Odd Job

Posted by on Jun 30, 2016 in the business of art | No Comments

As an artist in business since 1987 in Tulare County (full time since 1993), I occasionally get asked to do odd jobs. It is challenging and usually fun. If an artist is established and available, it is one of the many parts of the business of art.

A giclee is a reproduction on canvas done with some sort of special printer, often coated with something so it looks like a painting.

Some friends have a giclee of a blue jay, and they had a painting accident while changing the color of their living room.


See those drips? Here, look a little more closely.


First I tried a bit of turpentine. Nope. The drips are dry.

Next, I’ll see if oil paint will stick to the surface. This will involve mixing a bunch of different shades of gray. (Too bad I can’t use pencil.)


Woohoo! That was easy and fun. I really like this painting, which is odd, because my own style is much tighter.


Hmmm, look how good it looks on a blue background. I’m tempted to copy this painting for myself, but must maintain professional business ethics. Phooey.

Drawing Lessons

Posted by on Jun 29, 2016 in drawing, Lessons | No Comments

Since 1994 I have been teaching people how to draw. We don’t go outside and sketch. We sit inside and work from photos. We learn to break a complex photo into its basic shapes, how to start a drawing, to get all the shapes  and proportions right, how to shade so that it appears 3 dimensional and how to finish it off to be the best possible.

I have about 20 students, ranging in age from 13 to Too-Polite-To-Ask.

Everyone works at his own pace on the subject of his own choosing. We generally don’t doggedly copy photos but do some well-thought-out cropping, and in general just clean up the mess that real life consists of.

I encourage everyone to work from her own photos rather than things from calendars, magazines and the internet. Not everyone has a good camera or a backlog of photos, and often I will lend photos to my students.

Usually each person has an idea of what he wants to draw.



This is a grandson with a stuffed lion. Definitely a much loved subject!


We have spent a great deal of time evaluating exactly what we are seeing here. That is one of the drawbacks of working from a photo taken by someone else.


I warned him and warned him about the slowness of colored pencil, but he proceeded anyway. Just getting the gradation of blues, and getting it smooth, is taking F O R E V E R. That’s okay – we don’t have any deadlines.


A perfectionistic animal lover is doing a fabulous job on this challenging conglomerate of squishy shapes and elusive textures.


Stunning! Simply stunning. This is by a woman who began lessons about 9 years ago so that her watercolor paintings would be more accurate. She mastered graphite quickly and has been showing off with colored pencil ever since. She doesn’t need lessons any more, but I am ever so grateful that she continues to show up each week.


No faces smaller than an egg! Sometimes my students are determined. So, I help them the best I can and we all learn. Those who are looking on in horror become determined to never draw a face smaller than an egg. What a challenge!


Turned my back to help the other students for awhile and BOOM! FInal leaf, done. There’s a very dark background coming. . . that ought to slow her down a bit. Or not.


The idea with this is to do one of the blossoms in color. That is one of my favorite ways to use color, and this is turning out beautifully.

Color Added to Commissioned Pencil Drawing

Posted by on Jun 28, 2016 in coloring book, drawing | No Comments

Coloring books will be available again on July 1, 2016. You may order, but it will involve a wait.

I’ve added colored pencil to the commissioned pencil (graphite?) drawing that commemorates a beautiful place on a beautiful day with a beautiful friend.

Ahhhhh. . . .

Outstanding idea, my creative Found Friend!

LB finished

Commissioned Pencil Drawing Ready for Color

Posted by on Jun 27, 2016 in commissions, drawing | No Comments

The commissioned pencil drawing will have a touch of color, but first I have to spray fix it so that the graphite doesn’t smear into the colors.

Here’s a thought-provoking question for you: Why do I say I work in pencil instead of saying I work in graphite? I don’t say that I paint in “brush” – I say I paint in “oil”. A pencil is a tool as is a brush; graphite is the medium as is oil paint.

Clarity is probably the answer. I’m talking to regular people who say “picher” for “picture”, “prolly” for “probably”, “hite” for “height”, and “gotta” for “got to”. Regular people most likely won’t understand “graphite” as the medium in a pencil. They prolly think it is something to unstick a lock.

