End of Summer Photos of Mineral King

Posted by on Sep 28, 2012 in Mineral King | 2 Comments

Will I continue Fridays for Mineral King once the cabin season is over? More will be revealed in the fullness of time. . .

Meanwhile, enjoy these end of summer photos.

Timber Gap in Mineral King

a no parking sign in mineral king

Puh-leeze. No standing? Really? I wonder how many people have taken photos of their friends standing in front of this sign because it is just silly. Guess it was the only no parking sign available in the Park’s warehouse.

cabin window in mineral king

Nope, not my cabin. I just liked the light.

cabin porch in mineral king

This is not my cabin either. It looks so simple, classic and inviting, yes?

grasses in mineral king

Sometimes I see more when I just sit than when I hike.

fawn in silhouette in mineral king

Taste The Arts

Posted by on Sep 27, 2012 in Events, Mineral King | 4 Comments

Taste the Arts takes place on Saturday, September 29 in Visalia, California. It is a little division of a week long event called “Taste of Visalia“. Maybe. I’m quite confused on the whole shebang.

What I am not confused about is that I will be one of many artists showing and selling my work at a former lumberyard in downtown Visalia from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The former lumberyard is encircled by Oak, Garden, School and Bridge Streets. I think the entrance is on Oak. I think it is free.

I am also not confused about the fact that I did several new paintings for the event. Here is one:

sawtooth oil painting by Jana Botkin

This is Sawtooth, in Mineral King. The painting is 16×20, the price is $375. Maybe people in Visalia aren’t as interested in Mineral King as people on this blog, in Mineral King and in Three Rivers. We shall see! (Who uses the word “shall” seriously??)

The Most Beautiful Fruit Bowl I’ve Ever Seen

Posted by on Sep 26, 2012 in Sources of inspiration | 10 Comments

Maybe the fruit is the most beautiful rather than the bowl. Maybe it was the setting. The light was superior, and I could hardly concentrate on the task at hand, which was helping to decide how many propane lamps might be necessary in a neighboring cabin. Trail Guy walked around with a tape measure, and I was mesmerized by this bowl.

fruit bowl photo by Jana Botkin

I could paint this, or it might just be so doggone perfect that a painting would be a cheap imitation. I kept adjusting the position of the various pieces of fruit, the position of the bowl, and position of myself. Isn’t this just stunning? Thank you, Judee, for letting me experiment with your fruit bowl!

Redwood With Dogwood

Posted by on Sep 25, 2012 in General | 2 Comments

I thought about calling this post “Red Dog” but assumed that might be ever so slightly misleading.

This painting is finished, all 30×40″ of its glorious self.

redwood and dogwood oil painting

Giant sequoias, Redwoods, Big Trees – whatever it is called, this painting is huge.

I think I’ll go lie down for a bit.

I Paint Better Now

Posted by on Sep 24, 2012 in Mineral King | 2 Comments

See what I mean?

farewell gap oil painting, old version


This was the largest painting I had ever done back when I did it. Can’t remember, but I think it was in 2007, after I’d been oil painting for about one year. I thought it was mighty fine indeed. This year I took a long hard critical look at it and came to the conclusion that I paint better now.

Farewell Gap oil painting new version

Maybe it is just my opnion, or maybe it is true. Regardless, it is my goal to invoke the same feeling one gets while sitting on the bridge in Mineral King and looking at Farewell Gap. I think this painting is closer to that. Here, I’ll make them smaller so they can be side-by-side.

“Better” is a somewhat subjective term. Perhaps it is more modest and honest to say that I like my work better now. It has more detail. I like detail.


farewell gap oil painting, old versionFarewell Gap oil painting new version


Frankly, I am too chicken to ask for your opinions today!


How Do You Know Fall’s Coming When It’s Still Hot?

Posted by on Sep 21, 2012 in Mineral King, Sources of inspiration | 4 Comments

In Mineral King, there are consistent signs that fall is coming. It may still be 105 down the hill during the day, but in Mineral King we know summer is about to be history.

cottonwoods, grasses and a cabin in Mineral King

The light is different, and the grass is as high as an elephant’s eye.

stream and cabin in mineral king

The water flows in a sluggish manner.

deer drinking from stream in mineral king

The deer are plentiful and the fawns’ spots are fading.

Not many wildflowers remain except asters.

mineral king valley photo by jana botkin

Things have a yellowish tinge to them.

The Park Service begins patrolling on horseback, interviewing hunters who have crossed over into Forest Service land.

What helps you believe fall is coming in spite of the heat?

