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, September 30, 2012

Mini-Residency at Fair Oaks September 30,2012

Live Oak

Notes From My Residency Journal

Fair Oaks is always beautiful no matter the climate. Having said that, I long for fall at Fair Oaks. The wet season has made it difficult to get around the fields and through the woods. The mosquitoes are swarming so it is impossible to paint in the shade. I've not seen the prairie in months. I'm anxious for the cool dry air and the seasonal color of fall and winter in north Florida. 

I always enjoy my time there and today was grand. I managed to get through the woods and around the fields without getting stuck. I'm sure the staff was happy about that as they are always very busy. Shane went for a little ride with me today and Buddy came out for a pet and some attention. 

The staff cooked up a tasty lunch of chicken salad, yellow rice and quesadillas and famous Fair Oaks tea. All yummy. After lunch I spent some time taking reference photos. I am teaching a couple of tree painting workshops in the next few months and I want to study some of the Fair Oaks Trees first. There is no place that offers better trees than Fair Oaks in this part of the world. By 2:30 it was pretty hot so I headed for my air conditioned studio. Another great day.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mini Residency at Fair Oaks 09/23/2012

Morning Glories
I saw these on the way to Fair Oaks.

Field One Flowers

Live Oaks
Notes from my Residency Journal

After two weeks away, Henry and I enjoyed our day at Fair Oaks. It was really too hot to take him along but I feel so guilty when I don't. He loves it as much as I do. The morning was quite nice. We loaded up the golf cart and headed back into the shade trees to do a study of Live Oaks. The bugs were out but I sprayed myself and all around the cart with  bug juice so that kept them at bay. It was peaceful and lovely. We were close to the pond, which is in the expanding mode now from a very wet season. I could hear an odd bird call and never did recognize it. It was pretty loud but I never saw the bird so who knows? We started back toward Holy Ground Field, which is a huge field with lovely cabbage palm hammocks, but didn't get far. The path is deep with standing water and I barely avoided getting stuck. I got the cart turned around headed back when the lunch bell rang. Yay!! The staff has dubbed getting the carts stuck in the mud as a "Blondheiming". I can't imagine why?

Rick and farm manager Scotty had a gourmet spaghetti and meatball lunch prepared with garlic bread and mixed green salad. We tried an orange poppy seed dressing on the salad that was zingy and tasty. Lunch was served on new china,cutlery and glassware, all cheery and so pretty. Rick's wonderful attention to comfort and detail for guests makes every visit a pleasure. Going to Fair Oaks is an event. It is always a privilege, with a gracious and amusing host to make me feel welcome.

Pond Oak

After lunch we headed back out to Field 1. I was able to do a quick little painting of the subtle colors in the field that make it look like a rich tapestry. What a wonderful world in this remarkable place.
By 2:30 Henry was beginning to gasp for air from the heat, so reluctantly, I packed up Leroy and we headed for home with the happy memory of a day at Fair Oaks.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Artist in Residence Project: St Augustine Residency Wrap Up

Sky Study

Beach Study

Flagship Harbor Park 

Gamble Rogers State Preserve

Flagship Harbor Park Trail

River to Sea Trail

River to Sea Preserve
 Princess Place

Notes From My Residency Journal

I have arrived home from my residency in St Augustine, safe and sound. It was a wonderful experience full of adventure and exploration. The Hibiscus Condos are exceptionally nice. The landscaping is beautiful and of course, features lovely Hibiscus bushes all around. The pool is very nice and my residence was the best!! I had the loveliest of views in the whole complex and enjoyed painting on the patio every afternoon. The condo was well layed out and very comfortable. Everything was there that I needed. Thanks so much to my sponsors Nan and Bob Sherwood for a wonderful week full of happy memories. This project depends entirely on the generosity of my sponsors who lend me their homes for a week. Nan has requested a flower painting as her reward, so I'll be getting to that soon.

I explored quite a few nature preserves during my stay and I liked all of them. The most difficult to get to was Princess Place, a fair drive from St Augustine. It also has a long rutted road to drive, so that may be a minus for some drivers. It is a lovely park once you arrive.

I had two favorites on the trip, River to Sea and Flagship Harbor. Both of these parks have much to offer scenically and for good exercise.

 Flagship Harbor is the safest and easiest to access. It is an active park with lots of people around but, also easy to find solitude in if that is desired. The scenery is lovely and I got lots of good photos for future studio paintings. The facilities are nice and there is a great pavilion for picnicking.

River to Sea is equally lovely with a nice picnicking pavilion. The trails are good, but it is very easy to get lost on them and the wildlife encounters can be harrowing. It is very quiet. I did not see a soul on that journey. In future, I would be inclined to stay in the front area and paint the wonderful water views if alone. The trails would be great with a companion.

