A Peek into the Wilsonia Project

Posted by on Jan 30, 2013 in drawing, Wilsonia | 3 Comments

Perhaps I should have titled this “Book Report”. Then, you might have gotten it confused with my old Reading Rabbit reports. So many decisions. . .

Remember that I am working almost exclusively on The Cabins of Wilsonia this year? (I told about it here.)

Good thing I love to draw. At the time of this writing, I have 96 pencil drawings of cabins and cabin related items completed. That leaves approximately 133 to go.



pencil drawing of cabin

Will the owner of this cabin recognize this pencil drawing? Will he and/or she contact me?

More will be revealed in the fullness of time. . .

To follow the progress of The Cabins of Wilsonia and to read about the decisions necessary in order to even begin the book, you are invited to visit my other blog, dubya dubya dubya the cabins of wilsonia dot com

What is Motivation?

Posted by on Jan 25, 2013 in the business of art, Thoughts | No Comments

Last time I tackled the word “inspiration”. Today I am addressing motivation.

Motivation: the desire and willingness to do something

If I am mentally stimulated to do something creative, why don’t I Nike? (just do it) I might have the mental stimulation, or the idea, but inertia is a problem. Too many other things to do is a problem. An inability to prioritize is a problem.

What causes me to overcome these problems? What motivates me to “git ‘er dun”?

I love to finish things, to see how they turn out, to enjoy the process of seeing something develop into tangible evidence of a mental stimulus.

Plus, businesses have customers, customers buy stuff, and businesses need stuff to sell to customers.

Want to buy a painting?

Sunny Sequoia XXIII, 8×8″, oil on wrapped canvas, $75

What is Inspiration?

Posted by on Jan 23, 2013 in Sources of inspiration, Thoughts | 2 Comments

Two blogs I read regularly addressed the subject of inspiration, and I realized that I am confused between inspiration and motivation. 

Today I will tackle inspiration. People often ask artists what inspires them, and it is good to have an answer at the ready. (That’s a weird way to say it!)

Time for a dictionary. (Don’t you love dictionaries? online and on computer and big heavy paper ones? And do you remember how annoying it was to be told to “look it up” when you asked how to spell words? How can I do that if I don’t know how to spell it? It forced us to dig around and accidentally discover new words, which was the primitive version of surfing the web.)

Inspiration: mental stimulation to do something creative (this is my condensed version of the long dictionary definition.)

I am inspired by beauty. The right light makes almost anything beautiful. Color, shape, textures, subjects I love – everything nice is so much more beautiful when it has the right light. It makes me want to draw and paint.

Here are two examples, just what you’d expect a California artist to use!

This Sequoia tree has nice light. There is no question that it is a beautiful object. I could paint this. I might have already done so!

The light on these two Sequoias below is more than so-so – it is inspirational to me.

I want to paint and draw these. Why do I find these inspirational? Taste is an individual matter, or as my Dad was fond of saying , “Degustibus non est disputandem”.

Isn’t Latin fun?


Various Thoughts from a Drawing Machine.

Posted by on Jan 18, 2013 in drawing, General, Thoughts, Wilsonia | 4 Comments

That’s me. A drawing machine. This California artist has reverted to her roots of drawing cabins in pencil.

1. Yesterday I finished Wilsonia cabin drawing #92 and began #93. I try to always have one going on the table when I quit for the day. Then, when I return to the studio, there is no time lost figuring out what to do next. I can figure out the next step while I am drawing whatever is waiting from the previous day.

2. It is good to have close friends about the same size as oneself. Awhile ago, I made a list of things that I live by, including “Never give up the pursuit of the perfect denim skirt”. Because I had the thrill of helping my friend (aka The Captain) clean her closet, I may now own the Perfect Denim skirt. (On the other hand, it might be a weensie bit smallish. . .)

3. Concrete floors are cold; it is good to take slippers to work with me.

Yes, I did make them myself. Thanks for asking!

