good experiences outnumber the bad.

I have been threatened a few times by dogs and find them the scariest.

I don't know if there is a good strategy for dealing with this. You have to learn to live with it. I struggle a few minutes until I settle-in, and then I lose myself in my concentration. I suppose I feel worst when my painting is not going well and folks try to kindly compliment me.
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Old 02-26-2016, 11:17 AM
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Re: Dealing with spectators?

Trikist, that's part of my angst about spectators: sometimes the work isn't going well, and it's embarrassing. In those circumstances, I don't want comments -- I already know it needs fixing. But this problem has abated as I've gotten better at this.

In some ways the prospect of embarrassment is a good problem: it forces me to spend more time getting the proportions right. Even people who know nothing about art can sense when the proportions are off, just as listeners to music can hear a wrong note.
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Old 02-26-2016, 11:43 AM
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westcoast_Mike westcoast_Mike is offline
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Re: Dealing with spectators?

Quote:
A tip I read in an art magazine a few years ago in the letters section suggested, if you place a hat/container with some change in it by your side, then the onlookers won't bother you.

I read the same article. The other one they had I found amusing. Was wearing a shirt that said "Ask me about religion"

With out going to these exrteme's. You can try putting a pair of ear buds in and pretend you are listening to music.
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Old 02-26-2016, 12:51 PM
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Re: Dealing with spectators?

Beautiful Fall day. My buddy and I are walking around a lovely country town in N.W. New Jersey and taking pictures. Close to the woods in a field, there is a young woman working at the easel alone. Excited we both waved and yelled Hi!
"How are you today"? She looked at us in near terror. I said 'Do you mind if we just check your progress?". "Oh No" she replied....please, I can't let you do that". I looked at Charlie and down at myself. We looked like a couple of bums.
Then the obvious came to mind, the truth that we were both artists and teachers and we let her know. She seemed to melt with a smile and yelled "Oh sure, come on over".
We had a nice chat and she was well into a sweet plein air painting.
This made me think about women on their own; painting without a soul around.
How do you women feel about this?

Derek
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Old 02-27-2016, 08:57 AM
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Cedarita Cedarita is offline
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Re: Dealing with spectators?

Usually I tell onlookers that I'm sorry, but I can't talk and paint at the same time, which is the truth. Usually then they just watch for a moment and move on. Exceptions: if someone says something that indicates they are really interested in my work, and kids. It's important for young people to know that artwork comes from real people, not computers, and that they can be artists, too. I will always talk to kids. And if I'm making a bad painting, I'll tell them what I should have done, or how I will try to fix it...so they don't think that painting is just for people who have talent and don't have to practice and learn.

As far as being female and safety, I have had times when I've been anxious about someone that has approached me when painting in an isolated place, but never truly afraid. i go more by intuition and vibe than actual appearance, although that enters into my judgement. A can of mace spray might be a good addition to the plein air kit, just in case.

So maybe painting in areas with plenty of people and onlookers isn't so bad after all! I have met and exchanged cards with many interesting people that way.
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Last edited by Cedarita : 02-27-2016 at 09:01 AM.
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Old 02-27-2016, 10:56 AM
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Re: Dealing with spectators?

sometimes they become clients, have a card with an image of yours give them one and they go away(I think they can relate to a small pic better than the work you are doing)
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Old 02-27-2016, 01:54 PM
ColorEnthusiast ColorEnthusiast is offline
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Re: Dealing with spectators?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cedarita
Usually I tell onlookers that I'm sorry, but I can't talk and paint at the same time, which is the truth. Usually then they just watch for a moment and move on. Exceptions: if someone says something that indicates they are really interested in my work, and kids. It's important for young people to know that artwork comes from real people, not computers, and that they can be artists, too. I will always talk to kids. ...

So do I, I just smile and answer only curt or say I need to concentrate on painting. The majority accepts this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cedarita
As far as being female and safety, I have had times when I've been anxious about someone that has approached me when painting in an isolated place, but never truly afraid....

So maybe painting in areas with plenty of people and onlookers isn't so bad after all!

Therefor I prefer public places with other people.
When I started painting plein air spectators disturbed me also, but I got used to it.
Sitting with something behind your back (a wall, tree or bush) helps a bit.
I also noticed that the most spectators stop when the painting is nearly finished.
At that time it is not as disturbing as at the beginning when I have to think and plan the painting and when I am doubtful if I will succeed.


Esther
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Old 02-27-2016, 02:02 PM
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White Pen White Pen is offline
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Re: Dealing with spectators?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScarlettRose
A tip I read in an art magazine a few years ago in the letters section suggested, if you place a hat/container with some change in it by your side, then the onlookers won't bother you.
Not tried that of course, but some artists I know say it works.



Print on Back of a T-Shirt...

"Hi. I'm fine, thanks.
And you?",
"You guessed it - I'm an artist.",
"It's true - some people just have talent.",
"I'm sure your aunt's paintings are lovely.",
"Nice visiting with you."

I´m with Inkpen & urban sketching , no one ,of the locals and city pasengers are interested to talk someone filling a sketchbook .

When i'm out Plein Air with easel + ear plugs zero problems .

As soon i start drawing on a large Block with drawing board i mostly seat in a Beer-garden or any other nice place with service , Bingo.

Here the threshold lowers , and text above can help.
Overall no attacks thru humans > mostly nice short small talks .
A greater deal with the common animals , cows,sheeps, down to the flying ones special the new aggressive Insects .

But one is sure : Murphy's law (the guy with the butterbread theory) is always in game when i start high motivated and in concentration on preliminary drawing .
100 % in that stage someone starts singing dancing talking ;
I'm lost , dealing with all the details in perspective drawing , here looks i have weak point and need all the attention down paper.
Further on , color-concept ready in my head , talking and painting works fine and even better to the finish of work.. .

Cheers W.P.
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Last edited by White Pen : 02-27-2016 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 02-27-2016, 02:41 PM
marksmomagain marksmomagain is offline
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Re: Dealing with spectators?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dcam
This made me think about women on their own; painting without a soul around.
How do you women feel about this?
Derek


I always had (have) either a horse, a large dog or many times both with me. Sometimes a little parade of farm kitties will march behind me down to the creek

Also, other means of protection...
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Old 02-27-2016, 04:02 PM
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Dcam Dcam is offline
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Re: Dealing with spectators?

Wow Mom: those must be some mean Kickbutt kittens.

Derek
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