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.

End of the Year Thoughts

Posted by on Dec 30, 2016 in General, Personal, Thoughts | 2 Comments

 Those year end newsletters are good for updates, and they make everyone else’s life seem so sparkly, happy and fun, just like Facebook (Nope, not on, and not going to join). Life is a balance of both good and bad things, but who wants to put the sad, bad and hard stuff in a newsletter?

Here is some of what I remember about 2016, but not all of it. I want my life to look sparkly, happy and fun too, but realistic. The list could be longer, but I want you to stay for the photos at the end.


  1. Lost neighbors on three sides, all for different reasons (We aren’t lawn-parkers, don’t have barking dogs, don’t have loud parties or lights that stay on all night – what’s the deal??)
  2. Lost Perkins, the kindest-hearted cat of 17 years, and gained Samson, the fiercest little feline I’ve ever met
  3. Visited Israel (still in shock – did this really happen??)
  4. Took very long road trip – Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada
  5. Hit 30 years in the marriage department
  6. Walked the Lake Tahoe Marathon


  1. Edited a novel
  2. Edited, designed and published Trail of Promises
  3. Painted 5 murals (2 in someone’s Events Room and 3 in the Three Rivers Museum)
  4. Designed and published 4.9 coloring books (#5 is completed but not printed yet, waiting customer approval)
  5. Did all the other normal work stuff – lessons, oil painting workshops, speaking to groups, oil painting, pencil drawing, blogging, bazaars/festivals/boutiques/shows
  6. Received an award, Women in the Arts, from the DAR (Not sure why, but appreciative all the same!)


Sweet Perkins

strawberry IMG_1733

Trail of Promises


The cover of the next "Heart of" series of local coloring books for grown-ups.


Somewhere in Idaho


T and I were cold, excited and ready!

T and I were cold, excited and ready for our 1/2 marathon in Lake Tahoe


A long bridge into Sandpont, Idaho


Bridges, always bridges. . . what is it with the Central California artist and bridges? The answer is that a bridge picture is the perfect combination of scenery and architecture. This one is in Oregon, not in Central California. I don’t know if California has any covered bridges except for one in Wawona near Yosemite.

mineral king coloring book Heart of the Hills

DAR award

IMG_2362 IMG_2484




Mineral King mural in Three Rivers Museum of Empire Mt. mining area.

Mineral King mural in Three Rivers Museum of Empire Mt. mining area.

2 more murals in the Mineral King Room of the Three Rivers Museum

2 more murals in the Mineral King Room of the Three Rivers Museum


Take that, 2016!

Thank you, dear blog readers, for sticking with me through 2016.

Happy New Year!

P.S. Am I always standing by people I love with my arm thrown over their shoulders?? Nope. Couldn’t stand to be touched in Israel because it was always too hot.


Christmas in Visalia

Posted by on Dec 8, 2016 in drawing, General, the business of art | 2 Comments

Holidays, Christmas in particular, are a season for selling. This means it is a season of buying.

I do not want to be commercial, but what if people want my merchandise and can’t figure out how to find it?

Selling is serving. (I heard this somewhere recently.) I live to serve. 

Would you like some Christmas cards? Holiday cards? Whatever sort of greeting cards? 

Christmas in Visalia greeting card

Christmas in Visalia

This is Christmas in *Visalia, a scene made up of real elements, a pencil drawing interpretation by me of Candy Cane Lane in 1994.

Quantities are very limited. . . only 7 packages remain. Each package is 8 cards and envelopes, $15. Price includes tax. Cards are blank inside, size 4-1/2 x 6-1/4″. If you need me to mail them, toss in another $2.00.

First come, first served. Use the contact button above (under About The Artist) to let me know if you’d like them. Or, email me – cabinart at cabinart dot net (written that way so the spambots won’t bother me). Or call me – 559-561-7606.

*Visalia is the county seat of Tulare County. Tulare is not the county seat. These weird names are pronounced “Vy – SAL- ya” and “Too-LAIR-ee”. I am not making this up. I live here, and this is how we say things. However, there are many people around here who think the town “Orosi” is pronounced “Oros-uh”. They are also the ones who say “Missour – uh”. We like those folks, but are quite curious about their pronunciation habits.

More on Membership

Posted by on Nov 9, 2016 in General, the business of art, Thoughts | No Comments

Somewhere recently I heard that it is a “subscription economy” we are in now, rather than a “membership economy”.

Several of the computer programs I use no longer just sell the program. Instead, they sell a subscription that is either paid monthly or yearly. So, I bought outdated versions, because my internet service isn’t dependable enough. I need the thing to be on my computer, not out there on the World Wide Web. And, I don’t need any more monthly expenses.

