Open Studio Class, Mac and Cheese, Muscle Cars

Open Studio Class, Mac and Cheese, Muscle Cars - image  on

Oh how I love my monthly Open Studio Class!! I never know who will show up or how many. On the day before, I actually have to clean up and organize the studio, always a good thing. The thing I like most about it is the camaraderie. Artists are loners by nature and now and then it’s good to have some friends and fellow artists around. It is important to share the visions and dreams of other artists, our hopes and anticipation for the masterpiece which is just around the corner.

Here we are:

Open Studio Class, Mac and Cheese, Muscle Cars - image  on

Open Studio Class, Mac and Cheese, Muscle Cars - image  on

I am determined to get out to paint this Friday, without fail. I think I’ll go over to Twin Lakes Fish Camp in Cross Creek or to MKR State Park.

Open Studio Class, Mac and Cheese, Muscle Cars - image  on

I’ve always been puzzled by artists who feel it is beneath them to paint with others who might not be as skilled as they are. I love painting with people who are sharing the same struggles that I am. There is a great deal of elitism in the world of art and it is disturbing. We are pitted against each other by promoters and art centers, festivals and so forth. It has become very competitive and now even paint outs are set up to be exclusive and elite. Many of the organizations try to give a feeling of elitism and status by making us vie for signature status and awards. What does all of that mean? Absolutely nothing!! We are simply putting paint on canvas. It shouldn’t take signature status to tell us who can paint and who can’t. Our eyes will tell us. There will always be painters whose work is superior. We shouldn’t have to have exclusivity to make us feel self important. Good work always speaks for itself.

I was thinking the other day about my youth. In my high school years, muscle cars were it!!. I still love them. When I get rich, I’m gong to buy one fully restored. My high school boyfriend had a navy blue Plymouth Road Runner with all the stuff under the hood. What a car! Friday night was date night and he picked me up in the RR. There was always a bottle of whiskey on the front seat because in those days everyone drank. Our parents, grandparents and family friends all drank. It was part of our lives and no one thought anything about it. We would head straight for the drive in restaurant called Jerry’s and that was the date. We spent the evening eating,drinking and socializing with all of our friends, All of the muscle cars cruised through the parking lot and so the noise was deafening. Surprisingly, most of us were not drunk. We could hold our likker. That was my Dad’s best advice to me as a young adolescent. “If you can’t hold your likker, don’t drink”. I always remembered it and to this day I hate to be around a sloppy drunk.

I got through college on a wing and a prayer. I wasn’t very smart so I suffered through math and science classes, barely squeaking by. Money was always a problem. After all, I was in art school. I lived on tuna and mac and cheese sandwiches. There is nothing like a mac and cheese sandwich. No one believes me but it’s true. Here is the recipe:

Prepare one box of Kraft Mac and Cheese. Put it in a bread loaf pan and pack it down good. Refrigerate it overnight.

At lunch time, take it out and slice off a nice thick piece. Take two slices of bread, mustard and mayo, some lettuce and tomato slices and build a sandwich. You can also use pickle slices for extra flavor. Don’t forget the salt and pepper. it is delish!!! Good enough to get me through art school!!!

More Sunflower Madness, Thinking about Art For Regular People, Cheese Crispies

Studio Sales Assistant

I am looking for a part time assistant in Alachua County who is personable and not afraid to get out and talk with people about my work and my studio. Duties will include distributing promotional materials whenever and wherever possible. I need someone who is highly motivated to sell, with enthusiasm and energy to promote my work. My assistant will attend some events to do promotion and will have occasional travel to events to promote the studio. I will provide gas money, 25.00 a day for food and motel accommodations while traveling out of town for me. My assistant will need to be able to have some flexibility in hours, and to be able to think of creative ways to market my work. Sales or marketing experience would be helpful but enthusiasm is a fine substitute.

I need someone who is willing to trade their time and energy for free career coaching, free workshops, and or paintings for their services. Sales will earn 5% in commissions. This is a terrific position for an emerging artist who wants to get some experience.

Please contact Linda Blondheim

I have been good, I started several new paintings in the last couple of days. I had started to get behind, but I’m back on track. This rotation system is fantastic!!

Here is another finish.

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24×24 inches
oil on canvas

I love the high speed Internet. I find that I spend less time on the computer than I used to which gives me more painting time. Always a good thing.

I’ve been thinking for a long time that some galleries are missing a huge market of first time art buyers and middle class patrons who will purchase small or inexpensive works, but who are very intimidated by the gallery scene. I have many clients who refuse to go to galleries because they feel uncomfortable in that environment. I can’t really blame them. I often visit galleries when I am on the road traveling and frankly I am seldom welcomed with any enthusiasm. I wear off the rack clothes and no jewelry so I am looked at with disdain by gallery sales staff. They often ignore people like me, not even saying hello. Little do they know that I buy quite a few small paintings every year from emerging artists.

