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.

You Draw Better Than You Paint

Posted by on May 9, 2017 in the business of art | No Comments

An acquaintance of mine told me, “I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but you draw better than you paint.”

What would “the wrong way” be?

I’ve been drawing since I was about umm, oh, maybe 5 or so. I’ve been painting 11 years. It makes complete sense that I draw better than I paint.

But, I continue to work on my painting skills, hoping I am not just reinforcing bad habits.

The bottom line is that paintings sell.

Any questions?

The award winning drawing (First Place, Irrigation, Madera’s Celebrate Ag with the Arts show, year long since forgotten) “Release”. Matted and framed to 20×28″, $495.

Oak Grove Bridge XX, 11×14″, SOLD.

Opening Night at Gray Matter

Posted by on May 8, 2017 in drawing, Events, Lessons | No Comments

The show “Gray Matter”, consisting of pencil drawings by 3 of my advanced drawing students and me, opened on Friday evening.

This is the Brandon-Mitchell Gallery from the front, 117 S. Locust Street, Visalia, California. That is the county seat of Tulare County, in Central California where I live and work as an artist. (In case you are new to the blog. . .) 

Here is what you see when stepping through the front door.

And this is what I saw when I came through the back door before the people started arriving.

Maggie and I spent 3 hours hanging the 40 or so pencil drawings, grouping them in ways that made sense visually, lining up the tops ever so carefully, evaluating the spaces until we laughed aloud at our fastidious approach. It was so important to us to make this show just shine with the brilliance of our pencil work.

Kelvin began his art life with cartooning a chicken named Henrietta. He has cards, quilt squares and original drawings featuring her and the rooster Harold.  He even had cookies one time. . . This is all in addition to his very fine pencil drawings.

This is me with Kelvin and friends (newlyweds!) Melissa and Jeff. This was at the end of the evening, which was so busy and exciting that I didn’t take any photos. . .

. . . except for a magical moment when the light on the Post Office near by was just stunning. I ran outside as if it was truly important, abandoning my post, guests, and art. The Post Office is a work of art.

I didn’t get a photo of artist Maggie, but did catch Wendy (center) and her family in this blurry snap. I saw her husband across the gallery and thought he looked familiar, like someone I should know. Well, indeed – I have assisted Wendy in drawing him several times!

A good time was had by all, and the art looks wonderful. If you weren’t able to make it, there will be a second reception on Friday, June 2, 5-8 p.m. If you live anywhere near Visalia and like pencil drawings, I suggest you plan to attend. The work is really remarkable!

Gray Matter, A Pencil Show

Posted by on May 5, 2017 in drawing, Events, Lessons | No Comments

This show is all graphite pencil, 3 of my (very) advanced drawing students and me. It is part of Visalia’s monthly Art Walk, an event in downtown Visalia on the first Friday of each month. See you there?

Oil Painting Progress Report

Posted by on May 3, 2017 in Oil Paintings | No Comments

Last week on a very good painting day, I scanned and varnished 5 finished paintings, finished 4 with their details, and signed 3 that were almost dry. That leaves 7 unfinished.

Have a look at the 5 finished paintings:

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

Poppy #50, oil on wrapped canvas, 6×6″, $60

Iris VIII, 6×6″, oil on wrapped canvas, $60

Iris IX, 6×6″, oil on wrapped canvas, $60

Farewell Gap XXVI, 8×8″, oil on wrapped canvas, $100

Once again, I forgot how hard the Oak Grove bridge is to paint. Will it ever get any easier? Am I a case of arrested development?

Don’t answer that, please.

Below: The top two and bottom one are drying, the snow scene is inching forward (feels giant at 11×14″ after all the 6×6 oil paintings), the lanterns are low priority (just doing it for the purposes of learning–can you tell that the 4 lanterns on the left are further along than the 3 on the right?). Carla’s Sunflower (on Samson’s window shelf) has been finished since I took this photo.

Painting Mineral King, Continued

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

Remember this stage of all these Mineral King oil paintings, as seen last week?
Here is the next phase – skies done. Sort of an assembly line method of painting, but I can’t think of a better way to finish 11 paintings in a short amount of time. (Remember, I have a show coming this weekend called Gray Matter? Gotta hang the show, and then who knows how long it will take to figure out what to wear and how to make my hair behave!)

Kind of scary looking to see them all in this stage of semi-completion. Not as bad as sausage, I’ve heard. And once these are finished and scanned, we will all be pleased with the outcomes. I’m confident of this.

I also dabbled a bit more on the lanterns. They are too small for this much detail, but I’ll keep on keeping on.

Because of the lanterns and the recently painted iris and sunflower, my palette is pretty these days. Often it is nothing but browns, grays and greens, so this is more fun.

May Flowers!

Posted by on May 1, 2017 in Oil Paintings, Photography | 13 Comments

Last month my 9th blogiversary slipped past unnoted. However, I am giving us some flowers to mark this milestone. Milestone? That makes it sound as if it has been a slog, a triathalon, an endless amount of work. Nope – I have loved everything about it (except finding someone to fix the blog when things go haywire.)

Belated Happy Blogiversary to us, Beloved Blogreaders!

(These are all in bloom in my yard now, last week, the week before. . . just part of the commute between the house and studio and a big fat distraction from painting.)

Speaking of distractions. . .

This last one is a little oil painting I began as a gift for a friend. We recently reconnected, and I learned that sunflowers have a special meaning for her. She is tough, brave, and is using some horrible circumstances in her life to help others through similar difficulties. Carla, I salute you! (I gave you my card but neglected to get one from you – get in touch with me soon, okay?)

Painting Mineral King

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

Sometimes I do my “homework”. Studio work. Planning. Educated guesswork.

I looked through my records of paintings sold at the Silver City Store over the past 7 years or so. I made lists by subject matter and lists by size. I averaged the total number of paintings sold, and made a new list of which subjects in which sizes that would most likely sell this summer.

Nothing in college as an art major prepares one for this sort of exercise. Of course, attending 4 schools over the course of 5 years and earning a 2 year degree isn’t exactly a stellar climb up the artistic ladder of excellence.

Never you mind, I know what I am doing here.


Oh yes, there is more and there will be even more. I’m working hard at figuring out how to paint the same scenes over and over in a manner which isn’t just mindless repetition. This could be trying different colors, light, or even testing my memory and trying to paint from what I remember.The most popular scene is by far and away the Crowley cabin with the stream in the foreground and Farewell Gap in the background. It is the scene from the bridge at the end of the road and used to have two large trees. It is uncannily symmetrical, but two years ago the taller of the two trees, a red fir, was removed because it was wearing out.

Trail Guy and I were quite surprised to learn that most people didn’t even notice that one of the trees was removed. People don’t seem to notice in my paintings either, so sometimes I paint it with the 2 trees as they were. 

Here is the one that sold most recently.