Year-end, Year-beginning

Posted by on Dec 31, 2010 in drawing, the business of art | 2 Comments

Ever notice how all those lists appear at this time of year? Here are two lists of mine:

1. Some of the things I did in 2010 that are worth noting:

Didn’t accept any more weird sweaters from my knitting needles – instead I ripped all the ones that were heading in the wrong direction.

Painted 2 more murals (So what if one is on my studio door? It is still a mural!)

Visited (and fell head-over-heels in love with) North Carolina

Trained for and completed the 21-Mile Big Sur Power Walk

Wrote and published regular articles on art in the Kaweah Commonwealth

2. Some things I hope for in 2011:

A working website

A working garage door opener

Another mural (or 3 or 4?)

Continued excellence in knitting (and finishing all those recalcitrant sweaters)

Continued weeding out of Stuff (I might have whatever is the opposite of that Hoarding problem)

A new fitness goal that doesn’t involve blisters or plantar fasciitis or 10+ hours a week when I should be painting

Business growth – increased skill, blog readers, customers, students, good ideas, pencil commissions (remember, I LOVE to draw!) and income

Of course there are piles of other things on both lists, but this is the very public internet, we all have short attention spans, and now I have to show you a piece of art because this is an art blog, not a place for personal aggrandizement. (Sorry – I just wanted to use another Big Word – can you find and understand the first one?)

Untitled (because Cotton Fleece is too obvious and A Good Yarn is taken), colored pencil, 9″x12″, private collection, took 4 years to complete, phew.

The Canoe and The Elephant

Posted by on Dec 30, 2010 in Sources of inspiration, Three Rivers | No Comments

This is our view when transporting the canoe.  Can you see the elephant in the distance?

We put in at Slick Rock and paddled upstream awhile for a better view of the elephant.

Ever wonder what Slick Rock looks like up close? (Sorry, no elephant in it)

The reason we were able to put in at Slick Rock is because the recent storms raised the level of Lake Kaweah significantly. (The elephant is behind us now.)

That is the Horse Creek Bridge in the background. We’ve never paddled up Horse Creek before, because normally we only have the opportunity to canoe when the water level is too low for that area.

Michael spotted this Belted Kingfisher; I’m thinking it should be called Whiplashed Kingfisher.

Almost back to the car. See the elephant? For a few days there was so much snow that it was hard to see him? (Mickey, is it a boy or girl elephant?)

We found an easier way to load the canoe at the end of our excursion. Good thing, because my arms felt like limp spaghetti.

Various, sundry and random

Posted by on Dec 29, 2010 in Thoughts | No Comments

This is Mom’s tree – mine is blue and silver.

The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day has always felt like a freebie to me. When a school kid, it was the week of goofing off, playing with new stuff, going to the snow, just hanging out with no particular purpose. When in retail, it was often a week we just closed up. It is a week that Michael tries to take off work, unless it is storming and he is needed to push snow around with big yellow machines. Here is a list of this off-the-calendar week so far:

1. Yardwork!

2. Shred papers from 10 years ago.

3. Take the canoe out. Notice I said “the” canoe rather than “my” or “our”. This is because we jointly own the little jewel with some friends. They granted us 50% because we are able to store it out of the sun. I’m thinking they might have forgotten about their 50%

4. Thank you notes. Yep, I actually write them with a pen on paper and put them in the US Mail.

5. Sweets – Don and Shirley’s Southern Comfort Cake, Margaret’s fudge, Melinda’s pfefferneusen and biscotti (one is German and one is Italian; she is my sister, and we are neither of those ethnicities but love the food), Laura’s sugar cookies, mint/dark chocolate from Reimer’s (thanks, Honey!!), mint Hershey kisses from Janet, a Panetonne from Bill and Peg (is it sweet? dunno, but it is REALLY REALLY GOOD), Trader Joe’s hot cocoa from Kylie, and pie with whipped cream left over from Christmas dinner with our family.

6. Major thankfulness – we served lunch at the Visalia Rescue Mission on Christmas Day. It was Michael’s idea, and I wholeheartedly agreed. Wow. He and I are filthy rich by contrast. The volunteers just do what they are told, greet people with authentic concern and a genuine smile, and focus on getting the food to them. I tried not to think about why they might be there and felt great hope for those who were in a rehab program.

7. Main Gallery – Wednesday is my last day working and having my art there. It was fun to be part of such a highly organized group in such a nice location and to get to know other area artists a bit.

8. Friends – there is a class reunion on Saturday p.m. I won’t be going but will be meeting Melissa, Ann, Renee, and Rose for lunch that day. That is always a treat, especially when so many of my old friends no longer have parents in the area. I’m sure the official reunion will be great; Michael and I decided long ago that we don’t belong at each other’s class reunions. Since this is on New Year’s Eve, it will be better to be home with him than down the hill having a late night out.  I may regret missing the reunion, but life is full of choices, not all of them clear.

Merry Christmas!

Posted by on Dec 25, 2010 in General, Thoughts | 4 Comments

Small town stuff

Posted by on Dec 22, 2010 in Thoughts, Three Rivers | No Comments

Last night the phone rang. Even though it said “Private Caller”, I answered. It was an acquaintance who identified herself, and immediately apologized, saying she had called the wrong Jana. After a few questions, I was able to tell her the last name of the “right Jana”. Where else can you dial a wrong number and not only find a friend, but get the info you are seeking?

