Learning Taxes

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Learning From Taxes Notes

Learning with taxes is a great idea and I try to do that every year. You can learn a lot from the business side of doing taxes. It tells me how much I am spending on art supplies, studio management, framing, business taxes, food and entertainment, auto, professional fees, etc. Marketing is a very important part of the picture I get each year. I get to decide, looking back, at what marketing paid off and what was a waste of my time. It is important to pay attention to both your sales, sizes, price ranges, and your expenses. There is great analysis in this material.

I learned that last year my cash donations were too many. I supported several political campaigns which is good. I believe in taking part in our political process, and supporting candidates, whether they win or lose. One of the organizations I supported generously last year was not worthy of my support. That is a resentful feeling on my part, I admit, but nevertheless, I will not continue to support the organization. The administrator felt that I had not participated enough, though I sent regular donations. My time is very limited. I run two studios, paint full time and teach, so there is no free time to hang around with volunteer hours. I was chastised for that, and so I will be supporting them no more. Part of looking back at expenses gives me insight into where I should be putting my disposable income. There are other organizations who will truly appreciate my donation. Lesson learned. Tomorrow I’ll get going on finishing the taxes and I’ll be relieved when that is over.

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I did finish a painting this morning, this time in oils. I had started it about three weeks ago, left it on the easel while teaching, then traveling, so I got back to it today. I used a very limited palette, with lots of summer greens in the painting. It was fun. I’m planning to start an 18×24 tomorrow in oils, using a reference photo from my travels. I have partially finished paintings around the studio from my classes. Two plein air acrylic starts, one underpainting in oils, waiting for our next glazing class next month. I’m always learning to paint with my students.

I’m still thinking about that studio I toured on Monday. It seems like a good fit, but the rent is more than I wish to pay. I am thinking about asking sponsors to take one month to pay rent of 450.00 in exchange for a 600.00 value 12×16 painting. A real bargain for them and studio rent for me for a year. I only need 12 sponsors to get it done. Much depends on whether the landlord will run an AC vent into the room for me. I am waiting to see about that. I would not plan to take my work out of Paddiwhack, but would have a place to teach. It is in stasis right now, waiting on information.

More to come…..

Lucky

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Lucky Me Notes

Lucky me! I have the best collector/friends. They do so much for me. They lend me their vacation homes, they donate equipment, they refer my work to  their friends. They treat me to lunch, bring me supplies for the studio, allow me to paint on their beautiful lands, and listen and support my crazy ideas! They make my livelihood possible. How could I manage without them? I wonder if they know how vital they are to my life? I am grateful to them all.

 

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Today has been fun at Paddiwhack, hanging around with dear Jen, one of my best friends. We are always cooking up business ideas together. Sooner or later the right idea will come along.

My office has been in shambles since January started. I lent all of my desk tables to my sis for her estate sale. I found out that I got two tables back today, so when I get home tonight I’ll start the task of putting everything back together. I like to do my art pins, and hand drawn cards in my office rather than my studio, so I will need to set up a drawing station, and a design station in the office. I also need a shipping table with those supplies. I’m the kind of artist that needs a huge production line for the  endless art tasks I have to do.

My design station is the most important. I use my Daddy’s old fishing box to house markers, straight edges, pencils, scissors, etc. I keep a stack of index paper there and work on painting composition mock ups for future paintings and commissions. I also use the table to critique my online students’ work.  I don’t know how an artist can function without a design station. It saves me from so many mistakes on canvas. Paper is cheap and I work out compositions and fix mistakes first befor painting.

More to come……..

Atmospheric Painting

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Atmospheric Painting Notes

Today we studied atmospheric painting in my study group. My students tell me what they wish to study and we have a class on that topic. Atmospheric painting is one of my favorite areas of research and I have studied it for years. It is a fun way to paint and to create distance in compositions. You can get some quite nice drama of fog or atmospheric conditions using these methods.

I have a wonderful group, sometimes large, sometimes small, so it ebbs and flows between obligations and travel for my students. They all have busy lives. I also have visiting artists who are here for a few weeks or months and then gone.  Since I make my living selling my paintings, I have the luxury of not worrying too much about how many students I have at any class and can simply enjoy having them when they can come.

 

Classes and Workshops

Some significant clues come from students about where they need to be led. A caring, astute teacher will listen to them talk about their paintings and pick up ideas to help them in their journey. The more advanced a student becomes, the more they understand about light, color, values, the more important it becomes to emphasize composing as the bedrock of painting. They must learn to give the beginning of a painting more time and thought, rather than racing to the pretty part. No matter how well they mix color, or how interesting their value scheme, bad composing will make it impossible to have an excellent painting. Design is king in painting. That is my opinion and I’m stickin to it! I was lucky to have a superb design teacher in art school and I thank him every day for instilling in me the love of composing and design. I continue to study design well into my career.

I will probably never be a master painter, but I will always be a dedicated student, approaching every challenge with joy!

