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

Memories




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

Support




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

Experiments



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........




Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Virus




I’ve been thinking about the pandemic sweeping into our lives as an artist in business. Most people don’t understand that artists are the most vulnerable in business of our society. We no longer have the patrons of the arts that the Renaissance artists enjoyed. 

Whenever there is an economic down turn, terrorist attack, or large health crisis, artists suffer first financially. Many don’t understand how important art is to our emotional health. Culture defines our society in many ways. It lifts us above the ugliness and dreariness of bare existence. The beautiful pieces of furniture, drapes, rugs, cars we drive are all designed by artists. The paintings that give you a vacation from the mundane, are designed by artists. Artists are the historians of our own time on earth. The world would be drab indeed without the beauty and grace of good design. 

We artists must find ways to survive the constant crises that befall our world. Being flexible is so important. One month you are selling well, then something happens and you don’t have two nickels to rub together. We go from top to bottom almost instantly. Most art lovers want to continue to support artists, but they need to find lower prices for their purchases during hard times. Artists will be wise to make smaller paintings and make them easy to buy during these times. I accept layaway on all my paintings and accept credit card, check, and cash payments at my studio and on my web page. . My prices range from 6.00 - 6,000.00 and all in between. I sell miniatures on Daily Paintworks through PayPal, and here on FB. My paintings, and art kits make lovely gifts for any occasion.

Artists must have faith in their own ability to think of new ways to sell art, making it easy and affordable to purchase. The biggest differences in good times and hard times are faith that you will survive and thrive again, and the much harder work you must do stay afloat. Hard times prove that your followers, friends, and collectors are much more important than most artists realize. I never forget that these kind folk make my career and my lifestyle possible. I feel sorry for artists who have no desire to meet and know their collectors. They have no idea what they are missing. My friends, followers and collectors make everything possible for me. Every time they share my work, I am so grateful. I pray that we all survive this terrible virus, both mentally and physically, with grace and kindness to others.

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

Sunday, March 8, 2020

History Repeats




I’ve been interested in European history for some time. In the last few years I spent a lot of time reading about WW2 and the build up to it.  This year, I am studying about The Great War AKA WW1. For some reason, I had always assumed that it began solely because of the assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand by the Serbians. In fact, there was a long build up to the war.

I read a book about the period before the war with a theme about Kaiser Wilhelm, Nicholas, Tsar of Russia  and George the Fifth of England, who were all cousins, by way of Queen Victoria. My research has been strangely comforting. I learned that these wars were led by inept leaders. The Kaiser was mad as a hatter. He was a total nut job and narcissistic in the extreme. Nicolas was almost a recluse and his wife was bat chit crazy, letting Rasputin guide the family in matters of state. George wanted nothing to do with governing and only wanted to hunt game on his estate, ignoring the whirlwind descending on Europe. You can’t make this stuff up!

Why is this comforting? It brings to me the reality that modern politics is not really any different. The difference is that we just know more, as the masses than we used to. The same crazies are in every era of history. There were nut jobs in the cave men days too, I feel sure. No matter how much technology we learn, or how sophisticated our society becomes, the ego driven will find a way into power. The young and naive say they can change government. The old and tired say that the status quo is comforting. Somewhere in between those two camps, we manage to trudge onward, sometimes left, sometimes right, when in between seems best to some.

I think more study of history by common folk like me, would be useful in our decision making about politics.

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

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Professionalism



I think it is a true mistake to lump all visual artists into one group. Artists don’t have a great reputation in the business world. I have talked with many business people who are surprised that I paint for a living full time and that I behave professionally. 

Many business people assume that all artists are disorganized, flighty, unreliable, and very unprofessional. I learned this first hand as a project manager at WDW, about 15 years ago. I was chosen to be a Garden Festival stage speaker that year. I arrived well prepared, with many props and give away materials from corporate sponsors in the art materials industry, including Gamblin, Source Tek, Grumbacher, Golden and other kind companies who are very supportive of artists. 

