But wait, there is more besides poppies on my easel. Not really on the easel, but there are other paintings drying on the wall behind my easel. A painter’s gotta paint, especially when there is a Studio Tour on its way in Three Rivers. March 21, 22, 23, in case you were wondering.
That lemon and pear have been hanging around for awhile. I keep fiddling with them, and now I think they can dry. The little painting of Timber Gap isn’t faded – it is just the way the light comes through the windows that are CLEAN FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OVER 15 YEARS!
Excuse me for shouting. I had given up on those windows, thinking it would take way too much time to scrape them clear of putty and paint and who knows what. Turns out that Trail Guy had the time and the skill and the tools and the patience.
WOW!! Thank you, Trail Guy!!!
Oh, the grapes may finally be finished after 49 layers. I am exaggerating, but they have been plaguing and nagging me for many months. The apple and the peach are new. I think they are looking mighty edible. They need a bit more detail in the leaves and a signature before I scan them to show you.
They might be available during Studio Tour, or they might be at Colors.
It is time to get some paintings finished for the upcoming Three Rivers Studio Tour. This is what is taking place in the painting workshop these days.
It’s a start to a picture that might work in my 2015 calendar, in addition to being available for the studio tour. Besides, it is just fun to paint with such brilliant colors!
I’m a California artist. What else would you expect me to paint? Oranges? Sequoia trees? You wouldn’t be disappointed. . .
After spending an entire year completely focused on completing one drawing after another after another after another until 268 drawings were completed. . .
What was I saying? All those after anothers got me lost.
I love to draw. It has been a long time since I drew simply because there was a picture I wanted to draw instead of a commission or a cabin related drawing for The Cabins of Wilsonia.
Grazing in Kaweah Country, graphite (AKA “pencil”), 14×11″, $250
If you live in Three Rivers, you’ll be wondering where this is. It is on Kaweah River Drive, at the place called “The Catfish Farm”. It might be called The Chess Ranch. Whatever you call it, the place is for sale. It is a huge piece of wonderful property, which can be yours for about $5,000,000. Yeah, five million dollars. Whatever. Just write a check or something.
Makes this pencil drawing look like the bargain of the year!
and Crescent Meadow.
The top painting shows the Mineral King valley from up on the Monarch Lake Trail as it appeared last September.
If I am hiking to Monarch Lake, it is the Monarch Lake Trail. If I am hiking to Crystal Lake, it is the Crystal Lake Trail. If I am walking to Timber Gap (walking because that one can be done without a pack, lunch or water if you hustle your bustle), it is called the Timber Gap Trail. If I am hiking to Sawtooth. . .
Never mind. I don’t hike to Sawtooth. But, I got off track there a bit (or off trail?)
The painting might be finished. I thought maybe I could get away with a quickly done painting as long as I used juiced up colors.
But Noooooo, I had to detail it to pieces.
Same with Crescent Meadow. This is how it looks after a second pass over the canvas:
Crescent Meadow is in Sequoia National Park, near Giant Forest and Moro Rock. The painting looks a little weird because it is wet and reflective. When it is detailed to pieces, dry and scanned, it’ll not only be not weird, it will be beautiful.
When I am painting a mural, every time I look at it I see things to fix, change or improve. When I live by the mural, this can add up to a lot of looking, fixing, changing and improving.
The change I made was that the sunshine behind the big trees was so light that it looked like snow. I changed the color from Brightly Lit Dirt to Less Brightly Lit Dirt. Hmmm, do you think that is a real paint color? It is in my studio, and shouldn’t be confused with the color Trail Dirt, which I ran out of or perhaps used as a base for Medium Redwood.
Can you tell the difference? Not sure I can either, but we’d certainly know if the light was too bright behind the tree. We are all fairly skilled at noticing what is wrong in the midst of lots of rightness. Think about a perfectly vacuumed floor with an orange peel on it. You’d certainly notice the orange peel before the vacuum tracks! So, that too bright paint was sort of like an orange peel.
Never mind. I might be a little low on sleep or something.
This year marks the completion of 20 years of teaching people how to draw. Or, perhaps it marks the beginning of year #21. Numbers aren’t my strongest subject.
When I started, I didn’t know how to teach. I just bumbled, fumbled and mumbled. If someone wanted to draw, say, a lion, I’d procrastinate on the parts I didn’t know how to do. Then, we’d figure it out together.
My students were kids 4th grade and older. I was too nervous to teach adults, because I was sure they’d see how little I knew. Eventually I caved in, and learned that it is easier to teach adults than children. Even children who are there because they want to be get a little squirrely at times.
The fact that adults were easier didn’t mean I stopped teaching kids or that I didn’t enjoy it. I LOVE teaching people how to draw.
The only people who haven’t learned how to draw from me are the ones who quit too soon.
I could go on and on about learning to draw. Instead, I’m going to show off the work of some of my students. I’ve chosen these because each one was drawn from the artist’s own photos and because I happened to have scans of them. Besides, they’ll knock your socks off!
End of the Trail, by Kelvin Farris
Swing girl, Wendy Miller
Kaia, Maggie Meling
For awhile, I’ve been advising you to view my Sequoia mural from the back of a fast horse, preferably at a distance. I’m beginning to think that it might be okay to slow your horse down now, but distance is still an advantage for best viewing.
Getting better with each session. This is the result of 15 hours up and down a ladder. You’d think I’d be quite fit by now. Have another think. . .
The ridges aren’t quite as visible in this photo.
I have a few decisions to make about this project. . . add a human? Will she be the right height? Will the ridges and my inexperience painting humans make her look like a freak? What shall I do in the hard to figure out spaces behind the big trees? How will I put light on the ground behind the trees without it looking as if there is snow? How will I be sure that the traces of snow at the bases of the trees do look like snow? Does there even need to be snow?
That’s sort of overwhelming. I think I’ll just turn away from the mural and see the view behind me.
This is the current level of the mural. More accurately, this is the current version that I have to share with you. Perhaps you live in my neighborhood and have driven by between the writing and the posting of this post. Then you, my neighbor, will know that the progress is even more progressive. That will be our little secret, okay Neighbors? 😎 And, you will know that the ridges show up much more distinctly in these photos than in person. Still best viewed from the back of a fast horse at a distance.
Nope, I’m not there. (Where did the word “nope” come from??) But, it is Friday, so have a look at some Mineral King art from my pencil archives:
Fret not. Summer will return.
Mineral King is one of the treasures of Tulare County, a place I love.
We break for this commercial message: This pencil drawing of Mineral King has sold. If you would like your own original pencil drawing of this (or of something else), I can do it for you. In fact, it would be a pleasure to draw for you!
9×12″ – $200
11×14″ – $250
The Sequoia mural on a ridgey garage door continues. Here is what my view looks like while I am painting:
The horizontal blue line is so I can tell where I am. It is the center from top to bottom.
I don’t know exactly what I am doing when I am this close to the wall. That is why I am continually climbing up and down the ladder.
This guy doesn’t know what I am doing either: