Another Mineral King Bridge

Posted by on Jun 28, 2013 in Mineral King | No Comments

Back in the fall of 2011, we had ourselves a series about The Mineral King Bridge. You can see it beginning this date. Don’t worry, it will open in another tab or window, and I’ll be waiting right here for you to return.

If you follow this blog (and blessings on those of you who do, even those who never comment), then you might be aware that I have a love affair with the Oak Grove Bridge.

This post is about yet another bridge. It was built sometime between 1978 and 1985. It is a footbridge on the Nature Trail, aka Wildflower Walk.

These old guys built it sometime between 1978 and 1985. I didn’t ask them for specifics, but they might be too old to remember anyway. I just know that Mineral King became part of Sequoia National Park in 1978; I first began spending summers there in 1985 and the bridge was there.


They are inspecting the bridge because Trail Guy told them it needed some work. (Hey Sophie, you listening??)


See how it lists to port? (At least from this direction it is port.)

Trail Guy knows People. He can talk to them, and they heed his ideas and suggestions. He does not abuse this privilege, no need to worry about undue influence.


This is now the approach and step up from the uphill end of the Wildflower Walk. (Sophie, it is still sort of tall but we can do this now!)


 Trail Guy thinks it is a little weak under this corner. Not the bridge, but the shoring up of the bridge. (When we have work done at our house, he operates as Inspector Gadget, Quality Control Expert.)


Me? I just think it is grand to get stuff fixed at all. That corner? Prolly good enough for gov’t work.

And you Old Guys? I was just messing with you to see if you read my blog. You know you are both timeless and classically handsome dudes.


The California Artist Finds Her Big Girl Pants

Posted by on Jun 27, 2013 in commissions, Three Rivers | No Comments

I got serious about working on this commissioned oil painting of the Kaweah Post Office in Three Rivers for a nice (and hopefully patient) lady from New Jersey.

Kaweah Post Office oil painting in progress

Now, this is more like it. layers, details, contrast, texture. It needs to dry so I can paint the words on the signs – KAWEAH, POST OFFICE. The year established and the zip code are too small. The other words are sort of too small too, but I’ve done it before and I can do it again. I’ll probably end up tightening up other parts of the painting too. That’s usually how it goes.

So, I’ll just lift it off the easel, paint the edges, hang it up by the window, and then wipe the paint off my forearms. I always get paint on my forearms when I paint the edges of the canvas.

Kaweah Post Office oil painting hanging upside down by the windows

OH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! Would you just look at that!?!!

The wire is on the wrong side. The title on the back will be upside down too. I’ve only done this about 800 times so far.

I might need some time off soon.

Kaweah Post Office and Big Girl Pants

Posted by on Jun 25, 2013 in commissions, Three Rivers | 2 Comments

Dabbling, thinking it might be good to finish this before it gets hot again when I’d rather be in the drawing studio with its A/C unit instead of in the painting studio with its swamp cooler. Dabbling, deciding, doodling. . .

Has anything even changed from yesterday?

Get going – drink some coffee or eat some chocolate!

Here’s the problem: I’ve been concentrating so hard and long on the upcoming book, The Cabins of Wilsonia, just drawing like a pencil machine, that I’ve gotten nervous about my painting abilities.

This is a commission, I’ve been paid, and the customer is waiting. Put on your big girl pants and get busy.

Wow. That created a sense of urgency. Stay tuned. . . more will be revealed.


Painting the Kaweah Post Office Again

Posted by on Jun 24, 2013 in Three Rivers | No Comments

Commissions are good! They mean I get to paint something that has a definite buyer. They are the opposite of speculation painting.

Contractors build “spec houses”. It means they build a house like the Field of Dreams philosophy, in anticipation of a buyer. (“Spec” is short for speculation, not specifications.)

Very few artists admit to “spec paintings”. However, isn’t that what we are doing when we paint what we want and then schlep it around to various web sites, galleries, shows and shops?

This new painting of the Kaweah Post Office will only be schlepped to the post office to be mailed to a really nice lady from New Jersey.

