Know Yourself

know

Know Yourself  Notes

Know yourself as a painter. You will be more confident and better at your craft if you understand what you paint well and what you don’t paint well. I am legally blind in one eye and so my perspective is not as well developed for painting architecture and various hardscapes that some painters love to paint. I can paint basic architecture and have done a few house portraits, but my handicap allows me to be a much better land and tree painter.

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I know what I can paint well and it is a good thing that the natural world is my favorite subject. I don’t need to be a great boat painter or building painter to have a successful career. I have no interest in street scenes. I have made the right choice of my career, overcoming my obstacles.

My collectors love the natural world too. I have found the right market for my work. I have focused on people who love nature. My collectors know what I focus on. They know where to find trees, farms, ranches, rivers, flowers,streams and occasionally the sea and coastal scenes.

I don’t try to be all painting styles to fit all people’s desires. I don’t jump on the latest style or subject. I know what I paint well, and try to strive to improve my craft every day. I might wander around through my subjects with new palettes, a more abstract approach, always trying to stay fresh and new, but I know what I paint well and adore.

Painting Clouds Tutorial PDF-20.00

There really does need to be a trust and faith between collector and painter. The collector must like the style and be familiar with a larger body of work from the painter, and then trust the painter to fulfill their vision.
The most successful partnerships for me have been with collectors who want landscape paintings and who like my body of work as a unit. I have painfully learned not to let people talk me into doing their child or their horse, etc. I am not a portrait painter and it never works out well. I have learned to be selective about the subjects I will paint. Painting landscapes, seascapes, rivers, farms, ranches, flowers, gardens, and trees gives me confidence that I can complete paintings that will appeal to my market of collectors. It is important to have a thorough understanding and skills to paint a subject well. Painting what you know to sell is smart. if you love what you paint and paint it well, you will never be bored and never have enough time to paint all that you love. This is a happy formula for a painting career

More musings for artists and collectors to come…..

Today’s Recipe

Linda’s Easy Spaghetti Casserole

I like to use meatballs in my casserole but meat sauce is fine.

1 pound ground round

tsp of oregano leaves

tsp of parsley

1 egg

1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

salt/pepper

small diced onion

1 celery stalk diced

2 cloves minced garlic

Mix it all up and make into small meatballs. I bake them on a sheet pan for 30 minutes.

Cook one box of spaghetti in water with a bit of salt. Cook until tender but al dente. Drain.

I use a large pyrex rectangular pan. Spray with Pam, Separate spaghetti in half. Line the bottom of pan with one layer of pasta. Top with jar spaghetti sauce evenly. Top with grated Parmesan cheese evenly. Put the next layer of pasta and repeat with sauce and cheese. Top with meatballs, then sauce, then cheese again. Cover and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes. Serve with salad, it will feed 5 to 6 people. You can also add ricotta cheese in the layers or mozzarella.

 

Objects Paint Recipes

objects paint recipes

Objects Paint Recipes

Objects often have a set of often used recipes in my painting palette. For example, I might have favorite formulas for painting clouds, water both sea and freshwater, certain flowers, and so forth. It is a swell idea to make recipes for these objects, so that you can easily refer to them, rather than trying to chart them each time or worse, to guess. Cooks use recipes and so should painters.

Palm Trees Tutorial PDF

I might have a dozen different recipes for clouds, depending on the time of day, the direction of the sun, what mood I might want them to portray, or alternating weather conditions.  Then there are trees, my favorite subject. Each species has a different green in canopy, changing seasons, trunk and limb color, color temperature and specific to species, characteristics of colors.

Water has endless color combinations, as do grasses, and marshes. I once spent an entire year studying grasses and it was worth the time and effort. Now painting marshes and grasses are a pleasure rather than a frustration.

I have found that painting with florals requires a different recipe approach in that the colors must be more pure and intense, requiring some tube colors that don’t come easy by mixing. The beauty of florals depends entirely on crisp clean color and light. They require more specific recipes, at least for me.

