Happy Birthday, Trail Guy!

Posted by on Jan 10, 2018 in Personal | 3 Comments

He’s very busy, as you can see. And don’t you wonder if all retired guys wear shorts year around??


Progress on One of Those Largish Paintings

Posted by on Jan 9, 2018 in Mineral King, Oil Paintings | 5 Comments

This is the classic Mineral King view of Farewell Gap with the Crowley cabin, step by step. The bottom photo isn’t finished yet. What remains are the exacting details, the part that I enjoy the most about oil painting. I am drawing with my brush at that stage, and you may remember that I love to draw.

I don’t know how many hours. It would probably sicken me and horrify you. . . either you’d think, “Poor Schlub hardly earns anything for these paintings”, or you might think, “Dang! Easy money!”

Ignorance is bliss.

More Large Painting Situation

Posted by on Jan 8, 2018 in Mineral King, Oil Paintings | No Comments

Having “successfully” begun a second largish painting, I grabbed another largish canvas (18×24″) to begin a third. This is also a Mineral King scene. Mineral King is what people expect from me.

I drew it on, stepped back, and said, “Nope. Too much sky”.With another color, I drew it again, stepped back, and said, “Yeppers, get the first layer on.” I did not actually vocalize these words, but the attitude was “HUBBA HUBBA! CHOP CHOP!! ANDALE ANDALE!!”My plan is to use the colors and light and water from the photo on the right but the trees from the photo on the left. This plan isn’t evident just yet, particularly in light of the fact that those photos are too reflective for you to see.

So, I threw down my brushes and went outside for a cigarette.

JUST KIDDING!! I’ve never smoked anything in my entire 58 years.

I actually went back to the White Chief painting. Don’t want to get fired and have to go job hunting. . .!

A Recent Friday in Mineral King

Posted by on Jan 5, 2018 in Mineral King, Personal | 2 Comments

Last Friday, Trail Guy and I went to Mineral King.

Our first idea was to take the trail down to the river behind Lookout Point. It was steep steep steep and slippery too, and then it was completely unmaintained. We spent 30 minutes on it total – 19 down and 11 back up. Nice view from Lookout, the first glimpse of Sawtooth. Mostly we were thrilled by clear air!

The next stop was Trauger’s, a water trough along the road, decorated by sweet peas in early summer. They were planted by Mary Trauger, “the angel of Mineral King” who homesteaded up above the road with her husband Harry during the mining era. The site is up in the cedar trees above the road (not the trees at the top of the ridge).

We have to go up this?? We decided it would be prudent to come back down another way.The home site was farther than we expected along a sort of road that was very overgrown. There wasn’t much to photograph except the cedar trees and the fireplace. Isn’t it weird how that photo looks black and white, or maybe sepia toned?? We toodled on up to Redwood Creek (the 2 redwoods sometimes known as “Aunt Tillie and Uncle Pete”) for a quick lunch; the face flies were annoying because it was in the high 60s and low 70s out. Weird on December 28.Trail Guy suggested that we go on up the hill to the Mineral King where there are no face flies. There is also no snow.
Crystal Creek has ice but is still flowing.Sawtooth looked nice on the way back down the hill. It isn’t that nice – it simply appears to be nice. Wait, I mean it has a nice appearance. (I have a not-nice history with that peak. . . )The upper half of the Mineral King road has potholes. The lower part has potholes, more potholes, crumbling edges and overgrown borders. The public’s frustration is expressed on the sign – look closely, and you will see so much frustration that the writer used a double negative, which contradicts his intent.

Large Painting Situation Continued

Posted by on Jan 4, 2018 in Oil Paintings | No Comments

After working on the White Chief painting for awhile, the brushes and paint weren’t cooperating with me. I actually tossed a brush in the trash! It is so annoying to load a brush with paint and then have none come out when I place it on the canvas. I don’t have time for this baloney, so bye-bye bad brush.

Meanwhile, the amount of detail was making me feel as if I was walking on a treadmill, so I got another largish canvas out and began a second largish painting.  This is of Sawtooth, a landmark peak in Mineral King.

After this, I took a break and checked my email. A dear thoughtful friend had written to tell me how much she loves the poinsettia painting, and she asked the question, meant to be rhetorical, “Is there anything you can’t paint?” My response was, “Yeppers, 2 things, both sitting on my easels right now”.

My confidence in my painting ability is always a bit thin when there are no finished paintings around to reassure me that I can paint.


Large Painting Situation

Posted by on Jan 3, 2018 in Oil Paintings | No Comments

What is a “large painting situation”?

In the life of your Central California artist, this means that all my large paintings are gone. They are now gracing my dentist’s office in Three Rivers. 

It was time to dive into the largish painting of White Chief that I began back in October, working to git-‘er-dun so I will be ready for more largish paintings. “Largish”, because the largest canvases I have on hand right now are 18×24″, which is HUGE after 8×10″, but not very large on someone’s wall.