I was on time and ready to work, speaking twice a day on stage each day as assigned. I got to know the tech guys and producers who filmed the event. They were so surprised at my preparedness and lack of demands. I asked for nothing special and was treated as a VIP. They told me several horror stories about other artists they had dealt with. Demanding, unprepared, dressed poorly, and completely unprofessional. I have seen and heard these accusations about dealing with artists more than once since that experience. I have observed this myself at paint outs, and art openings many times. 

These artists seem to think they shouldn’t have to follow the rules or to honor deadlines. Somehow they have gotten the idea that they are more special than other people. I saw this from the business side last year at an event where I was on the committee who had to deal with the artists instead of being the artist. That was a real eye opener. 

There is a reason that corporations buy art through art consultants. Frankly, they don’t want to deal with the ego driven artists directly. Perhaps it’s time for artists to behave in a businesslike manner like other industries demand. It is entirely possible to wear your artist’s hat in the studio and your business professional hat out in the world and in your office. Please don’t send me mean posts. It is my group after all. 

Country painters have a wonderful life....

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Attitude

I’ve been thinking a lot about attitude this week. Now that I am beginning to age a bit, my wants have changed significantly.  I’ve been watching the posts from the paint outs I used to do each year.  For a moment, there is a twinge of regret that I gave up that part of my career, but only for a moment. My decisions are reinforced as being the right ones. I don’t really want to do that anymore and I know I was right.

I think it is so important to leave stages and to move on with no regret. The idea that we should be inflexible and do things the way we have always done them, without thought and consideration is very wrong.  I should have learned to accept changes as new opportunities long ago. I am a bit naive in that way.

I have learned to ask myself, “am I really comfortable with this or have I outgrown it?” In the case of having been forced to make changes, have I learned to adapt and move forward with new ideas, or have I wasted valuable time longing for what no longer exists as an opportunity? Alas, I have made those mistakes more than once.

I am learning though, to become more flexible and more able to adapt to change and limitations. In fact, I am having a swell time of life now, content in my lovely Country Studio, hosting tea parties, teaching once a month here, and studying the arcane world of putting paint to canvas. I love walking on my trail and enjoying the beautiful rural land I’m lucky to be owned by. I hear the birds outside as I slouch in my studio chair after finishing this painting.

Country painters have a wonderful life.......
Linda’s Web Site

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The Finish!





Ta-Da!
I’m so happy to report the my monumental efforts and my sister Becky’s equal efforts paid off. It has been a hard couple of weeks but the former closet in my studio is now a lovely display room for my Art Lover Kits and large paintings.

It has been quite a journey, including carrying two chests of drawers out and up the steps to the back porch, burning debris for five days, sorting and pitching old paintings, frames and lots of whatever! The utility room has new shelving too. I had planned to simply paint over the patched holes, but the paint I found was a warmer, semi gloss white, so I painted the whole room yesterday.  It is a delightful little nook, adding intrigue and charm to my studio. I’ve wanted to do this project for two years. I’m glad I finally faced the gauntlet and finished, just in time for my tea party scheduled tomorrow. 

My frame sale starts on Monday, so the tea room is full of frames, but I have set up the studio for the tea party. I can’t wait to see my visitors! The menu will include tiny stuffed baked potatoes, corned beef pate, three layer brownies, scones, and fruit. 

Life is wonderful for artists.......

Friday, February 21, 2020

What a busy Week!





What a busy week! 

I started on my renew my “closet” to display room project on About Friday of last week, and my big yard burn on Monday. My studio is a huge pile of everything that used to be in the room. My sister helped me to move the two chests of drawers onto the back porch. They will live there now. 

Today I removed the two shelves, to be relocated to the utility room. I patched all the holes in the room with wood putty. Later today I will sand the patches. I have ordered the paint. By Monday, I’ll be able to paint the patches and wall flaws. Monday afternoon I’ll stage the room for display and be ready to finish up the studio clean up during the week. Just in time for my next tea party next Thursday. 

