Run Around

run
Run Around Notes
The longer I’m a painter the more difficult it becomes for me to run around chasing after publicity and fame. It seems that everything now revolves around PR. I remember when I started painting on location. In those days painting was about painting, not about PR. We never had to think about cocktail parties, radio ads, or painting in certain areas to get publicity. We showed up, got the gear out and went to work. We let the galleries figure out how to sell it.  After galleries started to decline, I took on my own sales and PR. That keeps me pretty busy but I don’t let it take over my life.
Most of my PR revolves around meeting people in my studio and enjoying that opportunity. I post most days on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. That’s about it. I like to share things that my friends like. Sending them recipes and tips seems to please them. I like using old fashioned postal cards too. My collectors are very special people. They actually care about my life and what I do. I’m not sure that patron parties with strangers and arranged PR events with crowds of artists is the best way to show off my work.   Most of the gallery events are not very lucrative either. It seems that most of the openings revolve around the food and free wine table. I always have real food at my parties. People seem to enjoy the change away from wine and cheese.
The worse the economy gets, the more of a frenzy I see by some artists to get in front of the pack. They wear a sign around their necks that says “Look at Me” while they step on everyone else to push their way to the front. They will go to a show or paint out, check the prices of the other artists and then undercut them substantially to beat them out of sales. I saw this stuff all the time, especially at paint outs. It is really discouraging to hang around at an opening where your neighbor artist does everything possible to steal potential patrons.
I have a couple of friends whom I used to do paint outs with. We worked together to help sell each other’s paintings. It is simply a nice thing to do. The fact is that you can’t make anybody like your work. Pushing them into a sale leaves a bad taste in my mouth and I just don’t do that. If they show interest, I’m there to help them buy, but if they clearly prefer someone else’s work, I’ll help them buy it too.
It seems to me that the more attention I pay to my work and improving it, the better the chance I have to sell it. The more interested I am in one on one conversations with clients and potential collectors, the more comfortable they will be with me and the more interested in what I do. Most all of them have careers and interests that are intriguing.
I really don’t know what the answer is, but I know that I am less and less comfortable with the fake”Artsy scene” of big charity auctions, art center fare, and openings. I’d much rather sit with a new friend and have a cup of coffee in my studio. I don’t have to run around, frantically trying to be noticed.   I’m not really alone in this view. Many of the long time paint out,gallery, and museum show artists like me are looking for alternatives. There has to be a new way to sell art. The old established methods from before the economy melt down are no longer working at the same level. It’s time  to come up with new ways. Thanks to the Internet and my studio, I’ve stopped the run around.
Today’s Recipe
Braised Short Ribs
2 large onions, sliced 1/4-inch thick
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
4 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 lb bone-in beef short ribs, trimmed of fat
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup beef broth (or beef stock)
1 bay leaf
1 oven-safe pan with lid

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Slice onions. Cut carrots and celery. Mince garlic.
  2. Sprinkle short ribs with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Preheat large Dutch oven on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Place oil in Dutch oven; cook ribs 1–2 minutes on all sides or until browned. Remove ribs and set aside.
  3. Add onions, carrots, and celery; cook and stir 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add wine, broth, bay leaf, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil.
  4. Return ribs to Dutch oven; cover and bake 2–2 1/2 hours and until meat is tender, stirring halfway through cook time. Remove and discard bay leaf; serve.

Women Artists Observation

women

Women Artists Observation Notes

I been thinking about women artists and why women in general handicap themselves in career. This post will probably anger a lot of women artists but it is my blog and I have the right to muse about the way of the world.

I have observed that most of the truly successful women artists are either single or highly independent in their partnerships and marriages.

Linda’s Etsy Shop

Most of the women artists I know, put off their own career needs to assist husbands’ businesses or career moves. When husband retires, wife retires too because he doesn’t want to give up travel or retirement dreams. In reality, no artist needs ever to retire as long as they are well enough to paint. Many women artists miss career opportunities to care for children’s needs and I mean grown children.

