Sometimes I Leave California

Posted by on Jul 31, 2012 in Going Places, Sources of inspiration | 6 Comments

I hope it isn’t too shocking to you, my fine readers, to learn that the California artist sometimes goes out of the state. She has a penchant for the Pacific Northwest. (“Penchant” means a strong habitual liking.) She also blogs while she is away so that the bad guys on the internet can’t tell that she is gone. Tricky, eh?

While visiting these other places, she takes photos that she hopes to paint one day. She hopes to have a show called “Going Places” to show and sell these as of yet unpainted pieces of art.

And, while she is away, sometimes she gets on a weird roll and begins writing in third person.

unknown blue wildflower

How exciting – lots of these along the roads in Northern California and Southern Oregon. What are they??


natural bridge on Oregon coast

Here is some of the Oregon coastline. Figures I’d show you a bridge, albeit a natural one. (“Albeit” is a cool way to say “although”.)


blue hydrangea

The hydrangeas are blue in the Pacific Northwest because there is so much acid in their soil. I was in blue flower heaven. The acid is also what makes them able to grow blueberries. Acid = blue??

driftwood structure on an Oregon Beach

There was a TON of driftwood on the beach where we stayed. There were also many of these structures, probably built as windbreaks. That is Trail Guy on the beach, in case you were wondering who I went to Oregon with.

pebbles on an Oregon beach

Are these pebbles on an Oregon beach? They look like river rocks to me. This Oregon beach was difficult for walking because a beach walker was trying to not freeze to death, clumping along over rocks, or negotiating through driftwood. I loved it anyway.

To be continued tomorrow. . .


Paint it Again

Posted by on Jul 30, 2012 in Mineral King | No Comments

I met some wonderful people in Mineral King WHILE they were buying 2 paintings from me at the Silver City Resort. That is always a thrill! They were so enthusiastic and appreciative of my work, of the area, of everything. Two days later, the cabin they were renting burned down in the middle of the night.

They escaped with their lives, for which we are very grateful. They did not escape with their possessions, including the paintings. I am still stupefied and horrified as I write this, but nothing compared to how they must be feeling.

It is good that I paint from photos (a studio painter composes much work first using the camera), good that I met the customers and know how to reach them, good that I can paint the same scene over and over again. These will be repainted soon for these good people who had a very bad experience.

oil painting of Farewell Gap by Jana Botkin

Farewell Gap, 8×10″, oil on wrapped canvas

oil painting of Mineral King Bridge by Jana Botkin

Mineral King Bridge, 6×6″ on wrapped canvas

Empire Mountain, Mineral King

Posted by on Jul 27, 2012 in Mineral King, Sources of inspiration | One Comment

Fridays are about Mineral King on this California artist’s blog. Just reminding you, in case you are wondering where’s the art. . . or perhaps you only tune in on Fridays. Welcome! (and Mineral King is a HUGE source of inspiration to this California artist, so it isn’t really off topic.)

Michael, aka Trail Guy, likes to go off trail, which is the only way to get up Empire. There is a great deal of interesting history up there.

empire mt. as viewed from the Mineral King valley

The most visible rock outcropping on Empire isn’t really the highest point on the mountain. Bit of a poser, that outcropping.


trail to Empire and Timber Gap, Mineral King, photo by Jana Botkin

The trail to Empire and to Timber Gap (and Sawtooth and Monarch and Crystal) is full of giant, giraffey steps. These aren’t the worst ones!


photograph by Jana Botkin of Empire Peak in Mineral King

Just follow this drainage up to the bunkhouse, the road, the mines and the peak(s)


view down canyon from Empire, Mineral King, photo by Jana Botkin

That’s Case Mt. in the distance.


Trail Guy is heading up to Empire, Mineral King, photo by Jana Botkin

Be careful, Trail Guy! I’ll just wait right here for you.


knitting with a mountain backdrop, photo by Jana Botkin

Waiting is never a problem with me. This weighed next to nothing in my backpack. I believe it enjoyed its adventure.


mine on Empire, Mineral King, photo by Jana Botkin

There are mine remnants all over the side of Empire.


road between Empire and Timber Gap, Mineral King, photo by Jana Botkin

This is a road, built in the 1870s. I am not making this up. There were horses and mules hauling wagons full of ore, right here.

wildflowers on Empire, Mineral King, photo by Jana Botkin

It was the 4th of July, and I amused myself by looked for a group of wildflowers that contained red, white and blue. Why do we always say it in that order? There are five other ways we could arrange those colors verbally, but they just don’t ring.


Empire Peak, Mineral King, photo by Jana Botkin

Did we really go up there?? Not me, but Trail Guy did. My inner slob prefers to sit and knit, take photos, and contemplate matters of consequence.

California Poppy Rerun

Posted by on Jul 26, 2012 in General | 6 Comments

Do you ever surprise yourself with forgetfulness?

