Moment VS Memory


Moment VS Memory Notes

I didn’t know this but our brains have biases toward living in the moment or toward living in memories. I got to thinking about this and realized that I am a moment person. I’ve always tried to live for now. I don’t care much about family photos, family heirlooms, antiques, that sort of thing. When I travel, I like to spend my time actually observing places and the natural world in the moment, rather than taking many photos.

Linda’s Etsy Shop

How does this relate to art? I think living in the moment has made it easier for me to be a learning painter. I don’t become attached to paintings and so it is easy to let them go. It is easier to accept failure in painting. I am less afraid to make mistakes. I am thoroughly in the moment each time I paint. I’m less concerned about my legacy than of the process in painting.

Landscape Paintings

In an odd way, pleasure in the moment has molded me into a novice naturalist, leaving plein air painting gradually behind. I would rather be in the moment, observing the natural world than painting outdoors. I take those observations into the studio to paint, where I have the comforts and time to process. Over the years, having painted outdoors for 30+ years, I have grown to understand that observation of the natural world is far more valuable in retaining information than slap dash paintings there. I spend time every day in the wild places observing light, color and atmosphere, from October first – May first each year.

I’m glad to be a “moment” person. Oddly, memories sometimes hurt. I suppose hard times and regrets come into view with memories. My earlier years were very hard. I so enjoy this time of my life. I’m living in the moment!

Today’s Recipe

1 bag parsnips
1 medium Yukon gold potato (about 8 oz)
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
8 oz sliced baby portabellas, finely chopped
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 cup prediced yellow onions
2 oz 50%-less-fat white Cheddar cheese, shredded
3/4 lb lean ground beef, 7% fat
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 1/2 cups unsalted beef stock (or broth)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups frozen peas and carrots
1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1. Peel parsnips and potato, then cut into small cubes, place in microwave-safe bowl with water, and cover; microwave on HIGH for 10–12 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork (set aside). Meanwhile, chop chives, garlic, and mushrooms.
2. Preheat large, nonstick sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Place oil in pan, then add garlic and onions; cook and stir 4–5 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in mushrooms; cook and stir 3–4 minutes or until browned. Meanwhile, shred cheese.
3. Preheat oven to 425°F. Add beef and 1/2 teaspoon salt to mushrooms; brown 4–5 minutes, stirring to crumble meat, and until no pink remains. Combine stock and cornstarch until blended; stir into beef mixture and bring to a boil. Stir in peas and carrots; transfer mixture to a 2-quart baking dish.
4. Drain potato and parsnips; mash with potato masher (or electric mixer) until smooth. Stir in yogurt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, cheese, and chives. Spread potato mixture over beef; bake 12–15 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned. Serve.

Respect Art


Respect Art Notes

Respect for the art of others and your own fragile work is an important part of good mental health for artists. It took me a long time to understand that I didn’t have to paint like anyone else or be as good as anyone else. I also learned that I don’t have to judge anyone else’s work. That is very hard. All artists,  like everyone else, have opinions on what we consider as good art or bad. We can’t help it. We have built in biases about art, based on our primitive brain,cultural history, and our training as young artists. We also have color biases built in. I am a warm biased painter. If you come to my studio, (Please do!) you will see many more warm palette paintings than cool. I also like a high contrast value scheme for most of my work. I am not a tonalist or a mid tone painter. I simply can’t do those styles well.

Linda’s Etsy Shop

I don’t have to do abstract, hyper-realism, watercolor or many of the other styles and mediums I don’t do well. I do need to respect and admire the skill it takes to do all of those mediums and styles. I do need to be happy for the success for all of the painters who do outstanding work. I do need to respect the work of poor and mediocre level painters a well.  I do poor and mediocre work frequently because I am a student of painting. I am trying to learn new technique and subjects I’m not trained for.

Collector Testimonials

Accepting the poor attempts of others and myself who are learning, frees me from meanness of mind. Accepting the reality that there are painters who are far superior to me in every medium and style helps me to avoid the green monster envy and competitiveness of one upsmanship.

There is one sincere wish I have for myself and all other artists. I wish that no artist or student of art would ever feel inferior to other artists. I wish that no artist would feel shunned by their own community of artists. I wish that no artist would ever be afraid to go to an art class because they feel their work is no good enough. If you are in a class and feel ashamed of your paintings, talk to your teacher and get reassurance of your worth to be there. No good art teacher would make you feel foolish to be an artist. The opportunity to paint with friends is a rare and wonderful experience. Believe me. All of us are students and in need of practice and more work. Your teacher is too if he/she is honest. Don’t waste a moment of joy be lost because you fear the quality of your skill. Painting is so hard that I will never learn enough to be a master. Most painters wont. That is the secret to the joy of painting, knowing there is more to learn.

