Class Separation

class separation

Class Separation

Class Separation Notes

I think a lot of artists think about the class separation in our culture. They worry about where they fit between dirt poor and filthy rich. Not only are they worried about their fit with other artists, but also about how they fit with the elite collectors.

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This occurred to me recently and I’ve been thinking about it. Several artists tell me that they would love to have studio parties, but their homes are not up to inspection by their wealthy collectors. They feel shame that they can’t have a wonderful space to receive guests. They are making a mistake. Their collectors don’ really care about what their house looks like.

Class Separation

I have been having studio parties out at my place for many years. Before my studio was remodeled two years ago it was a wreck with old carpet, drop ceiling tiles, ugly painted exterior, poor lighting, etc. My house is 60 years old. We are gradually improving it. Last year new floors, this year a remodeled new guest bathroom, next year the house will be painted to match the studio. The road is a disastrous dirt track that winds through the woods. Now and then somebody does some work on it but it is bad.

Linda’s Bird Art

Class Separation

Guess what? people don’t care! They still come to my parties and for studio visits. I don’t have to be rich or live in a fancy place to please them. I have a collector who visits regularly because we are friends and she likes to enjoy our afternoon tea party. I have many, highly educated and affluent friends who have much more status than I do, but they don’t care!

Class Separation

We artists live in an interesting place in our society. We have the privilege of knowing highly influential people, with fine homes, socializing with the wealthy. We have a highly refined skill that appeals to them, thus we are exposed to wealth and that lifestyle. We need not feel inferior due to our own circumstances, or superior to others who have less than ourselves. Our status only holds us back if we are captive to it. In the end, status is a false sense of empowerment, and means nothing a the end of our time on this beautiful planet.

Class Separation

My advice is to clear off the dining room table, put out your paintings and have a good party with good eats. People will come if you make it fun!

More musings for artists and collectors to come…..

Today’s Recipe

Green Beans

2 (12-oz) bags fresh trimmed green beans
6 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped
6 pitted  dates, coarsely chopped
1 lemon, for juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans, finely crushed

Microwave beans following package instructions. Chop garlic (1 tablespoon) and dates. Squeeze lemon for juice (2 tablespoons). Combine lemon juice, honey, and red pepper.
Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Place oil and garlic in pan; cook 1–2 minutes, stirring often, or until garlic is lightly browned. Stir lemon-honey mixture into pan; cook 1–2 minutes or until thick and glossy.
Add beans, dates, and salt; cook 2–3 minutes, stirring often, or until beans are hot and glazed. Crush pecans into crumbs. Transfer beans to serving platter; sprinkle with pecans and serve.

Artists With Bad Karma

artists with bad karma
Artists With Bad Karma
Artists with Bad Karma Notes
Artists with bad Karma are a plague. Most of the artists I know are thoughtful people who go out of their way to be kind. Most of them have been really like a family for several years. We assimilate new people a few at a time and rotate in and out of  events during the year. I look forward to my time with them, talking shop and catching up a few times a year. Most of them would lend you their last dime, give you anything and generally tend to send patrons your way if they can’t sell to them first.
Artists with Bad Karma
They congratulate when you sell and console when you get skunked. They are amusing, droll, and  a lot of great fun to be with. They tend to not be overly competitive and are amazingly kind as a group. They befriend you whether they paint better than you or not. It really doesn’t matter to them. They simply love to paint.
Then there are the artists with bad karma. They often come across to promoters as the nicest most successful people, and they often sell well. Underneath, they are rude and  deliberately cruel to other painters. They spend a great deal of time bragging about their many sales, counting the number of sold signs on other artists walls, sneaking around with cameras to take photos of other painters work and generally making snide comments about their own superior career and that of their friends over the other artists. I actually know an artist who tried to get another artist thrown out of their own gallery with lies and innuendos.
Artists With Bad Karma
One artist like this can ruin your day and make you seethe with disgust and anger before the event is over. They have poisonous personalities with a superficial charm that can fool many. The more time you spend with them, the more you see their manipulation and mean spirited personality. They get away with it because they are cunning and they know who to suck up to look good.
Artists with Bad Karma
Then there are the types who begin to believe their own press and that they are superior to the other artists and spend a lot of time telling the person in charge that they are superior and need not follow the basic rules like framing their work, paying the usual commission and so forth. I’m talking about the important rules that all of us must follow in order to have a professional cohesive show which will help the organization to sell work. I mean artists who rarely dress appropriately for a more formal event, or who don’t bother to show up for many of the events, because they are more important than anyone else. They are late arriving, late every day and late turning in their work. They complain that they have a poor space, but they arrived last. Rules and curtesy don’t apply for them.  I’m not saying that I like going to events night after night but if I don’t want to, I should just decline the invitation. These artists need to read the contract before the event to know what is required of them.
Artists With Bad Karma
I think this kind of personality probably exists in every profession, but it is somewhat depressing to have to deal with their drama in an otherwise wonderful event. The spread poison through out the artists. They use cliques as a way to look superior and any artist who paints uniquely or unlike the “cool” people, is not so subtly shunned. I think as artists begin to excel and build a name for themselves, they need to be aware of this and to make sure they don’t start believing their own press. I have seen this happen to some truly good artists and they suffer for it in the end.
Artists with Bad Karma
I know that I don’t fit well into groups. I am a loner by nature with strong independent traits. I learned eventually that group events aren’t right for me. The politics and backstory elements are difficult for me. I have gradually eased away from many of these events and have become a better painter and a better person by removing myself from these situations . Some artists thrive in the competitive atmosphere. I do not.

