Things to be learned in drawing lessons, part 1

Posted by on Oct 31, 2011 in drawing, Lessons, Thoughts | 2 Comments

You can see this drawing at the upcoming student art show.

Because a show for my students is coming up soon, I’d like to share with you some of the things learned when taking drawing lessons from me.

How to see, really see.

How to break down a complicated picture into manageable parts.

Lots of little steps add up to something good.

Not everything is worth messing with.

Little tiny things do make a difference.

How to take criticism.

How to give criticism.

How to be honest and kind at the same time.

Age differences make no difference in many settings.

There are many different styles of drawing.

There are many different ways to tackle a problem.

If you procrastinate on a difficult problem, over time more will be revealed.

Mineral King Bridge In Paint

Posted by on Oct 28, 2011 in commissions, Mineral King | 5 Comments

We all know that procrastination is not a virtue. However, I’d like to present a few benefits to procrastination:

1. Sometimes the problem fixes itself.

2. Sometimes new knowledge or skill is acquired so the difficulty diminishes.

3. Sometimes the problem becomes a moot point.

4. Sometimes someone else takes care of it.

I’ve been contemplating an oil painting of the Mineral King bridge for several weeks. In the meantime, I’ve made progress on my Huge (yet unrevealed) Project, finished a pencil commission, assembled a new spinning card rack, finished some other pencil drawings, prepared for the upcoming student art show, decided on and ordered covers for my display screens, completed the application for the next Studio Tour, and many other things that might bore you right off this page.

Finally, I’ve run out of excuses. The real reason for procrastination in this case is a little embarrassing: when I’ve gone several weeks without painting, I get a little fearful that I won’t be able to remember how to paint.

Then, when I begin a new painting, my fears appear to be confirmed. Sigh.

p.s. Don’t worry, CL, it WILL get better. They always do!

First Home

Posted by on Oct 27, 2011 in commissions, drawing | No Comments

If you  have been a home owner, you probably will never forget the first place on which you paid a mortgage.

Our first home was built in 1913 and we were only the 3rd owners. I loved that little house too much – it just wasn’t natural to have that much affection for an inanimate object. Even now,  almost 13 years since selling it and moving on, I can still recall the sound of each door as it closed.

Most folks’ first homes are small and simple. They usually need work, they usually need paint somewhere, they almost always have lawns, and they seldom have garages. Can you relate?

This is someone’s first home. I don’t know him, but I know his Dad. His dad is a very thoughtful man who knows that his children’s homes are special. He has commissioned me to draw several of these modest and well-loved structures.

These are simple drawings EXCEPT the photos rarely contain enough information, have cars and people blocking views, and require some guesswork on my part. The challenge is to make them as technically perfect as possible so that what they lack in detail is made up for with precision.

Oh, and Mr. Google? This is a California home drawn by a California artist – me.

More P Paintings

Posted by on Oct 26, 2011 in General | One Comment

A Cabin Commission

Posted by on Oct 25, 2011 in commissions, drawing | 4 Comments

Cabinart – making art of cabins, using pencil. That is my roots. Now that I oil paint, when a commission drawing for a cabin comes along, I am thrilled. Thrilled, I say!

The defining characteristic of this cabin is the group of massive trees in the front yard. The truth is that I sort of wanted to draw it in a vertical format, focusing on the trees with just a hint of the cabin peeking through. That’s not why people want their cabins drawn, so I provided several sketches and this was the winner. I’m happy when my customers are happy!

Mineral King Bridge, Final Chapter!

Posted by on Oct 24, 2011 in Mineral King | 8 Comments

On October 20, there was an all employee meeting for Sequoia and Kings Canyon people. The facility manager for roads and trails (Hi JT!) said this: (no quotes because I wasn’t actually there, being a California artist rather than a federal worker) Of all the numerous Federal Highways projects ongoing in the Park, the Mineral King bridge is the only one completed on  schedule.

In addition, it is the only one done by park employees, which come at a fraction of the cost of an outside contractor. YEA, MARSHMALLOW HEADS! Nice work, gentlemen!

These On Schedule Park Guys are attaching the running boards. This is where the tires will go, not on the beautiful boards shown in the last post. However, I suspect that big yellow machine put its filthy tires on those boards. Hmmmph!

This sweet little red machine can’t reach the running boards! No more little footbridge for you, Red Quad.

Wave to the nice man in the parade, boys and girls! It is always good when the boss is happy.

Sorta weird, no railing yet.

It is very pretty. It is very narrow. It is driveable. It isn’t completely finished. It has to wait until spring and summer for the total totality. Totally. The end.

Mineral King Bridge, Part 16

Posted by on Oct 21, 2011 in Mineral King | 5 Comments

These fine gentlemen are using our extension ladder and Kirk’s waders and Michael’s waders to secure bolts underneath the bridge. Good thing Michael was around with his stuff to keep our hardworking bridge builders in the tools they needed! And look – those are Ryan’s waderless legs!

This is just cute.

WHOA! This bridge is BEAUTIFUL. Okay, off with your shoes – no tracking dirt onto this gorgeous piece of work.

I mean, come on! Are you really telling me people will be going across this with filthy tires and dirty hiking boots? I can’t bear it. I simply cannot.

Mineral King Bridge, Part 15

Posted by on Oct 20, 2011 in General, Mineral King | 3 Comments

You may recall that the estimated date to have the bridge be passable is October 20. That’s today! When we last left our Marshmallow Heads, they had successfully placed all 4 stringers. So, what is going on in this photo??

Give up? The pre-drilled holes on the stringers did not line up with the holes on the horizontal cross pieces. Oh man, I hate it when that happens.

This is just a scenery shot. I am a California artist, and I appreciate the scenery of my mountains. (Just sayin’, in case Mr. Google has started to forget me.)

Lookie! The first deck slab is in place! (See the floating Marshmallow??)

This hardworking Marshmallow Head is using a rock bar to set the carriage bolt into the slab.

Here comes another one. These units weigh “several hundred pounds”, so a Big Yellow Machine places it with the help of a few good men and one who isn’t wearing proper head garb.

More scenery, because it is just so beautiful.

Guess this will have to be continued tomorrow, because I like the power of keeping you all hanging. Sometimes I am just mean like that. Not only am I mean, sometimes I can’t count either. This problem shows up from time to time in my knitting, and occasionally in my checkbook. In this blog, you may have noticed, as Craig did, that there is no Part 10 in this series.

More Beach Love

Posted by on Oct 19, 2011 in Going Places | One Comment

Just 3 more beach items, then we will return to our regular broadcast. As a California artist, don’t you think it is important to represent more than just Sequoia, Mineral King, Three Rivers, citrus and other fruits?

Starfish, sold

Mussel, 6×6″, oil on wrapped canvas, $50

Sand Dollar, sold

Love the Beach

Posted by on Oct 18, 2011 in Going Places | One Comment

I know, I know, “Cabinart”, Mineral King, Sequoia National Park, cabins, but I am torn! Living most of my life in the Central Valley of California has provided access to both the ocean and the mountains. I feel destined to spend my days in between so I can get to either place in fairly short order. But my, oh my, I do love me some beach time.


Clam w/ shard – 6×6″- oil on wrapped canvas – $50

Kelp Thingie – 6×6″ – oil on wrapped canvas – $50