Give yourself and others the respect they deserve for doing something that most people will never try.

More musings for artists and collectors to come…..

Today’s Recipe

Easy Chicken Bake From my sister Dale McClellan.


One large jar of chipped dried beef

5 or 6 boneless chicken breast (skinless)

1 can of cream of mushroom soup

Equal container of sour cream

1 1/2 to 2 cups of spinach (fresh or frozen)

1 large can of dried oriental noodles


Mix sour cream and cream of chicken soup together and set aside.


Layer torn pieced of chipped beef in bottom of casserole dish.  Next layer spinach then chicken.  Pour all of  sour cream and soup mix evenly over entire  top of chicken.  Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.  Spread dried noodles over top and bake another 5 minutes or until noodles are slightly browned.




Country Studio


Country Studio Notes

All of my efforts, time and money have gone into renewing my Country Studio this year. Last Saturday and Sunday was my big show off the studio open house. It was a wonderful success. Artists have studio parties all the time, and I always wonder if anyone will come? My studio is 15 miles from the city and urbanites don’t often stray from their home base. Happily, I am getting more folks out to the studio these days.

Linda’s Etsy Shop

I served chicken and rice, with vegetable toppings, Clementine oranges, and brownies for dessert. It was a big hit. I had to ask my assistant Carolyn to make more chicken and rice in the afternoon on Saturday. I had already prepared the ingredients for her, so she put it all in the rice cooker and got it done in about a half hour. I always serve real food at my Country Studio parties. No wine and nibbles from me. People are always surprised and delighted to have a hearty meal at my parties.

Collectors Club

My renovators, the Junk Yard Girls were on hand to meet and greet guests. They were charming and interesting for my guests on Saturday, entertaining them with DIY advice and good stories about some of the projects they have done recently.  They will be returning in a few weeks to add some small window shelves for my miniature paintings and to begin projects on my old house. You can tell my priorities with a beautiful studio next to my ancient house trailer, sorely in need of the Junk Yard Girls.

I love my studio so much now. I can’t wait to get in it every day and my once a month class students love it too.


Don’t forget to come out the first Friday each month from 10-noon+ for game day at the Country Studio. We have card games and board games, Scrabble and Checkers too. Snacks and beverages provided. Take a morning off and do something old fashioned and fun!

More musings for artists and collectors to come…..

Today’s Recipe

Pork with Brie Sauce

1 wedge Deli Brie cheese (7–8 oz)
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 lb)
1 teaspoon Montreal steak seasoning
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
8 oz fresh, presliced baby portabellas
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 batch of mashed potatoes
1/4 cup vegetable (or chicken) broth

Cut rind from Brie and cut into chunks (about 1 cup); chop parsley. Cut pork into 1-inch medallions; coat with seasoning (wash hands).
Preheat large, nonstick sauté pan on medium-high 1–2 minutes. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in pan, until frothy. Add pork; cook 2–3 minutes on each side until browned. Remove pork from pan.
Place remaining 2 tablespoons butter, mushrooms, garlic, and thyme in same pan; cook 3–4 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until mushrooms are tender. Microwave potatoes following package instructions.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in broth and pork medallions; simmer 3–4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened and pork is 145°F. Remove pan from heat; stir in Brie until melted. Serve pork with mushroom sauce over mashed potatoes, sprinkled with parsley.



