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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Make an Offer, Painting at Fair Oaks Farm, Patrons helping Artists

The winner of the 50.00 gift certificate for December is MARY NEAT Mary, email me at:

This Weeks Make and Offer painting.
Indian Pass Palms
8x10 inches
oil on Masonite Panel

Your offer must be at least 10.00 with 4.00 shipping or pick up at my studio. If you are a Florida resident add.0625% sales tax. Make offers to me at: Put OFFER in the message line.

Fair Oaks Farm

This month during the holidays I have been doing a lot of painting outside. The weather has been marvelous and I enjoy painting with my companion Henry(Studio Dog), my French bulldog. We load up the car with my painting gear and head out several days a week.

One of my favorite places to paint is Fair Oaks Farm in Evinston Florida. Evinston is the home of the Wood Swink Country Store and Florida's oldest post office. You will find my small paintings at the Wood Swink, depicting the farms and ranches in that area.

Fair Oaks Farm is just a mile or two from the Post Office. It is owned by a very kind and generous friend to painters, Rick Knellinger. Rick is an attorney by trade, but his passion is for his farm and the art that his friends produce. A few of us are lucky to have all the time we want to paint on this lovely farm. It is a privilege I don't take lightly.

Live Oak at Fair Oaks Farm
8x10 inches
Oil on Masonite Panel

Palm Hammock at Fair Oaks Farm
8x10 inches
oil on Masonite Panel

The farm is graced with ancient Live Oaks, Magnolias and tall graceful Palms. The lawn is emerald green with interesting patterns and shapes or dark green made by the cast shadows of old trees. This formal lawn is surrounded by fields dotted with palms, an orchard with lemon, grapefruit,tangerine and orange trees a lovely pond and bee hives. A lovely old Cracker barn sits behind the old house. The farm is home to Sand Hill Cranes and many other birds who take up residence in the winter.

Fair Oaks Barn
12x16 inches
oil on Raymar panel

The farm is lovingly cared for and treasured by it's owner and all who visit. I always meet interesting people there, and the ever charming Rick never fails to extend the most gracious hospitality.

Rick shared this wonderful story with me about the farm. In his words:

" Fair Oaks was originally part of a very large plantation.
The mansion burned around 1900. The present home was the guest house. The
stories that have come down to me are few. During the Civil War, soldiers
on leave were constrained by chaperones, but were wily enough to take the
objects of their affection for a ride in a tiny row boat on Clearwater Lake.
Room only for two! They threw balls to raise money for the Confederacy.
The lake is now a seasonal pond due to dropping water levels. The
cistern is all that is left of the mansion. It is 18 feet deep and about 9
feet in diameter. I would love to find someone to restore it.
For 35 years, Faye and Guy Miles, she a concert pianist and he a
literature professor, "camped out" here. My friends and I would come out to
dine and read Shakespeare on the balcony just before the gloaming, then
meander downstairs to a piano concert and much laughter where no one was
Puck was a regular visitor here too. Some of Faye's smallest
visitors saw him hiding in the bushes and ran to her to report it. In the
morning she would point out to the children the fairy rings in the fields
where they had danced in the starlight, and the dew kerchiefs they
carelessly left behind. Faye is the Muse that continues to guide each day
here. She would "let nothing be ordinary", as she held the fresh head of
lettuce, pulled it apart with her hands, and deeply inhaled its freshness.
She "joined the cosmos", as she promised to do, a few years ago. Every
person was welcome to her hospitality. For her 85th birthday, we surprised
her with a concert in the back yard, with renowned violinist Elwyn Adams.
He arrived in his huge 1974 Cadillac convertible with a broad straw hat, and
renewed his friendship with Faye from his first concert in Gainesville.
Faye was lucky to tip the scale at 100
pounds....very lucky. She wore torn jeans and formal dress with equal
panache. Once she was playing in a concert, where someone had failed to
lock the wheels on the Steinway. The longer she played the further the
piano slipped away from her hands and the lower her organdy dress slipped
from her breast. She relates that she had never played the piece with such
speed and authority managing to keep the audience in rapt suspense as to
which performance would finish first."

Being a painter gives me the opportunity to meet and visit many wonderful places in the world. It is a special life for which I am most grateful.

Most artists live a fairly minimal lifestyle, particularly if they are single. We are not wealthy financially, but we have a privileged life thanks to many patrons like Rick who share their lands and provide assistance. There are many ways to enhance an artist's career and assist them. Providing a space to paint, lodging at beautiful locations, equipment, referrals, commitments to financial support, and good business advice are just a few. Sometimes a simple invitation for coffee or lunch will boost an artist's feelings. If you admire and respect an artist, think about ways you might help them with their career.

See my paintings HERE


Miki Willa said...

Happy New Year! I really like these paintings. It is very chilly here and they warm me up. Thanks for sharing them and the story of Fair Oaks Farm.

Linda Blondheim said...

Miki, Thanks so much. I'm glad you liked the farm story. Henry and I paint there just about every week lately. It is a wonderful place.

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