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 26, 2013

Mini Residency at Fair Oaks- May 26, 2013

Pond View
16x20 inches
oil on canvas


A wonderful view of the current wildflowers

A portal view I like

My dear sweet friend Shaney!! He likes to explore with me.

Notes From My Residency Journal

Today was one of those splendid early summer days  that make me so grateful to be at Fair Oaks. I arrived and set out in my favorite blue golf cart to find the right painting spot. This time of year it becomes important to find good shade that will last a few hours. I camped out next to the fire pit near the pond and started my painting. As I worked, I could hear the mower in the distance and see glimpses of the big yellow tractor mowing the fields. The fragrance wafted across the fields and I enjoyed the instant memories it brought to me of my Daddy mowing the fields at my house. That green smell is so wonderful. I soon heard the lunch bell and headed in to the cottage. Fair Oaks had visitors for lunch and we feasted on fabulous BBQ. Who in the South doesn't like BBQ? I was raised on it, along with fried chicken. We had ribs, chicken and pork along with collard greens, slaw, mac and cheese and baked beans. OH MY!!! Added to that, interesting conversation about what constitutes "good art" so it was a very successful lunch indeed. 

I moved to the upstairs studio in the house and enjoyed an afternoon of painting in the cool air conditioned room. As always, the time races along and it was soon time to pack up. I took some time to explore with Shane and take reference photos.  I have been doing a series of paintings around the fields, studying the grasses and wild flowers at Fair Oaks. Today the Spiderwort and Dandelions were nearly spent, beginning to go to seed. They have been replaced by the tiny white daisies that are so common in this part of Florida. They have tiny white heads with yellow centers, very delicate and bloom on long stems. They are beautiful in the fields. 

Other painters ask me from time to time why I paint so much at Fair Oaks? They ask me why I don't get tired of painting there? How could I ever get tired of such a beautiful diverse land, that changes almost every week year round? I could paint there every day for a hundred years and not grow tired of it. I always say that Fair Oaks has the best light I have ever seen. No place else compares to it. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Fair Oaks Mini Residency- May 19. 2013

The purple plants are starting to come in now.

Notes From My Residency Journal

It is suddenly summer here in North Central Florida. Last week was cool and spring like and now it is hot, humid, and buggy!! I was attacked today by Yellow Flies and Spiders while painting in the shade in Field One. I managed to get the above 18x24 painting mostly done by lunch time. I spent some time roaming around in my favorite blue golf cart just before discovering that Rick had a special guest for lunch, my friend Kate Barnes. Kate is a Renaissance woman of the first order. She has traveled the world, lived in Japan, was a county commissioner for several years, a highly respected painter and is a well known writer. Any time she comes, we are all in for a treat of wonderful stories of her adventures.  

Rick collects interesting and learned friends like a magnet and I am lucky to be included on Sundays for some of his soirees. 

We enjoyed sausage and yellow rice, baked chicken, tossed salad and Lima beans for lunch, followed by ice cream with chocolate sauce. With our coffee, Kate produced a delicious blueberry preserve and cracker plate which quickly disappeared. Our meal was prepared by Rick's summer crew of college boys, all very sweet and kind.

After lunch, I headed up to the studio upstairs in the house and finished my painting in cool air conditioning. Kate and Rick were off to explore Fair Oaks while I painted. She came up for a visit and what a pleasant way to spend Sunday afternoon. Soon came time for me to steer Leroy home to my own studio with happy memories of a wonderful day at Fair Oaks.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

St Augustine Beach Residency- Day 6- May 11, 2013

Matanzas River

Bridge of Lions


Oldest Schoolhouse in USA

A1A St Augustine

St George Street

Notes From My Residency Journal

Yesterday I headed for St Augustine. The beach town and the other town are from two different planets. SA Beach is relaxed, mellow and great fun. The beach is beautiful, the parks up and down the coast are delightful and there is a wonderful beach town attitude there. I really love this beach town.

