Getting Fancy Outside My Studio

Posted by on Nov 30, 2016 in Murals, the business of art, Thoughts | 3 Comments

There is some term to describe what happens when people buy new pillows for their couches, and end up having to remodel the entire house. You know how it goes – new pillows make the couch look shabby, so a new couch is necessary. Then the rest of the furniture looks terrible and has to be replaced. This precipitates a paint job for the living room, which leads to needing new windows for the entire house, which becomes a project of knocking down walls and adding on rooms. 

I got that new floor in my studio, and suddenly the mural on the front door didn’t suit me any more. It might have been there for 10 years, and certainly I can paint better now. Instead of refreshing it, I am replacing it.


This is how it looked before I started. You’d think I’d paint the outside of the building or re-side it or something. First I need to remember the name of that syndrome for why one should never buy new pillows.

First, a new sky and a blue line down the middle.

First, a new sky and a blue line down the middle.


Next, a new mountain and blocking in of the next main spaces. The space to the right of the blue line is still the old mural.


Sorry, Samson, you don’t get to help, and chewing on paintbrushes is forbidden.


The blue line was the edge of this juniper tree. Now that everything is blocked in, I can begin details, if my brushes haven’t been chewed up by Samson.


Yes, I’m talking about you, little destructive feline.


Some detail is now added to the mountain and the juniper.


And a bit more to the background, trees, shrubs, and ground.

The daylight was fading, so I quit for the day. It might be February before I get back to it.

Getting Fancy in my Studio

Posted by on Nov 29, 2016 in the business of art | 2 Comments

This shocks me, but must be evidence that I am having fun: I have been in my little shed of a studio since January of 2002. That is FIFTEEN YEARS!!

All this time I have been thankful to have the little building on the property and haven’t given it much thought. Then, the Courthouse Gallery in Exeter got new wood-look floors, and suddenly my chipped paint on concrete floor became almost unbearable.

I met with the man who did the floor in Exeter. We agreed that I’d paint him a mural and he’d do me a floor. He came to Three Rivers and gave me an estimate. Then, silence. I spoke to his right-hand-man several times, which resulted in empty promises.

Finally, I called American Floors in Visalia, who came highly recommended. Instead of painting him a mural, I wrote him a check. It was truly worth it, and I am now feeling quite fancy at work.


Hey, Fancy-pants studio, don’t you have people to empty your trash for you??



Shows, Festivals, Bazaars and Boutiques

Posted by on Nov 28, 2016 in Events, the business of art | No Comments

These are all words that mean schlepping my work and supporting structures to some place (usually with the assistance of Trail Guy), setting it up to look appealing, and standing around greeting people and selling them things. 

Not “selling” selling, just helping people acquire things they want to own or give away. I don’t want you to be afraid to come to one of these events!

It is a little bit hard to leave home on a sunny fall morning.

It is a little bit hard to leave home on a sunny fall morning.

November is the month of these events, and it is very important for artists who want to earn a living to participate. I meet interesting people, kind people, warm people, weird people, boring people, and see many old friends (who fit into the first 3 descriptions).

"But why must you leave?" "Because you eat too much, little Samson."

“But why must you leave, large Human?”
“Because you eat too much, little Samson.”

It’s all part of the business of art. People with real jobs who make art for fun can skip these events; this Central California artist cannot. Not complaining, just ‘splaining. (“Splain it to me, Lucy. . .”)

My little piece of real estate for 2 days at the Perfect Gift Boutique

My little piece of real estate for 2 days at the Perfect Gift Boutique

Sam McKinney's gorgeous gourds with afternoon light coming through the window.

Sam McKinney’s gorgeous gourds with afternoon light coming through the window.

Looking out over the room filled with Kaweah Artisans.

Looking out over the room filled with Kaweah Artisans.

On Saturday, December 3, I will participate in one last event for the season. I’ll tell about it on Friday’s blog post. This one will be different!

Perfect Gift Boutique

Posted by on Nov 25, 2016 in Events, Three Rivers | No Comments

perfect-giftSomeone said this is our 16th 17th annual Perfect Gift Boutique (the same someone who made the little ad above). That is difficult to fathom. Must be having fun, because time is flying!

To get to the Three Rivers Arts Center, head east on Highway 198. After you pass the first commercial part of town (Post Office, grocery store, Quality Inn, Pizza Factory, etc.) go about another 1/2 mile. Cross the river on the North Fork bridge, and the Arts Center is the first building on your left. It looks like this:


I don’t know the address and don’t know if Mr. Google will either, so you may have to find this using the old fashioned method of following directions and paying attention. Rough, I know, but sometimes that’s just part of living in rural Tulare County.



Posted by on Nov 23, 2016 in Photography, Three Rivers | 5 Comments

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New Coloring Book in Progress

Posted by on Nov 22, 2016 in coloring book, the business of art | No Comments

A few weeks back I told you that I am working on a new coloring book for grownups. (I use the childish sounding word “grownups” instead of “adult” because of the negative connotations on the internet with the “a” word. We wouldn’t want anyone to jump to conclusions about the appropriateness of my coloring books, would we?)

I am working with a committee on this project. If there are 5 people on a committee, there might be 6 opinions. Here are some coloring book pages that won’t be appearing in the new book.


Pomegranates are not a large crop of Tulare County.


There is a dairyman on the committee who will supply me with photos of his cows.


Someone on the committee said this looks like the midwest. I replied, “The photos came from Strathmore!” Still didn’t fly.


