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.......

Friday, January 10, 2020

The Value of My Art

Value of Art

I've been thinking a lot about value of art. So many unfortunate people don't seem to relate to art as having value. What they don't realize is that art relates to every part of their lives. Industrial design makes the furniture they use, and the tools they pick up every day.

Artists are the historians of our culture. We record our time on this planet and interpret our culture's style, tools, and politics, along with the beauty we see.II decided to put into words what I think the value of my art is for my time on this planet.

What is the real value of owning my original art?
Most of my collectors are not wealthy. They don’t buy art as a speculative investment. Many of the best treasures have true emotional value. My collectors tell me that my paintings speak to them as memories of places and times they have experienced as destinations throughout their lives.
They want to be closer to the natural world. They enjoy the birds, flowers and trees I paint. My paintings take them out of their busy lives, if for only a moment at a time. They are concerned about our environment and long to savor a moment outside of their office, out in the wild spaces where I roam. Through my paintings and stories, they join me.
Owning an original painting means owning the only one in the world. I don’t sell copies or reproductions of my work. There is a magic to possessing the only painting like it. There are many reasons to own original art.
Think about starting your collection or giving art to those you love. Start small. Tiny and small paintings are less expensive and still bring joy. If you already have a large collection, think about gifting art to others who will have the same joy in ownership that you feel with each of your paintings. Paintings last your lifetime and for future generations to enjoy.
Artists have a marvelous friendship with their collectors. My collectors mean everything to me. They are my friends, supporters and part of my every day life. Our relationship goes far beyond an exchange of art for income. We develop friendships through mutual interests and deep respect for each other and our families. We don't concern ourselves with hateful political rhetoric or taking sides. Our relationship builds community and all of the positive aspects of our lives.

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

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Hope Barton Art Gallery

Hope Barton Art Gallery
Linda’s Web Page

My big adventure this week has been all about a show at Hope Barton Gallery. I have inventoried, wrapped and packed about 20 paintings for the exhibition. This morning I was off to Clermont, FL to deliver to the gallery. My sister Becky drove me down and it was a beautiful day for a trip.  I enjoyed the passenger role for a change, observing trees, farms and ranches along the way. Florida’s agricultural land is so lovely.

We arrived at the gallery and were welcomed graciously by Hope. Her gallery is so cute and charming! It couldn’t be lovelier. There is a sweet little side room with lots of light and windows. She and her daughter have put in unique shelves and tables made from old doors and sills from there original home that her daughter grew up living in. The building is an old frame structure, beautifully maintained in the historic shopping district, just a few blocks off state road 50.  It is a jewel of a gallery with Hope’s lovely paintings of Florida rivers and creeks, David Hunter’s original prints, and other artists’ works throughout. This is not a typical tourist or commercial gallery. It is a true Florida gallery for collectors who know and love the wild spaces in Florida.

My work will be up at the gallery through February and I feel honored to be in such a lovely space. If you live in the Orlando area it is well worth the trip to see this charming gallery.
I’m back in my studio tomorrow back to work!

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