Then I got thinking about memberships to stores: I quit Costco because it bothered me to pay to shop (and a couple of other reasons.) But, I joined Amazon Prime for free shipping, because I don’t have to drive down the hill using up gas and time and adding miles to my car.

Lots of free internet services offer premium versions and upgrades.  I don’t pay for the premium version of this blog platform because this one works. It already costs me about $500 a year to pay someone to keep it up to date.

I don’t pay for an upgraded version of LinkedIn. I enjoy reading their articles and finding links to good articles online but it isn’t a great use of my time.

Someone far wiser than I (Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism and The Disciplined Pursuit of Less) suggests that when you have to decide whether or not to pay for something that used to be free, think about it this way: “What would I pay to get this if I didn’t have it?”

The business of art requires continual decisions. Choices and consequences, choices and consequences.


What shall I do?? Join? Not join? Subscribe? Become a member?

There. Take that, subscriptions. Guess I showed them.

There. Take that, subscriptions.
Guess I showed them.

Mineral King Oil Paintings, continued

Posted by on Sep 13, 2016 in General | 4 Comments

One time I painted the Mineral King scene of Farewell Gap with the Crowley family cabin plein air. That was very difficult – the light and colors kept changing, people kept asking what I was doing (umm, skateboarding?), and I had to keep scooting out of the way of cars.

Painting Farewell Gap in Mineral King plein air in 2007

Painting Farewell Gap in Mineral King plein air in 2006

I don’t remember which one it was or how it turned out. I had only been painting a few months and thought that plein air painting was necessary to learning. It may have been, but mostly what I learned was how grateful I was to be a studio painter, working in a controlled and quiet environment from my photos.

Farewell Gap XIII

Farewell Gap XIII

Farewell Gap with Crowley Cabin, 2013

Farewell Gap with Crowley Cabin, 2013

Farewell Gap XIV, 2013

Farewell Gap XIV, 2013

Farewell Gap in Autumn, 2013

Farewell Gap in Autumn, 2013

That’s a new twist on an old theme.

Reading Rabbit Returns

Posted by on Aug 4, 2016 in General, Reading | No Comments

Happy Birthday, Melissa!

Salt & Light, or Reading Rabbit, oil on board, 11x14"

Salt & Light, or Reading Rabbit, oil on board, 11×14″

Remember Reading Rabbit? He appears when I want to tell you about books I have recently read that I think are worth the time.

Having recently assisted an author with photo editing, copy editing, book design, printing and proofing, I am stunned that there are so many readable books in the world. The process from idea to real book is very very very difficult. It is now more accessible to the average bear, but it also means that the quality of books has diminished. There are unedited books, poorly edited books, poorly designed books, books with illegible photos, and even books with a “forward” instead of a FOREWORD. It’s enough to kill off any reading rabbit, for sure. See?

reading rabbit

Okay, I’m done bloviating for now.

Recently I have learned from, enjoyed and finished these books:

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver. The author and her family decided to dedicate a year to eating local food only. Barbara is a fabulous novelist, so I will read almost anything she writes. This book also had excerpts from her daughter and her husband, and recipes. It was set up month by month so the reader could understand the seasonal efforts. What a ton of work, but very rewarding. Now I want to make my own mozzarella cheese!

The 188th Crybaby Brigade, Joel Chasnoff. Shortly after returning from Israel, I met a former Israeli soldier. He needed artwork, but I wasn’t the right person for the job so I sent him to someone better qualified. In spite of my not being the right artist for him, we had a great conversation, and he recommended this book to me. It was written by a friend of his, another American who served in the Israeli armed forces. What a fascinating read! And such fun to see an entire chapter titled “Tim Bailey”, the name of the man I met.  This book will entertain you, worry you, and make you wonder how Israel has survived with its armed forces being made up of teenagers.

My To-Be-Read list continues to grow, much of it due to the website, Modern Mrs. Darcy. She has a weekly podcast called “WSIRN”, for What Should I Read Next. In it, she interviews someone about their reading preferences, saying, “List 3 books you love, 1 book you hate, and tell me what you are reading now”. Then she summarizes the books very succinctly and makes recommendations. Her blog is very well written, and one of my new favorites.

Here are Amazon links to the books listed here:

Never mind. I can’t remember how to do that, and I need to go work on the Sequoia/Kings Canyon coloring book.

Tomorrow is a Mineral King day on the blog. Y’all come back now!


Posted by on Jul 18, 2016 in General, Thoughts | 2 Comments

Sometimes people think artists are weird.

I think everyone is normal until I get to know them.

