Save Frames Notes
Save Frames Notes
Calendar Use Notes
Calendar use means a lot more than checking the date and writing appointments on your calendar. I use several different calendars at my desk. I like the one page for each month print out calendars. I print them on card stock so they wear well, and use the back of each month for notes after they are finished.
I use one as an editorial calendar for my blog posts. This is beyond helpful as it keeps me on track throughout the year. When I have an idea for a post, I write it on the editorial calendar for the date I want to post it. When I get a moment to flesh it out into a blog, I schedule the post for that date. I usually run about 2 months ahead of postings. With this calendar, I never sit at my computer to write a blog post with no idea what to write about. My mind is like a sponge, excited about everything and I love to learn about all kinds of random stuff, so the ideas are constantly whirling around my mind. I’ve never been bored a day in my life. I keep a filing cabinet in my head, back in the dusty attic of my brain. When I have nothing to do but wait on activities, I pull those drawers open and flip through the files.
I also use a marketing calendar, equally helpful to business. I use it for projects I am interested in, like studio party planning, tea party dates for collectors, meetings with my assistant Carolyn, whom I could not party without, goals both short and long term, promotion dates and times for my studio and the all important social media updates. I really need to work on that one. it is all so overwhelming. There are actual companies who handle social media for artists, and I have considered that, though have not as yet made that leap. I am such a control freak that I have difficulty turning anything about my career over to others. I need to overcome that. In my perfect world, I have a full time business assistant, studio assistant, and web guy to handle all of those chores. Throw in a yard/car person, a maid and cook as well. Were I to become wealthy, staff would be where I would invest. I digress!
My other calendar is what most people use, for the dentist, play dates with my family, and ordinary life events. Using separate calendars for different uses seems to sort it all out for me. Some things overlap but having the big picture in front of me helps me manage my days, weeks and months.
Lastly, I create a To Do list each Sunday night for the following week. I find that to be the most useful of all my scheduling ideas. It is a mix of have to do items for the week ahead. I need this to stay on task and to function. I find this short list of about 10 items doable, rather than thinking too far ahead, which becomes overwhelming. All of these combinations keep me centered and ready to go.
I have a friend who uses and interesting system with post it notes. She made a three part bendable foam core board. it sit up like kids use in a science project. The first board is the to do post it notes. The second board is the in progress board. The third board is the completed board, which gives her a sense of satisfaction that she is making progress. It is basically a tactile visual aid rather than writing lists. She moves the post it notes from board to board and then trashes the finished ones as a new one moves to the next board. She swears by this system.
Whatever your system, calendars are a lot more useful than many people realize. For artists, who are dingbats like me, they are essential!
More musings for artists and collectors to come…..
Drawing Adventure Notes
My newest drawing adventure started in late December 2018. I visited my sister and her family in Alabama. My great nephew is becoming a good drawing student. The two of us had the opportunity to get out into a nature park together to draw a tree. It sparked a renewed interest in drawing for me. I had been a drawing major in art school and drew as a medium for a few years after art school. I soon was persuaded to take up painting to improve my sales and have been a long time painter. In those days, nobody made any money off drawing. I think that has now changed.
I have been doing a series of 4×6 inch drawings for about four months now and many sell. I am starting to see some improvement in technique as I practice daily. I have far to go to get back the technique that I felt was natural for me back in younger days. RA has damages my fingers a bit and I have occasional tremors in my hands, but the muscle memory is gradually improving.
I have been experimenting with a variety of brands of graphite pencils. There are differences in quality to be sure. As a painter, I’ve always been fond of a full range of values from the darkest to lightest possibilities. I think that probably comes from my past as a drawer. In fact, that only occurred to me recently, which emphasizes the true importance of graphite drawing as a support for painting well. Drawing is where we learn to use values successfully because we cannot use the crutch of color.
I find that I enjoy graphite the most, of all drawing materials. I sometimes use colored pencils to tint the drawing wth pale color, but I don’t really like colored pencil very much. I believe it is the waxy feel of them. That is not to say that colored pencil cannot be spectacular in experienced hands. My old friend Jeffrey Smart Baisden is a master of that medium. I’m not fond of charcoal either. It is messy.
