Reminding You of the Beauty of Tulare County

Posted by on Apr 29, 2016 in Photography, Sources of inspiration | 2 Comments

Do you know why I write this blog?

It is because I want to remind us all that there is beauty here in Tulare County. Sometimes I have to put myself out into that beauty and even take my Big Girl Camera with me to get great photos so I can do my job of reminding you of the beauty of Tulare County.


The wildflowers along the lower 6.5 miles of the Mineral King Road are abundant and beautiful. There really aren’t very many places to pull over, so just drive slowly and soak it up. Better yet, have someone else drive, and you can just gawk.


This is spice bush, and it is in bloom right next to the Oak Grove Bridge.IMG_1520There is good water flowing beneath the bridge. This is the upstream view.IMG_1514


This is leaning over the bridge looking downstream. There was a pickup parked on the bridge with rafting stuff. The people were actually rafting down there! I have no idea how they got the raft down to the water or how they got into the thing without having one foot in and one foot out when it shot down some treacherous rapid.


Leaning out over the bridge is all the risk I care to take here.IMG_1521

This is the first time I have noticed the rock work propping up the road over there. STAY PUT, little rocks.


We did a little trespassing to get this view. Now you don’t have to. I don’t know if there is enough color here – just greens and browns, with that little place of blue in the water. The wildflowers are just too small. Maybe I could put some in the foreground, in spite of the fact that there are none there. . .? Time will tell. I still haven’t finished the 24×30″ painting that has been on my easel since January or February! Too busy being out in the beauty of Tulare County to be recording it in paint right now.



Redbud Festival is Coming!

Redbud Festival in Three Rivers is an annual arts and crafts show at the Veterans Memorial Building.

This year it will be on Saturday, May 7 and Sunday, May 8. (Yes, that is Mother’s Day).

I’ve been painting a few pieces to add to the collection for sale, in case anyone is interested in anything besides coloring books.



Three Rivers House Commission, Finished?

Posted by on Apr 27, 2016 in commissions, Oil Paintings, Three Rivers | No Comments

Is the oil painting commission of a Three Rivers house finished yet?

These are some close photos of detail that I added to the painting.


Step back a bit for the whole view, including the beginning of sycamore leaves. “The beginning” meaning the start of the leafing out of the tree. When all these other things are in bloom, the sycamore is barely showing. That’s why we can peek through its branches and see poppies on the hillsides.

IMG_2803Now I have turned it on its side so I can paint both the bottom and the top of the canvas.


Am I finished with this painting? Is the painting finished with me?

Time will tell. . . that’s how my dad used to say it. I like “more will be revealed in the fullness of time”.

And if I am finished, then it needs a signature, a really good official photo, and a coat of spray varnish.


What Does A Central California Artist Do?

Posted by on Apr 26, 2016 in the business of art, Thoughts | No Comments

Are you wondering how an artist in a place like Tulare County (Central California – there is a huge area of our state that is rural, and it is my job to record and share the good things about this area) can find work to do?

How about a list today:

  1. Teach 5 hours of drawing lessons a week, 3-5 people in each class.
  2. Sell coloring books.
  3. Plan for and draw another coloring book (Anyone want to guess the subject?)
  4. Finish the 24×30″ commissioned oil painting of a Three Rivers house
  5. Begin and finish 3 oil paintings for the upcoming Redbud Festival (May 7-8)
  6. Gather and price the items to take to the Redbud Festival.
  7. Take coloring books to the Post Office, and check supplies at the Three Rivers Mercantile, which has sold more than 2 dozen so far. (Told you we are rural!)
  8. Figure out when to get with a web designer so she can figure out why the shopping cart on this website won’t provide me with the mailing address when people place orders.
  9. Figure out how to put a better subscribe button on this blog that comes with a freebie so that people will want to give me their email address so I can notify them (you?) when the new coloring book is ready. (Have you guessed yet what it will be about?)
  10. Compose and send an email newsletter to my subscribers to remind them of Redbud Festival (May 7-8) and tell them of the new coloring book.

First one to guess and tell me either in the comments will win a free coloring book of the new design!

Thus we conclude a little peek into the work of a Central California artist in rural Tulare County. Not your typical definition of “artwork”.

