12 More Reasons to Take Drawing Lessons

Posted by on Aug 30, 2016 in drawing, Lessons | 2 Comments

Drawing lessons from me, not just drawing lessons in general, although learning to draw from me might be a problem if you live in Oklahoma or Minnesota.

  1. Because learning to draw is on your bucket list
  2. Because you had a mean art “teacher” who made you feel like an idiot and you want to undo some of that psychological scarring
  3. Because you used to draw but think you might have forgotten how
  4. Because you don’t like the way you draw
  5. Because you don’t know how to draw
  6. Because your mom/wife/grandma/sister/husband/boyfriend made you
  7. Because you always thought it looked fun
  8. Because other people are having so much fun in drawing lessons
  9. Because you always said you’d learn new skills after you retired
  10. Because it is only $55 a month and therefore much more affordable than violin lessons
  11. Because it is safer than horseback riding lessons (ask Lou about this)
  12. Because I am a dang good drawing teacher

That’s really only 11 reasons, because #6 is NOT a reason to take lessons.

You can learn more about drawing lessons here.


12 Reasons To Take Drawing Lessons (from me!)

Posted by on Aug 29, 2016 in drawing, Lessons | 2 Comments


“Armed”, pencil drawing by Lou Womack

Drawing lessons begin on Tuesday, September 6.

I might have a little space in a class or two, and can’t find my waiting list. Are you thinking about taking lessons? Here are 12 reasons to consider drawing lessons:

  1. Because you were told it would be a miracle if you ever learned to draw
  2. Because you want to be the first person who proves me wrong when I say that I can teach anyone to draw
  3. Because you want to be able to sketch ideas in order to design clothing
  4. Because you want to hone the skills you already have
  5. Because you need something to do
  6. Because you want to meet women (That’s what Ralph said.)
  7. Because you paint a little and your shapes look wrong
  8. Because you always knew you could if you had a little help learning how
  9. Because if you don’t pay me monthly, you won’t bother drawing
  10. Because you think it might help you sit still
  11. Because you are about to go to art school and are afraid you will look incompetent
  12. Because you are an elementary teacher and drawing skills are expected of you
  13. (a baker’s dozen, perhaps?) Because maybe you could get as good as Lou (see “Armed” above)

You can learn more about drawing lessons here.


Trail Guy Gets Social

Posted by on Aug 26, 2016 in Mineral King | 2 Comments

Trail Guy is an introvert. However, sometimes he mingles and socializes with animals.


Hey, Spot!

Sometimes he socializes with people.


This is Craig. He is at the East Fork of the Kaweah River, below Atwell Mill. Reminds me of an oil painting, appropriately titled “Below Atwell”.1501 atwell


This is Blair. He is very social, and while talking to someone on the trail, that someone told Blair, “You look a lot like Robert Redford!” (He does.) Trail Guy was waiting patiently on the trail above until he got tired of waiting. Then he yelled, “Come on, Robert! Let’s Go!” (I have it from a reliable source that Redford’s friends call him “Bob”. I’ve let Trail Guy know in case he needs that info in the future.)


What? No people? Trail Guy, where are your peeps?? (Not telling where this is, nope, gotta keep the people out of some of the really special places. Except now Blair knows.)



Blair is taller than Bob.


Isn’t this fabulous? Trail Guy is developing a great sense of what makes a good photo (combined with my cropping and editing skills, of course.)


Wait – is that Blair or is that Bob??


Here is Trail Guy with Keith. They are so cute in their matching Mineral King tee shirts and straw hats.


Poor Trail Guy is just worn out from all this socializing. The hiking doesn’t wear him out. Remember, he is Trail Guy!

Fruits, Nuts and Flakes


The current state of my fruits (no nuts or flakes) in progress

A friend said he disagrees with the idea that California is land of fruits and nuts. He said it is more like a bowl of granola: fruits, nuts and flakes.

I wonder why there is a correlation between flakes and artists. Artists have often been called flaky, and I work very diligently to blast that stereotype from my profession.