Testimonials

I attended a picnic event with another artist once. I knew no one save the artist who brought me. I sat at a table observing the crowd. The men and women separated by gender. The women talked about children, grandchildren, shopping, hair salons, celebrities and other women. The men talked about world, national and local news and politics, the stock market, finance, real estate and sports.  I struck me powerfully that men still dominate the world for a reason.

I was chastised several times by women who join women artists associations, because I do not join in or participate in these groups. I see no need for them. I don’t need to be known as a woman artist. I am a painter, no gender bias needed.

I raised two daughters alone. I worked by day as a chef and by night and weekends as a painter for 13 years. I cleaned houses, cooked for restaurants and worked as a caterer during the hard years of their childhood, but I never gave up my art. As a grandmother now, I set limits on visitation, though I love my grandson so much. My job after all the years of sacrifice, is to be in business for myself and to be a painter. It is all I ever aspired to. My dream has come true.

I fully admit that I do not play well in the sand box and have no interest in sacrificing my time and dreams to assist someone else’s career, childcare, or retirement.  Contrary to popular belief, women cannot have it all, but they can have their share if they are willing to work hard and set limits to others. My daughters well know that my career was hard won and I’m not about to give it up to convenience their wants. I help them in many ways, including financial when needed, and a monthly fun night with my grandson, but they understand the limits to my time. I worked hard for my time and it is precious to me.

Women artists need to treat their job as a job, if they ever expect to be successful. Putting their job on the back burner for others is altruistic but not realistic if they plan to be truly successful.

My advice for women artists is:

Set limits for others

Value your time as an important resource

Set a schedule for painting, marketing and business each day

Study painting, marketing, computer skills

Don’t hide from business requirements. If you are unwilling to learn and do business, hire someone to do it for you but it must be done.

Be professional in your dealings with collectors and other artists.

Work at least 40 hours a week at being a professional artist.

There are many more skills needed but if you cannot do the above, enjoy being a hobby artist and don’t worry about making a living from art.

More musings for artists and collectors to come…

 

Today’s Recipe

I saw this recipe for pie crust on Facebook. It looks great!

1 sheet of puff pastry

Cinnamon mixed with sugar

Place pastry on waxed paper. Sprinkle pastry with cinnamon sugar. Roll pastry, long side up into a roll, like a cinnamon roll. Slice in thin slices. Place slices in a circle on another piece of wax paper and top with a piece of waxed paper. Roll it out with a rolling pen until it is thin like pie crust. It is so pretty. Use two  to make a pie, or use it for strudel.

Helping Artists

farming

Helping Artists Notes

Helping artists is a topic dear to my heart. Artists are the few souls throughout history who produce unique and beautiful gifts to the world. Artists are the historians of their own time on earth, recording the culture, food, politics and land they stand on, as no camera could. Many live marginal lives, working a variety of jobs to eek out a living. A few, like me are lucky to be full time painters, but that comes with a cost of living without fine homes, new cars and so forth. I have many stories related to the old cars I drive.

Cabbage Palms

Helping artists to survive falls on the backs of a few collectors who understand the value of original art, not as decoration but as true unique views from an artist’s soul. Helping other artists should be part of our careers as artists. Particularly if we have struggled ourselves along the way. There was a time when I painted on cardboard, using cheap dime store paints, because that is all I could get. In fact, I’ll never forget that I won a prize in a show with a cardboard painting. It was one of the great thrills of my early career. As I began to become more successful, I acquired more well heeled friends who began to assist me with paint, brushes, frames, paint boxes, donations for events and now residencies in their coastal vacation homes.

