Tuesdays are Cruisedays

Posted by on Jul 30, 2013 in Going Places | No Comments



What are you looking at, Trail Guy?


There is a tiny little puff of water out there. It is a whale, but you probably need binoculars to see it.


This deck was quaint. I had wanted to sit here to knit, but unfortunately, it was a smoking area. During the day time there were blue cushions on these chairs – very attractive. Sometimes we could circle the entire ship at this level, but if the water was rough, the forward of the ship was closed off. When we asked why, we were told that if someone went overboard, no one one see them!


Oh. There’s a whale. The big deal was seeing one clear the water, something called “breaching”. Another big deal, although more of a medium deal, was seeing the tail, called a “fluke”. It was a fluke if I saw one, because they were sort of far away.


Sunrise? Sunset? Can’t remember. Continually I forgot if I was fore or aft, starboard or port. The sides and the ends of the ship reflected each other, so I was constantly looking out the window to see which way “the water was moving”. Yes, I know, the ship was moving, not the water. So, you now understand why I can’t even tell the difference between sunset and sunrise?


Business Decisions Are Hard Without A Crystal Ball

Posted by on Jul 29, 2013 in Mineral King, the business of art | 4 Comments

Maybe they are hard with one too.

I’ve been getting the message from several sources that my prices are too low.

My subject matter is Tulare County, and most of my customers are here. Because we are poor, fat, undereducated, breathing bad air, and accustomed to frugality, I price my art work accordingly.

Common art marketing wisdom says that if your prices are too low, people will not value your work.

Common sense says that if your prices are too low, you will stay poor.

Contradictory common sense says that if your prices are low, you’ll sell more and more people will buy your work and then you will raise your prices and have a following who are willing to pay your new prices.

Common sense is uncommonly confusing.

(“Too many cooks spoil the stew” or “Many hands make light work”? “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” or “Out of sight, out of mind”? See what I mean?)

This little 6×6″ painting of Sawtooth is $50 plus tax. It is an original oil painting that took me about 2 hours to make. (First I had to buy the canvas, brushes, turpentine, linseed oil and paints.) When it sells at the Silver City Store, they keep a percentage, of course. That means I am earning a sorry hourly wage, particularly when you take the giant self-employed bite out of it.

Does this matter?

Not to me. I paint Mineral King because I love Mineral King.

However, I do need to earn a living.

I just looked up other oil painters. For 6×6 oil paintings, they charge $26, $65, $80, $100,  $125, $150, $175, $190, and $325.

Holy Cow. Excuse me, I need to go do some more thinking. Might need to knit a few rows to calm down, have a hit of chocolate, pace, rock back and forth while banging my head on the back of the chair, perhaps even put my thumb in my mouth and curl into a little ball.

Pioneers in Paradise in Mineral King

Posted by on Jul 26, 2013 in Reading | 2 Comments

The Mineral King Preservation Society has had an annual picnic since 1987. (or maybe since 1986, but those years are beginning to blur together. . .)

Last year Trail Guy and I were one part of the presentation, discussing the rebuilding of the Mineral King bridge. (That was actually a several part series published in September and October of 2011, in case you are interested.)

This year, the speaker was my dear friend Sophie, the author of Pioneers in Paradise, a history of Three Rivers. Not only is she an author, she is a knitter, spinner, draws beautifully (don’t want to call her a “drawer” lest you picture her as a part of furniture), and is a great public speaker! That Sophie, she can do it all!

First, Louise introduced Sophie. (Hey! There is Tall Cathy and Cowboy Bert in the background! Hi!) I have such wonderful and amazing friends. Both Louise and Sophie are historians and writers, and we love to hang out together. Okay, maybe they don’t love to hang out with me, but I love to hang out with them!

Isn’t she cute? I don’t know what she said, but I don’t think Tall Cathy is crying in the background. Maybe she is laughing. Maybe she is sneezing. Couldn’t be too terribly funny, because Cowboy Bert is fairly stoic.

Now Jim is behind Sophie. He has a real Stetson hat on, but I don’t think he is a cowboy.

Want Sophie’s book? You can get it here. It is fun to read because you can bounce around to random chapters and cherry-pick your subjects. Besides, it is fun to read about places I know.

Final Mineral King Cabin Pencil Drawings For Sale

Posted by on Jul 25, 2013 in drawing, Mineral King, the business of art | No Comments

Bungay, page 106, 7-1/2 x 10-1/2, $79

Remember to take care when buying – each Buy Now button is beneath its drawing.

Bissiri, page 118, 6-3/4 x 4-3/8″, $27

Benedict, page 121, 5 x 4-3/4″, $22

Martin-Dula, page 64, 7-7/8 x 5″, $39

Wood, page 112, 8-1/4 x 66″, $49


Whitney, page 120, 7-5/8 x 5-5/8″, $42

Tuesdays, Cruisedays

Posted by on Jul 23, 2013 in Going Places | 3 Comments

All-righty-then, no one has said, “Shut up about your stupid cruise already.” So, here is Chapter Two.

I couldn't get enough of walking the decks.

I couldn’t get enough of walking the decks.



Check out these two Mineral King tee shirt models. But how did Trail Guy meet David Letterman??


