Random Comments About the Business of Art

This list of comments was started just after Mother’s Day weekend, when I was recovering from the Redbud Festival. Now that I read them after a snowy Memorial Day weekend, I’m slightly climatically confused. Just sayin’ (which is the popular vernacular that means “I talk to hear the sound of my own opinions”)

  • It is hard to do weekend festivals and really hard to do shows when it is hot and REALLY hard to do shows with low attendance. But I’m merely commenting, not complaining.
  •  Kodak’s online gallery is going away and I have to learn how to use Shutterfly. I’m trying to keep this in perspective, but am really in a state of semi-despair. All the of books, cards, calendars, and other cool photographic projects I’ve made will be gone. GONE! I can recreate cards in Shutterfly, but they don’t put any info on the back. Shall I order anyway and use a rubber stamp?? That is kind of tacky. I might have to do it that way. Perhaps that is fitting for a Regionalist from Quaintsville.
  • When an artist does a show, there are more benefits than the immediate sales. Here is a list: new friends, new customers, potential commissions, potential new drawing students, seeing old friends, meeting other artists, sales that happen after people go home, new blog readers.
  • A long time ago, I did a variety of shows. Had to do them all to learn which ones worked. Redbud Festival has been here the longest and is now the most enjoyable and best organized. They have generous booth sizes, good food, good music, and are kind to their exhibitors.  (Even when it is hot.)
  • Doing shows in the heat and then painting 30×40″ commissions with an unaccustomed style of Loosiosity is most exhausting. But I’m merely commenting, not complaining.

Little Brown Church© 2012, oil on board, 4×6″, private collection

Any comments (not complaints) you’d like to add?

Memorial Day Weekend in Mineral King

Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Mineral King, Sources of inspiration | No Comments

Wow. Mineral King on Memorial Day weekend has a reputation for being cold. It was 27 degrees much of the time. I’m not making this up. Here, see eleven photos with an occasional comment. (What? you expected me not to have an opinion??)

Loved the backpacks collecting sunshine beneath the flag. We always fly the flag when we are at the cabin. It is a Mineral King tradition, and we are just following suit, because, well, lots of reasons.

The sunshine was short lived. It turned to rain. Very cold rain.

The next morning I looked out the window at this view. “Hey Honey, you going riding?”

“Uh, no, gotta find some firewood so we can keep warm and make coffee.”

“Okay, I’ll just stay inside and look out the window and load up the wood stove and the fireplace and take photos out of the window and dream of summer.”

Mineral King cabin


I did take a brief walk. Very brief.

Mineral King Honeymoon Cabin

Mineral King, Farewell Gap

That’s Retired Road Guy and Cowboy Bert

Then the sun came out and it was still cold!

Sunshine on my flag!

Did you spend Memorial Day weekend in a memorable manner with a flag?

First Peek at Commissioned Oil Painting

Posted by on May 29, 2012 in commissions, General | No Comments

As promised on May 24, here is the first peek at the commissioned oil painting spoken of in two previous blog posts.

Cowboy Bert told me he has a shirt that color. I said, “It’s called wheat”.

He said, “That don’t look like wheat to me.”

I said “It is wheat as viewed from the back of a fast horse.”

He said, “I’ll buy that”.

When cowboys say “I’ll buy that”, it doesn’t mean they plan to purchase an item. It means that they agree with you. It is the cowboy equivalent of city folk saying “Word”.

Aren’t you glad I am around to explain the English language to you?

My pleasure.

And, in case you are wondering about this painting, remember the commissioner/client/customer/friend/drawing student said she loved “loosiosity”.

Bet you can figure that word out all by yourself!

Any other words you’d like the California artist to ‘splain to you?

Interview with California Artist about Commissioned Oil Painting

Posted by on May 24, 2012 in commissions | 4 Comments

The process of executing a commissioned oil painting is an exciting event to watch. In this second interview with myself, you may find yourself on the edge of your seat. The interviewer will be in boring black, because the California Artist prefers teal. A lighter teal this time. Pretty, isn’t it?

How’s that commissioned oil painting coming along?

Just dandy – thanks for asking! (This California artist is unfailingly polite and always thanks and compliments her interviewer. You may have noticed this in previous interviews.)

Had any trouble?

You mean besides stabbing the canvas with a box cutter when opening the package? Nope.

How does one begin a 30×40″ painting?

Thanks for asking – only the canvas was stabbed. No blood was shed. I ordered a new one. It was really expensive.

I said, “How does one begin a 30×40” painting?

First “One” secures it in a large floor easel. Preferably said One would attach a hanging wire to the back, but sometimes “One” doesn’t have large enough hardware or strong enough wire for oil paintings of this size. Then “One” tapes the reference sketch to the easel above the canvas. In the future, could you please refer to me as California Artist, or simply as “The Artist”? 

What next, oh California Artist?

