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Linda Blondheim Hosts The Second Annual Invitational Painters’ Retreat at Fair Oaks

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Professional Gainesville artist, Linda Blondheim, specializes in depicting and honoring the Florida agricultural landscape. Through her generous spirit, she also expresses a calling to serve and support fellow painters—friends and colleagues she’s known for years.

Linda commented, “I’ve participated in competitive paint-outs for years throughout the state and the south. It’s one of the best ways to meet other artists, but relaxing events—they’re not. The pressure is on to compete and to raise funds for charity. I wanted to do something different and provide a time, opportunity, and private atmosphere where my friends could paint at leisure, not for profit, and enjoy each other’s company.”

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That’s how the first invitational painters’ retreat at Fair Oaks happened in the fall of 2013. For the past eight years, Linda has been the artist in residence there in Evinston (between Macintosh and Micanopy). Fair Oaks is an historic, 160-acre estate of native flora and fauna, as well as improved farm land. As she described it, “The fields are pristine and beautiful, with many hardwoods and tall graceful palms. Two ponds provide habitat for resident and migratory birds. It’s a peaceful and gracious estate stewarded carefully by the many who toil there.”

This year with just over a dozen participants from Florida and other states invited, Linda started planning eight months before the actual Halloween weekend event. Organizing involved finding hosts to house the guest artists, as well as s donors, sponsors, and art suppliers to fund the three days of actual painting and group activities. Then, Linda acted as the retreat’s enthusiastic hostess.

With the help of her invaluable assistant, Carolyn Smith, Linda drove the guests around in a golf cart, got them set up on various parts of the estate with their paints and easels, and picked them up periodically for breaks and meals. After dinner at the pavilion area (all of the meals were served at Fair Oaks), they went to their hosts’ homes to unwind and rest.

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