Here is the commissioned pencil drawing in graphite, minus the color.

There is a bit of graphite where I’ll put color because it will serve to deepen and darken the color.

Clarity: what’s the difference between “deepen” and “darken” when discussing color? I dunno. I’m a regular person who prolly doesn’t always get stuff. Gotta go, see ya!LB#3

Coloring books will be available again on July 1, 2016. You may order, but it will involve a wait.

Wherein I Join Trail Guy on a Mineral King Hike

Posted by on Jun 24, 2016 in coloring book, Mineral King, Photography | No Comments

White Chief as it appears in the coloring book "Hear t of Mineral King"

White Chief as it appears in the coloring book “Heart of Mineral King”

Coloring books will be available again on July 1, 2016. You may order, but it will involve a wait. Thank you for your patience.

Mineral King

Languid Ladies in the foreground; Chihuahua Creek in the distance. I don’t think this has flowed for the past 4 summers, and Trail Guy thinks it will last through the whole month of June this year.

Mineral King Trail

Steps on a trail look friendly and helpful to me. Trail crew builders accuse step-builders of “making monuments to themselves”. Thank you, Monument Makers.

Mineral King

Looking back toward Timber Gap, with patches of snow still on Empire to the right of Timber.


This is sort of a boring photo of Indian Paintbrush, (red), Western Wallflower (yellow), and a bit of Larkspur (sort of bluish). I just got a little excited to see the 3 primary colors all together.


We saw 2 of these mylar helium balloons. Partiers down in the valley (not Mineral King, but the San Joaquin Valley) don’t realize that when they let go of the strings of their balloons, they are littering.


Oops. Tree failure.


This tree is not a failure. It is a juniper, and it is Trail Guy’s favorite tree. It is a sign that the steepest part of the trail to White Chief is over. It is still steep, just not the steepest part.


Here is an example of Phlox in all the variations of its whitish-purplish-pinkish glory.

White Chief

Hello White Chief! The peak is square topped and this is where you first see a glimpse of the canyon, which our 2 new trail friends called “enchanting”. (Hi Dean and Dave!)

White Chief

Enchanting canyon, to be sure, but where is the sunshine now?

White Chief

I tried to find the exact scene that I used in the coloring book drawing, but someone moved the logs or something. Some years they tilt the trail steeper than others, but this year they just messed with the logs. Who is this “they” and where is the sunshine??

White Chief

White Chief has many natural caves and several sinkholes.

White Chief

Love the dramatic lighting, but I think we might get wet.


Not Trail Guy. He’s not getting wet with his high-tech poncho. He sort of looked like Moses, if he had pulled his arms out of the garbage bag and held his walking stick like a staff.

White Chief

Look at all this water! I’m outta here.

White Chief

See you later, White Chief.



Commissioned Pencil Drawing Gets Fun

Posted by on Jun 23, 2016 in commissions, drawing | No Comments

Of course a commissioned pencil drawing is fun for me. I LOVE to draw in pencil.

When I draw, there are several steps. First, I choose the size and location on the paper. Second, I lay out all the shapes in a light outline. Third, oh boy, this is the party, I shade.

Shading is how things go from a 2 dimensional piece of paper with height and width (in case you were wondering, the word “height” is pronounced “hite”, not “hithe” ) to an apparent 3 dimensional scene. Shading adds distance, texture and depth.


I don’t expect you to be all chills and thrills about this, but you’ve got to admit it is starting to “look just like a picher” as people often say to me when I do art events. Those folks probably say “hite”  and “gotta” too. Prolly.

Coloring books will be available again on July 1, 2016. You may order, but it will involve a wait.

Commissioned Pencil Drawing Begun

Posted by on Jun 22, 2016 in commissions, drawing | No Comments

I began the commissioned pencil drawing for Found Friend of a view out of the window of a chapel at St. Anthony Retreat Center in Three Rivers. It was pure pleasure to draw in pencil after months of book designing, coloring book drawing in ink and oil painting.

I LOVE to draw in pencil, particularly to draw architectural subjects. A friend and customer once told me that he thinks I am an art-chitect. 😎

This is the beginnings of the drawing for Found Friend.LB #1

It was fairly simply to lay out and begin the shading.