More to come……

 

 

Looking Around

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Looking Around Notes

I spent the morning looking around at various possible studio spaces. I am forever looking for a new studio. One of the problems for me is enough time to run another studio. I like my Country Studio out in the woods and don’t really want to give that one up, but I would like to have a retail/teaching studio in the city. My retail studio inside another store is not suitable for teaching and it is not really separated from the store, so I have issues with autonomy and enough space there. The advantage is that because it is inside a store, the staff can take care of sales for me whenever they are open. With a private studio, I must be there to sell. If I had everything I needed at the studio and could also teach, it would cover all of my needs so I could be there about three days a week on a regular schedule, and advertise the hours. As always, there are pros and cons to every studio situation.

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I looked at a new space this morning on south Main Street, right across from the local art supply store. It is in an industrial area that is in transition. A big park has been built down the street for kids and families, there is a craft brewer a couple of blocks away and it is becoming gradually a mix between industrial, homeless shelter, and millennial/GenX hang out, headed for gentrification. The space itself is swell. It is inside an old warehouse with brick walls painted white. Concrete floor is painted gray. it is in very good condition and clean. One side of it is another larger studio shared by a photographer and a painter, The other side is a large open common space, shared by tenants.  There is a realtor in one room, another artist in another. The space is not large, but big enough for me. Huge walls for art. The common area can be used for a large class as long as all tenants are agreeable for scheduling. It is pretty cool. Right now the landlord rents the space by month but would be amenable to a longer term lease. I think I could get the price down a bit with a longer term lease, paid in advance.  I have to think about this a bit. I would rather stay where I am, but I can’t get enough space.

More to come…

Lists Help

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Lists Help Notes

My best advice for artists is keeping lots of lists. Whether you do them on your computer, phone, tablet or the old fashioned list that I do each week, lists are essential. I made a to do list on paper before I left for my painting residency and happily, it was right here on my desk waiting for me when I got home last night. I usually make a list on Sunday night for the next week. I include about ten items in a row, so I can check them off one at  a time. I start the list at the top on Monday and any that are left on Sunday, go to the top of the next Monday’s list.

For chores or events far into the future, I staple all of the paperwork to the back of the calendar page for that month. Each year I print out free calendar pages for the new year. They are in boxes so I can write in the month’s box and staple relevant info to the back. I am an ADHD person, so being organized this way is necessary for me to function in my business. It really helps. I love computers, tablets, cell phones as much as anyone, but for planning my work, I am old fashioned. I must have my paper calendar right next to my computer on my desk. I tried the online calendars, etc, but I ended up forgetting to check them, and missed events and dates. I am very old school!

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Lists help me to feel secure in my business dealings. I am pretty senile as it is, so a little help can’t hurt. My senility has nothing to do with age.  have used the calendar method and lists since I was in my 20s. I don’t remember peoples names, and don’t know people unless I see them frequently, so the lists help me out a bit. I have lousy short term memory.

People like to think that artists are dingbats, flighty, airheads. I’m here to tell you that not all artists are. Many of us work very hard to be organized and professional in our businesses. The lists help me to be a good business woman.

 

Back Again

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Back  Again Notes

I’m back again after a marvelous adventure. I’m at my Paddiwhack Studio, writing this while thinking about all the places I saw, the beautiful ranch lands and fields, the Cypress swamps, thousands of cabbage palms, more exotic palms and Banyan trees. There are vast tracts of conservation land, citrus groves, and cattle ranches in that part of Florida and I loved every moment of my time there.

I have returned to my studio with an inbox full of information about blogging and improving my website from various resources. I will need to implement some of these changes as time permits. My web site is mobile friendly, but slow to load, so I need to make some changes, based on the advice from my expert webmaster friend, David. It is always risky, letting me behind the wheel of my web site. A crapshoot at best!

As much as I love travel, it is good to be back to sort out my mess of an office at home, and to get ready for my Blondheim Study Group on Tuesday. Henry goes to the vet on Monday and I miss my sweet boy when I travel.

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I have a car full of clothes to wash, food to put away, painting gear to replenish and put away, and a number of paintings to frame. That is a plus! I love to have a productive week of painting.

I have dozens of new photos to paint from, curtesy of Mary Jane. I’m looking forward to a series from that area. I’ll be working on some 12×16, 16×20, 18×24 and 20×24 for the series. The 6 paintings I did there were a good start on getting a feel for the area we observed. It is very different from North Central Florida, with a very diverse ecosystem. I have my dear friend Judy to thank for this marvelous adventure!

More to come…..

Five Day

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Five Day Notes

Day five was another day at the condo. Mary Jane has not been feeling well, so I decided to spend the day painting instead of out exploring. I was able to get six paintings in all for the week, so I am pleased with my production. I enjoyed every moment of the process. It was relaxing and fun to do six different views of SE coastal Florida. I used about the same palette for all six, which was fun too. I am in my winter palette this time of year.