While making a phone call a few years ago, I expected to reach Louise. Instead, I misdialed and got Pam. When I realized what I had done, I said, “Since I have you on the phone, can I order a cheesecake from you?” Isn’t that a hoot??

Last week I got a message on my home phone that was intended for someone else. I know where the caller works, so I looked up her work #, called her and told her that her message went to the wrong answering machine. She told me who the message was intended for, and I said, “Oh! That is my vet’s Mom!” (I was pleased that she didn’t say, “Oh? I prefer a Physician’s Assistant.”)

Rain Casualty

Posted by on Dec 21, 2010 in Three Rivers | One Comment

Casualty is another C word, but not an art one. (Remember “commission” and “consignment”?) Nevertheless, here is the literal definition: “a person killed or injured in a war or accident”. The figurative definition is “a person or thing badly affected by an event or situation”.

I was driving around on Sunday afternoon being a Looky-loo at all the rain action in Three Rivers and passed Neighbor Kelly’s house just minutes after this happened:

It was hogging up part of the road. Neither Kelly nor I have chain saw experience, nor could we find a handsaw. We got our pruners and I grabbed an ax. Together we got it hacked back and dragged off the road. We borrowed some cones from our neighborhood water project to mark it for cars to notice. (I mean the drivers of cars, but you knew that!) Kind of cool to have an ax, know how to use it! In Three Rivers, we depend on our neighbors for help. I know if there is a tree casualty in my yard when my personal chainsaw-operator is absent, I can call on Neighbor Kelly to come help me deal with it! (These two photos were taken after she and I dealt with all the stuff in the road – obviously there is still work to be done!)

Wasn’t it a beautiful tree?

Dreaming of a Wet Christmas?

Posted by on Dec 20, 2010 in Three Rivers | No Comments

It has been raining in Three Rivers since Friday. Today is Monday. Thought you might like to see a few pictures.

Looking downstream from the Dinely Bridge, Three Rivers. (I know you know that, but it helps people searching for Three Rivers to have Three Rivers in the text. There, that is 3 mentions of Three Rivers. Nope, four mentions of Three Rivers. Oh-oh, that makes five mentions of Three Rivers. . . wait, now it is six!)

On Thursday, the water didn’t even reach the stick. On Friday afternoon around 3:30 it was at 1.5. On Sunday afternoon at 1 it was raining too hard to read, but my memory of how much was showing says 4.5.

Looking upstream (white buildings on high right are St. Anthony’s Retreat). It has been higher but the rain isn’t finished falling yet!

Colors (an infomercial)

Posted by on Dec 17, 2010 in General | No Comments

This will be a long entry – if you are just wanting a quick look, you might want to return later for a more thorough reading!

Colors is the studio and gallery of Three Rivers artist Wendy McKellar. It is at 41763 Sierra Drive, just upstream from the place that sells Shell gas. In addition to being Wendy’s studio, it is an art shop, a collection of local art and crafts as chosen and displayed by Wendy. Stepping into the building is like a grown-up (but smaller) version of Small World in Disneyland (minus the annoying song). It is all color and light, and even makes a non-shopper such as myself want to look and look and look!

This is how the place looked with my work set up in front. Notice the lack of high visibility of pencil drawings – the store/studio/gallery is called “Colors”!

Here is a bit of Christmas merchandise – all of it handmade/handcrafted/created locally by people I know. (Couldn’t decide among all those appropriate words and since this is an infomercial, decided to use them all!)

The flower is for sale. The chairs are not. The colors together just grabbed my attention to the point of distraction. The only cure for that sort of Color Junkie problem is a photograph!

Who could resist a retail establishment that looks this charming? The ultimate compliment around here is “OOH, this looks just like The Coast”. I believe Colors qualifies for that sort of effusiveness (it means “expressions of gratitude, pleasure and approval in an unrestrained or heartfelt manner”.)

All of these paintings are available at Colors. They are 6×6″, oil on wrapped canvas, $40 each (same price as if you purchased them from me directly.)

But wait! There’s more.

Just kidding. Had to throw that in so you felt as if it truly was an infomercial.

Here is the address and phone number. It opens at 10:30 a.m. (but I can’t remember which days or the closing time.)

41763 Sierra Drive, Three Rivers, California 559-561-4993

p.s. Happy Birthday, Wendy!


Posted by on Dec 16, 2010 in Events, General, Three Rivers | No Comments

Not “sundried” but “sundries” – it is a word that means “various items not important enough to be mentioned individually”.

Sometimes the sun is so good coming through the windows of the workshop that I can prop small paintings on the door for photography purposes. Kind of handy to not mess with the tripod!

This was the Stocking Stuffer boutique. It was more of a girl-hang-out day than a work day.

Last Blast of Autumn

Posted by on Dec 15, 2010 in Sources of inspiration, Three Rivers | No Comments

December is winter in our minds, but the reality in Three Rivers is that most of the month is still autumn. Have a look at my studio and workshop with the flowering pear tree! When my friend Stacy sold it to me almost 10 years ago, I told her I needed the largest one she could get because I didn’t have time to wait for it to look good. It still looks like a skinny pencil tree to me – no fault of Stacy’s, just my crummy soil and inconsistent watering.