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.


Disconnected Observations of Life in Three Rivers

Posted by on May 17, 2017 in Thoughts, Three Rivers | No Comments

Thoughts collect in my brain, camera and computer that are disconnected from art but seem worth mentioning.

  1. Last week I waited for a mess of RVs to pass before I pulled out onto the highway. As I went around the lake, I picked off 7 identical RVs through the 3 passing lanes. When I got below the dam, I could see 7 more identical RVs in front of me. There’s a story here that I probably will never learn.
  2. On the way home, I was struck in my heart by the signs that said spring is almost over. They are the fire danger sign, the brown hills, and the Farewell-to-Spring flowers. 
  3. At the Redbud Festival, I had two conversations with different people about specific trees they love. One told me of a Redwood tree somewhere in the backcountry; the other told me of a sycamore somewhere near Conley Creek and the South Fork of the Kaweah. I tried to find the sycamore, but there are several, so I just took some photos of the river, in case I want to draw more water.
  4. Samson is too interested in the nests of some scrub jays outside one of the living room windows.

Redbud Wrap-up

Posted by on May 16, 2017 in Events, Oil Paintings, Three Rivers | No Comments

Another successful Three Rivers Redbud Festival in the can!

This is how my booth looked upon arrival on Saturday morning.

The large wet bridge painting seemed too fragile to ride in the back of the Botmobile, so I walked it down to the Memorial Building. Perhaps that helped to speed the drying process.

Nikki Crain, Handweaver Extraordinaire, was my next-booth neighbor. We like to do shows together, and have been for about 25 years or so. She took drawing lessons from me for several years, and we know how to cover for one another and help one another through the various ups and downs of events.

These paintings sold (the sizes are not in correct proportion to one another here: real sizes top down — 6×18, 8×10, 6×6, 6×6, 10×10)

I met a future student, reconnected with old friends, met some friendly people from Australia (either there are no grumpy people on that continent, or maybe the grumps don’t travel to the US), worked out a trade deal with another vendor, and met a bunch of new folks that I probably won’t remember. I hate that forgetting thing, but people are always nice about it. As a bonus, I collected another peculiar sight for the blog when I looked out the window on Sunday afternoon.

Weekend In Review

Posted by on May 15, 2017 in Events, Murals | No Comments

The reason for going over subjects like this is because I want to give you a complete picture of what an artist’s life consists of. (No, I don’t get to just sit around and draw all day. Phooey.) 

This could be called “Celebrating Agriculture With The Arts”, but that title already belongs to the Madera Arts Council.

First event of the past weekend was a reception to view and celebrate the new mural at the Tulare County Farm Bureau.


I was given a chance to bid on the project, but when I heard that Colleen Mitchell-Veyna was interested, I told the Farm Bureau to just hire her because she is The Best Muralist Ever. (Then I proposed doing the coloring book, Heart of Agriculture)

First, inquiring minds need to know: why do so many people drive white cars??

Morning light, more distance, and squaring up the camera would do this more justice. Colleen had to revise her design multiple times in order to show off the Best Cow in The Entire Country and to satisfy the bureaucracy in Visalia. 

The event was a good time of reconnecting with people I hadn’t seen in awhile, meeting new people, and catching up with The Best Muralist Ever. 

Colleen, I am so proud of you!

Redbud Festival (not rosebud)

Posted by on May 12, 2017 in Events, the business of art, Three Rivers | 2 Comments

Redbud is a gorgeous tree or shrub that blooms in March in Three Rivers (and probably many other places.)

For many years, Three Rivers has had an arts and crafts fair called the Redbud Festival. It happens in May, this year on Saturday, May 13 and Sunday, May 14. 


So glad you asked – Three Rivers Veterans Memorial Building


Great question – 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday, 10-4 on Sunday

This is how my booth looked last year. Oh dear, there is that 24×30″ unfinished painting of The Oak Grove Bridge. I may bring it again this year, along with FIVE coloring books, ZERO tee-shirts, many cards and lots of new paintings (including a rooster, a pair of hens, and 2 paintings of eggs).

Chicken or Egg Question

Posted by on May 11, 2017 in Oil Paintings, Thoughts | 2 Comments

We’ve all heard the question: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? (ever notice the chicken always comes first in the question?)

Last week, I painted some of Ethan’s chickens (the same Ethan of Ethan’s Eggs). Shiny, wet, unsigned, still sitting on the easel.

Just before this, I showed you some egg paintings. This might cause you to think the egg came first.

Ethan’s Eggs, 8×8″, oil on wrapped canvas, $100

But wait! A few years ago, I painted one of Marilyn’s chickens. This might cause you to decide the chicken came first.

Alas, you would be wrong about the chicken coming first because 10 or 15 years ago, I drew some eggs in pencil. Bummer, it was before digital photography or scanners or computers had become part of my business. I gave the drawing to my friend Annie, because she was always sharing eggs from her birds with me.

In my art life, the eggs came before the chickens. Guess you’ll just have to trust me on this.

Good grief. You people are so boring.

These paintings and more chicken and egg paintings will be available at the upcoming Redbud Festival in Three Rivers, Mother’s Day weekend at the Memorial Building.


Speaking of Painting

Posted by on May 10, 2017 in Oil Paintings | No Comments

Who was speaking of painting?

I was, in yesterday’s post, when I told you about the man who said, “You draw better than you paint.”

Indeed, the paintings begin very very roughly, thin paint, general shapes, although I drew the bridge first in pencil, so it isn’t as rough as it sometimes is when I begin.

I didn’t take many intermediate photos of the 10×10″ bridge. After a few layers, I pulled out the 24×30″ painting, dusted it off and dove back in.Getting there on the 10×10″, wondering how much to perfect things. It took a long time to figure out how to interpret the cliffs and the shrubs. By the time I was finished for the day, the light for photography was poor. The bridge itself needs more refining, especially those miniature spaces around the railing. 

As always, I have two main thoughts about my beloved Oak Grove Bridge:

  1. A bridge picture is the perfect blend of architecture and landscape.
  2. This is sort of too hard for me, in spite of it being about the 26th time I’ve painted it. I may not live long enough to paint as well as I draw.