Trail Guy’s Second Mineral King Hike of 2017

Posted by on Jun 30, 2017 in Mineral King | 2 Comments

Once June is past, I hope that the Mineral King posts will be of my experiences instead of just hitchhiking on Trail Guy’s.

The baby marmots are out, and as always, have moved underneath our cabin. Since there is nothing that we can do about it, we take photos. (They make noise and messes that smell bad, in case you were wondering why we’d be anything except enchanted.)  

Trail Guy went to White Chief. It is a short but very steep hike, and it involved fording Spring Creek. (As of this writing, the bridge hasn’t been put up for the season yet.)

I wasn’t there so I have nothing to say. Just enjoy the photos and the fact that you aren’t gasping for breath, due to altitude and exertion.

Because this blog is supposed to be promoting my art, here is a recent (and the only) painting I’ve done of White Chief. (This view is closest to the first White Chief photo in this post.)

6×6″ oil painting, White Chief, $65 (inc. tax)

Random Thoughts

Today’s post is a list of random thoughts, unrelated to art, things that one of my tens of readers might be interested in.

  1. Crocs shrink if you leave them in the sun. Mine are too short to wear now. Isn’t that weird? Rubber shoes shrink in the sun! (maybe it is related to #2. . .))
  2. After it has been 107º for a week, 97º feels balmy.
  3. I’m editing a previously published book about the Visalia Electric Railroad. It was first published in a hurry, the Tulare Co. Historical Society is ready to re-order, and author Louise Jackson and I know we can do a better job of both the text and the photos. So, we are working on it and hope the TCHS will agree to publish it in a real book format instead of 8-1/2×11″ with dark photos, “Foreword” misspelled, the stock market crash happening in 1939, and someone joining Pancho Villa’s cantina band, as if he were a guitar player. Intrigued? I’ll let you know if this turns into a book.  
  4. What I’m reading (or recently finished): 41:A Portrait of My Father by George W. BushBritt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik BackmanMornings on Horseback by David McCulloughAlone Together: Why we expect more from technology and less from each other by Sherry Turkle (If you click or tap on any of the book titles, you’ll get to the Amazon page that sells the book. If you buy, I might earn 15¢ or something. . .)
  5. Samson still bites.
  6. What I’m listening to: The Smartest Person in the Room, Brian Buffini, Gretchen Rubin, The Road Back to You, What Should I Read Next
  7. No memorial services this week for me. 2 in 2 weeks is 2 too many.
  8. I think white flowers are boring. Did you think this post was boring? (Go ahead–tell me the truth; I can take it!)

Ranger Buttons, a white wildflower

Mineral King Trail Art

Posted by on Jun 28, 2017 in drawing, Mineral King, Oil Paintings | 2 Comments

Being on a roll with pencil drawings of Mineral King makes me think very carefully about what I should draw next. 

This is a view I recently painted, and it sold right away. 

Allllrighty, then. Looks and sounds like a logical next pencil drawing. However, all the other drawings are vertical, so this scene will need some cropping, stretching and improvising, all while maintaining its believability.

How’s this? Is it believable?

To contribute to the authenticity, I’ve included the trail sign. In real life, the thing is about 1-1/2 feet off the ground. Weird. Can you spot its goofy little self in this drawing?

Here it is in all its midgetry. (My blog, my word. . . any questions?)

A Better Sawtooth

Posted by on Jun 27, 2017 in drawing, Mineral King | 2 Comments

Sawtooth is that very visible and distinctive peak in Mineral King that shows up in Visalia on a clear day.

Here is a pencil drawing of Sawtooth from 2003. It isn’t bad.

Here is a pencil drawing of Sawtooth from last week. It is a different view, and I think it is better.


Here: let’s do a little side-by-side comparison.

The contrast isn’t as marked as it was between the two Farewell Gap drawings, but the gap of years isn’t as wide either.

