Gray Matter, Second Chance

Posted by on May 31, 2017 in Events | No Comments

Did you wish you had been to the reception for Gray Matter, but you had to miss it because you have such a full life?

Here’s a second chance to see original pencil drawings by me and three of my very advanced drawing students.

There might even be some fabulous brownies. . . not promising, just saying maybe.

The Rest of the Stories

Posted by on May 30, 2017 in commissions, General, Oil Paintings | 2 Comments

Remember Paul Harvey? We had to be quiet during lunch so my parents could listen to him every day at noon when we were home from school. He would tell a story sometimes with a surprise ending, and then he would say, “And now you know. . . (long, very long, very very long extended pause). . . the REST of the story.”

Remember the pencil drawing of the walnut grove? The recipient loved it. 

Remember the very difficult and (for me) very large painting of the Oak Grove bridge?

It is finished. It now hangs in my dining room, because I am really happy with it. If you want to buy it, it can hang in your dining room.

Oak Grove Bridge IXX, 24×30″, oil on wrapped canvas, $1500 (plus tax)

Remember a painting I did of a trail in Mineral King? I improved on it a bit. Without showing you the old version, you might not recognize the improvements. 


Mineral King Trail, 11×14″, oil on canvas, $275

Remember the habañeros? The commissioned oil painting is finished. I still don’t know how to dispose of the peppers themselves. If I bury them in the garden, they might grow new ones. . . can’t be growing toxic waste in my yard that way. . . put them in the green waste bin? But they are red!

Finally, remember the “easy” painting of the bridge? 

Oak Grove Bridge XXII, 11×14″, oil on wrapped canvas, $275 plus tax

And now you know. . . .

(very long pause)


the REST of my stories.


Posted by on May 29, 2017 in General | 4 Comments

Opening Mineral King 2017

Posted by on May 26, 2017 in Mineral King, Personal | 6 Comments

Mineral King officially opened on Wednesday, May 24. This is remarkable, considering it was a huge winter. Most of the reason it is open is because Trail Guy borrowed a backhoe and spent 120 hours of volunteer work to fight through the avalanches. This made it possible for the Park’s road guy to do the basics in time for Memorial Day weekend.

Fantastic water flow as seen from the bridge at the end of the road, AKA Mineral King Bridge

Bless those older generations of cabin folks who planted daffodils!

The parking lot at the end of the road is boggy, but Trail Guy is also Retired Road Guy and we rigged up a barricade.

Whoa. This is the beginning of the Eagle/Mosquito trail. The Park’s sign took a hit. Your feet might get wet heading this direction. (Might get wet heading any direction.)

Our cabin had a ton of snow on the front porch (and the back porch too). Trail Guy is resourceful, and after I spent an hour or more shoveling, he thought of this tool.


Easy Bridge?

Posted by on May 25, 2017 in Oil Paintings | 2 Comments

I thought this view of the Oak Grove bridge would be easy.

Fall down laughing. . .

I am enjoying the very tight detail, working from a greatly enlarged photo on my laptop screen. I am “drawing with my paintbrush”, a big no-no in the Art World. Ask me if I care. . .

I am looking for a certain result, and this is the only method I know to achieve it. Layer after layer, brushes getting smaller and smaller. I wonder if I will ever even want to try that thick all-in-one (alla prima) palette knife painting. 

Prolly not.

The bridge itself looks empty, missing posts and rails. Some of the arches are a little catty-wompus. Just a little. . . but enough to cause me to take note and find a smaller brush. Here I have added more details, like the oak tree on the left which covers that side of the railing a little. (If something doesn’t show well enough to paint, just plant a tree.) Also worked on the stuff above the three arches on the left.  Is there any difference here? Hope so. These photos were taken about an hour apart, so there’d better be improvements! If not, I might have to fire myself.

The next time I show you this, it will be completed and scanned.



Mineral King Trail Paintings

Posted by on May 24, 2017 in Mineral King, Oil Paintings | 3 Comments

Does “Mineral King Trail Paintings” sound as if I am painting along the trail?

Sorry to disappoint – there is too much snow to be hiking there now. Instead, I am oil painting in the studio, working from photos taken while hiking in the past. Or just walking. . . remember, it is a hike if you carry lunch and/or water; if you go without provisions, it is simply a walk.

Have a look at these beginning messes oil paintings. Sometimes it is easier to get a thin first layer down and then move on to the next painting. Other times it seems to work better to get it done in just one thick pass over the canvas. I don’t know why my working styles vary – subject matter? colors? temperature in the studio? Amount of sleep I did or didn’t get? Other pressing business? Mosquitoes?

