Driving to Mineral King in February!

Posted by on Feb 27, 2015 in Mineral King | No Comments

In the third week of February, people DROVE ALL THE WAY INTO MINERAL KING!

Excuse me for shouting. That is just so remarkable, that I had to remark in a loud and shocked and excited voice.

I keep remembering back in 1994 (or sometime in the ’90s) that we received almost an entire winter’s worth of snow in the month of March.






Maybe these pigeons have a message or maybe they all just like the Oak Grove Bridge as much as I do.

Done Painting in Church?

Posted by on Feb 26, 2015 in Murals | 4 Comments

Day four of painting in church was a short day. It was time to finish, and I vacillated between “Oh no, how will I get this done?” and “Piece of cake!”

The boulders got shrunk a final time, and 2 more were added as the finisher to the right side. I added some dirt on the right, put some more light on the giant Sequoia, added a corn lily (AKA “skunk cabbage”) and wished I could detail the thing to the point of recognizable wildflowers, maybe a bear in the distance, a few distant boulders, on and on and on.

Get real, Toots.

It was time to sign, which is a mental The End for me. My brush was all splayed and I couldn’t control the line of my writing. . . it was fat and double and sometimes triple.

I painted out the beginning signature and made a plan: sit in church for a month or two of Sundays and take notes, ask people questions, and listen to all suggestions. Take more notes.

Then, return for the finalization and bring a good brush for signing.

The End.





Painting in Church for a Third Day

Posted by on Feb 25, 2015 in Murals | No Comments

Holy cow. 10 hours on Day #3, and still not finished! This thing is growing. (Thing? this painting in church!)

When people stop by, I ask them for their honest opinions. Because we are all co-religionists (a weird word my Dad used to say just to get a laugh), we are fairly straight-forward with one another. Or maybe that is because there is a level of trust that goes with sharing faith, and it brings honesty.

ANYWAY, as I was saying, I ask people for their opinions and I receive help!

One Steve pointed out the white board that is in front of the baptistry was a distraction (a baptistry is a bathtub thing for dunking people, kind of a focal point in a Baptist church in spite of having a river across the street. . . weird, but no one asked my opinion). I hadn’t noticed it at all. . . too busy painting.

Steve #1 was entirely correct. So, I painted the board.

Another Steve called with an idea for the right side of the mural. It was a puzzle to me, so, like yesterday, I prayed. I got an idea, and then Steve #2 called me because he had the same idea.¬†Of course he did! ūüėé

The idea: a downed log lying in the meadow.

My friend Emily stopped by. I did sort of a Tom Sawyer thing and got her to help me paint. She is working on her master’s degree kinesiology, but was willing to stoop, literally, because it was floor level, to manual labor.

She helped me resize the boulders, which were visually diminishing the Sequoia tree. They looked good, but I guess they were just practice boulders.


Left side, see green board? Smaller boulders and more grass.


Right side – downed tree, trees on the ridge and behind the meadow, detail at the back of the meadow, lots of grass, the beginnings of the trees that will border the right edge.

One more day. I’m giving this thing one more day. Whoa – 4 days of painting in church! When I started, I expected it to be 2 days, because the request was just for a couple of Sequoia trees. We thought it through and realized that would look staged and like a couple of decals, so it need a little background. But, one thing led to another and another and another. . . one more day only! Do you hear me, Mural??


Painting In Church Some More

Posted by on Feb 24, 2015 in Murals, Three Rivers | No Comments

When I arrived to paint on Day #2 of Painting In Church (weird – I often draw in church, but have never painted there, unless you count one of my first murals which was outside on a Seatrain storage container, but that was outside, so never mind), this is what I had to work with.

Whoa. If that’s all I was able to finish in one day, how in the world will I finish by Sunday, especially when I don’t know what is going to fill the rest of the space.


I was in church, painting, and not knowing what to do, so I prayed. Then I figured out what to do on the left side. Hmmm, wonder where that idea came from. . .


I parked just outside the sliding door near the stage thinking I’d keep my car door open and listen to the radio. Well, duh, here I am on a stage surrounded by a great sound system, which I know how to operate AND have a key to! So, I put some of my favorite CDs in the player and cranked up that baby to get some work done!¬†Work fast, Central California artist, because Sunday is coming fast! FAST!