Lots of nondescript detail in rock formations, rock piles, rocks, stones, pebbles, dirt, and shrubs, trees, grasses, groups of trees, shrubs, grasses, all interspersed with rocks, et cetera, will I ever finish this. . .

The coloring varies on these photos of the same painting because it looks different in the morning light than the afternoon light.

11 Things I Learned in December

Posted by on Jan 2, 2018 in Personal | 6 Comments

Oak Grove Bridge IXX, oil on canvas, SOLD

  1. By the Book is a fun podcast by two women friends who pick a self-help book, read it, follow it for 2 weeks, and report about it in 2 episodes. They either do or do not recommend the book to their listeners. Then they tell what the next book will be. WARNING: They cuss a lot!!
  2. Did you know a crown on a tooth costs $1232. I learned this in December. Ow.
  3. I’ve been wearing contacts for 42 years and just learned that the reason for 2 pair of lenses is to rotate them. I thought the 2nd pair was to be stored in case of loss. 
  4. I pretend that my advanced drawing students have to bully me into teaching oil painting, but in December I realized how very enjoyable these workshops are for everyone, including me.
  5. My website looks out of date. Do I care? Do you? Finding a webdesigner who is responsive, careful, doesn’t want to change platforms, knows how to install and operate a shopping cart, can preserve my almost 10 years of blogging, and who can teach me how to maintain my site is a very daunting task. I’ve had two very wonderful designers, and each one quit for the sake of their children. Here I go again.
  6. Not everyone can listen to and feel music. While being heavily involved in a Christmas musical, this came as a new piece of information to me. I thought anyone could learn music by listening, and just know without being told exactly when to start after hearing the introduction. I learned that this just isn’t so.
  7. After a year without a cell phone, I know now that I truly don’t need a cell phone. 
  8. I read over 100 books this year. I learned that by keeping the list on my GoodReads account that I don’t feel the need to put the best ones on my blog. Does anyone care?
  9. People don’t notice earrings. Many times I deliberately wore a mismatched pair just to test my theory, and no one noticed.
  10. Blue is out of style in home decorating. I bought denim to recover the armchair because there were no other navy-type blue fabrics. None!
  11. Wax-based colored pencils by Blackwing are stronger than the ones made by Prismacolor. Too bad they only come in 12 colors.

Did you learn anything in December? Want to share? Comment or email me. . .

Merry Christmas

Posted by on Dec 22, 2017 in Personal | One Comment

Merry Christmas, dear blog readers. I will be silent for awhile. Nothing to worry about – I’ll be back, and hope you will join me.

Meanwhile, have a lovely week of holidays!

P.S. I have been and will continue to busy through December 24. See?

Three Rivers First Baptist Church, Christmas musical, 2015 (I took the photo from my perch up in the sound booth, where I quietly sang along with the bass line like the dork that I am.) This year’s musical will be Dec. 22 and 23 at 6 p.m. and again on Sunday, Dec. 24 at 10:30 a.m. 

Oil Painting Workshop Day 2

Posted by on Dec 21, 2017 in Lessons, Oil Paintings | No Comments

On Day 2 of the oil painting workshop, we didn’t spend too much time mixing colors. Everyone took her palette home, covered in plastic wrap, and stored it in the freezer until the 2nd class. We dove right into painting, beginning with recoating the green, but this time we added details to resemble grasses and foliage. 

Ahem. Is that the Royal “We”? Well, I did help. . . that’s why they pay me the Big Bucks.

At lunch time, no one wanted to stop. I took a photo of each painting in progress. Some had progressed to the poppy, recoating the oranges and tightening and adding detail. This first one looks finished to me, but the edges need paint and the painting needs a signature.

At the end of our session, no one was completely finished, but I only teach 2 sessions, not 3. (I’m supposed to be “off” in December, so there.) Anyone can work at home on her own; will they or won’t they? 

All these lovely California poppies in oil paint by four of my advanced students from drawing lessons – YEA, drawing painting students!!

Oil Painting Workshop

Posted by on Dec 20, 2017 in Lessons, Oil Paintings | No Comments

In the 24 years I’ve been teaching drawing lessons, I’ve never given lessons in December. But, some of my advanced students beg, plead and cajole until I cave in and give oil painting workshops during my “time off”. 

We start off with a little lesson in color, using the double primary palette. This means 2 yellows, 2 reds, 2 blues and white. The color at the far end is a mixture of the bluish red and the reddish blue, which becomes the color used for darkening. I used colored pencils to demonstrate this (I love to draw, you know!)Then it was time for everyone to squeeze out the paints. We spent about 1-1/2 hour just discussing and mixing colors. My method is to mix 3 levels of orange and green, dark, medium and light. Orange and green were needed because the subject matter was a California poppy.

First, I had them draw the general shape of the poppy on the canvas. Second, they painted the background. I didn’t take photos until the orange started going on.

A weird thing happened: I handed each participant 3 different photos, and each person chose the very same one, all without talking to each other or seeing the others’ choices! At the end of our session, this is where everyone was on their painting. 

On day #2 we will do the second layer and the detailing.