The city of St Augustine, not my favorite. It has lost much of its flavor in the last five years. The town fathers have banned street musicians and artists from the scene. I used to love to hear the street musicians and watch painters on the sidewalks. They were part of what made the old city fun.It is crowded with tourists and parking is difficult. Many of the shops are full of junk at premium prices.

There are some redeeming qualities. I enjoy the trolley tours, the old fort, and some of the museums there. The restaurants are pricey. The city marina is quite nice, very clean and the people there are very friendly. There are benches placed around the marina, a nice little shop and it is very organized. Yesterday I took an eco boat tour at the marina which was excellent. The young captain was knowledgeable about the fish, wildlife and birds that are native to the area. We saw Roseate Spoonbills, Oyster birds, Kingfishers, Brown pelicans, Manatees, and Bottle Nosed Dolphins. We toured some of the Matanzas River estuaries and marshlands, and the Anastasia Island. It was well worth the 40.00+7.00 tip.

I was happy to get back to the beach town and leave the noise and congestion behind.
Chad and Sarah's Condo was a welcome haven after a long day.

Today I will do my laundry, one more painting and pack my car for the trip home tomorrow. It has been too short a residency but absolutely fabulous thanks to Sarah and Chad.

Restaurant Reviews

Sea Oats Cafe

This tiny restaurant is in the Publix shopping center in SA beach. it is a cute theme with surf boards as black boards and Beachy decor. The service is good but a bit slow after ordering. I ordered bacon and eggs with home fries. The eggs were good, the English muffin was good, the bacon overcooked, just short of too dark. The home fries were not particularly good. Very bland and under cooked.

My vote for breakfast at the beach is still the Oasis and Cafe 11, both very consistent and flavorful at a moderate prices and outstanding service.

Harry's in St Augustine

I went to Harry's because the prices were reasonable and I know their food. It is a regional chain featuring Cajon style food but toned down in spices. I had the Shrimp Po Boy and it was quite good. It came with hot, crisp fries. The roll was crispy, the shrimp hot and crisp with a nice dill pickle slice, lettuce and tomato with a Romelade sauce. Very tasty and 11.00. I found nothing else of that quality for that price. Most every other restaurant was quite pricey.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Nuts and Bolts of an Artist Residency

Notes From My Residency Journal

I will be out on the Matanzas River tomorrow, so I won't post on Friday.

My residency project is a departure from the typical residency an artist does. Most of them are invitational or through an application process. The artist stays in an organization's facility from 1-8 months, where the artist must either teach, do demonstrations or must pay or donate art.

My residencies are sponsored by businesses, non profit organizations or by corporations. They provide my art supplies. The residency locations are provided by my hosts, bless them, who offer me their vacation homes, usually for five to seven days. They ask nothing from me but I almost always give them a nice painting for their collection. They look forward to that. I have no time schedules, no teaching obligations or fees from my hosts and sponsors. They are extremely generous.

My own expenses include my groceries and restaurant bills, park and attraction fees, and my gas to and from the residency.This adds up quickly. I try to stay on a budget for each residency. Sometimes I go over and other times I spend almost nothing.

I have learned to save time and money during residencies. I don't like to spend much time cooking at residencies because I would rather paint and explore the area where I am staying. I have learned some quick meals that suffice for a hot meal at night.  I cook a box of spaghetti at home and bring the cooked pasta with me. I get a jar of pasta sauce, some Parmesan cheese and I have an instant microwavable hot meal. I usually get 3 or four spaghetti dinners out of this.  My other hot meal is just as fast. I use Uncle Bens flavored pouch rices with a small can of chicken, dumping them together in a microwave bowl. In two minutes I have chicken and rice. I always get a bag of salad greens and bring a bottle of dressing.  I eat tuna sandwiches and PB&J for lunch. My splurge is to eat breakfast out each day. It is the least expensive meal while traveling and is messy to make. For snacks, I get hummus and pita chips, a fruit bowl from the market, or salsa with with tortilla chips. That is really all I need for the week and I waste no time cooking.

