January was a productive month, all standard subjects that show off the beauty of Tulare County. November and December were good months, and my inventory got depleted. (This is a good thing.)
There were actually FIFTEEN MORE, I am not kidding, FIFTEEN! But, they were too wet to scan at the time of this blog post. . . maybe that means they aren’t really finished.
In case you think I am super-human, remember that the three largest were begun in December. I only FINISHED them in January.
I need a nap.
Did you notice in the last photo of yesterday’s post that 4 little new paintings snuck onto the table?
These were the beginnings of some vegetable paintings – 2 pumpkins, a tomato and a pepper (and no, I don’t want to discuss whether a tomato is a fruit or a vegetable). After I figured out that the veggie market was saturated (at least among all my friends and family who buy my work, probably because they feel sorry for me) these just languished on a shelf, forgotten and unfinished.
Now that I am facing reality a little more realistically (from the Department of Redundancy Dept.), I know that these need to be Mineral King oil paintings. To fit on the miniature easels without toppling over, they need to be horizontal. I know they will have visible sky and that it will be at the top of the boards.
Therefore, I have painted in some sky color.
When I figure out which scenes to paint, I will hope that I put in enough sky.
I feel like a Mineral King oil painting factory. Where is the variety? Where is the creativity? What’s going on here??
Part of the business of art is understanding what sells, and producing what one’s customers want to buy. This means painting the same things many many times if necessary. (Or I could become a secretary, or maybe a waitress, or maybe move to a large city and go into full time editing. . . )
The business end involves these steps:
- Looking at what has sold in the past in what sort of percentages, both the subjects and sizes
- Locating the right photos, which isn’t too hard because I have a decent filing system
- Assigning inventory numbers and titles
- Recording those on the photos, the backs of the canvases, the written list for the studio and the list on the computer
- Putting hanging hardware on the backs of all the canvases
- Ordering new canvases because I don’t have enough for the number of planned paintings
- Taking photos or scanning the finished work
- Blogging about it
The creativity happens at many levels that aren’t visible in this ugly stage.
- Taking reference photos (over a series of years)
- Editing the photos (keep this one, fix that one, crop these)
- Deciding what sizes and shapes to paint (this needs to be rectangular, that might work as a square)
- Mixing the paint colors (How many painters do you know who only work from the primary colors, hmm???)
- Drawing the image on the canvases (Is this creative? or is it simply a skill? or does it qualify for anything, since I do so much adjusting while painting each new layer?)
- Blogging about it.
Wait, what? Blogging about it appears on both lists. Go figure. . .
Writing this all down makes me want a strong cup of coffee.
Finally, finally, The Visalia Electric Railroad: Stories of the Early Years by Louise A. Jackson is a real book, both soft and hard cover, in our hands as of 1/19/2018.
The softcover book is for sale in several places.
- Amazon (maybe – did my extensive efforts to list it really work?? More will be revealed in the fullness of time. . .)
- My website (maybe – did my extensive efforts to add it under For Sale–Books–Visalia Electric really work?)
- Through Louise herself. If you know her, email or call her to ask for a copy.
- Through me directly – I will get a copy from Louise and get it to you.
But wait! How much?
The softcover is $21.50 including tax and shipping. Get it on this page, or by contacting me or Louise directly.
Is there a hardcover?
Yes. It is $26.50 including tax and shipping. Get it on this page, or by contacting me or Louise directly.
I already have this book!
Nope. You don’t. You might have the first edition, a saddle-stitched 8-1/2×11″ version, published in. . . I forget.
This is the 2nd edition, new and improved!, with twice as many photos that you can actually see and many never published before, AND the entire book has been edited, polished, rewritten. It is BEE-YOO-TI-FULLL!
But that is just my opinion as the editor, photo editor, book designer/formatter, proofreader, book shepherd and publisher. (Cabinart Books is a division of Cabinart. Doesn’t that sound big and official?)
These Mineral King oil paintings appear to be troubled. Sawtooth, the Oak Grove Bridge, and more Sawtooth, all looking topsy-turvy and scribbly.
A customer brought me a pencil drawing from 1995 with the request that I turn it into notecards.