A New Idea

Trail Guy had a great idea for me this summer. We are now beginning to develop it. Here are the photos we used in our designing phase.

“Phase” makes it sound huge and extensive, don’t you think?


More will be revealed. . .


Posted by on Sep 19, 2012 in Events | 4 Comments

The Madera County Art Council notified me that the following pieces have been accepted into their Ag Art Show.

Loves Cotton, Loves To Knit oil painting by Jana Botkin

Loves Cotton, Loves To Knit, 8×8″ oil painting

This will be in the category of Row Crops. It ought to give people pause as they look at pictures of alfalfa and broccoli.

oil painting of pomegranate

Great For Jelly, 10×10″ oil painting

Pomegranates have their own category. I think Madera produces quite a few and has a festival of pomegranates. This might be the 40th painting I’ve done of pomegranates, but it got a real title instead of a numbered series name.

Great For Pies, pumpkin oil painting by Jana Botkin

Great For Pies, 10×10″ oil painting


This will be in the category of Vines, which is usually dominated by grapes, vineyards, and wine pictures.  Guess it will stand out – sure hope so!

P.S. I’m not talking about the pieces that weren’t accepted. It will taint them, they will get a complex, and you will not want to buy them.

Interview with a California Artist, Part 2

Posted by on Sep 18, 2012 in the business of art | No Comments

Tell us, California Artist, what would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?

If I knew then what I know now, perhaps I would have been a business or marketing major and an art minor.

top panel of triptych of tulip fields

Wonder if I could have made it as a Washington artist? I think it would be great to paint tulips in bright colors other than orange. Everything in California is orange (or brown, including the Governor!)

This is a no-spin zone – I asked what you’d be doing, not what you would have studied!

Soooorrrrrrr-EEE. I love what I do. But, with what I know about myself now, I think I could have been an editor and proofreader. Or a professional organizer. Or maybe a landscaper. Or maybe just a gardener. Farming had and still has some appeal, although the regulations and paperwork definitely steal much of the joy of producing food.

Do you ever wish you were doing one of those things?

Only when I am wishing for a larger paycheck. Or a paycheck. Or when I am washing brushes or doing bookkeeping or wondering if I will get a bid or where new students will come from or when I want to rid the world of typos or wish I could be outside more or when sales are low and I wonder if this is just a glorified hobby instead of a business.

You sound a little insecure!


I said you sound a little insecure.

I heard you. I was waiting for a question.

Are you insecure?

Nope. Are you finished?

Nope. I’d like to know if the blog readers have any questions about choosing a career path as a self-employed artist.

Me too. I will answer any question that will help someone find his way. (or hers, but you knew that, right?)


Interview with the California Artist

Posted by on Sep 17, 2012 in the business of art | 2 Comments

Why did you decide to become a self-employed artist?

Because most jobs are repetitive, boring, and full of sanctioned incompetence. Because I had to pretend as if I was busy when there was nothing to do, because too many bosses were dumb, petty, moody and inconsistent in their instructions. Because making and selling art and teaching drawing makes me HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY! And self-employed was the only way I could design a job that made me HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY. I like to be happy. 😎 See?

3rd panel of tulip fields triptych

Some jobs made me see red. This is the 3rd panel of the tulip field triptych, 6×18″

Hmmm, sounds like you might have been a difficult employee.

Nope. I was a dang good worker.

What were some of the good jobs or helpful jobs you had?

1. Working for an architect, a terrific guy (who was also my architectural drafting teacher) in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego. Just being there was an education!

2. Working in a picture frame shop – helping customers choose, learning the basics of framing. The work was great; the manager was a drug addict. He fired me. He used a flimsy excuse. It was humiliating.

3. Working in print shops – type-setting, graphic design, learning about papers, helping customers make decisions, bookkeeping, learning about standard sizes, understanding the printing process, meeting people with whom I am still in contact.

4. Working in a gift shop – this is where I learned some marketing, display and selling techniques. For example, did you know that Presentation Really Is Everything? It is! Truly! (Thanks, Shirley Goodness!)

What were some of the non-helpful jobs you had?

All jobs were helpful in some fashion, even if it showed me how to NEVER run a business or treat an employee or a customer. Generally I met great people, both the co-workers and the public. If you put your mind to it, you can learn from almost any situation. . . isn’t that why people refer to “The School of Hard Knocks”? (My very wise Dad used to say that. I thought it was dumb. It was smart; I was dumb.)

Tell me, Gentle Blog Reader, what is the best job you’ve ever had?