This California artist began the oak tree mural by working on the middle level of the scaffolding. There is a method here: build the trunk and largest branches first, get off the scaffolding and evaluate;
build the trunk down to the ground, look again at the middle branches to see if they are appropriately stout for the distance they have to travel, climb back up and add more thickness, accidentally hit the wall with my wet paintbrush and turn it into another branch, and up and down on the scaffolding.
Eventually decide it is too hard to figure out what to do, stop for lunch. Realize after lunch that maybe working on ground level looks the most inviting.
Paint until you do something stupid (oops, wrong angle on roof of barn, oops, dropped the mixing stick with wet white paint on the tile floor), take some photos and go home to blog.
Call me “Butter” – I’m on a roll! A tree mural roll, that is. This time the wall was inside someone’s home. It began looking like this:
There was a pile of scaffolding outside, and 4 strong men available to assemble it.
And a sister on hand to tell Jeremy how dangerous his position was. (He’s been through police academy and did much scarier stuff there so this wasn’t a problem to him.)
Looks a little bit scary from this angle, doesn’t it? This California artist wasn’t scared, but ready to get started painting a Valley Oak, the largest oaks in the world, right here in Tulare County!
Watching out the window through the rain, waiting for visitors to pull into the driveway.
SUNDAY ON THE TOUR
1. It was overcast with rain imminent. I waited inside by the fire with my knitting for the first hour. Finally moved out to the studio and listened for the sound of cars and car doors while putting color in reproduction prints of Crescent Meadow.
2. Kaweah Kitty stayed in the house by the fire.
3. I told EVERYONE to watch their step. I don’t think saying those words would have prevented yesterday’s mishap. Sort of reminds me of how people say “Be careful!” AFTER you trip. Ummm, thanks?
4. Rosa, the successor of Ruby, came by with her human.
5. Mostly people came in groups, this time a few families including some children, and there were no Bobs.
6. It rained all day. It was cold. I stayed by the fire in between arrivals of guests.
7. There were 29 visitors including 1 returnee from yesterday, 1 locally known artist and 1 musician from a nationally known band (whose wife told him he needed to get a job before he bought a painting!)
Hoping the musician finds work so this painting will find its home.
Zeke’s only appearance of the day was when the sign was uncovered in the morning.
1. It was sunny and clear and not hot and very beautiful
2. There were 81 visitors (not counting the sheriff, fire and ambulance crews)
3. People were mostly in groups, only a few women by themselves, more men than yesterday but proportionately about the same. (3 were Bobs)
4. Many commissions to paint later
5. Kaweah Kitty remained very popular.
6. Learned 3 new words – luthier, autodidactic, aberration (which I already knew but did not know it also pertains to distortions under the magnifying glass)
7. Six of my drawing students came by! (Linda, Maggie, Wendy, Anne, Sara, Cathy) Perhaps there were some future drawing students also. . .
8. A lady fell (see #2). Learned later that she broke her hip. Until then, she was enjoying herself. Major Bummer.
9. The final visitor of the day walked up the driveway with her boot heels clicking on the asphalt. From inside the studio I thought the sound was one of my cats barfing.
Some therapeutic knitting and comforting chocolate consumption took place on Saturday evening. These photos are to help me remember the beautiful parts of the day.
The ever-popular and always present Kaweah Kitty thoroughly enjoyed the visitors.
The very popular flowering quince.
The gregarious Kaweah Kitty in the painting workshop.
Just the facts, Ma’am.
1. It sprinkled when I removed the cover from my #13 sign to open for the day.
2. There were 30 visitors.
3. Most of them were women. (I think there were 4 men, and 1/2 were named Bob.)
4. 5 women came by themselves; the rest came in pairs or groups.
5. I knew 2/3 of the visitors; the other 1/3 were new to me.
6. Kaweah Kitty was very popular.
7. My flowering quince were very popular.
8. There were people from Porterville, Fresno, Visalia, Three Rivers, Santa Clara, Sandy Eggo, and Minnesota.
Friday was overcast.
