What’s That Smell?

Posted by on Mar 31, 2014 in Thoughts, Three Rivers | No Comments

For years, in the spring I’ve noticed a stunningly fabulous scent while out on my morning walks. It happens in March, and I have never been able to find the source.

Last year I decided it had to be the buckeye blossom, but this year I changed my mind again.

The smell showed up last week and there are no buckeye blossoms out. It is not lupine or redbud or fiddleneck or popcorn flower.

It smells like orange blossoms, but there is never an orange tree nearby.

Well, guess what?

It IS orange blossoms!

Turns out you don’t have to be near the tree at all to pick up the scent. Once we really scouted around, we always found a citrus tree of some sort. It wasn’t always in bloom yet, but the buds were there, and they were beginning to smell from 50 yards away or more. (I am writing this post with these very blossoms on a table across the room- not 50 yards, and the scent is strong and lovely.)

As the daughter and granddaughter and niece of citrus growers, you’da thunk I’da figgered that out.

Only took 15 years.

Too bad you can’t scratch and sniff your screen.

Walking in Three Rivers For Inspiration

Posted by on Mar 28, 2014 in Sources of inspiration, Three Rivers | No Comments

People: “Where do you get your inspiration?”

California Artist: “Everywhere.”

Here are photos from a recent morning walk in Three Rivers.

The Redbud tree is beginning to fade. This is the extent of the snow on Alta Peak that forms “the elephant”.

Popcorn flower under the oaks.

Nothing to say here except swing. Or “swang” if you are feeling Southern.

Spelled “loo-pine”; pronounced “loo-pin”. Go figure.

Lady Banks Rose grows like a weed. Looks best in yellow, also comes in white. The yellow is a bit amplified here on the screen.

These may be called “Fields of Gold”, “Pots of Gold” or “Gold Fields”.

I keep taking this same photo, year in and year out and year after year. If you are sick of it, stop looking.

These are fiddlenecks, common as dirt in the spring.

For not having any flowers, this is a rather colorful shot.

Thus we conclude today’s walking tour of Three Rivers. Hope you too feel inspired! What does it mean to feel inspired, anyway??



Posted by on Mar 27, 2014 in Events, Mineral King, Three Rivers | No Comments

The Studio Tour was a success in many ways. I found 2 new drawing students, saw old friends and students, met new friends, made contact with folks that I’d only talked to on the phone before, and lots of other important things.

And, these are some of the paintings that sold.

Meadow Fence, 10×10, oil painting on wrapped canvas, a Sequoia National Park oil painting

Vandever-Mineral King, 10×10, oil on wrapped canvas, a Mineral King oil painting

Peach on Tree, 6×6, oil on wrapped canvas

North Fork of the Kaweah, 11×14, oil on wrapped canvas, a Three Rivers oil painting

Wrapping Up the Studio Tour Wrap Up

Posted by on Mar 26, 2014 in the business of art, Thoughts, Three Rivers | No Comments

On Monday I told you about the number of visitors who came to my studio during the Studio Tour. What I didn’t tell you was that they came in groups, such as nine people at a time, and they came steadily without ceasing until the next to last hour of each day.

My studio is in two parts: the lower building where I paint and the upper building where I draw. Isn’t it pretty in Three Rivers in the spring? Bet it is pretty everywhere in the spring.

See? Little green building with Cabinart sign for drawing, big brown muraled building for painting. It was tricky business to race from building to building, trying to greet and direct people so no one missed one of the buildings.

There is NO WAY I could have managed Saturday’s crowd without the help of my dear friend Rachelle. Yeppers, we always look like this when we hang out together!

Let’s peek into the painting room, which we call The Workshop. We named it before it was used for oil painting.

It normally does not look foofy like this. However, I was anticipating guests so Trail Guy and I worked like crazy setting things up and prettifying the place.

I left up a few paintings in progress on the easels so people would believe it is the room where I paint. Actually, they could look at all the spots on the floor and figure it out.

Now let’s peak into the drawing studio.

Normally there is a big table covered with work in progress, specifically The Cabins of Wilsonia, an upcoming book of pencil drawings of cabins. (Duh, I know. . .) But when a studio is 11×13 feet, a 6×3 foot table is sort of in the way of groups of visitors. We covered up the air conditioner and wall heater. No one noticed.  Maybe they were all so blown away by my art, or maybe they were just being polite.

This is the working side of the studio. See the 2 blue crates on the far desk? This is the 260 drawings for The Cabins of Wilsonia. The drawing table has 2-3 unfinished drawings on it. These keep me busy while I contemplate all the computer work ahead for the upcoming book. I’d rather be drawing. The flat files are the coolest most helpful piece of furniture, provided for me by the most resourceful friend I’ve ever had. (Nope, not telling – sometimes an artist has to protect her resources.)

There is a sign over the window that says “Draw, Pray, Persist”. This is what reminded me to keep pushing through the 260 drawings for the upcoming book. Now I need to keep it in place but change the word “draw” to the word “compute”. Ick. I’d rather be drawing.

Tomorrow I’ll show you some of the paintings that sold. Why? Makes me happy!

Wonderful Drawing Students in My Life

Posted by on Mar 25, 2014 in drawing, Lessons | No Comments

For twenty years I’ve taught people how to draw. This happens on Tuesday afternoons at the Courthouse Gallery in Exeter.

During the Studio Tour on the weekend, a former drawing student named Kelly came by. She still draws and paints and has a job as a receptionist for a chiropractic office. She sells some of her work, and is a wonderful person and fine artist.

Current student Wendy Miller came by the studio with her daughter. I met Wendy on a Studio Tour a number of years ago. She was hoping to interest her daughter in art, and ended up taking lessons herself. She is an outstanding artist who had her own show at the Courthouse Gallery last summer. Her work is so wonderful that I bought a piece.

