Egg Plant and Sweet Potatoes

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Isn’t Eggplant a beautiful vegetable? I am going to go out and buy a few before my next open studio class. That glossy smooth surface and the colors ranging from white to lavender to deep purple and purply black are just luscious. They also have the fun shape, sort of a rolly polly goofy shape on the purple ones and the elongated graceful shapes of the exotic varieties. Throw them together with a few red tomatoes and you have an awesome still life to paint.

One of my favorite vegetables to eat is the Sweet Potato. There are endlessly great ways to cook sweet potatoes.

Sweet potato pancakes

1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
dash of ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter, melted

Sift dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Combine remaining ingredients; add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Drop by tablespoons onto hot greased griddle or skillet and fry, turning once, until browned on both sides.
Makes about 24 pancakes.

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About 3 years ago I was invited to come to the Vinoy Hotel in St Petersburg to paint in their garden for the day. It was a wonderful experience to spend a day at this grand old hotel from another era. She has been restored to her former glory and is one of the classic hotels in Florida. Located right down on the Bay Front and a lovely pink coral color, she is magnificent!! I had lunch by the pool in the alfresco cafe’. They served outrageously good sweet potato fries, one of my favorite foods.

Sweet Potato Fries Recipe
Try the Sweet Potato Fries recipe either salted or sweetened with a little cinnamon and sugar. Either way, they’re an unusual finger food treat or side dish, and a real crowd-pleaser.

Sweet Potato French Fries
4 large sweet potatoes (not yams)
Oil for deep frying
Salt to taste

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into fries about 3/8″ thick.

Fry in batches in hot oil (375°) until tender, about 5 minutes.

Drain on paper towels, salt to taste and serve.
Note: Soaking the cut fries in ice water for about 30 minutes prior to frying them greatly reduces the starch content and keeps them from sticking together while cooking.


Mix 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon together with a pinch of salt and sprinkle over the fries.

At home, I make this recipe in the oven. I use olive oil to coat the potato strips and place apart on sheet pans. I bake them in a 425 degree oven for about 10 minutes and re-stir them for another ten minutes of baking. Watch them carefully to get the edges brown but tender inside. You can also use a bit of taco seasoning to sprinkle over them for a spicy flavor.

Too Busy For Words

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This will be my last post for this week. I have too much to do. Today I have to do the little catering job for the bank for delivery tomorrow morning. Friday I have to do the Altrusa House event and Sunday I must go to Orlando to teach an acrylics workshop.

I am already starting to feel the pace picking back up as we head toward fall. I always have mixed feelings about this time of year. Summer is my only down time except for the month of January. They aren’t really down time because I am still working, but I am in the studio, not traveling. On the other hand, I am tired of the heat and isolation too. I feel a sense of anticipation for fall and cooler weather. I miss going out on Fridays to eat breakfast and paint, which I do regularly in the cooler season.

I’m doing the research for two new workshops right now. One will be Design II which is a more thorough look at the elements of composition and design. The other is Let’s Study Color. I’ll have the books completed and on my web site soon for those of you who can’t do the workshops.

My new studio assistant and her husband came out to visit yesterday. It was really great fun having them. We played on the computer all afternoon, looking at ways for her to market her line of paintings about Isabel the Cow.

There is one thing I wish to point out to those of you who are trying to learn to market your work. Don’t get overwhelmed and frustrated. You CAN do this. Take one task at a time and complete it. Don’t try to do everything all at once, it will bury you. We tend to get very excited about the possibilities and want to dive in head first. Instead, we should be making lists of tasks and doing a few at a time so that we don’t feel overwhelmed. As you make your list, prioritize it so that you will choose the most important tasks first. Try to pick easy and hard tasks and pair them in the same time period so that nothing seems too hard. I try to break up boring studio chores, like cutting mats or gessoing canvas into limited time periods. Because they are so boring, it’s better to do that for short periods of time, choosing things that are more interesting in between. Whatever you hate to do about your art career, do first and get it over with.

Today’s recipe is one of my very favorites. I often serve this to guests and it is different enough to be a hit!! Most people serve three bean salad and it is good, but this recipe is even better.

Kidney Bean Salad

2 cups canned kidney bean drained
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup sour cream
1 diced apple
1/3 cup crumbled cheddar cheese
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
4 slices of crisp cooked bacon crumbled
fresh ground pepper

romaine lettuce

Stir beans, celery, onions, mayo and sour cream together and store in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, stir in the cheeses, apples and bacon. Salt and pepper to taste and serve on lettuce. Egg Plant and Sweet Potatoes - image  on

I’ll be back with new stories on Monday…..