I also liked Gamble Rogers but it is tiny with limited access to views. It would definitely be great for water exploration in a boat. Bings Landing is quite small, mostly a boat ramp, so not much to tell about that location.

In short, it was a wonderful adventure and I hope to go back in 2013. Both trips, first in May( Chad and Sarah) and then September (Nan and Bob) gave me a wonderful understanding of that part of Florida's Coast. I now have a long list of great places to explore and paint.

With any luck, I'll be back at beloved Fair Oaks next Sunday for a mini residency. I love to travel but Fair Oaks remains as my favorite residency.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

St Augustine Residency Day 6

Dunes 1
2.5x3.5 inches

Dunes 2
2.5x3.5 inches

Dunes 3
2.5x3.5 inches

Beach Sky 1
2.5x3.5 inches

Beach Sky 2
2.5x3.5 inches

Beach Waves

Saint Augustine Beach Pier

Notes From My residency Journal

This morning I ate left over pizza for breakfast and it was good!! Thanks Dominoes. I wanted to get out early to go to my favorite place here in St Augustine, the city pier. What a fun place to hang around. I got lots of super photos of waves and the wide beach. What a great beach, huge!! It is so pretty there. The fee is only a dollar and there are swell benches along the pier for sitting and enjoying the birds and waves. It is a great way to spend a morning. I love fishing and I like to watch the fishermen at the end of the pier. Once my daughter Jackie and I saw a shark at the end of the Jacksonville Beach pier. Beach piers are just fun!!

Yesterday I did 16 miniature paintings of the sky and dunes here at the condo. Great practice.

Now I'm doing laundry and cleaning up the condo a bit, and packing up to head home. It has been a glorious week, one of the best residencies I've had. Full of fun, adventure, painting and enjoying the lovely view. This is a cozy relaxed place, just wonderful!! Thanks a million Nan and Bob for a wonderful memory and terrific week.

Friday, September 14, 2012

St Augustine Residency Day 5

Princess Place Preserve

Parks & Preserves
Location: 2500 Princess Place Rd. 
Palm Coast, FL 
Amenities: Campfire Rings, Camping - Equestrian, Camping - Group, Camping - Primitive, Canoe / Kayak Launch, Canoeing & Kayaking, Fishing, Hiking / Nature Trail, Historic Site, Horse / Equestrian Trail, Interpretive Exhibit, Pets, Picnic Pavilion, Restroom Facilities, Weddings, and Wildlife Viewing
Maps: Google | MapQuest | Bing | Yahoo!
Hours: 7am to 6pm Monday - Sunday
Lodge Tours Friday - Sun at 2pm.
Camping check-in is 4:30 to 5:30pm at the Ranger's station .
Contact Phone: 386 313-4020
Cost: Free

Notes From My Residency Journal

 Condo Dunes
Sorry for the glare on the right side of the painting.

 Road to Princess Place
Marshes at Princess Place

After bacon and eggs at the Oasis, I headed south to Princess Place (See above for Park information). I  visited this park about 7 years ago with a painting group. it is an interesting place with a history. You can still see the swimming pool and it is pretty cool that it was owned by a princess. The marshes are quite lovely there.It is a great hiking location with lots of trails. The lodge is very pretty and offers a wonderful view of the marshes. The first time I was there I saw wild boars, but nothing today. Now I'm back to painting on the patio. This afternoon I'm going to be painting some miniatures of the dunes.

 From the Flagler County Web site: This beautiful 1,500-acre preserve situated in the northern part of Flagler County was purchased by Henry Cutting in 1886 and passed on to his widow Angela Mills Cutting Worden, who eventually married Boris Scherbatoff, an exiled Russian prince. Angela assumed the title of princess and it was then that the once named "Cherokee Grove" came to be known as "Princess Place.

The original lodge built by Henry Cutting stills stands as Flagler County's oldest intact structure.  Also on-site is Florida's very first in-ground swimming pool.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

St Augustine Residency Day 4

Flagship Harbor Park
Flagler Beach, FL

St Augustine Beach Dunes
20x24 inches
acrylic on canvas

Notes From My Residency Project

I got an early start today, skipping breakfast and heading south on A1A, first to Bings Landing, south of Washington Oaks State Park. I will have some photos later to share. My smart phone has terrible reception over on the coast so the images don't come through very easily.

Bings Landing is a small park on the intercoastal waterway. It has a large parking lot for boats and such and some covered picnic tables. There are several barrier islands viewable from the sea wall. There are a few benches scattered around the seawall for sitting.