I did a mental inventory of all the chairs in my house. (Is this weird? Never mind. Don’t answer that question.) As I moved from room to room, I realized that EVERY SINGLE CHAIR IN MY HOUSE is a salvage, a second-hand, a “sure, I’ll take that”.

A few weeks ago, Trail Guy and I were at a dump. (None of your beeswax, but thanks for your concern.) I saw a chair, and knew it was meant for me.


This is not the dump, in case you were wondering. Again, thank you for your concern.

It was a mess, but a classic shape, sturdy frame, and just what our green room needs. The green room is a little empty, and I’ve been thinking about what might be good in there. This chair is just what I had envisioned.


Empty-ish green room.

I chose fabric that I thought would suit the chair (a vague blurry bit of it is in the foreground of the photo above) and took a few photos of the chair.

When my favorite upholsterers received the photos, this was the response: “This is a 1950 vintage chair. very popular because of the great lines and comfort.  We can repair the back leg or replace. With a new cushion you will have a beautiful chair.”

How beautiful? I almost choked when he named the price.

The senior upholsterer said that when it is finished, it would be worth $1200! I told him I couldn’t afford a chair of that quality or value. Remember, I find my chairs in the dump! (or yard sales,other people’s garages or thrift shops)

I thought about taking the chair back home again, but realized I’d have to unload it. Then I’d think about it for awhile, adjust to the price, make arrangements to load it and take it back to Visalia.



It is a mess, but can’t you see the possibilities here?

Weird? Or resourceful?

It is so satisfying to find something of potential value, to salvage and repair, to find completely unique things, to own items with a story, to enjoy things that are lasting, timeless, and classic.

The upholsterer said it would last 25 years. I thought, “IT HAD BETTER!!”

Uh, does anyone want to buy a coloring book? One hundred coloring books? Or how about an oil painting? A really large oil painting, perhaps?

I’m in a show soon at the Courthouse Gallery in Exeter. Bring your checkbook.


Wildflower Quest and Thoughts on Naming Flowers

Every summer in Mineral King, Trail Guy goes on a quest for Leopard Lilies. They have a fabulous fragrance, and often we smell them before we see them.

Mineral King wildflowers are usually at their peak during the first couple of weeks in July. This year they are particularly profuse.


Groundsel is common. It is a little boring, except when there are great masses of it together. It always looks slightly worn out.


Penstemmon comes in many colors and styles. This might be called “golden beard”. I wasn’t asked, but if I had been, I would call this one “lipstick”.


No flowers here, but I can’t pass over this bridge without photographing the classic scene.


“Wild geranium” makes no sense as a name, unless you know that what we call “geranium” at home is actually pelargonium, and true geraniums look more like this. Someone is jerking us around in this naming busines.


Wild asters usually don’t appear until late August. They are more lavender than they appear in this photo.


The larkspur were thick and bright, but my little PHD (press here, Dummy) camera wouldn’t focus on them. Where else will you see purple and yellow together and not think it is a little obnoxious?


We (ahem – Trail Guy) always find artifacts in Mineral King, a place very rich in cultural history. This is part of an old stove. Apparently, people in the olden days thought nothing of walking away from their stuff. Don’t know about you, but I’ve never removed a stove part, much less left it lying around. Maybe these folks would have been Lawn Parkers if they were in a more modern era.


Rein orchis is a weird weird name. “Orchis” not “orchid”. “Rein” not “rain”. You just can’t make this stuff up, unless you are an Official Flower Namer. They get to do whatever they want. I used to think grown-ups got to do whatever they wanted, but maybe not, unless they are Flower Namers.


Somewhere in there is a Leopard Lily. We spotted it!


“We”? Nope, Trail Guy spotted it!


Then he stuck his nose in it.


This is a boring photo. In real life it was sparkly white flowers and a few bright purplish-pink wild onions.


More sparkly white “knot weed”, which looks like a Nothing Burger in this photo. Guess you had to be there.


This unnamed and unknown (to me) flower is thick along the Mineral King Road, maybe around 5000′. This was one of the first times I found it near a turnout, when no one else was around so I could really appreciate it. Besides, it wasn’t 100 degrees out, so I didn’t mind stopping.


Look how thick this is here! Anyone know the name of this? How about “roadside blue”? I want to be a Flower Namer!

Oh Say. . .

Posted by on Jul 4, 2016 in General | No Comments

. . . can you see what a privilege it is to live in this country?

Oh Say

Israel is about the size of New Jersey. They are an amazing country, surviving and thriving in a hostile place. I saw a tee shirt there that read “Don’t worry, America. Israel has your back.”



Posted by on Jun 14, 2016 in General | No Comments


(Happy Birthday, Lauren!)