Turning Leaves

Posted by on Oct 30, 2015 in Oil Paintings | No Comments

A few years ago I began painting autumn leaves. Because I often couldn’t decide which way they looked best, I would turn them around and around as I decided which end to put the hanger on and where to sign.

“Turning Leaves” seemed to be the perfect title for the subject. Sometimes I just amaze myself with my cleverness. I try not to laugh too loudly at my own jokes, but sometimes I have to repeat them because people don’t laugh hard enough. Sometimes they even look a bit baffled.


Excuse me. Got carried away there.

New turning leaves this year:

These match a Turning Leaf from a year ago:

The title “Turning Leaf” doesn’t have the double meaning with these, because the stem gives the direction away.

Now I can’t decide if they are dogwood leaves or persimmon leaves!



Learning New Skills, Part Two

Posted by on Oct 29, 2015 in Sources of inspiration, Three Rivers | 4 Comments

Yesterday I showed you the tile mosaic work of my friend The Tiling Genius here in Three Rivers.

I learned from him two ways to make stepping stones. I previously stumbled onto each of these methods on my own, but he had all the right materials, tools and techniques. It makes a difference, and I expect to start marching around the yard and tearing apart all my substandard stepping stones in the future.

He is a retired engineer and has built molds for the poured concrete type of stones. These don’t allow for much planning – pound the mud into the mold, and tap your stuff into it! Of course there is much more, but I won’t bore you with the details. The molds are removable by taking them apart – no wonder my version of this was substandard.


Here are my 3 – the large one in its mold, and edges of the other two, which were made on preformed stepping stones. That was my default method, but Mr. Tiling Genius The Retired Engineer had many improved techniques using tools I’d never heard of for making them far superior to my earlier attempts.

In addition, he had zillions of wonderful items from which to choose!

Here are my two on preformed concrete, pre-grouting.


Take a look at all the different ones from the workshop. Mr. Tiling Genius told us we didn’t need to create masterpieces for our first attempts, but I think it happened anyway.



IMG_1835 IMG_1837



It is sort of a given in The Art World that taking workshops is a great thing. I haven’t attended many and am not sure this is the sort of workshop that will advance my career.

But, it advanced my personal happiness, and that is worth something. I love to learn new things!

Learning New Skills

Posted by on Oct 28, 2015 in Sources of inspiration, Three Rivers | No Comments


A handful of years ago I went on a tear making mosaic stepping stones. By “on a tear”, I mean ninja crazy! (In spite of not knowing what that means, it continues to crop up in my vocabulary.) I made about 12 dozen stepping stones, tile-mosaic’ed (no idea if that is actually a verb or how to turn it into past tense) a lamp post, a drinking fountain, several tables, a step, a bird bath and a bowling ball.

I guessed how to do this. Found some stuff and tried it. Tried different stuff and different methods. Sold some. Gave some away. Scattered them all over my yard. Ninja crazy!

Now, many of them have tiles that are popping loose. This is annoying, disappointing and ugly.

There is a man in Three Rivers who is a genius at tile mosaic. His wife was a ceramicist, and after she died, he continued his tiling projects. He began making his own objects in her kiln, continued a project they had begun, and now teaches an occasional workshop.

I attended the workshop in the hopes of learning the right way to do this.

Before I show you what I made, look at what the tiling genius has around his place.





This has symbols for Nancy’s potter’s wheel, her glazing color samples and her kiln.

Oops. Out of time. I’ll show you what I made tomorrow.

Running Away With Reading Rabbit

Posted by on Oct 26, 2015 in Reading | One Comment


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

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


Reading has been my favorite way to run away from reality all of my life. Nose in a book, that’s my favorite place to be. Since my family had a difficult and sad summer, I returned to reading as a means of temporary escape.

Here is a list of some of the best books I read in the last few months:

  1. Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman
  2. A Million Miles in 1000 Years, Donald Miller
  3. Scary Close, Donald Miller
  4. Still Life With Bread Crumbs, Anna Quindlen *
  5. Secrets of a Charmed Life, Susan Meissner *
  6. Without You, There is No Us, Suki Kim
  7. Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in No. Korea, Barbara Demick
  8. Fiddler in the Subway, Gene Weingarten

#1 is about what teevee has done to our culture, but applies to the internet too. I found it fascinating and true.

#2 and #3 – I LOVE Donald Miller’s honesty and humor and wisdom.

#4 I forgot what this is about but I liked it enough to finish and to put it on this list. Anna Quindlen is a good story teller and writer.

#5 came highly recommended by an online friend’s website and was a great story about someone who survived the Blitz in London. Fiction, but believable.

#6 is by a woman who taught English in North Korea. I heard her speak on a TED talk and was interested enough to chase down the book. It is S C A R Y.

#7 is what the author learned by interviewing defectors from North Korea. Sad and scary.

#8 is another one I liked enough to put on the list and have already forgotten.

Sigh. Guess you’ll have to trust me that these are all good enough to reserve at your local liberry, if you are lucky enough to have the fantastic reservation and delivery system like we do here in Tulare County.

Our libraries are one of the best things about living in Tulare County.

I wrote “liberry” to make you smile. Did it work?

*denotes fiction – the rest are nonfiction

Three Rivers is Bear Country

Posted by on Oct 23, 2015 in Oil Paintings, Three Rivers | 2 Comments

One afternoon I was painting in the workshop. Trail Guy stopped his work on the house to rest a bit. What am I working on?



Another Kaweah Post Office, because it is my policy to always have one ready to go. Pomegranates because they are beautiful to paint and sell well.

