A Break From Blogging

Posted by on Dec 21, 2012 in Thoughts | 4 Comments

It hurts my heart to do this. I LOVE to blog. Showing you photos, drawings, paintings, life as an artist, Mineral King, the good stuff of Tulare County and California, and yackety-yacking at you about it all, then getting your emails and comments  just floats my boat.

Oak Grove Bridge oil painting by Jana Botkin

The Oak Grove Bridge is my favorite subject to paint and blogging is my favorite thing to do on the computer.

I know that people have other things to do this time of year than to read the mental ramblings and verbal recitations of a California Artist. So, in spite of the withdrawals that I’m sure to experience, I will refrain from posting to my blog until January 2, 2013.

(Unless Jesus returns before then, or the world ends, or whatever is supposed to happen today.)

Meanwhile, please enjoy any of my past 1167 blog entries (REALLY!!), have a nice Christmas, and eat your vegetables.

If we are still here on January 2, 2013, you can read an announcement about a new plan on this weblog. Hope to “see” you back here!

Told You Yesterday That I Was Inspired

Posted by on Dec 20, 2012 in commissions, drawing, Wilsonia | 4 Comments

Yesterday I ended my post about inspirational beach photos by saying I felt so inspired I would go draw a cabin. You thought I was making that up?

Wilsonia cabin pencil drawing

This is a commissioned pencil drawing of a Wilsonia cabin. The cabin owners emailed me several photos with some specific instructions, and this is the result.

I love to draw.

A California Artist Visits a Santa Barbara Beach

Posted by on Dec 19, 2012 in Going Places, Sources of inspiration | No Comments

Yesterday I began talking about California beaches and ended up showing a little bit of the Santa Barbara Mission, one of 21 missions in California.

Today I will show you a few photos I took at a Santa Barbara beach. Wow, it was beautiful! (Thank you, Captain Obvious) I took a pile of photos that I really really want to paint! But, I will only show you 3 photos, because you are probably skimming this quickly when you are supposed to be doing something else. (Isn’t everyone supposed to be very busy this time of year? I’m not that busy, but I’m a bit of an odd duck. Thanks for being polite about that.)

Santa Barbara beach

Is this not just stunning? Holy cow, this California artist who lives near and in the mountains is sort of experiencing a bit of beach envy.

Santa Barbara beach

We walked about 1 mile, probably less. HEY! Where do those stairs go?? Ummm, that would be up? Gotta see!

beach stairs

We climbed to the top of this very long staircase and read the sign “One Thousand Steps”. Really? I counted them on the way back down. Anyone want to guess?

Santa Barbara beach

Oh yeah, this is a source of inspiration for me. I feel so inspired that I might just go draw another cabin.

A California Artist visits Santa Barbara

Posted by on Dec 18, 2012 in Going Places | 2 Comments

Growing up, “the beach” mean Newport, in Orange County. In 4th grade, my class took a field trip to Mission San Miguel and visited Pismo Beach. It was flat and muddy and there were no waves. It didn’t look like a beach to me. Later, I visited some beaches in Northern California and began understanding that “the beach” means something different all up and down the left coast. I spent 4 years in Sandy Eggo and learned that even one city can have a variety of beaches.

But, I’d never gotten a feel for Santa Barbara. This city isn’t quite “The Central Coast”, nor do I consider it Southern California. It isn’t as easy to get to as Morro Bay, and I’d never had a reason to go.

Last week, Trail Guy and I spent 4 nights there for multiple reasons irrelevant to this blog. But, as a California artist, I want to share with you some of the photos I got so you can get a little taste of this piece of our huge state with a very very long coastline.

Santa Barbara Mission

I love the California missions. I haven’t seen all 21, but I’m always thrilled when I get to see one for the first time. I built a model of this Queen of Missions in 4th grade – 3 milk cartons do the trick! (My mom was really really mean and she wouldn’t let me build it out of sugar cubes.)

Santa Barbara Mission, backside

We walked around the backside and it reminded me of some of the views I took photos of in China.

Trail Guy snoops in Santa Barbara

What’s in there, Trail Guy??

Okay, that’s long enough for today’s post. I’ll show you the beach pictures tomorrow. (Was that a bait and switch??)

And Mineral King for Christmas, Once More

Posted by on Dec 17, 2012 in Mineral King | No Comments

Still Christmas shopping? This is one more idea for someone on your list who loves Mineral King.

