November is the Busiest Month

Posted by on Oct 31, 2016 in Events | No Comments

Tomorrow begins the busiest month of my business. November is the month of boutiques and bazaars, almost every weekend.

The first event is this coming Saturday in someone’s backyard in Visalia. I think of it as the Backyard Boutique. Yes, I know it is obvious, but the alliteration is too fun to pass up.

The theme of this boutique is ONLY ONE. This means there will only be one person with each type of item. It won’t be one of those shows where there is mostly jewelry or nothing but those boring old oil painters. . . ho hum. . .

DON’T WORRY! I won’t be any more boring than I usually am. I will have 4 different coloring books and my new calendar, The Bridges of Tulare County, along with oil paintings, The Cabins of Wilsonia, notecard packages, and probably some other things I am forgetting right now because there is a ferocious little cat wreaking havoc in my space.

Here is the official flyer. Mr. Google can help you find the place. I certainly hope he helps me find it too.



Shhhh, I’m Working

Posted by on Oct 28, 2016 in Personal, Thoughts | 6 Comments

Please forgive the silence on the blog. I am working on a project that requires focus. The customer is away for awhile so I haven’t been given permission to tell about the project.

Samson can keep you company while I work.

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Speaking of Coloring Books

Posted by on Oct 26, 2016 in coloring book | No Comments

Who was speaking of coloring books?

I was. Yesterday. I said that I thought about skipping a calendar this year because I was so busy with coloring books.

I am at work on #5 now. I haven’t cleared it with the customer to reveal their identity (yikes, I just used a plural pronoun. . . never mind, this isn’t supposed to be about my editing skills).

However, I will show you the beginnings stages and one of the new drawings.



Doesn’t this look hard to color? It is supposed to be challenging – these coloring books are for grown-ups.

That’s a little weird. Real grownups need to wear magnifying glasses to see these sections!

2017 Calendar Coming Soon

Posted by on Oct 25, 2016 in drawing, Oil Paintings | 2 Comments

Like it or not, 2017 is coming in a few months. Why wouldn’t one like it? Because one may have not gotten used to 2016 yet. Why would one like it? Because a new calendar is coming.

The Bridges of Tulare County

Back cover of 2017 calendar The Bridges of Tulare County

Back cover of 2017 calendar The Bridges of Tulare County

This idea came from the show that celebrated 100 years of the National Parks. I realized that my art is heavy in the subject of bridges, because they combine the best of scenery with architecture.

There aren’t very many picturesque bridges here in the fly-over country of California, AKA Central California. Thus, some of the bridges appear more than once.

The calendar includes oil paintings, pencil drawings, and one colored pencil drawing. My favorite, the Oak Grove bridge, shows up many times. It is my calendar and I don’t have to be fair and balanced. (I hope you share my bias.) 

With all the work on coloring books this year and not too much time to draw or paint, I contemplated not bothering with a calendar. Then 3 different people asked me what my calendar was going to be this year, and that’s all it took to convince me to make one.

Some of these you may have seen before, and others are new, specifically created for the calendar.

The Bridges of Tulare County, 2017 calendar – not yet ready to be ordered, but coming soon.



New Mural in Three Rivers, Chapter 4

Posted by on Oct 24, 2016 in Murals, Three Rivers | 4 Comments


The mural at the Three Rivers History Museum is now finished!

Beginning of the day

Beginning of the day


End of the day

(Yes, the light for photographing the mural is different in the morning than in the afternoon. You are observant about details like that!)

The lower background, the foreground and the trees all needed refining. Louise also noticed that someone climbing the tower would have to make a giant leap to reach the top, so I painted in another step. I added a bit more texture in the shaded parts of Empire Mt. along with 3 wild blue flax. These things are only apparent in person.


Best viewed from a bit of distance, perhaps down the hall as you enter the building. This is easier than viewing it from the back of a fast horse, or perhaps from a speeding car. However, you will miss the 3 wild blue flax if viewing it from down the hall.

Life is a series of decisions, choices and consequences.

There will be more. . . stay tuned.



New Mural in Three Rivers, Chapter 3

Posted by on Oct 21, 2016 in Mineral King, Murals, Three Rivers | 2 Comments

The Mineral King mural in Three Rivers is in this building.

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This is how the mural looked when I arrived on Day #2. Tower is in place, background sort of finished, trees located.


In the last post I said it is quiet in the museum. Ahem. Not on Day #2! A cabin facade is getting built behind me, and every hammer blow or power tool is amplified in the empty room with a tile floor. It is going to look great, and on the back wall will be a window with a painted view of something Mineral King.


On to the day’s work. . .

Trees in place

Trees in place

The tower needs more work

The tower needs more work

Something is wrong with that tower, but I can't see how to fix it in the photo.

Something is wrong with that tower, but I can’t see how to fix it in the photo.


Louise called someone who remembers the tower from when it was still standing. He verified that it had 4 legs. But, we couldn't figure out where the 4th one belonged or how those steps worked.

Louise called someone who remembers the tower from when it was still standing. He verified that it had 4 legs. But, we couldn’t figure out where the 4th one belonged or how those steps worked.

The bright sun came in through the skylight and with my strongest magnifier glasses, I figured it out!

First, I painted out that back let in its wrong position.

First, I painted out that back leg from its wrong position.

Then I painted it in the correct position and added the steps.