The daughter of my first adult student came by. Her Mom was a wonderful artist and a wonderful person. She left this planet last month. We miss her and were blessed to have her in our lives.

Meanwhile, here is a look at the work of one of my wonderful students. Char has a wonderful sense of humor. She is wonderful at drawing.

blue plate special_edited-1

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! I feel like Lawrence Welk.

Studio Tour Eleven Wrap-up

Posted by on Mar 24, 2014 in Events, Thoughts, Three Rivers | No Comments

Here are a few facts about Three Rivers Studio Tour Eleven.

There were 37 visitors to my studio on Friday, 96 on Saturday, and 45 on Sunday. I may have miscounted. If you have followed this blog for awhile, you won’t be surprised by this.

The weather was perfect. Look at Friday morning:

This year my studio was number 3 instead of #13. Either number is fine as long as the visitors can find me.

And get this: on Friday one friend brought me some tahini. THANK YOU, MARY ELLEN! She gave me the best ever hummus recipe several years ago and I’ve made it weekly ever since.

Another friend brought me a dress – yes, a dress! THANK YOU, MICHELLE! It isn’t my normal style, fabric or color, but she is cute and in style and I am, well, never mind, I am none of those things. So I tried it on and looked okay. (I can trash it up with a homemade scarf or something so you will still be able to recognize me if I wear it.)

Another friend brought me a fabulous photograph of a view of my favorite bridge. THANK YOU, GARY! Two years ago I told him how to find the bridge, because he is a wonderful photographer and I knew he’d appreciate the beauty of this landmark. When he told me where he stood (hung) to get the photo, I knew that either I’d never see that view myself, or it’d would be the last thing I ever saw before waking up at the pearly gates.

I’ll tell you a few more things about Studio Tour Eleven on Wednesday. Tomorrow I want to show you something about drawing lessons.

P.S. If you want to see more blog posts with paintings and drawings and photos of my favorite bridge, type “favorite bridge” into the search box at the top of this blog.

Studio Tour Today, Tomorrow and Sunday

Posted by on Mar 21, 2014 in Events, Three Rivers | No Comments

Today is the first day of Studio Tour Eleven. It is my 7th time to participate. Have you been? It is really fun to drive around Three Rivers and see people’s yards  studios.

It is greener than this photo shows. In fact, it is downright beautiful in Three Rivers right now!

This is what you will see as you pull into my driveway (but the redbud might be a bit faded by now).

If you are really lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the introverted Perkins. He is not friendly like Zeke or Kaweah were. They shouldn’t have been so friendly with a coyote, or whatever ate them. Sigh. Being introverted is why Perkins is now 15 years old, when all his comrades have disappeared through the years.

You are ‘posed to have a ticket to come. The info is here: Three Rivers Studio Tour Tickets

Painting a Post Office

Posted by on Mar 19, 2014 in General, Three Rivers | No Comments

One of the most popular subjects for painting, drawing and photography in Three Rivers is the tiny Kaweah Post Office about 3 miles up North Fork Drive.

I’ve drawn it more times than I can remember and painted it 10 times. The reason I remember how many paintings is because I have called them Kaweah Post Office I, Kaweah Post Office II, Kaweah Post Office III, Kaweah Post Office IV. . . et cetera. Clever, no?

Here is #10, AKA Kaweah Post Office X in 2 stages. You may have to attend the Studio Tour this coming weekend to see it finished.

In order to keep each painting a little different, I paint it different sizes, from different angles, at different times of the year, and with different details. Sometimes I layer it (called “glazing” in Artspeak) and sometimes I try for alla prima (which means to finish all in one session).

This one is 10×10″, so it is slightly stretched out, and it will contain the historical marker, a new thing for me when painting. I thought the rocks looked fun – all those different grays to mix! Don’t know yet if they are fun, because I haven’t gotten to them at the time of this posting.

Painting the Sequoias

Posted by on Mar 18, 2014 in General | No Comments

Sequoias, AKA “big trees”, are something I really love to paint (and draw). On my doors, on canvas, (or on paper.)

I liked the painting on my door so much that I decided to do the same scene on canvas.

First step – draw it vaguely with a paintbrush.

Second step, get the base coat on.

Third step, begin the background and add layers to everything else.

Fourth step, photograph it inside the painting workshop with the sequoia doors open.

Fifth step, photograph it with the other two doors of redwoods.

Seventh step, photograph it while it is drying.

(Sixth step was to finish painting it. Did you think I messed up on counting? Wouldn’t have been the first time!)

Building Bridges In Drawing Lessons

Posted by on Mar 17, 2014 in drawing, Lessons | No Comments

For the past 20 years I’ve been teaching people how to draw. One hour per week, 4 people at a time, each working on her own project (and sometimes his), $55/month – drawing lessons! Here is the link if you want to learn more: Drawing Lessons.

Everyone learns in a different way and at a different pace. Some people slam through drawing after drawing, finishing them by themselves at home and bringing them in for fine tuning. Some people spend weeks on the beginning exercises. Some people want me to show them one step at a time how to shade each element in their drawings. Some people practice on scratch paper before putting a pencil on their real drawing. These are just a few examples of learning styles. I could write an entire week of posts about this!

One of my drawing students is working on a bridge picture. She has gotten all the shapes down on paper and now we are working on the various textures. There was a weird spot under the bridge that I saw as one thing and she saw as another.

I go to great lengths to help my students understand. In this case, I built a wonky paper bridge so we could see a three dimensional version and understand what we were seeing in the two dimensional photo.

There is the bridge, the photo, the drawing in progress, and three different practice sheets of ways to shade the part under the bridge.

She got it!