In my experience, it is contractors who are flaky. When I find a builder or a repairman who returns calls, shows up on time and actually calls when he cannot make it, I rejoice and spread the word. They are rare birds.

And here is a not so rare bird.


Hey, Rabbi Google (as we were taught to call it while in Israel), these are oil paintings – an orange, pomegranates, and a California quail.

Payback to Mean Art Teachers

Posted by on Aug 24, 2016 in Oil Paintings | 2 Comments

When I begin a new painting, it is ugly. Messy. Rough. Weird.


Those are discouraging words, here at my home on the range.

However, after oil painting for more than 10 years, I’ve come to accept that the start to an oil painting is ugly. Gotta start somewhere! My method of layering, called “glazing” (are your eyes glazing over yet?) brings improvement with each pass over the canvas.

Honestly, it is fun sometimes to just slap paint on in any old way and think, “So what? It’s a long process, and it will get better, so who cares?”

This attitude and approach is probably causing some of you to twitch, and would cause some of my former art teachers to palm their foreheads or bash something or yell at current students.

Payback, you former mean art teachers, payback. I never did like mean teachers who yelled or criticized, but always loved the ones who taught. (Thank you again, Mr. Stroben!)

Now I get to be both an artist, and a drawing teacher. Always helpful (I hope!), honest, and ever so slightly weird, but never never mean to my students.

Anyone want to sign up for drawing lessons?


More About Fruit and Nuts

Posted by on Aug 23, 2016 in commissions, drawing, Oil Paintings | No Comments

I paint a lot of fruit. I don’t paint very many nuts.

I drew walnuts a few years ago (feels like 5 years, probably is 10).


Wow. That’s pretty good, if I do say so myself! And I do. I LOVE to draw. However, drawings need frames, and oil paintings sell better than pencil. Sometimes I ask my boss if I can draw, and she says I can after I finish all my work. Sigh.

A couple of years ago (feels like 2, must be 4), a friend commissioned me to do some 2×2″ paintings of all the best selling produce in California. Maybe it wasn’t the best selling – maybe it was the crops that California produces the most of.

nutsThose are the only paintings I’ve ever done of nuts – a walnut on the upper left and almonds on the upper right.

Pretty cool idea, eh?

Fruit and No Nuts (or It’s Good To Be The Boss)

Posted by on Aug 22, 2016 in Oil Paintings | No Comments

Happy Birthday, Judy-O!!

Have you heard California referred to as “the land of fruit and nuts”?

If you take the statement figuratively, it is referring to people in the state.

If you take the statement literally, it is referring to the vast amount of food produced here in Central California.

As a Central California artist, it is my duty, nay, my calling, to portray these things.


There are fall shows coming, and these require items to sell. When I do shows in places other than Three Rivers, paintings of fruits sell well. They sell steadily all year, and definitely do better down the hill than the mountain scenes.

That lower painting? It was this:


It has been collecting dust since January. Chances are good that if I didn’t like it enough to finish painting it, no one would like it enough to write a check for it.

I asked my boss and she said I could cover it with pomegranates.

It’s good to be the boss.

Signs of Late Summer in Mineral KIng

Posted by on Aug 19, 2016 in Mineral King, Photography | 2 Comments


Mineral King cabins have the most visitors in August, as evidenced by more cars (No need to keep your hood up – it doesn’t deter the marmots, and they aren’t busy in cars in August.)


The colors are getting more yellow because. . .


. . . the grasses are drying out and there is goldenrod in bloom.


See? Goldenrod, and the flowers and grasses are tall.


This is not a sign of fall, although it could be a place to fall. It is a style of trail building called “rip-rap”. This is looking down at a section of such trail. It is hard to walk up and even harder to walk down. You’ll be pleased to know I didn’t fall – thank you for your concern.


Squint and look across the stream. Fireweed is in bloom, and it usually appears in August. The stream is low, although not sluggish.


The aspens are still green, and the grasses beneath them are still green. Not fall, just August, late summer.




