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Lori McNee on Developing an Arts Based Practice: Effective Ways to Develop Career Pathways for Visual Artists

Wildlife artist Lori McNee says that drawing was always part of her life. During high school and college she learned how to draw quite well. In college her interest was in realism, which was not being taught at that time. It came about that she started painting in her twenties as a wildlife artist. Her career has grown steadily from there

Forms of Training for Professional Visual Artists

Lori considers herself a self-taught practitioner. She has educated herself by reading a lot of books and watching instructional DVD’s. She also took workshops with favorite professional artists. “I still do!” she says. In this regard Lori would be considered a lifelong learner, who has studied with some of the best living artists in the world today.

Exhibitions as Promotion in the Visual Arts

Lori says she began showing her art in galleries back in the late 1980’s. She finds it valuable to have at least six gallery shows and two national museum exhibitions each year.

Lori McNee’s Unique Inspiration

When painting a landscape, Lori is most often inspired by the effects of light & atmosphere. She is comfortable and inspired by rural, pastoral settings. Painting a still life, is also a source of personal inspiration for Lori as she explains in the post Lori McNee Fine Artist .

Spring Dream is an example of her skills with still life painting. “I might be inspired by the pattern or color of a vase and bird and the relationship between the nature and manmade objects,” she says. Readers will see many of her works on the website www.lorimcnee.com.

Audience Development for Visual Artists

Lori considers audience development a crucial aspect of building an arts based practice. She is approachable and able to model a love of her work and the arts world within which she thrives. She likes sharing her ideas and she is always happy to answer questions.

The Written Aspect of an Artists Career

Lori has been featured in many national magazines. She likes writing and has written two screenplays.

Writing has helped her career in that she has been able to draw a following, and this has helped validate her art career. Her enjoyment of writing is useful as it has become another way for her to share her knowledge of art.

Lori McNee the Teacher

Lori runs exciting workshops, which have taken her to various venues around the world. She has just returned from a plein air workshop in France. About these workshops she says, “He who dares to teach must never cease to learn.” and “To teach is to learn twice.”

Lori believes that teaching helps corroborate her arts based practice and her identity as a professional artist. She markets her workshops, which in turn helps spread the word about her art. The workshops are also a way for her images to be presented in a marketing context in print and online. “All of this help publicize who I am and what I am doing,” she says.

Social Networking as a Marketing Tool

Lori is not a great fan of social networking online. She does use Twitter for her art business. “It is a great way to network with the world and like-minded individuals,” she says. “But I only use Facebook for family and friends. That is all – I need to save time for the studio!” is her wise advice.

When asked about other aspects of her career or marketing strategies, she says.

“In past years, I have entered various competitions to get my name out there. I am a member of Oil Painters of America and exhibit with them nationally.” She has also donated drawings to organization like The Nature Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, Wolf Education Research Center and more.

A generous person Lori often donates art to charities and the local paper has been supportive of her art career. To be in galleries is not essential according to Lori, who says that before she became known in galleries she showed her work in restaurants and design studios. These are worthwhile ideas for new artists whom she is always happy to help.

Resources:Lori McNee’s Website www.Lorimcnee.com

Lori McNee’s Blog http://www.lorimcnee.com/blog/