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.

Tucker Arrives

tucker

Tucker Arrives Notes

Tucker has arrived after much preparation. My beloved Henry crossed over the Rainbow Bridge a couple of months ago. For awhile I said I would never get a new studio dog again, but I found myself to miss my companion too much. I didn’t have much to laugh at anymore and I was lonesome for him. I have almost always had a studio dog since I was about 10 years old.

Linda’s Etsy Shop

I found Tucker through a breeder in Ocala. He has impeccable credentials and is a lovely little boy French Bulldog. I think Henry would approve. After two weeks of purchasing a crate, bedding, a house bed, a studio bed, water container, food bowl, kong toy, leash, collar, harness, etc.etc.etc. Tucker is ready for a great life adventure. His large play pen has been mowed and cleaned of debris.

Small Paintings

I am ready for the arduous task of training him to be the super star he will become. I learned a lot about training bulldogs with Henry. I won’t make the same mistakes with Tucker. I have endless stories about Henry’s puppy adventures, including the shock that bulldog puppies will literally eat anything. Henry swallowed a battery. I walked in to see him foaming at the mouth. I had to rush him in to the vet to have his stomach pumped. It seared off the skin on his tongue. That same year he ate about a 1/4 bag of fertilizer. He ate a tube of blue paint and pooped blue for a week. I remember thinking I had made a horrible mistake in getting a Frenchie. He turned into a charming loyal dog, beautifully behaved after puppy hood, and was the best dog I ever had. (I feel that way about every dog I ever had) I was not prepared for a Frenchie then. I am now.

I’ll be sharing many new adventures. Dogs make you laugh and they keep you young. I’m the luckiest girl in the world.

Today’s Recipe

Buttermilk Cake

1 cup butter                                     2 ¾ cups plain flour

2 cups sugar                                     ¼ teaspoon salt

3 eggs                                                2 teaspoons vanilla

¼ teaspoon baking soda

 

Cream 1 cup of butter with 2 cups of sugar.  Add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating after each one.  Sift plain flour 3 times before measuring the 2 ¾ cups, add ¼ teaspoon salt then add to mixture above in small amounts at a time.  Flavor with 2 teaspoons of vanilla.  Bake at 325 degrees from 1 and ½ hours in a tube cake pan.

 

Alone VS Lonely

lake

Alone VS Lonely Notes

Many artists are loners by nature. I am one in that category. I have noticed that the older I get, the more of a loner I have become. I do like people and enjoy other’s company. I love to have visitors to my studios. I just don’t socialize much away from my studios. It’s not that I am shy or uncomfortable at parties. I just don’t often go. I have become more interested in the natural world as I age, and enjoy more stomping around in the woods than I do mingling with others.

Linda’s Etsy Shop

I enjoy my students once a month for our class time together, but I don’t go out or socialize much with them. I am becoming an introvert little by little. I can go for days and weeks without company and I am content. I wonder if other artists experience this gradual isolation from social settings?

Collectors Club

I am not lonely. I have discovered that alone and lonely are very different. I am rarely lonely, but I do miss my dog, having lost Henry not long ago. I first thought that I would not get another, but I have had dogs all my life. I will get another this Fall when the weather cools.

I think part of enjoying life alone has to do with accepting ourselves with flaws and being comfortable with what we have. I don’t need much anymore. Just a clean, climate controlled home. A great place to paint with all the supplies I need suits most of what I desire. I am saving up for a car. My rolling wreck died a couple of months ago. An inconvenience but not a disaster. I get rides and share my sister’s car while I save up. I have also become a minimalist, which is very convenient. I’ve gotten lazy. Too many activities make me uneasy. I like routine and a quiet life.

Recipe Cards

recipe

 

Recipe Card Notes

Recipe cards were popular back in the day. Now, everything is digital. I use old school index cards for painting reminders, instructions, and colors I want to use for paintings.  Every time I think up a way to paint better, I write out a short tutorial for myself and paste the tutorial to an index card. I then use wide,clear, packing tape to laminate the card on both sides. They go into my plastic card file box, which lives on my palette table,next to the easel. I keep a clamp on the easel mast so I can clip whatever painting recipe I need, next to the painting I’m working on. These cards help me remember to stay with my plan for the painting.

Linda’s Etsy Shop

Sometimes I use the recipe cards to list the tube colors I have charted for the painting. Since my charts are too large to fool with for pinning up next to a painting, I simply list the tube colors for that chart on the index card. This really helps a painter like me because I am apt to go off on tangents with color if I don’t use a certain amount of discipline.