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In the past, fine art was the luxury of the rich and elite segment of society, but I believe that is steadily changing. I only have a couple of super rich patrons. Much as I would love to have a dozen or so of them, most of my clients are middle class professional people, doctors and lawyers, but no Chiefs. They work hard for their money and purchasing a large painting is a major commitment for their budget. Many of my patrons buy work out of the browse bin and I am certainly grateful for that. To me, these are the people I can count on and they are largely marginalized by galleries. I believe these patrons will purchase more substantial paintings someday and they are every bit as valuable as the affluent patrons who shop in galleries.

Young people my daughters’ age will someday have more income and they will be ready to buy larger paintings. Who will they buy from? The gallery or artist who ignores them or the artist who is truly grateful for their small purchase now? Every person who purchases a painting or drawing from me supports my family and they are dear to me. I don’t care whether they spend 10.00 or 3,000.00. I am humbled and grateful for their support.

I think artists are wise to cultivate lower income buyers because you never know what will happen in the future. In fact my two most successful galleries are very open and welcoming to average people. They are fun to go to and the staff is friendly and helpful to anyone who walks in.

The Sunflower fun continues:

Open Studio Class, Mac and Cheese, Muscle Cars - image  on

Open Studio Class, Mac and Cheese, Muscle Cars - image  on

Today’s recipe is really good. It is a savory take on the traditional rice crispy squares we all loved a a kid.

Cheese Crispies

Cheese Crispies

1 stick butter

1 package of sharp cheddar cheese shredded

1 cup flour

1/4 tsp salt

paprika and red pepper flakes to taste

1 1/2 cup rice crispies

Cream butter, cheese and flour. Add the other ingredients. Roll up and slice into cookies. Flatten into disks.

Bake at 250 degrees for about 50 minutes.

Country Roads, Sunflowers Continue, Starbucks Pastries,

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Fall Trees
14×18 inches
oil on panel

If you remember, this is one of my starts paintings. I have finished the rotation for this one. It will go into an exhibition in Leesburg Florida, called “Country Roads”. I was so delighted by the invitation, because I love this theme. It fits so many of my paintings. In fact, I have 10 paintings here in the studio all ready for the exhibit. Three more will go in that are not roads but are appropriate as a rural theme. All I have to do is finish one, frame a few, and do the inventory. By October I will be ready. Yipee!! I am starting to fall behind in my daily starts. I need to be more disciplined about this. The busier I get, the harder it is to keep up with the rotation. I will slap myself today and get another start going.

I’m working on my 5×7 series again. I do these little painting in acrylics, in batches when I’m in the mood to do small format paintings. People love them because they are so fresh and expressive. My galleries ask me for them because they are a nice gift size. I buy the frames in bulk which saves me money and keeps the cost down on them. I use this series to work on subjects which are interesting to me and I can study the subject without getting bogged down in long complicated compositions. I really recommend doing these small paintings because they are good study time. Here are two that I did yesterday. I’m in the mood for sunflowers and fall trees right now.

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5×7 inches
acrylic on panel

Open Studio Class, Mac and Cheese, Muscle Cars - image  on

Fall Trees
5x inches
acrylic on panel

Goodies at Starbucks

I don’t know about you but I am a huge Starbucks fan. I know, I know, it is Yuppy and expensive, but dang it!!! I love it anyway. Starbucks also has the best music around too. I love their CD’s. You can purchase them in the store or online at Let’s not leave out the fabulous baked goods either. The pumpkin/cream cheese/pumpkin seed muffins are my very favorite. I wait with eager anticipation every fall for them to be out in the Starbucks stores. I can’t leave out the marble loaf and the lemon loaf either. Lord love a duck, they are so great!!! They even have a low fat and low sugar selection as well. I love going by there in the morning on my way out to paint. It is just one of life’s little treats that we all need so much in our busy lives. No, I don’t own stock in the company but I wish I did.

Pumpkin Muffins

Here is my version of pumpkin muffins. They are pretty good.

1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar ( I use the new half sugar stuff for baking)
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp salt (salt substitute)
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup of raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 400
grease muffin tin

Beat egg, stir in oil and milk. Sift together dry ingredients and add to liquid. Don’t over stir. Fill muffin tin. Bake about 20 minutes until brown. Turn out of tin while hot and cool on rack.

You can sprinkle the tops of the muffins with a little sugar before you bake them to get a sweet crunchy top.


The basic muffin recipe without the pumpkin and pie spice will make any number of muffin varieties.

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New work For Galleries, Exhibitions, Spaghetti

I spent yesterday getting paintings inventoried for a change out at my local gallery, HERE. What a job. First you must frame everything and put studio stickers on the backs of each painting. Rule number 1, never let a painting go out of your studio without a sticker on the back with your web site, phone number and your name on it. I get mine made online. If you don’t have stickers, just use blank labels instead.

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I leave the cardboard corners on my frames when they are in my studio. I just hang the paintings that way. When I deliver them to a gallery, I put the corners onto the frames of paintings I am removing to go back to my studio. I bring a heavy duty stapler with me to the gallery and just attach the corners to the paintings as I take them to the car. Then those painting hang in my studio with the corners on. I sell a lot of paintings directly from my studio and web site, so it is great to have the protective corners on for people to transport or for shipping.

