Thinking like an artist

Posted by on Aug 31, 2009 in Sources of inspiration | One Comment

You know how you just cruise along, living your life, not giving any thought to how you measure up to anyone else? (Maybe you think about other people’s opinions, but I don’t very often.) So you’re just cruising along, doing what you do, doing what comes naturally, and BOOM! Someone tells you that you are weird! Weird? Nope, I’m just unique.  Here is an example:  I just finished knitting a pair of socks for a friend. She chose and bought the yarn; I turned it into socks. While the socks were in process, I noticed that the colors on the Mineral King Road were the same as the yarn. That’s not weird, is it? (not that I care if you all think I’m weird – I’m just sort of wondering)



Continuing 2, beginning 2 more

Posted by on Aug 28, 2009 in General | No Comments

This is what I worked on today. Can you tell what these are wanting to be when they grow up?


Upside down is a good way to force oneself to see shapes as they really are rather than as one assumes they are. It sorts out some of the confusion of the familiar. It causes one to filter out all the detail and focus on the larger shapes.


Perhaps it will be easier for you to identify shapes here.


This is hard. I’ve painted it 3 times now and it is still hard. img_1477.jpg

This is also hard. Somedays I can hardly wait to be more proficient at oil painting so that I can see the pieces take shape faster. And isn’t it weird that when the paintings take less time that they will probably bring in more money?? Reminds me of working dumb jobs – the lowest jobs on the pay scale are usually the most difficult! Go figure. . .  I’m not complaining, just puzzling over one of the many mysteries of life.

One more about the mini-vacation

Posted by on Aug 27, 2009 in Sources of inspiration | No Comments

sf.jpgIsn’t this the loveliest swimming hole you’ve seen?? Of course this is at the end of the season, but oh my!

Mini Vacation

Posted by on Aug 26, 2009 in Sources of inspiration | One Comment

This morning I had a very long walk. Eleven miles long. Really! It was beautiful – see?


When we arrived at our destination, this was waiting for us to soak our tired selves in:


There was a great lady there awaiting our arrival, and after our soak, she drove us home. After I got home, it felt as if I had been on vacation and I never left Three Rivers! It took some discipline to focus on the easels and the oil paintings after that little respite. However, work did happen. These oil paintings are either newly finished or still in progress. You may not be able to discern the progress, but the bridges are gradually moving toward the end.



And what are those little paintings there on the window sill? new subjects? Not oranges or pomegranates or poppies? Wow!

My story, part 3

Posted by on Aug 23, 2009 in General | One Comment

In deciding which medium to use instead of colored pencil, the choice of oil seemed the most natural. In watercolor, there is little forgiveness. This is scary to someone who lives and dies by the eraser! Acrylics dry too fast, and they are plastic. There are other choices, but everything was pointing to oil. (“Everything”? I am prone to exaggeration – be warned!)palette.jpgIn most areas of my life, authenticity is the driving force. I don’t wear polyester or color my hair (yet?) The vinyl siding on my house Really Really bugs me. I drive a stick-shift, don’t own a microwave, drink black coffee and love dark chocolate. You get the idea. . . this all led me to the idea of painting using only the primaries and mixing my own colors. What a thrill! If a person is on the edge of agnosticism, the realization that all colors come from 3 should be enough evidence of Intelligent Design to bump him over the edge!Look at this: all these paintings were done using nothing but primary colors, honest! You can find the paintings at Exeter Flower Company 

My story, part 2

Posted by on Aug 22, 2009 in drawing, General, Murals, the business of art | No Comments

murals1.jpgOops, I said that the building where I paint isn’t very photographic – silly me!

About 3 years ago – who am i fooling?? – exactly 3 years, 5 months and 13 days ago I began oil painting. There were several reasons for it, none of which matter anymore since I am loving the new medium. (If you really want to know, you can email me and I’ll tell you.) One of the reasons is that colored pencil is too slow and really causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome to kick in. Since knitting and splitting wood are among my favorite non-work activities,  I need my wrists to last as long as possible. Have a look at some colored pencil work:pict0001.jpgThis is available here: After that shameless commercial, (albeit “soft” since I didn’t put a Paypal button on this site) I will keep you awaiting the next installment of my story!