Linda’s Etsy Shop

I always told myself if I made it as an artist, that I would not forget how tough it was in the early stage of my career. I try to live up to that promise to myself every day. I mentor many artists, lend out frames for their shows, give out supplies to those in need and sponsor student exhibits now and then. Today I read a post on Etsy from a young artist who is struggling, working two jobs, out of money and out of supplies. She will not see her family during the holidays and she is badly depressed. I intend to send her supplies so she will be able to continue with her work. I’ve never met her but that doesn’t matter. I buy paintings from artists in need each year for my two grown daughters, for their collections. I started that when they were 16 each. Now they enjoy original art each year for their own homes.

This isn’t about what I do, but what you can do to help an artist continue to create. This year I have had a big sale at my Country Studio, to raise the money I need for renewal. Who supported me by purchasing my paintings? My wonderful collectors and my own art students! No professional artists bought or even came to see the selection. This is no surprise. I am guilty of this too. I don’t do much to support other professionals.

I think artists can do more to support each other. The paintings I purchase are from struggling emerging painters who need a boost of confidence and who really need that sale. I send supplies to the strugglers. Perhaps I need to purchase now and then from the pros I know. I need to consider this insight about myself and others. Next shopping season, I might need to support the pros I know.

Anyone who admires art or who has favorite artists can be helping to support them easily:

Referrals to friends who can afford original art
Plan a studio visit with friends
Helping with a nice testimonial for their web page
Take an artist out for coffee or breakfast
If you are a business person, offer to mentor an artist with good advice on marketing
Host a party at your home for a group of artists and use your mailing list to invite likely art lovers.
Purchase equipment or supplies for artists
Get into the habit of gifting small art
Buy original art, not cheap reproductions
Lend your beautiful vacation home to your favorite artist for a residency
Use your social media connections to refer artists to friends. This is so easy and it only takes a moment. Helping artists the easy way should be a regular habit on social media.

Artists need to be valued, just as engineers, doctors and attorneys are. When you consider that just about every part of our world depends on an artist and designer, we should be more supportive.

More musings for artists and collectors to come….

Today’s Recipe

Linda’s Favorite Baked Potatoes
2 large baking potatoes
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup butter
10 grape tomatoes, cut into fourths
¼ small onion diced fine
¼ tsp dried thyme leaves
Salt/pepper
¼ tsp dried parsley
1 cup diced ham
1 ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Scrub potatoes with water, put in microwave for 10 minutes in the morning. Refrigerate until supper time. Coat potatoes with olive oil. Cut potatoes in half. Scoop potatoes out of the skins and put into large bowl. Place potato skins on a sheet pan. Set oven to 375.
Add the rest of ingredients , saving ¼ cup of cheese, to the scooped out potatoes in the bowl. Use a potato masher to mix everything up. Place in the skins and use ¼ cup cheese on the tops of the potatoes. Bake until golden brown and skin is crispy. Yummy! I have this every Sunday night for dinner with a salad.
You can use bacon, seasoned ground beef or chicken instead of the ham, all good.

Cooperative Efforts

cooperative

Cooperative Efforts Notes

 

I’ve been thinking about cooperative efforts for artists. I don’t seem to be gifted in that area. I’ve never played very well in the sand box. That is really the crux of many artists’ careers. We are competitive by nature. Too many bosses and not enough workers.

Landscape Paintings

I’ve had a lot of experience as a project manager in my long career. It is rather a thankless job. Most of the people in the project want to go their own way and many are unreliable. The project sounds like a good idea, unless they are asked to be accountable. It is great to be included as long as you don’t have to do anything but show up for the sale, food, and accolades. The idea of sacrifice and cooperative behavior is foreign to many artists. We are all about “me”.

Linda’s Etsy Shop

I really want to be involved in activities but I don’t really like the people who are running the show or in charge. That is how many artists feel. I confess to feeling that way myself often. Artists are not a cooperative breed for the most part. We are cliquish by nature as well, which sets up misunderstanding, feelings of isolation, and inferiority between groups.