To be continued. . .

Coloring books will be available again on July 1, 2016. You may order, but it will involve a wait.

Sketches for Commissioned Pencil Drawing

Posted by on Jun 21, 2016 in commissions, drawing | No Comments

A commissioned pencil drawing is a drawing someone pays you to draw specifically for her. Found Friend asked me to draw a view out the windows of the small chapel at St. Anthony Retreat Center in Three Rivers.

First, I took photos.

Second, I did 2 sketches to see if either one fit her vision.

LB sketches

Found Friend chose A.

Tomorrow I’ll show the beginning of the commissioned pencil drawing.

Coloring books will be available again on July 1, 2016. You may order, but it will involve a wait.

A Found Friend Commissions A Pencil Drawing

Posted by on Jun 20, 2016 in commissions, drawing | No Comments

“Commissioned Pencil Drawing” is a straightforward title for a nice story of friendship and inspiration.

I have a friend from summer camp when we were in grade school. We cannot remember the summer we met. We lost touch. She and my older sister became friends as adults.

Last summer I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Happier by Gretchen Rubin. Love her writing, her podcast, her way of thinking. . . for some reason that particular post was so interesting to me that I took time to read the comments. I recognized the married name of my old friend in one of the comments! Her name was clickable, so I followed links, found a picture and recognized her! She had her own blog and a contact button, so I emailed her and she REMEMBERED ME!

But wait. It gets weirder. Would you believe that is the only time she has EVER commented on a national blog?? And it was the only time I have ever taken the time to read the comments on Gretchen’s blog?

We now have a great email correspondence and have gotten together several times. She is a fabulous human, a deep thinker, a thoughtful and kind person, and a Major Blessing in my life. To protect her privacy, I will call her “Found Friend”.

What does this have to do with a commissioned pencil drawing?

Found Friend spent a bit of time at St. Anthony Retreat Center in Three Rivers several years ago, and was struck by a view out the windows of one of the chapels. When she visited me this spring, we went there and sat inside that chapel so she could show me the view because she wanted to commission me to draw that view in pencil.

She insisted that we conduct business in my normal way, no special friend discounts or freebies. This always feels weird to me, but I remember something a wise friend told me years ago: “If your friends won’t do business with you, who will?”

Here are a few photos I took that day.

Small chapel at St. Anthony's

Small chapel at St. Anthony’s

Alta Peak

Alta Peak

IMG_2623 IMG_2624

Tomorrow I will show you the 2 sketches I did for my Found Friend to consider and choose.

Coloring books will be available again on July 1, 2016. You may order, but it will involve a wait.

Mineral King, Because it is Friday

Posted by on Jun 17, 2016 in Mineral King, Photography | No Comments

After a harrowing week, most of which doesn’t not belong on a public blog on the World Wide Web, I ran away to Mineral King for a much needed respite.

It was overcast and a bit rainy. That’s fine. We have a wood stove for cooking and heat, and I always have my knitting.

In between, there were some walks around the valley floor. Strolls, really.

In gardening, it is tricky to find blue flowers. In Mineral King, that is one of the main colors of the early season flowers.

blue lips

The aptly named “Blue Lips”.


“Sierra Bluebells” are also called “Languid Ladies”.

forget me not

Sierra Forget Me Nots look just like the Alaskan state flower, same name minus the Sierra part. Duh. Sometimes these come in pink. So do the “Languid Ladies”. Weird, but maybe they are like hydrangeas and depend upon the make up of the soil. These are also called “Sierra Stickseed” because when they go to seed, they stick to your bootlaces (or the velcro on the straps of your Tevas, if you are like me in your hiking footwear).

honeymoon cabin

Wonderful flow of water, here in the east fork of the Kaweah River next to the Honeymoon Cabin. If you are in Mineral King, you can learn about some of the history in this little building. You might need to bring glasses and a flashlight if you are over 45.

Farewell Gap

The evening is looking hopeful for a good hiking day tomorrow. This is the alpen glow on Farewell Gap.

Mineral King

Oh yes, a bright clear day for hiking to White Chief!

To be continued next Friday. . .

Coloring books will be available again on July 1, 2016. You may order, but it will involve a wait. Thank you for your patience.