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There is more than one way to keep and create these  objects paint recipes. Sometimes I simply put them on a PDF document that can be printed out as a whole or by page. The recipes can also be printed on index cards or even written by hand. You can also put them in your chart book so that all your color mixing information is in one place.

I start by listing objects that I paint frequently, on paper. Then I begin my paint recipe for each variation of objects. This can be a methodical process, taking forever or you can approach the task while painting. If you are painting a tree, keep a note pad and pen with you. List the paints you are using for the pine tree, first the trunk colors and then the canopy colors. Later you can organize the paints with notes on your recipe card or at your desk with the PDF. Since there are endless objects to paint, I would take the one at a time approach, so that you actually have time to paint rather than spending hours at your desk.

You can make this objects painting recipes project as long or short as you like. Perhaps you will only want a few, often used recipes to help you remember your favorite subjects. Keep it simple or make it advanced. Whatever works for you. Having painting recipes is a great idea.

More musing for artists and collectors to come….

Today’s Recipe

Chocolate Crackers

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and place saltine crackers, edge to edge, covering the pan completely.

Melt semi sweet chocolate chips in the microwave and pour over the crackers. Spread with a flat spatula. Let cool.

Drizzle white chocolate over the dark and let cool. Carefully separate the crackers by snapping the edges apart. Decorate with fresh blueberries. This is a super easy party dessert, and the crisp salty cracker is great with chocolate.

 

Referral Team

referral

Referral Team Notes

 

I’ve been gradually building a referral team on Facebook. It was purely accidental at first. I showed paintings, a few people shared them. I always thanked them for doing this for me. It is extraordinarily kind. Little by little, more people began to share my paintings and they have been increasing gradually over the last few months. I have gone from one person on my referral team to about 25.

Linda’s Etsy Miniature Paintings

I do think that my referrers on Facebook have helped me to promote my work quite well, so I am focusing on that for the time being.

I have decided it is time to thank these kind folk who share my work. I’ve asked them to send me their postal address for my files, and I am sending them a nice little 8×10 painting as a reward for their kindness. I did not ask them t help. They have done this on their own and so they deserve my sincere thanks.

This referral team has grown organically, with no effort on my part, other than thanking them each time they share a post. It is amazing how kind perfect strangers can be to an artist. Sometimes the best marketing plans happen organically rather than with tons of planning and effort. I have made many new friends with this referral team that has built itself over time. I’m giving some thought to this team and figuring out how I might build it further with my newsletter, in person with visitors to my studio, and expanding it to other social media. I don’t want it to become some kind of phony calculated process. I  find the charm in that it grew on its own steam.

Cloud Painting Tutorial- PDF

The point is that when a marketing opportunity arrives and grows, it is important to pay attention and help it grow in a positive way. Never forget the people who made it possible and reward them in some way. If you can’t give them paintings, at least send them a thank you card.

More musings for artist and collectors to come..

 

Today’s Recipe

 

Chili Mac

lb lean ground beef

cooking spray

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup frozen seasoning blend (diced onions, celery, bell peppers)
4 cups unsalted chicken stock (or broth)
1 (16-oz) jar medium thick & chunky salsa
1 can reduced-sodium red kidney beans (15–16 oz), drained
1 (1.25-oz) packet chili seasoning mix
8 oz elbow macaroni
2 oz pasteurized processed bar cheese
1 (8-oz) can no-salt-added tomato sauce

  1. Preheat large stockpot on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Coat beef with spray and season with salt, then place in stockpot; cook 3–4 minutes, stirring to crumble meat.
  2. Stir in seasoning blend; cook 2 more minutes and until no pink remains in meat. Stir in broth, salsa, beans, and seasoning mix; bring to a boil.
  3. Stir in pasta; cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cut cheese into small cubes. Stir in tomato sauce; cook 1 more minute. Serve chili with cheese.