Next you must decide on a cohesive body of work. My first thought was that I would send all of my new North Carolina paintings to the gallery for fall, but that went out the window when I was invited to do a 3 person show at the Leesburg Art Center in November. The theme for the show is “country roads”. Since many of my NC paintings have roads and paths in them, they will be ideal for that show. I am going to take my Florida rivers paintings to the gallery instead. I have been working on the rivers series for a couple of years.Happily,many of them have sold so i keep doing more. My idea is to have an exhibition at some point, but who knows when I will have the time or opportunity for that.

The next thing I had to do was inventory the paintings for the galley,so I will know what they have. I use excel for all of my studio inventories. It is so easy. It allows you to import images so each painting has all info on the spreadsheet and a thumbnail image too. My galleries love me for this. It is so easy for them to keep up with my paintings, since there is an image. I print out a copy for them and I keep a file of the inventory on my computer.

Next comes the packing part. I keep the boxes that my frames are delivered in so that is very convenient to have the right sized box. I use masking tape to seal the boxes and I take it with me to the gallery to seal the box back up when I fill it with the gallery paintings.

Lastly, when I get my paintings back from the gallery, I will need to rehang my studio walls and change the paintings on my web site, taking off the paintings I have taken to the gallery and adding on the paintings which I bring home tomorrow.

Multiply this process by 5 or 6 galleries and you can see why I am working so hard to make my own studio and web site pay off. It would save me a huge amount of time and effort to simply sell from my own studio/web site. Not that I don’t appreciate my galleries because I certainly do. But multiple galleries are a lot of time and effort to keep up with. The out of town galleries are actually easier to keep up with because it is a matter of shipping a few paintings now and then.

Today’s Recipe

Baked Spaghetti

I make this for my sister because she loves it. It is a great quick way to feed a crowd.

1 package Mozzarella sliced cheese

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 large box of spaghetti cooked and drained. Rinse so it will not stick together.

1 large jar spaghetti or pasta sauce, whatever flavor you prefer.

1 pound ground beef, browned

1 onion diced and cooked with the meat.

1/2 pound Italian sausage browned (Optional)

Pour grease off meat and onions. Add sauce to meat and simmer a bit.

Grease a rectangular pan

Mix spaghetti with sauce and meats. Place 1/2 spaghetti/meat mix into the pan and sprinkle with half Parmesan cheese and half Mozzarella cheese. Place rest of spaghetti on top evenly and use the rest of the cheeses on top. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees until hot. Remove cover and cook until edges start to brown and get crusty.

You can add extra sauce and chopped peppers or other ingredients if you like.

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I like to serve this with garlic bread and a nice green salad.

First “Process” Paintings Completed

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I have finally finished a couple of paintings in my rotation. I must confess that this is a really fun way to paint. Every morning I get in the studio and start a fresh painting. Then I look around the studio and see 6+ others in various stages of completion. The interesting thing is that they don’t finish systematically, the way they start. I don’t finish one each day. In fact,I go for days at a time without a completed painting. They just continue to languish around the room while I pick this or that one to work on. Some days like yesterday, I will finish more than one.

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I love paintings in stages, and I had missed out on that fun for years and years while I was obsessed by alla prima and plein air work. I find it so interesting that the stages of painting are far more intimidating and challenging than alla prima is to me now. Something about facing that partially finished painting on the easel with new eyes is exhilarating. I think to myself, is this going to get screwed up? I had such a good start. Am I going to go in the right direction? What do I need to fix in the composition before I go further? What color mixing must I do? How about the values? All of these decisions have time to percolate over a period of days, rather than minutes in the field.

It is also interesting to find that I have been able to retain the fresh energy in the studio that is so lovely about plein air work, but with better control and certainly much better composition and design.

Of course I love field work too and will continue to do a few paint outs and work on location at least once a week, but I have always done my best work in the studio and my clients buy studio work about 5 to 1 over plein air.

My friend from St Pete has told me about a place there called the Dome. It is a dive, and sounds perfect for me. I’ll be telling you all about my adventures in the city when I get back.

Today’s recipe is so easy and delish.

Grilled Pork Chops

4 boneless chops

1 flat griddle or large flat skillet

Balsamic Vinegar

Linda’s Seasoning Mix

Dried Thyme
Dried Oregano
Dried Onion Flakes
dried Parsley
Garlic powder
dried rosemary
salt or salt substitute
Cracked black pepper coarsely ground

I use a small spice jar and fill it with equal amounts of the above spices. Mix thoroughly and sprinkle on the chops. It is also great on chicken, beef,and home fries.

Heat the skillet or griddle. Cast iron is the best. Place chops on the griddle and sprinkle with seasoning mix. Drizzle on olive oil and grill until done. Drizzle on balsamic vinegar and it will deglaze the pan a bit and add flavor. Serve while hot.

I’ll be traveling for a few days so look for my next post here on Monday.