Too Smoky in Mineral King

Posted by on Aug 28, 2015 in Mineral King | 4 Comments

There is a terrible wildfire roaring along in the Sierra Nevada, in Kings Canyon National Park, just north of Sequoia National Park. Mineral King is on the southern end of Sequoia, but it got plenty of smoke from the “Rough” fire. It was named for the location where it began, a place called “Rough Ridge”. The name is very appropriate, because it is a rough fire indeed.

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Timber Gap and Empire are barely visible.

Okay, forget about hiking. Let’s sew instead.

Sew? Did she say “sew”?


I sold my treadle sewing machine to my cabin neighbor and then spent the weekend setting it up, teaching her to use it and helping her make new cabin curtains.IMG_1535


No electricity required for this beautifully effective piece of machinery. You just put your foot on the treadle and begin to peddle.

I didn’t photograph what we used for ironing. It was a Coleman iron, supposed to be powered by white gas, but instead we heated it on the wood stove.

I am not making this up. Did you doubt me, an axe-wielding, wood-stove-cooking, knitting, Central California Artist, surrounded by those who understand this bizarre way of life??

The day we headed back down the hill was a clear day. Why?

timber gap in mineral king mineral king

“Clear” is a relative term. Normally we’d call this a cloudy day, but after the horrors of breathing smoke for 2 straight days, this is wonderfully clear. The Rough fire continues to wreak its havoc, but the smoke didn’t come to Mineral King for this day.

And here is my favorite bridge on the way home. I don’t want a fire here, but it would clear the view to the Oak Grove Bridge if one happened.

oak grove bridge

Painting Mineral King

Posted by on Aug 27, 2015 in Mineral King, Oil Paintings | No Comments

This has been a fine season for selling paintings of Mineral King scenes. Very fine! Each time I go by the Silver City Store, I stop to see what is remaining. Sometimes I bring a few new paintings along, other times I just make some notes about what to paint next.

Here are the newest 3 for you to enjoy. (You may buy them, if you beat out the others who are interested.)

Mineral King oil paintings

Honeymoon Cabin XXII, oil on wrapped canvas, 6×6″, $55 (plus tax)

1542 Kaw Hdwtrs

Kaweah Headwaters, oil on wrapped canvas, 6×6″, $55 (plus tax)

1537 OGB XV

Oak Grove Bridge, oil on wrapped canvas, 6×6″, $60 (plus tax) It was twice as hard as the others and should be considered a bargain because it doesn’t cost twice as much.

Relevant links to this post:

Landscape Oil Paintings available

Silver City Resort

Too Hot in the Painting Workshop

Posted by on Aug 26, 2015 in Oil Paintings, the business of art | 2 Comments

Because oil painting can be messy, I paint in a workshop building with a swamp cooler instead of inside my real studio with its more effective air conditioner.

We had some of those 100+ degree days, and the swamp cooler was not up to the task of keeping me comfortable. Heaven forbid that a Central California artist be uncomfortable! A hot artist is an uncomfortable artist, an uncomfortable artist doesn’t paint well, an artist who doesn’t paint well doesn’t sell well, and an artist who doesn’t sell well has to get a real job.

So, I took these barely begun paintings off the wall in the workshop and moved into the studio.


I managed to not make an oil painting mess in my little air-conditioned studio, a room normally used for pencil drawing, private drawing lessons, and doing non-messy businessy things.


That back wall has FIVE WET OIL PAINTINGS hanging on push-pins. It (the wall) might now be in need of a new coat of paint.

Nah. It’s a STUDIO, for cryin’ out loud!

Tune in tomorrow to see three of the paintings, finished and ready to buy.

Quail Confusion

Posted by on Aug 25, 2015 in Mineral King, Oil Paintings, Thoughts | 2 Comments

Mountain Quail are different from California Quail. One is in the mountains, one is in the lower elevations. I don’t know the specific elevations. Both are in California, but one is the state bird and one is not.

I painted a California Quail working from a photo that I took right out my studio window. Apparently I have been sort of distracted, not paying attention with all my focus.

1536 California Quail

California Quail, 6×6″, oil on wrapped canvas, $60

Trail Guy carefully appreciates “his” quail, and pointed out my mistake while reading my blog. Yep, my husband reads my blog. (I might be more interesting on the screen than in person.) Thank you, Michael!! You catch my mistakes and I appreciate it.

Silly me. I should have figured out that dry brownish-yellowish grasses are a sign that the bird is down the hill, not in Mineral King.

You are probably wondering what a Mountain Quail looks like. I haven’t painted one yet, but do have several photos.

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It would be easier if they would assume the same position, hold the same pose, so we could carefully examine their differences. But, like their California cousins, they are very skittish, and so far I can only photograph them from indoors right through the window.

Hence, quail confusion.

