Gekkos in Three Rivers, Finished?

Posted by on Jun 21, 2017 in commissions, Murals, Three Rivers | 2 Comments

Is my mural, “Gekkos in Three Rivers” finished? A job isn’t finished until I hear from the customer that she is happy. As of the writing of this blog post, I haven’t heard.

The gekko on the left was the next one to be painted. These are the colors I chose. You can see the striking difference from the colored pencil version to the painted one – colored pencils make such wimpy-looking art! (unless you bear down with a zillion layers. . .)

I finished the remaining one – my current favorite color combination of blue with brown (a teal sort of blue with a pinkish grayish brown is really my favorite, but let’s not quibble here).

This is all 3 pairs. I studied them from a distance and then touched up this, that and the other thing. . . a little wider tail here, a few more spots there, painted “fingernails” in a few places, a wider body. . . 

And here you can see them all together.

What a lovely place to work this has been. . . happy sigh of gratefulness for nice weather and a really full river.

Let’s step back and see it in on the gazebo. Don’t you just want to hang out here?

And finally, as it appears from the road. 

It sort of looks like a (wobbly) banner. You can see there is something on it, but don’t know what it might be. Lots of colors, but which ones? Hmmm, maybe it will make people drive more slowly on North Fork.


Gecko/Gekko Mural, Day One

Posted by on Jun 19, 2017 in commissions, Murals | 2 Comments

Customer approved the colors and arrangement of the geckos with interlocking tails, so I packed up my supplies and drove to the river gazebo. The board is a good height for painting, the river is roaring, and there is great shade in the morning. I’m going to enjoy this job!

Where is this place? So glad you asked! It is in Three Rivers, on the North Fork of the Kaweah River, next door to the Arts Center, and it is called “The Bridge House” on VRBO. Here is the link: The Bridge House The gazebo is across the street, and was built on a patio overlooking the river, incorporating bridge abutments from the bridge that washed out in the flood of ’55.

First, the board needed to be painted. I had a partially used gallon of “High Hiding White”, which sounded just right.

I put a coat of white on the board, then went home with some specific measurements so I could figure out how to get the design from 8-1/2×11″ paper onto a 20″x 10′ board. It took a fair amount of measuring and math, tracing and transferring, but eventually I had it on tissue paper, the appropriate size.

When I returned to the gazebo, I saw it needed a second coat of High Hiding White to hide the first coat. This gave me time to think about how to transfer the image from tissue to the board. 

I used blue chalk on the back side of the tissue, taped the pattern to the board in the center, and rubbed it with my finger.

Can you see it?

Neither can I. This will have to be continued on another day when the shade has returned.

The Rest of the Stories

Posted by on May 30, 2017 in commissions, General, Oil Paintings | 2 Comments

Remember Paul Harvey? We had to be quiet during lunch so my parents could listen to him every day at noon when we were home from school. He would tell a story sometimes with a surprise ending, and then he would say, “And now you know. . . (long, very long, very very long extended pause). . . the REST of the story.”

Remember the pencil drawing of the walnut grove? The recipient loved it. 

Remember the very difficult and (for me) very large painting of the Oak Grove bridge?

It is finished. It now hangs in my dining room, because I am really happy with it. If you want to buy it, it can hang in your dining room.

Oak Grove Bridge IXX, 24×30″, oil on wrapped canvas, $1500 (plus tax)

Remember a painting I did of a trail in Mineral King? I improved on it a bit. Without showing you the old version, you might not recognize the improvements. 


Mineral King Trail, 11×14″, oil on canvas, $275

Remember the habaƱeros? The commissioned oil painting is finished. I still don’t know how to dispose of the peppers themselves. If I bury them in the garden, they might grow new ones. . . can’t be growing toxic waste in my yard that way. . . put them in the green waste bin? But they are red!

Finally, remember the “easy” painting of the bridge? 

Oak Grove Bridge XXII, 11×14″, oil on wrapped canvas, $275 plus tax

And now you know. . . .

(very long pause)


the REST of my stories.

Red Hot Chile Peppers

Posted by on May 23, 2017 in commissions, Oil Paintings | No Comments

These habaƱero 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.

Pencil Drawing Commission (Dr. Pencil to the Rescue)

Posted by on Apr 17, 2017 in commissions, drawing | 4 Comments

This began with an email, then became endless emailed photos and discussions and phone calls. Oh, and can you have this by the 22nd? Wait, we need cards made, so can you do it in time to give the print shop enough time?

No problem. Art Emergencies are one of my specialties.

The subject matter is a city park that is not yet completed. That makes things a little tricky. The chain link fence surrounding it further complicates things.

No problem. They call me “Dr. Pencil”. (Who is this “They”? Never you mind. . .)

Here are the beginning photos. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??

Better see what this looks like in black and white – sometimes that clarifies things.Now I am ready to offer the customer some choices.

She chose B, my favorite. I love it when that happens. Makes me feel trusted. I got it laid out and began shading.

And then I had a long day at the drawing board. Not too long, just uninterrupted focused hours to listen to podcasts and figure this thing out.

The next step is the photoshop clean-up and prep work while I wait for the customer to make decisions about the cards.

Goodness, I hope the customer is pleased, because there isn’t enough time to redo anything!



It Is Finished.