Odd Trend

odd trend

Odd Trend Notes

I’ve noticed an odd trend in landscape painting over the last 10 years. Fewer and fewer landscape painters are actually painting the landscape anymore. I see endless paintings of cars, old trucks, architecture in all forms, highways, boats, marinas and street scenes, portraits and figures, now called landscape painting. There are fewer and fewer paintings of the land. I belong to a couple of painting associations for landscape painters. They take trips around to different areas to paint together. Sometimes they send out photos of a place they will be going to. The photos are all man made locations, houses, street scenes downtown, cars and such. One of the groups is in Alabama. My daughter went to college in Alabama and I used to paint there frequently. I can say that Alabama has very beautiful landscape scenic views, many farms and agricultural fields, and mountain areas in the north part of the state. I have found many beautiful scenes there to paint. Why on earth do they choose locations in cities?

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I know about 2 real tree painters, and a couple of marsh painters, and almost no agricultural painters other than myself. We can all paint what we like of course, but it seems very odd to me that there are so few of us who want to paint the natural world. The most frequent comment I get about my work from collectors and studio visitors is that it is so nice to see paintings of the real, natural landscape. This is probably a good trend for me because it gives me less competition for collectors who still love land and trees. Most of the comments I get from my readers is a joy about the stories I tell about being out in the woods, nature, critters and my dog. There are still many collectors who love land, sea, rivers and farms.

Linda’s Etsy Shop Miniatures

As our society becomes more urban, I fear we are losing our direct relationship with nature and the land. People don’t really know what happens on farms, in the woods, how our produce is grown. They think everything comes from their favorite grocery store. I think the best gift we can give our children and grandchildren are annual passes to nature and state parks, not Disney World. I buy my grandson Ike a family state park pass for his birthday each year. That is a great investment in his future.  I’m happy to know that sustainable farming is quite popular in my part of Florida. There are many small farms and cattle ranches in this area and I love them all.

More musings for artists and collectors to come….

 

 

Today’s Recipe:

Chocolate Ganache

This can be used as a pourable icing for cakes or refrigerated and put through a pastry tube as decoration.

1 8  oz package of semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup heavy cream

1 T butter

1 T rum or coffee liqueur

1 tsp vanilla

Pour chocolate chips into a large bowl

Heat cream with butter, add other flavorings.

Pour over chocolate and cover with plastic. Wait five minutes, stir well until it forms a chocolate soft frosting. Pour over cake or refrigerate and use in pastry tube. I spread over the cake while warm and then use the rest to decorate. I like to keep the cake in the fridge until a couple of minutes before serving.

 

Work Continues

work

Work Continues Notes

My work continues. I’ll start another painting on Monday. I seem to be planning them better than I used to. Sometimes I think having to be busy and do small paintings for awhile gives me a rest from the pressure of large paintings. I have been doing medium paintings for awhile and so will continue.
The only time I ever did paintings for long periods was at paint outs, where we are expected to do a fair number of paintings to sell. My normal work routine is to paint for a couple of hours at the most. I like to take breaks from the easel to do other studio chores, do computer work or run errands. I will work for about 2.5 hours in the studio and then do something else and come back to the easel, so I am really putting in 2-4 hours a day at painting and filling the rest of the day with other stuff. This really works very well for me. The thing is that I can do more in two hours than many artists do in two or three days. I’ve always been quite fast at painting.  I have learned to slow down some and work a bit longer on paintings but at a higher quality than I used to. I don’t really want to put pressure on myself anymore  so I don’t  start with huge expectations. I much prefer the process now and I am improving without the stress of paint outs.

Paint Recipes for Clouds-PDF 10.00

Adding acrylics as a medium  really slowed down my work considerably at first. It takes time to do quality acrylics. They are great for quick studies in small format, but if you are going to do serious work with them, it takes process and multiple stages. Oils are really much faster.work improves with them, the more potential I see with them in someday replacing my oils. I still like oils enough to use them about every four paintings, but my acrylic work is getting better than my oil work. I never thought I would be able to say that, ever!

