11 Things I Learned in January

Posted by on Feb 1, 2018 in General, Personal | No Comments

Happy Birthday, Robin!!

Some of these things are new, and some got relearned. 

  1. If you have an indoor/outdoor cat, don’t get too attached. Nature is just out your door, and it is brutal and wild. Bye-bye, Samson, the bitey Bengal boy. Still, we think it is better to let a cat be a cat instead of trapping it inside.
  2. If you don’t have a cell phone, it is harder to order from Amazon. They want you to sign in, receive a call and then sign in a second time with a code that comes through the phone. This doesn’t work when you are at your mom’s house, wanting to order something for her. Still, I think it is better to not have a cell phone.
  3. The Blackwing Colors colored pencil set of 12 can be used to obtain almost as many colors (via layering) as either Polychromos or Prismacolor sets of 120 colors. Score another point for simplicity!
  4. There is a very fine upholstery and wood-working shop in downtown Visalia called Quality Upholstering. I’d heard of them because they have been there 40 years!! They do great work with quick turnaround, and are a pleasure to deal with. 
  5. Lifesource Water Systems is The Answer To Bad Water from your household tap. Why did we wait so long to deal with the excessive chlorine?? Don and Shelley Lovelace have the franchise in Fresno and they are a pleasure and a delight to work with.
  6. I am more vain than I thought. A stranger referred to me as a “blonde”. My hair is brown, but the gray in it was deceptive to the stranger. I thought this would never enter my mind, but I have been considering hiding the gray.
  7. The History Chicks is an excellent way to learn some history. This is a podcast with 2 women telling the stories of various women, just talking as women do. Eavesdrop and learn (and they DON’T CUSS!)
  8. I learned how to make a secret book safe – it was harder than I expected. You can see the instructions here: Little Vintage Cottage
  9. As a bonus to #8, I learned how to make ModPodge. What is this? It is 1 cup white glue with 1/3 cup water, sold as a specialty craft product, but not at the local hardware store. (We used it in the 1970s to decoupage cut up posters onto grape trays; this was an important decorating skill.)
  10. There is a little battery pack charger thing. . . a friend jump-started my car from this little dealie, which put the stereo in a coma and temporarily disabled the automatic locking system (or maybe that was the dead battery). But, it was so compact and handy! (My amazing mechanic, since 1983, Mark at Foreign Auto Works in Visalia got everything repaired and I got a new battery.)
  11. The definition of middle-aged is 45-65, according to The Google. Who cares? A friend my age (58) and I had quite a discussion about it. She insisted we were old, and I was certain we are still middle-aged. Again, who cares? It was an interesting discussion, and caused me to think about the differences in our lives that give us differing views. She is a grandmother, has no living parents, lives in a college town in a wealthy area, to name a few; I am not a parent nor a grandparent, have a mom who is doing quite well (thank you for your concern), and live in the 3rd poorest and 13th least educated county in the state. Those things all influence one’s perspective.


Posted by on Nov 23, 2017 in General, Personal | 7 Comments

Six Things I Learned in October

Posted by on Nov 1, 2017 in drawing, General, Personal | One Comment

And a few of these things may be hold-overs from September or perhaps even August (slow learner?)

  1. Propane: a. If a tank is full when it is hot out, the propane expands and blows off the pressure relief valve; b. Propane’s bad smell attracts flies
  2. The sharper your knife, the less you cry (when slicing onions). This is the title of a book (minus the part about onions) that I read, a memoir by Kathleen Flinn, about her time a Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris. I don’t cook much, don’t like onions and don’t use them very often, but I will be sure to sharpen my knife next time.
  3. The Pencil Lady was interviewed on my favorite podcast What Should I Read Next. She runs a store in New York City that sells everything pencil related. WOW! It is called CW Pencil Enterprise.
  4. When defrosting the frig at the cabin, it goes fast if I put a warm burner plate off the woodstove inside the freezer (on a piece of foil). Amazing idea – why did it take 31 years to figure this out??
  5. VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) charges a whole mess of fees; the next time I rent a place to stay, I will skip this giant greedy conglomerate and find a local rental agency. Ha ha to VRBO.
  6. Drawing lesson for me: drawing a portrait of someone I can’t see and don’t know is just as difficult as drawing a portrait of someone I don’t know from a photo that is blurry. The difference is that when the unknown subject looks similar enough, I get to quit messing with it.

Sawtooth Peak Oil Painting Continued

Posted by on Sep 29, 2017 in General | 7 Comments

The layers continue to build on Sawtooth Peak, an oil painting.

As it was when you last saw it:

Another layer added to the sky:Another layer added to Sawtooth:

Another layer added to the lower ridges:

And more added to the lower ridges:Yo, Professor Layer, may I be finished with the sky and the peak and the lower ridges now? (Can you see Trail Guy’s visor in the background as he adds grommets to the Kaweah Artisans banner?)

