One Day Drawing Workshop

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

Are you interested in a one day drawing workshop?

Here is your opportunity!

Place: Arts Visalia, Visual Art Center

214 East Oak Avenue
Visalia, CA 93279
Phone: (559)739-0905
Date: June 10
What: Pencil Drawing Workshop
Time: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Instructor: Jana Botkin
Details: This workshop teaches realistic detailed pencil drawing from photos. Advancing your skill set or new to drawing? All levels welcome, 6th grade minimum age.
SUPPLIES OR MATERIALS: The materials will be provided for the class. The student would only need to provide their own lunch, as the class extends through the lunch period.

Gray Matter, Second Chance

Posted by on May 31, 2017 in Events | No Comments

Did you wish you had been to the reception for Gray Matter, but you had to miss it because you have such a full life?

Here’s a second chance to see original pencil drawings by me and three of my very advanced drawing students.

There might even be some fabulous brownies. . . not promising, just saying maybe.

Redbud Wrap-up

Posted by on May 16, 2017 in Events, Oil Paintings, Three Rivers | 2 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).

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?

Pencil Show Coming Soon

Posted by on Apr 25, 2017 in drawing, Events, Lessons, the business of art | 7 Comments

A pencil show? Yes, an art show of only pencil drawings by 3 of my advanced drawing students and me!

Some facts:

Title: Gray Matter

Dates: Friday, May 5 and Friday, June 2

Location: Brandon-Mitchell Gallery, 117 So. Locust in Downtown Visalia (between Main and Acequia, west side of the street)

Time: 5-8 p.m.

Participants: Kelvin Farris, Maggie Meling, Wendy Miller, Jana Botkin

We are part of the monthly “Art Walk” in Downtown Visalia. There are many business and art studios that join in this regular event. This is something I’ve never gone to, so I don’t know what to expect. However, you can expect some wonderful pencil drawings, including these.

Abby the Calf, pencil drawing by Kelvin Farris

Farmersville Corner, pencil drawing by Wendy Miller

Pensive Pose, pencil drawing by Maggie Meling

A List and an Attitude

Posted by on Jan 11, 2017 in Events, Personal | 4 Comments

Here is a list about the vicissitudes* of my life; you may detect a certain attitude coming through. Tomorrow I will try to resume a more professional and detached approach to blogging.

  1. Samson caught his first rat! Yep, rat, not mouse. He played with it until Michael took it away. His cat food must be too tasty for him to consume a rodent.
  2. I updated the web page of The Cabins of Wilsonia so you can now look inside the book a little bit. There are arrows on the side of the book that take you to those interior pages. Or use the dots. Or is it my outdated browser on my outdated operating system on my outdated laptop that makes it appear this way?
  3. I no longer have a cell phone. What? You didn’t know I had one? Yes, a flip phone with a broken hinge served me somewhat for about 15 years. The Huge and Rude and Indifferent Phone Company offered me a replacement and said the old one would no longer work by the first of the year. I accepted the new phone, waited until the last possible minute, and called Huge&Rude to activate it. No problem. Done. Nope, not done. Called Huge&Rude again who insisted that I needed a passcode. A what? Can’t set it up over the phone, sorry, my apologies. Maybe via email? Oh guess what – they’ve had the wrong email address for me since 2001. My apologies, Ma’am, can’t correct the eddress without a passcode. You’ll have to go to a Huge&Rude store to set one up. I decided that I’d rather not continue with Huge&Rude, so I asked to cancel. Oh guess what – they cannot cancel over the phone but I need to visit Huge&Rude in person in order to set up a passcode in order to cancel. Why have a cell phone if there is sketchy service at my address and if I choose to not be available 24/7? No reason. I’m not driving 40 miles to stand in line at a store for 2 hours to get a passcode to cancel. 
  4. My laptop is on its last legs. I had to make a very expensive decision. I hope nothing gets interrupted or lost.
  5. This is getting unpleasant. Here’s a better subject: the Mineral King Room at the Three Rivers Museum will have its grand opening on Sunday, January 22, from 1-4 p.m. You can see my murals in person, listen to people talk about Mineral King, look at artifacts and learn about the mining and the Disney era, and eat and drink.
  6. UPDATE – and now I’m hearing that the various for sale pages aren’t working on the website. HOW LONG HAS THIS BEEN GOING ON?? Somebody make it stop.

If you made it to the end of the list, you deserve a treat.15

Cruise, anyone? Wouldn’t it be nice to escape the rats, the Huge&Rudes, updates, and broken things?

Dream on.

Okay, here’s what I really think:


Samson agrees, but he is a bit more attitudinal.


*Vicissitudes is a fantastic word. It means “changes of circumstance or fortune, typically unpleasant or unwelcome”.


Nice Day on the Farm

Posted by on Dec 5, 2016 in Events, Photography, Three Rivers | No Comments

I didn't want to leave home in the morning, but we grownups have to face things.

I didn’t want to leave home in the morning, but we grownups have to face things.

Look how beautiful it is around the barn!

Pretty nice place to work. Don’t these folks have gophers and deer??


This is the same view that I painted from real life and from photos in April 2015.


April 2015


This is all I saw of the baby animals. There were lambs but it took several people running around to catch them and I had to work instead of cavort with lambs.

This is all I saw of the baby animals. There were lambs but it took several people running around to catch them; I was not cavorting with lambs that day.

These folks are heading off to catch a lamb.

These folks are heading off to catch a lamb.

Wow, eh?

Wow, eh?

Oh yeah. I was working. Look at that merchandise with the afternoon sunlight!

Look at that merchandise with the afternoon sunlight!

And look at the light show in the afternoon light!

And look at the light show in the afternoon light!

Thus we conclude the boutiques, bazaars and shows for 2016. 

Isn’t “thus” a stuffy word? I don’t think it gets used much in conversation.