During this redo I’ve been steadily burning yard debris, the huge burn pile and burning old paintings, reams of old notes, workshop books unusable frames, and other stuff I have hung onto for far too many years. 

It feels great to have this project at least half way finished. It is one of those I dreaded and put off for about two years. It is also cathartic emotionally, to get rid of what is just taking up space with no purpose. I am very much in favor of living a purposeful life. I believe we waste our lives without dreams, goals and new ideas. Letting go of old art, and other possessions is sometimes hard, but when it is over, those won’t be missed. Going through a project like this is like a walk through your past with a look toward your future.

Life is wonderful for artists......



Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Tired




It is easy to be too tired to right the world. I’ll be 70 in June. I do get tired. I take an afternoon rest now in between my working sessions. It restores me to go forward with my day. I work six days a week to run my own business. Most of my peers are retired, doing as they please. I’ll never retire. I like painting.

It is very easy to be tired of the politics swirling around us. I no longer watch much of the news, as it is depressing for me. Politics wears us down into numbness. Left, right, or moderate, there are always going to be ugly politics. I would like it if more people studied history. I have learned that at every era of modern politics, there have been ugly nefarious plots going on. There have been incompetents running the world for generations. I don’t think our thoughts and actions should be about our political persuasions.

Instead, they should be about the business of being decent, honest and kind humans toward each other. I have many conservative friends. We treat each other with respect, find common interests, and value our friendships. We find ways to improve our little part of the world together, without politics.

It is easy to wring our hands about the ills of the world and do nothing. It is too easy to just ignore bad behavior, instead of making an effort to behave honorably ourselves. Every kindness we extend, matters. Every bit of respect and positive effort we give matters. Every penny we donate to positive and decent organizations matters.

Protests look impressive, but I would rather use my energy supporting the natural world organizations, and the organizations who support human decency, than to stand around with signs. We cannot change minds with anger and hatred. We can change minds with kindness welcoming others into our circle. One day at a time, one friend at a time matters. I won’t let being tired stop me from using all my potential.

Life is wonderful for artists…..

Sunday, February 16, 2020

The Closet




I have a space issue in my studio. I have a nice small room/closet that is jammed full of old dressers, tools frames and art. It really does me no good at all, and I could be using it for display space.

I am gradually moving the bulk of my paintings to my Country Studio. I still have a small room and wall area at my town studio, which is secure for 2020 and unknown for 2021. 

More and more of my collectors enjoy visiting out here in the quiet country side for a cup of tea. I must make more display room here.

The task is daunting. I have two dressers full of teaching material to move out to the back porch of the house. Then far too many odd frames. It is time for me to have another used frame sale. I do this about every three years. My current students and former students love this sale. I sell all large frames for 10.00 and all small frames for 5.00 You can't beat that! The frame sale will be the week of March 9-14 if anyone is interested.

I am feeling overwhelmed at the moment, but in the end, this will be a smart effort. Why waste perfectly good display space?

That building has had many jobs over the long years. It was well built by my Daddy's friend Lester Wigglesworth, the premier mason of his time. It was my Daddy's workshop, then my home for a few years. The closet I am going to clean out was at one time my bedroom, cosy and useful for a single bed with a tiny night stand and lamp. Is it any wonder that I love my studio so much!

Life is wonderful for artists....

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Cats



Cats

As most of you know, I'm a dog person. I've owned dogs all my life, from the age of ten. Dogs are intensely loyal. I had a cat once, as a child. Her name was Mitzi. My momma was allergic to cats and so Mitzi lived as an outdoor cat. Nowadays they are called feral. She was a wild one. She used to bring home her kills, and lay the on the front stoop for my inspection. I had a pet hare, who got out of his pen once. Mitzi herded him up to the front stoop and let me know, guarding him like a sheep dog.  In her old age, she disappeared one day. That was my one experience of cat ownership.

