Painting Multiplication

Posted by on Oct 29, 2013 in commissions | No Comments

Yesterday I said I’d tell you what is happening with all the duplication and triplication and multiplication of Lisa’s Lake House (which has now been titled “Hjartebo”, but there are 2 dots over the a and I can’t find the key for that on the computer. It means “place of love” in Swedish. Remember, this is in Minnesota.) 

Lisa has two sisters! That’s what’s going on here. I started the 16×12 for one sister (it will be surprise but she doesn’t know about me, so it’s cool, no worries). Then the other sister requested a 20×16. Since the decisions have all been made, this shouldn’t be as painstaking.

I don’t mean I will be sloppy. It is just that I will be able to get things right the first time.

Lisa’s Lake House 9

Posted by on Oct 28, 2013 in commissions | No Comments

Am I finished?? I am not finished until I sign, and I don’t sign until the customer is happy. Is Lisa happy? More will be revealed. . .

I am happy. I am really happy!  The hollyhocks and day lilies took out the Big Red Square feel of the painting, softened the edges, and livened it up. Lisa requested the chimney in spite of the fact that it does not show from this angle. That’s fine – I am her hired paintbrush, her humble servant. We also figured out how to put in the sailboat, once we figured out where the horizon line really belonged. Would you believe this lake is 3-1/2 miles wide?? That boat is waaaay out there!

Are you wondering what is going on with all this multiplication? Duplication? Triplication??

Tell you tomorrow!

Closing Weekend in Mineral King

Posted by on Oct 25, 2013 in Mineral King, Photography | 6 Comments

There is beauty in the shoulder seasons in Mineral King. There is beauty in all seasons in Mineral King. In spite of that, it is a summer place to me. I feel sad when we close the cabin, when I am no longer there half of every week and not hiking, knitting and reading guilt free, and not turning on the computer but cooking on a wood stove.

On the other hand, it is hard to live in two places. (Now that’s an embarrassing statement – sounds like “It is so difficult to manage a household staff” or “Stupid Rolls got another flat tire” or “My latest hair extensions weren’t quite the right color”.)

We usually spend the final weekend at the cabin chasing the sun. This year was no exception. I’ll let the pictures speak for the rest of this post.

Your Opinion Sought

Posted by on Oct 24, 2013 in Photography, the business of art | 12 Comments

Greetings, oh Gentle and Faithful Blog Readers.

Last year I printed a calendar of paintings.

This year I have only been working on The Cabins of Wilsonia drawings and a few commissioned paintings. I don’t have any new paintings for a calendar.

On my computer there are 21,500 photographs. With the help of my husband’s honest and strong opinions, I have chosen 12 of those photos.

Now, I seek your opinion.

Shall I turn these into a calendar? Or are there enough calendars out there in the world? You all know me as a pencil artist, a painter, and a portrayer of the beauty of Tulare County. But, will anyone care enough to buy a calendar from me of photos of Tulare County?

It includes Sequoia, Mineral King (duh), and Three Rivers. Yes, I occasionally go to Visalia or Exeter, but please forgive me for not including either of those locations.

Thank you for reading, for considering this question and for responding!

LATE BREAKING NEWS – Great positive response from you all! The calendars will probably be between $20-25 and that will include shipping. They will have staples for the center instead of the spiral thing. The paper might be stronger than last year. They will have squares for writing. The folded size will be 8-1/2 x 11 (like copier paper). And Mary Jo, I will look through my photos and see if there is something that fits your very good suggestion. Katie, I’m with you – would love to do a year of nothing but fall photos. . . might be a bit too odd for normal people. (We’re special, don’t you know?)

Lisa’s Lake House 8

Posted by on Oct 23, 2013 in commissions | No Comments

And finally, it is beginning to look detailed! There will be an extended drying session, because the shadows on the house are all wet. The next step is hollyhocks, lilies and geraniums, and they will go over the house, so it cannot be wet when I add those.

In addition to seeing Lisa’s Lake House, you can see I have several unfinished paintings and that I have painted the trim in the workshop a lovely teal. What you can’t see is that I poured teal paint on the floor while moving those telephone wires around. I think teal and brown are a beautiful combination, so the spots on the floor look okay to me. It’s a workshop, not a living room! (although sometimes it feels as if I live there. . .)

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? I just turned my back for a sec, and look what happened on the easels! I think I’ll go lie down for a bit, maybe take an aspirin or find some chocolate.

Lisa’s Lake House 7

Posted by on Oct 21, 2013 in commissions | One Comment

The saga continues.

Here is exactly what I emailed to Lisa about it:

“Why can I not notice that the wet paint shines until I put it in an email to you?? sigh. The shadows on the left side of the house are really darker, not shiny lighter!

In other news:

1. The sky is repainted and the trees and distant lake shore are repaired.

2. the hosta bed is now painted

3. I added the barest tiniest hint of lake through the porch even though it squeezes the side of the house a bit.

4. The stump has more texture (white geraniums can’t happen until house is dry)

5. The shadows cast by the battens are straighter and more distinct (I’ll have to rephoto it  when it is drier)

6. The windows are straighter and I added a bit of sunshine to the one on the far left (we’ll see how it looks dry).

6. The boulders are beginning to look like Minnesota rocks instead of rounded river rocks.


Leave these dadgum paintings alone in the workshop and they begin multiplying in the dark!