In order to turn an original drawing into a printed piece, there are some tasks to be done on a computer. First, I scan it, then open it in Photoshop, convert it to grayscale, erase anything that is supposed to simply be paper color, resize it to 600 dpi and whatever size in inches it will be printed, then convert it to a PDF and send it to the printshop, where she becomes their direct customer.
When I saw it, I thought it was a reproduction print, not the original. WHY did I draw an original on such flimsy and textured paper?? And why are all the trees on the distant hills the same size, evenly spaced and looking so distinct? Why is there no pencil on those hills? Why does no grass show between the slats of the fence? Why does that main tree look manicured?
Before I did any of those computer tasks, there was some serious pencil work to be accomplished.
Ready to print:
The changes are subtle, but important. My drawing students and I will see the difference, and I don’t feel embarrassed to have my name on the drawing any more.
When I paint, I use only the primary colors, a manner called the “double primary palette”. This is because it has 2 yellows, 2 blues, and 2 reds. (White doesn’t count and the purple at the end is a mix I always make when I begin painting.)
This is a colored pencil version of that simple collection of colors.
You may recall that I bought a box of 12 colored pencils recently and really liked the way they work. My favorite non-drawing pencils are Blackwings, so I was eager to try their colored pencils. You may also recall that I thought it was too bad the box only held 12 colors, 2 of which aren’t very useful to me – black and silver. This box does not contain the double primary palette; although there are 2 blues, there is only one red and one yellow. (2 greens don’t count because green is not a primary color.)
On the January Three Rivers First Saturday, I hung out at Anne Lang’s Emporium with coloring books and oil paintings. While I was in between visitors, I experimented with the Blackwing (weird – shouldn’t these be called “colorwing”?) colored pencils. Could I create the full range of colors as if I had one of my sets of 120 (either Polychromos or Prismacolor)?
Here are the results. 2 of the grape clusters, part of the trunk and a few of the leaves were colored with the large set of pencils. The rest was done with only 10 colors from the box above.
Nice, eh? Layering and layering and layering. . . still lots of white paper to be covered here.
P.S. This page is from the coloring book Heart of Agriculture, and I haven’t found the hidden heart yet in spite of the fact that I am the one who drew this picture.
P.P.S. The colored pencils are available on this site: Pencils.com The wood is California cedar, the company is in Stockton, and the pencils themselves are manufactured in Japan. They are $19.95 for a set of 12, plus all the usual add-ons like exorbitant sales tax and shipping.
We last saw the Sawtooth oil painting looking quite rough. It has taken many hours, and the Fat Lady ain’t singing yet. (Close – she’s starting to warm up with a few scales.) And just in case you forgot, Sawtooth is the second most popular of the Mineral King oil painting subjects, tied with the Honeymoon Cabin. (Farewell Gap with the Crowley cabin is number one in popularity.)
When all those green grasses are dry enough, I will add wildflowers. Then I will probably revisit some of the upper parts, add a few more details, correct some more color.
Chill out, Fat Lady. Your time will come.
The three small redwood oil paintings are completed and for sale at Anne Lang’s Emporium in Three Rivers (or you can contact me directly.)
But wait! There’s more (in progress). This is 11×14″. The canvas began with a portrait of a stranger in a workshop; it was too hard for me, I didn’t know the person, I have no plans to become a portrait artist, so bye-bye, Stranger Face.
The New Year’s Day walk could have been a hike, had we taken food and more than one measly little water bottle. Alas, we did not. We went to the Salt Creek/Case Mt. BLM recreational area and walked from the Salt Creek road (rather than Skyline Drive) up, up and up. It was a
smoggy hazy day, and the land wanted rain. We encountered about 8 different walking and biking parties; 4 were folks we know. Three Rivers is small. (A friend recently said to me that the good thing about Three Rivers is that it is small; the bad thing about Three Rivers is that it is small.) Going places, even those close to home, getting outside, looking around–these are all sources of inspiration, a requirement to this Central California artist.
I am so thankful for the rain we have received since New Year’s Day, but we still need more. Alas, those folks in Montecito. . . yikes.