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Clara Lieu
Clara Lieu is a visual artist, writer, and adjunct professor at the Rhode Island School of Design. She has taught at School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Wellesley College, and Lesley University. Her studio practice explores social isolation and mental illness through drawing, printmaking, and sculpture. Contact her at clara(at), and visit her website at

Entries by Clara Lieu

Ask the Art Professor: How Can I Balance Planning and Spontaneity in My Artwork?

(2) Comments | Posted June 2, 2015 | 11:26 AM

"I paint based on my intuition, and I usually do not know what the message of the painting is until the draft is down. This usually evolves over a few weeks, with new insights and connections happening. I feel rather out of control, and my tutors say I should finalize...

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Ask the Art Professor: How Do You Price Art?

(2) Comments | Posted March 11, 2015 | 2:10 PM

"How do you put a price on a piece of art? Is it different for different forms of art? I'm specifically interested in paintings. How are paintings priced in general?"

There are essentially four criteria which factor into the price of an artwork: 1) the media of the artwork, 2)...

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Ask the Art Professor: How Do You Begin to Think Conceptually as a Visual Artist?

(0) Comments | Posted February 20, 2015 | 1:10 PM

"As a visual artist, I have never been able to work serially. I feel stuck in a rut that seems impossible to break out of. I thought working serially might help me break out of it but here is the problem: I have never worked conceptually before. I don't put...

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Ask the Art Professor: How Can I Learn to Draw From My Imagination?

(3) Comments | Posted January 21, 2015 | 3:07 PM

"I know how to draw, but I can only draw things that I can see. I draw from photographs that I find on the Internet. However, I have difficulty drawing from my imagination, and this bothers me because I want to be able to create images on my own. How...

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Ask the Art Professor: How Can I Study to Become a Professional Artist on My Own?

(2) Comments | Posted January 8, 2015 | 10:07 AM

"I am 23 years old, and I'm a beginning visual artist. I really want to get to a professional level, but I have no idea how to teach myself to get to that level. I can't afford to go to art school and I don't have much money for local...

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Ask the Art Professor: Can a Math Teacher Become an Art Teacher?

(0) Comments | Posted December 12, 2014 | 12:44 PM

"I presently enjoy the rare chance to teach drawing in my math class. We have discussed perspective and symmetry so my math students are working on drawing in perspective. After teaching high school math classes for almost ten years, I am more than ready to get out. I would like...

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Ask the Art Professor: How Do I Find the Right Graduate School for Fine Arts?

(0) Comments | Posted November 24, 2014 | 2:34 PM

"My friends and I are all beginning to look into graduate school and what our future may hold for us as fine artists. We range in age from our mid-20s to mid-30s and are at all at different stages of our adult life. We all dream the dream of being...

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Ask the Art Professor: How do I Get Started Making My Art Again?

(1) Comments | Posted August 14, 2014 | 5:05 PM

"For the last two years I have not been practicing my art. Two years ago I commenced a new job in the corporate world. Due to the demands of the job I was basically unable to focus on my art. I was tired every night coming home from work, and...

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Ask the Art Professor: How Can an Artist Bypass Galleries and Sell Directly to Their Audience?

(0) Comments | Posted July 31, 2014 | 1:01 PM

"In the age of social media, do you have any tips for artists who want to sell directly to their audience? How do we artists get above the noise and reach our audience? I would like to bypass the gallery system all together. Online stores like Etsy are popular, but...

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Ask the Art Professor: How Do You Explain to Potential Clients That Artists Need to Be Paid?

(5) Comments | Posted July 2, 2014 | 7:48 PM


I've been getting into Illustration and Motion Design, and one of the hardest conversations that keeps coming up is about money. Or really, people assuming you'll do something "for your resume." I think there must be some business textbooks out there repeating "You can get artists to work for...
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Ask the Art Professor: How Can I Make the Transition to Teaching Art at the College Level?

(1) Comments | Posted June 26, 2014 | 1:54 PM

"I have taught art in public schools at the high school level for 27 years (I am 52) and at this point I am eligible for early retirement and would like to teach drawing and/or painting in college. I really love to teach, and would like a change from high...

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Ask the Art Professor: Is the Internet Necessary to be a Successful Artist?

(0) Comments | Posted June 12, 2014 | 5:44 PM

I've been working in a small gallery that's all about social media and using it to promote their gallery and artists. I, on the other hand, choose to have a very minimal online presence. I only recently got a Linkedin account, but I don't have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. I...

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Ask the Art Professor: What Can a Painting Student Do to Be Relevant in a Digital World?

(0) Comments | Posted June 2, 2014 | 4:56 PM

"My daughter is a freshman at art school this year. She has chosen painting as her major. How does an artist in a classical medium like painting choose electives that will make them relevant in a digital world? What types of courses should she choose to make herself more marketable?...

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Ask the Art Professor: Should I Pursue a Career in Fine Art?

(1) Comments | Posted May 15, 2014 | 5:28 PM

"I am a lifelong self-taught artist who has been accepted into a number of fine arts programs, including a BFA program at a local university. I'm really happy about this, but I feel torn. I have done many mundane jobs in my life and always promised myself that I would...

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Ask the Art Professor: How Do I Become a Teaching Assistant?

(0) Comments | Posted May 7, 2014 | 12:02 PM

"I am an undergraduate student in art school, and I'm interested in being a teaching assistant. How do I become a TA and what is involved?"

Many students are often times confused about how to get a TA position, since every professor has their own process for selecting their TAs....

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Ask the Art Professor: Should I Drop Out of Art School?

(0) Comments | Posted April 11, 2014 | 10:49 AM

I have a background in art, as growing up I benefited from practice, private instruction and a pretty decent art program in grade school and high school. Going into college, I am much further along technically than most of the other students here, and I know much of what is...
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Ask the Art Professor: To What Extent Do Grades Define an Academic Career in Visual Art?

(1) Comments | Posted March 21, 2014 | 11:59 AM

Lately, I have been receiving opinions from my peers (and even professors) that grades are irrelevant. I don't want to imply a lack of rigor or competence present at the school I attend. The school I attend is possibly the most prestigious art school in the United States, and the...
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Make Your Own Rules

(0) Comments | Posted February 19, 2014 | 12:00 PM

Click here to watch the TEDTalk that inspired this post.

When you're an artist, the options that are before you are staggering. Literally anything under the sun is possible. One would think that this kind of freedom would be the perfect scenario in which to be...

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Ask the Art Professor: What Is the Best Way to Practice My Drawing Skills?

(0) Comments | Posted January 27, 2014 | 5:43 PM

"What is the best way to practice my drawing skills in traditional media? I draw with colored pencils and I also paint with acrylic paints and I am sort of okay at it, but I really want to become better."

Drawing is a highly complex beast which involves so many...

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Ask the Art Professor: How Can I Prepare Myself for the Reality of the Future?

(0) Comments | Posted January 16, 2014 | 3:52 PM

"I am about to enter the painting department of my school next semester and I'm very excited; I love painting deeply and have wanted to do this since I was a child. I've spent many years working extremely hard and I think I've developed a level of skill and originality,...

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