Cats have never liked me, nor I them. There seems to be an innate distrust between us. My daughter has a big Main Coon named Elliot. I always refer to him as Elliot the Cat. He lures me in slowly, purring, rubbing up against my arm in the chair. Finally, I think, he must be warming up to me. I reach out and pet him slowly. Just as I begin to get comfortable with the companionship, bam! He takes a bite out of my hand. This happens almost every time we are together. It reminds me of  Lucy, holding the football for Charlie Brown. I fall for it every time. My sister has an orange cat, named Blue. He avoids me like the plague as well. 

I get a sense that cats are the owners in their relationship with humans.  Cats are the emperors, the kings, the superiors. This is not appealing to me in any way. I don't like the idea of being a servant to my pet, paying his bills, feeding him and cleaning up litter boxes, knowing he considers me to be a servant. Wild cats are magnificent. Lions are my favorite big cats.

I have  a series of little cartoons that I do now and then called Fat Cats. I use Elliot the Cat as my model. My veterinarian used to have a practice cat that was the fattest cat I've ever seen. He was one of my models too.

I'l stick with dogs.

Artists have a wonderful life.......



Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Who's Fault?



Who's fault that some artists can't make a living?  I know a lot of artists who automatically go to the old standard reasons. The economy is poor. Young people don't buy art. People only want famous artists' works. There is little art education in schools anymore. Everything is digital now. If you don't paint abstracts, no one will buy your art.  There are really hundreds of reasons why artists have a hard time making a living.

Who's Fault?

I am the first to admit that selling art is a difficult task. I've been in the art business all of my life. I do think it is far too easy to wring hands and say it can't be done. Making a living as an artist is daunting, but it can be and is a viable way to make a living. Attitude and willingness to succeed are everything. This goes for any occupation.

Who's Fault?

I don't spend my time worrying about any of the reasons that art doesn't sell. That is a complete waste of my time and resources. I do instead, spend a heck of a lot of time thinking about what I can do to sell enough art to pay my bills and buy art materials. My goal is not to become wealthy, though that would be lovely. My goal is not to be famous. There are obligations attached to that that I am not willing to do. My goal is to continue being an independent self sustaining artist, paying my own way through what is left of my time on this good earth. A simple, doable goal.

Who's Fault?

I never for a moment think that I can't succeed. That is out of the question. I will not fail. I work very hard. I depend on others to aid me. My followers on social media are my referral team. I know they will help me and I will help them. I know my collectors want me to be successful, and they help me with referrals. I know that my work is of a subject that appeals to niche collectors. I don't try to appeal to every market. I don't try to be trendy. I don't switch my painting subjects and styles to fit the latest interests. I don't try to fit in to art societies, or groups.I go my own way, secure in that my efforts are truly genuine.

Who's Fault?

No one's! There is no blame for lack of success, only props that give you excuses to fail!

Life is wonderful for artists.......,

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Party After Thoughts



Yesterday was my annual Chili Party. I consider it a success. I had about 15 people for the day. Not a big bunch, but all super nice and great fun. Many of them are old and dear friends, who have supported me for many years. It is a comfort to see them walk in. Some of my annual parties are bigger crowds, and some have only a few who come, but that is not really the important element. 

The good will and pre-party PR really count. These annual parties are a lot more work than my tea parties, but there is an inclusive quality to them. Everyone is welcome and there are no RSVP's needed. I cook for 50 and feed whoever shows up.  Surprisingly, I always make pretty good income from the parties, whether few or many come. People are generous and kind.  

The other element to these parties are that my name, and art get out to a number of folk. It keeps my mailing list active and keeps my art going into their homes on the postcard invitations I send. It is not so important that they actually attend, but that my name and art are reminding them for future times when they might be in the market for art. Many artists ignore postal mail now, but the postcards are a big part of my marketing success. I always expect that about 5% of invited, actually attend, but the rest are getting a reminder that I have work to show.