Posted by on Apr 12, 2017 in commissions, drawing | 2 Comments

(Seems like an appropriate title with Easter coming, no disrespect intended.)

This was a long pencil drawing commission – lots of emails, photos, sketches, decisions, waiting, and oh my, lots and lots of leaves to draw.

Here is a look, start to finish (minus all the photos, emails, changes, decisions, et cetera)

You can see that the customers chose neither A nor B.  C was a result of a photo I took at the orchard, because they wanted something that distinguished theirs from every other walnut grove.


Now it is at the framer, and then, finally, it will be presented to the intended recipient, who will be happily surprised. (I’m fairly certain he does not read my blog.)

Pencil Drawing Commission

Posted by on Apr 4, 2017 in commissions, drawing | 4 Comments

Do you remember reading that I was doing a pencil drawing of a walnut grove, a commission, and was waiting for more information? I received what I needed, finished it, and now I am waiting to hear if the commissioning parties are happy.

So, I’ll show you another pencil drawing commission that I finished. The customer is very happy.

This was difficult. The size is 8×10, and that is really too small for all this detail. I did most of it underneath a large magnifying light, and resolved to stop offering the 8×10 size. It was a relief that the customer didn’t want the family sitting in the front yard – I would have just had to say a definite and resolute NO! The horses looked a little weird in the photo – as if they had horns or something. When I asked the customer why they looked so weird, she said, “Who knows? It is Oklahoma! Just make them look normal.”

Too funny – are horses weird in Oklahoma? Maybe in the late 1800s or early 1900s they wore ear points. 

I also wondered about the alternating colors of paint on the porch pillars. Red and white is my guess, but perhaps dark green and white.

Interesting pencil commission job – have I mentioned lately that I love to draw in pencil?

And here’s a little aside about living in Three Rivers: the customer/friend has been telling me for awhile that she’d like me to draw her old family homestead farmhouse. I saw her at the Post Office and reminded her. She was ready to begin, so she dropped it off in a special mailbox I have near the bottom of my driveway. We did the entire job without actually seeing one another in person – all email and drop-offs, no more chance encounters at the Post Office or on a walk. We live about 1-1/4 miles apart and often walk past one another’s homes.

In addition to loving to draw in pencil, I love living in Three Rivers.

Weird Connection

Posted by on Feb 28, 2017 in commissions, drawing, Personal, Thoughts | 2 Comments

In 1994 I was commissioned by a woman to do 2 pencil collage drawings as gifts for her sons. Their last name was Dalton, and the young men had started a company to sell a special recipe of BBQ sauce, capitalizing on their ancestors, the notorious Dalton Gang. The gang robbed a bank in Coffeyville, Kansas and died in the raid, along with 4 innocent citizens. This incident in history is a huge part of the identity of Coffeyville, 125 years later. (It happened in 1892 – did I do the math right?)

In the past handful of years, I have become friends with a woman who lives in Coffeyville. (Yea, internet!) She is a writer and blogger named Cheryl Barker and this is the link to her site. When I learned where she lives, I told her about the drawings and she was very surprised that I had heard of Coffeyville at all. (She had never heard of Three Rivers, duh.) 

I told her if I ever found pictures of those drawings, I’d send them to her.

Last week I was procrastinating (quite productively, thank you for your concern), and decided to have another look. 

Wow, in the last century I kept appallingly horrible visual records of my work. Here are the two pencil drawings, after scanning the horrid photos and working a bit of photoshop magic on them.

P.S. I googled Dalton Wild Times Enterprises and found nothing.

On the Easels and On the Needles

Posted by on Feb 21, 2017 in commissions, Oil Paintings, Personal | 3 Comments

This jalapeno is a commissioned oil painting. I’m happy with the colors and will be tightening up the detail next.

The Honeymoon Cabin is a very popular subject. This is from an early evening photo with heightened colors. The size is 8×8″ and will be $100.

Sawtooth is another very popular Mineral King subject. This is 10×10″ and will be $150.

And in case you were wondering if all I do is work, please be reassured that I always find time to knit. A friend is waiting for a new pair of lungs, and there will be a fund raising dinner with silent auction and pick-a-prize items. I made these 2 infinity scarves for the event, and the blue/red/brown one already sold! No worries, I have just finished a brown/teal and have a second one on the needles, which I might be tempted to keep. Kind of tempted to keep the aqua one, but my friend needs to pay for her lung transplant infinitely more than I need another scarf.

Oh wait – you need to see what an infinity scarf looks like, not just all the colors.

Forget it – this one is mine! (Okay, make a large enough contribution to my friend’s lung account and I will send it to you, but it better be a HUGE check – email if you’d like further instructions.)


Finished Oil Paintings

Posted by on Feb 15, 2017 in commissions, Oil Paintings | No Comments

Did you think I had forgotten my promise to show you recently finished oil paintings?


First, the commissioned piece. It isn’t totally finished, but I never show you the sides of the canvas anyway.

It is Oak Grove Bridge XX, which means #20, but is probably the 25th time I’ve painted it because sometimes my record keeping is not so good.

Now, the P Fruits:

6×18″, P Fruits, oil on canvas, wrapped edges, ready to hang, $150 plus the obnoxious 8% California sales tax.

And a Sequoia Gigantea, with the same information as above, except it is a Giant Sequoia tree.