Artspeak Events

artspeak

Artspeak Events Notes

This week I was invited to do an artspeak event, give a talk at a senior community in my town. It was sponsored by their art league. They have a very active art community there. I have taught a few lessons for them from time to time. Each month, they bring in a professional artist to give talks. I have heard that most of the artists talk about their careers and history as an artist.

Cloud Scapes

I’m not much of a public speaker, truth to tell. I have done a million painting demos for groups and countless workshops, but talking about my career is not something I enjoy. I suppose that it wouldn’t seem interesting to anyone but me. Instead, I like to use topics that might be helpful to them in their own world of art. Artspeak can be boring or useful, depending on the artist and what they have to share.

Linda’s Etsy Shop

Here is my advice on artspeak events:

Be prepared, well in advance. Have notes that are two to three sentences in each paragraph with white space between, like blogging. This makes it easy to remember and to keep eye contact.

Make the talk useful. Give the group something to ponder for their own work and or art community and relationships.

Bring visual aides of some kind, hand outs, paintings to share,power point,etc.

Make the talk interactive, with question and answer sessions, anecdotal stories or comments that might be amusing.

Get out into the audience toward the end of the talk and interact with them.

Leave your ego at home and relate to your audience in a direct way so they have something of their own.

Don’t overstay your welcome. Keep your artspeak to the time limit requested.

If you are nervous, be open about it and warm up to the talk and them.

Have fun!

My artspeak was about giving kind critiques, which I posted some of the notes from on Monday’s blog. My talk part was fairly brief. Most of my time was spent actually giving kind critiques to the artists who volunteered to bring paintings to the talk. I had arranged that with the host in advance. I moved out into the audience and sat with them to give the critiques, looking at paintings held up for us by the host. it was very interactive and I enjoyed it. Questions were called out and I answered them. Great fun. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did.

More musings for artists and collectors to come……

Today’s Recipe

Jane’s Hearty New England Goulash

1 pound ground beef

1 medium onion, diced

1 medium green pepper, cleaned and diced

1 8 ounce package medium or wide egg noodles

1 8 ounce package Velveeta Cheese, cubed

1 can tomato soup

 

In a large skillet brown ground beef, onion and green pepper.  Drain and return to skillet.  Add cubed cheese and soup.  Simmer until cheese is melted.  Cook egg noodles as directed on the packaging in a large pot or Dutch oven.  Drain noodles and return to pot.  Slowly and carefully combine the simmered ingredients with the pot of noodles.  Cover and let stand at least 10 minutes before serving.

Critiques Kindly

critiques

Critiques Kindly Notes

Giving art critiques can be a serious issue. Handling critiques with grace and sensitivity can encourage an artist to grow and learn a great deal. It will give hope and determination to a struggling artist.

Brutal and unkind critiques only discourage. They can destroy a painter’s will to continue to paint, and destroy self confidence. It doesn’t matter how long an artist has painted, cruel and thoughtless critiques hurt and keep on hurting.

Linda’s Etsy Shop

When I was an art student at the university, it was popular among professors to give brutal critiques. They would line up our paintings in a row and verbally tear them to shreds. It was horribly debilitating and beyond embarrassing. This was a once a week spectacle done in group fashion. You can’t imagine the dread we felt each week. I suppose they felt that it was the best way to toughen us up, knowing how hard it is to make a living as an artist. Frankly, it took me years to get over those dreaded critiques. I remember very well the sound of my painting professor’s footsteps coming down the hall, and the sense of dread each time. How could this encourage a career in art?

Testimonials from Collectors

Cruel critiques don’t end with art school. I’ve had many unasked for critiques by other painters over the years. I’ve always been very aware of how painful spiteful critiques can  be for established artists. We really don’t outgrow them, ever. Once, I received a critique from a fellow artist I ran into at a state park. She said that if I kept painting, I would turn into a good artist someday! This remark from one professional artist to another was a terrible insult. In fact, I have had and continue to enjoy a wonderful career. I will never forget the insult though. That was 10 years ago but I still feel uneasy around that artist, waiting for the next insult.

People have no idea how debilitating a cruel critique or remark can be to artists. As professional artists and teachers we have a huge responsibility to others. Students and our collectors look up to us to be both friend and expert. A cruel remark can cost us our respect and trust, hard won and easy to lose.