I always try to spend time researching the area where I will stay, so that I have an idea ahead of where I want to explore and what I will need to spend. Some activities are free, some very inexpensive and a few are pricey. The Eco boat tours are expensive but worth the expense to splurge on occasionally because they are run by naturalists who help me learn about the birds and wildlife in an area. I gather hundreds of reference photos for future paintings in my studio, and I do at least one plein air painting a day during my trips.

If you would like to contribute to this project, I would very much appreciate your assistance. You can use the donate paypal button here on the blog. The funding will help with my travel expenses. If you would like to sponsor my project as a business, that would be wonderful. I will work hard to promote your company. If you would like to host a residency, I would love it!!! Just contact me at: linda@lindablondheim.com.

Many thanks to all who make this project possible. Please support the businesses and organizations who support me on this blog. Bless them for supporting the arts.

St Augustine Beach Residency- Day 4- May 9, 2013

Linda with a new friend, Brownie the pelican.

St Augustine Beach Pier

Kiddie pool and playground at the Saint Augustine Beach pier.


Notes From My Residency Journal

Today I visited one of my favorite places in St Augustine Beach, the city pier. What a bargain, it costs a dollar to hang around on the pier and enjoy the day.  There is a visitor's center with lots of brochures and maps for the tourist spots and the attendant is friendly and knowledgeable about the area. You buy your pier pass inside the tackle shop. There is a lovely modern kiddie pool with fountains and a slide. There were lots of little kids splashing and playing and lots of moms enjoying the sun.

Being a weekday mid- morning, there wasn't much traffic on the pier but I got to have my picture taken with Brownie the pelican by a fellow tourist. He was very brave, allowing me to get quite close to him, and I took some good shots of him myself, which I will use for a painting. I met three fishermen who said it was slow going today. They caught a couple of catfish.

I love this pier and always visit it at least once during my stay. I find it to be the very best way to study waves, from the top down.

Restaurant Reviews

Cafe 11

I had breakfast at Cafe 11 yesterday on my way to the Alligator Farm. I have eaten there before. It gets zero for style points. It has a concrete floor, and no atmosphere at all. It is dark, sort of warehouse in atmosphere. . You order at the counter and the waitress brings your food. They give you a coffee mug that is real stoneware, and you get your own. It has sort of a new age modern hippie feel to it with weird music.

On the good side, it is an Internet cafe, so I can use my wi-fi IPad while I eat. The food is really outstanding. I had the egg, bacon and home fries breakfast. The bacon was crisp, the eggs fried to my request of over medium, not hard and not runny, and the home fries had delicious herbs grilled with them; the potatoes were nicely caramelized. It was hot too. The coffee was ok, not as bold as I like it but adequate. Despite the atmosphere, it is an excellent choice for breakfast at the beach. The price was average.

Wildflower Cafe

I have heard about this cafe and it has an impressive web site online.It is in an upscale building on A1A between St Augustine and the 206 bridge, on the beach side of the highway. It is beautifully decorated with clothed tables covered in glass, sort of an English cottage decor. The service was immediate and excellent. My server's name was Anna. There was the usual variety of selections, with a few like crab cake Benedict and spinach omelets. I chose the classic Eggs Benedict. I got the home fries as a side. The plate was nicely presented with a slice of fruit, which always impresses me. The coffee was bold, good and plentiful.

I was a bit disappointed in the actual meal.It was warm but close to room temperature. The hollandaise sauce was bland and not thick and creamy as that sauce should be. It did not have the lovely lemon taste that I love. The Canadian bacon was too thick, tasting more like ham, chewy. The home fries had not been properly grilled to caramelize the potatoes, so they were soft and under grilled, bland. 