Then I painted it in the correct position and added the steps. Much better! It is tricky to paint things I’ve never seen, especially when the photos don’t help.


Now the lower background needs more work, along with the foreground.

Those small trees on the lower left look wrong. The trunks don't belong. They are too complete for their small size. Something is out of whack.

Those small trees on the lower left look wrong. The trunks don’t belong. They are too complete for their small size. Something is out of whack.

After putting growing things in the foreground, I painted off the bottoms of those 2 trees. On Day #3, I will figure this out and finish!

The mural started out sort of easy, but on Day #2 I was just making stuff up without photos to help. That’s not easy at all.

New Mural In Three Rivers, Chapter Two

Posted by on Oct 19, 2016 in Mineral King, Murals, Three Rivers | 2 Comments

I may have estimated my time to be longer than anticipated for the new mural at the Three Rivers Museum.. Perhaps the customer will think I am over charging. Guess I’d better moan on and on about how difficult this is.


I left you hanging on this cliff yesterday. Moan, moan, this is sooo hard.


Trying to match the terrain and not sure what to do with the lower edges, since I have no photo of a scene that no longer exists. I’ve sketched in the tower and the trunks of a few trees to see if we like the placement and the size.


Let’s have a straight on view so you can appreciate the difficulty of this task.


This is a photo of the top of Empire so I can see the configuration. If you show up in person, I can point to where the tram towers were. And these are my paint colors used so far. Doesn’t this look really difficult??


Just bumbling along. At this stage, it seemed time to add the needles on the red firs. Did you know those were red firs? I bet you thought they were Sequoias. This is why I get paid The Big Bucks. . . I know this stuff.


This is how the mural looked when I left for the day on Monday.


No, THIS is how it looked when I left for the day. I hope it is how it looks when I return next.

All that moaning about difficulty was fake. This might be the easiest location I have ever painted in. Indoors, consistent temperature, consistent light, very few interruptions, no trucks roaring by, and much can be reached without even climbing on the ladders.

Let’s have another look at Samson. He’s waiting for me to get home from work.



New Mural in Three Rivers

Posted by on Oct 18, 2016 in Mineral King, Murals, Three Rivers | 10 Comments

Yesterday I began a new mural in the Three Rivers Museum’s new Mineral King Room. The internet was on vacation, so you get to see the beginnings today.

This is the only photo I have of the Three Rivers Museum. Paul Bunyon doesn’t belong here, except that Carroll Barnes of Three Rivers carved him from a Sequoia.

Paul Bunyon in Three Rivers at the museum.

Paul Bunyon in Three Rivers at the museum.

blank wall

Blank wall in the Mineral King room designed by Gary Cort and built by Pete Crandall.

outline, ready to paint

The first step is to find the edges of the mural and mask it for painting. This is 5 feet wide by 7 feet high.


The sky is the first thing, because I almost always paint what is farthest away first.

sketchy sketch

How’s this for a sketchy sketch as a guide for the mural? Yeah, I know. It’s sketchy.

wrong gray

I mixed up Purple Mountains Majesty, plus a basic gray. It was the wrong color of gray – not enough contrast to PMM.

better gray

Better gray to complement Purple Mountains Majesty. (Why, yes, I did make up my own paint color name! Thank you for noticing!)


Now we’re cooking with gas.

What am I painting? So glad you asked. This is the upper reaches of Empire Mountain, which contains multiple mines. There was a tram with a cable running on towers to carry buckets of ore from the mines down to the stamp mill. I will paint a tram tower in the front. You can see the beginnings of it tomorrow.

Meanwhile, would you like to say hello to Samson?



Final Fall Visit to Mineral King

Posted by on Oct 14, 2016 in Mineral King | 14 Comments

Yesterday morning at 8:30 a.m. Trail Guy was reading the weather, and together we faced the unpleasant reality that we might be closing our Mineral King cabin during a rain shower if we waited until the weekend. So, by a little after 9, we were in the Botmobile heading up the hill to git-‘er-dun.

Rather than go on and on about what it is like to close the cabin for the season, let’s just all revel in the beauty that yesterday provided.

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Next week I begin a mural. I’ll show you step by step but may not be posting until the end of the day so you can see each day’s work.




Cen. Calif. Artist Actually Works

Posted by on Oct 13, 2016 in Oil Paintings | No Comments

Lest you think all I do is travel and walk, here is evidence to the contrary.


Red on green retouched; green on red, just begun. These are on 5×7″ boards for displaying on little easels.


Whoa, these sure look messy on the first pass! They are also on little boards, 4×4″. Can you tell what they will be when they grow up?


The Big Trees, AKA Sequoia Gigantea, AKA redwoods. This is a regular subject for me. This is 8×10″.


More of the same, also 8×10″. It will take several passes for this one to look like anything worthy of wall space.


Lake Kaweah or Kaweah Lake? Around here we say, “The Lake”. If someone says, “What lake?” then the answer is simply “Kaweah”. Hence, the confusion as to order of the words.

One last painting begun. It is the season of the freebie. This one will go to the Courthouse Gallery in Exeter for their annual fundraising auction. I’m happy to donate to the wonderful place that allows me space for teaching drawing lessons. However, I will not be able to attend the fund raiser, because the stress of watching no one bid for something I painted might just reduce me to giving up my business, stabbing myself with my knitting needles, and taking in enormous numbers of stray cats.