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We enjoyed the Manatees all day today. They lay in one spot for some time, soaking up the sun. Then they dive down to munch on various plants beneath the water. They are related to Elephants, a new fact for me. They are herbivores, gentle and slow. We sure enjoyed being right on the water with the beautiful porch.

We are in packing mode now, and will do some cleaning tonight. Time goes by very quickly at my residencies and I love them so much. Tomorrow we will head out to the beach for Mary Jane to get a last look, and the o not the road home. I am so very grateful to our wonderful host Judy and her son Mark for this delightful visit.

More at home from my studio to come….

Four Day

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Four Day

Day four was a rest day for the residency. It was hot out, so we stayed at the condo. Day four was great. I puttered around while Mary Jane rested up. I did a couple of small paintings and enjoyed the process very much. I’ve painted four since our arrival, all of various places we have visited here.

This morning we watched a dozen Manatees browsing around the glasslike water. In the afternoon, the Dolphins arrived, putting on a nice show for us. This part of the state is teaming with wildlife. We’ve seen so many birds, turtles, alligators and marine life. It has been educational and wonderful. The town is beautiful too. It is easy to navigate, with great restaurants, and the beach is beautiful.

i could never thank my host and her son enough, for the kindness and welcome they have extended to us. The condo is bright and cheerful, with lovely art, comfortable furniture, gorgeous parquet wood floors, and best of all, the wonderful covered porch with comfy furniture and a view of boats and wildlife every day.

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The neighborhood is quiet and well cared for. It is fun to take a walk and see the beautiful Banyan and palm trees in every yard. My favorite Queen palms grow prolifically in the part of Florida. There are many exotic and colorful plants here that I don’t see in north Florida.

It has been a fabulous trip and we have one more day to look forward to.

More to come….

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Three Day

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Three Day Notes

Day three started with no wind, so it was bright, cheery and perfect for a day of adventure. We started with breakfast at the Lemon Tree, always delicious and with a wonderful wait staff, willing to change orders with a smile. After a great breakfast, we headed out route 60 to the conservation areas near Yehaw Junction. I have always loved that name.

We found a lovely dirt road at Fort Drum Conservation area with beautiful fields of rust colored grasses and large palm hammocks throughout. There was a canal with inky black water along one side of the road. Mary Jane was in heaven! She loves to paint water and the jungle of mangroves and underbrush along the way. It was quite peaceful there and we spent some time enjoying the scenery and the many birds flitting from tree to tree. The songs they sang were lovely.

We headed back to Blue Cypress Preserve road and my interest picked up. There were miles of citrus groves and cattle ranch land, my favorite subjects. The painting on the blog today is of one of the ranches we saw. We arrived at Blue Cypress Lake Fish Camp. It was an impressive camp, very clean and well organized. Lots of boats, cabins for rent and a small store with snacks and fishing gear. The host was very nice to us, answering our many questions about boats , cabins and about the huge lake. We discovered that it is the headwaters to the St John’s River. There was a tall bridge for viewing the lake and the large cypress  trees were beautiful.

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We stopped at a ranch on our way back down the road to visit with the beautiful cattle and Mary Jane took great photos of them. We continued to another area of the preserve where large airboat tours were in progress. It was pretty but very commercial, so we skedaddled on along the highway, seeing palms canals and Cypress trees.

We rounded out our adventure at the Sebastian Conservation Center, where we will take a pontoon boat ride, thanks to our wonderful host Judy, tomorrow afternoon.

We had lunch, siesta, and finished off our day doing another small painting.

More to come…..

Two Day

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Two Day Notes

Day two was excellent in our adventure in Vero Beach. We started out watching several manatees off the dock, then headed to the beach pavilion down the road from the condo. It was a delightful place with beautiful palms and sea grapes. The pavilion was large and covered,with a nice Boardwalk down to the beach. The color of the waves was blue and emerald as the crashed to shore. We will go back there  t orrow morning for a walk on the  beach.

We headed to the Lemon Tree restaurant for breakfast. It is my favorite breakfast spot in Vero Beach. Mary Jane had bacon and eggs with potatoes and I had corned beef hash, eggs and grits. It was delicious.

Mary Jane realized that the coffee pot was left on, so we headed back to turn it off. We then headed north to Sebastian Inlet, a nice camping and fishing spot. We then headed back south to Pelican Island, my favorite wildlife preserve in Vero. It is a small preserve but very beautiful. It is wild coastal Florida at its best. There is a paved walk that takes you to a boardwalk that rises to a beautiful platform at the Inlet. The boards are ingraved with all of the national wildlife preserves in the USA. We learned that the Pelican Island preserve is the oldest in the USA, opened in 1903. What a wonderful place! Mary Jane took great photos of an Anhinga sunning himself on a limb.

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We stopped at the local craft store and Fresh Market on our way home. We had a tasty lunch and then sacked out for afternoon siesta. At 4:30 we set up our paint boxes and painted a small painting.

We watched the sunset from the back porch and relaxed over a dinner of good left overs.

 

More to come……