OH! #11! – BLOG!! GOTTA BLOG!!

WAIT – THERE’S MORE! #12 is reorder the first coloring book, “Heart of the Hills”. You can order one here.

Are You a Colorist?

Posted by on Apr 25, 2016 in coloring book | 2 Comments

Are you a colorist? This is a word invented for adults who like to color in coloring books.

About 10 years ago, a friend in a high-powered, high-stress job confessed to me that she liked to color at work when it all got to be too much. I went online to find coloring books and found 2 books with very intricate geometric designs for her.

Within the last 6 months or so, coloring books for adults have taken off like a rocket. Many friends told me of either giving or receiving coloring books for gifts. Women in particular get a goofy happy look when they say, “I LOVE to color!”

I have many theories as to why coloring has become so popular with adults:

  1. Everyone has the desire to be involved in a creative activity.
  2. Coloring is a creative activity that requires no skill outside of what we learned as children.
  3. It involves simple decisions with instant gratification.
  4. The repetitive nature of it is peaceful and meditative.
  5. Life is complicated and stressful. Coloring is fun and easy.

Want a coloring book of Three Rivers and Sequoia and Mineral King?

I have one called Heart of the Hills.  There is a tiny heart hidden in every picture.

It is available at the Three Rivers Mercantile, Kaweah River Trading Company, Three Rivers Historical Museum, and on my website. (It is also available from the trunk of my car if you see me around.) $15 + tax.

first drawing

Doesn’t this little picture make you want to color? Go ahead. Become a colorist.

Three Rivers Spring Mini-Tour

Posted by on Apr 22, 2016 in coloring book, Photography | No Comments

The last several weeks have been full of coloring books and an oil painting commission of a Three Rivers house. Meanwhile, it is BEAUTIFUL out. Spring is fabulous in Three Rivers (everywhere, yes?) so I took a little tour. Come see these things with me.

IMG_1494 IMG_1491 IMG_1489 IMG_1486 IMG_2793 IMG_2784 IMG_2782

Climbing roses are hanging upside down. See? They are on this archway.IMG_2779 IMG_2775IMG_2777Time to do a little bit of work on our tour. This is the traffic-stopping, attention-getting sign at Kaweah River Trading Co., the excellent gift shop in town that pushed me to make the local coloring book. Soon they will also be selling colored pencils.  You can buy Heart of the Hills there or at the Three Rivers Mercantile or the Three Rivers Historical Museum or here.IMG_2770 IMG_2769

My friend has stunning and unusual flowers in her yard. This is what I recorded before my camera battery quit. Sometimes it is good to just be in a place, taking it in without recording everything. IMG_2767 IMG_2763

Remember When Life was Simpler?

Posted by on Apr 21, 2016 in coloring book, Thoughts, Three Rivers | No Comments

Life used to be simpler. We have gizmos, devices, technology now that is supposed to make our lives easier, but think about these things:

  • Remember when your phone didn’t follow you everywhere, demanding continual response?
  • Remember when you could just go to the doctor and get help without filling out reams of papers, and wondering if you would be able to afford the visit?
  • Remember when you didn’t have to know the name of medicines and their possible side effects?
  • Remember when you just ate food and didn’t think about glycemic index, cholesterol, gluten, veganism, or happy chickens?
  • Remember when you had never heard of identity theft?
  • Remember when people didn’t cuss on TV or talk about private body functions and then try to sell medicine for them?
  • Remember when you had never heard of a “carbon footprint”?
  • Remember when you never considered whether something was organic or local or sustainable?
  • Remember when you could have a lawn without feeling guilty about it?
  • Remember when a fire in the fireplace was a normal guilt-free way to add warmth and comfort to a cold evening?
  • Remember when you only needed a password if you were playing a spy game with a friend? Something common, like “open sesame”?
  • Remember when “carbs” were called “starches”?
  • Remember when the only thing you backed up was your car, and you did it by putting your arm across the back of the seat and actually turned your head instead of watching a little television?
  • Remember when you could ride in the back of a pick-up? Or drink from the garden hose?
  • Remember when there were drinking fountains and no one carried around expensive bottles of water? You drank when you were thirsty, not when you needed to “hydrate”. . . “Hydrate”?? What is the matter with everyone?
  • Remember when you wore sneakers for every activity?
  • Remember back before you had heard of “plantar fasciitis”, “carpal tunnel syndrome”, “irritable bowel”, “acid reflux”?
  • Remember when you got home from vacation, and all you had to do was collect the mail at the post office?