Linda’s Etsy Shop Miniatures

 

Eventually they are going to be the medium of choice for many landscape painters, perhaps long in the future. I think oil painters resist them because they are so darned hard to learn. They don’t think that acrylic work can look like oils with the rich texture and brushwork, color, but they can. I’m not there yet, but I will be eventually. Now that companies like Old Holland, Golden and Winsor and Newton have stepped up with acrylics, the quality of color has risen substantially and they are comparable to oils if you know what you are doing with them. Many artists and patrons have told me that my acrylics are better now than my oils ever were, so if a knot head like me can use them successfully, imagine what a real painter could do. ;>) I have added casein to my mediums for my miniature paintings.

It is all about determination and practice with any medium, and the real desire to excel with a medium. I’ve never liked watercolor as a medium. I don’t like using them and I don’t like the way they look, even by pros. I know I would never be a good watercolor painter, not because I can’t learn them but because I don’t want to or like them. I do like using three mediums and plan to continue for some time, but if I had to choose right now, it would be acrylics. Next week it will be oils 😉 Back and forth in preference is typical for me.  I suggest that inexperienced painters try several mediums until they find the one that seems to fit well, then go for it and learn all you can with it.

More musings for artists and collectors to come…

Today’s  Recipe

Spicy Rice

3 oz andouille or smoked Cajun sausage (1 link)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup trinity mix (fresh diced onions, bell peppers, celery)
2 1/2 cups water
1 (8-oz) box reduced-sodium dirty rice mix
3 tablespoons diced pimientos

Steps
Cut sausage into small pieces (wash hands). Preheat medium saucepan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Place butter in pan and then add trinity mix; cook and stir 2–3 minutes or until tender.
Stir in remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover; simmer 20–25 minutes or until rice is tender.
Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and serve.

Valid Studio Work

highway

Valid Studio Work Notes

It’s time to stand up for valid studio landscape work. Over the last ten to 15 years, the plein air movement has virtually consumed the landscape art world. The plein air police monitor everyone’s landscape work, invalidating studio painters if not directly, by subtly inferring that plein air is the real legitimate landscape painting. Almost all calls to artists are now for plein air work and many of the formal exhibitions are only accepting plein air work. Plein air is the new “jam” as my daughters would say.

I’ve been a landscape painter for a long time. I co-founded Plein Air Florida, and hosted the first paint out in Florida. I consulted on all of the inaugural paint outs in Florida. I am not anti plein air by any means, as I’ve been an outdoor painter for about 30 years, long before it was called anything but painting outside here in Florida.

My point is to remind landscape painters that studio work is absolutely valid. Most of the well known stars of the plein air world do studio work. I can say with certainty that my studio work is far superior to my plein air work. Plein air painting is a study medium for me. The majority of my sales are studio work. I would starve if I made plein air work my main process.

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Studio work is absolutely the most valid landscape  work for me. I am a very analytical painter. Process and analysis are essential for my work. I spend a lot of time thinking about process and methods. Plein air work is too distracting for deep thinking. It is more intuitive for me. It is rare for me to do a significant plein air work.

My thought is, why do we have to have one or the other as more valid or legitimate than the other? They are a perfect marriage in my mind, of outdoor fun and study combined with studio methodical process.

I am dismayed that so many landscape  painters have marginalized studio work as inferior.  The current fad in painting of so called loose, painterly work as the way to paint, will change, as trends always do. There is room for both refined and painterly work, outdoor and studio work. Why marginalize any style of work? My advice is to respect many styles and art forms, not what is in style at any given time. Paint what you love, and don’t let anyone bully you into painting their way, just because it is popular.