The Art of Food

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I have a little catering job coming up this Friday for a local bank. I’m doing a fruit crudite tray. I’m very excited about it. I have talked for years about doing some catering again, and I just never get around to it. Apparently this bank gives a nice cake to each employee for their birthday and the recipient this time cannot eat cake, so they have asked me to do a nice fruit tray instead. It just adds to the fun of my busy week. I love doing fruit and vegetable crudites. They are my specialty. I have thought about doing just that as a catering business and it would probably be a huge hit. I don’t do simple cut up veges and fruits. I turn them into sculptural pieces with beet roses, melon swans, flowers and so forth. I will enjoy another trip to Fresh Market this Thursday to get fruits.

It’s nice to know that people will still call on me now and then to do their events.

I am testing a new product now for one of my sponsors, French Canvas HERE I started a painting today. It is a nice panel with canvas mounted to one side. The paint flows well and it is precisely cut, not too heavy. I think it’s a winner!!

Here is today’s recipe:

Snapper with Sour Cream Stuffing

3-4 pounds fresh snapper cut into fillets
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 T olive oil


2/4 C celery
1/2 C onion
1/4 C butter melted
4 C dry bread cubes
1/2 C sour cream
1/4 C lemon, pealed and diced
2 T lemon zest
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt

Saute onion and celery in butter
Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly

Stuff fish
Salt and pepper to taste.
Brush with oil and bake on a greased sheet pan in the oven for 40 minutes or until flaky.

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A day with my student

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Yesterday I spent a very pleasant afternoon with one of my students. We are studying the fundamentals of the still life subject. Glass jars are one of my favorite subjects for still life. Depite their simplicity of form, I find them to be amazingly complex. There are a lot of mistakes in my painting but of course it is just a study and it was emensely pleasant to paint. I find studies to be very valuable in the learning process of my career. In fact, they are far better than actual finished paintings in terms of development for an artist. The still life is my great challenge. It is very difficult for me and I enjoy it greatly, A wonderful combination. I hate figure work so it is an unpleasant challenge for me, but one I must do. Given a choice for a challenge, the still life is mine.

My student made a comment yesterday which saddened me. She felt like she had run out of time to make it in the world of art. I could not disagree more. Even if you start painting at 70-80, you still have time to be a good painter. Age has nothing to do with success as an artist unless we allow it. I simply will not buy into this notion that success is for the young. Ridiculous!!!! Most established artists are at least 40-50 before they make a name for themselves. It took me that long to figure out what I was doing. Most of the wise people in the world got that way with exprience and investment of time. If you believe that you are too old to be dynamic and excited about your career in art, then you probably are!! I plan to paint until I slide into my grave with chocolate on my face.

Speaking of chocolate, ;>), when I was a caterer I actually won a national food contest. In those days there was no food network, so everything was done in magazines. I entered the Good Housekeeping Magazine’s annual event and won first place with my chocolate bag stuffed with truffles. I won 500.00 and my creation was featured in the magazine. What a thrill!!! I’ll never forget it!!!

Mocha Truffles

12 oz semisweet good chocolate
2/4 cup swetened condensed milk
1 T instant coffee
2 T coffee liqueur
1/8 tsp salt
unsweetened cocoa

Melt chocolate indouble boiler. Stir in other ingredients. Refrigerate until firm and easy to handle.

Dust hand with cocoa and shape into balls. Roll ball into cocoa. Store in tightly covered container . I like to keep mine in the refrigerator because I live down heah in the South. Take them out a few minutes before serving.

To make a chocolate bag, get a small craft bag,the lunch bags people use for school lunches, and paint the inside of it with melted chocolate. It needs to have several coats. Pop the bag in the freezer between coats. When finished freeze until ready to use. Take the bag out of the freezer and thaw for a minute or two. Carefully tear the paper off the chocolate in small sections until the chocolate bag is free of paper. I like to lay the bag on it’s side on a silver tray and stuff it with the truffles. I then take white chocolate melted and put it in small paper cone to pipe decoration onto the bag. You can use swirls, spirals, lines or zigzags. I then dip strawberries in chocolate to place around on the tray. For the holidays, I add the tiny beaded silver garland to the tray.