I think that social media, and postal media are equally important. I always have a postal address sign up at my parties, rather than email. People change their email addresses like underwear, but postal addresses are good for quite a bit of time. Also, when I do mail outs, I get to clean up my mailing list when one comes back to me, address unknown. It also gives me the opportunity to send a thank you note. 

It has been said by Seth Godin and others that you don't need a huge collector base. You need about 100 collectors who actually buy art. I believe and agree with that assessment. I don't have enough collectors, but I have a group who buy regularly. My job as a marketer is to find enough collectors who believe in me and who will support my work. Then I must depend on their word of mouth to others to bring new collectors. Eventually, they must stop buying, so spreading the word becomes their support to me. I must be grateful for their love and support and to be supportive of their endeavors in life. That is my main job as their friend and supporter. It is a two way street. it is more about them than me. Many artists don't understand or appreciate the people who generously support them. 

Life is wonderful for artists......



Saturday, February 8, 2020

Thinking



In thinking about my art career, I used to make a lot of mistakes running hither and yon, doing every event that came along, with little regard for whether it was a viable way to generate income directly or even indirectly. My calendar was full to the brim with paint outs, juried exhibits, meetings with other artists, and every other whacky idea. It makes me tired to even think about it.

I realized years ago I was doing it all wrong. I was one of the sheep in the art pen. I worried about whether other artists approved of my painting finesse. I wanted to fit in. I followed all of the so called successful painters. I joined all of the cool national organizations for painters.  These organizations favor the elite few who are signature painters. The rest for the artists support the top tier, hanging on to their coattails by the virtue of being a member.

I have come a long way since those years. I am less dependent on others for my self esteem, and more interested in learning how to paint. Most of the time I spent in the art community is now spent at my easel, hopefully learning how to paint. I no longer worry about what other artists are doing, except to encourage them to excel in their own journey.

I’ve always thought that a reversal of the age of learning and knowledge would be a good idea. What could I have accomplished if I knew all of this at 25, instead of 69?  I would not have so carelessly wasted all of those years chasing after the wrong things.

The most important thing I have learned in all these years is to turn my focus on the people who support me and my career. It is great to have a lot of artist friends, and I do appreciate them, but my collectors and other friends are so  important to my self esteem. They don’t expect me to be perfect. They like me, flaws and all. They understand that art is never perfect. They like it anyway. My supporters mean everything to me and I enjoy their take on the world. They are liberal, conservative, independent, or anything they are comfortable being. I love them all. We have many common joys, outside of the world of politics. I learn all about science and other interests from my brilliant friends. They have interesting jobs and backgrounds. They don’t judge.

Life is wonderful for artists…..

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Saving Our Earth

                                                                   Linda’s Web Site


I've been very worried about our good earth's health. I know that the bird population is rapidly declining, along with our bee population. Deforestation around the world is on the rise. 

I see that political decisions are harming our lands, ecosystems, wetlands, and rolling back the protections for our wildlife and wild spaces.

It is easy to fall into despair. As a hobby naturalist, and landscape painter, I feel despair frequently. My livelihood and happiness depends on our good earth's health. Every landscape artist should be concerned.

I've been thinking about the ways that I can help, within my own circle of influence. There are too many people who moan about our politics and our wild places while doing nothing really to help our earth. Moaning about issues accomplishes nothing, except to increase our depression and angst.

I've always been a doer. I think about possibilities. Here is what I have done and will continue to do, "putting my money where my mouth is" as the old cliche goes.

1. I support land trusts in my state. Every penny helps them to purchase and maintain wild lands. They purchase the lands, save them and most importantly, they educate the public about the value of saving what is left of natural Florida and it's wildlife. 

2. I purchase a family state park pass for my grandson each year for his birthday. I want to pass my love for our beautiful state on to my grandchildren, just as I did for my daughters.