From there I continued south to Flagler Beach and turned off on US 1. Just before the bridge, I turned right and then left to go along the edge of the bridge and then under it to the Flagship Harbor Park. This is a wonderful park. It has a high wooden boardwalk which winds through the woods and the Mangrove hammocks. There is a large dock out into the water with lovely views. I met two fishermen who hadn't caught anything yet. I saw two cute as pie turtles along the side of the boardwalk. At a low point in the boardwalk there are nature trails that go through the woods. They have tall palms, old Red Cedar trees and are wide and smooth for easy walking. There are benches along the paths. This is a really nice nature park and I recommend it for those who want to enjoy nature without intimidation from wild creatures. In the parking lot is a nice covered pavilion with restrooms and picnic facilities.
I have found that small local county parks are often excellent facilities with upgrades one would not expect from a local park.

I am often asked how I find these out of the way places? I spend a lot of time researching the area I'm going to travel to for my residencies. I use key words in search engine queries like,Florida nature,wild places, eco-tourism, etc. to find the parks.  The State Park web site has lots of information on the more obscure state parks. The Chamber of Commerce for an area can be helpful. One of the main goals of this project for me is to give quality reviews and information about the best of natural Florida.

When I arrived back in St Augustine I was ready to eat, so I tried a new restaurant for me called the Groove Cafe it is a very nice, sleek atmosphere with large abstract paintings on the walls. Having art on the walls is always a + for me. Of course I would love it if my paintings were hanging in the restaurant but we can't have everything ;-> The menu was interesting and unique. The waiter, named Brian was an outstanding and attentive server. They had a large flat screened TV featuring a silent film about surfing, very appropriate for a beach town. They played Reggae music but it wasn't loud. They have very charming outdoor seating which I'm sure is very popular in the cool weather months.  I opted for the Cuban sandwich, one of my favorites. It was delicious and huge. It had pulled pork in it with the other more traditional ingredients. It was of course pressed, the only way to eat one properly. It came with French fries which were plentiful and very crisp and hot. Brian told me that their specialty is  shrimp which is brought in fresh each day from Mayport. I may have to go back and try that if time permits. My large sandwich,fries and iced tea were about 12.00. The Groove Cafe is located at 134 Seagrove Town Center in St Augustine Beach.

I will be painting from the patio of my condo again today. The scenery is grand. More to come....

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

St Augustine Residency Day 3- The biggest Adventure yet!!

St Augustine Dunes-09/12/12
5x7 inches
acrylic on linen

River To Sea Nature Preserve
Flowers Along the Trail

 View From the Dock
Palm Along the Trail

Notes From My Residency Journal

Well, today was my biggest adventure of all for the residency project. I started the day out early, stopping at the Oasis to fuel up on eggs, corned beef hash and home fries with good strong coffee.

I headed down the coast to look for River to Sea Preserve, which is about two miles south of Marineland on the intercoastal side. It is easy to miss, I passed it and had to go back. There is a small white sign and a rutted narrow lane into the preserve. It has a small grass parking lot with a sign ( see above) to the trail. There is a concrete sidewalk that leads to a beautiful scenic dock and covered pavilion with several picnic tables and a walk out small dock. It is well maintained. I am thinking this would be an excellent painting location in cooler weather. I'll come back to do that. From the pavilion area, there is a long nature trail. I set off for a nice morning walk. Along my journey I saw multiple trails branching off the main one. It was a nice wide,clean trail with good visibility and signs along the way. I could hear the birds singing and now and then rustling in the underbrush of small animals. There were several signs warning of gators, and of course there are lots of snakes in that kind of environment, but I saw neither.

 I have no idea how long the trail is but it began to get warm so I decided to turn back. There were a few bugs but not bad at all. Somehow I ended up lost in the trails. The way back became confusing and I did not recognize any markers that I had seen before. I began to realize that I was thoroughly lost. I decided to keep forging ahead, What other choice did I have? Suddenly I heard noise around the bend and there face to face came a Black Bear!! I squealed like an little girl!! He did an about face and ran off into the woods.Oh how exciting and equally terrifying!!

After my heart slowed down, I trudged on. At this point I started to see signs of humanity, thinking I had found my way back to the parking lot. I was quite tired and sweaty. With dismay, I realized I had come out in some kind of industrial area. Lots of dumpsters, pipes, and marine salvage equipment. I walked on and came to a building and walked in. I called to see if anyone was there. A very nice man named Chip appeared. I asked him if he knew where the River to Sea Preserve was located? He laughed and said, "You must be lost from the nature trail". Yes, indeed I was. He was so nice. He led me back out to the parking lot to his golf cart and told me to hop in. He delivered me to my car.It turned out to be about 4 miles away. It is so lovely to know that there are kind people in our society who will gladly lend a hand. He saved me a long hot walk down A1A. Needless to say, I'm tired but I sure enjoyed the big adventure.

More to come......

