Unusually Wet Summer in Mineral King

Posted by on Jul 31, 2015 in Mineral King, Photography | No Comments

It has been an unusually wet summer in Mineral King (along with measurable, puddle-making rain in Three Rivers 3 times in July!)

Most of the times I have gone up the hill, it has been wet. Rain, hail, drizzle, fog, overcast. It’s all good. It’s all very good. I pray for rain every day, and I am very very thankful for water.


One long weekend, this was the only photo I took on the only walk I took on the only time I got out when it wasn’t raining!


I had to leave at 7 a.m. one morning. This is how things looked, sort of. When it is really beautiful, the camera doesn’t usually do the trick.

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This is Squirrel Creek, just below the Park boundary. It hasn’t had much water in it this year, so when I saw this in the morning, I pulled over to take a picture. I “YESSED!” a couple of times, too.


Not much light on the bridge itself in the morning. It is getting so overgrown around it that there is now only one good place to get photos.


And when I got home to Three Rivers, the ground was WET and there were PUDDLES AGAIN!!!

Ambiguous Oil Painting

Posted by on Jul 30, 2015 in Oil Paintings, Sources of inspiration | No Comments

(Ambiguous: unclear or inexact.) There’s this 10×10″ oil painting that has been collecting dust and spider webs in my painting workshop for awhile. I’m unclear as to when I began it.

It just hangs there, and after awhile, I stopped thinking of it as a painting. Instead, it was just another thing that the spiders used for support.


Bottom right – Backcountry Lake. The upper one is on the easels again (because it is a little bit too hard for me), the lower left one is finished. But there hangs Backcountry Lake. This photo was taken in April.


All 4 of these other paintings have sold by now, and there is old Backcountry Lake, just hanging around in March. Is that when I started this?? My dates are inexact.

Now the time has come to finish this painting. There might be a show coming up to celebrate the 125th (or 100th?) anniversary of the beginning of Sequoia National Park. (I’m unsure of the show, and the dates of the anniversary are inexact in my memory.) I think this lake is in Sequoia, but I’m unclear as to which lake it is since I got it from my friend Kenny and now we aren’t in touch. I’m unclear as to why we aren’t, but no longer have a working email for him. So, I’ll finish it and enter it in the show, if the show happens. But I’m not sure there will be a show.

Wow. Lots of ambiguity surrounding this painting!


I redid the sky, and then began working my way down the canvas, working from distant to close, which worked out the same as working top to bottom.


Wowsa! Nothing ambiguous about this now! I’ll tighten up the details on the lower right section, sign it and then paint the edges.

This is unambiguously a clear and exact painting! It was very satisfying to correct the color, heighten the contrasts and tighten up the details. That is the most fun I have had with a painting for a long time.

So there.

Non-commissioned oil paintings

So much to paint, so little time. These are new paintings, begun for the joy and challenge of the subjects, in addition to the confidence that they will sell.



Mountain quail are shy. We are so fortunate to have 2 pairs feeding in our front yard in Mineral King. Because of the way the window is situated, I am able to photograph these birds more easily than the California quail in Three Rivers.

This bridge is not shy. It is beautiful and proud, knowing it is an anomaly on such a narrow, winding and rural road. We call it The Oak Grove Bridge, “we” being those who regularly travel the Mineral King Road in Tulare County. The sign says “Kaweah River” or maybe “East Fork”. I don’t know, because I am always either looking at the bridge or at the water beneath.


There is a crazy amount of feathery detail on the bird. No matter how often I paint the bridge, there is a crazy amount of detail on it and on the rocks beneath.

That’s okay. These are not commissioned paintings, so I have time.

Each one is 6×6″. I have been selling that size for $55, but it is time for those prices to go up. The amount of time this sort of detail requires is a little overwhelming. Maybe I should just get a real job.

Nah. . .

Oil Painting Commissions

Posted by on Jul 27, 2015 in commissions, Oil Paintings | No Comments

Commissions – orders to make a custom item, following the wishes of the customer.

I’ve been asked to do 3 custom flower oil paintings, each 6×6″. Three makes it easy to find a place to hang, either vertically or horizontally. Or, they can be set here and there without having to locate wall space.

This is a special commission, but I am not free to share the details until some time in August.

Let’s get started!


Foxglove, Leopard Lily, Jeffrey Shooting Star.

I thought I’d just outline the shapes and wait until another painting session to begin the layering process.

I thought wrong. This is WAY too fun to wait!


These look almost finished, but if you saw them up close, you’d see that the paint coverage isn’t thick enough, the details (leopard’s spots and foxglove’s freckles) are still missing, and obviously, the edges of the canvas need to be painted.

The customer doesn’t need them until August 8. I want them to be PERFECT, signed, dry, scanned, and varnished.

I am not a procrastinator. Deadlines are best dealt with head-on, immediately and without delay. Then, if there is a snafu, there is time to fix things. Often there are snafus, but that is another subject for a different post.

Or not. I’ll just wait on that. . .

Mineral King, Real and Painted

Posted by on Jul 24, 2015 in Mineral King, Oil Paintings | No Comments

Time for some Mineral King, because I had a rough painting week with all those “Little Bit Too Hards”.

