Welcome to My Project!

I was born and raised in Florida. After many years of travel, attending plein air paint outs, I discovered that residencies are the best way to explore the natural world I love. Working for an extended period from seven to ten days really enhances my painting experience. I am lucky to have friends and collectors who make it possible to explore the exciting and interesting locations I love to paint. Supporters provide their unoccupied vacation homes or hotel lodging for my residencies throughout the year. I am always delighted to leave an original framed painting for them as my thanks for their generous gift. If you would like to sponsor a residency, I would love to hear from you.
Contact me at: linda@lindablondheim.com

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Fair Oaks Mini Residency 5/27/2012

Notes From My Residency Journal

Today was a very interesting residency experience for me. I arrived to lots of activity pre-tropical storm, with no free golf carts so I used Leroy the truck and drove out to the fields. I got my paint box/easel set up, opened my supplies only to discover that I had not restocked the box with white paint. Landscape painters usually rely on white paint for almost every painting. Since the nearest white paint was 20 miles away, I decided to go forth and conquer this painting  challenge. At first I was frustrated and felt silly, but as I worked along on the painting I began to think of the difficulties as a window of opportunity to learn. I really enjoyed the process and finished the painting above.

All of the staff at Fair Oaks was busy today and the tractor broke down in the midst of the activity. It is the snake time of year and Mark, the foreman found a rattlesnake in the dry pond a couple of days ago.It is good that I can stand in my truck or use the golf carts to paint. That is much safer than thrashing around through the woods on foot.

Rick and Mark figure out how to repair the tractor.

Lunch was delicious, a chicken and yellow rice casserole, fresh steamed broccoli, fresh sliced pineapple, rutabagas and greens and garlic toast. Yummy as always.

It is always a privilege to be at Fair Oaks.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Painting After the Residency

Notes From My Residency

Now the real work begins, back in my studio from reference photos. Now I can work in my comfort zone, using all of the photos I took at various sites for a week. I will use the notes and research I did for each of the sites visited. I think of the actual residency as a research project, doing most of the painting after the trip in my studio. I did manage to finish eight paintings in St Augustine and nearby sites. Now I will do some larger format paintings as well as studies about the project in the months to come. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Safety Issues for the Artist in Residence Project

Notes From My Residency Journal

I had a request from a reader for suggestions on safety for residencies. Most of my residencies are as a single traveler. Here are a few suggestions for painters who travel alone.

Plan ahead- I always plan my adventures ahead, knowing the directions and location of my residence in advance. I study the area where I will likely paint, looking for nature reserves, state and national parks, or county parks where people and boats will be coming and going. Privately owned land is usually safe as well. Many farmers and ranchers give me access to their lands. If you know where the safe places are located ahead of time, you will feel more secure. 

Arrive and check in before dark- I always get checked in and moved in before dark the first day. It's better to explore a neighborhood first in day time to see how safe it seems to be. I check out local restaurants, parks, gas and grocery stores the first day, before dark.

Carry a cell phone- Check on whether there are cell towers close enough for your phone before you go out in wilderness areas alone. Think twice before hiking too far from your car without a working phone. 
Sometimes the scenery is not worth the risk. There may be other places which will offer you good scenery which are safer. 

Ask questions and look at the maps- Most of the nature reserves have a map at the entrance or park rangers on duty. Check your route first. Know the difficulty of the trail and whether you are prepared for a hike. Tell rangers where you are going and how long you expect to be there in advance. 

Follow your instincts- if it doesn't seem right to you, leave.Learn to be aware of what's going on around you. Keep your eyes open, your cell phone on you and stay within shouting distance of civilization. Don't wander too far from your car. if you have a dog and are allowed pets, bring them with you. Animals have great instincts about potential danger.

Look around on the ground- Bad people aren't the only dangerous animals. I never step out into wild places without carefully looking around. Snakes, bugs and Alligators are a serious danger in Florida for painters. I have had several close encounters in 30+ years. This is their world. If you invade their space carelessly, you are asking for trouble. When I take photos or paint in the wild, I constantly check around me for critters.

Be Armed- Some painters choose to paint with a gun handy. Depending on your view, it can be a deterrent, but never buy a gun without getting proper and professional training beforehand.  As my Daddy always said, "Never pick up a gun unless you are willing to kill with it if necessary."

Some good locations for safe painting and photography:

College campuses
Public parks-city/county/state/national
Nature Reserves
Private Land
Museum Lands
Upscale Shopping Districts
Vintage Neighborhoods

Always ask permission for painting on private lands first.

