Study Hard

study hard

Study Hard

Study Hard Notes

The idea of needing to study hard for advanced painters is odd to some. I think it’s easy to get into a rut, especially when we are long time experienced painters. We start our paintings, work along on them until they are finished and then we start another one, with nary a thought about it. I know so many painters who have stopped challenging themselves. They are good painters. They feel that they don’t need to change anything. The problem with that is that change is inevitable. Nothing stays the same, including our skill level. If we don’t continue to challenge ourselves, little by little our skills start to decline, from boredom if nothing else. We are a little more careless in our composing, a little sloppier in our brushwork, pay a little less attention to value placement and little by little we lose the spark and freshness of discovery. Our work becomes more formulaic, more predictable.

Linda’s Etsy Shop

Study Hard

There are a lot of reasons this happens, not just laziness. Many painters get into a rut because they feel a comfort level. They don’t want to leave the safety of a well used palette, a style of brushwork or values. The are selling and have been for a long time with that particular palette or style. Their work appeals to decorators. They have built a brand name with that style. I can understand that and I think it’s ok to stick with what works, however, there is a way to have that and grow as well. There is nothing that says you can’t build an alternative body of work that is separate from the old standby.

Study Hard

No matter your level, there is room to grow. I like the fact that I am constantly struggling. Sometimes the challenges are almost overwhelming to me and I like that. I could play it safe and paint palm trees the rest of my life and probably make an easier living. I know a guy who does that and he is quite successful, more than me. He makes up all kinds of important sounding names for his palm paintings invoking a spiritual notion about them. He has found a gimmick that works. His palms aren’t any better than a couple of dozen other artists’ palms, but the gimmick sells them.

I also understand that when an artist reaches a certain level in their career, they are hesitant to admit that they need to study. I used to feel that way back in the day when I thought I knew how to paint. It wasn’t until I was about 50 that I realized I didn’t know squat about painting. It’s pretty humbling actually. The longer I paint the more I discover that I don’t know squat!

Study Hard

Linda’s Art and Stories Facebook Group

There are lots of ways to quietly study and grow, without shouting to the world that you need help in your painting. I’m lucky enough to have collectors who love me whether I’m a great painter or not. Not every artist is that lucky. They enjoy my forays and experiments along the way.

You can study painting books. Some of them are quite excellent. You can do research. I spend a fair amount of time doing this. I use my old college text books, and online resources. I design exercises for myself to practice painting techniques. You can study with painters online. This is the most convenient way to study in my life. One of the problems with study at my career stage is that there is no one local/regional whom I’m going to learn much from. When I wanted to study values and Notan, I had to use the Internet, because no one around here was teaching that area of painting.

Study Hard

Linda’s Rustic Paintings

My advice is to find a painter you want to study with and ask them if they will do online email lessons with you. I do that for a few of my own students who don’t live near me. I think most painters would be willing to do this. You will get one on one attention, critiques of your work and a lesson plan tailor made for your individual needs. What would it hurt to write and ask them?

Study Hard

Another good study source is the DVD market. Many painters offer courses on DVD and I think this would work well. They are expensive, so find out which ones are worth the money before you buy. Check on eBay to for used copies.

Workshops are fun and can be very instructive, depending on the teacher. Don’t pay to go watch somebody paint all day. Make sure they actually teach something.

I use what I call a “design kit” to study painting. It consists of colored and graphite pencils, markers, scissors, rulers, templates for circles and ovals, paper. Anything that helps me to doodle and be creative. I often do this for large paintings or commissions, figuring out the plan before I start a real painting. It saves a great deal of time and resources, helping me to avoid mistakes early in the design process.

In whatever method you choose, make the time to study painting. Your work will grow.

Study Hard

More musings for artists and collectors to come….

Today’s Recipe

Fried Rice

2 cups rice, cooked in chicken broth.
1 carrot, julienned
1 stalk celery julienned
1’4 onion finely diced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 cooked chicken breast sliced
2 beaten eggs
2 T soy sauce

Heat wok or skillet with oil, pour in eggs, fry, add everything else and stir until all is heated thoroughly and veges are still crisp.