Save Money

Save Money Notes
How to save money is a constant effort for artists. I try to think of ways to save a buck here and there. Here are some ideas.
I have to print out all of my receipts for the tax man, so I have discovered that you can set your printer to draft mode and black and white for printing receipts, or papers that are needed to be saved but don’t have to look good. It saves a lot of ink.
Buy art materials during online sales and when free shipping is offered. I will buy items that I always use, when on sale. Use standard sizes for painting supports. It will save a lot on framing, so you can always buy ready made frames when they are on sale.
To keep your brushes clean the cheap, easy way, buy large bottles of Murphy’s Oil Soap at discount stores. I use it full strength in a jar. I bundle the brushes with a hair ponytail thing, stick a pencil in sideways and hang the brushes, tips suspended in the jar. The next day, pull them out without stirring up the soap, rinse under a faucet until all soap is off and lay the brushes on paper towel to dry, shaping them first. Cleans and softens the brushes beautifully. If youa re using acrylic brushes, take the extra step of washing the brushes in Dawn soap after the Murphy’s oil soap.
I buy all of my studio cleaning supplies at the discount stores as well as paper towels.
I use the left over paint on my palette to tone canvases for later use. I also scrape it into a pile to use as my neutral color for mixing in the next painting.
I let my solvent set until the sediment goes to the bottom. I pour off the clean solvent into a clean jar and wipe out the sediment in the old jar. That way I never have to pour out solvent.
Marble tiles from the home improvement stores make great palettes. You can combine four and put a piece of duct tape over the cracks to make a larger palette. I don’t use a hand held palette, preferring one on my table next to the easel. I also use a 12×16 inch piece of furniture grade plywood for a palette and it works great. The plywood palette cut into 12×16 inches fits perfectly into a Masterson’s palette with a lid. A great way to safe your oils.
I keep my paints sorted by color. It is easier to see what colors you are out of if all of the same color is together, reds,blues,etc.
I have a great relationship with my local framer. I send him business from my collectors and studio visitors and he gives me a nice discount . We work together as a team.
Buy in bulk with other artists for great shipping discounts during sales.
Create a collectors club for your regular collectors, to save them money and they will purchase more than one painting. Regular collectors become real, personal friends. A regular collector is better than a one time purchaser, who has no relationship to you.
I have used the same formula to manage my income for years. 15% into savings, 50% into paying bills, and 35% to the business. It has worked for me for a long time.
My last tip is to order water at restaurants and put that money saved in your savings account.
More musings for artists and collectors to come……


Toning Supports


Toning Your Supports Notes

I really like toning my supports and letting them dry before I paint on them. I do it both for oils and acrylics. What I mean by toning is the thinnest of stains, done very quickly with a large brush. Very little pigment and a lot of solvent, or air brush medium if you are using acrylics. I see a lot of beginning painters who tone their canvas with colored gesso or with very thick paint covering the surface with a smooth,even, opaque paint. To me that is not toning, it is under painting.

Come out to my Country Studio tomorrow and Sunday (March 10-11) from 11-4 both days. Enjoy some chicken and rice, brownies, and a stroll down Deer Woods Trail. I want to show you my renewed studio!

Why tone?

A pre-toned canvas saves you a lot of time, getting all those little white spaces covered. This is especially helpful out on location where time is of the essence.

Linda’s Etsy Shop

A pre-toned canvas or panel gives you a lovely harmony of color in your painting. The viewer will see the little specks of the toned color throughout the painting, making the palette unified by one color.

Toning is a great way to use the left over paints on your palette at the end of a painting session. This is how I use my left over paint. It’s not necessary to have a particular color in mind to tone, in fact, if you mix up the leftovers you will get some very nice neutral grays to tone with. you can tone a whole lot of canvases and hard supports with just a little paint, because it is mostly solvent for oils and airbrush medium for acrylics. The canvas or panel will be dry and ready to use the next time you are ready to start a new painting. I often toned panels before I went to professional paint outs. It saved a lot of time in the field.

Collectors Club

Another way to tone is by color temperature. Use a cool tone on the canvas for a cool dominant painting, a warm undertone for a warm dominant palette, or do the opposite to give it a kick.

I also like to use compliments for undertones. I often tone my painting with a red like cad red light, alizarin, or red iron oxide because they are a compliment to Florida greens, giving the painting more depth and richness.

I don’t always use blue or gray skies in my landscapes. I’ve been known to use yellow, brown,red,pink, and even green on occasion for skies. Often, I will let the undertone of the painting help me decide.

Another way to use the left over paint on your palette is to save it in small jars. I call it a mud pot. I just keep scraping off the paint into the little jars. I mix the paint up into neutrals, pouring a tiny bit of linseed oil on top or airbrush medium into acrylic jars, and then seal up the jar. I use this paint to block in my paintings in the first stage. Doesn’t really matter what the color is anyway in the block in and I don’t waste paint.

Tone your supports for a richer, depth filled painting and you won’t have to face the dreaded white pristine canvas with trepidation.

More musings for artists and collectors to come….

Today’s Recipe

An Old Southern Recipe

Egg and Olive Sandwich Spread

1 dozen boiled eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 jar salad olives, drained and chopped
1 T or more mayo

Mix it all up and chill. It can be used as a sandwich spread combined with sliced meats or alone.