Having written the above advice, I add that in the 30+ years as an outdoor painter, I've never been hurt. I have been harassed once or twice by idiots in cars, but that is to be expected I suppose. If you are careful and plan well, you should have no worries in traveling alone.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

St Augustine beach Residency Day 7

Notes From My Residency Journal

I took these photos in front of Chad and Sarah's Condo before leaving. What a beautiful beach!!

I will have several hundred reference photos so that I will enjoy many happy hours of painting from them when I get back to the studio. What great memories to go with these images. These residencies are such a vital part of my experience as a landscape painter. Only by actually living in an area for a week or more can I really begin to understand the region and it's subtleties. Staying in an area allows me to explore the land and the culture of a region. The more I understand the area, the better the paintings will be later in the studio. I did eight paintings this week. I will do many more over the next few months. I add bits and pieces of Florida to my work as I go to these residencies and my understanding of it grows.  After more than 60 years as a Floridian, I still have so much to learn.  Thanks to my sponsors, this study continues. Chad and Sarah will enjoy selecting one of the paintings as my thanks for the residency.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

St Augustine Residency Day 6

Moses Creek Reserve
8x10 inches
acrylic on panel

Moses Creek Reserve

Moses Creek entrance

Notes From My Residency Journal

Today is my last day to explore the area. I must go home on Sunday to get back to the real world of running an art business. 

I started my day with breakfast at the Sea Oats Diner. It is a tiny little diner in the Publix market shopping center, right down the street from Chad and Sarah's Condo. Very convenient. They specialize in breakfast, and lean heavily toward pancakes, which are huge and in a variety of flavors. They also have homemade banana bread. It is always packed, so I sat at the counter. I opted for bacon and eggs and an English muffin. While I waited, I watched the staff cook at the open kitchen. It brought back all kinds of memories of my restaurant chef days. At one time I was a garde manger and pastry cook/baker and also cooked on the line when they needed more help. This restaurant is managed by an all woman staff, or at least I saw no men there, so it was an interesting kitchen. The chef wore a pink chef coat. Back in my day nothing like that was available. Glad to see more equality in restaurant kitchens now.  Though the food was fine, it wasn't plated very well. Their presentation could use a bit of help. The service was good. 

After breakfast I headed for Moses Creek Reserve. It is located on state Road 206, the way west from Crescent Beach. It is about a mile west of the drawbridge on the north side of the road. It has a lovely, well marked trail and there are more than one. For serious hikers there is one about 7 miles long.  The short one is about a mile and a half. That's the one I took. It winds through the pine woods, dotted with palmettos underneath. The trail is well maintained, making an easy stroll, though it got quite warm on this May day. Eventually you reach the tidal creek. Being a pine tree lover, I enjoyed it. It is quite different from the beach landscape. 

I have so enjoyed this residency. The condo is beautiful. It doesn't have the tacky beach condo look. It is tastefully decorated in a palm theme, with small touches here and there of the sea. There is a small bowl of shells on the kitchen counter and some nifty mirrors in a pelican theme. The original art is all palm themed. and the dining chairs have a lovely palm fabric. It is thoughtfully decorated, with class. There is a huge walk in shower in the master bathroom too. I have enjoyed every minute here and will miss it greatly. Thanks so much Chad and Sarah for this opportunity.

Friday, May 18, 2012

St Augustine Beach Residency Day 5

Ft Matanzas National Monument Beach
8x10 inches
acrylic on canvas panel

Ft Matanzas Nature Walk

Marine Research Reserve at Marineland

Notes From My Residency

Today I was headed back south on A1A after a good breakfast at the Oasis to fortify me. I explored Ft Matanzas National Monument. The nature trail is lovely and it's my favorite place at the fort, though the gift shop and the Ft itself is also interesting. There are lovely huge trees in the parking lot, offering lots of shade. The nature trail winds up and down as a boardwalk and is diverse, with some beach scenes. In fact, it is one of the prettiest intercoastal beaches I've seen. It is pristine and sugar white.  The trail is six miles long, so I felt like I definitely got my exercise today.

I then headed on down to the Marine Research Center across the street from Marineland. It is private, but no one seemed to care that I was there. It is a strange combination of very industrial looking architecture, big parking lots with things dumped all around, cranes and such and then really beautiful palms and distant estuaries reminding me of the Ormond Loop in places. I stopped along the way to take photos.

 As I stood and looked at the vast palm hammocks across the Matanzas River, I felt both joy and despair that we have lost so much of our Florida to development. As a child, Crescent Beach was just a gas station and a few post WW2  cottages, with miles of unspoiled dunes and estuaries across the river. In college we all slept on the beach. All that is long gone, replaced by condos, and McMansions. How I wish that Florida  had the foresight to save the beach front from development and require housing to be on the west side of the road. I can only continue to support land trust organizations and paint what is left of our beautiful state, as my contribution. 

I am getting close to finishing my afternoon painting and will continue to pick at it. It is such a pleasant activity each evening from 5:30 to 7 PM.  I take my smart phone and tune it to Pandora, so I can listen to Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong etc. while I paint with a background of the waves crashing in. 

Chad and Sarah's Condo has a huge army of caretakers who spit and polish the building and the landscape almost every day. I'm impressed.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

St Augustine Beach Residency Day 4

Guana Research Park

Guana Research Park

Guana Research Park
8x10 inches
acrylic on canvas

Notes From My Residency Journal

Today I drove up the coast, through St Augustine up A1A. I love the trams in the city, the Alligator Farm and the fort when I am in tourist mode. I love St Augustine Beach, but St Augustine, not so much. I can't imagine living in the city with endless tourists, carriages, trams, and tacky tourist stops. The beach town is completely different from the city. I almost always stay away from the city but I wanted to check out Vilano Beach today and that is the fastest way to get there. 

Vilano is not much to look at. I stopped at the Publix, which seems to be the main place in the town. I asked the clerk if there was anything of scenic interest there and she suggested a little park on the intercoastal side. I tried to get there but the very small parking lot was full, so no place to park. The only other parks were the usual boat ramp or ocean front with kiddie play yards. I'm sure the beach is lovely and there are plenty of McMansions in South Vilano Beach, but it wasn't a good fit for me. It seemed to have no character at all. The only thing interesting was a very weird castle looking unfinished and made of concrete? I will say that Caps on the Water is outstanding for seafood. I went there once with Chad and Sarah on a short visit. 

I decided to press on, north on A1A and found the lovely Guana Research Reserve and Park north of Vilano. This is a very interesting place which I would like to revisit in cooler weather. I got some nice photos this morning, but it was quite warm and the rain started spitting before I could do much. I want to go further down the nature trail and  take a look in the fall. 

I stopped at Cafe 11 for a very good cheese omelet with croissant and fresh fruit. This is a nice little place. No atmosphere at all but the service is friendly and the food is very good.  I used to spend a lot of time there on my trip here because they have internet. Now that Chad and Sarah's Condo has Internet, I don't have to. Chad and Sarah think of everything for their guests. 

I'm still working on my 18x24 inch painting every afternoon around 6 PM out on the patio. It is really fun to do a painting this way. 

More to come.........

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

St Augustine Beach Residency Day 3

Anastasia State Park
8x10 inches
acrylic on canvas

5x7 inches
acrylic on panel

Camping area Anastasia State Park

Anastasia State Park

Notes From My Residency

It's a rainy drizzly day here in St Augustine, so I decided not to go very far. I visited Anastasia State Park this morning. It is a gorgeous park and much larger than I realized. I visited it about 5 years ago for a morning to paint in a cooler time. I only saw the main drag on that trip. Today I explored more of the park. The camping area is lush and beautiful, shady and roomy. The trees in this park are so lovely, ancient and twisted. I got several photos of them to use later. I was lucky to be there just at the right time to get a few photos before the rain came. There are beautiful picnic areas and quite a nice snack bar area next to the dunes. It is a perfect example of coastal Florida with tall palms and those trees, twisted by years of storms. I really loved this park and hope to go back again in cooler less humid weather to paint.

After I left the park, I treated myself to the Sunset Grille on A1A for lunch. This place is a favorite for me. I succumbed to the fried shrimp on the menu which was butterflied and huge, perfectly fried arriving crisp and hot to the table with very crispy fries. Yummy!! it was served with both tarter sauce and coctail sauce in large squeeze containers. The side was a nice salad made with crisp mixed greens, and Mandarin oranges, Sunflower seeds and dried cranberries, accompanied by chunky blue cheese dressing with a hint of garlic. Wonderful!! The service is outstanding and the atmosphere very casual, so I felt at home there as I always do. The hostess was very friendly greeting me both coming and going. A winner!!

