Odd Job Completed

Posted by on Sep 19, 2017 in commissions, the business of art | No Comments

The odd job of painting a mailbox took about 4 hours. Maybe 5, but that extra hour was probably due to my own inexperience and lack of confidence. Oh, and another hour working on the colored pencil design. 

Will the customer be happy? As a friend, will she tell me the truth if she isn’t happy? I think she will – honesty is one of the things I appreciate about her. She is kind and professional too.

I have some wonderful friends.

She likes it!!

Now, will I start getting mailbox painting requests??

More will be revealed in the fullness of time. . .

Odd Job

Posted by on Sep 18, 2017 in commissions, the business of art | No Comments

Because I am an artist who has lived in the same area for over 30 years, making art the entire time, when people need something art related, no matter how odd, I often get asked. People ask me to do things that I am supremely unqualified to do, lacking skill and experience.

Sometimes, no, often, I say yes. I try to warn them that I am out of my area of expertise and that the results might not be what they expected. (“Past performance is no guarantee of future results” or some such disclaimer?)

Variety is good. Stretching one’s abilities is good. The trouble is, I have only been asked to paint on a quilt square once, a patio umbrella one time, an antique window once. . . is this because I didn’t do a good job, or because there aren’t enough of those types of jobs? 

This odd job is a mailbox for a property management company. My friend told me her idea and showed me a photo of her mailbox. I did 3 sketches for her, she picked one, I gave her a price range and some instructions on how to prepare the mailbox and then drew it again showing both sides and the top, using colored pencils. Then I warned her that trying to achieve tight detail with acrylic paint and small brushes might not produce my normal quality of work.

She said she liked the design and the price and wants the job done. We had to plan this for a weekend when she could remove the mailbox on Friday and replace it on Monday. No pressure or anything. . .

Sawtooth Peak

Posted by on Sep 15, 2017 in drawing, Oil Paintings | 6 Comments

Sawtooth is an easy to distinguish peak in Mineral King, visible from Visalia when the wildfire smoke or the pollution from the Bay Area are not obscuring the view. Lots of people like to climb it. I think it is good to look at, but I am scared of climbing it. I am only interested in photographing, drawing and painting it.

My most recent pencil drawing of Sawtooth Peak:

And now I have begun a 24×24″ oil painting. Try not to be scared – it will get better.

Betwixt and Between

Posted by on Sep 14, 2017 in Thoughts | No Comments

I didn’t post yesterday because I didn’t have anything to say.

I don’t know what “betwixt” means, but it sounds good with “between”. This is a between sort of time of year – still hot, but not quite time for sweaters. Darker in the a.m., shorter days in the evenings too. Still summer on the calendar, but hints of fall. Still cabin time, but not as much because the work is coming in and I need to pay attention to my students and customers and plan for a couple of upcoming shows and more beginning drawing workshops and think about painting, ordering calendars and making a Christmas card and finishing a book design and edit job.

See? Who has time to think about blogging?


What I’ve Learned Recently

Posted by on Sep 14, 2017 in Thoughts | 2 Comments

One of my favorite bloggers, Anne Bogel of “What Should I Read Next“, posts a list of things she’s learned at the end of each month. Being a copyist, I’ll borrow this idea and tell you a few odd facts that I’ve learned recently.

  1. Tulare County used to have a building designed by Julia Morgan, the architect of many lovely buildings in Monterey (at Asilomar) and the Hearst Castle (and probably many more things I know nothing of). The building was the tuberculosis hospital in Springville, since replaced with a more “modern” structure.
  2. The tuberculosis hospital was a “sanatorium”, which is a different thing than a “sanitorium”. The first is a place where you go to be helped, healed or cured; the second is more of a spa.
  3. Huge & Rude, the telephone company that “serves” Three Rivers, keeps trying to sell something called “Uverse” to its customers, in spite of no fiber optic cables beyond the main building in town. Beware of this baloney if you live in Three Rivers; many of my friends and neighbors have gotten into techie-messes because of this misunderstanding.
  4. I found some shoes that I think are fabulous by (oh how embarrassing this is) looking on Pinterest. They are made by Keesky, come in a wide variety of colors, are very comfortable and only cost about $18. Here’s a link: great shoes
  5. Weird stuff happens. Our friend crawled out and walked away from this with almost no injuries:

    An upside down car in a ravine

  6. There is an ailment called “SIBO” – Small Intestine Bacterial Overload. It has slammed a friend hard, one who went vegan thinking she was eating healthy. Sigh. . . who knows what “healthy” even means any more? (Remember when butter, bacon and coconut oil were bad for us??)

