You Know You’re A California Artist When. . . part 2

Posted by on Jan 31, 2012 in drawing | 6 Comments

That was so fun that I decided to do it again in pencil. Split personality? No, same subjects (California, mostly Tulare County), same tight style.

1 . . . you draw the beach.

Wood, Wind, Waves, pencil on paper, 12×16, matted and  framed, $500

Central California Coastal Pier, sold

Beach Birds, sold

Wave Action, 11×14, unframed, $100 (email me, it’s not on my website)

2. . . . and the mountains

Honeymoon Cabin, pencil on paper, 11×14″, unframed, $300

Crescent Meadow II, reproduction of pencil with colored pencil accents, $25

original also available here

Sawtooth, reproduction of pencil on paper, $20

3. . . . you draw lots of oranges.

Sun Kissed, reproduction of pencil with colored pencil accents, $25, 8×10

4. . . . and sometimes you draw your friend’s tractors.

His Other Car, pencil on paper, framed and matted, 19×26″, $400

Size Matters, 16×20, pencil and colored pencil, framed and matted, $350

7 Things Your Drawing Teacher Won’t Tell You

Posted by on Jan 30, 2012 in drawing, Lessons | No Comments

The Honeymoon Cabin, pencil on paper, 11×14, $400

If your drawing teacher is me, that is. These are things I would never say to a student:

  1. Sorry, you don’t have any talent.
  2. Doesn’t matter if your pencil isn’t sharp. Just use any old stub you can find.
  3. You don’t need to be able to draw – just go start painting.
  4. That pencil drawing would look great in a bright red mat!
  5. How boring – don’t you want to add color to that?
  6. You don’t need a photograph – just make it up.
  7. Doesn’t matter what it is supposed to look like – just express yourself.

I’ve been teaching drawing lessons since 1994 and not a single one of those things has ever come out of my mouth. Okay, maybe I had someone make up grass or dirt a few times without really studying it very well, but then we had to erase it and start over again.

You Know You’re A California Artist When. . .

Posted by on Jan 27, 2012 in General | 3 Comments

(with thanks to Jennifer at Jottings by Jennifer for the idea)

1. Your fruit paintings are done from just-picked, not grocery store fruit.

Plum II, oil on wrapped canvas, $40

2. You’ve painted oranges at least 102 times.

Oranges 83, 14×11″, oil on board, framed in black wood, $250

3. You’ve painted poppies so many times that you’ve lost track.

California Poppy, oil on wrapped canvas, $40

4. You’ve painted Giant Sequoias so many times that you almost don’t need to look at photos of them anymore.

Sunny Sequoias VIII, 18 x 24, $450

5. It is too hot to knit, so you paint your yarn instead.

6. You get so excited about red leaves in the fall that you have to paint them.

Turning Leaf II, 8×10, $80

    Your turn! “You know you are a _____________ when. . .”

    Book Report

    Posted by on Jan 26, 2012 in drawing, Wilsonia | 2 Comments

    This is an update on the The Cabins of Wilsonia, not a report of books I’m reading.

    Sometimes I put 2 drawings on a single sheet of paper because it is just that much less to handle. (read “lose”) And I am frugal with paper. (read “lots of things”)

    This is my Wilsonia stack of stuff. There is a pile of finished drawings and paper (Strathmore 400 Series Bristol Smooth), The Cabins of Mineral King for reference, the box of selected photos arranged alphabetically by street, the rolled up map I used while learning the layout of Wilsonia and its cabins, a can of spray fixative, the notebook I carried around while learning about and photographing the cabins, and a manilla envelope labeled PAGES. This is where I keep my “map” of how each page is to look. This project would come to a screeching halt without those little sketches.

    Now I am mostly finished with Alta, Brewer and Chinquapin Lanes and have begun Cedar. 3 streets (mostly) finished, 26 streets to go.

    Dang. That looks frighteningly large. One bite at a time. Draw, draw, draw.

    Too Wired

    Posted by on Jan 25, 2012 in drawing, Thoughts | 6 Comments

    Pencil drawing, “Loft Bedroom”, sold

    It is a frightening realization that I am very very dependent on electricity. My neighborhood was warned of a 2 hour power outage, and we were even told the time to expect it. Suddenly we were racing around to take care of everything that needed to be done before the power went off. Is the garage door open so we can get to our vehicles? Will the water boil for coffee before the power is off? Gotta fix my hair before my power tools are inaccessible! Better forward my studio phone to the cell phone while there is power so I can receive phone calls while down the hill! (no cell service where we live) Quick, check my email in case there is something urgent!

    What is this all about? Don’t I draw with pencil and refuse to use an electric sharpener? Yes, but if the sun isn’t shining, it is too dark to see the details without a lamp, preferably a magnifying one.

    I have lived very comfortably for months at a time without electricity in the past. Is this part of aging? Part of the creeping tendrils of technology, worming its way into my life in more ways than I care to admit?


    This California artist needs to go knit a few therapeutically unwired rows of a non-electric sweater.

    In Situ

    Posted by on Jan 24, 2012 in commissions | 3 Comments

    Say what? Is that some sort of typo?