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

St Augustine Residency Day 2

Hibiscus Condominium Dunes WIP day 2
18x24 inches

Gamble Rogers Palms
9x12 inches

Entrance to  Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area

Palms at Gamble Rogers

Notes From My Residency

This morning I headed straight to the Oasis Restaurant for breakfast. It's great to be back in St Augustine again. It, and New Smyrna Beach are my two favorite beach towns on the east coast. The Oasis is the place for a good down home breakfast. It has a variety of options, including corned beef hash and home fries, my favorites. I held my tongue and was quiet while I listened to a woman at another table making fun of Southern cuisine. Anyone who knows me will be proud of me for staying quiet. I love Southern food and celebrate being from the South. She said that collards, and grits were trash food for the lower classes. Can you believe how rude she was? Oh My!!

After my breakfast I headed south on A1A to Gamble Rogers State Recreation Area. The park has a similar format to Washington Oaks in that there is an intercoastal park and a beach side across A1A. It is a very small park, great for boating, with a nice dock and boat ramp and canoes for rental. There is a nice nature hiking trail and several covered pavilions at the water's edge. There are also large fields of palm hammocks out in the open. I walked that way rather than on the nature trail The trail is very closed in and narrow. It looked like Rattlesnake heaven, so I decided not to take it. In the winter I will try it again. By the time I got to the beach side, it was getting pretty hot. I took some nice ocean and beach photos for future paintings. 

I went through Flagler Beach on my way there and back. Tomorrow I'm going to explore another park in that area. Flagler is a funky, straggly, poor neighbor to affluent towns near by. It is tacky and old but the one thing I love about it is that no houses are built on the beach front. They are all west of the beach so there is a fabulous ocean view along A1A. I remember when much of Florida's coasts were natural and you could drive for miles and miles watching the waves crash into shore. 

I stopped by Hobby Lobby to buy a few supplies when I returned to St Augustine Beach and then headed home for an afternoon of painting. 

More to come.....

Monday, September 10, 2012

St Augustine Residency Day One

My beautiful home for this residency.

This is my view from the covered patio.

I am really going to enjoy painting this every afternoon.

Notes From My Residency Journal

I arrived late today. I needed to stop and pick up my new spectacles. Wow!! I can really see well now. By the time I got unpacked and set up in my house for the week it was too late to head out exploring so I am going to stick around and enjoy the view today. I will start painting at 5 PM and paint until the light is gone. I will be doing a 20x24 painting this week.

Tomorrow I will begin exploring south of St Augustine each morning. Happily, this residence is close to the Oasis so I'll look forward to a nice breakfast every morning. 

The condo is lovely and beach front, so my view is fantastic. I could paint here all day every day and have plenty of subjects. It is beautifully landscaped and the patio has a deep overhang so there is plenty of shade in the heat of the day. The interior is cozy, roomy and very comfortable without being so upscale that I'm afraid to sit on the furniture. Just perfect!! Thanks so much to my sponsors Nan and Bob.

More to come......

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Getting Ready for the Next Adventure

Notes From my Residency Journal

I'm excited today. Tomorrow I start my next residency at Hibiscus Condominiums in lovely St Augustine Beach. Thank you so much Nan and Bob Sherwood for your generous sponsorship. I'm told that my home for a week is beach front with a nice patio, so you know where I'll be painting!!

I stayed home from Fair Oaks, regretfully, to clean house, finish packing and to load my car. I'm told  the weather will be perfect for the week, so I will be painting everything from miniatures to 20x24. I will be continuing my afternoon painting on the patio as I did in May for my other residency. It is so swell to get out a big canvas and work on it for a couple of hours each afternoon from 5-7 PM, hopefully completing it during the residency. I make myself an afternoon cocktail and turn on my Pandora radio to Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald and watch the light change ever so gradually. This is living.

I'll be exploring state parks and nature preserves down the coast this time, and will put in a stop at Hobby Lobby for frames, since we don't have one in Gainesville. I will try to post on this blog each afternoon to share the adventure with all of you. 

More to come........

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mini Residency At Fair Oaks 09/02/12

Field Two
5x7 inches

Collins Field Beckons

The mystical place

Notes From my Residency Journal

Gosh it is hot this week. It seems that as summer begins to leave us it is reluctant to go. I arrived to lots of humidity, bugs and heat today at Fair Oaks. My canine friends Buddy and Shane greeted me on the long lane. We were by ourselves for much of the day. My friend Kate Barnes, writer and extraordinary artist came by and we visited under the shade of the pavilion with the fan on while I did the above painting. 

The air was heavy with the weight of lots of rain and now very hot. Water was standing  in the fields and I had two close calls with the cart, almost getting it stuck twice. I could hear Rick laughing in my ear and was determined not to get stuck. I have become the joke of the Fair Oaks staff  by getting stuck so many times.  My sister bought me some rubber boots so I can hike back to the cottage when I get stuck. Since the staff was gone today, I didn't want to have to leave the stuck cart in the woods, so I gave up my afternoon tour to the outer areas that I usually enjoy. I've not been out on Fish Prairie since May and I am very keen to get back out there in the fall when it dries up a bit.