Sunday, September 20, 2020

Career Mentoring

 Mentoring and receiving mentoring is vitally important to an artists' career. I have had both sides in my long career.

For professional artists, I recommend a business mentor, not in the art industry. My best mentors have been lawyers, bankers, framers, accountants, PR experts, ranchers, farmers, and shop owners. Over the years I have had lots of help from the business community. Business people have a more realistic view of the day to day operation of businesses than artists do.

Another way to get mentorships are through business blogs, marketing blogs and podcasts. Many artists focus on art podcasts and blogs. I get the best help from business and marketing podcasts.

If you are starting out as an emerging artist, a studio art mentor and business mentor is vital for your career. I have mentored many budding artists. The frequent problem is that the mentee expects the mentor to do the work and give all advice. They expect the mentor to hold their hand and communicate frequently. That is the responsibility of the mentee. The mentee must ask the right questions and have a clear agenda for each meeting. The mentee must make the effort to utilize the knowledge regularly, understanding what information he/she needs. Mentors are not quick fix people. Using resources wisely will help your art career.
Learning is wonderful for country painters.......

Friday, September 18, 2020


 I read an article yesterday in a science journal that reinforced my long time belief that being goal oriented and having a purpose filled life is the key to a well balanced, positive thinking mind.

The article research showed that purposeful life goals prevent narcissism, and mental instability. Goals promote independent and higher order thinking skills. There was no particular emphasis on the level of education. I believe that this view of life can benefit people at any stage or education level. My daddy had a third grade education, yet he became a successful machinist at a university because he was purposeful and had goals of self education. He was a prolific reader. 

A purposeful life keeps me busy. I don’t get caught up in the chaos and hatred swirling around. Yes, I care deeply about public issues. I put my money into support for organizations who fight for human rights, who fight to protect our planet. I don’t get involved in the shouting matches with unstable purposeless people. 

I keep to my goals both as a painter and person of decency and civility, helping those I can.  I believe most Americans are decent and patriotic, on both sides. I refuse to give up my conservative and independent friends because we don’t always agree. There are lunatics on all sides. I move forward!

Life is purposeful for country painters.....

Monday, September 14, 2020


I’ve been on a course for a few years now to improve myself as a person and a painter. I’ve discovered the key to my improvement is simple gratitude. we can focus on the good in our lives, avoiding the chaos and meanness in our current world.

There is nothing I can directly do to end the violence, political anger and strife whirling around me. I simply inch forward one step at a time, helping other artists when I am able and wake up grateful every day. As I age, I have become aware of the rare privilege of being a painter.

We record the culture and visual elements of our time here on earth. We landscape painters record in our own unique texture and style of the life, earth, smells, and tastes of the places we live. We are highly influenced by the regions where we live and grow up.

I believe when we offer dignity, kindness, and appreciation to others, we are an example to those around us whom we can influence. Artists have great power, in that we are admired and are influential to our collectors and students. The way we behave is noticed by others. It is not just our work that we put out to the world, but also ourselves.

If you are an angry, resentful artist, frustrated about your place on the food chain, perhaps you are missing the greatest opportunity, that of being grateful to have this wonderful gift. No one forces us to be professional artists. We make that commitment, knowing that it will be difficult financially for most, and there will always be artists who paint better than we do. Instead of anger and jealousy, let us redirect ourselves into artists who are grateful for the privilege each day. 

Life is privileged for country painters.....

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Momma’s Blueberries

 Blueberries always remind me of my momma. She was a fine gardener. She always had a good sized garden in the field next to the yard. She grew all the regional vegetables with abundance. She lined tomatoes up on every window sill to finish ripening. I can still taste that rich flavor of her tomato sandwiches with Duke’s mayonnaise. 

She also had a beautiful row of blueberry bushes, carefully tended. Even in her old age, she picked berries early in the morning. I can close my eyes and see her in her big straw hat and basket, slowly picking each ripe berry. She would wash them in the big green colander and make deep dish blueberry pie. We ate the pie with vanilla ice cream. 