Last week I did a little painting of a California poppy. After it was finished, signed, photographed, varnished and dry, I added it to the growing stack of little paintings. (An artist who sells needs to keep up her inventory.)

Well, oops. Guess I already painted that poppy and forgot. SOMEONE needs a better filing system for her photos. Check this out:

4x4" oil painting of california poppy

California poppy, 4×4″ , oil on board, unframed


california poppy oil painting

California poppy oil painting, 5×7″, oil on board


Do you prefer the softer colors of the upper poppy or the stronger ones of the lower painting?

Trip-toe Through The Tulips

Posted by on Jul 25, 2012 in Going Places | No Comments

Sorry. That was just dumb. Sometimes I am just a real chucklehead. Honestly, I will try to come up with an appropriate title for this triptych, one worthy of the beauty of the scene.

tulip oil Painting by Jana Botkin

tulip oil painting by jana botkin

tulip oil painting by jana botkin

Once again I ask, “WHY is a California artist painting the tulips fields of Washington?”


1. They are beautiful

2. I love them

3. It is my hope to one day have a show called “Going Places” and finally paint and show work from my (somewhat limited) travels. I take many many photos, want to paint them, and wonder how to find a market for those subjects. Perhaps putting them all together in a show would really make a great visual impact. (Perhaps it would look like a mess of unrelated images. Maybe I’d even get arrested for visual assault.)

Meanwhile, I will continue to slowly build up my collection of non-central-valley art.

Do you think a show of China, Washington DC, Washington state, North Carolina, Oregon, and Lake Tahoe would look like a mess?

Orange You Glad I Can Paint Citrus?

Posted by on Jul 24, 2012 in commissions | No Comments

Tulare County grows, sells and eats a ton of citrus. Probably several million tons. I learned to oil paint by using the subject of oranges over and over and over. When an orange would sell, I’d paint another. The last one was #103, I think. There were also a handful that I didn’t title or number in the beginning, so who really knows?

 oil paintings of tangerines and lemons photo by Jana Botkin

Tangerines and Lemons

A few years ago I was at some art thing with my dear friend D. I introduced her to another friend, one who sells ag real estate. D said, “Oh my goodness, you should be buying Jana’s orange paintings to give to your clients!” (She has been a great supporter and encourager to me in the 13 years we’ve been friends, always looking for ways to promote my work.)

Mr. Real Estate said, “That’s a great idea!” Now he and his partner have placed 3 or 4 orders for 6×6 and 8×10 paintings of citrus since then – mostly navel oranges, and some tangerines/mandarins/Clementines and some lemons. It is fun to do these – bright, simple, not too difficult. (I am THRILLED to paint simple things after Put-My-Parents-In-The Painting, THRILLED, I say.)

What else would you expect from a central California artist, daughter, granddaughter and niece of citrus farmers?

Hay, A Barn!

Posted by on Jul 23, 2012 in Events | No Comments

Big Fat THANK YOU to all of you who did my thinking for me to title this piece for the Madera Ag Art show! Here is the complete list. The winner is in red (and the title of this post). The runners-up are in teal. They (Sharon, Don and Sam) will receive a token of appreciation for their witty work.

barn oil painting by Jana Botkin

Unnamed Barn, formerly known as Tulare County Barn, 10×10″ oil painting on wrapped canvas

Choosing was very very hard. I am clearly drawn to things that make me laugh or at least smile. After thinking more about it, I decided that focusing on the barn alone wasn’t true to the image. It is 1/3 barn and 2/3 hay. (If it is wheat, I don’t want to know!)

The submitted names are elegant, gracious, sensitive, picturesque, poetic, appropriate, and dignified. My sense of humor is dumb, unexpected, plebian, and lacking in refinement. The chosen title acknowledged the field and the barn, was dumb and made me smile.

Now, I hope the jurors of the Ag Art Show feel the same!



Vintage Homestead 

Vintage Charm  

Seasoned Valley Barn

Tools of the Ag Trade

A Loyal Companion to CA Ag

The Farmers’ Loyal Companion

Shadows of the Past

The Grey Ghost

Standing Tall

Forget Me Not

Look At Me 

Structured Field

Grassy Barn


Rustic setting

Rustic Patina

Rustic Serenity 

Grandpa’s Office

Original Jump House

Reliving Farm Memories

A Voice from the Past

Ripe with Harvest

Where’s the Beef?


Seasoned Farmstead

Zoological Storehouse

Historical future

Green Waves

Hay, A Barn!

Rustic and Ripe

New Crop, Old Storage

Times gone by

Waiting for Harvest

Field of Dreams

Field of Promise

Testimony of Time

Weathered Barn in Summer

Country Memory Maker

Casa de Bovine

Vanishing Breed

Barn Sweet Barn 

 Pure Country 

Green Peace

Aged Rest

Quite Contemplation


Rust Renewed

Spring Harbor

Spring Study

Barn Memories

Do you agree or disagree with my first choice and the runners-up? Talk to me!!

