Weird Connection

Posted by on Feb 28, 2017 in commissions, drawing, Personal, Thoughts | 2 Comments

In 1994 I was commissioned by a woman to do 2 pencil collage drawings as gifts for her sons. Their last name was Dalton, and the young men had started a company to sell a special recipe of BBQ sauce, capitalizing on their ancestors, the notorious Dalton Gang. The gang robbed a bank in Coffeyville, Kansas and died in the raid, along with 4 innocent citizens. This incident in history is a huge part of the identity of Coffeyville, 125 years later. (It happened in 1892 – did I do the math right?)

In the past handful of years, I have become friends with a woman who lives in Coffeyville. (Yea, internet!) She is a writer and blogger named Cheryl Barker and this is the link to her site. When I learned where she lives, I told her about the drawings and she was very surprised that I had heard of Coffeyville at all. (She had never heard of Three Rivers, duh.) 

I told her if I ever found pictures of those drawings, I’d send them to her.

Last week I was procrastinating (quite productively, thank you for your concern), and decided to have another look. 

Wow, in the last century I kept appallingly horrible visual records of my work. Here are the two pencil drawings, after scanning the horrid photos and working a bit of photoshop magic on them.

P.S. I googled Dalton Wild Times Enterprises and found nothing.

Rock and Roll, Water in Pencil Drawing

Posted by on Feb 27, 2017 in drawing | 4 Comments

I first drew water for the Irrigation category of the Madera Ag Art show, back in the late 1990s. It was called “The Source” and was raging white water. It won first place, sold, and I didn’t save a copy.

My Dad suggested drawing Lake Kaweah and naming it “Storage” and then drawing the spillway and naming it “Release”. We had plans to visit a few dams for photography, inspiration, and just plan curiosity, but then he got a brain tumor and died in 2000 at age 67. Today would have been his 85th birthday.

I went ahead with “Storage” and “Release”. Both placed in Madera; “Storage” sold and I still have “Release”.

This year I began an absorbing project of drawing flowing water in pencil. It might be related to a sense of utter relief and gratitude for the end of the drought. (Or it could simply be the encouragement of a very dear drawing student named Rosemary.)

Last week I got stuck on a name for this picture, because the real name of the location on the Middle Fork of the Kaweah is truly dreadful.

A friend posted my naming contest to Facebook and then proceeded to email dozens of suggestions. If I’d have any foreknowledge that she would do this and that the response would be so overwhelming, I would have added the caveat that in order to participate, one must subscribe to my blog. Or at the very least, VISIT the blog and use the comment section!!

Sigh. (I’m sighing over my lack of foresight on contest details, not my friend’s reposting to Facebook.)

Anyway, the contest reminded me of a name I had thought of earlier and then forgotten for some stupid middle-aged mush-brain reason. 

The winner is “Rock and Roll”!

Another suggestion sparked an idea, and then I got 2 additional name ideas on my own. So, the water drawings will continue, and some will lose their boring names (Franklin Creek, Base of Hospital Rock) and get new names. I’ll post them one at a time just in case any of the Facebook people show up. I don’t want to scare them away because of a too-long-didn’t-read type of blog post.

Don’t Feel Like Talking

Today is 17 years since my Dad died. I don’t feel like talking. You can look at Samson biting his way out of a paper bag, and then we’ll take a walk in Three Rivers. Maybe later I can draw some water from one of these rushing river photos.

Painting at Home

Posted by on Feb 23, 2017 in Oil Paintings | 3 Comments

Happy Birthday, Ruthie! (Or is it on the 25th? Will I ask this question the rest of our lives?)

Isn’t “Painting at Home” a weird title for someone with a home-based studio?

My painting studio is cold and dark on a rainy day. Sometimes I paint there anyway, using an Ott light and a propane heater. It isn’t ideal, but it is what I have. I can color-correct things when the sun shows up. I am not and never will complain about the gift of precipitation!

Last Thursday and Friday I just couldn’t make myself want to be in the studio. There was a fire in the wood stove in the living room (that’s the way we heat our house), Michael was in the house listening to something interesting on the radio, and Samson was also in the house, behaving himself for a change.

So, I decided to paint in the house on the dining table. Suddenly, Samson was no longer content to sleep in my chair in the living room.

Why yes, yes indeedy I do have a couple of original Vermeer paintings in my dining area. How very observant you must be!

It wasn’t ideal, but it worked. On the 2nd day of painting in the house, I rotated everything around to the other end of the table. It wasn’t ideal either, but it certainly beat being alone in the relative dark and cold of the painting workshop.

By working upside down, I can get my shapes a bit more accurate. It is the photo and canvas that are upside down, not me. Never have figured out how to paint while standing on my head.

This last painting is my current Little-Bit-Too-Hard-For-Me piece. I have a theory that if I am always working on something a little bit too hard that maybe my painting will improve. It is the same idea as lifting weights that are almost too heavy to build muscle. (This is not real advice about physical activity. . . I was a PE disaster and know nothing.)

The other paintings are of Mineral King, because I always need to have that subject matter in my inventory.

Want to Title a Pencil Drawing of Water?

Posted by on Feb 22, 2017 in drawing | 2 Comments

“Life Source” is the title of my latest pencil drawing of water. (It is spoken for, but thank you for your interest.) I borrowed the name from a company that sells water treatment machines. Since water is the source of life, (okay, I know God is the source, but you get my drift here, yes?) it seems like an appropriate title.