I have been trying slowly to bring the fallow bushes back. They are full of weeds and have been neglected, no longer producing. In the cool months, I do a little cutting and weeding out small sapling trees. It is slow going, as I detest yard work. Eventually I hope to bring them back to their formal glory in honor of my momma.

Life is wonderful for country painters.....

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Followers or Friends


Followers vs friends is a topic worth considering. Social media has become a race for followers, to some artists. I know more than one artist who has given up their thoughtful posts on social media, because they don’t think people care about what they say. They don’t get a lot of comments, or large numbers of followers.


I don’t share my thoughts to get followers. I have about 1000 followers on Instagram. What does that mean? Nothing! I have never sold paintings on Instagram. Artists have the idea that these platforms are for selling art.


My thought is that social media is for friendships and admiration for others who do much to improve the world. I’m lucky to have many friends, due to my career. I’ve become friends with many thanks to social media. None of that is a popularity contest, nor should it be. I leave that mindset to the Kardashians of the world. Yes, I am deeply grateful for every painting I sell, but my posts come from the heart, stories of my life and career.


Every now and then I get a comment from someone who has never commented before. They tell me that they look forward to my posts each day. Who knew? It means the world to me. Every friend I have means everything to me.  Perhaps artists need to rethink social media.

Life is wonderful for country painters......


Monday, September 7, 2020

Painting Rut


It is easy to lock yourself in a same old same methodology as a painter. I know painters who have used the same palette, same size format, same medium, brush work, and subjects for years. You will not know when they painted a painting, because their style never evolves.


A lot of pros get into this rut because they have gotten a market for this work. It is very slick and well done. If you do the same thing all the time, you get very good at it. I can understand their reasons, but there are high risks too.


Style quickly becomes stale and less marketable in terms of repeat collectors. Collectors love new work. If your new work looks like your old work, they tire of it quickly. If work doesn’t grow, anything new is unattainable, because the artist has not developed further with new skill. Some of my collectors like the struggle paintings I do, while studying new technique and new subjects. The efforts are far from perfect, but there is a fresh quality to the effort.


My most advanced work is trees and agricultural lands, but by trying other subjects, I feel excited to go back to my beloved trees after trying something new. Painters need to stay excited to grow and thrive. Give yourself permission to do bad paintings if they help you to learn and grow. I do.


Friday, April 17, 2020

Gifting Your Favorite Artist

There are ways you can help your favorite artists. I am hearing from artists who are very afraid. Their sales are dead. I have been lucky in that I have a very flexible marketing plan at all times. I paint for whatever situation I am faced with. Now I am selling small inexpensive paintings. They are keeping me going.  I am not the kind of painter who gives up or fails. I’ve survived many crises in my career. 

Some artists are inexperienced in marketing and unable to change their business plan to survive hard times. If you love your favorite artists you can help them in very simple ways:

1. Share their contact info and images of their paintings by email and on all your social media platforms. The more people who find an artist the better the opportunity to sell. 

2. Write a short testimonial for artists. Testimonials are a very important way to initiate trust for new art buyers. New buyers need to know they can trust the business practices of an artist they don’t know. Reading positive testimonials help to build trust.  

3. If you can pre-purchase a painting from an artist you love, now is the time. You may not have the resources, but I’ll bet you know someone who does. Be aware that tiny purchases mean much to artists now. It is a thrill to have sales of any kind. What might have been a thrill to sell a painting for hundreds/thousands of dollars in the past, now gives me a thrill to sell 20.00 paintings! 

4.  Chip in with a gift card for your favorite artists. Groceries, art supplies, restaurants all will be welcomed by artists during this difficult period. 

5. Gift small art to your friends and family. If you have all the art you can hang, buy art for others. That is a cheery surprise for someone to receive as a gift. 

Thank you sincerely to all who have bought paintings and who are sharing the work of your favorite artists. Believe me when I tell you it means everything! 