It was a hazy day in Three Rivers. This was my view out of the sliding door, which I left open, because really and truly, I just wanted to be gardening. (Whatsa matta with me?? You thought I was an artist. . .  Well, it is spring in Three Rivers, and I want to be outside!!)


I left a mess on the stage and there was music practice that night. I hope the musicians were able to work around my stuff. I had to work around theirs, so there.


Wow. This is what I had after a 9-1/2 hour day of painting in church.

If you are wondering, it is the First Baptist Church in Three Rivers. We have a churchy name, but we aren’t churchy in our decor. (Have you noticed all the non-churchy names for churches these days? The Well, The Rock, The Door, The Way, The Bridge, and then there’s “Radiant” ‚Äď what? that’s not a noun! ‚Äď and my niece goes to something called “Flood” ‚Äď Hey! Where’s the “The”??)

Painting in Church

Posted by on Feb 23, 2015 in Murals | No Comments


This is how my church looks on a holiday Monday morning.


Does it look to you as if there is room for a mural? It didn’t look that way to me, but I did some sketches for That Amazing Shirley as we developed her idea. We even made changes on Monday morning! Changes? Nah, improvements!


A very helpful man named Don brought in the extension ladder and set it up. Trail Guy made a couple of adjustments, found the can of wall-color paint (there WILL be¬†a need for an “eraser”), and set up the spotlight.

I drew a¬†chalk outline so I could tell the sizes needed when I was up in the air. The top is about 13′ from that part of the stage.

Don was very helpful. He didn’t want me to be there alone on the ladder, so he hung out and told me about his very interesting life. It helped to have a second set of eyes so we could discuss various details about the tree – too anything?¬†leaning? ¬†wide/narrow in the trunk or ¬†spacey/full in the green parts and branches?


Weird weird color at the end of the day with a flash. This is after one day’s work. I may have seriously underestimated the time necessary. It had better be done by Sunday or I will have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do. (Remember Ricky Ricardo ‚Äď ” ‘splain it to me, Lucy”?)

It Rained in Three Rivers

Posted by on Feb 20, 2015 in Sources of inspiration, Three Rivers | No Comments

Rain is an event around here. In the winter, we hope it is accompanied by snow in the mountains. Alas, it was a warm rain, and the river turned muddy. But what a thrill to hear the river roar again!

Kaweah River

Looking downstream, it was terrific to see the water actually reaching the measuring stick again.

Kaweah River

Looking upstream when the sun emerged, the muddiness of the water really became apparent. Every little stream and creek and ravine up to about 9000′ dumped its contents here. It felt like an event.

Then, it stayed very springlike. A friend and I had lunch at Anne Lang’s Emporium, where the food, the companionship and the entertainment were all superior.


We sat on the deck overlooking the river, and this tree with its birds were at eye level. This guy had a fabulous song, and it was a trick to catch him in the act. However, we aren’t burning film anymore, so after a zillion attempts, I caught this:


The red-wing blackbird puffs up when he sings his beautiful song.


Big variety of birds visited this feeder, but I wasn’t quick enough to catch them on camera. (on disk? We certainly don’t say “on film” anymore.) I couldn’t catch the hummingbirds without major bluration.


See? bluration. Good word, eh?

My Amazing Friends

Posted by on Feb 19, 2015 in Sources of inspiration | 2 Comments

A year or two ago, I ran a series of blog posts called “My Amazing Friends”. It was about friends who are remarkably creative and energetic. (That’s why I remarked on them.) There is Bob, Nikki and Barbara.

I have a new friend, Ron, who owns Visalia Granite and Marble Works. He wanted to be an architect, but somehow drifted or fell or perhaps even purposely dove into the monument business.

We met when a mutual friend asked for help with her parents’ headstone, as discussed in this blog post.¬†While in his office, I looked at a glaring blank wall through his French doors and suggested a mural. (A pushy chick or an opportunist? Nah, just a Central California artist with her eye always scanning the horizon for work.) He asked for a bid, I asked for a tape measure, and we were off and running!

blank wall

He asked if I could complete the mural while he was on vacation, and my response was something like, “COMPLETE IT?? I DON”T EVEN KNOW IF I CAN PAINT THIS!”