 4. Would you believe my very fragrant paperwhites are blooming and have been throughout our weeklong cold snap? (stop sneering in Minnesota at what passes for cold in California!)

5. While I drew this week I listened to Michael Hyatt, Chris LoCurto, Chris Daniel (local radio talk guy), Dave of Dave’s Killer Bread and a comedienne named Jeanne Robertson. She is probably hilarious, but Youtube doesn’t work very well where I live and all that stopping and spinning messes with her timing.

6. Sometimes I draw in total silence.

7. You can follow the progress of and thoughts behind The Cabins of Wilsonia at my other blog, Dubya dubya dubya dot the cabins of wilsonia dot com.

8. I’ve been contemplating the difference between inspiration and motivation. Perhaps there will be a blog post on that someday.

9. The local talk guy mentioned that lots of people are tired of being asked to “join the conversation”, sign up, create an account and a password, become part of a community and comment on blogs. I respect this. I will cease to ask you questions at the end of my blog posts so that I don’t annoy my faithful readers. However, you are most welcome to comment if you have something to say, or email me if you would like to have a private exchange or have a question. Interaction is always welcome. I just write because all that silence all day long means that lots of words and thoughts build up in my head.

STOP IT. Okay, thanks for listening.

Another Big Tree

Posted by on Jan 15, 2013 in General | One Comment

But wait! There’s more. . .

oil painting of giant sequoia tree by Jana Botkin

Big Tree IV, 6×18″, oil on wrapped canvas, $125

This should have a BUY NOW button, but my shopping cart isn’t working and I don’t know if the shopping cart on the website is the same as the shopping cart on the blog and after trying over and over to get it to work with those calendars, I would rather make a paragraph of excuses than try to put a Buy Now button here.

SO! you can use the “Contact the Artist” button if you would like to buy this painting and we can do a little business.

Big Trees

Posted by on Jan 14, 2013 in commissions | No Comments

When you grow up in the same county as the Sequoia Gigantea, you tend to call these guys “big trees”.

That is sort of a Duh thing, but maybe we are a little duh-ish in Tulare County.

As a graduate of Redwood High School, you’d think I’d call them “Redwoods”. But Noooo, I still call them “Big Trees”. (Grow up, already, California Artist.)

oil painting of giant sequoia tree by Jana Botkin

Big Tree III, 6×18″, commissioned oil painting

Sometimes I think I am a fake California artist because I am not painting the beach or palm trees, or eucalyptus trees like those California plein air guys from the early (or was it mid?) 1900s.

Then I think – WAIT A DOGGONE MINUTE! Why am I treating Central California as if it is fly-over country, a place unworthy of mention?

Tulare County has the highest point in the contiguous United States, the largest trees by volume in the world, the oldest oaks in the world (I think that is right), and we feed the world!

Take that, you beach bums. I am a California artist, so there. (Hmmm, a small amount of insecurity, perhaps?)

The S Word

Posted by on Jan 10, 2013 in General | 4 Comments

Stop it. I mean SIXTY. Trail Guy turns SIXTY today. I am not making this up. It defies any category on this blog. It boggles the mind. SIXTY used to be old. It isn’t any more.

Trail Guy snooping around peeking in a keyhole

Is this how sixty-year-olds are supposed to behave?

Trail Guy at the beach

A 59-year-old contemplates matters of consequence, including the upcoming S-word birthday.

Trail Guy in his rig on his favorite road

Trail Guy is not stuck. You or I would be stuck in this situation, but Trail Guy knows how to back up and turn around a trailer in any situation. He’s more than capable, especially at the not so old age of SIXTY.


If You Are Going To Paint One, Paint Two

Posted by on Jan 9, 2013 in commissions | 2 Comments

I know, I know. I’m not painting this year, EXCEPT when I have a commission to do. I think it is funny that on the very first working day of 2013 when I am supposed to have a laser-like focus on The Cabins of Wilsonia, there I am, at the easel!

6x18 oil painting of sequoia tree

Some people saw my painting “Big Tree II” at a gallery. They wanted it. They waited. It sold to someone else. They called and asked if I had another like it. I said no, but I could paint them another. They said yes.