Are you confused? Do you think you have already seen this drawing? You might be getting it mixed up with the previous one that I didn’t name. Similar. Flowing, rushing water with rocks. Both on the Kaweah River.

Any ideas for the title on this one? If I choose your suggestion, you will get a prize, as of yet undetermined, just like the title of the drawing.

Welcome, new readers who learned of this blog post via a generous friend’s sharing it on Facebook! I am not on Facebook and don’t know how to reach you unless you EMAIL me via the contact button above (under About the Artist) or COMMENT right here on this post.

On the Easels and On the Needles

Posted by on Feb 21, 2017 in commissions, Oil Paintings, Personal | 3 Comments

This jalapeno is a commissioned oil painting. I’m happy with the colors and will be tightening up the detail next.

The Honeymoon Cabin is a very popular subject. This is from an early evening photo with heightened colors. The size is 8×8″ and will be $100.

Sawtooth is another very popular Mineral King subject. This is 10×10″ and will be $150.

And in case you were wondering if all I do is work, please be reassured that I always find time to knit. A friend is waiting for a new pair of lungs, and there will be a fund raising dinner with silent auction and pick-a-prize items. I made these 2 infinity scarves for the event, and the blue/red/brown one already sold! No worries, I have just finished a brown/teal and have a second one on the needles, which I might be tempted to keep. Kind of tempted to keep the aqua one, but my friend needs to pay for her lung transplant infinitely more than I need another scarf.

Oh wait – you need to see what an infinity scarf looks like, not just all the colors.

Forget it – this one is mine! (Okay, make a large enough contribution to my friend’s lung account and I will send it to you, but it better be a HUGE check – email if you’d like further instructions.)


The Rain Stopped and The Sun Came Out

The rain stopped briefly and the sun came out, so I went for a walk here in Three Rivers. This was on February 12, but there were other things to blog about last week.

Look! The buckeye trees, always precocious, are leafing out already. 

Here is an unobstructed view of Alta Peak and Moro Rock.

The Red Maids are in bloom!

This ant hill is definitely a peculiar sight.

The narcissus are in bloom in my yard.

 And what does a Central California artist do for fun when the sun is out?

She mixes a paint color for her neighbor’s kitchen, of course.

Neighbor recently was in Italy and fell in love with a particular color. (Could there possibly be 2 color junkies in the same neighborhood??) The hardware store mixed a too-bright red, so together we figured out the color she wanted. This required adding tan from the gallon container, lightening it with white, and correcting the resulting pinkishness with yellow ochre. Then, we tried it on a kitchen cupboard door and declared it a winner. (It took 3 attempts with minor corrections each time.) Next, I had to match that exact color to convert the rest of the too-bright-red to our newly named “Red Pepper Cream Sauce”. (Last time we invented the color of “Orange Blossom Special” for her kitchen, which looks spectacular with the Red Pepper Cream Sauce.)*

*My own kitchen is blue and white, has been blue and white for 18 years, and probably will probably be blue and white for as long as I live here. Thanks for asking.

Mineral King Road Messes

Posted by on Feb 17, 2017 in Mineral King | 4 Comments

Last week Trail Guy and Retired Postman headed up the Mineral King Road. This was a couple of days after some very heavy rains.

First stop? My favorite bridge, of course. (The Oak Grove Bridge). Retired Postman is very very tall, so he was able to take a photo above all the messy shrubs. This may be the first time I’ve ever seen the bridge’s shadow in the water beneath. I don’t think this would be a very nice painting – just a bunch of greenish textures with a tiny bit of architectural interest.I wasn’t with them, so I don’t know exactly how many messes there were on the road. I do know that the messes began around Slapjack, that they were able to walk in to Redwood Creek/Redwood Canyon/Aunt Tillie & Uncle Pete – whatever you call the twin Sequoia trees.

This next photo shows the ridge above High Bridge and how it has slid down the drainage. It will be interesting to see if it reached the road. It could be awhile before anyone gets that far up the road. . .

Say hello to Aunt Tillie & Uncle Pete (I am not making this up – some cabin folks told me that is what they call the 2 Sequoias at Redwood Canyon, and no, I can’t tell who is who or which is which.) Or skip them and say hello to Retired Postman.

There were a mess of ladybugs at Redwood Canyon.

And there were multiple messes on the walk in.

Trail Guy reported in to the roads department in Sequoia, and they’ve already done some work. Is the road passable? Maybe. . . 


Did You Miss Samson?

Posted by on Feb 16, 2017 in Oil Paintings, Personal | 4 Comments

Samson is still around and participating fully in everything.

So far he has wrecked 3 pairs of tights and a cable knitting needle.

I began this painting of a jalapeno pepper, and he immediately began batting the pepper around the workshop. I encouraged him to bite it, hoping it might cure him of this nasty habit, but no, he only chased it all around the room.

Finished Oil Paintings

Posted by on Feb 15, 2017 in commissions, Oil Paintings | No Comments

Did you think I had forgotten my promise to show you recently finished oil paintings?


First, the commissioned piece. It isn’t totally finished, but I never show you the sides of the canvas anyway.

It is Oak Grove Bridge XX, which means #20, but is probably the 25th time I’ve painted it because sometimes my record keeping is not so good.

Now, the P Fruits:

6×18″, P Fruits, oil on canvas, wrapped edges, ready to hang, $150 plus the obnoxious 8% California sales tax.

And a Sequoia Gigantea, with the same information as above, except it is a Giant Sequoia tree.