Drawing Lessons

Posted by on Jun 30, 2015 in drawing, Lessons, the business of art | No Comments

For about 21 years I have been teaching drawing lessons.

This sounds formal. The more accurate description to my way of thinking is simply that I show people how I draw and thus guide them to do their own pencil drawing.

It is one of the most satisfying and rewarding (more than just financial) parts of my art business.

There are no lessons in July or August because it is too hot and attendance is traditionally down.

So, today is it, the last one until September 8.

This is Rosemary and her wonderful walrus.


Delighted and delightful!

If you are interested in taking drawing lessons, either in a small group ($55/month, 1 hour a week) or private lessons in my studio ($35/1 hour, $45 1-1/2 hour, scheduled as it suits), email me using “cabinart at cabinart dot net” (written that way to confuse the trolls who roam the internet looking for trouble). Or call me at 561-7606 (area code is five-five-nine, also written that way out of general troll paranoia.)


Posted by on Jun 29, 2015 in commissions, drawing | No Comments

This project is difficult and slow, oh so v e r y s l o w.

I often tell my drawing students, “You can be fast or you can be good. I get to be both.”

Not this time. I am S L O W. Or perhaps it is the claybord that is slow. Or the drawing. Nothing ninja crazy here.

Drawing on clayboard

Want a closer look?

pencil drawing on claybord

The good part is that I don’t have to duplicate every rose and every leaf. The bad part is that I can’t see very many individual roses and leaves, so I have to make up much of it.

Not gonna quit!


Wet Spring in Mineral King

Posted by on Jun 26, 2015 in Mineral King | 8 Comments

The drive up the hill was sunny, clear and hot. I stopped at my favorite bridge to contemplate some rock formations that confound me each time I paint the scene. I’m not sure these photos will add any clarity.

IMG_1103 IMG_1105

A few hours later, it was HAILING in Mineral King. It hailed for about 3 hours.



Look at the back steps of the cabin!!


Look out the front windows. What a hardy (dumb?) bird!



When it was over, it was over. No more precipitation, no more clouds.


But look how deep the hail is on the ground!


The water was really flowing, like it does in a normal spring after a normal winter. Wait. Is normal wet, or is normal dry? The recent normal has been dry. So, I am very very thankful for all the rain and hail we have gotten so far this spring in Mineral King. VERY. VERY. 


The hail turned the corn lily into shredded wheat.


Monarch Falls was charging full! It was running like chocolate milk for a little while.


The side of West Florence reflected nicely in this puddle on the road.


The following day we walked up to Crystal Creek. These are mud flows across the trail. It was a mess.

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And Crystal Creek was running at a much higher volume than over Memorial Day weekend. We didn’t measure the precipitation from those storms, but this one told our rain gauge FOUR AND ONE QUARTER INCHES!!

On the Drawing Board

Posted by on Jun 25, 2015 in commissions, drawing | No Comments

Drawing board? Drawing table? Drafting table?

The piece of furniture where I draw pictures using my pencils.

Now that we have that figured out, let’s have a look:


Say what? Is that a typo? “Claybord”?

A customer found 2 antique frames at an estate sale. She loves my pencil work and asked me to do 2 pencil drawings, each one 16×20″ to fit in the frames.

Pencil drawings are on paper and when they are framed, they need glass, mat board and a backing. This stuff doesn’t fit into a frame designed for a piece of canvas.

A handful of years ago (feels like 4, must be 9 because I’m having fun so time is flying), I attended a very fine art show called “The Peppertree” in Santa Ynez, California. There were a few pencil artists, and I remembered seeing one’s work on board, varnished and framed as if it was a painting (without glass).

I called Dick Blick, the big deal art supply company that knows everything and has everything. Their product experts said “clayboard”. I thought that’s what they said. Actually they said, “Claybord”.

Wow, is this ever a challenge to draw on! Super over-the-top ninja crazy smooth and smeary.

On top of that, add in a HUGE size (normally my largest drawing might be 11×114″, multiply it by 2 and then consider the ambiguity of the various textures in the subjects my customer chose.

No problem. I am a pencil expert. Har har har, maybe I am and maybe I am not. This project is sort of a test of my skill on several levels. One down, one to go.

pencil drawing on claybord

Relevant Links:

Peppertree Art Show,

Peppertree Art Show Article


P.S. I don’t know what “ninja crazy” means. I heard it on the radio and liked the sound.


Oil Paintings at Home

Posted by on Jun 23, 2015 in Color, Oil Paintings | No Comments

Oil paintings at someone else’s home. Someone else who really likes my work. Someone whom I really like. But, this is the World Wide Web, so her identity will not be revealed.

IMG_0967 IMG_0968

She has others that are not yet hung, only propped against the wall the last time I was over. As she and I discussed the paintings she was considering, I suddenly had a flash of insight. “AHA! You are a color junkie, just like me!”

When one color junkie identifies another, there is no need to explain. We just get each other. Look at the flowers in her front garden!


When she wants a painting, it doesn’t feel like the business of selling; it is simply helping a friend with good taste, an interest in beauty and some disposable income (“disposable”? Who decided that word should go with the word “income”??). I love to help people choose the right picture, whether it is one I have already painted or drawn or one they ask me to create for them (the fancy word is “commission”.)

About Selling Oil Paintings

Posted by on Jun 22, 2015 in Oil Paintings, the business of art | 4 Comments

This post is about the business of art, selling oil paintings, but I only go on about it for a paragraph and then it is all pictures.

