Teacher Art

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At one time I worked in the school system. I taught art and math to special ed students in the Self Contained Mentally Handicapped classroom. it was quite an experience. The first year was great because I teamed with a wonderful teacher and friend. She left and was replaced by a young lady right out of college who was completely clueless. She was not a nice person to boot. That was my last year. I was technically a teacher aide because my degree was in Fine Art , not education. I worked there because my little girls attended that school and I had spent countless hours as a volunteer.

On the up side of this experience, I sold a lot of my cartoon art to the teachers I worked with. In those days at least,elementary school teachers were obsessed with teacher arts and crafts. They probably still are. Anything with apples, rulers, desks, or blackboards was snatched up immediately.

Last night my daughter was browsing through my bin of paintings, looking for a gift for her friend who is a new teacher this year. It got me to thinking back about that subject for art,and I am goiing to do some more teacher oriented cartoons.

I don’t know about you but just about everything stimulates my imagination. The smallest thing will send me into a series of drawings, paintings or cartoons.

I remember as an artist right out of art school becoming obsessed with a song that was popular then called “Dog and Butterfly”. I don’t know who sang it. It was a woman. Anyhoo, I did a long series of drawings with dogs and butterflies because of her influence.

That is the beauty of the ADD personality. We are constantly bombarded with ideas. I can’t imagine why artists say to me, “I can’t think of what I want to paint.”

Given that, it is also important to understand that you must have a brand name for certain subjects and do a consistent body of work for that subject. I never forget for a moment that I am a landscape painter. All of the other fun things I do with my art must be second fiddle to the landscape. I market them too but my main marketing focus must be landscape. I don’t want anyone to think that you can go off willy nilly and market everything you do jumbled together. It will not work and will confuse jurists, and patrons alike. My cartooning is a separate body of work and is marketed to a different audience.

One of the reasons I decided to do this blog is that I wanted to be able to talk about all of my art, my stories of survival as a young artist and my experiences as a professional artist. I have to keep my web site profesional and focused on my landscape work. Here, I can talk about lots of things.

Today’s Recipe

Chicken Perlow- That is not the correct spelling but how we pronounce it.

This is my Grandma’s recipe. I used to come home from school and smell this cooking on the stove. Heavenly. She and I watched soap operas together each day. I loved them and still do, though I don’t have time to watch them anymore. :>( Her other classic was banana pudding.

Brown one fryer, cut into pieces

Cut up 1/3 lb. of bacon and fry slowly in a big skillet.

While it fries cut 3 sweet onions in small pieces.

Remove 1/2 of bacon and set aside.

Cook onion, remainder of bacon and 1 diced tomato.

Add one finely chopped red sweet pepper

2 stalks celery diced

Add the browned chicken pieces and cook about 3 or 4 min.

Add enough water to the mixture to equal 3 1/2 cups. Put in a big cooking pot and bring to a boil. When it boils add two cups of raw good quality rice.

Lower heat to low, cover it and cook about 20 or so min.

Fluff rice.

Salt to taste.

Serves 4-6.

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Our Fond Memories

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I was thinking today about my youth. Back in the day we all drank alcohol as if it were some kind of badge. I suppose kids do that now too. I had a friend who had a secret cabinet in her room. Her mom and dad played golf and traveled a lot so I would stay at her house quite a bit when we were in high school. We used to pilfer booze from the bar in the family room a bit at a time. We though ourselves to be quite the sophisticates. We used to make fake martinis with gin and 7-Up ( I shudder to think of it now, What a combination!!!) We would drink and lay under the dining room table and listen to Simon and Garfunkle records. Why I remember that I can’t imagine, but I remember it with fondness. A few months ago I heard from my long lost friend. She lives in Florida and we caught up on many happy memories together. I wonder why we don’t realize what a good memory we will have when we are creating it?

I still enjoy a nice Martini, but these days I prefer the traditional recipe. I see that a lot of restaurants are making fake martinis with fruit flavors and odd ingredients now. I think they appeal to college kids and such. So the traditions of youth are recycled every generation or so. Of course each generation thinks they have invented the world which is pretty amusing too.

Traditional Martini

1 1/2 oz Gin
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth
Ice
Stir gin and vermouth with ice cubes in mixing glass. Strain into a glass. Serve with an olive.