I like to ask questions of the artists, feeling out their view of the painting process, finding out what they like about the painting first. Then I ask them about what bothers them, if anything. Perhaps they are satisfied with the painting as is. In that event, I am very careful about how much critiquing I give, with minor changes at the most. A sensitive artist may need to know what is good about their work more than what should be changed.

I must consider their personal design aesthetic before critiquing. I have several friends who have a primitive style of work which is delightful. I would never want them to change their approach to painting. The last thing they need is art school 101. They are happy and enjoy their paintings and the process. They don’t need to be fixed!

I cannot live in another painter’s aesthetic. Charging in like a bull in a china shop with my “superior” skill is egotistical and stupid. I am in constant awareness that I am a student of painting, just like every other painter. I need to have an understanding of their goals, their hopes and a realistic nurturing of their current skill level.

More musings for artists and collectors to come…..

Today’s Recipe

Pralines

2 cups brown sugar                       ½ cup butter

¼ cup water                                     2 cups chopped pecans

 

Stir sugar, water and butter together over a slow fire until sugar dissolves.  Add pecans and boil until mixture forms a hard ball in cold water.  Drop mixture on waxed paper, allowing it to spread out until about ½ inch thickness and 4 inches in diameter.  When candy is cool break into small pieces.  Makes about 14 to 20 pieces.

 

Citrus Art

citrus

Citrus Art Notes

I love citrus fruit. I used to look forward to picking oranges art Fair Oaks each year while I was a resident artist there. I’ve always loved citrus as a subject for painting too. I try to do several citrus tree paintings each year. The small ones always sell quickly. The deep green leaves against the orange color of the fruit is irresistible as a subject. There are some nice groves just south of Gainesville, producing beautiful fruit. There is an old wild orange tree on the Fair Oaks estate in Collins Field. It grows by itself and produces the sweetest beautiful oranges. That part of Florida has a long history and deep heritage in the Florida farm industry. The Yearling Restaurant in Cross Creek has delicious Sour Orange Pie which is hard to beat.

Florida Citrus

Last year I did an agricultural experiment. I saved and dried out 17 lemon seeds. I planted them in little starter pots and nursed them as best I could. Four actually sprouted and I have one left which is surviving and just got transplanted into its first real pot. It is about two inches tall.

Collectors Club

I love cooking with lemon and limes. Yesterday I went to the nursery with my sister, who is the gardener of the family.  I hate gardening with a passion, but love to look at plants.  I happened upon some lovely citrus trees in pots and chose a Persian lime tree. it is about three feet tall. I found a lovely brown pot which looks nice with the glossy green leaves of the tree. it looks fabulous on my studio deck.

I hope it is large enough to start producing fruit but I don’t know yet. I’ll be able to move it into my studio on cold nights next winter. If it lives well I will go back and get an orange tree to keep in a pot. It will be nice to have fresh citrus fruit from my own trees and to have them as models for more citrus paintings. I’m very excited to possibly make my first batch of limeade in December or January. Just about everything is fun about being an artist. Thanks to all the fine friends who make it possible to have this wonderful life. I am so grateful!

More musings for artists and collectors to come…..

Today’s Recipe

Holiday Punch

2 gallons strong tea                                   2 dozen lemons

4 46 ounce can pineapple juice              5 pounds sugar melted in 2 quarts hot water

1 can pineapple chunks                            4 8 ounce bottles of cherries

Boil lemon rinds in water and squeeze.  Make ahead of time and let stand if possible.  Makes 5 gallons.

 

Pets Artists

pets

Pets Artists Notes

I’ve been thinking that pets are an essential part of being an artist. I know there are lots of artists who don’t want pets, but I think they are missing out. Good pets inspire an artist to be better than they are now. I’ve had dogs all of my life and I have a new dog named Tucker, my French Bulldog (AKA Studio Dog). Studio dog keeps me on my schedule nicely. I have no choice but to arise at 7 AM, feed my canary (Bubba), my gold fish (Murphy # 7) and then let Tucker out of his crate to go out for a morning walk. Tucker requires a lot of attention right now, during his puppy hood, so more than ever, I must be self disciplined in terms of my painting and marketing time. I have to make them count so as to have time for Tucker’s training and fun. As he matures, it will take less time to manage him because Frenchies are basically couch potatoes, moving from one nap to the next. They want to be in the same room with their mom or dad, so they will move around the house with you, but taking one nap after another, with short bursts of activity during the day.