This is how August looks along the Nature Trail, from Cold Springs Campground up to the actual Mineral King valley.

Mineral King has a quick summer. Gotta go, gotta experience, gotta enjoy, don’t blink, because boom, it is over. (The temperature in the early morning of the day I took these photos was 38 degrees.)


Posted by on Aug 18, 2016 in Personal | 2 Comments

WARNING: This post is very long, entirely personal and has nothing to do with my art or Mineral King.

Darrell Heinrichs, 1956-2016

Darrell Heinrichs, 1956-2016

When I was in third grade, a new family started attending my church. I became friends with Deanne, a first grader. We are still friends, with layers and decades of history and experiences binding us together.

Deanne had two older brothers. The oldest, Darrell, was 3 years older than me, so I mostly ignored him. When we were in our twenties, we were both living in Visalia, and we starting hanging out together. He was cool, charismatic, fun, friendly, and good-looking, an important feature among people in their twenties.

Last week we lost Darrell. I wrote up some thoughts to share with his family, and decided to share an abbreviated version with you, Faithful Blog Readers. These are life lessons that I learned from him.

Lesson #1: Help people when you are able.

When I needed to pack up my apartment and put everything in storage. Darrell helped me do that, and a sub-lesson I learned from him was how to efficiently pack a storage unit. He was a hard worker and showed me how to take advantage of every available inch. I was a little shocked to see him turn my brand new couch on its side, but he knew what he was doing.

Lesson #2: Find fun, make fun, and enjoy life every place possible.

Darrell had a distinct laugh, one that another friend described as “stuttery”. If it could be spelled, it would truly be “heh-heh- heh”. While shuttling my possessions to the storage unit, he made a shortcut across a vacant lot. I said, “Where are you going??” and he said, “I’m not driving the long way around, heh-heh-heh!” So we bounced across the vacant lot and across the sidewalk and down a curb in a borrowed pick-up.

At a high school youth retreat, the youth sponsor’s door came off the hinges, and the bell tower mysteriously played “Smoke on the Water” instead of a hymn.  I remember a TPing incident that involved a lot of shouting and laughter and fast driving away. If there was something that was on the edge, scary, or risky, Darrell was usually involved.

Lesson #3: Be a gentleman, regardless of the circumstances.

I lent him a car at a time when I had two, and it was a mistake. There was a lot of chaos and upset, but the car was returned, and nothing bad happened. Later, Darrell apologized to me for causing trouble. I was touched by his concern.

When we were hanging around together, it was often with another girl friend of mine. Darrell was concerned about our reputations, because we were “good girls” and he was a “bad boy”. We both reassured him that we weren’t worried, because if he needed good girls in his life to help him get on track, then we were there for him.

Lesson #4: Always work hard. 

No matter what adverse circumstances Darrell created for himself, he managed to find work. He liked to be outdoors, and to do physical labor. He was never afraid of work, and usually chose farming. There was that tomato project at his parents’ place early on. . . I don’t think it turned out well, but he didn’t seem to get discouraged.

Lesson #5: Often our choices cause difficult consequences for more than just ourselves.

Life is all about choices and consequences. We all make good and bad choices, and the final lesson I learned from Darrell is that our choices definitely affect other people. He didn’t use discernment when he generously offered a room to someone he barely knew, someone who killed him without mercy. The consequences of that decision are affecting all of us who cared about him.

I believe that Darrell is now with Jesus. We were baptized at the same time, when I was 8 and he was 11, along with his brother, my sister and another friend. We all were young, but every one of us sincerely believed at that time. A number of years later, I learned something important from a wise Bible teacher, who happened to be Darrell’s own mom. She said in reference to John 3:16 that “Eternal means eternal. How can something be eternal if it can be taken back?”

So, in spite of him not being a current part of my life, he was part of my past and will be again in the future.


My Commute

Posted by on Aug 17, 2016 in Photography | No Comments

I commute a few yards to work. It’s an easy route, so sometimes I take the long route. This is what I saw on the way to work one morning in early August.IMG_1726 IMG_1727 IMG_1730