For a dry Martini use less vermouth.

For an extra dry martini, use no vermouth :>)

Food and Art

I was also thinking today about how much food and cooking influence art. Almost all of the great artists throughout time have used food or edible objects in their art. Cezanne and Wayne Thiebaud come to mind. I used to love Wayne’s bakery paintings. I have used cooking and food items in my cartoons since I can remember. just look at all the cookbooks which have food illustrations in them. A wonderful match!!


Today’s Recipe

Taco Casserole

1 pound of meat with taco seasoning ( follow directions on the package of seasoning)

2 cups shredded cheddar jack cheese

1 2 fresh diced tomatoes

1 bell pepper diced

1 small onion diced

8 soft flour tortillas

1/2 jar of salsa

1 can re fried beans

Sour cream for garnish

Spray a deep baking pan with Pam or grease with olive oil.Lay a row of tortillas on the bottom.Top with meat mixture. Top with re fried beans mixed with the salsa. Saute peppers, onions and tomatoes until just starting to caramelize. Spread over the pan evenly. Top with cheddar jack cheese evenly. Brush remaining tortillas with olive oil and lay evenly on top of the cheese, oil side up. Bake at 400 degrees until bubbly hot and the tortillas are light brown and crisp on top. Cut into servings with a knife and top with a garnish of sour cream.

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Final Version

Teacher Art - image  on https://lindablondheim.com Here is the final version of Orange Lake. I think it is very harmonious and subtle. I hope you like it.

A New Member of Linda Blondheim Art Studio

At last I have a real studio assistant. For years I have hired high school/college kids to work for me, but they don’t work and they don’t stay long. I had gotten so frustrated that I gave up. Now I have a real assistant and I couldn’t be happier. Her name is Valerie D’Ortona from Gainesville, Florida.

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She is the creator of the Isobel’s World cartoon character. I met her a few yeas ago and I bought my daughter one of her paintings last year. Isobel is a cow who has various relatives and adventures. Very charming indeed.

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Valerie has agreed to work for me part time and I’m thrilled. You will see her at my studio parties, workshops and the paint out events I attend. She has a PH.D in English? Anyhoo, she is a professor at one of the colleges and is one smart lady. She is a writer and editor too, so I thnk my press releases are going to improve rapidly :>) She will soon become indispensable for me.

Using References Successfully

I suggested on my other blog that you should take advantage of free reference materials. There are lots of public domain photographs on sites like Flickr and Google Images. I use them all the time, not just for beautiful places to see and paint but for things like learning what parts and pieces of animals, birds, humans, trees and other objects look like. I use them a lot for commission work as well.

I am definitely a visual learner, meaning I learn best by studying what things look like and by reading. Collecting these reference photos really help me with tough things like pig’s feet, walking feet and animals I’m not familiar with.

The other great thing about these image sites, is that they allow me to study a new place I may be going to. It gives me an idea of what to expect. For example, before I went to teach at the John C Campbell Folk School, I did image searches of Western North Carolina and read a lot about that area to prepare myself. It helped me to decide what palette colors to use there.

One of the great reasons to travel to Florida’s Panhandle is the wonderful seafood there. I spent two days painting on the back deck at Steamers, a terrific fresh seafood restaurant on US 98 in Apalachicola with my friend Mary Jane Volkmann. The owners were absolutely wonderful. The treated us like royalty. Here is the view from their deck in one of my paintings.

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They had a second story of apartments over the restaurant where they live. Wow! What a way to wake up each morning. I hope to go back there to paint again when the weather cools off.

Their steamed shrimp is the best I’ve had in years. The size of small lobsters and seasoned with just a bit of spice and drawn butter!! Sooo good!! The hush puppies were the ones I remembered from my childhood, eating at back yard fish fries. They were so good we asked for seconds. Eating the fresh seafood and watching oyster boats come and go, and even playful Dolphins, made our painting experience memorable. You can see why art and food are so much a part of my life. What great memories and experiences I am blessed with.

Today’s Recipe

1 cup sour cream
1 cup cream cheese
2 T mayo
1 T dried onion flakes
1/4 tsp garlic salt
cracked black pepper
4-6 dashes of hot sauce
1 pound crab meat or imitation crab
You can add a tsp of old bay seasoning too(Optional)

Mix it all up and refrigerate for a few hours, covered

Serve with toasted bagel chips, french bread rounds, garlic toast or crackers.