This trio is from Hungary – a violinist, pianist and bass fiddle player. They were fantastic, simply out of this world. They are called the Rhapsody Trio, and I could listen to them every day. I did, in fact. Too bad the CD is sort of second-rate. Ships are always selling stuff, ALWAYS.

But no one could sell us stuff on our balcony, so there.

But no one could sell us stuff on our balcony, so there.

More Mineral King Cabin Pencil Drawings For Sale

Posted by on Jul 22, 2013 in drawing, Mineral King, the business of art | 4 Comments

Hart-Parks, page 79, 8-1/4 x 12″, 


Take care – each Buy Now button is BENEATH its cabin drawing. 

Freeman-Huffman, page 103, 8-3/8 x 11″, $92


Benedict, page 121, 7-/2 x 9-1/2″, $71


Bissiri, page 16, 10 x 11-1/4″, $112

Whitney, page 120, 9-1/4 x 11″, $102

Archer, page 101, 10 x 7-3/8″, $73


Fridays Are For Mineral King

Posted by on Jul 19, 2013 in Mineral King | No Comments

You’ve been polite while I sell you pencil drawings of Mineral King cabins.

Today, let’s rest our eyes and minds with this photo of Mineral King:

Trail Guy will be leading a hike up to the Empire Mine area on July 27, 9 a.m. Depending on the state of my plantar fasciitis, I may be stumbling along at the back of the group. I don’t know yet where the hike will begin – Sawtooth parking lot? ranger station? bridge? More will be revealed in the fullness of time.

Would you like a tee shirt to go with that hike?

You can get yours here.

Oops. Still selling! No, I’m offering you the opportunity to own quality, custom Mineral King items.

Mineral King Cabin Pencil Drawings For Sale Now

In the last century, I began drawing people’s cabins in pencil while I lived in a cabin. These were mostly in and around Mineral King. My business name, Cabinart, was born at that time.

Houk, page 119, 8-5/8×6″, $52


About ten years later, my friend Jennifer suggested that I make a book of drawings. Because this was all before  print-on-demand,  Amazon, assisted self-publishing, and all those other nifty tools, I called my cabin neighbor and friend Jane Coughran for help. She was a picture editor for Time-Life Books, and was thrilled to join me, as long as I allowed her to include historical photos. That decision took me about half of a second, and together in 1998, we published The Cabins of Mineral King.

Goldman-Davis, page 73, 9-1/2 x 6-5/8″, $63


All of the books and most of the original drawings sold. (You might get lucky on Amazon or eBay.)


Mann-Kennedy, page 114, 8-5/8 x 6-1/2″, $56


Now that I am working on The Cabins of Wilsonia, I am looking for more space in my studio for all the new drawings. Thus, I located 18 unsold drawings from the Mineral King book (more, actually, but the others are too big for my scanner, so I’m not showing them.)

Bissiri, rear, page 118, 5-1/4 x 6-5/8″, $35


These drawings are available for anyone who would like to buy them. Six appear in today’s post with a BuyNow button; the other 12 will be in consecutive posts.

Goldman-Davis, page 72, 10 x 8″, $80


The prices are well below my current (and even my former) commission prices because  I want to sell them and because they are on odd sized pieces of paper that might be a pain to frame. I’ve put the name as it appears in the book, the page # from the book, and the exact size of the piece of paper it is drawn on, in case you get lucky and have the perfect mat and frame waiting for one of these original pencil drawings.

Mann-Kennedy, page 115, 9 x 12″, $108

A California Artist Goes Cruising

Posted by on Jul 16, 2013 in Going Places | 8 Comments

Remember I said it was probably time for a break? I made a paper cutting mistake while working on The Cabins of Wilsonia. I painted an entire painting of the Kaweah Post Office upside down.

I wasn’t kidding. You thought I was just bravely soldiering on, pushing through the obstacles, keeping my nose to the grindstone, and blogging away.

Nope. I was on a cruise ship.

Heading under the Golden Gate Bridge

Heading under the Golden Gate Bridge

 Me on a cruise ship? Yep. With Trail Guy, my sisters and their husbands and my incredibly generous little mama.  


Weird. I don’t even own a microwave or dishwasher, and we live without electricity at the cabin, cooking on a wood stove. Suddenly, there we were, immersed in a life of luxury, excess, ease, servants, entertainment, and with more people than live in Three Rivers. Mountain people on the ocean. Cabin people in an entirely different sort of cabin.


I have a ton of thoughts about it all and haven’t decided if they belong on this blog. Guess I’ll go on about it for awhile, and if my readership plummets (if I can remember how to check the numbers), then I’ll shut up.

Here’s the deal: everyone needs to see and do new things to keep from becoming boring, stuck, stale, and same-ole-same-ole. So, I will share a bit of our trip with you on Tuesdays.



That’s it – Tuesdays will be Cruisedays, for awhile, at least until I run out of photos, ideas or readers, that is.

Anyone want to say something about this subject?

Wildlife and Wildflowers in Mineral King

Posted by on Jul 12, 2013 in Mineral King, Photography | No Comments

Today I will try to be quiet so you can enjoy some photos in peace.

Okay, I cannot contain myself. This guy was RIDING A BIKE down the Mosquito/Eagle Lakes trail. Strictly forbidden. Bad photo, but I wanted to let you all know to not do this. (ride your bike on a trail, not take bad photos) Now, shhhhhh (me, not you)