Kaweah Post Office in progress

An oil painting begins its life in a rough manner.

When folks in Tulare County, particularly Three Rivers, have guests, we love to show them our sweet little Post Office up North Fork Drive. It is possibly the smallest operating P.O. in the United States, but that factoid depends on whom is being asked.

Anyhoo, we are proud of our cool little Post Office, even though it is technically in Kaweah and not in Three Rivers.

And thank you for being polite about how sloppy my painting looks when it is young.

Nature Trail aka Wildflower Walk in Mineral King

Posted by on Jun 21, 2013 in Mineral King, Sources of inspiration | No Comments

In Mineral King, you can walk from Cold Springs Campground up to the actual Mineral King valley on a trail, called “the Nature Trail”. That name bugs me. My faithful blog reading and commenting friend (Hi Mel!) suggested “the Wildflower Trail”. I prefer aliteration, and because I never take a pack or food when I use that trail, it is a walk. Thus, “Wildflower Walk”.

Every year, it seems there are new or interesting things to see. In the photo below, there are lots of white dots. This is Sierra Star Tulip, the most prolific I’ve ever seen it.

Look at this little thing! It actually comes in different sizes, but I didn’t have a quarter in my pocket to show you the differences.

This year there are clusters, something I don’t recall seeing in the past.

What is this? An unfamiliar flowering shrub. How can something be unfamiliar when I’ve been walking this trail since 1985?

Mr. Unfamiliar Shrub has these flowers. I didn’t stick my nose in them to see if there was a scent – I only just met them and didn’t want to overstep the bounds of politeness.

aspens in Mineral King

The Wildflower Walk has the best and most accessible aspens. I went nutso over them last fall. You can see those posts here and here and here and here. Here too. Go ahead. Each link will open in a new tab or window. I’ll wait.

There is a little footbridge. I’ll tell you more about that in another post. (Sophie, got some news for you!!)

Languid Ladies or Sierra Bluebells are one of the first flowers to bloom each year. I love blue.

I have no idea what these are. They are sort of boring. I usually don’t like white flowers because they are a little boring.

Sierra Forget Me Nots – sometimes they are called Sierra Stickseed. Sometimes they come in pink. I love blue.

Larkspur are sort of a bluish purple. I love blue and bluish purple.


Little white boring flowers.

These have the appropriate name of “Elephant Heads”. I can forgive them for not being blue.

How to Comment on This Blog

Posted by on Jun 20, 2013 in General, the business of art, Thoughts | 4 Comments

Greetings, Gentle Readers.

I appreciate your attendance.

I appreciate and respond to all comments.

I have learned that the commenting system is irritating.

Mineral King sunset photo by Trail Guy

This is the procedure:

1. Click on “Be the first to respond” or “# responses so far”. This is at the bottom of the post.

2. After you type your thoughts and submit or enter (I’m unclear because as the “administrator” of the blog, it doesn’t ask me for this step)

3. It goes to a Spam folder, and then I have to mark it “not spam”. After that, it goes to a pending folder, and then I have to approve it. THEN it appears!

The commenting system isn’t very good. My own replies go to the spam folder and I have to do the process with them too. It also doesn’t give anyone confidence that their remarks have gone through.

Oh, and you might suspect this of me – I correct your typos, and remove anything that I deem too personal for the World Wide Web. (Please feel free to correct my typos too!)

It might be possible for me to change the annoying characteristics of the commenting system. However, my attempts might break the whole blog, so let’s just limp along with the current method for now.

What do you think? Want to try responding to this?

P.S. If you don’t see your comment for awhile, it might mean I am in the Land of No Electricity or Internet. Eventually I’ll catch up with you!

A Rural California Artist’s Thoughts on LinkedIn

Posted by on Jun 18, 2013 in drawing, General, the business of art, Thoughts | 6 Comments

You “MUST” be on Facebook/LinkedIn/GooglePlus/Twitter to be considered a serious promoter of your work.