3. My mission as a painter is to educate others about the beauty of natural Florida, and our agricultural lands. I rarely paint the coast, boats, beaches or tourist towns. I want Florida visitors to understand the real, wild Florida and to adore it's beauty as I do.

4. I research our earth sciences so that I know  the best choices to make in managing my own small nature trail.

5. I support the Nature Conservancy by purchasing through Amazon Smile. I try to support businesses who make products that are earth friendly, recycle vintage art frames and other ideas and opportunities.

6. I support environmental action groups.

This is just a ripple in my tiny, insignificant pond, but at least it is a start. It is better than wringing my hands and doing nothing. We have but one opportunity in our lives to try and save our precious earth.

Life is wonderful for artists.....


Wednesday, February 5, 2020

My Annual Chili Party




Today was my last day of painting this week. I need to get ready for my annual Chili Party. Saturday, February 8th from 11AM - 4PMish. Gosh, I’ve had this party about 15 years now. I love homemade chili this time of year. This year I’m making it with savory pot roast instead of ground beef. Yummy! I am serving it with the usual toppings, sour cream, diced onion, Fritos, and homemade corn bread made in my big iron skillet. I am also making my peanut butter, chocolate chip crust brownies. They are always well received. I’ll throw in a bowl of fruit to balance out the goodies. Naturally, we will have a variety of hot teas. The studio directions from Gainesville to my Country Studio are on my web site at the bottom of the pages https://www.lindablondheim.com
Tomorrow, I’ll be setting up the studio. It doesn’t need much work after the party I had last week. I have to hide my easel, work tables sweep, and set out the chairs. My tea room is all ready. 
My friend Mark set up the hardware for my dart board a couple of months ago, so the board will be ready for darts at the party. I still need to get my corn hole game, on my to do list. Anytime I can have a party at the studio makes me so happy. I love all my friends and new friends that come. 
I have my new Tea for Two and Art kits and Bird Lover and Art kits ready. It is one of the best ways to combine my love for art and tea and birds. I’m so glad I thought of the idea. I plan to add Wildflower and Art kits to my kits soon. My collectors love these kits. I will have to raise the price a dollar soon. The labor time is high. 
Please come to the party Saturday at my Country Studio. Dear Woods Trail is open for a nice stroll and I have new paintings to show. As always, the hallway gallery paintings are 210.00 Join my collectors club while you are here.

Life is wonderful for artists......



Saturday, February 1, 2020

Tea Party Fun




Today’s tea party was splendid in every way. Unfortunately there were several cases of flu in the family, so only three were able to come. It was wonderful. 

The ladies couldn’t have been nicer or more delightful! We had two technology experts and a high school English teacher. Our topics included several books about history and historical fiction. I recently read a book about Tsar Nicholas, Kaiser Wilhelm, and King George before WW1  and they shared books about WW2, relating them to out current lives. I learned that the famous Von Tropp family escaped to America during the war and still have a farm here. All the information was very interesting to me. I love my tea party guests. I always learn something new.

We spent a lovely afternoon drinking tea and chowing down on corned beef pate’, blueberry lemon sandwiches, Brie in puff pastry, chicken salad roll ups, scones and white chocolate bark. Who doesn’t love tea parties? 

My friend brought me a beautiful gift. A set of beautiful tea spoons. Each one is a different flower. They are so pretty. I can’t wait to use them at my next tea party. What a special gift! I have the most wonderful friends. 