One of my painting students admitted to me that she doesn’t like plein air painting after trying it. I respect her honesty and have told her there is no need to paint on site if she doesn’t wish to. I suspect there are more than a few painters who paint plein air because everybody else does.

I’ve always been an independent cuss. When plein air paint outs started to crop up everywhere, I stopped doing paint outs. I prefer to paint when and where I please. I don’t really enjoy being part of the crowd. It’s ok to be both a studio and plein air painter or one or the other. They are both valid. Let’s all paint and have fun!

More musings for artists and collectors to come…..

Southern Artist

southern

Southern Artist Notes

Many of you know that I was born and raised a southern artist. I was thinking the other day about how different regions can be culturally. In a southern home, hospitality is always expected. Whenever a person drops by to visit, refreshments are served. Even if they show up at supper time, they are always included for dinner. I remember as a teenager, going out the back door of the house to the store for food because someone dropped in unexpectedly for a meal. Mother would quietly slip money to me and send me out the door, all the while telling our guests that there is more than enough for dinner and how happy she was to include them.

Of course when illness or death comes to a neighbor or friend, everyone brings food or groceries. That is the first thing to be done. You would be surprised at how important that ritual is. I will remember to the day I die, that my next door neighbor fried up a huge platter of chicken for us when Daddy died. That was the most comforting thing for us during the whole ordeal. That was 30 years ago but I still remember it well.  My friend Sarah came out with a big chicken and all the trimmings from Publix when my Mother died a few years ago. These days I am more inclined to have dinner delivered to friends, due to time restraints.

Whenever I have a studio guest coming, I always prepare a snack and cool drinks or coffee and cake. It would simply be bad form not to. It was shocking to me to learn that many people from other regions of the USA do not do that. I had a couple of artists laugh at me for preparing refreshments for studio visits. They said it would never occur to anyone in New York City to do that.

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That’s not to say that all southern artists are warm and friendly, some are not. Southern artists tend to be clickish. They want to hang out with their own group, ignoring those who don’t fit in. Sororities, fraternities, football fans all tend toward their own exclusivity here in the south. I remember it being particularly painful in high school, being one of the few serious artists in my school. In those days there were no magnet schools for artistic kids. We were considered to be weird nerds. We really didn’t belong to any of the cool groups, and hadn’t the interest to form any.

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To this day, we have the cool artists, those who don’t fit in the group, and  those ostracized by others. I suppose this happens in every culture and region, but I really see it here. Southern people are often considered to be dumb by the large metro areas of the north and west. I suppose it is our accent, slow and lovely to my ears. We are not considered to be a hot art area, full of innovation. We have other assets, including beautiful land, water and sky. I’m glad I live in the south. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else as a painter.

Southern artists have a unique cultural opportunity. We landscape painters here enjoy relationships with southern farmers, ranchers, citrus growers, the backwater swamps, rivers and the sea. We love the uplands, pines and live oaks, and the prairies. We enjoy regional cuisine, key lime pie, bounty from our seas, and the gifts of long friendships. Summers are slow, brutally hot or raining. The jungle tries to take back the land and we do our best to beat it back into the swamps. In winter we have amazing colors in the fields and we can be out painting all winter long. The bugs and humidity abate. Our fall and Spring are but a blink of an eye, giving us great beauty for a moment. It is a good life for artists.

More musings for artists and collectors to come……

Today’s Recipe

Spiced Nuts

Ingredients

1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup walnut halves
1 cup pecans halves
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Steps

  1. Place honey, oil, and 1 tablespoon water over medium in a large nonstick sauté pan. Add nuts; toss to coat.
  2. Sprinkle with sugar, salt, cumin, coriander, and cayenne. Cook 2–3 minutes, tossing and stirring or until the nuts are well coated and lightly browned.