That’s why people like to color. It returns us to a simpler activity that we enjoyed in simpler times. It requires no special skill, no guilt, no medical terminology, no technology or user name.

This is why I made a coloring book. Easy. Simple. No password required.

Heart of the Hills

Heart of the Hills: a Three Rivers and Sequoia Coloring Book  is available at the Three Rivers Mercantile, Kaweah River Trading Company, Three Rivers Historical Museum or here.

That last one probably will require a user name and password. If you see me around, I’ll have a few in the trunk of my car. We can do business that way. Simple.

$15 each plus tax. Easy.

Closing in on the Final List

Posted by on Apr 20, 2016 in commissions, Three Rivers | No Comments


Hard to tell if anything is different here. We’ll call this the beginning of another day of painting an oil commission of a Three Rivers house. That archway is bugging me, and now I know what it needs.


Too small to see. Guess you had to be here.IMG_1501

Time to work on the edges. IMG_1502

Another umbrella, please! and could you grow some branches on the sycamore while you’ve got that paintbrush out? Oh, before you change paint color, will you plant a few daffodils?


Whoa. This looks a bit precarious. I scooted the painting over as far as possible and then crouched down beneath it to paint the bottom edge.

The list is much shorter now, although there are new items on it.

  1. Paint the middle section of the bottom.
  2. Add more little branches and twigs to the sycamore.
  3. Add the beginnings of leaves to the sycamore.
  4. Spend some time evaluating the details and just nit-pick it to pieces.
  5. SIGN IT!
  6. photograph
  7. let it dry
  8. varnish
  9. let it dry more. . .
  10. DELIVER!!

This painting makes the Oak Grove Bridge waiting oh-so-patiently in the background seem like child’s play. I’m coming, Bridge, just hang on. . .


Who is the Boss of this Painting?

Posted by on Apr 19, 2016 in commissions, Oil Paintings, Three Rivers | No Comments

Can you see any changes or improvements in this oil painting, a commission of a house in Three Rivers?


I keep painting, but I don’t know if it is making any noticeable improvements. A little dab here, a little lighter there, make this darker, straighten out that edge. . . am I just licking the canvas??


A dear friend suggested a few changes in the hills and background trees. She was right. The changes are an improvement. More may be required.

A window now has a frame.

The gravel path on the right has changed color.


Here is what I think remains to be done:

  1. the right end of the house
  2. grow the sycamore
  3. put texture into the gravel path on the right, just some in the closest areas in the sunlight
  4. build the archway
  5. push the hills back farther
  6. lighten the porch post on the left
  7. tighten up the rocks near the archway and add growies
  8. add another umbrella

Sometimes I make these lists, begin an area, and then discover a whole new place to work on.

I thought I was the boss of this painting, but it seems to be the boss of me.

Three Rivers House In Spring Oil Painting

Posted by on Apr 18, 2016 in commissions, Oil Paintings, Three Rivers | No Comments

The saga of the commissioned oil painting of a house in Three Rivers in spring continues. (I know that was too many prepositional phrases but how else can I ‘splain this??)


I made progress on the landscaping last time. This is an immensely satisfying project, because there are so many different areas, colors, shapes and textures.


Weird, but true. Sometimes I have to turn the painting so my hand can move the correct direction. I haven’t learned to use a maul stick and am not interested as long as I can rotate the canvas (it’s a bit of a problem on a mural).


More tightening up of the architecture was needed. Those windows! They will need to be revisited a few more times before we are finished here. “We”? ‘Twould be nice to have a little help on those more difficult parts, but I’m speaking in the royal We here.


Can you see any improvement? The gravel walkway is looking more gravely, although in person it still resembles a stream.


Hey! A tree grows in Three Rivers. Can you see the beginnings of the sycamore on the far right? I have replanted the tree since in the photos it only has these non-sequitor-heil-hitler-arm-like branches shooting into the scene. Unacceptable.