This California artist squeezes out the paint onto her palette. She works in the “double primary palette” as explained by Jack White and Mikki Senkarik here. Okay, mine is a bit modified, but it suits me. Notice the use of the word “palette” twice, each with a different meaning. Art is confusing that way, as I explained here, but using the word “medium”, which is also an irritating 2-use word in Artspeak. Those old artists didn’t make full use of the English language, but they didn’t ask my opinion because I wasn’t born yet and neither was Mr. Google.

This is titanium white, cadmium yellow light, cadmium red pale, alizarin crimson, phthalo blue (try to pronounce that – the irritating Artspeak continues), french ultramarine blue and a mix of alizarin with french ultramarine. Jack and Mikki call that color on the far right “MUD”. I call it “Jack White Purple”. 

When do we get to see the painting?

Next week. On Tuesday. I’m going silent for Memorial Day Weekend. It is a good time to reflect on the meaning of war and peace, sacrifice, freedom, and other patriotic subjects. I suggest you join me, and if you know a veteran, thank him. Thank his family. Thank her. Thank her family. Thank God for them all.

In Which The Artist Interviews Herself About a Commission

Posted by on May 23, 2012 in commissions | 2 Comments

The California artist will be discussing an upcoming oil painting commission. The interviewer will be black, and The Artist will be teal, because it is her favorite color and this is her blog.

What are you working on these days?

Oh I’m so glad you asked that question! A friend/student/customer/client/all of the preceding titles told me of seeing a painting that really rocked her world. Alas! It was already sold. Being an opportunist/artist/entrepreneur, I said, “I could paint that for you.”

What was it of?

Great question – it was a wheat field with crows flying overhead.

Is it ethical to copy someone else’s painting?

Of course not! Paintings can be copyrighted (in fact the copyright is assumed in the artist’s favor) but ideas cannot. The painting she saw simply serves as the seed of the commission I will do for her.

How are you planning to make this seed grow?

She showed me a photo of it, then I looked up the subject under Google images. I saw that the most famous painting of a wheat field with crows is by Vincent Van Gogh. Next, I looked up photos of wheat fields to understand how they flow and change colors.

Will your friend/student/customer/client like it?

I believe she will love it. She chose the size that will best fit her space, which is 30×40″. She explained that she loved the “loosiosity” of the one she first saw. (Great word, yes?) Then, we discussed the proportion of sky to wheat. After that, she decided that red-tail hawks suit her more than crows.

So it is similar but different.

You got it.

Do we get to see the sketch?

Yeppers. Try to not be overly impressed with the great effort that has gone into this project so far – I know it will just render you speechless.

Have you ever seen a painting that you wanted copied for yourself?? The California artist would love to hear about it!

Should I paint this?

Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Sources of inspiration, Three Rivers | 5 Comments

There is a small waterfall on a trail not far from my house in Three Rivers. If I want to go far on that trail, I drive the first mile. If I don’t want to go further than 4 or 5 miles, I walk up to the trailhead.

The stream that makes the falls is seasonal. It scares me to go there after the weather turns warm because there are Snakes. Rattlesnakes is what is meant in Three Rivers when one hears “The Snakes are out” or “I saw a Snake yesterday” or “We had a Snake in our yard”.

Notice the capital S on the word. In German, nouns are capitalized. Snake isn’t German, but it needs to get your attention. I don’t like Snakes. A Snake caused me to break my camera a few years ago.

I digress.

The waterfall is beautiful. It doesn’t photograph that well. If the sun is on it, it is all washed out brightness and deep black shadows. I mess with the photo on iPhoto, and it gets okay. But okay isn’t great, and I need great to make great paintings. Maybe one day I will be skilled enough to make great paintings from okay photos. This is not that day.

See what I mean?

Maybe I should add redbud. Ignore that sandy “beach” with the weed-covered well thingie.

What is your opinion of this scene? of this scene as an oil painting?

6 Answers to Where Do You Sell Your Work?

Posted by on May 21, 2012 in the business of art | 2 Comments

In addition to my studio, website, and at various shows, I sell my work in 6 places in Tulare County. Each one has its own hours, style and personality. (The area code is 559 for all these places.)

  1. The Mural Gallery is a little Exeter gallery showing and selling the work of the mural artists. (I am very proud to say I am one of the mural artists, and hope this is not the kind of pride “that goeth before a fall”!) I just took 12 paintings to them. The Mural Gallery is open 7 days a week from 11-4 and is chock full of mural mementos and original art at Tulare County prices. (read “VERY REASONABLE” or “SHOCKINGLY LOW FOR ORIGINAL ART”) It is next door to the Wildflower Cafe on E Street, but the address is 204 Pine Street. Phone is 592-3160. There is new work by several artists now!
  2. Colors Art Gallery in Three Rivers is under new ownership. The hours are Thursday – Sunday, 11-5, and the address remains 41763 Sierra Drive, phone 561-4993. This store is chock-full of art by Three Rivers folks, and it is a delightful explosion of color. Sounds redundant. (What is a synonym for color??) Jeremy has years of experience at Pier One Imports, and it shows! He sells my 6×6 fruit paintings and my cards.
  3. Red Barn Gifts in Three Rivers has prints of my pencil drawings and paintings of Sequoia trees. This is another great little place for local art in Three Rivers. It is a big red barn (duh) behind Creekside Yarns, just upstream from Quality Comfort Inn and Suites. 40838 Sierra Drive, 561-1031.
  4. Arts Visalia at 214 E. Oak is open Wednesday through Saturday, 12-5:30, phone 739-0905. They feature regular rotating exhibits by fine artists. In addition, they have a store which sells my pencil reproductions and cards.
  5. Tulare Historical Museum carries my cards. Their summer hours are Thursday through Saturday, 10-4. They also feature regular rotating art exhibits along with a superb historical museum. Great folks at 444 W. Tulare Street in Tulare. 686-2074
  6. Reimer’s Candies and Gifts has carried my cards longer than any other current location. They also have some of my very earliest oil paintings in their ice cream shop. If you buy a box of candy to ship as a gift, it comes with a gift card that has my drawing on the front. They have seasonally changing hours, and currently they are open 7 days a week from 10-6. Their phone is 561-4576.