Reading Rabbit Returns

Posted by on Aug 24, 2015 in General, Reading | No Comments

Salt & Light, or Reading Rabbit, oil on board, 11x14"

Salt & Light, or Reading Rabbit, oil on board, 11×14″

Here is a list of some of what I have read this summer. All were either entertaining or informative. All are worth sharing, and thank you to those who shared with me. (I didn’t list the mediocre books, of which there were several. Those I skimmed or didn’t finish.)

  1. My Reading Life, Pat Conroy. Nonfiction. (Thank you, Jennifer Dougan, for this recommendation.)
  2. The Light Between Oceans, M.L. Stedman. Fiction. (Thank you, Cathy T., for this recommendation.)
  3. The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, Nicholas Carr. Nonfiction.
  4. Knowing God, J.I. Packer. Nonfiction
  5. Under the Wide and Starry Sky, Nancy Horan. Fiction (More thanks to Cathy T.)
  6. The Calorie Myth, Jonathan Bailor. Nonfiction.
  7. Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath. Nonfiction (THANK YOU, MAK, FOR THIS FANTASTIC RECOMMENDATION!)

My list of unread books continues to grow, in spite of reading 2-3 at the same time all summer long. The over-abundance (is that word wrong, like “irregardless”?)  comes from finding a book recommended on someone’s blog, and immediately ordering it from the library. We have a terrific library ordering system here in the San Joaquin Valley. I go to the site, find and order the book, and when it is available, the system sends an email saying the book is waiting for me at the Three Rivers Library.

That’s good news! Libraries are just the best thing ever, and so is reading.

If you have discovered any great books recently, please share them with me in the comments! (in case my stack of unread books gets too short and then I get antsy in case I wind up without something to read.)

Mineral King Photography

Posted by on Aug 21, 2015 in Mineral King, Photography | 2 Comments

Trail Guy has really become quite the Mineral King photographer. He was back in the olden days of 35mm SLR cameras with film (remember those??). After we married, I stole his camera because I needed 2 going at all times. (black and white in one, color in the other, or prints in one and slides in the other) He didn’t mind, but I sort of wished he’d take photos too.

Now he carries a little digital camera with him on his hikes. Without my hogging all the good scenes, he is finding his own photographs of Mineral King and the surrounding trails.

If you want specifics, you can ask in the comments or email me using the contact button under the About the Artist menu item.

Mineral King photo by Michael Botkin IMG_6207 IMG_6219 IMG_6220 IMG_6222 IMG_6225 IMG_6226 IMG_6228 IMG_6230 IMG_6231 IMG_6238 IMG_6247


Random Thoughts

Random is a good word for unrelated items piling up in my head.

  1. Thank you for visiting my other blog this week. I hope you poked around and discovered things that interested and entertained you a bit while over there.
  2. Most of my sunflowers escaped the ravages of the voracious deer in the neighborhood.sunflower photo
  3. The same flower looks different at different times of day. I think there may be 2 paintings in this flower.IMG_1483
  4. I looked out the living room window and saw this: IMG_1476
  5. i looked more closely and saw this: IMG_1477
  6. My herb garden is a source of inspiration and a place of solace:IMG_1403
  7. I am in need of inspiration and solace these days while we navigate rough waters as a family. Here is a link to a video of my brother-in-law talking about his future: Neighborhood Church Facebook.

Steve made the video around August 1, but I have been taking refuge in drawing and gardening rather than talking about reality. (If you know him, you probably already saw the video.) Thank you to all who have been praying and expressing your kind concern.

Hiking in Mineral King

White Chief is my favorite place to hike out of (in?) Mineral King. So far this summer, it has rained often, I’ve been preoccupied with family matters, and often I only want to sit, knit and/or split (wood) while in Mineral King.

We have a tradition with a friend who spends time with us at our cabin each summer. This was summer #13. Our traditional visit includes barbecued pizza, Yahtzee (I may have one once in 13 years), M&Ms, and a hike to White Chief. There are other traditions, but they aren’t quite as sacred as our White Chief hike.

White Chief can be 4 miles round trip or it can be as long as 9. No matter how far you choose to go, it is always beautiful, always interesting, and always challenging.

I’ll refrain from further chatter. If you have questions about any of the photos, ask in the comments or use the contact button under About the Artist to ask.


White Chief

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Invitation To My Other Blog This Week

Posted by on Aug 13, 2015 in commissions, Wilsonia | No Comments

This is my real blog. The Cabins of Wilsonia is my other blog. Sometimes I am confused as to which posts belong on which blog.

After seven years of blogging, my default position remains here. Sometimes I have to remember that I have another blog, now that The Cabins of Wilsonia is a published book and I’m not obsessing about it daily.

So, today and next week you are invited to my Wilsonia blog to read about a commissioned piece.

The title is “Incompetence and Awkwardness”.

Does that pique your curiosity?

Another Decision Made!

Posted by on Aug 12, 2015 in commissions, drawing | No Comments

As I began the previous commissioned pencil drawing of a cabin, another customer notified me of his decision.

3 sketches

A, B, or C?


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