Oh yeah? Do I really need more time on the computer, with “virtual” friendships?

Are these Giant Sequoias having a water cooler conversation?
Four Guardsmen, pencil on paper, 11×14, unframed, $175

 I’ve heard that Facebook is like the backyard barbecue, another one whose name I’ve forgotten is like the bar scene, and LinkedIn has been compared to the water cooler.

I chose LinkedIn, because the barbecue is too big and feels like a waste of time, I don’t like bars, and having not worked for big companies, I’m curious about the proverbial water cooler. (Ever seen farmers on the side of the road, their pick-ups side-by-side in opposite directions, windows down as they chat? That’s their water cooler.)

Staying Power

LinkedIn is a bit of a puzzle to this simple rural artist. I haven’t yet concluded if it is helpful, or if it is just another distraction from being in the studio. It takes so much time to follow the links, find people’s websites, examine their work, comment if they have a blog, and for what? Are other artists truly my potential customers? And as a definite regionalist (referring to my subject matter), is anyone outside of my area truly a potential customer? Do these people in Minnesota/Washington/New Jersey care about Mineral King or Sequoia or Wilsonia??

Sure, it is fun to be asked to join people’s networks, and I feel warm and fuzzy to see that I now have 120 connections. But why? I’m not having personal conversations with these folks. I’m not looking for a job, which seems to be the primary function of this virtual water cooler place.

I’m always hoping for sales and for commissions, but doubt if this is going to happen from clicking “Accept Invitation” or “Send Invitation”. And that seems to be the motivation behind every person’s request to join his network. We all want sales – we are in business, and businesses exist to make a profit.

On LinkedIn, I am somewhat active in an Art Business group. So far, I have picked up a few tips, commented occasionally, and enjoyed some good virtual conversation. This is conversation minus body-language and vocal inflections, so who can say how authentic it is??

In Mineral King, we seek authentic conversation with real people, complete with body language and vocal inflections.
Sunshine at the Neighbor’s Place, pencil on paper, 11×14, unframed, $175

In this Art Business group there are many beginning artists, seeking answers and help. (Most established artists are too busy working to be spending time talking to strangers on the computer. Yikes, what does this make me?) So many commenters obviously don’t take the time to reread what they have written – the typos almost give me a rash at times. It takes time to weed through the dross.

I pay attention to those who are articulate, friendly, professional and thoughtful.  This sometimes causes me to look for their websites, which is a little tricky and time-consuming on LI. (lots of clicking and link following and window opening) Again I ask, “Why?” Is this my version of reality teevee,  am I just procrastinating,  am I seeking like-minded colleagues or do I just want to find a secret recipe to success by copying the business practices of Someone Who Gets It?

I could buy Linked In For Dummies. If I read it and followed its recommendations, would I begin to sell more work to strangers?

I’d rather be drawing, painting, teaching, or blogging. When I’m not doing those things (i.e. WORKING!), I’d rather be knitting, gardening, reading something, or hanging out in Mineral King.


Reading Rabbit Returns

Posted by on Jun 17, 2013 in Reading | 2 Comments

For some reason, reading becomes a topic of discussion in newspapers, magazines and blogs in the summer. Are we all so ingrained with the idea that summer is filled with leisure activities that we all just read in summer?


Salt & Light, or Reading Rabbit, oil on board, 11×14″


1. A Train Called Forgiveness, an audio book by Dan Erickson. I listened to a free chapter on and it convinced me to buy. Dan was in a cult as a child and teen. He got away, but it has taken him years to heal from the abuse. He is now an English professor, author and songwriter with a very interesting story to tell. He writes of his life experiences in novel form, interspersed with his original songs. The story is a bit disturbing, and made me sort of squirmy with uncomfortable and unidentifiable emotions. The songs take the edge off. The ending doesn’t feel over, and it’s not, because he has written 2 more books on the same subject. This book is worth buying, and because of the music, I recommend the audio version.

2. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is told by an autistic boy. It really helps the reader understand the mindset of autism. I listened to this story too, and it was also uncomfortable. Captivating. The author is Mark Haddon. It felt so accurate that I wonder if he is autistic.

3. Overdressed: the Shockingly High Price of Cheap Fashion  by Elizabeth Cline is about just what its title says. One of the most interesting facts I’ve learned so far is how much less clothing costs than it used to. (Perhaps this is why I have enough clothing for a small island nation.) It tells of how quickly fashion changes (I never actually noticed because I stopped caring after about age 18) and how easy it is to keep up with the trends because cheap clothing is so available. There are so many names of people and companies that I don’t recognize, so much talk about trades, tariffs, exports and imports. I might just skim this to get the gist of it.


4. God Inside The Fire by Greg Stelley. I also paid money for this book, as an ebook, which I read on my laptop (I don’t have a Kindle and I think I don’t want one – too much stuff to own). In 1993 my favorite uncle’s house burned down in a San Diego County wildfire. 10 years later, to the very day, he was evacuated for another wildfire. This one was called the Cedar Canyon Fire, named after the place where it started. This fire burned up my cousin’s house. It was horrible horrible horrible.

It burned up lots of people’s homes, and this book is about a very remarkable incident, a true miracle, that took place in the midst of that. BUY THIS BOOK!! 

Trail Work in Mineral King

Posted by on Jun 13, 2013 in Mineral King | 4 Comments

Trail Guy and I have a weird hobby. When we hike, we like to improve trails. We toss rocks off, scrape out places for water to drain off the trail, improve water bars and just generally take notes on trails.

A favorite walk of mine is the almost 2 miles to the Franklin Creek crossing. (To refresh your memory, a hike is when you take food and wear a pack; a walk is just a walk.)


Franklin Creek in Mineral King

This photo of Franklin Creek was taken in August of 2011. I didn’t want you to be confused about the flowers.

Crossing Franklin Creek can be scary early in the season. If you are lacking in depth perception as I am, it is really scary. This isn’t a very high water year, so we weren’t sure what to expect. I expected to take my shoes off and get a little relief to my stupid Plantar Fasciitis, and then to turn around and head for this:

adirondack chair

When we got to the crossing, there was water flowing down the trail. No no, can’t have that! We began with a little water diversion, getting the water to flow off the trail and back into the creek.

We worked our way up toward the stream, where I removed my shoes and got into the water. Pretty soon, Trail Guy was shouting at me to move this rock and that rock (not because he was agitated, but because the water was roaring.) Eventually, he got tired of shouting and joined me in the stream. He crossed to discover the weak places.

This looks scary to me. If I had to cross, I’d do it barefoot and wade through rather than misstep or slip.

More rocks were moved. The idea was to break down the dam that well-meaning but uninformed hikers had built. If you build a dam for crossing, you will be crossing on a wet wall. If you break the dam and let the water flow through, you will  be crossing on steps that are above the water. So, we cleaned out stones to allow for greater water flow.

See all that dry ground? It was under water when we first arrived.

Now, there are nicely spaced stepping stones across the creek, no water flowing down the trail, and no dam.

Way to go, Trail Guy!

(and I helped)

Tee Shirt Season in Mineral King

Posted by on Jun 13, 2013 in General, Mineral King | No Comments

Yep, hawking those Mineral King tee shirts again. We are calling them Trail Guy Tee Shirts. Cute, yes?


Here is the men’s shirt in action:

This man usually wears a size Large. This is a Large. No problem.

Here is the women’s:

This is a women’s medium, which is the equivalent of a 8-10. This woman usually wears an 8, sometimes a 6. The women’s small is too tight. The medium is sort of roomy. It will shrink and fit exactly right.

We have sold out of Women’s Large. More are on order, and this time we have added Women’s XL, because the women’s run small AND shrink. We’ve had requests for sweatshirts (maybe someday), Children’s tees (probably not), Men’s XXL (yes, coming with the Women’s Large and XL order), white (sorry, we chose these blues), and long sleeved (nope, this is summer).

Anything else you’d like to request?