Thursday, October 22, 2020

Election Stress

The election draws near. Lots of early voting this year. I voted early too. I can feel the stress building now, more than in any other voting year I can remember. Everything is at stake for our leadership and future as a nation.

 I confess that it disturbs me greatly, when I read that some of my friends have voted against my candidates. I know they feel the same way about me. We both react initially by thinking how could they vote for that horrible person? We are deeply divided politically in this country. I feel a terrible dread that we may repeat 2016.

 If that is to be, then I must prepare myself to live with this political climate for another four years. So many of our natural resources are being destroyed and that would continue. We only have a few more years to save our planet, and we are going in the wrong direction. We are going in the wrong direction away from civility as well.

 I must continue to respect others though we deeply disagree on so many issues. Unlike some, I want to reach out to others who feel deeply that I am wrong. I won’t ever change my beliefs in decency, good moral values, conservation and civil rights for all, but cutting those who disagree with me off, will not bring solutions for our future. Friendships create shared values at least on some issues.

 

Politics are stressful for country painters…



Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Sustainability

 A college student wrote to me to ask questions for a sustainability project he is doing about the art industry. He had several questions and they were quite thoughtful. I love that he chose this topic for his project. 


One question was about sustainability and environmental impact of art galleries and artists’ studios and materials. What would I change about them? After thought, I  answered that packaging was the biggest issue for me. Everything is housed in plastic now. Canvases, hard boards, and other substrates are wrapped in plastic. All paints are now in plastic tubes, mediums are now in plastic bottles.


Why not go back to recyclable metal tubes and glass bottles, as they were once packaged? Art boards and canvases don’t need to be wrapped in plastic. I think plastic is far more damaging than the paint it holds. 


Another interesting question was about using recycled materials as art forms. He was familiar with recycled machine parts in sculpture. I pointed out the wide use and acceptance of recycled paper products like old book pages, maps, tea bags, and hand made paper, for two and three dimensional art. There are endless possibilities now for recycling materials and I often recycle frames. My collectors love knowing their paintings are in recycled frames. 


Sustainability is important for country artists.......




Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Change

 


                                                                       Linda’s Web Page

I think it’s really important to be thinking ahead as a painter. Change is always on the horizon. I never put all of my eggs in one basket. I am constantly thinking about other opportunities for marketing and promoting my work. As our society changes rapidly, so does the art market and the way people buy art. Moving your work around as selling venues change, is the method I use to stay fresh and lively with my art. I spend a lot of time in the studio discovering new things and I must adjust my style and painting skills to my aging abilities. Having RA, hand tremors, and partial blindness are mere inconveniences.


In years past, street art festivals morphed into galleries for me.  After the recession it became essential for me to sell my own work as many galleries closed and that business model began to fade.  I still show in a few galleries but I am more comfortable as a self- supporting painter. Now social media, in the COVID age, has become much more important than the paint outs I did for 10 years.


 Watching financial trends, shopping trends and keeping my ego in check has helped me to survive in a less than stellar economy. Focusing my love and fidelity on my collectors and potential collectors is much more important than entering contests and winning prizes. I began to understand some years back, that competing and prestige among artists was not very important to my career. I don’t have to impress artists.  I want to please those people who love and support me with their hard earned dollars. They make my long career possible and I am humbled by their kindness. I know what my priorities are and I focus on them consistently. 


Life is wonderful for country painters.....




Sunday, October 4, 2020

Be Generous







 Let’s be more sharing between artists. When I was a young artist I began to notice that established artists were rarely willing to share anything, especially marketing information.  Gallery owners tend to be that way as well. 


There is a tendency for artists to horde information, collectors, and even supplies, fearing what? They are afraid another artist will out distance them in popularity? Someone else will steal their collectors? They will have fewer sales? Someone else will win the prizes? 


Perhaps another artist is popular because they are kind and generous. Perhaps they live with a sense of gratitude toward their fans, followers and collectors, earning the popularity without harming other artists. Other artists cannot steal your collectors unless you are careless in your relationships. It is perfectly alright for collectors to enjoy collecting a variety of art. 


Selling art is not about how many paintings you sell. You don’t need to know if you are out sold by other artists. You are missing the point. I know an artist who brags frequently about being the most popular artist and having the most sales in his/her town. He/she doesn’t include the fact that his/her pricing undercuts everyone else’s prices in order to claim that questionable fame. 


As a younger competitive artist, I won a drawer full of prizes. You know what? I never sold a painting because of prizes. Prizes are nothing but an ego booster. People who only buy art from prize winners are shallow. Prizes are a capricious decision by judges from university art departments. I have judged many art shows in my long career. It boils down to personal taste. Be generous with artists coming up behind you. It will only make you a better artist, and person. 


Life is generous for country painters......


Saturday, October 3, 2020

Tea Party Fun

 I’ve been expanding my menu for tea parties at my studio. I found some swell new baking ramekins, a soft blue color, that go with the plates I use for tea. Monday before the vaccination bombs exploded, I made six little shepherds pies in the ramekins, for afternoon tea parties. I will also be making little chicken pot pies for parties.


Expanding into real cooking makes me feel like I am back to my old and loved parties before Covid. I always liked to serve serious food at my parties. I am not one for the cheese and crackers or dip and chips food. Anyone who looks at me knows I like real food. 


My guests always get homemade food. A variety of sandwiches, fresh fruit, savory spreads, and homemade desserts. My next tea party menu will be: shepherds pie, chick pea and cucumber salad, fresh fruit, chicken port wine and cheese spread, and white chocolate bark for dessert. My friend is coming out in a couple of weeks to commission two paintings, so we will have much to talk about. I can’t wait to see her. It has been a long time.


Tea parties are wonderful for country painters.......



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

Purpose







 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

Gratitude





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

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.....