I have been thinking of taking a graphite pencil workshop again and have that as a future goal. Old dogs can learn new tricks. As many of you know I am an individualist soul and don’t take much to popular trends. One of the biggest trends I see in pencil work is the idea that pencil should be very smooth, not showing hatching or individual strokes. I don’t really care for that. I like to see cross hatching and strokes in the work. One of my professors in art school did very rough work that gradually refined itself to the point of interest in his drawings and I loved his drawings. The were full of energy and movement, yet very refined in areas, so that you knew he was a master at his craft. I would aspire to that brilliance. Many of the pencil drawings I see, have a static overrefined finish where everything looks smooth and flat. I am much to chaotic to enjoy that. Somewhere in between rough and refined is my goal.
I hope within a year to have gained back much of my ability of the past and to begin to do larger, more complex drawings to add to my body of work. in the mean time, i cherish all of my papers, pencils and my new drawing table each afternoon while I pursue the arcane art of drawing.
More musings for artists and collectors to come….
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup white wine
Juice of 1 lemon
1 (14-oz) can quartered artichoke hearts (drained)
1/3 cup julienne-cut sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Why Teach Notes
An artist asked me to talk about why to teach for a bit.
The first reason is of course, money. Many of the big named painters teach constantly. Many of them have to, to survive. They have priced themselves out of the market and can’t sell anymore. It’s a bad position to be in. They are making a living off DVD’s,Books, and teaching. That has become their primary business and painting is secondary. It looks glamorous to other painters with trips to Europe and Spain, and other exotic places, but in reality, I want no part of that. It is grinding work, with little time to grow as a painter. It is also very easy to get caught up in the money angle and become completely dependent on teaching rather than painting.
I know several painters who teach 3-5 classes a week and their whole life revolves around selling supplies and teaching. Most of their sales are going to their students, which is good, but that is a low end income stream. They are locked into the routine and have no time to pursue other marketing possibilities. They must also constantly recruit students as others fall off.
The same happens for full time workshop teachers. Endless workshops, travel, and little time to paint for themselves.
Another reason to teach is to grow in stature. Many painters want to build a name for themselves. When the word gets around that you are a good teacher, your name recognition goes up considerably. Unfortunately, that is mostly among other artists, not collectors. You see there are two separate paths to recognition for painters. One is through collections, galleries, museum shows, the other through other artists and the art community, by teaching. I believe the biggest mistake new painters make is in not understanding this. They pour all of their efforts into belonging to the arts community, gaining acceptance and recognition from other artists and their “betters” in the artist pecking order, and ignore the collectors community, which is the real world. Somehow they believe that becoming accepted and recognised in the arts community will launch their career. Truthfully, artsy folk are far less likely to buy our art than the doctor, engineer, lawyer, or farmer, down the street.
Now we come to the main reason I teach and write this blog. I don’t teach a lot anymore, 2 or 3 one day workshops a year and one day a month for my regular students.
I like research and Development a lot. It helps me to grow as a painter. I like to study painting, reading pages and pages of technical info about paints,mediums,brushes,supports. I develop exercises which I give to myself and my students at workshops. I do the exercises regularly myself. All of this work is important to good teaching and frankly, there are few painters who are willing to work that hard to teach. Some of my students ask me why I’m teaching college level art techniques for so little money?
I could never be a full time teacher or workshop teacher because I don’t work hard at the business end of it. I don’t charge much, and I give away way too much in materials and knowledge. I’m a painter, not a teacher. The teaching I do is to spread knowledge to others and to help them achieve their top performance.
Teaching should be fun! Full of joy and anticipation. Don’t teach if you don’t feel that sense of wonder and satisfaction. There are many easier ways to make money. You have a huge responsibility to the students you teach. It is to be taken seriously. They have saved their money to give you and should get something out of it besides an ego trip for you. Know your subject and what you are talking about. Do your research. Know that students learn in several ways. Some learn by reading, some by watching, some by hearing. Give them a variety of ways to learn and be genuine. There are far too many workshop teachers who show up, do demos and then stand around while you are painting. You learn nothing for all the money you have spent. Be a real teacher and invest in your students.
You can see that there area variety of reasons to teach and many not to. If you plan to teach seriously, I suggest that you be far more diligent than I am about the business side of it. Invest in supplies to sell to students including framing, paints, brushes and so forth. Have paintings with you to sell. (I often forget that.) Produce a few DVD’s to sell. Actually make some money off teaching! :>)
One of my favorites and beloved by all who live in the South
3/4 c self rising white corn meal
1/4 c flour
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 T sugar
2 T chopped onion
Mix it all up and drop in hot oil. They will rise to the top when done.