When this dries, I’ll put in branches at the bottom edges. I think this wants greenery, or maybe it is fine as it is. . .

What do you think??


You Know You are Middle-aged When. . .

Posted by on Sep 27, 2017 in General, Personal | No Comments

Rapid Change*, pencil drawing, title indicative of life as a middle-aged being

An older and wiser friend reminds me from time to time that life is like a roll of toilet paper–the closer to the end, the faster it goes.

I’ve been thinking lately that you know you are middle-aged when. . .

. . . you prefer hiking uphill to downhill because your knees kill you going downhill.

. . . you choose not to watch a movie because you don’t want to shuffle 3 remote controls and don’t understand why it is even necessary.

. . . your pastor, doctor and the president are all younger than you. (Not so with the current president, in case you were wondering.)

. . . you go to your class reunion and can’t find your friends among all the old people.

. . . you know the words to the orchestrated songs in the grocery store.

. . . you notice young people driving too fast instead of old people driving too slow.

. . . you recognize the word “update” as a euphemism for “complications and trouble ahead”.

Do you have anything to add to this list?

*Rapid Change is available for sale here.


Drawing Mineral King

It is Friday, and the only new thing I have to show you of Mineral King is a drawing. My weekends have been taken with memorial services (one last Saturday and another one tomorrow), drawing workshops, art receptions, business presentations. 

I’m not complaining, just ‘splaining.

The drawing is new. The scene is old, or perhaps “classic” is the right word.

Pencil drawing, “Mineral King From The Bridge”, 9×12″, unframed, unpriced, uncertain.

It has been awhile since I drew anything of Mineral King (except for water). Maybe a series of pencil drawings of Mineral King would sell as reproduction prints. Cards? Too much money to print, too little profit. But I’ll give that some thought too.

Want a laugh? Look at how I drew this scene in 1987.

Growth is good, unless you are a cancer cell. 


How to Get My Blog

Posted by on Jun 22, 2017 in General | 2 Comments

Sometimes when I tell a friend that he can see something on my blog, I hear one of the following replies:

  1. I don’t get your blog.
  2. I’m not on Facebook.
  3. What’s a blog?
  4. I don’t do blogs.

Here are my answers to those replies:

  1. Nothing to “get” – you can visit The Google* and type in www.cabinart.net and it will take you to my website. Then click or tap the word “Blog” on the menu and it will take you there OR YOU CAN SUBSCRIBE.
  2. See the word “Blog”? I put a red oval around it so you can find it easier in this picture example.
  3. I’m not on Facebook either. My blog is on my website, not on Facebook.
  4. “Blog” is a shortened term from “web log”. It is a journal or log (but not a diary – there are no secrets on the World Wide Web!) that is kept on a website.
  5. Nothing to do on a blog except read and enjoy; commenting is optional.

Look at this picture of my blog page. I’ve circled the part where you can subscribe. If you do so, you will get an email confirmation. You have to follow the link in the email in order to begin getting my blog.

You, yes, little ole you, can join the tens of readers who subscribe to my blog. Then you too will finally get my blog!

Thank you for reading to the bottom. You deserve a gold star. Too bad I only know how to make red stars. Let’s call it a proverbial gold star. 

Sorry. I must be overheated.

*The Google – Sometimes I say “Mr. Google” and a friend says “Uncle Google”. 

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 habañeros? 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.


Posted by on May 29, 2017 in General | 4 Comments

After Hours

Posted by on Apr 7, 2017 in General, Personal, Sources of inspiration | 4 Comments

On breaks from the studio, during my “commute” to the studio, after hours, and on weekends, this is a glimpse into what inspires me, fills my time, keeps me interested in marching on.

Ethan, a boy from Three Rivers, sells beautiful eggs, and there may be some paintings soon.

This type of iris is my favorite. The colors are never quite as good in the photos as real life, but sometimes I have done okay with oil paint in capturing these. (It’s been a few years since I painted any.) See that shadow through the lace? That is a Peeping Sam(son). Making mosaic items –stepping stones, a few table-tops, a bowling ball, drinking fountain and light pole – is a striking change from drawing in pencil. These were done with tiles I found at garage sales and a few left-over pieces from when I was slamming these out by the dozens. The big box stores don’t carry bright colors or pretty designs any more, so I think the era of easy tile buying has ended. We planted tomatoes and stepping stones. Trail Guy built this fortress against deer, gophers and birds. Guess we’ll still have to deal with the bugs. The herb garden is my place of refuge. The various fence pieces are all salvaged. It won’t keep out the deer, but it will slow them down a bit. It looks a little hokey but I get satisfaction from using what we have available (or “upcycling” in the current vernacular). And sometimes I just sit, read, knit, pick the catkins out of my hair from the mulberry branches overhead, and smell the lilacs.