That Mineral King Bridge!

Posted by on Jul 20, 2012 in Mineral King | 2 Comments

Will the Mineral King Bridge ever be finished? Will the saga ever end?

Retired Road Guy had the camera with him while his former road crew worked on the bridge. Rumor has it that he joined them for an hour or so, wearing shorts instead of green pants and his signature straw hat instead of a marshmallow head. Rumor also has it that he actually enjoyed the work!

2 guys goofing off while working on the Mineral King Bridge photo by Jana Botkin

How could he not have fun working with a couple of marshmallow-headed clowns such as these?


Kirk operating a big yellow machine in Mineral King photo by Michael Botkin

This is a HUGE yellow machine. It doesn’t have a steering wheel. The road crew isn’t very fond of it. That may be why Supervisor Kirk is at the helm. Is it a helm? What’s a helm?

Huge yellow machine on Mineral King Bridge photo by Michael Botkin

I am not kidding when I say this is a HUGE yellow machine. Good thing the bridge was replaced with this strong new one!


asphalt overlay on approach in Mineral King, photo by Michael Botkin

One side almost completed, one more to go.


equipment on Mineral King Bridge, photo by Michael Botkin

See those guys clustered around the smaller machine? It broke. Guess the other side will have to wait.


Tomorrow, Saturday, July 21 is the annual Mineral King Preservation Society Picnic in the Park. It takes place at noon in front of one of the cabins at the end of the road. (Look for the signs, follow the people.) Bring your own lunch and chairs, lemonade will be provided. The program has 2 parts – one by Steve Jones who will tell of his memories backpacking and camping in Mineral King. (Never met him before, don’t know a thing!)

The second part will be Retired Road Guy and the California Artist discussing the Mineral King Bridge project. They will be asking the crowd to share their memories of the bridge, and rumor has it that they may even tell what they REALLY think about it.

Guess you’ll have to attend to learn the rest of the story!

Do you have any Mineral King Bridge memories you’d like to share with the blog readers or me?

Out of the Office, Again

Posted by on Jul 19, 2012 in Sources of inspiration | 4 Comments

Office? What office? I thought you had a studio!

I stole that line from Lily Kreitinger, an online friend with a wonderful blog. It means that I have a guest post today on another wonderful blog (not Lily’s – yet!) Today you can find my writing at my friend Cheryl Barker’s blog. We are also online buddies.

photograph of wild blue flax by Jana Botkin

Wild Blue Flax

Why are you reading and talking about all these blogs? I thought you were a California artist!

As a self-employed artist, I work in silence and solitude. Instead of feeling isolated, I listen to podcasts while I paint. They inspire and motivate me to try new things with art, life and business.

I also read other people’s blogs because they broaden my world, and give me a chance to interact with people outside of Tulare County. When I really like someone’s thoughts and writing, and if I have something to say or a question (I ALWAYS have questions!) then I comment. There is a sense of community among the regular commenters and interaction with the blogger himself or herself.

Sometimes I follow the links to those commenters’ blogs, and it is like an interwoven web. (Hmmm, could that be the internet? or perhaps the world wide web?) I think I found Cheryl through Stuff Christians Like, a very goofy and fun blog.

So who is this Cheryl Barker?

Cheryl posts about:

Faith. Family. Friends. Serving God. All of these things are important to me. Being a writer is one of the ways I live out my faith and serve the One who first loved me. My prayer is that you will be refreshed as you join me on my journey. Be blessed!

In the summer she adds some light-hearted things that she calls “Summer Photo Fun”. I’m into photos, and I love to have fun, so lucky me, she asked me to participate!

Head on over there to see what sort of buffoonery I’m engaging in today – share the link with your friends that might enjoy Cheryl’s blog, comment if you are so inclined.

Hint – the post is about wildflowers


Name That Barn

Posted by on Jul 18, 2012 in General | 2 Comments

barn oil painting by Jana Botkin

Unnamed Barn, formerly known as Tulare County Barn, 10×10″ oil painting on wrapped canvas


The names have poured in (38 at the time of this writing). I will accept more today, but starting tomorrow I will have to squinch my eyes shut, put my hands over my ears, and loudly recite, “LALALALALALA”.

Then, I will pick one. Or a group of names. Or make up a new one from bits and pieces. Or narrow it down to the top three and put it out for a vote.

Then I will enter the Celebrate Agriculture with the Arts in Madera, informally known as the Ag Art Show. This is an online process with yet another user name and password. The poor old geezers back in the day when this barn was built just had to slog along with pencil and paper and the U.S. Postal Service. Those old guys probably only got to have passwords when they were kids, out playing games in barns like this one!