Trail Guy reported a bear sighting. So, I went to investigate. They are so fascinating to watch – something about their size or furriness or proportions or way of moving or something. Here, you can see for yourself. If you want to see a bear any day of the week in Three Rivers, you can just go driving around and find one! Truly!

IMG_1811 IMG_1812 IMG_1814 IMG_1815 IMG_1816 IMG_1817 IMG_1820 IMG_1821 IMG_1822 IMG_1823 IMG_1824

Okay, bear break over – back to work. Get painting again, Central California Artist in Bear Country.



Kaweah Post Offices

Posted by on Oct 22, 2015 in drawing, Oil Paintings, Three Rivers | No Comments

The eBay painting went to a very happy lady!

Kaweah P.O.

Chuck’s painting progressed quickly.


This is a photograph of it while it was drying. Hang on, Chuck, it’s coming soon!

My Favorite Customer bought this painting and I split the sale with the Kaweah Post Office fund.

1293 KPO VII

Several friends gave cash toward the project. Some of them received a package of these cards. (The others didn’t receive cards because I was caught by surprise and didn’t have them with me.)

pencil KPO

Something just occurred to me as I think about this project: EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO CONTRIBUTED IS NOT FROM THREE RIVERS!!

Isn’t that amazing? That may be part of what has blown me away – so many people from other places have a soft place in their hearts for the Three Rivers landmark of the Kaweah Post Office.


Kaweah Post Office – Sad and Good

Posted by on Oct 21, 2015 in General | No Comments

It took a few weeks to gather the courage, but I finally drove past the Kaweah Post Office. You may need to avert your eyes – it is dismal and sad.

broken PO

Forgive me for such ugliness on this blog.

Let me atone for this indignity by sharing some good news about the Kaweah Post Office.

The eBay auction, the commission for Chuck, the sale of another painting of the post office, and several generous donations have produced. . .

rap a tap a rap a tap a rap a tap a rap a tap a rap a tap a rap a tap a rap a tap a rap a tap a rap a tap

(That was a drum roll, in case you were wondering.)


This is a HUGE dent in the $3000 insurance deductible that the owner of the post office has to come up with for the repairs.


(I used my favorite color of teal for that sentence to express my appreciation.)

Tomorrow I will further atone for the offensive photo above by showing you the 3 oil paintings of the Kaweah Post Office when it was whole and surrounded by greenery.

P.S. I keep repeating Kaweah Post Office so that Mr. Google can help people find it when they are seeking updates about our beloved Three Rivers landmark.

Spare Canvas, Stray Fruit

Posted by on Oct 20, 2015 in Oil Paintings | No Comments


Yesterday’s “Fruity” blog post had an UFO – unidentified object.

It was a pear.

You probably knew that. But, I showed you a hint of it in progress and then left the more observant reader wondering why I was ignoring it.

When I special ordered those thick canvases for the commissioned oil paintings of fruit, they came in prepackaged quantities. There was a spare one, so I painted the pear.

An artist never knows when a customer will say, “Sure, I’ll take that one too.” An artist needs to be prepared for such contingencies.

Thus, a stray piece of fruit. . .


It is wet, so you will have to tilt your head to see it correctly.

I bet you figured that out too.

If you would like to own this little fruit painting, contact me with the button “Contact the Artist” under the drop down “About The Artist” tab above. It is 6×6″, oil on wrapped canvas ready to hang without a frame, $55 plus tax.



Posted by on Oct 19, 2015 in commissions, Oil Paintings | No Comments

Remember seeing these commissioned oil paintings in progress?

1546 Orange 124

1547 Grapes VIII

1548 Pom 47

The customer was very happy and asked for more!

Remember these three commissioned oil paintings?

1545 Orange #123

1544 Pomegranate #46

1543 Lemon #19

This customer was also very happy and asked for more!

Here they are in their infancy.


commissioned oil paintings

And here they are finished: detailed to the nth degree, signed, scanned, and now with varnish drying!

Peach Plum Tammie's Plum


As a Central California artist, I have access to wonderful fresh fruit. Every one of these was painted from photos that I took while the fruit was on the tree or of fruit that came from a friend’s packing house. 

Fall in Mineral King

Posted by on Oct 16, 2015 in Mineral King, Sources of inspiration | 2 Comments

We spent our last weekend of the season in Mineral King over Columbus Day weekend. The weather was beautiful – about time, after all the smoke this summer! It really seemed weird to shutter things up for the winter when we were running around in shorts and sandals, but it certainly is better than closing in a cold storm.

There hasn’t been very good color this year. It could be due to the drought, although there were 15″ of precipitation this summer (mistakenly reported in an earlier post as happening in July – thank you, Trail Guy, for keeping me straightened out on the facts!) The leaves mostly turned brown early and then fell off. Just turned brown and fell off! Sigh.

mineral king


Hey! I painted this scene a few years ago. I sort of lost track of the painting – did it sell? Who bought it? Or is it in one of the places that sell my work and I forgot to list it? (Sounds like someone needs to pay closer attention to her business. . .)

mineral king oil pianting





This is the part of the trail that looks like a yellow tunnel in some years. These are cottonwood trees. The aspens are further up the trail, but we had work to do instead of popping around chasing colored trees. Such responsible adults.


This was in 2010.


The grasses were sort of yellowish. This coming winter will be a big one, it will end the drought, put lots of white in the mountains and water in the rivers and the lakes and the aquifers and green on the hills. (You listening, God? That is actually a request, not a demand. Amen.)