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A clean up and organize day in the studio

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Well, my studio is a mess today. I have had a lot of projects over the summer and it is getting out of hand.

I’m one of those people who cannot function well in clutter. I like to think of my world as controlled chaos. I don’t like a lot of things and I don’t feel comfortable with trinkets around. I am a minimalist by nature. I don’t wear jewelry or makeup. My clothes are simple and I wear the same ones for years and years. I have absolutely no sense of style. My daughters despair of me but there it is. My idea of good interior design is neutral color on the walls, hard floors, wood furniture with straight lines an no ornamentation, upholstery which is neutral without patterns, and no rugs. Essentially, a contemporary art museum with a few bits of furniture would be ideal for me. The funny part is that I live with my mother and sister, who love Victorian furniture and hundreds of little trinkets.

I am hoping to redo my studio in a year or two after my daughters are on their own and not costing me an arm and a leg to support. I have in mind to rip out the carpet and put wood laminate or just paint the concrete floor. I will put a neutral color on the walls which will go well with paintings, like gray or soft camel, and then paint the outside of the studio and get new signage. I will also have an extra room, where my daughter is staying now. I plan to move my couch and office desk into that room, which will open up the studio to more space. It’s always good to have plans for the future.

I can’t seem to get the time to organize lately. Yesterday I found a book that I feared was missing. It is the best design book I have and I was lost without it. It is a very old book called Art Fundamentals Theory and Practice. I bought it on Ebay a few years ago. It is an excellent resource book for artists. I found it in the box I keep for my sponsors products that I give out to my students at workshops. My problem with organization at the moment is lack of storage space. I just have too much equipment and supplies for the storage space I have allotted myself. I also have too many projects going on and so it is time to get serious about getting everything sorted out and put somewhere. Today is the day!!!

I was thinking about how much I love Buffalo Wings. There is a restaurant in Gaineville that has excellent wings. It is called CJs or Calico Jacks. It has a horrible atmosphere and smells like a public swimming pool. It is loud and the service is terrible, but, their wings are sooo good. They have a lunch special with wings and fries that is very good. You can get their wings deep fried or grilled, my favorite. I like their traditional hot wings and their Teriaki flavor. I only go there for lunch because at night the noise is deafening and the place is full of drunk college kids. It is right off Newberry Road on a little side street in a small shopping mall.

Today’s Recipe

12 chicken wings
4 tablespoons butter
1 bottle Frank’s Louisiana Hot Sauce
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons minced onion
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled

Cut off all chicken wing tips. Cut remaining wing into two pieces (for a total of 24 pieces). Salt and pepper wings. Heat oil to 375 degrees F and deep fry wings in 2 to 4 batches until they are very crisp and golden; drain on paper towels. You can also grill the wings,which I like better.

In a saucepan, melt the butter with the hot sauce and the 1 tablespoon white vinegar. Dip wings in hot sauce.

For the dipping sauce, mix remaining ingredients well.

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A Home For My Cartoons

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I’m busy getting ready to go to Orlando to teach a workshop and do the Annual Art For the Senses event in Gainesville, Friday night at Altrusa House. Please stop at my booth if you go.

. I have a private student starting this week. I always say I’m not going to take any students anymore, but somehow I end up saying yes. I think it is so important to help people to grow with their art. Sometimes a simple lesson or two will open their world to new techniques.

I’m making art bookmarks today. I use my old post cards from past shows. I cut them in half lengthwise, punch a hole in one end. Use a piece of yarn as a tie, and glue a current business card to the back over the old type. I give them away at all of the events I go to and at the studio. It’s a great way to do cheap PR. They look like colorful abstract paintings.

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I have opened an account at ETSY to sell my miniature cartoons and landscapes. I will be adding more from time to time. Eventually, I will make reproductions from the cartoons but for now just the tiny originals will be at Etsy. Just type in Blondheim Art at Etsy.

Today’s Recipe

This is an old favorite that everyone has made at one time or another but it is definitely worth another run. You can’t beat this at a coctail party. Always the first thing to go.

Pigs In A Blanket

2 (8-ounce) cans refrigerated quick crescent dinner rolls
2 tablespoons grainy, Dijon, or honey mustard
1 (16-ounce) package cocktail franks
Ketchup, mustard, or prepared horseradish

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Working with one package of rolls at a time, separate dough into 8 triangles. Cut each triangle into thirds and spread with mustard. Place one cocktail frank on widest end of triangle and roll up tightly. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, point side down. Repeat with remaining dough and franks.

2. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm with ketchup, mustard, or prepared horseradish.

Make-ahead tip: Prepare pigs-in-a-blanket and freeze for up to a week. To reheat: place pigs, thawed, on cookie sheet, cover loosely with foil, and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

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Another similar version of this concept is “Bangers and Mash” served in Irish Pubs. I used to go to a pub in Winter Park Florida when I worked for a catering company. It was a great little pub and I can’t quite remember the name accept it had Prince in the name. They had dart tournaments there every week and I had my own custom made darts, given to me by one of the cooks I worked with. I was never any good at it but I loved playing darts. We would go over there after the catering jobs and eat Bangers and Mash, grilled sausage links in mashed potatoes covered with sharp cheddar cheese and put under a salamander for a few minutes. It would come out bubling hot and crunchy around the edge of the plate. It was absolutely delicious with Killians Red. The pub had a homey atmosphere and it was a neighborhood place, rather like the show Cheers. I loved it there.

The catering company had an all gay male staff. The owners and I were the only straight people there. They were such nice boys and they all looked after me. They were very bright and talented cooks. Once they took me to a drag show, where I saw a rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow by a very impressive Judy Garland. It was a very different experience for me and one I have not forgotten.

Fatigue and Burn Out

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When you work as a full time professional artist you have to be careful about not burning out. Few people are aware of the demands of this kind of career. We work long hours and give to many causes. I always get a chuckle out of the idea that it must be fun to sit around and paint all day.

I find that I must crash a bit for the month of August. Of course, I still have professional obligations to attend to, but I am taking a little break from the rigors of painting all day to do some cartooning and have some fun in the studio this month, creating goofy exercises in painting and what not. I painted like mad in June and July and then just stopped when August rolled around. I have learned over the years that I need to stop the routine now and then for a little rest. When I don’t feel the urgency to paint, it is a sign to me that I need to take a break.

That is one of the reasons I decided to get a studio assistant. I am a driven workaholic in the worse way. Having someone to help me a bit at events will make my life a good deal easier.

I have Art For The Senses, a charity event next week and a workshop to teach in Orlando. The work never stops, but I have made myself take two month a year that I schedule no outside of studio activities. July and January are painting months only for me, no workshops or events. It was the smartest thing I ever did because I am able to focus only on my work for those two months.

Brown’s Country Buffet

This morning I had to deliver a large painting to my shipping company in Alachua, Florida. I treated myself to a nice breakfast at Brown’s Country Buffet. There is a connection from Browns to it’s earlier version, Rebel House Restaurant, which started out on the main corner of the town many years ago. There is a convenience store on the corner now. Rebel House was an institution in Alachua.

I had many good meals there as a child. During hunting season you could hardly get into the parking lot, which was full of pick up trucks with gun racks. It was a classic Southern restaurant, with all you would expect to find in decor and cuisine. All of the locals ate breakfast there and that is where business and politics were discussed and sorted out.

I miss Rebel House but Brown’s has done a pretty good job with the take over. They have fixed the place up quite a bit and the food is still good. I don’t see quite as much of the political and business backroom wheeling and dealing that I used to, but it’s still a good place to eat. It is located on US Highway 441 just over the bridge in a strip shopping center. The waitresses are good and very friendly.

I want to hold on to these country restaurants that I find all over the South. They are a precious slice of our history and culture. We are losing them little by little. Next time you decide to go out for breakfast, look for a local Mom and Pop cafe’ instead of a chain restaurant. Let’s keep them going as long as we can.

Today I was thinking about homemade biscuits. I don’t know if people up North eat biscuit but for us, biscuits are a wonderful part of the day. The best biscuits are made with buttermilk and lard, but the Doctor says no on that, so here is a pretty good recipe:


2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons vegetable shortening
2/3 cup buttermilk

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture is the consistency of meal. Stir in buttermilk. Form mixture into a ball; place on a floured surface and knead a few times.

Pat out to about 1/4-inch thick. Cut with a small biscuit cutter. Place on ungreased baking sheet and bake at 450° for 8 to 10 minutes.

Options include using a bit of dried thyme and sharp cheddar cheese in the biscuit mix. This makes a great sandwich biscuit to serve sliced and placed on a tray with condiments and sliced ham or turkey.