In the past month and a half, twelve oil paintings have sold.


I would say, “I’ve sold twelve paintings”, but it wouldn’t be very true. I am not that good at selling, in spite of reading all sorts of websites, blogs, and books on the subjects.  If you really want a painting and have the money, I want you to have it! But I am not going to convince you against your budget or your better judgement that you should buy a painting from me. Not gonna do it! It is fake to say certain “magic” words that will somehow separate people from their money. No phony-baloney-plastic-banana in me.

End of explanation (excuse?). Now, let’s rejoice!

067 SS IXX 1520 Alta Moro II 1525 M's Hen O121 - 1312 Oak Grove Bridge V Poppies XXXII 1403 sunflower 1432 FG Alpen Glow 1448 KaweahR VIII 1519 Orange sunflower IMG_0762

O#120 - 1311

P.S. I wasn’t related to any of the customers and some I didn’t even know!

Hail and Quail in Mineral King

Posted by on Jun 19, 2015 in Mineral King, Sources of inspiration | 4 Comments

Because it was almost a non-winter, we had early access to Mineral King this year. However, it didn’t act very summerish in those early weeks. (You may recall our cold, gray, overcast, foggy and rainy Memorial Weekend.)

Two weeks later I was back, and had an exciting afternoon in the cabin.

Is this hail??



It is, but the mountain quail doesn’t mind. Wow, it really piled up out there!


It cleared up for an evening stroll, so we got to see the alpen-glow on Empire (this is the rock outcropping, not the highest part of the mountain.)





Despite our lack of precipitation during the so-called “winter” of last season, these spring storms are providing water, for which we are very grateful.



Hail remained on Sawtooth for much of the next day.


If a bit of judicious pruning was done, the point of Sawtooth would be visible in this view. I have made it visible with pencils several times (all sold, no records, sigh.) I think of this as Tim and Judy’s view, because they were married close by 19 years ago. (or was it 21 years??) We’ve lost touch with several moves and 3 adopted children later, but they will remain forever in my heart.

Maybe it is time to paint this scene. Mineral King provides an endless source of inspiration.

Related link:

Mineral King opening weekend


Poppies Will Wake Us Up!

Posted by on Jun 17, 2015 in Oil Paintings | No Comments

Poppies are popular. Poppies pop off the canvas. Poppies pop up on the hillsides in spring.

Poppies are a good choice for oil paintings.

I had begun a painting on an 8×10″ canvas. It was putting me to sleep. I changed it to poppies and it woke me back up, contrary to the popular belief of “Poppies will put them to sleep”. I felt happy to work on it in spite of the beginning sloppiness.

Poppy Field oil painting

Poppy field, 8×10″, oil on wrapped canvas, $100

Click THIS to buy. (Is that like saying “when” to get someone to stop pouring your iced tea so it doesn’t overflow?)

Painting Rehab

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

“Painting Rehab” sounds as if my painting is on drugs and has to be locked up for awhile to detox. Or, perhaps it sounds as if an artist is needing to undergo recovery from a painting addiction.

Or, it could mean that a painting needs to undergo some rehabilitation from an injury.

Sometimes I move my paintings from the studio, a gallery or a store into my house. I live with them for awhile, and then I begin to see that they aren’t as good as they could be.

I could get all bummed out about how much work everything is, but I try to look at life from a positive perspective.

So, my attitude is “YEA! I’m getting better!”

Good thing. If I wasn’t improving at my line of work, I’d need to find something else to do.


This oil painting is one of my earlier attempts at oil. “Attempts”? That makes it sound as if it were a failure.

Nope, it is an experiment, and an experience. It is on the easels for about its 4th make-over.

Maybe I should say it is at the spa instead of in rehab. . .

Here is how it looked before I went after it again.

Generals Highway

Not that much different on the screen. Definitely better in person. I might even rename it The painting formerly known as General’s Highway will become “Entering Giant Forest”.

When I am done with its make-over and it is dry enough to photograph without a shiny glare (when its stitches are out and the scars have healed?), I’ll show you the 2 versions.

Wanna Paint What I Wanna Paint!

Posted by on Jun 15, 2015 in Oil Paintings | 2 Comments

Sometimes I paint the things I want to paint and just hope they sell. Sometimes they do. Usually when I paint what I want, I spend twice as much time as I would on others, aiming for a level of perfection and truly enjoying the process.

Kind of a bad business decision. . . maybe.

Don’t know. Get tired of business decisions. Wanna paint what I wanna paint!


The Shepherdess is a friend of mine. A very dear friend in the perfect light is a hard subject to resist, even when it isn’t showing off the beauty of Tulare County.


I think this will sell without any trouble. Even in this embryonic state, this one is beginning to have some appeal.


The shepherdess has some beautiful chickens.


Wow, this looks like a mess. It will take an extraordinary amount of time, but I wanna paint what I wanna paint! Nope, not Tulare County, and not even California.


My favorite bridge might be finished here again. I don’t know what number it is. I’ve lost control of the numbering of the series of the Oak Grove Bridge.


I wanted to spend more time with the shepherdess but had to settle for painting her instead. In the painting (and real life), she is not actually wearing highlighter pink. And there is no ray of sunshine on the painting except around 8 in the morning coming through the painting workshop window. The sheep still appear to me as if they need a good veterinarian. That’s okay. I wanna paint this!