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Art Pin Camp

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How is this for producing art? We worked out selves from 9 AM- 5 PM with just a short break for lunch. I can’t remember the last time I had this much fun at a workshop. What a creative group. No teaching here. They put me to shame. I sat in the corner with my dunce cap on, looking at other’s work with envy. We were rockin and rollin with ideas for pens. They ran the gamut from landscapes, florals animals,and design concepts, to abstracts. Some were goofy and funky, some were extremely elegant and classy. We really had a great time. I want to do this again in 2008.

I got to telling restaurant kitchen stories at lunch, and swapping stories with others. I once worked in an International kitchen. We had an Irish head chef with red hair and a temper to match. We had a sous chef from Puerto Rico via the Bronx in New York City. Our salad girls were from Thailand, our pot washer from Haiti, and I rounded out the kitchen as the only native of Florida.

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All of them carried switch blades and they were not afraid of anything. I always felt safe with them because they looked after me. In those days, the restaurant business was very rough. There were always fights out in the back parking lot, because there were several restaurants on that strip. Most of the cooks I knew were alcoholics or used amphetamines. The hours were long and they succumbed to the boredom and fatigue I guess. I was lucky enough to avoid those fates. I knew I had a plan to be a full time artist and so I had more positive things to hope for.

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Today’s Recipe

Carrot Cake

6 cups flour
6 cups sugar
2 tsp salt
2 T cinnamon
2 T baking soda
1 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup coconut
8 eggs well beaten
2 T vanilla
3 cups canola oil
2 2/3 cups carrots
1 diced pineapple

Mix dry ingredients, mix wet ingredients. Combine both, add carrots and pineapple.

Evenly distribute in floured cake pans. I like to cut a round of wax paper to put in the bottom of the pan before flouring.

Bake at 300 degrees until knife inserted comes out clean. Turn out onto racks to cool.

I like to torte the layers before frosting so that they are thin. I sprinkle th cake layers with a bit of rum before ading the frosting. Yummy!!!

I use cream cheese frosting for my red velvet and carrot cakes. I also like to freeze my cake layers after baking. It really sets the texture nicely and they frost very nicely after thawing a bit.

Cream Cheese Frosting

16 oz cream cheese
2 tsp good vnilla
2 boxes 10x sugar

Beat until smooth

I like to add a bit of lemon or lime zest to my CCF.

A Day Of Fun

I’m going to have a huge day of fun today!! I am having an art pin making workshop. We have all kinds of goodies to play with, thanks to my sponsor http://www.chartpak.com/. They have generously donated all the pens, markers and pencils for this day of fun.

Teacher Art - image  on https://lindablondheim.com This table has mat board scraps donated by Valerie Druga at High Springs Gallery, sequins, bling, and my button collection.

Teacher Art - image  on https://lindablondheim.com Here is my gluing station. I like to use my kids old lunch boxes for projects like this. I have glitter glue too. Wow!!!

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Here is the marker /colored pencil station. You can tell I am having fun here.

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The most important station is the coffee pot of course. We will have muffins, juice and coffee for breakfast and break for lunch with a great taco bar,bean dip and lemon drop cakes. I’ve been busy in the kitchen preparing for this.

Anyone who takes my art camps at my studio knows that the real reason to come is the food and fun!!

I started combining meals and art at these camps a few years ago because they are so much fun and it allows me to use my catering exprience once again. I sometimes miss my catering career.

Here are a couple of samples from my own art pin collection

Teacher Art - image  on https://lindablondheim.com

Teacher Art - image  on https://lindablondheim.com

They are so much fun to do that I decided it might be nice to do some small miniature drawings too. Her is one I have on Ebay right now.

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I did so much painting in June and July that I feel I deserve a bit of fun too.

Today’s Recipe

This is the bean dip I make for studio parties and taco parties.

2 cans refried beans or 1 pound mashed black or pinto beans

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup mayo

1 cup shredded cheddar or jack cheese

1 can sliced black olives (optional)

1 package taco seasoning mix

1 small diced onion or green onions sliced

1 fresh chopped tomato

1 bell pepper diced

Mix it all up and serve with corn chips or scoops. Garnish with a few of the diced vegetables for color.