California Artist’s 1st Mineral King Hike This Season

Posted by on Jul 7, 2017 in Mineral King, Sources of inspiration | 2 Comments

The Central California Artist, ahem, that would be me, finally had a bit of time in Mineral King and hiked to White Chief with Trail Guy and a new friend named Jessica.

The artist is sore, and she isn’t happy about it.

The artist is happy to have gone to White Chief, and happy to have spent time with Trail Guy and their new friend.

The artist will now shut up and show you the photos. There will be many.

No bridge across Spring Creek, too scary to cross where the bridge belongs.

We cross below the normal place, where the creek spreads out into 3 manageable sections.

Great flowers along the trail, including these larkspur.

First view of White Chief canyon of the season – no flowers, since it hasn’t been snow-free very long.

Surround Sound in water!

Trail Guy is inspecting one of the sink holes.

Here it is from higher up. Two other people are curious. 

We were snow free until the end of the middle section of the trail. This is where we turned back.

There were fingers of running water where green has begun.

I was reluctant to leave the surround sound of the water.

There were several obstacles in addition to the missing bridge.

These brave and strong Park employees went for it at the bridge crossing.

Beach Business Trip

Posted by on Jul 6, 2017 in Oil Paintings | No Comments

If I go to the beach and take photos from which to paint, that makes it a business trip. 

I have a friend with a nice gift shop in a beach town; she took several of these paintings on consignment. The only one that sold was to someone from Three Rivers who saw it and got all excited because she knew me.

That didn’t disqualify me from having business trips to the beach.

All of these were painted on 6×6″ canvases; all are now gone. (I didn’t have to go to the beach to sell them.)

More Beach

Posted by on Jul 5, 2017 in drawing | No Comments

There is more to the beach than just the beach.

Poppies at the Beach, pencil and colored pencil, private collection

Silver Beach (on the shores of Lake Michigan), pencil and colored pencil, private collection

Wave Action, pencil, 8×10″, unframed, $100

Oh Say. . .

Posted by on Jul 4, 2017 in Oil Paintings, Personal | 8 Comments

. . .Can you see that we live in a fabulous country?

Oh Say, oil painting on canvas, 6×6″, sold

Let’s Go To The Beach

Posted by on Jul 3, 2017 in drawing | 8 Comments


Up through the summer of my tenth year of life, my grandmother had a house at the beach. This house may explain my predisposition toward shingle siding. 

Family Beach House, pencil drawing, private collection

When I lived near the beach, I missed the mountains. Now that mountains are a regular part of my life, I miss the beach. So, let’s go to the beach, figuratively speaking, through pencil drawings. (I’ll probably be in the mountains when these posts appear. . . )

Wood, Wind, Waves; pencil drawing, approximately 12×16″, matted and framed, $400

Beach Birds, pencil on paper, sold

Central Coast Pier, pencil on paper, sold

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!