I arrived back to the condo and painted on the patio, using my images from the morning adventure. It's so dark today that I may need to wait to continue working on my larger painting until there is more sun. Perhaps it will clear before time to paint.  I'll enjoy the Pelican Interstate in any case, around 5:30 PM. Hopefully i will get my walk around the complex again tonight. The plantings here are lovely with bright colorful Hibiscus plants and beautiful tall palms. This is a wonderful place for a vacation.

More to come.....

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

St Augustine Residency Day 2

Butler Park

Red Cedar
7x5 inches
acrylic on panel
Washington Oaks Palms
5x7 inches
acrylic on panel

Notes From My Residency

I slept fabulously in Chad and Sarah's Condo. This is the best condo I've stayed in at the beach, cozy and homey.

Today I explored Butler Park.It is a local park that I discovered about 7 years ago during a paint out at Crescent Beach. It is a fairly large park for fishermen and their boats, with a nice boat ramp and parking area. There are nice shade trees on the other side and it faces the inter coastal waterway. I saw quite a few water birds fishing as well. I love to find the local spots which are less formal and that have fewer visitors.

 It's a  really good place to take photos and to paint in the cooler months. There isn't much shade in the area where I want to paint. It's pretty hot this time of year and after so many years of painting outdoors, I am more careful about not getting skin cancer. I spent about a half hour there taking some really good reference photos for larger work in the studio. I did manage to get a start on a Red Cedar and finished it in the cool condo. 

In the hotter months, I like to explore a lot and then use the images on my computer screen to paint studies while I am at the residency, back at the cool place where I stay. In the cool months I love to paint on location. Actually, doing small studies and starts is the most practical way to gather as much information as possible during the residency. I take hundreds of photos to use later.  I will enjoy most of the summer, painting from the images I take this trip, later in my cool studio.

Observation is such an important part of being a landscape painter. I spend a lot of time on location just looking at trees and the land,water and sky. This observation serves me very well later in studio work.

After the park I headed for the Oasis for breakfast on A1A. It is a great breakfast place, ugly as sin, painted in swimming pool blue with yellow trim, but the food is very good, and the service friendly and good.

I spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon, finishing up these studies and now will goof off for a couple of hours before I start working on the patio, continuing on my 18x24 dunes painting. About 5:30 PM, the Pelican Interstate Highway will start up. I love watching them go by in pairs or threesomes, talking about the office and which fish place they will stop off to on their way home to the family.

More to come........

Monday, May 14, 2012

St Augustine Residency Day 1

My View

Notes From My Residency

I arrived in St Augustine Beach around noon today. I happened to see a Hobby Lobby on my way, so I stopped to pick up a table top easel to use on the patio for a larger painting. I'm going to try to complete a painting of the dunes above.

I headed down to Washington Oaks State Park first, to stroll down the nature path and start my reference photos for the week. It is such a lovely park and is one of the few places with actual rocks on the beach side. There are two sides to the park, one on the inter coastal water way, dotted with small barrier islands and lovely old red cedar trees, tall palms and twisted scrub oaks. There is also a formal garden. 

On the beach side there are scads of lovely palms dotting the dunes. I got wonderful reference photos for future paintings back in the studio. One of the best things about a residency is the time to wander and discover, observing new places and remembering them with photos.

The condo is wonderful, very comfortable and spotlessly clean. It is thoughtfully decorated with original art on the walls. I enjoy seeing some of my paintings there as well. The kitchen is fully stocked with cooking utensils and modern appliances. I could live here happily for some time!! Two bedrooms and baths and a lovely patio facing the dunes. My kind of fun. It is gated for safety, so I can wander and walk anytime. The beach is just a couple of steps away too. 

More to come....

Monday, May 7, 2012

My New Residency Sponsor

Author Lucy Tobias at my recent book signing studio party for her book 
Florida Gardening Gone Wild.

Villa Lucia

A New Residency Sponsor

Meet author Lucy Tobias. I have known Lucy for some time now. She writes wonderful books about the places and subjects I love. I have a copy of her book 50 Great Walks in Florida in my studio and enjoy reading it. She has offered Villa Lucia to me for a week residency in Ocala, FL in the future. I will enjoy exploring the vintage neighborhood she lives in and the two state parks in Marion County. I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Linda's Fair Oaks Mini Residency 05/07/12

Spring Field
5x7 inches
acrylic on panel

Field Three Portal
5x7 inches
acrylic on panel

Field Palms
5x7 inches
acrylic on panel