 

Professional Art Careers

professional artist career
Professional Art Careers Notes
 Professional art careers may or may not be for you. I get a lot of comments and emails from painters who have a “day job” as well as a painting career. They are anxious to leave their day job and paint full time. First of all, being a full time professional artist is not about freedom and standing in front of the easel all day with joy. It is damn hard work! I work 7 days a week. I run two studios, have last minute commissions, commissions that go awry because I don’t understand what the client wants and they cannot articulate their desire properly, huge paintings that must be completed practically overnight for art consultants, direct mail marketing campaigns, web site upkeep, a newsletter that must be sent out each week, endless travel, endless studio parties, and endless promotion. Then I must paint every day to learn skill and technique.
 The pressure of making a living as a professional artist is far different than working as an artist part time. The bills must be payed on time and most art sales are made during a short window of the year. Summer produces almost no sales, so I must manage my income carefully to stretch it through slow months. Being a full time artist with no other income stream takes enormous self discipline. There are few sick days allowed and forget about a vacation!! I paint about 300 paintings a year in various sizes and that is a realistic inventory for an artist who keeps many irons in the fire.
 Each year I must evaluate my work to see that I am in fact improving my technique. A professional artist is not allowed the luxury of sailing along on what was good enough in the past. Each year I must evaluate my time and the ROI on my activities to see if ideas actually pay off in a business way. I must use a strict budget for my business and keep accurate records for taxes and to study ROI for my money. I must never forget for a moment that art is business too, not just creation.
 I must have a good consistent branding for my work and my persona as a painter. A marketing plan and the funding for that is important and necessary. I must genuinely care about my collectors and their lives. They become my friends, lucky for me. There is no one other than my own family, who is more important in my life than my collectors. They provide for me and allow me to have the best job in the world.
 Be sure you have a marketing plan in place, that your work is up to the rigors of the highly competitive arena of professional art.  Your stamina level must be capable of what it will take to do my job. Your family must accept that you no longer have the freedom to entertain them whenever they wish. You must be willing to set real boundaries with your loved ones. If you are a woman and a nurturer, this will be very hard to do. You are going into business and your family will not necessarily like the boundaries you set. I have had many art students over time who miss classes and drop out due to family needs over art needs. This is very common for women. They are used to putting their husband’s needs and child needs first, even with grown children. My daughters were raised by me as a full time business woman. They know that Mom has business priorities that they must work around. If you cannot set boundaries, you are better off staying a hobbyist artist, enjoying time for both.
This is a favorite topic for me on this blog because I know far too many painter who have failed, not because they are lacking in painting skill, but because they are not prepared for the rigors of being a professional full time painter. If you have a husband or wife who has a steady income this will obviously be much easier for you, I do not! I must survive on my own.  Even if you have that steady income, you must be professional to succeed. Pretend for a moment that your spouse’s income or your inheritance is gone. Will you be able to function entirely on your art sales? You need to be prepared for that before taking the risk of doing art full time. You never know when things will change.
More musings for artists and collectors to come…
Today’s Recipe
Linda’s Sour Cream and Blueberry Cake
2 sticks butter
3 cups sugar
Beat together about 5 minutes
Add 6 eggs, one at a time, beat until smooth.
Combine 3 cups cake flour with a pinch of salt and 1/4 tsp baking soda in a separate bowl.
Add a bit of flour mixture alternately with a cup of sour cream until both are incorporated into the batter. Add three teaspoons of vanilla and 1 teaspoon of lemon peel grated. Fold in one cup of fresh blueberries. I line a 10 inch, deep cake pan with parchment, spray with Pam and flour, shaking out the excess. Pour batter into pan. Hit the pan on the counter top to force out any air bubbles and bake in preheated oven at 350 for about an hour, until center is firm. Cool on a rack. Turn out onto a large tray. Poke holes down into the baked cake.
Make a glaze with two cups ten x sugar, H&H and Lemon juice with a tsp of lemon peel. Gently pour over the cake.  As the cake is cut, pour a bit of glaze on the surface.
Good grub!