    Now now, let’s not get all worked up here. It is Latin and it means “in position”.  We’ve been over this before. IF you were paying attention you might remember! This California artist knows a few Latin phrases, and she isn’t afraid to use them. However, she isn’t a snob about it and always explains them for your learning pleasure.

    Remember the oil painting of the Mineral King Bridge? It was happily received by its commissioner, beautifully and appropriately framed, and is currently residing on a granite kitchen counter. This way, its owner can live with it a bit, before deciding its proper place on the appropriate wall.

    She photographed it for us.

    The Great Talent Hoax

    Posted by on Jan 23, 2012 in drawing, General, Lessons, Wilsonia | 4 Comments

    Pencil drawing for The Cabins of Wilsonia

    Have you ever thought or said to an artist, “Gee, it must be great to have talent”? Or have you you ever said, “I wish I had talent like that”?

    It’s all smoke and mirrors.

    Actually, it’s not. It is practice, training, practice, rough criticism, more practice, a little success, practice, trial and error, practice, a little public embarrassment and yet even more practice.

    Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his book “Outliers” that it takes 10,000 hours of intentional practice with a focus toward continual improvement to become an expert at something. He’s not talking about mindless repetition.

    Practice makes perfect. Erasers help too.

    The harder I work, the more talented I become.

    Practice, practice, practice. And, have a second more objective pair of eyes that is connected to a truthful mouth that is connected to a kind heart have a look at your work.

    My Very Wise Dad told me of a concert pianist who had to practice 8 hours a day. When he dropped to 6 hours, he could tell the difference. When he dropped to 4 hours, his audience could tell the difference.

    The only people who don’t learn to draw are the ones who quit drawing lessons too soon. Those who persist begin to think they have talent.

    They might be right.

    Sometimes people quit drawing lessons (or piano or ballet or drumming or guitar or knitting) because they don’t love it enough to practice as hard as talent requires.

    Think I put enough cliches in this blog entry? 😎 Perhaps I need to practice my writing skills more.

    Draw, draw, draw

    Posted by on Jan 20, 2012 in drawing, Wilsonia | 2 Comments

    My buddy Chris LoCurto had a guest post on his blog about choosing three words to guide you through the year. My first choice was DRAW DRAW DRAW. In that order. (Honestly the first 3 words that came to mind were “eat, pray, love”.)

    So, I am drawing. No matter how much I draw, it doesn’t feel like enough. Keep drawing, Chicky-babe!

    pencil drawing for The Cabins of Wilsonia

    What is this? I thought you were doing a book on cabins.

    Oh-oh, there goes that pushy interviewer again. Can’t you see the cabin in the background, you eejit?

    Hey! I told you I was the one asking the questions here!

    lalalalalala, I can’t hear you.

    Self-interviewing again

    Posted by on Jan 19, 2012 in commissions, Murals, the business of art | 5 Comments

    Whatcha working on now?

    I just finished bidding on 2 murals.


    In my studio.

    No, where will the murals be?

    The bid that was accepted will result in a beautiful trail scene on the side of a new business in Three Rivers. They hope to open in March, so I could be painting in February.

    Will you show the progress on your blog?

    Of course!

    You said “murals”.

    Yeppers, I did! The other will be at a private residence, if the folks accept my bid.

    How’s it going with that Adobe InDesign 30 day trial?

    Holy guacamole, that is one complicated piece of work. I’ve watched many tutorials, some of them several times. I’m learning, and have a few pages laid out. Plus, I have a very long list of questions that I hope get answered soon!

    Anything else going on?

    Oh I’m so glad you asked! A winery just asked me for a pencil drawing to use as a label. Would you like to see the first sketch?

    Hey, I’m the one asking questions here!

    Forgive me. I got confused. How about if we just show that sketch and then go away until tomorrow!

    Exploring Lake Kaweah, Part two

    Posted by on Jan 18, 2012 in Sources of inspiration, Three Rivers | 2 Comments

    On Chris LoCurto’s blog today is a post by me! Chris’s blog is about “leadership, finances and the occasional random thought”, which is where I fit in as a guest poster. Visit, leave a comment if you’re so inclined, and browse through his past year of really interesting posts!

    Here is the second half of yesterday’s post about the excursion on foot in the bottom of Lake Kaweah. I worked pretty hard at finding things of interest down there – hope you enjoy them!

    I was glad we had this road to walk on because those cockleburs are horrible.

    That’s a bald eagle!

    There is the dam and the spillway and the tower in the distance. This is a large lake, especially if you are in a canoe or on foot.

    It is cloudy in Three Rivers and further up canyon . . . is it snowing? We sure do need some.

    We walked back up along this split off section of the Kaweah River. I think it is remarkable that these willows survive when a good portion of their lives is spent fully submerged.

    Look! A turtle!

    I just knew we would have to go crashing through the cockleburs to get back to the road.

    Cockleburs everywhere!

    Horrid little things

    The green is mustard. Normally the distant hills are green this time of year. We really need rain.

    This California artist is praying for rain. Are you?