Up The Middle Fork ©2012, 8×8″, oil on wrapped canvas, $75, available here

Great Poppy Year

Posted by on May 18, 2012 in General, Three Rivers | 6 Comments

The year was 2008, and the California poppies were stunningly abundant in Three Rivers. People still talk about it.

This is one of my photos from that most memorable year.

My postman brought me some photos he took, and I painted from them. You saw the results of one such painting here.

I promised to show you this when it was finished, and I keep my promises. If I remember. This larger version contains more detail than the 8×10 version. The mailman’s photo was easier to paint from than mine, because the solid mass of poppies almost makes my head spin. Hard to paint with an almost-spinning head.

Great Poppy Year©, 16×20″, oil on wrapped canvas, $360

Redbud Festival in the Olden Days

Posted by on May 17, 2012 in Events, Three Rivers | 4 Comments

This past Redbud Festival in Three Rivers got me reminiscing. (I love that song by the Little River Band. I love the Little River Band.)

The very first one I ever participated in was in 1987. I shared a space with my friend Katie. She sold silk-screened tee shirts with a Redbud logo of her design. Her boyfriend had just broken up with her, and she had to keep leaving our space to cry. (That ex-boyfriend visited my booth this year – we have remained great friends, but sad to say I’ve lost touch with Katie.)

I took no photos. I traded one drawing for our rent, and another for a pottery lamp. (George, can I please PLEASE have that drawing back? I’ll give you 2 lamps for it!!)

The next time I participated was in 1990. The show was still at Ardfarkle’s, the former restaurant at the Three Rivers Golf Course. I took a photo of some hairy good-looking guy sitting in my booth.

I think I sold some things. I also learned that shows are often about making contacts more than making sales. I definitely learned to NEVER put pencil drawings framed under glass in direct sun. Now I only do outdoor shows if I am in shade. Those pop-up tents weren’t invented back then, or perhaps they were just too expensive. That hairy good-looking guy built me an awning, which worked when the sun was at the exact right angle.

Things remain constant in my life, with small changes:

I’m still drawing (and now painting) the same subjects: The Kaweah Post Office, Farewell Gap, cabins, the Oak Grove Bridge, and even the old Mineral King Store. I borrowed that round table so much that my Mom finally gave it to me. (It is now used for propping up easels while I paint.) And that (somewhat less) hairy guy still picks wild iris to enhance my booth each year I participate in the Redbud Festival.

Is your life consistent? or is it just me?

Very truly yours,

The Consistent (Central) California Artist

Redbud Festival Report, Day Two

Posted by on May 16, 2012 in Events, Three Rivers | No Comments

The Redbud Festival was well attended on Sunday. Those organizers do a swell job, and there were some high quality exhibitors with great merchandise. I only saw things briefly as I raced to and fro on quick errands.

This is some of the hilarity shared at the Arts Alliance Booth, those amazing volunteers who put this event together.

There was very good music both days. This group might be called “Nick and Keith”, or perhaps it is called “The Remnants”. Whatever they decide to be called, they are great!

Here are a few more stories of encounters with people during the show.


3. Two brothers were leaning against the stage, looking at my booth. Together they made a beeline straight for the Kaweah Post Office VI, pointed and said, “We’ll take that one.”  I am not equipped to take credit cards at shows, so they collaborated together beautifully to come up with the cash to buy it for their Mom.

4. Farmer Eric and I had a nice visit while his locally famous mom chatted with a potter. Didn’t take long for us to find people in common. It is my guess I’ll be hearing from him about oil paintings of oranges when his kitchen remodel is completed.

5. The funniest thing was a young woman who stopped and stared at me. I stared back. She said, “Why do I know you?” I asked her name, and when she said it was Judith, I said, “I know that, but why do I know that?” We worked it out – she was a sandwich maker at a place where I used to stop almost weekly back when I went to Exeter 3 days a week! She was delightful back then, and just as delightful now. We acted as if we’d won a prize when we figured it out!

I sold work, saw old friends, made new ones, enjoyed some wonderful music, and it was very hot.

The end.