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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Monday, July 30, 2012

After the Residency

Crystal River State Park

Notes From My Residency Journal

My residency really begins after the actual trip. Now after I've unpacked my bags, cleaned my equipment and stored it, I have the time to think about what I learned.

These residencies are not about hanging around for a vacation in someone's home. They are an opportunity and a responsibility to educate myself and to promote the beauty and history of the beautiful places I travel to. They are a privilege that I take seriously. I have the great fortune of showing off Florida to my friends, collectors, and many visitors to my loft studio throughout the year.  Art and nature are intertwined in my life and this opportunity must not be squandered. These residencies are vital to my work and they allow me to discover so much about Florida I never knew.

After the Olympics I will begin to study the photos from this residency and begin the serious work of painting. More to come....

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Crystal River Residency Day 5 07/28/12

Wildlife Park Sign

Bald Eagle



Notes From My Residency Journal

Friday was my last day of exploring the nature coast of Florida. I started with bacon and eggs at Grannys Restaurant and then headed over to the Homosassa Wildlife Park which is a state park of Florida. I saved this for last because it is a favorite place for me. This is a theme park like the early ones in Florida. It is more like the places I remember from childhood. No fireworks or theme park stuff. It is a good zoo. There are winding paved paths along the way through the exhibits. Lots of benches line the shaded paths and it is really pleasant and interesting.

 I saw all kinds of birds, amphibians, reptiles, and of course Manatees. There is a deep underground observation room under the springs. I saw all kinds of fish and Manatees, as well as an alligator and river otter display. The most interesting exhibit was the reptile room where native Florida snakes are housed in lit terrariums. I loved closely observing the venomous snakes, which I have seen in the wild. It was good to see them up close so that I will recognize them immediately if I stumble upon one.  I also enjoyed the many birds on display, including Ibis, Blue heron, Screech owls, swans, and colorful Flamingos.

The park is located off US 19 one block before the Visitor’s Center. Turn right at the Hardees intersection and then left at the park sign. The price is 13.00 but my AAA membership made it 10.60. It was a good trip.

I started a painting on the back porch after lunch but it was really hot, 94 degrees on the shaded porch. I will definitely finish this one in my cool studio.
Today I clean the house, do the laundry and pack up to head for home tonight. It is time for the Olympics, so it’s time to get home and enjoy that. On August 14th, Shark Week starts on the Discovery channel, and I never miss that either. Painting will be sporadic for the next few weeks. I’ll be glued to the TV for a while.

I have enjoyed this residency so much. I got a lot of research done and some terrific reference photos to use back in my cool studio.

 I’m very grateful to my sponsor Linda Daly for making this wonderful experience possible.
 As always, more to come….

Friday, July 27, 2012

Crystal River Residency Day 4 07/26/12

Palms on the Crystal River

Pontoon Boat Tour with Divers

Refuge Island

Artist Thelma Hilmes

Afternoon Sky
5x7 inches

Notes From My Residency

Thursday was a departure from the routine. I had a visit from my friend Thelma Hilmes from Gainesville. She is a fabulous artist too. We had lunch at Crackers By the Bay on US 19. The service was a little slow but that wasn’t the wait person’s fault. She was good. We both had a large, tasty hamburger. Mine came with cole slaw and fries, both good.

After lunch we went on a boat tour of the river and we got to see several manatees. We were surprised at the level of development on the river. McMansions everywhere. It was kind of sad to find that so little of the river is left in its natural state. The only areas undeveloped are the Crystal River National Wildlife Preserve and the outer islands in portions of the river. They are quite beautiful and it is easy to imagine how special this part of Florida once was.  Touring the preserve from the water gave me a very different perspective. I would love to do that again with a group of painters, anchoring in front of an island for an afternoon.

I arrived back at the Daly house in the heat of the day and enjoyed some down time. At 6 PM I went out on the porch to do this little study. I had great fun listening to Billie Holiday, Etta James and Louis Armstrong while I painted the evening away. The time is slipping by quickly. More to come….