Time Out

Posted by on Aug 20, 2009 in General, Sources of inspiration, Thoughts | 3 Comments

In The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, she insists that field trips are very important to cultivating creativity. Yesterday, I took her advice (or was I using it as an excuse to mess around instead of work?) Have you ever heard of the Forestiere Underground Gardens in Fresno? I’ve been wanting to visit since 1978 but just haven’t. The gardens get closed from time to time for renovation, and when they are open, I am usually in Mineral King. Yesterday, I finally got to see this incredible place!  I can’t wait to go back (wish they rented it out for overnight stays!)img_1418.jpgimg_1416.jpgimg_1414.jpg 

My story

Posted by on Aug 20, 2009 in drawing, General, the business of art | No Comments

It has been well over a year since I began this weblog, and perhaps you are new to it. If so, I can’t assume you are interested enough in me to go back to the beginning and figure out who I am or where I have been. (Okay, I can assume it, but you may have seen the word “assume” divided into its parts “ass” + “U” + “me”!)img_0958.jpg This is what I look like when speaking to a crowd. The bangs are sort of new because my friend S and I decided I was aging disgracefully and that bangs are The Answer. They do hide the “11” on my forehead!studio.jpgThis is the studio at home where I draw, and it is open by appointment. I paint in another building to the right (much less photographic) because oil paint is just too messy to have around my drawing space.pict0008.jpgFor years I have drawn people’s homes for them using pencil. In addition, I have drawn the landscape of Tulare County, particularly Sequoia National Park.img_0363.jpgimg_0362.jpgimg_0359.jpg Now, at the risk of making a donkey of myself, I will assume that you are as busy as I am and don’t want to read all this stuff in one sitting! Thus, to be continued. . .

Gathering visual information

Posted by on Aug 19, 2009 in Mineral King, Sources of inspiration | No Comments

Michael and I hiked to the upper Monarch Lake. It is about 5.5 miles – the first mile and a quarter is steep and hot and dusty with giant steps up that just suck the juice right out of your legs. img_1321.jpg The Bigelow Sneezeweed are at their peak in August, as are the Gentian. img_1324.jpgThe next 4 miles are on a beautifully graded trail with a flat trailbed; the trail actually has a few too many (unnecessary) switchbacks. It takes you well above Timber Gap, and it was a bit smoky from the California wildfires.img_1325.jpgThe last 3/4 mile is Find-Your-Own-Way.img_1343.jpgUpper Monarch Lake is one of the four lakes out of Mineral King with a dam on it. It was constructed in 1905, well before the well-graded trail was ever built (but you can bet it was thought of with great longing by those hard-working men!) The peak is Mineral Peak; it is the one some guy kept trying to convince me was Homer’s Nose while I was painting the mural.img_1380.jpgWe went up one way from lower Monarch to upper Monarch; it wasn’t very easy. We came down a different way that included quite a bit of meandering and backtracking; it was much easier and rather interesting.img_1378.jpgSee what we found? We left it there. Pity the guy who had to hike down on a non-trail missing a sole!

The friendships grow

Posted by on Aug 18, 2009 in Mineral King | One Comment


Remember the Sawtooth Six from a blog posting last year? They were back this past weekend! Wow, time flies! The funniest moment was when they realized they had forgotten tonic and had to call me down the hill to deliver. The calls were frequent and pathetic; when we saw each other across the valley for the first time, instead of hollering “hello”, they shouted “Did you bring the tonic?” These photos were taken rather spontaneously. Normally they all line up on the porch of the cabin for their official photo, but this year Michael and I wanted to hit the trail before they were prepared. So, I snapped these in a moment of I-Can’t-Believe-The Weekend-Visit-Is-Already-Over.  Evidence that the friendship between us and them is growing – I actually sat down with them at their cabin for a real visit; they brought us their leftover food when closing the cabin; an official invitation was extended to join in one of their traditions next year; and, a few hugs were exchanged upon good-byes. The good part? Time flies, and next year will come quickly. I had a few words of advice before parting: eat more produce, hike more, and stay longer! And, I should have added, “Make a grocery list!”