Frankly, I have always liked artists from other cities the best. I’ve never felt welcomed in my own arts community. My efforts at friendship and community with professional artists at home, have failed. I used to invite other artists to my studio, but most never showed up. I have artist friends here, mostly my students, but not most of the professional artists here. I’ve never quite fit into the cliques here. I hear this from artists all over the world about their own relationships with other local artists. This seems to be universal. Social media has helped to alleviate the feelings of isolation for me and others. I have made many wonderful artist friends from around the world.

I have no solution to this un-cooperative situation, seemingly everywhere. Musing about it helps to keep it on the possibility burner, but I have no ideas or answers. Cooperative efforts would be nice and it seems like they would definitely be beneficial for marketing and career success. I have one friend whom I often do projects with and share residencies. It is a great idea, but in terms of a group, who knows?

More musings for artists and collectors to come……

Today’s Recipe

This is an old favorite for me.

Sweet and Sour Sausage

1 pound of little smoked sausages

1 jar grape jelly

1 jar crushed pineapples

1 jar chili sauce

1 small onion cut in bit sized pieces

1 bell pepper cut in chunks

Dash of hot sauce

Combine all in a crock pot and simmer for a couple of hours. Serve as appetizer or over rice as a meal.

Composing Armatures

composing

 

Composing Notes

Composing is one of my favorite parts of making art. One of the fun toys I use in composing is my armature exercises. Armatures are the structural lines or skeletons of a painting. They are most often referred to by sculptors who use real armatures to hold up their pieces, but I like to use them in a 2 dimensional way. Composing with armatures is a fun way to keep paintings fresh and interesting.

Run Around - image  on https://lindablondheim.com

My illustration above gives you an idea of what I mean. I will make up armature compositions at the design table and try to figure out how I can use them in real paintings. it’s a fun exercise and a good way to think about composing.

Common armatures in paintings include:
1. S curve
2. L shape
3. Diagonal
4. Triangle
5. Radiating
6. Fulcrum
7. O
8. Portrait

I’ve tried all of them at one time or another in painting and they all work well depending on the scene I’m going to paint. One of the fun things I do for myself is to look at other paintings and try to figure out the armature in them. I spend a fair amount of time looking at landscape paintings.

Always interesting and insightful. It’s interesting to me that I see a lot of work I have no desire to do. That doesn’t mean I don’t like it, it just means I can admire it but not want to go in that direction. When I was a young painter, most of the work I looked at was better than mine and I wanted to emulate those painters. They were well known with a national reputation. I see a lot of copy cat painters on the Internet who want to be Carol Marine,Richard Schmid,Charles Sovek,  etc.,etc. Some are copied because they are masters, others because they have come up with a great gimmick and are making tons of sales.

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When you mature and come into your own,finding your own muse makes you less desirous of being someone else.You learn to celebrate your own style with self confidence. You find out that it’s ok to be different, that some will even admire you for being different. I’ve been a lot happier since I learned to paint for me.

Linda’s Facebook Page

Try using armatures, intervals, and directional cues to beef up your composing skills. Avoid those pesky tangents.  I find that doing these exercises helps me to compose. Whenever I start to do the same thing, I go to my design table and play with composing ideas to breath new life into my paintings.

More musings for artists and collectors to come….

Today’s Recipe

I love chili and I make it all the time. This is my lazy, easy chili recipe.

2 cups dried pinto beans

2 cups dried black beans

1 onion diced

1 carrot diced

1 can tomatoes

1 tsp cumin

2 tsp oregano dried

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 pound ground round

1 package taco seasoning mix

1 package chili seasoning

2 cans beef broth

salt and pepper to taste

I use a crock pot for this recipe.

rinse dried beans and put into the pot. Pour in the beef broth, tomatoes, seasonings. Put in fridge overnight. The next morning, add fried beef with carrots and onions to the pot. Add about 6 cups of water. Stir well and cook all day. I serve mine with sour cream, diced onion and fritos.

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