 

Organizing Methods

organizing

Organizing Notes

Organizing is important for professional painters. This organizing skill has kept me going for a long time. I still depend on an old school calendar on my desk. I print out the free page calendars on the internet each year, so I can throw away each month’s page when used. I keep paperwork for each month paper clipped to the pages. As I throw away the last month, the new month’s papers are in front of me to take care of, like exhibit applications, bills that may be needed to pay, deadlines, teaching lessons, etc. Each Sunday night I Make a to do list for the week ahead. Whatever I don’t get done, goes to the top of next week’s list. I try to be realistic, not putting more than about six tasks each week. I also keep a list of longer term tasks, like marketing, studio improvements and painting goals that won’t be done within a parameter of  specific time. Mostly these lists keep me honest. I haven’t an excuse if I stick with my lists. Rather than wringing my hands at set backs, I am tasked with specific duties that keep me moving forward.

Linda’s Collectors Club

Organizing also give me good problem solving skills. For example, I started the year with a long list of studio improvement chores. At the time, I thought it would take forever to accomplish them, but really, I have completed all but one, which is getting my studio painted. I haven’t figured out that one yet. It is a big job, and will take having the studio pressure washed first and then painted. It will happen because I will figure out a way to make it happen when sales pick up again. Knowing it is on the list and I have accomplished many other items gives me reassurance that that it will get done.

Linda’s Etsy Miniature Paintings Shop

Organizing your studio events is so important too. I have started doing a demonstration painting on the first Saturday each month in my town studio. That means I have refreshments to prepare and equipment to check the week before. I don’t usually leave things for the last minute. I plan my studio events ahead and have everything ready loaded in my car the night before.  I baked the cakes for my cake party this May in April, freezing them. I ordered the post cards and sent them in April for my May party. If a party is not a success, it is not because I failed to plan and prepare. I do everything I can to make my events successful and then accept whatever happens. There are no failures, only efforts. Being prepared and organizing your career will give you at least a fighting chance for success.

More musings for artists and collectors to come….

Today’s Recipe

Berry-Dijon Chicken Panini

Ingredients

4 Bakery ciabatta rolls (or French hamburger buns)
2 tablespoons herb garlic butter, melted
1/3 cup fresh blackberries (about 6 berries)
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup stone-ground mustard
3.5 oz Deli aged white cheddar cheese, shredded
1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup fresh baby arugula, coarsely chopped
1 Deli rotisserie chicken, shredded

Steps

  1. Slice rolls in half to make sandwiches; brush outside of rolls, top and bottom, with butter. Place berries and honey in bowl; mash berries with fork and stir until blended. Add mustard to berry mixture; stir until blended.
  2. Shred cheese (about 1 cup). Chop onion (1/4 cup) and arugula. Shred chicken (white meat only; 2 cups). Combine in bowl: chicken, cheese, onion, and arugula; mix until blended.
  3. Preheat large, nonstick pan on medium (or sandwich press) 1–2 minutes. Spread mustard mixture evenly on inside top and bottom roll halves (about 1 tablespoon per half). Top bottom half with a scoop of chicken mixture (about 2/3 cup each) and the top half of roll. Cook 2–3 minutes on each side (5–6 minutes for sandwich press), or until cheese has melted and buns are crisp. Cut sandwich in half.

Why Blog?

why

Why Blog Notes

Why Blog? A reader wrote to ask of me. If I only had one or the other as a choice, being an emerging artist, I would definitely go with the blog. It is free. To do a web site well takes some work and some money if you are outsourcing it as I did. I don’t know enough about the arcane nature of web site SEO to do all for myself, though I am learning. The artist who wrote to me doesn’t either. I am willing to pay a good webmaster to manage my site because I actually sell from it. Even with the work he does, I still spend a lot of time updating it regularly. Obviously, as an established artist, it behooves me to do this.