What have you learned recently?

Cabin Drawing Flag Adjustment

Posted by on Sep 12, 2017 in commissions, drawing, Mineral King | No Comments

A flag seems like an appropriate topic for today.

The customers were sort of happy with their Mineral King cabin drawing, but not overjoyed. “Sort of happy” is not good enough. After a bit of conversation, they said the flag was too bright and drew too much attention.

My dad liked to quote a Latin phrase De gustibus non est disbutandem, which translates “it is useless to argue over matters of taste”.

I completely understand. A drawing is never finished until the customer is completely happy. While they were present in the studio, I redid the flag. Now they are happy!



Because I did the flag in bright colored pencils before discussing it with them, I used Faber Castell’s Polychromos, an oil-based colored pencil that erases. Although I am very comfortable with the colors of Prismacolor and they are sitting very conveniently on my drawing table, they are wax-based colored pencils that don’t erase, so I resisted the urge to use them.



Reflect, Remember

Posted by on Sep 11, 2017 in Personal | 2 Comments

Hiking Mineral King – Empire Again

Posted by on Sep 8, 2017 in Mineral King, Sources of inspiration | 4 Comments

Some friends were visiting and had never been to Empire. We planned to go, woke up to horrible smoky conditions, waffled a bit, and then went anyway.

Smoke from the Pier fire (near Camp Nelson) blew over Farewell Gap during the night.

Even more smoke visible down canyon toward Three Rivers. Are we supposed to be breathing this stuff??

Trail Guy is quite happy that there is still flowing water, even in early September. That green makes me happy.

Like father, like daughter. A pleasure to hike with these 2 friends!

This is semi-sorta the view in the mural I painted for the Mineral King Room of the Three Rivers History museum. It’s also an excuse to show more of the green.

That isn’t Sawtooth – I don’t know its real name but it is often referred to as “Sawtooth’s Shadow”. Mostly I was pleased to see some blue sky.

It was a little hard to tell if we were seeing smoke or a coming storm, but the thunder told us the truth.

Trail Guy to Techie Friend – “Wow, that’s cool.” Techie Friend to Trail Guy – “Does your Jitterbug take photos?”

This old wagon road up on the side of Empire never fails to amaze me. Those old miner guys worked so hard and found no gold.

Father-daughter hiking team

The others headed over to inspect some old mining debris; I headed toward the trees because the rain was coming and I wanted a head start.

City Girl was THRILLED by the rain and hail!

Trail Guy prefers a garbage bag to the heavier alternative of a poncho.

Is that Gandolph down in the bunkhouse ruins??

Rain stopped, so we followed the tram line back down to the trail, past the ruins of an old ore bucket.

The rain cleared up the air, somewhat.

Drawing Water in Pencil

Posted by on Sep 7, 2017 in drawing | 2 Comments

Last winter, I got on a roll drawing water in pencil. I decided to make the 2018 calendar all about water, so that meant I needed 13 drawings. The verdict is not in yet – all Tulare County? all rushing water? all new drawings? More will be revealed in the fullness of time. . .

Here is the latest. It is called “Steady Stream”.

Steady Stream, pencil on paper, 9×12″

Second Beginning Drawing Workshop

Posted by on Sep 6, 2017 in drawing, Events, Lessons | No Comments

Arts Visalia hired me to teach 2 beginning drawing workshops this summer. In June, there were 5 students. The time flew and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. In August, there were 5 new students, and once again, we all had a very good time of learning.

They learned about the basics of drawing, and a little about me. I learned a little about them, and that taking photos with the iPad isn’t a plan if I want to show you the photos on the blog.

After much techie wrangling, I found a way to show you the photos. Tech explained is boring; tech wrangled with is alternately frustrating and exhilarating. I’d rather be drawing, teaching drawing, or blogging.

If it appears that everyone is drawing the same thing, that is because everyone is drawing the same thing. It is much easier to demonstrate once for everyone than have 5 different things happening at the same time.