Save Frames

ssve frames
Save Frames
Study Hard - image  on https://lindablondheim.com

Save Frames Notes

I’ve been slowly learning how to save frames. I paint some of my frames with flowers. People really like these frames and use them for mirrors, photos or chalk boards.
It is a sad fact that frames become damaged in transport. They can cost an artist hundreds of dollars. They are perfectly sound but a scar will make them unusable without intervention. Frames are one of the biggest budget items in a studio. Contemporary and abstract painters give up framing and simply use deep gallery wrap canvas. I have found that this only works for me in very large sizes. Buyers like my regular sized paintings in frames.
Save Frames
I discovered some time ago that frames can be altered and saved. Some of the frames are larger and really nicely made of good materials. I started sanding them down to paint but discovered that they look really cool as distressed frames. I have been able to save most of them to use for my paintings. In some places the sanding takes the finish down to the primer, which is usually white. I solved that problem by using either red iron oxide or raw umber, rubbed into the white primer. This works beautifully and the frames are really nice. The gold and dark frames look great done this way as they have a dark brick red under the gold and that is lovely showing through. The silver is lovely too, looking more like pewter, no longer shiny. This works quite well for my frames because they are wide and flat with a lip around the edge. I don’t know that it would work very well on ornate frames.
Save Frames
I am very lucky to have a collector who has an estate sale hobby. He finds wonderful vintage frames for me regularly and I can fix them up either by distressing them or re painting them. It is amazing how good they look with a bit of effort. He even found me a vintage classic 1960’s wood frame that is mid century modern.  I haven’t used it yet because I just love it and am not anxious to part with it. I don’t know that I will ever use it. I just like looking at it.
Save Frames
The biggest problem with framing for artists is storage. I have dozens of frames, stacked on the studio shelf and in the framing closet. I have a friend who stores her frames in a bathtub. You pull open the shower curtain and see the tub full of frames. I never want to get rid of a frame unless it is worn out. Of course you never have the size you need on hand, so it is back to the ordering page for a new frame. The cycle is endless.
Save Frames
Collectors must be made to understand that they are purchasing the painting, not the framing. The frame is just a courtesy from the artist and of little value in $$$. They should not expect a true discount from the artist, purchasing the painting unframed. I offer a 50.00 savings for painting if desired without its frame. You are purchasing the painting for the price offered.
Save Frames
More musings for artists and collectors to come….
Today’s Recipe
Sheet Pan Chicken
1 package of chicken breasts or thighs
2 potatoes diced
1 onion diced
3 carrots cut in bite sized pieces
2 celery stalks diced
2 garlic cloves minced
1 cup flour combined with salt/pepper/dried thyme/paprika
1 cup fresh cut green beans
salt/pepper
olive oil
Pam spray
Oil sheet pan
Place vegetables on pan and coat with a bit of oil
Dredge chicken in seasoned flour
Place on sheet pan with veges
Spray everything with a coating of Pam.
Bake at 350 until Chicken is brown on top and then turn everything over and bake until done.

 

Calendar Use

calendar use

Calendar Use

Calendar Use Notes

Calendar use means a lot more than checking the date and writing appointments on your calendar. I use several different calendars at my desk. I like the one page for each month print out calendars. I print them on card stock so they wear well, and use the back of each month for notes after they are finished.

I use one as an editorial calendar for my blog posts. This is beyond helpful as it keeps me on track throughout the year. When I have an idea for a post, I write it on the editorial calendar for the date I want to post it. When I get a moment to flesh it out into a blog, I schedule the post for that date. I usually run about 2 months ahead of postings. With this calendar, I never sit at my computer to write a blog post with no idea what to write about. My mind is like a sponge, excited about everything and I love to learn about all kinds of random stuff, so the ideas are constantly whirling around my mind. I’ve never been bored a day in my life. I keep a filing cabinet in my head, back in the dusty attic of my brain. When I have nothing to do but wait on activities, I pull those drawers open and flip through the files.

Calendar Use

Linda’s Graphite Drawings

I also use a marketing calendar, equally helpful to business. I use it for projects I am interested in, like studio party planning, tea party dates for collectors, meetings with my assistant Carolyn, whom I could not party without, goals both short and long term, promotion dates and times for my studio and the all important social media updates. I really need to work on that one. it is all so overwhelming. There are actual companies who handle social media for artists, and I have considered that, though have not as yet made that leap. I am such a control freak that I have difficulty turning anything about my career over to others. I need to overcome that. In my perfect world, I have a full time business  assistant, studio assistant, and web guy to handle all of those chores. Throw in a yard/car person, a maid and cook as well. Were I to become wealthy, staff would be where I would invest. I digress!