Linda’s Etsy Miniatures Shop

Why blog? Many artists underestimate the value of blogging. I know many who don’t at all and most who do are sporadic at best in their themes and posting regularity. In fact, I consider my blog to be far more important than my web site, though I could not do without it. A couple of years ago, I moved my Blondheim Art Notes blog to my web site, so now I have both in one site. It was the smartest thing to do.

Why Blog? The blog makes me a real person not a vague artist who paints with dozens of others. The blog shows my personality, warts and all, mistakes, crushing defeats and wonderful triumphs. It gives me a real identity in the vastness of the Internet. Readers may not like me, but they understand what makes me work and process as a person and artist. I give them a glimpse of the real topsy turvy, gut wrenching world of professional artists in a way that my web site alone would not. The blog shows the day to day grind in the studio as well as the excitement of travel and art on the road.

The blog is immediate and day to day. Blogs allow an artist to form a “tribe” for themselves as Seth Godin is fond of saying. I can’t begin to tell you how important my “Referral team” is to me. When I am away from home and weary from travel, my team is there, urging me to keep going,no matter how tired I am. When the economy sucks, my team is there whispering to me, don’t give up. Have faith in yourself and your work. In fact, my team has sustained me in ways that no one else will. I have a sense of belonging because of them. We don’t always agree, but we support each other whatever the situation. The blog allows for a commonality of purpose if you will. We are all in this together collectively as friends, with diversity of style, subject and desires.

My collectors love to read my blog as well. It gives them great insight, allowing them a personal view of the mind which creates their favorite art. This personal view of a favorite artist was unheard of for collectors just a few years ago.

Why blog? I am able to impart value to other artists with the blog, using it as my personal journal, a platform for creating tutorials and lessons for others, a way to answer questions that emerging artists have about the business of art. I try out my own marketing techniques here on the blog. Some work, some don’t. I dreamed up Make an Offer here on the blog and it is a great idea. My blog gets 10 times the number of hits that my website does alone and sends many viewers to my paintings pages.

Why blog? I could go on with a number of reasons to blog and I feel that artists should use them more effectively. Here are a few tips:

Home Page

Be consistent. Blog at least every week.

Use the theme of the blog and stay on that topic. My blog is about musings for artists and collectors. Those are my main themes for the blog and I stick to them most of the time.

Stay away from religion and politics, unless they are themes for your blog. They are controversial and will offend someone for sure.

Try to make the blog relevant to other artists or to collectors by giving good advice for others. Avoid inane posts about going to the market for milk. Remember the blog is about your reader and their needs, not yours.

Give kudos to other artists. Don’t be selfish. Giving attention to other artists can only be good for everyone. There is room for all of us in the world of art.

Answer all comments as often as possible. The more interactive a blog is the better for all of us who read it. If someone is kind enough to take the time to comment, you owe them thanks. Sometimes I will miss comments on older threads, but it is never intentional. I welcome comments and look forward to them.

Answer questions from other artists. This is part of the pleasure I get from blogging. I wish artists would send me questions everyday. Share information and you will receive much in return.

Make it interesting and fun and people will find you.

More musings for artists and collectors to come…..

Today’s Recipe

Chicken with Buffalo Cream Sauce

1 beaten egg

1 (8-oz) package Buffalo sauce & coating mix (grocery store)1 3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts

3/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt

1/4 cup sliced green onions

Steps

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray baking sheet with Pam. Place egg in shallow bowl; place coating mix in second bowl. Dip chicken into egg (allowing excess to drip off), then dip into breading mixture, pressing with fingertips to evenly coat. Arrange chicken on baking sheet (wash hands). Bake chicken 12 minutes.
2. Turn chicken over; bake 10-12 more minutes or until chicken is 165°F and breading is well browned.
3. Combine buffalo sauce (from mix) with yogurt, then stir in onions. Slice chicken. Serve chicken with sauce.

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