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Embroidery Thread




As you can imagine, making all of my note cards and kits uses a lot of embroidery thread. I like to decorate my fun art items with this thread. It reminds me of my Mamma, who was an expert embroiderer. She made beautiful, traditional pieces and knew all the stitches. Mine is quite crude, but I really enjoy it. 
I don't remember why I got the idea to use the stitches on my note cards with a small painting, but somehow I thought it would give an old fashioned, homey feel to the cards. It has been a great success. People seem to enjoy the combination of the brown paper and stitching. I think it gives my cards a Country style which fits well with my Country Studio.
When I started making the Tea for Two and Art kits and the Bird and Art Lover kits, it seemed natural to decorate the envelopes with old buttons from my Grandma with my Mamma's stitching skill. It makes me happy to do so and reminds me of my time with them. I think they would be pleased.
Now I have quite a bit of short pieces of a variety of colored embroidery thread. A lightbulb came on over my head one day when I was gathering the snippets of thread to throw away. I realized that these threads would be wonderful nesting materials for the birds this spring. 
I've been snagging them onto trees on Deer Woods Trail on my afternoon walk. As I move along the trail, I look for pine trees, which have nice big slots between the bark and the threads fit right in. I think they will be useful for the birds and make colorful parts of their nests. They at least are pretty and will not go into the landfill. 
Life is wonderful for artists......

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Career Musing





Career Musing

I think I have come up with an idea that works well . ‘I’Ve spent about a year promoting tea parties at my Country Studio. I’ve been able to branch off of the parties with a couple of small products that are getting traction. They are really marketing tools that I get paid for. I’m naming this concept as fusion marketing. I have thought a lot about making art that leads to other interests. I make Tea for Two and Art kits  and have added to that idea with Bird Lover and Art kits. I will add other interest kits like Garden and Art Kits, and Pet and Art kits.

This fusion of interests appeals to a larger audience than art lovers. The tea parties have introduced many people to my studio who might not visit, just to see art. The result has been extraordinary. My last tea party resulted in the sale of an 1800.00 painting. I almost always sell at the tea parties, though I never try to. I make the party all about the guests and the tea party. 

I am continuing to think about the possibilities of fusion marketing. Combining things I think are interesting with art. To me the success of this is always shared interests and service to my friends and collectors. Each year I give out 40 paintings for my sacrifice for Lent. This year, I’m sending out Tea for One with a tiny painting in a kit made from recycled paper from tea catalogues. 

I’ve had a lifetime of good friends from my art career and I never forget that. It is hard for me to understand artists who don’t want a relationship and friendship with their collectors. They only deal through galleries. How sad for them. From the time I finished art school, I have enjoyed making new friends through my art, interest in the natural world, and zany ideas I have shared with them.

It is also interesting to me that so many artists are spending all of their free time with other artists, trying to fit in with the top dogs and cliques that always form in every place I’ve ever been. Just as in every industry, there is a juggling for position and who is better than who. It is tiresome at best. In my maturity, I have come to love the emerging and hobbies artists the most. They are kind and inclusive. 

I learn a lot from. them, and regret all of the years I felt it important to be one of the top dogs. I would take that wasteful time back if I could.  The best thing I ever did was to leave the competitive art world. No more one upsmanship, trying to fit in, compete in Paint Outs and prize winning exhibitions. I am content on my trail painting, and in my beloved studio. Nothing to prove to anyone.

Life is wonderful for artists……..

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Winter Pleasure

Linda’s Web Page


It is full Winter now in north Florida. As I walked through the woods today I could see far into the woods in all directions. All of the leaves are thick on the ground in the deep part of Deer Woods Trail. It makes the acreage look vast. I can see so far now, with the underbrush and leaves down. My land is adjacent to vast acres of undeveloped natural Florida, I am so lucky! There is a natural gas line that the utility company keeps mowed between my land and my neighbor’s land. It runs for miles, making a fine trail in the cool months.

The sky was overcast and gray. It made a smoky atmosphere. The tree skeletons are various shades of black, silver white, gray and warm brown. The trees with leaves are tinted cool dark green. There are blue, gray, and purple tints to distant trees. The fields are ochre, sienna, and gray. Oh how I love winter in north Florida. This time is the real reason I stay, despite the heat, bugs, and jungle of the endless humid months.