Not Smart Enough

not smart enough

Not Smart Enough

Not Smart Enough Notes

I’ve been crippled up with RA with time to think about the not smart enough prejudice we all live with in our lives as artists. It is a subtle put down by those who are or who think they are more intelligent than others. I think we are all guilty of this, even if it is a secretive part of our thoughts. This is part of our competitive nature as artists. It is hard to avoid.

Not Smart Enough

Linda’s Bird Art

I have known several legitimately, really smart, brilliant people in my career and I do believe it is hard for them to be patient and gentle with us lesser folk. They solve problems quickly, are knowledgeable about many topics, and think instantly. It is probably hard for them to wait for us to catch up.

Not Smart Enough

Then there are the folk like me, who “think” we are smart.  We think we are smart, often because we are driven personality types. We are highly motivated to achieve and tend to run over the slow thoughtful types, who like to consider all the angles before making decisions. We are highly opinionated about solutions and we don’t at all play well in the sand box. We equate intelligence with quick thinking and accomplishment. They are not at all the same.

Linda’s Paintings

Not Smart Enough

This is an interesting problem in that there are multiple prejudices about intelligence. My daughter was  was first diagnosed as slow in third grade. I took her for a serious diagnosis and they discovered that she was both dyslexic and ADD. Her IQ was normal. Her teachers had a completely better attitude toward her when they discovered that her IQ was normal. It was an amazing change by teachers before and after her diagnosis.

Not Smart Enough is a terrible prejudice in our society, including the pecking order of artists. There are some artists we just don’t want to be around. They make poor decisions, are socially inept and their personalities are slightly stunted. They are not smart enough! Many of us  are guilty of this attitude and I am hoping to grow some to be a better person. There is room for all of us. We who are lucky to have the independence of full time art career and can easily make decisions, need to be kinder to those who are less fortunate.


Today’s Recipe

Easy Sliders

1 package Hawaiian King Rolls

1 stick butter melted

1 package Good Seasons Italian dressing mix

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

1 package thin sliced ham

1 package sliced cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 350

Slice  rolls in half, leaving them intact.

Place bottom layer in Pyrex deep dish

Mix seasoning with butter and poppy seeds. Brush bottom layer with butter. Lay slices of cheese on the bottom layer. Top with layers of ham. Top with top layer of attached rolls. Coat top layer with butter mixture. Bake until toasted and melted, about 25 minutes. Cut sliders apart and serve with salad.




Tough Times

tough times

Tough Times

Recently I was contacted by a couple of artists who are going through tough times with poor sales. My sales have gradually improved over the last ten years.

Linda’s Bird Art

I keep inventing new ideas to market my work. Up until 2009, I didn’t have to work very hard to sell paintings. I got lazy about marketing because I like painting better than marketing, but now I realize how shortsighted that was.

Tough Times

I thought yesterday about how free life was before 2009. I thought nothing of eating in good restaurants, traveling up to 150 miles to find a nice painting spot,and lots of gizmo’s for my studio. I think those wasteful days are over for the foreseeable future. I would lie if I told you I don’t miss them. I do. I have brought living frugally to a new level over the last couple of years.

I have no magic answers for any of us who are living through tough times.  How have I survived?

Landscape Paintings

I am a realist, not a whistler in the dark. Whatever it takes to sell enough small paintings to survive, I will do. I run monthly specials from my web site to make miniatures and small works affordable. I send my clients little paintings as gifts. I count on my friends to help spread the word about my work. I love them and appreciate them and they feel the same way about me. They send me short testimonials for my web site and share my work with friends.

Tough Times

I cut back on purchasing and supplies, buying only what I must have to keep producing.I don’t buy clothes or shoes anymore. I am retro chic, shabby chic. (ok, I look like a homeless person most of the time). My only luxury is reading and travel now and then. We all need something to make us feel good in tough times.

I do all my marketing on free sites now, having given up on payed advertising. I use Twitter, FB, etc. I have cut back on all advertising except direct mail post cards,  my html newsletter, and in occasional programs for local events. . Those are real value and worth the money. I keep my web site fresh and updated constantly.

Tough Times

I have given up all of my paid associations with art groups and will not renew any of them. They made no difference in my marketing success and were only a vanity for belonging to a group. That alone has saved me a couple of hundred dollars a year.

I have changed my donation to charity policy and now support only four each year. I will gladly sell paintings wholesale to any charity for resale. This was one of the best ideas I ever borrowed, from my friend Kathy Swift (superwoman).