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You can also convert this biscuit to a great strawberry shortcake, by adding a cup of sugar and zest of one lemon rind with a teaspoon of vanilla to the biscuit mix.
When biscuits are done and cooled, slice and put sugared berries with a bit of chopped fresh mint in between the biscuit and top with fresh whipped cream. Almost heaven!!!

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Teacher Art

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At one time I worked in the school system. I taught art and math to special ed students in the Self Contained Mentally Handicapped classroom. it was quite an experience. The first year was great because I teamed with a wonderful teacher and friend. She left and was replaced by a young lady right out of college who was completely clueless. She was not a nice person to boot. That was my last year. I was technically a teacher aide because my degree was in Fine Art , not education. I worked there because my little girls attended that school and I had spent countless hours as a volunteer.

On the up side of this experience, I sold a lot of my cartoon art to the teachers I worked with. In those days at least,elementary school teachers were obsessed with teacher arts and crafts. They probably still are. Anything with apples, rulers, desks, or blackboards was snatched up immediately.

Last night my daughter was browsing through my bin of paintings, looking for a gift for her friend who is a new teacher this year. It got me to thinking back about that subject for art,and I am goiing to do some more teacher oriented cartoons.

I don’t know about you but just about everything stimulates my imagination. The smallest thing will send me into a series of drawings, paintings or cartoons.

I remember as an artist right out of art school becoming obsessed with a song that was popular then called “Dog and Butterfly”. I don’t know who sang it. It was a woman. Anyhoo, I did a long series of drawings with dogs and butterflies because of her influence.

That is the beauty of the ADD personality. We are constantly bombarded with ideas. I can’t imagine why artists say to me, “I can’t think of what I want to paint.”

Given that, it is also important to understand that you must have a brand name for certain subjects and do a consistent body of work for that subject. I never forget for a moment that I am a landscape painter. All of the other fun things I do with my art must be second fiddle to the landscape. I market them too but my main marketing focus must be landscape. I don’t want anyone to think that you can go off willy nilly and market everything you do jumbled together. It will not work and will confuse jurists, and patrons alike. My cartooning is a separate body of work and is marketed to a different audience.

One of the reasons I decided to do this blog is that I wanted to be able to talk about all of my art, my stories of survival as a young artist and my experiences as a professional artist. I have to keep my web site profesional and focused on my landscape work. Here, I can talk about lots of things.

Today’s Recipe

Chicken Perlow- That is not the correct spelling but how we pronounce it.

This is my Grandma’s recipe. I used to come home from school and smell this cooking on the stove. Heavenly. She and I watched soap operas together each day. I loved them and still do, though I don’t have time to watch them anymore. :>( Her other classic was banana pudding.

Brown one fryer, cut into pieces

Cut up 1/3 lb. of bacon and fry slowly in a big skillet.

While it fries cut 3 sweet onions in small pieces.

Remove 1/2 of bacon and set aside.

Cook onion, remainder of bacon and 1 diced tomato.

Add one finely chopped red sweet pepper

2 stalks celery diced

Add the browned chicken pieces and cook about 3 or 4 min.

Add enough water to the mixture to equal 3 1/2 cups. Put in a big cooking pot and bring to a boil. When it boils add two cups of raw good quality rice.

Lower heat to low, cover it and cook about 20 or so min.

Fluff rice.

Salt to taste.

Serves 4-6.

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Our Fond Memories

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I was thinking today about my youth. Back in the day we all drank alcohol as if it were some kind of badge. I suppose kids do that now too. I had a friend who had a secret cabinet in her room. Her mom and dad played golf and traveled a lot so I would stay at her house quite a bit when we were in high school. We used to pilfer booze from the bar in the family room a bit at a time. We though ourselves to be quite the sophisticates. We used to make fake martinis with gin and 7-Up ( I shudder to think of it now, What a combination!!!) We would drink and lay under the dining room table and listen to Simon and Garfunkle records. Why I remember that I can’t imagine, but I remember it with fondness. A few months ago I heard from my long lost friend. She lives in Florida and we caught up on many happy memories together. I wonder why we don’t realize what a good memory we will have when we are creating it?

I still enjoy a nice Martini, but these days I prefer the traditional recipe. I see that a lot of restaurants are making fake martinis with fruit flavors and odd ingredients now. I think they appeal to college kids and such. So the traditions of youth are recycled every generation or so. Of course each generation thinks they have invented the world which is pretty amusing too.

Traditional Martini

1 1/2 oz Gin
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth
Stir gin and vermouth with ice cubes in mixing glass. Strain into a glass. Serve with an olive.