I can paint Mineral King! Yes I can!!

mineral king oil painting

This is the first time I am painting Farewell Gap with that giant red fir on the left gone. GONE. Cut down. Bye-bye, big fir. Hello little red fir behind it that always made the front one look messy.


Farewell Gap XVIII, 8×10″, oil paint on wrapped canvas, $100

Now, for a look at some Mineral King photos, taken by Trail Guy, because Fridays are for Mineral King.


Sierra Columbine


Penstemmon, AKA “Pride of the Mountains


View from a mining tunnel on Empire Mt.


Mariposa Lily

P.S. We have had some great times with different groups in Mineral King. A class from Western Michigan University about Walt Disney came up to Mineral King and we got to show them where Disney had dreamed of a ski resort. A family from Chicago visited and we got to hike with them (“we” mostly being Trail Guy, since I headed back down the hill to paint things that are a little too hard for me). I choose to not take photos of people for posting in the blog – feels as if it is a violation of their privacy. 

Easier a Little Bit Too Hard

Posted by on Jul 23, 2015 in Oil Paintings, Sources of inspiration | No Comments

That was an awkward title. See yesterday’s title and post about “a little bit too hard” and then maybe this will make sense.

Still a little bit too hard, but not as difficult as The Flower Girl.

This is Grandma’s Creek. It is where my Grandma grew up, outside of Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Oh so very beautiful, and maybe, just maybe, with enough layers I can capture the feeling.

Grandma's Creek

Blobs, big areas and little “landmarks” on the canvas. Holy cow, why am I doing this when the photo itself is a thing of beauty?


A bit more detail, beginning in the upper left corner. Leaves can’t be all that hard – I certainly have painted them many times before. But I don’t even know what kind these are!!

Grandma may have referred to a creek as a “branch”. They talk funny in North Carolina, such as saying they will “carry you to the airport”. Wow, they must be strong there!

Never mind.

Back to the easel. . . feeling inspired by beauty, challenged by the subject matter, wanting to excel in my skill as an oil painter.

A Little Bit Too Hard

Sometimes I paint things that are a little bit too hard for me. They are not commissions, nor are they subjects that I think will sell.

Instead, they are things that I just want to paint, in spite of my lack of skill or experience. After I have completed paintings that need to be done for sale, working on these types of paintings is my “reward”.

Wow, is this ever difficult!! This is my great-niece, and I think of the painting as The Flower Girl.


The girl is from this photo.


The flowers are from this one.


The girl feels too difficult, so I am now focusing on the flowers. It is fun to find and mix all the colors, and if I get the petals a bit wrong, it isn’t critical like the face is.


Success on the flowers (still not finished) gave me confidence to paint a bit more on the girl.


Her hairbow is better and her arm is a little chubbier. This might need to rest for a month or two while I build my confidence and skill on paintings that don’t matter to my heart quite so much.


This will need about 10 more painting sessions, a decision on the background color, and a whole bunch of do-overs.

But I’m learning. That is what happens when one pushes through something that is a little bit too hard.

Okay, it might be a LOT too hard.


And More New Mineral King Oil Paintings

As promised in yesterday’s blog post, here are more new (and 2 refreshed) oil paintings of Mineral King, a regular source of inspiration for this Central California artist, also known as “A Regionalist from Quaintsville”. However, when thinking of Mineral King, “Gorgeousville” is a better name!

005 MK Valley 010 Mineral King a.m. 1527 Saw XV 1532 Vandever, MK

From top to bottom: Mineral King Valley, 12×16, $200; Mineral King Morning, 11×14, $175; Sawtooth XV, 6×6″, $55; Vandever, Mineral King, 6×6″, 55.

The titles aren’t clever, but they are accurate. I went ninja crazy (WHAT does this mean??) on the painting end of things, but stayed normal (non-ninja?) on the titles.

New Mineral King Oil Paintings

Mineral King is a continual source of inspiration for this Central California artist. I believe it is one of the best places in Tulare County and probably in all of Central California.

Two weeks ago I went on a focused Mineral King oil painting binge. Might even have been ninja crazy, although I still don’t know what that means. (just like the sound of it)

Here are a few of the results:

1528 Saw XIV 1533 MK Stream 1534 Bear 1535 Marmot

From top to bottom:  Sawtooth XIV, 8×10″, $100; Mineral King Stream, 8×8″, $90; Bear, 6×6″, $55; Marmot, 6×6″, $55. 

All are oil on wrapped canvas, ready for hanging. They are currently at the Silver City Resort, 4 miles below Mineral King (unless they have already been bought and taken home with people of disposable income and excellent taste.)

There will be more – stay tuned for more new and refreshed Mineral King oil paintings tomorrow!

Mineral King Summer Storm

Posted by on Jul 17, 2015 in Mineral King | 2 Comments

The summer storms continue in Mineral King.

This is how things looked on Thursday, July 2, 2015.

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Trail Guy went hiking the next day to check out the effects of the flood. Trail erosion, high water marks, usually empty sink holes now full – none of that makes for good photos. So, have  a look at White Chief with water flowing!

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Dragon flies – can you see them?