Florida winter brings back so many memories of camp fires, fun with my kids, walking in the woods with my Daddy, feeding the horses on cold days and helping Daddy chop wood for the old stove. A lifetime in the deep woods with my paint box.

I’m getting my mini bird and nest paintings ready for my new Bird and Art Lovers Kits. The quality bird seed I ordered will be here tomorrow. What fun these kits are!

Life is wonderful for artists.....

Friday, January 17, 2020

Light Box



I was so proud of myself. A couple of weeks ago, I made a still life 2 sided box and covered it with cream colored contact paper. I attached a light to the top which adjusted in different directions. I was all set! 

By the time my students showed up for class last on Tuesday, the box had started sinking at the top. I used big clamps to keep it upright for the class duration. By that afternoon it had sunk to the bottom. It is now on the trash pile!!

I found one of those really cool photographer's product selling light boxes that fold up. it has an LED light strip that attaches at the top, and comes with a white back drop or a black backdrop that you can insert in the box. 

I got the medium sized one and I can't wait to get it. They said it would be about three weeks to arrive. I hope it comes before my next class. it is going to be much more swell than my failed effort.

I will put off my still life studies until it arrives. I just love amazing new inventions. I will now be using upscale equipment for my still life studies. If only I could upscale my painting ability that fast!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Beloved Florida



I've been talking to friends about the lack of a true winter anymore here in Florida. Yes we have had a few cold nights of light frost this year, but it has been some time since we had the real cold of a few years ago and of my childhood. 2019 had record heat in the last week of October, in the 90's. I know because I was out there sweating profusely for that week at the Fair Oaks Foundation Paint Out. 

Winter and it's cooling and drying of our land  is so important a break from the swamp environment of Florida. Without it, our summers grow longer and longer and the bug population all but overwhelms us, not to mention the weed growth.

Now our government officials are strangled by big business and rolling back the environmental protections we once had, to protect our Florida wild spaces and wet lands. The more of a concrete jungle Florida becomes, the hotter the environment and climate will be. 

The further away from the natural world our children and grandchildren stray, the less they understand earth science, our wild spaces, and the urgent need we have to protect what is left of Florida. Our birds, native animals, native culture, landscape, agriculture, parks and preserves will depend on the very children who are being lead away from the real Florida. As a native Floridian, this is chilling for me.

My mission as a painter has long been to record our beautiful natural Florida for current and future generations to know what I grew up with and to foster a love for our beautiful spot on this fragile planet. I am one of the lucky few who remember the Florida of 60 years ago.

My advice is to support land and wetland trusts, take the kids out to the parks, camping, and nature oriented events and destinations.  Support candidates who want to save our state from cheesy development. Encourage teachers and schools to promote earth science, art and culture in the classroom. Support creatives who practice sustainable farming, who promote environmental art and culture. We can save what is left of this beautiful state if we all make at least a tiny effort together. 

Life is wonderful for artists.......

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Making the Tea and Art Kits






I’ve been having such a great time making the Tea For Two and Art Kits. One reason is making and decorating the hand made envelopes. I got down my grandmother’s button jar. It is so cool. The buttons are incredible. Some of them are very Art Deco in style, others very traditional and quite old. There are many styles that won’t work with the project. I put them back in the jar to save.

There are very tiny buttons, for use on baby clothes, and lovely pearl like buttons with metal backs that look quite old. There are a couple of campaign buttons for Wilke and Franklin Roosevelt. I found an army pin from Ft Benning Georgia. I don’t recognize the woman’s photo. It is old and yellowed. I am thinking that my son in law, a staff Sargent in Colorado might enjoy having it. I will save it for him. This has been a swell evening journey for me to sort through these fantastic treasures.

Making these art and tea kits is a wonderful way to practice my art, and share part of my family history with fellow tea drinkers. I think of the women before me who used needle and thread with these buttons. I had a request to put the kits in Paddiwhack as well as my Country Studio, so I will get around to that.

Artists have a wonderful life.......