Country painters have a wonderful life........

Monday, March 30, 2020


When I was a kid, my uncle Bob was a milkman. In those Stone Age times, our milk and cream were delivered in ice cold glass bottles. The metal crate was left on the doorstep for us very early in the morning. We would leave the crate of empty bottles for him the night before he came. It was a simple, environmentally friendly way to get milk, with no waste.

My cat, Mitzi, used to wait for uncle Bob to arrive. She would jump in his milk truck and take a ride around the neighborhood with him while he delivered. He would swing by and drop her off when he was through.

There was no better taste than milk and Coke in glass bottles. We always threw a few peanuts into the Coke bottles. The salty sweet taste was superb! During this difficult time I’ve had some time for these fond memories through my life. I have mused about the good and bad periods, and I’m very grateful that the good times have far out weighed the bad.

Despite the fear and difficulty we all face now, I feel like this time of my life is swell indeed, thanks to my family and dear friends.  Isn’t it wonderful to see so many fine and brave people who have gone the extra mile for strangers? So many have given me the courage to continue and have faith in my heart
. I’m so grateful to the many who have bought little paintings. I can’t ever express enough how grateful I am.

Artists, please stay home over the next weeks in your own studios. Getting together to paint and visit puts you and others at risk. I want you all to be safe. It would break my heart to lose you. Be brave and know that there are friends and collectors who love and will support you. If you are an Alachua County artist, in need of supplies, contact Lanza Art Gallery. There is emergency gift card funding set up at the gallery web site for you. If you wish to help your artist friends with supplies, you can donate for them.

Country painters have a wonderful life....

Friday, March 27, 2020


I’ve been thinking that support has new meaning now. It is no longer simplistic. Emotional support has become more valuable than money suddenly. Yesterday, a friend offered to bring me anything I need. He was willing to leave his safe space for me. That used to have casual meaning, a mere inconvenience. Now that favor is a risk, and a sign of deep friendship.

I’ve been sending out little messages to dear ones via email, and I’ve been receiving these messages of support myself. This becomes vitally important. We send the message that our friends and loved ones matter. They are more important to us than ever.

We may be physically alone, but emotionally this connection keeps us together. Despite the stories about idiotic and mean spirited behavior, I have seen noble effort and generosity in my own community and around the world. People are sewing masks, businesses are making donations, and yes, some corporations are going above and beyond for their employees and customers.

Support has become essential and enormously valuable. Don’t give up, especially my artists friends. Keep working instead of worrying. There are friends and lovers of your art who will offer support in many ways.

Life is wonderful for Country Painters.....

Sunday, March 15, 2020


I’m having a lot of fun during my self quarantine time, working on some of my 3.5x4.5 paintings on wood panels. They are really fun and they ship easily in regular mail. I’ve always enjoyed working on a variety of small paintings in between my serious efforts on larger paintings. It gives me a break between works. It helps me to experiment with a variety of palette colors, value study and composing ideas. Many artists focus most of their time in pursuit of starting to finish complete paintings. I am of the group who like to study parts and pieces of paintings in between the  serious works.

I don’t think one can grow as a painter by doing the same process over and over again. There is the legitimate argument that doing the same subjects, the same palettes, the same brush stroke rhythm, produces very good paintings because it becomes perfected over time. I can not argue with that . It is true. Practice does make perfect. There are painters who have found that niche. They can paint in their sleep. However, seeing their work five years later, one sees little change.

It is safe and predictable, very sellable. I am envious on one hand, due to their high sales, but on the other hand, I could never be that painter. I have the quest to learn more. I love the experiments! I need the challenge and danger of falling flat on my face. I do a lot of bad paintings on the way to better skills. I don’t mind using the burn pile now and then. No artist steps up to the easel and thinks “I want to do a bad painting”. It happens when you try to push beyond what you know. Eventually, you catch up and become just a bit more skilled. I can live with that.

Country painters have a wonderful life........