Small Paintings

Some of the recipe cards are in question form. I ask myself, ” What is the major element in the painting? Are there secondary elements? Tertiary? How are you going to connect them? etc.,etc. Some are simple tips of what to avoid or what to include.

 

Since I am a planner by nature, this system works very well for me. For a more spontaneous personality, this would be restrictive. I like to plan out my studio work in advance, with a lot of time at the design table first, then a plan of action, then the color chart, and finally the painting begins. In the field, all of that goes out the window. I am terrible at field work but it is a  part of my growth as a painter. The outdoor observation keeps me from becoming too predictable in my studio work. It’s easy for me to take the recipe cards out of location too. That is one reason I laminate them first. Sometimes I make them after my walks on Deer Woods Trail, based on my observations there.

You can personalize your recipe cards in any way you like, emphasizing more outdoor or in studio topics, color, values or composing hints. Hand write them, use a word processor and print them out, or illustrate them. I find them to be useful and hope you will too.

More musings for artists and collectors to come……

Today’s Recipe

“Red Devil’s Food Cake”

¾ cup fat                                           ¾ cup cold water

1 ½ cups sugar                                1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

3 cups flour                                      7 ½ teaspoons cocoa

3 eggs                                                9 tablespoons boiling water

4 ½ teaspoons baking powder   1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

 

Cream fat and sugar well and add well-beaten eggs.  Beat 2 minutes.  Sift flour, salt and baking powder together and add alternately with cold water. Add flavoring.  Mix boiling water, cocoa and baking soda and while still very hot, add to batter.  Beat quickly and pour into well-greased and floured layer pans.  Bake at 425 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.

 

 

 

Brushwork Musing

juried

Brushwork Musing Notes

I have been thinking about the process of brushwork for myself. I do better brushwork these days and I think it is because of the casein and acrylic practice I’ve given myself for a few years. I’m not crazy about acrylics, except for small format work and studies, but it sure does improve your brush handling. I have grown to love casein again over the last several months. These mediums have  improved my ability to paint wet on wet and given me a lighter more controlled touch with the brush. That is so important when working with oils.

I can’t remember the last time I got in trouble with brushwork with oils. It used to be daily. I like a crisp clean look to paintings. I’m not much for blended soft work. I like to lay the paint on in layers with little blending except for distant atmospherics. One of the decisions we have to make in a painting is where and how much texture and linear elements must go in objects of the landscape. There are so many choices. I like to be able to make changes and adjustments along the way in a painting. If you over blend or handle the brush poorly, those opportunities will not be available in alla prima work. To me it is easier to go back with the edge of a dry, clean brush if anything needs to be softened. I hate slap dash muddy paintings, though they are all the rage now for landscape painters.

Linda’s Etsy Shop

I think a mistake some painters make is to overdevelop an area before it’s time, leaving the rest of the painting undone. Painters sometimes have the tendency to get tired and rush to finish. That’s how a good painting can be ruined. I think it better to do lots of starts on paintings and come back to them later if we begin to feel the fatigue. I know that I always have to lecture myself in that situation, making myself slow down for a proper and thoughtful finish to a painting.

Collectors Club

The NOTAN process has also improved that issue in painting for me. Thinking of painting in terms of Dark and Light helps me to be more decisive about the value placement, early in the game. It has given me a completely new way to approach a painting. NOTAN forces you to make basic distinctions between values. It simplifies the process and makes it more of a design decision rather than a look at how the scene actually looks. At least that is my own interpretation of this process. After several years of the process I still know little.

My advice on brushwork:

Good brushwork takes a lot of practice, especially with oils. Thin paint first, layer over layer. Clean your brush constantly. Mix carefully on the palette first, not on the painting. Keep your palette clean and organized. Use a variety of brushes, large first, then smaller for the last detail work. Place strokes one at a time and leave them. Don’t push paint into the canvas. Do warm up paintings first to ease into your painting session. Practice a variety of strokes at least once a week on paper before painting. Brushwork is far more important than it is given credit for. Practice every chance you get.

 

Today’s Recipe

Bacon and Tomato Dip

Bacon and Tomatoes make a wonderful combination of yummy BLT’s and lovely grilled tomato slices with your bacon and eggs for breakfast.

This dip is good too:

6 slices cooked crumbled bacon
1 chopped ripe tomato
8 OZ cream cheese
1/4 Cup mayo
2 T chopped fresh basil or a pinch of dried basil
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Spread on garlic toast rounds,or cucumber slices.

Pages:«1234567...417»