For a dry Martini use less vermouth.

For an extra dry martini, use no vermouth :>)

Food and Art

I was also thinking today about how much food and cooking influence art. Almost all of the great artists throughout time have used food or edible objects in their art. Cezanne and Wayne Thiebaud come to mind. I used to love Wayne’s bakery paintings. I have used cooking and food items in my cartoons since I can remember. just look at all the cookbooks which have food illustrations in them. A wonderful match!!

Today’s Recipe

Taco Casserole

1 pound of meat with taco seasoning ( follow directions on the package of seasoning)

2 cups shredded cheddar jack cheese

1 2 fresh diced tomatoes

1 bell pepper diced

1 small onion diced

8 soft flour tortillas

1/2 jar of salsa

1 can re fried beans

Sour cream for garnish

Spray a deep baking pan with Pam or grease with olive oil.Lay a row of tortillas on the bottom.Top with meat mixture. Top with re fried beans mixed with the salsa. Saute peppers, onions and tomatoes until just starting to caramelize. Spread over the pan evenly. Top with cheddar jack cheese evenly. Brush remaining tortillas with olive oil and lay evenly on top of the cheese, oil side up. Bake at 400 degrees until bubbly hot and the tortillas are light brown and crisp on top. Cut into servings with a knife and top with a garnish of sour cream.

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Final Version

Egg Plant and Sweet Potatoes - image  on Here is the final version of Orange Lake. I think it is very harmonious and subtle. I hope you like it.

A New Member of Linda Blondheim Art Studio

At last I have a real studio assistant. For years I have hired high school/college kids to work for me, but they don’t work and they don’t stay long. I had gotten so frustrated that I gave up. Now I have a real assistant and I couldn’t be happier. Her name is Valerie D’Ortona from Gainesville, Florida.

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She is the creator of the Isobel’s World cartoon character. I met her a few yeas ago and I bought my daughter one of her paintings last year. Isobel is a cow who has various relatives and adventures. Very charming indeed.

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Valerie has agreed to work for me part time and I’m thrilled. You will see her at my studio parties, workshops and the paint out events I attend. She has a PH.D in English? Anyhoo, she is a professor at one of the colleges and is one smart lady. She is a writer and editor too, so I thnk my press releases are going to improve rapidly :>) She will soon become indispensable for me.

Using References Successfully

I suggested on my other blog that you should take advantage of free reference materials. There are lots of public domain photographs on sites like Flickr and Google Images. I use them all the time, not just for beautiful places to see and paint but for things like learning what parts and pieces of animals, birds, humans, trees and other objects look like. I use them a lot for commission work as well.

I am definitely a visual learner, meaning I learn best by studying what things look like and by reading. Collecting these reference photos really help me with tough things like pig’s feet, walking feet and animals I’m not familiar with.

The other great thing about these image sites, is that they allow me to study a new place I may be going to. It gives me an idea of what to expect. For example, before I went to teach at the John C Campbell Folk School, I did image searches of Western North Carolina and read a lot about that area to prepare myself. It helped me to decide what palette colors to use there.

One of the great reasons to travel to Florida’s Panhandle is the wonderful seafood there. I spent two days painting on the back deck at Steamers, a terrific fresh seafood restaurant on US 98 in Apalachicola with my friend Mary Jane Volkmann. The owners were absolutely wonderful. The treated us like royalty. Here is the view from their deck in one of my paintings.

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They had a second story of apartments over the restaurant where they live. Wow! What a way to wake up each morning. I hope to go back there to paint again when the weather cools off.

Their steamed shrimp is the best I’ve had in years. The size of small lobsters and seasoned with just a bit of spice and drawn butter!! Sooo good!! The hush puppies were the ones I remembered from my childhood, eating at back yard fish fries. They were so good we asked for seconds. Eating the fresh seafood and watching oyster boats come and go, and even playful Dolphins, made our painting experience memorable. You can see why art and food are so much a part of my life. What great memories and experiences I am blessed with.

Today’s Recipe

1 cup sour cream
1 cup cream cheese
2 T mayo
1 T dried onion flakes
1/4 tsp garlic salt
cracked black pepper
4-6 dashes of hot sauce
1 pound crab meat or imitation crab
You can add a tsp of old bay seasoning too(Optional)

Mix it all up and refrigerate for a few hours, covered

Serve with toasted bagel chips, french bread rounds, garlic toast or crackers.

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