Sequoia Tree oil painting in progress


So if they want one, I might as well paint two. That way, when one of my galleries calls to say a Sequoia tree painting has sold, I can immediately deliver another. “My galleries” sounds so pretentious, but you know what I mean, right?

It is the same theory as doubling a batch of cookies – IF you can restrain yourself from eating them all, you can put half in the freezer for the next cookie emergency.

I’m sure you all understand “Cookie Emergency”, right?

So, I have two photos of entire Sequoia Trees, and the two previous paintings for reference. If Big Tree II sold, it stands to reason that there was a Big Tree I, right?

Sequoia tree oil paintings in progress

Wow, paintings look scruffy at the beginning. But can you see the promise? Can you feel the forward motion? Is the excitement building?

I’ll let you know which one the people choose, and which one goes “in the freezer”. Or, perhaps I’ll offer it for sale on Daily Paintworks.

Now I’m going to draw awhile.

I ended three sentences with “right?” What manner of weird speech pattern is creeping in here? 

An Afternoon and Evening at The Lake

Growing up in Tulare County we simply referred to Lake Kaweah, created by Terminus Dam, as “The Lake”.

Kaweah Lake

(and there is still a stupid dark spot on the lens.)

Now that I’ve lived in Lemon Cove (at the base of the dam) and Three Rivers (on the rivers that flow to The Lake), I’ve learned that it is The Lake. Not “Kaweah Lake”, (pronounced “Kuh-WEE-uh”, not the River Kwai!) but The Lake.

Kaweah Lake

At this time of year, there is a lot of real estate at The Lake bottom for camping, walking, biking, and horseback riding.

Kaweah Lake

Our very dear friends, whom I shall call “Cowboy Bert and The Captain”, have horses. They brought them to The Lake and camped and rode for several days. I’d show you a photo but the only one I have shows The Captain bending over to inspect Blue Doc’s feet, and I don’t show photos of friends bending over. Makes you want to be friends with me, hunh?

Kaweah Lake at dusk

We joined them  for dinner on 2 evenings – we really know how to whoop it up on New Year’s Eve! Ummmm, not.

Kaweah Lake

Going places, even in my own town of Three Rivers, provides inspiration. IF I were painting these days, which I am not unless it is a commissioned piece, I’d probably paint one of the top 2 scenes (minus the weird spot on the lens).

Which is your favorite photo? (and please disregard the weird spot)

Fridays are for Mineral King

Posted by on Jan 4, 2013 in Going Places, Mineral King | 4 Comments

. . . except the snow was too deep and we didn’t get there!

Trackster on the Mineral King Road

This little vehicle is called a Trackster, made by Cushman in the 1970s. It is sort of like driving a lawn mower.

We unloaded the Trackster around mile 12, about 2 miles below Trauger’s. I think that is where we were. It looks so very different under snow!

Trackster track in the snow

The Trackster leaves tracks in the snow.

Mineral King Road in the snow

Wow, there was so much snow! (There was also a weird spot on the lens of my camera.)

snow in the trees on the mountain side


Sawtooth in winter as seen from the Mineral King road

Sawtooth and the stoopid weird spot on the lens.

Alles cabin

This is the historic Alles cabin at Atwell Mill.

It was very pretty and very cold. Remember, I am a California artist, and I live in the sunny foothills where it snows about once every 2 years. This was a wonderful opportunity to wear many of my knitted pieces. No photos of that, sorry to disappoint you.

Our enthusiastic passenger was thrilled to build a snowman. She was amazingly skilled at it for someone who grew up in the sunny foothills where it snows a little bit maybe every two years.

a very unique snowman

This is quite the unique guy. Since we all recently saw The Hobbit, we decided the dude needed ears. Actually I suggested ears like a bear, but these ears seem to be a bit like Gollum, the gross little dude who sort of talks like Donald Duck.

Any questions? ask in the comments or email me via the contact the artist button on the menu bar.