Tough Times

I have learned to depend on my own studio for a venue, rather than galleries. My studio parties are more successful. I’ve added fun tea parties and hiking on my trail to fun activities at my studio.

I try to be open to new ideas all the time and try them out. So what if they don’t work?

Mostly, my faith sustains me. My stubbornness sustains me. My strong will to make it sustains me. Failure is simply not an option. Self confidence is essential, but not stupid self confidence. Pollyanna is not going to survive in this economy. I have given up the luxury of ego and position. I just want to paint the rest of my life. I believe that is what I am supposed to do and I pray that enough friends will help me to do that.

Tough Times

I pray for every artist who is struggling out there. I know you can make it. You just have to work hard, try everything and never give up. Let’s all do our part to continue to help each other.

Today’s Recipe

Marsala Chicken

1 medium sweet onion
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
8 oz fresh presliced baby portabellas
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup Marsala wine (or chicken stock)
1/2 cup no-salt-added chicken stock (or broth)
2 tablespoons balsamic glazeCut onion into slices, then cut rings in half (1/2 cup). Lay chicken flat; slice horizontally through center of chicken, then cut in half if needed to make 4 cutlets. Place flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper in shallow dish (or zip-top bag). Dip chicken in flour (coating both sides); shake off any excess flour (wash hands).

Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Place 2 tablespoons oil and 1 tablespoon butter in pan to melt, then add chicken; cook 2–3 minutes on each side or until well browned. Remove chicken from pan.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Place remaining 1 tablespoon each oil and butter in same pan, then stir in mushrooms, onions, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook 6–7 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until mushrooms and onions have softened. Chop parsley.

Stir into pan: wine, stock, and glaze. Return chicken to pan; simmer 3–4 minutes or until sauce thickens and chicken is 165°F. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve sauce over chicken.

Slow Multitasking

slow multitasking

Slow Multitasking

Slow Multitasking Notes

I recently learned something new about slow multitasking. I always thought multitasking meant that you have ten arms and legs and you are doing ten things as fast as you can to hurry through the day. I listen to a program on NPR called the Hidden Brain. It is basically about how we think and function. I find it fascinating. Recently, the program was about how we can multitask in a slow and thoughtful way. It used examples from famous scientists and mathematicians and how they worked out complex problems by resting from one project and taking on others for a bit of time in between. I did not know that Einstein invented the laser while he was working on the theory of relativity. He wanted to rest his mind for a bit.
This makes complete sense to me after some thought. We are all rushing around trying to multitask in the wrong way.

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Using slow multitasking as a diversion from big problems lets our brains rest a bit.
For artists this means switching around mediums, doing tiny and large paintings, reevaluating events and their value to career, and marketing efforts, along with all the other multitasks we do in our personal lives. Instead of fretting about our limited time and resources, we can change the attitude and use them as rest stops along the route of our lives. I want to consider this possibility for a while.

One of the slow multitasks I want to get back to is my summer fun of start paintings. This is a fine way to do slow multitasking. There is a feeling of anticipation with this process. I start a painting five days a week, one each day, and set them aside one by one. I line them up in order. The next week I start one each day and go back to the first set, working a bit on each one and repeat. It is so interesting. You would think they all get done in the same order, but instead it is a randomness of finishing, as some go quickly due to luck, subject, difficulty, etc. This is multitasking at its finest for an artist in my view. I always use the same sized canvases to get the same sort of feel for the project. Sometimes it goes for a couple of weeks and other times it can go on for the summer, depending on how many projects I might have, commissions, and so forth.

Slow Multitasking

This year I am adding to the fun by doing the paintings with a single half inch brush. It is a skill building method. If you can do a decent painting with one half inch brush, think what is possible with a full array of brushes and palette knives!

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I have a new attitude now about slow multitasking. It will be more about thoughtfulness and less about harried stress with too many things to do.

More musings for artists and collectors to come….

Today’s Recipe

Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup julienne-cut, sun-dried tomatoes in oil, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, coarsely chopped
6 slices cooked bacon, finely chopped
1 lb boneless chicken
1 tablespoon smoked (or regular) paprika
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup diced yellow onions
8 oz bowtie (farfalle) pasta
1 cup half-and-half
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Bring water to boil for pasta. Chop garlic, tomatoes (reserve 2 tablespoons oil), basil, and bacon. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces; coat with paprika.
Preheat large, nonstick sauté pan on medium 1–2 minutes. Place 2 tablespoons reserved oil in pan, then add garlic and crushed red pepper, chicken; cook 1–2 minutes, stirring often, or until garlic is golden. Stir in onions, bacon, and tomatoes; cook 3–4 minutes or until onions are tender. Remove pan from heat.
Cook pasta following package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water; drain pasta.
Return tomato mixture to heat on low. Stir half-and-half into tomato mixture; cook 2–3 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until reduced by about one-half. Add basil, cheese, pasta, and chicken; simmer 2–3 minutes, stirring often, or until mixture thickens and chicken is hot (use reserved pasta water to thin sauce, if needed). Serve.