Bird Fun Notes
I am having so much bird fun these days. My interest in painting little birds started in summer, two years ago. Someone asked me if I would paint a bird. I thought, why not? Might as well learn something new! I worked with oils that summer, doing a series of little birds on canvas panel. I think all but three of those have been sold.
In January 2019, I began drawing again. It was natural to include birds and Drawing birds has helped me to learn more about their anatomy and wing structure. My birds tend to be quite primitive and stylistic. They are certainly not fine art, but rather fun art.
i am a serious landscape and tree painter, striving to be the best in that genre that I can possibly be. It takes serious discipline and much research and effort to excel as a professional painter. I also believe it is important to play as a painter and have fun. My bird drawings and paintings give me a great amount of pleasure and take me out of the landscape to play with art. Most of the birdies are goofy, but they are whimsical and bring a smile, so needed in our stressful world.
I recently discovered a company who makes marvelous square, cradled wood panels in any size I want for my bird paintings. They will hang or sit upright on a shelf or desk. Thank you Sunbelt Manufacturing for making these beautiful panels. I’ve been using their 6×6 panels for my nest paintings and 4×4 inch for the little birds. The perfect size for fun bird paintings.
More musings for artists and collectors to come….
1 head cauliflower
1 (15-oz) jar Alfredo sauce
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
pinch of thyme
pinch of chopped parsley
splash of white wine
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Acrylics Mode Notes
I turned to acrylics in October of 2018, putting my oils away for a spell. I had my Hot Dog party that month and wanted to clean up the studio for the party. Acrylics are cleaner, easier to use, less expensive, and not smelly. I decided to go along for awhile with acrylics and see what I could do.
I’ve had a long love/hate history with acrylics. I’ve been an oil painter since I was 13 years old. I started painting with acrylics at about 40, so I’ve been at the easel with them for 28 years. The first 10 years were a disaster. I hated them so much. I would use them for a month and then put them away. At the time, I tried to use them like oils and it was not pretty, and very frustrating. I didn’t give up. I kept trying on and off. About ten years ago, I spent a whole year learning how to use them. Then I went to using both mediums at two stations in the studio, which worked well.
I found that oddly, using two or more mediums seemed to cross over from one to the other in terms of technique sharing. I added casein to my mediums as well. I learned a lot about glazing and making seamless paintings between mediums. My oils and acrylics look entirely seamless most of the time now. Most people cannot tell the difference between the two when they view my paintings.
The biggest problem I see for landscape painters is a built in prejudice biased against acrylics and for oils. Back in my days at Paint Outs, painters shunned acrylics and painters who used them. I had spent a good year of studying acrylics before the paint out season. I took acrylics to a paint out, saying nothing to others. When the paintings were turned in, I told others that they were acrylics. They didn’t believe me. I see this silly attitude all the time from landscape painters. I know a woman artist who did beautiful acrylics. She joined one of the hoity toity painting groups and within a year, had switched over to oils. I’m sure she caved into the attitude of the group, as she had been a very successful acrylic painter for many years. Her acrylic work was far superior to her oil work. The abstract community does not seem to have this silly attitude, which I’m happy to note. To me, all mediums are genuine with superior skills. Luckily, I’m one of those stubborn people who don’t let others dictate how I paint and with which medium. They don’t pay my bills, so I don’t care what they think.
I think I have reached a new level with acrylics this time. I am feeling comfortable with them at last. I am sure I will go back to my lovely oils again at some point. I will wake up one day and decide it is time to bring them out. I will probably go back to using three mediums again. I don’t know when. It will be time to learn new things with my oils.
More musings for artists and collectors to come….
Sun Dried Tomato Bread
1/2 jar sun dried tomatoes
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup honey
1/2 tsp basil
1 T salt
3 T yeast
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup whole wheat flour
5 cups bread flour
2 cups warm water
1 cup half & half
Combine warm water,yeast, honey and let ferment about 5 minutes. Add all ingredients with salt last. use dough hook in mixer or knead by hand until dough is elastic and mixed thoroughly. You may need to add a bit more flour.
Place in greased bowl until dough rises to top. Punch down and knead again. Separate into loaves and place in greased loaf pans. Allow to rise again and gently place in 350 degree oven. Bake until loaves are brown and check bottom to see that it is brown too. Turn out onto cooling racks and let sit until completely cool. Freeze extra loaves.