He was very encouraging and had tremendous confidence in my abilities. I didn’t want to disappoint him, so I painted with laser-like focus and got it mostly finished.


When Ron returned, he was pleased. He also had a few suggestions for improvement, and they were spot on and very welcome.

I knew I was in the presence of an amazing person just from the time spent at his business, Visalia Granite and Marble Works. His employees have all been with him for a long time, they are kind and welcoming and happy at work. His business is beautiful, and when I looked at his website to see his work, I was very very impressed.

When Ron signed one of his emails to me with his name and the initials “CM”, I asked him what that meant. Here is his explanation, which really made me realize he is an amazing friend:

You are the first and only person I have ever had do a mural for me and the first person to ever ask me what CM stands for.  Thank you for asking.
CM РCertified Memorialist РIt is a national recognition (MBNA РMonument Builders of North America) for Experience, Knowledge and Testing in the art of memorialization.  It not only focuses on the actual art itself but also includes a lot of business acumen, marketing, accounting, leadership, grief counseling and all facets of business prowess related to our field.  NOT AN EASY TEST.  In the entire US there are less than 200 and in California there are less than 6 certified memorialist.


That’s amazing!

Is white a color or an absence of color?

In December and January, I was struck by the number of white things in my yard. Is white a color or the absence of color? If I am drawing, white is paper color, and I draw around the white things. In painting, I use more white than any other tube of paint.

Notice I said “tube” rather than “color”. This is because my question remains, “Is white a color or an absence of color?”

Forget it. Let’s look at pictures of white things.¬†

IMG_1083 IMG_1084 IMG_1086 IMG_1089 IMG_1090 IMG_1092

White must be a color. If it wasn’t, these things would be clear, transparent, see-through.

There. Glad that got settled!

P.S. Yes, this is how December and January look in Three Rivers. Payback time is in July, August and September when other parts of the country are green and we are crunchy brown, gray, a bit of yellow, and just plain dusty.

Broken Communication in an Information Age

Posted by on Feb 17, 2015 in drawing, Lessons | No Comments

I got an email from a stranger in Kansas who googled “pencil drawing of a cabin”. YEA! This brought him to “Cabinart”! He had seen a¬†drawing of the Clover Creek Bridge on my site and then could no longer find it. (Since the site has been rebuilt, I left off some of the older pieces because I don’t like how they look with a watermark across them.)



I sent him a mess of pictures of bridges, trying to determine which one he was asking about. (love those bridges) I didn’t even remember this one, and finally he sent me photos of his sketchbook where he copied my drawing.

He didn’t ask my¬†permission to draw from my drawing, but having stuff on the internet means that people can¬†either be ignorant of copyright laws or just¬†ignore them. (Same root word – anyone know Latin to further explain this?)

I didn’t mind, and was happy to help him. It is fun to help people draw better, so I gave him tips for drawing, and then I asked his permission to show you his sketch.

He didn’t respond.

My email? His busy life? An unreasonable request?

This is broken communication in an age of information. . . cell phones, texting, voice mail, email, regular mail, normal telephones. . . and still we lose opportunities, lose clarity, lose focus, and lose our train of thought.

If he replies¬†with permission, I’ll show you his sketch. He did well with proportions before asking my input. I hope that he’ll incorporate my tips and send another photo. It would be fun to show you his before and after.

On and Off the Easels

Posted by on Feb 16, 2015 in Oil Paintings | No Comments

Now that I have boxes of books in my painting studio, there aren’t as many places to hang wet paintings. So, these remain on the easels until they dry.


This is a 6×18″ panorama type painting of poppy fields after one pass on the canvas.


Morro Rock

Morro Rock is almost dry. It was dry enough to carry outside to photograph in the abundant sunshine.

Lake Kaweah oil painting

And here is the new and improved Kaweah Lake oil painting. I really got involved in the details. I love detail. Did you know that about this Central California artist? (Please excuse the redundancy РI want to appear in those search engine things so have to be sure to include words that may be sought.) Just so you can appreciate the improvements, here is the first iteration. Yes, I know the lake is REALLY bright. I happen to like it. Do you?