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day 3 Crystal River Residency 07/25/12

Archeological Site

Crystal River State Park

Crystal River State Park

Daly Marshes Revised
9x12 inches

Marsh Palms
8x10 inches

Marsh Afternoon
5x7 inches
palette knife

Notes From My Residency

Wednesday, after a breakfast of biscuit and gravy at Grannys, I was fueled up for a day of exploration. I drove up to the Crystal River Archeological site first. It was a lovely surprise. There are paved paths that wind through the site and signs for each area of interest. These are very old burial mounds. The path winds out to the river edge. The view of large palm and cedar hammocks lining the shore is a lovely sight. There are large live oaks scattered around the grounds. There are lots of benches along the path to enjoy as well. I spotted a red headed woodpecker, two bluebirds and a Cardinal along the walk. There is a museum there but it was not open. I imagine they close in the summer. The bugs were fierce as there is a lot of standing water, but in winter it would be sublime.

In the same area, is the Crystal River State Park. The view from the road is the best part of the park for a nature lover like me; miles of lovely swamps. At the end is a large boat ramp and rest rooms. I took a lot of photos from my car, as there was little traffic so I could stop along the way. I did find a nice little dirt road in the park which led to a canoe ramp and nature path, deep in the woods. I knew better than to try it with the current bug issues, but I will go back in the cool time of the year one day.

The road to these parks is on the road between the Ford dealership and the Days Inn/Dennys on the west side of US 19 in north Crystal River.
I arrived home to finish the painting I started the day before, and ended up improving a painting I worked on the first day. In the evening, I did a small palette knife painting and enjoyed watching the sun go down. More to come…..

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Crystal River Reidency Day 2 07/24/12

Marshes at the Daly Home

Marsh Sky at the Daly Home

Ozello Pines and Palms

Notes From My Residency Journal

Today I headed out early for breakfast at Grannys. It was recommended by my sponsor. It is just the kind of place I love, not a franchise. It’s good country cooking with corned beef hash, real home fries, and biscuits and gravy. What can I say? I’m from the South.

After breakfast I headed down to Ozello for the morning. Ozello is a tiny village down on the marshes, between Crystal River and Homosassa Springs. I’ve been going there for about ten years to enjoy the marsh. In nice weather I often paint there. Too hot today, so I spent my time taking reference photos and exploring. I am beginning to see signs of development there, which is distressing. I wish so much that places like Ozello and the Ormond Loop could be saved for the future generations. 

There are miles of cabbage palm hammocks, red cedar trees, and canals which run through the marsh. It is a very narrow two lane road so it is difficult to spend much time with the camera.  About half of my photos were not good, but I did get several that will help me later in my studio after this residency.

These Florida marshes are precious and essential for wildlife and ourselves, if we are to have a Florida that anyone wants to live in. There is a peaceful quality to the marshes to me. They are timeless and beautiful.

 The Ozello trail is on the west side of US 19, between the two towns. It is about 9 to 15 miles long depending on how many side road trips you take.

I stopped at the library to blog about the trip and then back to the house for a tuna sandwich. I like to eat out for breakfast every day and then at home for the rest of the day.

Then it was out to the porch to finish one painting, do another and start tomorrow afternoon’s painting. It rained early at lunch time and cleared out quickly for an afternoon in the sun. The marshes came alive with color, as you can see in my sky painting today. More to come….

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Crystal River Reidency Day 1 07/23/12

The Daly's beautiful home on the marshes.

Marsh view from their back porch.

Their beautiful palms in the back yard.

Daly marsh view
5x7 inches
acrylic on panel

Notes From My Residency Journal

I arrived in no time in Crystal River after exploring the Chassowiska River Preserve on state road 24, just east of US 19. It was an interesting place but I spent little time there due to the hordes of mosquitos in the area. There are challenges in doing a mid- summer residency in Florida.

Crystal River is a charming small city on the west coast of Florida. The downtown area has lots of boutique style shops and a very nice waterfront area with a park.

When I arrived at my home I was completely thrilled. The house is upstairs over the carport. There are a couple of nice closed rooms underneath the house, one a workshop and the other a nice gardening shed. The house is lovely with wide heart pine plank floors, polished to a mirror finish. It is surrounded by balconies and a deep screened porch which gives a fantastic view of the marshes. Naturally I got set up on the screened porch with my paint box and got to work. I completed a 5x7 study of the marsh as a warm up for the day. Late in the afternoon, I got a start on a 9x12 painting,

Tomorrow I will find a good breakfast restaurant and then head out to the state park next to my neighborhood to look around and take reference photos. I have the idea that most of my actual painting time will be spent on the screened porch. There is a nice fan out there and more importantly, no bugs.