Top to bottom, left to right:

  1. Mineral King Aspens – these are along the Nature Trail that connects Cold Springs Campground to the Mineral King Valley.
  2. The Nature Trail with Sawtooth in the background. I’ll add wildflowers (and a lot more detail and paint – fear not.)
  3. Atwell Mill – this is a campground below Mineral King and Silver City in a grove of Sequoia trees. It has a great trail that leads through the big trees down to the East Fork of the Kaweah (and on to Hockett Meadow if you are so inclined.)
  4. Monarch Trail – this is heading back down the hill from the lake. Makes my feet hurt to think about it.
  5. White Chief – short and steep, makes my heart sing and my lungs beg for mercy.

When finished, these paintings will be for sale at the Silver City Store. They are each 6×6″ and will be $65, including tax.

Or, you can email me and request one before I cart it up the hill.

Alternatively, you can ask for it after it is there, I can fetch it when I head up IF it is still available, or I can paint you a new one.

So many choices.

Red Hot Chile Peppers

Posted by on May 23, 2017 in commissions, Oil Paintings | No Comments

These habañero red hot chile peppers are fun to paint. Check out the progress.

I chose this view because, without slipping into boring Artspeak, it fills the space well, and I like it.

The first pass provides an underpainting and also gives me a chance to decide if the arrangement is pleasing.

Instead of printing a photo to use, I just kept the photo up on the laptop. I have the peppers to check the coloring, but I’m afraid to touch them.

There is something fun about mixing all the reds and oranges. It might simply be the contrast against all the greens, grays and browns of my usual landscape paintings.

One more pass over the canvas to perfect some tiny areas and to put in the stems ought to do it for these red hot chile peppers. Samson will be on standby to keep me company. He seems to be enjoying The Great Course called “Understanding the Fundamentals of Music”, which I’m listening to while painting these days.

There You Go Again . . .

Posted by on May 22, 2017 in Oil Paintings | No Comments

Happy Birthday, Ann!!

Yeppers, here I go again on a painting of the Oak Grove Bridge.

First, the edges of the Big One. I always paint the edges because I think paintings look best without frames. (This photo is before the edge is painted. Duh.) I also added a teensy bit of age spots to the bridge itself, thanks to a very good suggestion from a friend at the Redbud Festival.

Okay, moving along to Oak Grove Bridge #22, this time 11×14″ instead of 24×30″. First, I drew it in pencil. Then I began mapping out the dark areas.

Next, I walked back to the house for something. . . such pretty light.

I was surprised by how much easier it is to paint from this angle. It is because there aren’t as many visible layers and levels of boulders and rocks that seem to echo and mimic one another.

The shadow beneath the bridge is what makes this particular view come alive. While painting the details, I look at an enlarged version of the photo on my laptop. It helps immensely to see what I am painting. Again, duh.

Looks as if 2 more layers will do the trick, with most of the attention focused on the bridge itself. 

Day Trip to Mineral King

Posted by on May 19, 2017 in Mineral King | 3 Comments

About 1 week ago, Trail Guy took his buddy Mike to Mineral King for the day. The idea was to take the Trackster into the valley, and then perhaps do a bit of snow-shoeing or skiing. Trail Guy wanted to see the cabin after the big winter to be sure all was well.

Lots of snow through Faculty Flat, AKA West Mineral King.However, the daffodils are blooming at the Dixon cabin, just before reaching the Ranger Station. Alas, there is still another large avalanche remaining at the Sawtooth Parking lot area. Looks as if the Michaels climbed to the top to cross over and then took a picture of the little snow buggy below. (That’s the Trackster.)

The bridge at the end of road is snow-free. Hi Mike! These cabins are snow free.

And the avalanche had to be crossed over to get back to the Trackster. 

Our cabin was fine, but is always the last one to melt out. Trail Guy did not take any pictures of it; even if he had, I might not be willing to post them on the World Wide Web.

Hottest Peppers To Paint

Posted by on May 18, 2017 in Oil Paintings | No Comments

A friend commissioned me to do a little painting of a jalapeño pepper. 

She liked it so much that she brought me 2 habañero peppers, one of the hottest chili peppers available. 

Treating them like toxic materials made it a little tricky to photograph them, but I persevered. 

Now I have to decide which arrangement is most pleasing for the second painting. I’ve narrowed it to these four ideas and will have the real peppers on hand to make sure the colors are correct. Sure does make me nervous to touch them. . .

Before I saw them, I assumed I’d be using a green background, but that will hide the stems. Gray might be the right solution.