Remarkable Event on the Mineral King Road in September

Posted by on Oct 18, 2013 in Mineral King | 2 Comments

On Labor Day, there was a car fire on the Mineral King Road. I didn’t write about it then because there were hikes that were more interesting.

We were on our way down the hill when a car coming up stopped us to say there was a fire down the road. The driver said 3-4 miles, but it was 7-8 miles down. When we saw the smoke ahead, we stopped in the shade of an oak tree about a quarter mile above the excitement.

There was a very long line of cars, some with people sitting inside, but most were empty.

We walked down to see what was around the corner. Something about a helicopter is so fascinating. Add a bucket of water and a fire, and you’ve got a happening event!

This was only part of the crowd. We knew lots of people and had all sorts of mini reunions as we watched the action.

When the water was released, we got a bit of spray and a few drops. It was hot out, but not unbearable and the water felt good.

It was caused by something electrical. Bummer.

Isn’t that cool? After the car was no longer in flames, most of the water drops went onto the surrounding area, soaking it in case of errant sparks or embers.

Here is what I found truly remarkable and wonderful:

1. No one got surly about waiting.

2. Everyone was friendly.

3. The help came in time to prevent a horrible wildfire, in spite of no cell phone service.

What an organized place we are privileged to live in! All those skilled and trained and competent professionals and volunteers with fabulous equipment that works, sitting ready for such an unfortunate event. I felt proud to be an American, thankful to live in a place that can handle potential emergencies without incident.

Lisa’s Lake House 6

Posted by on Oct 17, 2013 in commissions | No Comments

Lisa and I have been discussing the height of the horizon line. When I work from a combination of somewhat incomplete photos and a customer’s memory, there is a lot of explanation involved. It became necessary to thoroughly understand horizon lines and where they belong so that I could put this one in the right place, since it didn’t show in any photo.

Then, Lisa’s Mom’s friend (I could go and on and say her mom’s friend’s cousin’s neighbor’s brother-in-law’s sister, but it would be a made-up lie just to amuse myself) sent a photo with a (barely) visible horizon line.

This caused Lisa and me to rethink the placement of the horizon line in her painting. I lowered it, and then had to stop painting because it was too overcast and dark in the painting studio to mix any colors correctly or to see any detail. (You know how I love me some detail!)

Here is the painting with a lowered horizon line and nothing else changed since I last posted about the painting. (Had to take some time away for family stuff – not slacking off, just living life.)

When (if?) Lisa approves the new height, I’ll put the distant trees back in. Then I’ll patch up the roof and the trees from where the lake splashed over them.

Crazy Hard Pencil Commission – DONE!

Posted by on Oct 16, 2013 in commissions, drawing | 2 Comments

Remember that crazy hard pencil commission of those two miniature fuzzy faces? (You can see it in the October 2 blog post.)

The customer/friend asked me to make an adjustment to the boy’s cheek because his face was more narrow than round in real life (couldn’t prove it by me or by that photo). Adjustment made, I began the rest of the drawing. It turned out like this:

She thought that by adjusting his cheek, his face went out of balance. Yup. His face is crooked. Why? You might need a microscope to see it. Why don’t I just show you the corrected version:

Can you see the difference? Neither can I, but it showed up under the giant magnifying light at the drawing table. After I got the customer’s approval, I scanned it, then spray fixed it, then added a bit of red to the trailer and blue to the trike.

No, you aren’t blind. I didn’t scan it again after adding the color.

Lisa’s Lake House #5

Posted by on Oct 14, 2013 in commissions | 3 Comments

As I was painting on this fifth pass over the canvas, the phone rang. I was between colors and just staring at the canvas, so contrary to my normal phone habits while painting, I answered.

The caller identified herself, and I was completely blank mentally.  Completely. I realized that I was concentrating so much on the details of the painting that I felt as if I was at the lake in Minnesota. In addition to not putting down the brush, not interrupting the flow of thoughts is another reason to let the answering machine pick up while painting.

After showing Lisa step #4, she made a few requests and changes and additions. I paid attention, then put on my strongest magnifying glasses and went to work on the details of the distant lake line along with some other things. I LOVE detail. (Hmmm, I’ve mentioned this before, yes?)

Here is the latest pass over the canvas:

The lake was looking rather ocean-ish. Because I couldn’t see the horizon line in any of the photos, and Lisa asked me to open up the trees for a better view of the lake, I was just baffled as to what to do. (My normal thing is to bury stuff that I can’t see under growing things.)

Lisa sent me a video, taken while standing on her dock and slowly turning 360 degrees around the entire lake view. I watched that video numerous times, and then paused it and studied the distant shore line. Aha! So THAT’s how a lake shore looks at a distance. . .

The house and windows now have tighter detail. There needs to be more shadow on the house, but not as much as in the photo sitting at the base of the easel. I’ll work on that next.

I began “planting” things below the house on the left. When Lisa advises me as to whether or not these are believable, then I’ll either turn them into something else or continue. (Well, duh, Captain Obvious.)