pets

Tucker in the Studio

Linda’s Etsy Shop

This makes the ideal dog for a painter I think. He is my companion, never making fun of my art, loyal and protective, but sweet to  studio guests as well. Artists are not lonely if they have a pet to talk to and play with. He thinks I am wonderful in every way. He doesn’t care if I’m fat, homely, rich or poor. He doesn’t criticize the way I dress or my bad hair days. There is no friend or family on earth who is so loyal and uncritical. Pets make us feel needed and keep out activity level higher. I walk twice a day with Tucker. We enjoy the morning and afternoon walk and discover plants and insects around the pen that are interesting to see. I am more alert with a pet than without. I am less selfish with a pet, more willing to sacrifice my time and attention. I am more willing to give and receive love.

pets

The Junk Yard Girls meet Tucker

Testimonials from Collectors

I am more observant of the natural world with a pet. Tucker makes many discoveries at his low level that I would not notice. Flowers,insects and other fun stuff gets discovered by both of us. I like the responsibility of having a small friend to take care of. I tend to be too serious if I don’t add some fun to my life. Tucker makes me laugh every day, as his predecessor, my beloved Henry did. I like to think that my painting is more fun and better with my loyal friend there to support me.  Though pets might not be for everyone, artists seem to thrive with their love and companionship. It is good to have a dog again.

More musings for artists and collectors to come….

Today’s Recipe

Snow Ball

1 6 ounce package (1 cup) semisweet chocolate pieces                 1/3 cup evaporated milk

1 cup sifted confectionery sugar                                                           ½ cup chopped walnuts

1 3 ½ ounce can (1 ¼ cup) flaked coconut

 

Combine chocolate and milk in double boiler; heat over hot water until chocolate melts, stirring to blend.  Remove from heat; stir in confectionery sugar and nuts.  Cool slightly, then form in 1 inch balls and roll in coconut.  Makes 24.

Dairy Farm Adventure

dairy

Dairy Farm Notes

The Dairy Farm in my neighborhood recently had an open house. It is owned by the UF IFAS. They own a lot of the agricultural land in my neighborhood. It was well organized and efficiently planned. I went with my two daughters and my grandson.

Collectors Club

We rode a hay wagon to the registration desk. They had a huge field of giant farm vehicles, tractors of all sizes, bush hogs and other big things for kids to climb on. My grandson was in heaven! We stopped at all of the exhibits which were plentiful. I learned some very interesting things about cattle feed. They had bins of various crop elements with labels and there were scientists there to explain the methods. There is almost no plant waste, which is good to learn. There were bins of cotton seeds, hulls, soy bean meal, the stalks and leaves of cotton, dried and cut into kibble for grain. Corn debris and cobs cut into feed. It was really interesting. Many of the crops I see in the fields at the agronomy farm are used for the beef and dairy units for the agricultural research farms.

IFAS Farm

We moved on to the cows and their exhibits. Since this is a research farm, many of the cows had painted strips on their rumps in various colors. This indicates different feeding programs for research. Some of the cows had small vents in their sides for scientists to withdraw test samples from their stomachs. I was assured that they don’t suffer for this or even notice it. The cows were clean and well cared for. Some were out in the fields and some in the barn. They were very docile and friendly, allowing everyone to pet them.

The children were taught how to milk cows at one exhibit and able to see how cows are born in  the reproductive exhibit. it was a marvelous adventure. There were cartons of milk iced down and some were chocolate. I confess that I drank one of the chocolate milks and enjoyed it thoroughly. I can’t remember the last time I had chocolate milk.

If you have children or grandchildren and live in the area where there are research farms, take them. Both of my daughters belonged to 4-H as children and they loved it. They learned how governments are run and parliamentary procedure. They learned the responsibility of good land and animal stewardship. They learned how their food is grown and harvested.

What does this have to do with art? Everything! Art is part of our everyday world and should be. I am a better artist because I have interest in science and the natural world. Artists should have many interests in life to feed them new ideas and knowledge.

More musings for artists and collectors to come….

Today’s Recipe

Raisin Rocks

3 cups sifted flour                                      1 cup shortening

½ teaspoon salt                                           2 cups brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda                         2 eggs beaten

½ teaspoon cloves                                     1 cup sour milk or buttermilk

1 cup nuts chopped                                   1 cup raisins chopped

 

Sift flour, salt, baking soda and spices together.  Cream shortening and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs.  Add sifted ingredients alternately with milk in small amounts.  Add nuts and raisins and mix thoroughly.  Drop from teaspoon onto greased baking sheet and bake in moderate oven (250 degrees) until brown.  Makes about 48.

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