Farewell Gap Oil painting

Farewell Gap, 6×6″, oil on wrapped canvas, $50

More Mineral King for Christmas

Posted by on Dec 14, 2012 in Mineral King | No Comments

You are probably thinking about Christmas shopping. If you are like me, the simpler the better. Not leaving home? The best way to shop! (I used catalogs for shopping long before they were considered normal.)

Here is an easy way to please someone on your list who loves Mineral King.

Honeymoon Cabin oil painting

Honeymoon Cabin XI, 6×6″, oil on wrapped canvas, $50

Mineral King for Christmas

Posted by on Dec 13, 2012 in Mineral King | No Comments

Friends who care enough to tell me the truth have suggested I be a bit more bold about the fact that I have original oil paintings for sale at ridiculously low prices. Okay. Here goes. Try not to be disgusted by my crass commercialism.

Mineral King oil painting of Crowley Cabin

The Crowley Cabin, 6×6″, oil on wrapped canvas, $50, SOLD


A Yarn Painting Finds a New Home

Posted by on Dec 12, 2012 in General | 4 Comments

Whenever I find myself with a little waiting time, spare time, car time, or am procrastinating, I usually knit. Makes sense that an artist who loves to knit would also paint yarn, yes?

oil painting of yarn

Loves Cotton, Loves to Knit, 8×8″, oil on wrapped canvas, $100

A quilting friend also loves to knit, and she bought one of my yarn paintings called “From Ewe to Yarn”. I thought that was a great name for a great painting of some great yarn, and she agreed! Here is a photo of her studio with the painting. She sent it to me with the caption of “Where’s the Yarn?”

Can you see it?

Why the (beta version) Oil Painting Workshop Was Successful

Posted by on Dec 11, 2012 in Lessons | 2 Comments

Yesterday’s blog post told a secret – that I gave an oil painting workshop without publicizing it first, and why I didn’t publicize it.

oil paintings of pomegranates

Today, I will reveal why I believe that workshop was a success. No, I will reveal the reasons that I believe it was a success, not why I believe . . . never mind. Here is the list.

1. All of my students know how to draw – they understand proportion, are confident about putting shapes on paper (now on canvas), understand values (darks and lights), understand about hard and soft edges.

2. All of them understand what I mean when I make up words to explain things – “smoosh that part” or “verticalize those marks”.

3. They are very kind about my inexperience as an oil painter/oil painting teacher and very understanding when I explain that all I know to teach is what I know.

4. They don’t mind when I say “I don’t know – let’s try it both ways and see which turns out better”.

5. They stayed to help me clean up.

6. They brought things – old tablecloths, drop cloths for the floor, soup, brownies, great attitudes!

I just love my drawing students. I’d hang out with any one of them and be thankful for the time together, I respect them and their willingness to learn and try, I understand their frustrations, and I am proud of them!

I gave them each a jar of pomegranate jelly at the end of the workshop. 😎 Gosh. I feel warm and fuzzy.


An Oil Painting Workshop, Beta Version

Posted by on Dec 10, 2012 in Events | No Comments

Oh Great. Now she is speaking Computer. Isn’t it enough that we have to endure occasional Artspeak without this too?

What is “beta version”? I looked it up and found the best definition on Michael Hyatt’s blog:

” The premise is this: ‘we know it’s not perfect, but it’s far enough along that we need your input to get it right.'”

oil painting workshop

Based on this idea, I gave an oil painting workshop for a handful of my drawing students. They know me and my teaching methods and limitations, I know them and their skills and their kindness and encouragement. I didn’t publicize the thing because I didn’t want to expose my ignorance to strangers who were expecting a highly experienced painter and workshop leader.

We painted from photos. I provided 5 versions of a pomegranate and lots of leeway for interpretation of background, cropping, compositional variation, and whatever made the participant happy and comfortable with the project. It is okay to paint from photos. That’s what studio artists do. (We had real pomegranates available to look at, feel, examine and make us believe we weren’t “cheating”.)

We had a great time! Here is the results of the workshop (minus Nicholas’s work because he had to leave early).

pomegranate oil painting in progress

pomegranate oil painting in progress

pomegranate oil painting in progress

Pomegranate oil painting in progress


Tomorrow I will tell why I think it was a success for everyone!