I Draw Better Now

Posted by on Jun 26, 2017 in Color, drawing | 4 Comments

Over a year ago, I was at a dinner and ran into someone who had bought a colored pencil drawing of oranges from me in the early 2000s. He mentioned that it was still hanging in his office.

I said, “I draw better now; can I have it back to fix it?”

Yes, I actually said that to a satisfied customer. He was sort of shocked, but he agreed; then, a year passed and I heard nothing.

Last week, one of my drawing students came to class with the original colored pencil drawing. She exercises with the customer’s wife, and I guess the man decided to take me up on my offer.

I’ve learned more about color than I knew back in my days of colored pencil. This is probably a result of learning to oil paint. (Last week I said that growth is good unless one is a cancer cell. . .)

BEFORE: Central California Sunshine, a colored pencil drawing from 2001

AFTER: Central California Sunshine, revised in 2017

Here, let’s look at them small, so they show up on the screen at the same time (depending on your device):

The upper one looks almost finished, the lower one looks finished. The difference is probably too subtle for normal people to notice, but it matters to me.

This drawing is available as a reproduction print, 11×14, $40. One time a potential customer told me she didn’t like it because the light on the orange on the left looked like frost to her. Ever since that time, whenever someone buys a print, I add color to it. It is time consuming, and it has made me wish to get the original back so I could fix it.

THANK YOU, DENNIS AND PATTY, for a chance to redeem my reputation!

Drawing Mineral King

It is Friday, and the only new thing I have to show you of Mineral King is a drawing. My weekends have been taken with memorial services (one last Saturday and another one tomorrow), drawing workshops, art receptions, business presentations. 

I’m not complaining, just ‘splaining.

The drawing is new. The scene is old, or perhaps “classic” is the right word.

Pencil drawing, “Mineral King From The Bridge”, 9×12″, unframed, unpriced, uncertain.

It has been awhile since I drew anything of Mineral King (except for water). Maybe a series of pencil drawings of Mineral King would sell as reproduction prints. Cards? Too much money to print, too little profit. But I’ll give that some thought too.

Want a laugh? Look at how I drew this scene in 1987.

Growth is good, unless you are a cancer cell. 


How to Get My Blog

Posted by on Jun 22, 2017 in General | 2 Comments

Sometimes when I tell a friend that he can see something on my blog, I hear one of the following replies:

  1. I don’t get your blog.
  2. I’m not on Facebook.
  3. What’s a blog?
  4. I don’t do blogs.

Here are my answers to those replies:

  1. Nothing to “get” – you can visit The Google* and type in and it will take you to my website. Then click or tap the word “Blog” on the menu and it will take you there OR YOU CAN SUBSCRIBE.
  2. See the word “Blog”? I put a red oval around it so you can find it easier in this picture example.
  3. I’m not on Facebook either. My blog is on my website, not on Facebook.
  4. “Blog” is a shortened term from “web log”. It is a journal or log (but not a diary – there are no secrets on the World Wide Web!) that is kept on a website.
  5. Nothing to do on a blog except read and enjoy; commenting is optional.

Look at this picture of my blog page. I’ve circled the part where you can subscribe. If you do so, you will get an email confirmation. You have to follow the link in the email in order to begin getting my blog.

You, yes, little ole you, can join the tens of readers who subscribe to my blog. Then you too will finally get my blog!

Thank you for reading to the bottom. You deserve a gold star. Too bad I only know how to make red stars. Let’s call it a proverbial gold star. 

Sorry. I must be overheated.

*The Google – Sometimes I say “Mr. Google” and a friend says “Uncle Google”. 

Gekkos in Three Rivers, Finished?

Posted by on Jun 21, 2017 in commissions, Murals, Three Rivers | 2 Comments

Is my mural, “Gekkos in Three Rivers” finished? A job isn’t finished until I hear from the customer that she is happy. As of the writing of this blog post, I haven’t heard.