These tractors are too antique for the committee’s taste. That is why they are so cute.

This sort of thing is just part of the business of art. Every situation is a new set of challenges. Often I don’t anticipate things, such as my main contact getting overridden by a committee. Who knew to ask such a question? This project is so fun that I dove in fast, rather than thinking through of all the “what ifs”.

I ought to guess these things in advance and bid jobs higher in anticipation of such potholes or speed bumps or detours.

But I don’t consider these pages as a waste – I was practicing my ability to convert photos into coloring book designs, practicing my design abilities, and maybe someday I’ll find a way to turn these into a special coloring book.

Yes, I am stringing you along, not telling you what the project is or who it is for. You may be able to guess. . .

Reading Rabbit Report

Posted by on Nov 21, 2016 in Oil Paintings, Reading | No Comments

If you are new to this blog, I’d like to introduce you to Reading Rabbit. This oil painting was a class assignment when I took half a semester of a painting class at the local junior college. I signed up for a photorealism class, and it was combined with a studio painting class. The instructor ignored the photorealism part, so I quit the class. (Besides, it was too dark to see well in the room, he played rap “music”, and it was 70 miles round trip. Any questions??)

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

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

But what about the Reading Rabbit? I love to read, and sometimes I post what I’ve been reading on the blog. By showing this painting, it sort of fits with my theme, which is Realistic detailed oil paintings and drawings of Tulare County, California (and occasionally beyond). Besides, I want the followers of the blog and my art to know a bit more about me than just my art. It is a marketing thing, but more than that, it is a friendship thing to share oneself.

By the way, thank you, Ed B., for introducing yourself at the Holiday Bazaar. It is a thrill to meet someone who reads and enjoys all this blathering and bloviating!

  1. Everyone Brave is Forgiven, Chris Cleave, has been highly recommended by several book sites. I chose it because it is based on letters written by the author’s grandparents during WWII. The novel is based in England, and I expected to like it more than I did. Most people love it.
  2. Angle of Repose, Wallace Stegner, first published in the 1970s, often shows up on people’s lists of top books of all time. I read it awhile ago and didn’t like it. I reread it because I owned it (not now – donated it to the library) and because I thought my tastes might have changed. It reinforced for me that if I don’t find the main character likable or the setting to be a place I want to be, then I don’t enjoy the book.
  3. Be Frank With Me, Julia Claiborne Johnson, was one of the best novels I’ve read recently. Frank is a kid with shocking intelligence and poor social skills. The writing makes him come alive and the story is very well told.
  4. Maeve’s Times: In Her Own Words is a collection of Maeve Binchy’s essays printed in the Irish Times newspaper. It is arranged by decade and is a look into the the nonfiction writing life of my favorite novelist. She was wonderful!
  5. Maeve Binchy, the biography, Piers Dudgeon, was irresistible because of my love for Maeve’s novels. Her characterization is so lifelike and her storytelling so real that it made me want to know more about her. Like most biographies, there was too much information, too many names (many of them “Mary”). But I learned about my favorite novelist. If you love her work, you will enjoy this book (and book #4 above).
  6. Falling Upward: Spirituality for the Second Half of Life, Richard Rohr, was another book that I keep hearing about. I made it through the first four chapters and then decided that I am either stupid or intellectually lazy. Either way, I am 57 years old and I don’t have to finish books that I don’t like.


Mineral King in November

Posted by on Nov 18, 2016 in Mineral King, Personal | 6 Comments

It is Friday, and I have some recent Mineral King photos for you. Trail Guy and a friend went up the hill for a day. He is retired, I am not. That’s okay – he provides photos for you who love Mineral King and I post them. We are a team here.

Check out the red tree at the Sweet Ranch.



That is a hornet’s nest near the Tar Gap parking lot (1/2 mile below the end of the road.)


Say hello to Steven!


Snow? But Steven was wearing shorts!


Yep. Snow.

Now, time for a Samson update. He is still cute, and he is still biting us.


Hey, Samson, these turkeys are not your friends.


After Trail Guy took this photo, he rescued Samson from the aggressive birds. That little dude is fearless. Better not get too attached, because he might try to befriend or even challenge a bobcat.


Sure, try to not get attached to this bundle of joy. He’ll attach himself to you with his teeth!


Is Samson stalking the coffee mug??

How to Buy 2017 Calendar

Posted by on Nov 17, 2016 in the business of art | No Comments


It took awhile, but I finally figured out how to add The Bridges of Tulare County to the For Sale part of my website.

The price is $15.00 and it includes sales tax and mailing. This is because I have always (yes, always) been a great admirer and loyal customer of LLBean, and they don’t charge shipping and handling. (I think “handling” is an excuse to raise prices.)

Click the word calendar to go to the buying page.

Or, mail a check to me at P.O. Box 311, Three Rivers, CA 93271.

Or, ask me when you see me. I’ll put some in my car. (Even with 210,000 miles, it is capable of carrying a few calendars.)

Official Donation Policy

Posted by on Nov 16, 2016 in the business of art, Thoughts | 8 Comments

An artist friend shared her donation policy with me. I retyped it to apply to me.

It has worked for my friend, but not one single organization has ever taken me up on this.  However, the requests have certainly tapered off since adopting this policy.

In case you are wondering if I am a complete curmudgeon, let it be known that I do donate occasionally, simply because I want to support a particular organization or two. donations