Calendar Use

My other calendar is what most people use, for the dentist, play dates with my family, and ordinary life events. Using separate calendars for different uses seems to sort it all out for me. Some things overlap but having the big picture in front of me helps me manage my days, weeks and months.

Linda’s Etsy Shop

Calendar Use

Lastly, I create a To Do list each Sunday night for the following week. I find that to be the most useful of all my scheduling ideas. It is a mix of have to do items for the week ahead. I need this to stay on task and to function. I find this short list of about 10 items doable, rather than thinking too far ahead, which becomes overwhelming. All of these combinations keep me centered and ready to go.

Calendar Use

I have a friend who uses and interesting system with post it notes. She made a three part bendable foam core board. it sit up like kids use in a science project. The first board is the to do post it notes. The second board is the in progress board. The third board is the completed board, which gives her a sense of satisfaction that she is making progress. It is basically a tactile visual aid rather than writing lists. She moves the post it notes from board to board and then trashes the finished ones as a new one moves to the next board. She swears by this system.

Calendar Use

Whatever your system, calendars are a lot more useful than many people realize. For artists, who are dingbats like me, they are essential!

More musings for artists and collectors to come…..

Today’s Recipe

Arugula Mushroom Salad

1 red bell pepper
8 oz baby portabellas
1 bag baby arugula leaves
1/3 cup macadamia nuts
1/4 cup oil and red wine vinegar salad dressing
Cut pepper into thin strips and mushrooms into halves or quarters; place both in salad bowl.
Add remaining ingredients; toss and serve.

Drawing Adventure

drawing adventure

Drawing Adventure

Drawing Adventure Notes

My newest drawing adventure started in late December 2018. I visited my sister and her family in Alabama. My great nephew is becoming a good drawing student. The two of us had the opportunity to get out into a nature park together to draw a tree. It sparked a renewed interest in drawing for me. I had been a drawing major in art school and drew as a medium for a few years after art school. I soon was persuaded to take up painting to improve my sales and have been a long time painter. In those days, nobody made any money off drawing. I think that has now changed.

Drawing Adventure

I have been doing a series of 4×6 inch drawings for about four months now and many sell. I am starting to see some improvement in technique as I practice daily. I have far to go to get back the technique that I felt was natural for me back in younger days. RA has damages my fingers a bit and I have occasional tremors in my hands, but the muscle memory is gradually improving.

Linda’s Graphite Drawings

Drawing Adventure

I have been experimenting with a variety of brands of graphite pencils. There are differences in quality to be sure. As a painter, I’ve always been fond of a full range of values from the darkest to lightest possibilities. I think that probably comes from my past as a drawer. In fact, that only occurred to me recently, which emphasizes the true importance of graphite drawing as a support for painting well. Drawing is where we learn to use values successfully because we cannot use the crutch of color.

Drawing Adventure

I find that I enjoy graphite the most, of all drawing materials. I sometimes use colored pencils to tint the drawing wth pale color, but I don’t really like colored pencil very much. I believe it is the waxy feel of them. That is not to say that colored pencil cannot be spectacular in experienced hands. My old friend Jeffrey Smart Baisden is a master of that medium. I’m not fond of charcoal either. It is messy.

Linda’s Etsy Shop

I have been thinking of taking a graphite pencil workshop again and have that as a future goal. Old dogs can learn new tricks. As many of you know I am an individualist soul and don’t take much to popular trends. One of the biggest trends I see in pencil work is the idea that pencil should be very smooth, not showing hatching or individual strokes. I don’t really care for that. I like to see cross hatching and strokes in the work. One of my professors in art school did very rough work that gradually refined itself to the point of interest in his drawings and I loved his drawings. The were full of energy and movement, yet very refined in areas, so that you knew he was a master at his craft. I would aspire to that brilliance. Many of the pencil drawings I see, have a static overrefined finish where everything looks smooth and flat. I am much to chaotic to enjoy that. Somewhere in between rough and refined is my goal.

Drawing Adventure

I hope within a year to have gained back much of my ability of the past and to begin to do larger, more complex drawings to add to my body of work. in the mean time, i cherish all of my papers, pencils and my new drawing table each afternoon while I pursue the arcane art of drawing.

More musings for artists and collectors to come….