Remember the chairs? Our experiment with sequoia trees engraved and painted has not yet been perfected, but the painted trees definitely dress up the chairs.
. . . begins today! You can get tickets at the Three Rivers Historical Museum. The Tour runs today, Saturday, and Sunday from 10-5. My studio is one of 22. (Actually it is probably #13, but since I am not superstitious, this does not upset me.)
The flag is from First Saturday. There will be a different type of marker at the base of my driveway for Studio Tour. The weeds will be taller too.
The blooms got knocked off the tree by the snow. The snow got knocked off the tree by Michael. Hopefully Michael won’t get knocked off by anything or anyone.
If you are lucky, there will be a welcoming committee.
With the doors open, I painted one half at a time. I was surprised to see the overly bright green in the light – it wasn’t nearly that florescent inside the workshop (aka painting studio). As I added the next layer, I toned down the colors to look more normal.
Now there is something to see whether the doors are opened or closed, and Three Rivers has another mural of Sequoias!
Help. I’m infected with mad mural disease. Can’t stop painting them!
Remember this, the largest mural on the right?
Did you know it is actually doors that open?
They’ve been awaiting a mural for several years now. The photo was chosen, but it never seemed urgent. Now that Studio Tour Ten is almost here, the urgency kicked in.
I began working inside the workshop (AKA painting studio) and got all the shapes blocked in. That way when I painted with the doors opened to the outside, the halves would match up again later. And, this scene looks good when it is split in half.
Here are the opened doors with just the bare bones painted on. During Studio Tour, if the weather is nice, the doors are opened and no one can see the Mineral King mural. This way there is something good to see whether the weather is good or rainy (which is also good).
Happy Birthday, Elder Sister!
This photo was taken in my yard on March 15.
This photo was taken in my yard on March 18. I live in Central California (I am a California artist, remember?) at an elevation of 1000 feet. One thousand, not 10 thousand. Three Rivers, California.
How does this apply to art, California Artist?
So glad you asked that question! When working from photos (and Jack White said all realistic artists either work from photos or they lie about it), it is sometimes a temptation to work from something that is unusual or peculiar. Problem with that approach is that a drawing or painting of something peculiar looks as if the artist doesn’t have a firm grasp on reality.
People are still convinced of the truth of photographs in spite of Photoshop.
Back in the olden days when a camera was a camera and a phone was for receiving calls in one’s home or office, photographs were taken on special occasions. One time some folks wanted me to draw all 4 homes their mother had lived in her entire life. I think two were in Los Angeles, and two were in Exeter. Three of the photos they provided me were of the houses in the snow! WHY? Because when unusual things took place, the camera came out to record the event.
It wasn’t typical back then to take pictures any time you desired. I used to be a bit of a maverick, keeping my camera in my car at all times. And not only did I keep one, but I kept two with me. One had color print film and the other either had black and white or slide film.
Why did you always have cameras with you, California Artist?
Great question, I’m glad you asked that one. It was because I had to be ready to record the beautiful things and moments and light of every day life, not the peculiar sights!
The customer asked for a mural, explained the nature of her business, and I said, “A mural of a trail would be just right!” (Sequoia Outdoor Sports will be renting camping and backpacking gear to visitors to Sequoia National Park.)
I brought several photos and paintings of trail scenes with me to meet the owner (John) and the manager (Carolyn) and see the wall.
John loved this painting.
John asked if I could substitute Sequoia trees for the red firs. I said yes, but. Yes, but there are no Sequoia trees at that elevation or in Mineral King. John said it wouldn’t matter to his customers, who will primarily be Europeans who come to see the Big Trees.
John is the customer. He is right!
Today a man stopped by to ask if I was tagging his building. He was joking. He is the leaseholder of the building. Then he said, “Is that the trail to White Chief and Mosquito Lakes?” Ummm, yes, sort of. In spite of the fact that I changed the background to be more congruent with a place that would have Sequoia trees, he knew the trail!
Three Rivers locals will recognize the incongruity but they will be polite. If John is happy and his customers are happy, then I am happy.