More adventure to come…..

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Packing for the Crystal River Residency

Notes From My Residency Journal

I'll soon be off to Crystal River for a week. I'm staying at the Daly House, on the marshes, so I'm very excited to have this opportunity. Thank you Linda Daly for this sponsorship!!

I've made my list of places to visit and photograph and will go out early to explore each day, spending my afternoons painting the marsh from the house.It is the hot, mosquito infested part of the year here in FL, so I don't plan on plein air work. I will gather as much reference material as possible to use later in my studio. I will enjoy waking up each morning to the coastal marshes. I'm really excited!!

The Internet is turned off at the house so posting to this blog may be sketchy. I will try to get to the public library there to post a couple of times. When I get back, I'll tell all.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mini Fair Oaks Residency 07/15/2012

The Pond
5x7 inches
acrylic on panel

The Pond

Field One Clouds

Purple Flowers

Fairy House

Notes From My Residency Journal

I headed out to Fair Oaks early today. Rick was just getting ready to hurry off to get supplies for his new pontoon boat. Yay!! Pontoon boat gives me visions of painting in the boat. Let the begging commence!! 

 The heat has become problematic for painting late in the day. Afternoon storms come up suddenly as the heat and humidity rises.  I took a quick turn around the fields on arrival as I love to do. There are constant changes between my visits which might not be noticeable to a person unfamiliar with nature. 

There is a primal quality to Florida in the summer. A more ominous feel to the land. It seems to become more wild in the hot months. The sea of knee to waist high weeds and grasses make me wonder what is lurking in the grass, waiting for me to step out of the cart. The pond has returned in it's glory, and that brings Moccasins back, so I must be more careful. Also the Poison Ivy and clouds of mosquitoes are challenging. 

 Surprisingly, the heat has not bothered me much this year. I am able to do at least one small painting on each visit and take many good reference photos. As much as I love being there year round, I long for fall and winter to come, with its rich color, texture, and low humidity. Just a few more months before Fair Oaks will be in its full glory. I'm sure the staff and the dogs, Buddy and Shane look forward to fall. Henry does too. He misses Fair Oaks so much in the summer. He loves Rick, Buddy and Shane and so do I.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Fair Oaks Mini Residency - July 1, 2012

 The fairy houses are placed around the fields.
These are natural fairy houses. I'll be decorating them as time permits.

Golf cart stuck first. Tractor stuck trying to pull it out.

 Big tractor pulling the little tractor out.
Rick in the tractor going back to the barn.

View of Field Three
5x7 inches
acrylic on panel

Notes From my Residency Journal

Today was very interesting and fun for the most part. Not so much for the staff though. Fair Oaks has been very dry for a long time and I have forgotten how to navigate there in the wet season. The recent tropical storm left a lot of water there. The pond has come back and is lovely. I counted several white egrets and a blue heron as I drove by. First on my agenda was going around the fields and placing the little houses I made. I got three settled in their new homes and decided to go back into the woods to place the last one. All was fine until I saw the large tree across the path. I decided I would just skirt around the tree and get back on the path. I often drive all around through the woods so I thought it would be a snap. It wasn't until I got half way around the tree that I noticed I was in ankle deep water. At Fair Oaks, water means sticky mud.  I bogged down and could not get out. I tried to push the cart out but I wasn't strong enough. 

I called the house and the boys promised to rescue me. In a little while Scotty came driving along in a tractor. As he backed in he got stuck too. Off he went to get a bigger tractor. He pulled out the first tractor but could not get in a good spot to pull the golf cart out. We gave up temporarily and headed to the house for lunch. Will made a shrimp sausage rice stew that was delicious. I made a coconut crusted cheesecake for dessert, so we ate well at least. Of course I had to endure many jokes about my driving ability.

After lunch, Rick helped the boys to push the cart out of the mud. I promised to be careful and not get stuck again. Famous last words. I stopped for a little while to do a little painting and then decided that I'd  move to another location.  I skirted the edge  a plowed field carefully.It seemed high and fairly solid. I got so close to the lane where I would have been safe and boom, there I was, buried in mud again. Rick and the boys were very busy, so I carried my supplies back to my truck, left a note apologizing and left for home. I was so frustrated with myself for being so dumb, not once, but twice.

 I'm sure they would like to hang me with onions and shoot me for stinkin!!