Today’s recipe

 Artichoke Chicken

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup white wine
Juice of 1 lemon
1 (14-oz) can quartered artichoke hearts (drained)
1/3 cup julienne-cut sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Remove stems from thyme leaves.
Squeeze lemon for juice (1 tablespoon).
Cut chicken into 1-inch chunks.
Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2-3 minutes. Place flour and chicken in zip-top bag; seal bag and shake to coat. Place oil in pan then add chicken; cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned.
Stir in wine. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 2-3 minutes or until liquid is slightly reduced.
Sprinkle lemon juice over chicken; stir in remaining ingredients (except thyme and cheese) and cover; cook 2-3 minutes or until chicken is 165°F. Remove pan from heat; stir in thyme and sprinkle with cheese. Serve.

Why teach?

why teach?

Why Teach?

Why Teach Notes

An artist asked me to talk about why to teach for a bit.

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The first reason is of course, money. Many of the big named painters teach constantly. Many of them have to, to survive. They have priced themselves out of the market and can’t sell anymore. It’s a bad position to be in. They are making a living off DVD’s,Books, and teaching. That has become their primary business and painting is secondary. It looks glamorous to other painters with trips to Europe and Spain, and other exotic places, but in reality, I want no part of that. It is grinding work, with little time to grow as a painter. It is also very easy to get caught up in the money angle and become completely dependent on teaching rather than painting.

I know several painters who teach 3-5 classes a week and their whole life revolves around selling supplies and teaching. Most of their sales are going to their students, which is good, but that is a low end income stream. They are locked into the routine and have no time to pursue other marketing possibilities. They must also constantly recruit students as others fall off.

The same happens for full time workshop teachers. Endless workshops, travel, and little time to paint for themselves.

Another reason to teach is to grow in stature. Many painters want to build a name for themselves. When the word gets around that you are a good teacher, your name recognition goes up considerably. Unfortunately, that is mostly among other artists, not collectors. You see there are two separate paths to recognition for painters. One is through collections, galleries, museum shows, the other through other artists and the art community, by teaching. I believe the biggest mistake new painters make is in not understanding this. They pour all of their efforts into belonging to the arts community, gaining acceptance and recognition from other artists and their “betters” in the artist pecking order, and ignore the collectors community, which is the real world. Somehow they believe that becoming accepted and recognised in the arts community will launch their career. Truthfully, artsy folk are far less likely to buy our art than the doctor, engineer, lawyer, or farmer, down the street.

Linda’s Etsy Shop

Why Teach?

Now we come to the main reason I teach and write this blog. I don’t teach a lot anymore, 2 or 3  one day workshops a year and  one day a month for my regular students.

 

I like research and Development a lot. It helps me to grow as a painter. I like to study painting, reading pages and pages of technical info about paints,mediums,brushes,supports.  I develop exercises which I give to myself and my students at workshops. I do the exercises regularly myself. All of this work is important to good teaching and frankly, there are few painters who are willing to work that hard to teach. Some of my students ask me why I’m teaching college level art techniques for so little money?

 

I could never be a full time teacher or workshop teacher because I don’t work hard at the business end of it. I don’t charge much, and I give away way too much in materials and knowledge. I’m a painter, not a teacher. The teaching I do is to spread knowledge to others and to help them achieve their top performance.

Why Teach?

Teaching should be fun! Full of joy and anticipation. Don’t teach if you don’t feel that sense of wonder and satisfaction. There are many easier ways to make money. You have a huge responsibility to the students you teach. It is to be taken seriously. They have saved their money to give you and should get something out of it besides an ego trip for you. Know your subject and what you are talking about. Do your research. Know that students learn in several ways. Some learn by reading, some by watching, some by hearing. Give them a variety of ways to learn and be genuine. There are far too many workshop teachers who show up, do demos and then stand around while you are painting. You learn nothing for all the money you have spent. Be a real teacher and invest in your students.

 

You can see that there area variety of reasons to teach and many not to. If you plan to teach seriously, I suggest that you be far more diligent than I am about the business side of it. Invest in supplies to sell to students including framing, paints, brushes and so forth. Have paintings with you to sell. (I often forget that.) Produce a few DVD’s to sell. Actually make some money off teaching! :>)

 

Today’s Recipe

One of my favorites and beloved by all who live in the South

Hush Puppies

3/4 c self rising white corn meal
1/4 c flour
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 T sugar
2 T chopped onion

Mix it all up and drop in hot oil. They will rise to the top when done.

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