The bill for coffee and Eggs Benedict was about 14.00 and with a five dollar tip for good service, it was a bit on the high end for breakfast. I will probably pass on this one in the future.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Saint Augustine Beach Residency- Day 3-May 8, 2013

Albino Alligator

Surf Shop

Alligator Feeding Pit

Rookery Boardwalk

9x12 inches

Surf Boards

Notes From My Residency Journal

Last year I toured all of the state, county and city parks in this area, looking at nature. You can read about last year's adventure here on the blog in the archives.

This year I am exploring some of the tourist places. Today I went to one of my favorites, the Alligator Farm and Zoological Park. This is my second visit. I went there about 8 years ago with my daughters in July, when it was dreadfully hot and crowded. It was wonderful today, cool and uncrowded. May is the perfect month to visit a great beach town. The park has added a new adventure. It is a zip line that takes a visitor over the park. It is for the young and fit. You have to climb a rope ladder and get strapped into the line with a safety harness.I enjoyed watching it but I don't really like heights.

I really enjoyed the Alligator shows and the rookery for wild birds. I watched the zoo keeper feed the Alligators and was interested to find that the scientists have formulated their food in a tablet that they toss out into the Alligator pits. I learned that they only need to eat about 95 pounds of food in a year to stay healthy. That surprised me. Some of the Alligators there weigh over 1000 pounds. They have the strongest bite of any animal at 3000 pounds pressure. There is an underwater aquarium where you can see the 1200 pound  Crocodile.. I got to stand right up next to him. Way cool!!

The zoo is quite lovely, with large boardwalks that wind around the park for different exhibits. There is a nice snack bar and lots of benches in the shade for comfort. I also enjoyed the very nice gift shop, where I bought my to be born grandson, Ike, his first storybook about Alligators.  It was a great experience and is wonderful for kids. It was very clean and there were park rangers everywhere to answer questions. The adult fee was 22.00 but they let me in for 20.00, I assume this was a senior discount. I really recommend this zoo.

On my way back to Chad and Sarah's Condo I stopped at Aqua Surf Shop. When I was  14-25 years old the surf culture was a big part of my life. Surfing was king in California, Hawaii and Florida. We spent every possible minute at the beach and surfers were celebrities. I still love watching them and the surf shop is very cool. This is a large shop and had several antique surf boards. I love the T-shirts and sandals too. You can't miss this shop. It has a huge yellow and blue sign.

I do many wonderful residencies thanks to my collectors and friends. This one is a favorite. ( They are all my favorites, each and every time.)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Day 2- St Augustine Beach Residency, May 7, 2013

Butler Park
Off A1A

Washington Oaks State Park Beach

Washington Oaks State Park Palms

8x10 inches
oil on canvas

Notes From My Residency Journal

I headed down the coast today, stopping at the Oasis, my favorite place to eat a good old fashioned breakfast. I enjoyed corned beef hash, eggs, home fries and an English Muffin. I then stopped at Butler Park to take a few photos. I like that park. it is always quiet when I stop by. It has a boat ramp and covered pavilions for picnicking on the Matanzas River.

I continued down to Flagler Beach, enjoying the winding drive along the coast. My mission was to find my friend Sandi, who works in a gallery on A1A. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is a very nice gallery. I had gotten the idea that it was just a little bookshop with a painting or two. She gave me a nice tour and it was quite nice, with several rooms of art and photography. I asked her to give the owner my card. I might want to show a couple of paintings there. It is called Ocean Books and Art. The location is excellent, right on A1A across the street from the big pier, so foot traffic is good. They have an art walk once a month as well.
I drove around the town a bit, which has several tiny shops for the  tourist trade. I have always found Flagler Beach to be very eclectic, sort of old time, a bit shabby compared to its neighboring beaches, but lots of fun too.

On my way back to St Augustine, I happened upon another art studio belonging to a bird painter named Art Lamay. His studio was filled with reproductions of his watercolor bird paintings, in a very traditional style. A nice gallery.