The gekko on the left was the next one to be painted. These are the colors I chose. You can see the striking difference from the colored pencil version to the painted one – colored pencils make such wimpy-looking art! (unless you bear down with a zillion layers. . .)

I finished the remaining one – my current favorite color combination of blue with brown (a teal sort of blue with a pinkish grayish brown is really my favorite, but let’s not quibble here).

This is all 3 pairs. I studied them from a distance and then touched up this, that and the other thing. . . a little wider tail here, a few more spots there, painted “fingernails” in a few places, a wider body. . . 

And here you can see them all together.

What a lovely place to work this has been. . . happy sigh of gratefulness for nice weather and a really full river.

Let’s step back and see it in on the gazebo. Don’t you just want to hang out here?

And finally, as it appears from the road. 

It sort of looks like a (wobbly) banner. You can see there is something on it, but don’t know what it might be. Lots of colors, but which ones? Hmmm, maybe it will make people drive more slowly on North Fork.


Gekkos in Three Rivers

Posted by on Jun 20, 2017 in Murals, Three Rivers | No Comments

My decision is made: gekko is correct.

Here is how the first set of transferred and redrawn gekkos looked on Day Two in the shade. Still hard to see, but not invisible. 

After applying more blue chalk to the back side of the tissue pattern, I transferred 2 more sets of gekkos to the board, and then went over the top of the chalk with a pencil. (I’m always most comfortable with a pencil in my hand.)

The surface of the board is very rough, so it was with trepidation that I applied paint. I knew the brush would just bounce over the surface and make lumpy edges, so I did not put on my magnifying glasses. If I can’t see the lumpy edges, they don’t exist. 

See? no lumpy edges! The colored pencil version of the first pair is taped alongside so I can match the colors.

It seemed prudent to step back and see how things look from a distance. The first gekko matches the sycamore leaves in the background exactly.

Don’t be chicken and cower with nothing but familiar green paint . . . pick another color and get on with it.

This is how it looked after 3-1/2 hours of painting. It was fun to mix up so many different colors instead of painting miles of trees in 3 versions of dark green. The sun was creeping closer and closer, and although the board was still in the shade, the painter was not. So, I loaded my supplies into the car, stepped back for another photo, and then headed back to the studio for other work. (In case you were wondering, I LOVE the variety in my job/career/business/occupation!)

I can see that some of these little guys need fattening, and it is possible that I will ask Customer if I can add some things in the open spaces around the edges and corners. I’m thinking sycamore leaves might be nice. . . sycamores are native to Three Rivers; gekkos are not. But, Customer is in charge of the content of her mural, so again, more will be revealed. . . .

Gecko/Gekko Mural, Day One

Posted by on Jun 19, 2017 in commissions, Murals | 2 Comments

Customer approved the colors and arrangement of the geckos with interlocking tails, so I packed up my supplies and drove to the river gazebo. The board is a good height for painting, the river is roaring, and there is great shade in the morning. I’m going to enjoy this job!

Where is this place? So glad you asked! It is in Three Rivers, on the North Fork of the Kaweah River, next door to the Arts Center, and it is called “The Bridge House” on VRBO. Here is the link: The Bridge House The gazebo is across the street, and was built on a patio overlooking the river, incorporating bridge abutments from the bridge that washed out in the flood of ’55.

First, the board needed to be painted. I had a partially used gallon of “High Hiding White”, which sounded just right.

I put a coat of white on the board, then went home with some specific measurements so I could figure out how to get the design from 8-1/2×11″ paper onto a 20″x 10′ board. It took a fair amount of measuring and math, tracing and transferring, but eventually I had it on tissue paper, the appropriate size.

When I returned to the gazebo, I saw it needed a second coat of High Hiding White to hide the first coat. This gave me time to think about how to transfer the image from tissue to the board. 

I used blue chalk on the back side of the tissue, taped the pattern to the board in the center, and rubbed it with my finger.

Can you see it?

Neither can I. This will have to be continued on another day when the shade has returned.