I stopped at one of my favorite beaches at Washington Oaks State Park. During my last residency at
Chad and Sarah's Condo I went to the other side of the park on the Intercoastal. I really like the ocean side the best. The beach is unique and quite beautiful. It is one of the few beaches that have large rocks at the water's edge. The sand is a warm brown made from broken Cocina and sand. The water is beautiful.
Tonight I will do a painting from the reference photos I took there.

Each time I come here I find new and interesting places to visit and I learn more about this area.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Day 1 St Augustine Residency

Back Yard Views from Chad and Sarah's Condo

Notes From My Residency Journal

I am thrilled to be typing this from Chad and Sarah's Condo in beautiful St Augustine Beach. I'm unpacked and my painting gear is on their back patio, waiting for 5 PM to start my first painting. I've already seen a White Egret and Brown Pelicans from the patio. I can't describe how much I love this residency. Their condo is spotless and professionally decorated, with original paintings, of which several are mine. I'm thrilled about that. It is like visiting old friends and the memories of that painting experience come back to me.

  The beach is just a few steps away and I will surely enjoy that every evening after the sun abates. I try to be careful about too much sun as I have spent most of my life outside. This is a very comfortable home, casual and beautiful. It has everything a guest could want, 2 bedrooms and two baths, a fully stocked kitchen, and a spacious living dining area. The scenery is beautiful and the complex is beautifully and meticulously cared for. I will take a nice walk tonight after dinner and enjoy the sea.

I'll paint tonight and then head down the coast tomorrow to the Flagler area. I want to stop in and visit with a collector who lives in that area. I'll do a lot of picture taking this year with my new IPad camera, which takes marvelous photos. Yippee!! I'm going to be working on a lot of small paintings this time, studying the mangroves, the water, and the waves. 

Thank you Chad and Sarah for this wonderful residency!!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Fair Oaks Mini-Residency, May 5, 2013

Collins Field

Notes From My Residency Journal

Florida simply doesn't get better than today. It was absolutely glorious, cool and breezy with low humidity. I arrived at Fair Oaks to see beautiful green carpets of grass in every field, dotted with Spiderwort in masses of blue and purple. Tiny white flowers waved in the breeze and now and then a bright yellow Dandelion would pop up. What a sight!!

I got a start on a 12x16 inch oil painting, but I just couldn't focus on the process. The day was just too beautiful to stay in one place. I packed up and began to explore, using my Ipad camera to record  many lovely fields and trees bursting with greens and yellows. Fair Oaks was dressed for the Spring Prom and strutting her stuff!! 

I missed the lunch bell while I was out on the prairie, but Rick kindly waited for me, so I enjoyed an excellent hot dog with baked beans and beautiful tangy ripe tomatoes with herbs and olive oil drizzled on them. A good strong cup of coffee hit the spot. Euan came along for lunch and we enjoyed a good round of banter back and forth. I will miss all of the boys as they begin to head home for the summer this week. 

I begin my last Spring residency tomorrow and will be checking in here with lots of stories about my adventure in Saint Augustine Beach this week. As always, I miss Fair Oaks and my friends there when I am away.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

My Next Residency- May 6-12, 2013 St Augustine Beach

St Augustine Beach Dunes

Notes From My Residency

I'll be on my way Monday for beautiful St Augustine Beach for my second annual residency at Chad and Sarah's Condo. Bless their good hearts for generously inviting me back this year. Their condo is divine!! It is located right on the dunes and a few steps away from the beach walk. It is a gated complex, so it is quite safe. I enjoy walking around at night to get a bit of exercise. It is spacious and professionally decorated and the kitchen has everything I need to cook if I want to. It is right down the street from Publix market, the gas station and just a few blocks from the SA Beach pier. I love that place. it is super fun to hang out there and watch the fishermen and the birds. It also has a nice patio for afternoon dune watching and bird watching. It also has the all important WI-FI so I can write this blog each day during my adventure. I can't wait to get there. Thanks Sarah and Chad.