Cabin Drawing Flag Adjustment

Posted by on Sep 12, 2017 in commissions, drawing, Mineral King | No Comments

A flag seems like an appropriate topic for today.

The customers were sort of happy with their Mineral King cabin drawing, but not overjoyed. “Sort of happy” is not good enough. After a bit of conversation, they said the flag was too bright and drew too much attention.

My dad liked to quote a Latin phrase De gustibus non est disbutandem, which translates “it is useless to argue over matters of taste”.

I completely understand. A drawing is never finished until the customer is completely happy. While they were present in the studio, I redid the flag. Now they are happy!



Because I did the flag in bright colored pencils before discussing it with them, I used Faber Castell’s Polychromos, an oil-based colored pencil that erases. Although I am very comfortable with the colors of Prismacolor and they are sitting very conveniently on my drawing table, they are wax-based colored pencils that don’t erase, so I resisted the urge to use them.



Hiking Mineral King – Empire Again

Posted by on Sep 8, 2017 in Mineral King, Sources of inspiration | 4 Comments

Some friends were visiting and had never been to Empire. We planned to go, woke up to horrible smoky conditions, waffled a bit, and then went anyway.

Smoke from the Pier fire (near Camp Nelson) blew over Farewell Gap during the night.

Even more smoke visible down canyon toward Three Rivers. Are we supposed to be breathing this stuff??

Trail Guy is quite happy that there is still flowing water, even in early September. That green makes me happy.

Like father, like daughter. A pleasure to hike with these 2 friends!

This is semi-sorta the view in the mural I painted for the Mineral King Room of the Three Rivers History museum. It’s also an excuse to show more of the green.

That isn’t Sawtooth – I don’t know its real name but it is often referred to as “Sawtooth’s Shadow”. Mostly I was pleased to see some blue sky.

It was a little hard to tell if we were seeing smoke or a coming storm, but the thunder told us the truth.

Trail Guy to Techie Friend – “Wow, that’s cool.” Techie Friend to Trail Guy – “Does your Jitterbug take photos?”

This old wagon road up on the side of Empire never fails to amaze me. Those old miner guys worked so hard and found no gold.

Father-daughter hiking team

The others headed over to inspect some old mining debris; I headed toward the trees because the rain was coming and I wanted a head start.

City Girl was THRILLED by the rain and hail!

Trail Guy prefers a garbage bag to the heavier alternative of a poncho.

Is that Gandolph down in the bunkhouse ruins??

Rain stopped, so we followed the tram line back down to the trail, past the ruins of an old ore bucket.

The rain cleared up the air, somewhat.

Cabin Drawing in Pencil

Posted by on Sep 5, 2017 in commissions, drawing, Mineral King | 4 Comments

My business and website is called Cabin Art or Cabinart. This is because when I began, I lived in a cabin and I drew cabins.

I still live in a cabin (part time) and still draw them.

Here is the latest commissioned pencil drawing of a Mineral King cabin:

After seeing the Hume Lake cabin drawing from 1995 and reworking it, you can bet your boots that I was hyper-careful while working on this drawing. The photos were mine from 2 different photography sessions, there was much conversation about what should and shouldn’t appear, I used multiple photos to be certain of what I was seeing, and I went over the entire drawing with a magnifying glass at the end. In another 22 years, I don’t expect I will be able to repair or improve this one.

Hiking Mineral King – White Chief Part 2

White Chief might be the most beautiful place accessible by foot from Mineral King. Short hike, steep, lots of variety. Any time Trail Guy encounters someone along the trail below the Eagle Lake/White Chief junction, he tells them they will be happier if they choose White Chief. 

Here are more photos from our Eclipse Day White Chief walk/hike.

What is this flowering shrub??

What is this teensy darker version of a Baby-Blue-Eyes??

What is this unknown yellow flower??

Slow but handy way to fill a water bottle.

There are more photos, but they were on Trail Guy’s camera because I overworked my battery. Aiming at the sun may not have been such a good idea. . . 

More tomorrow? Stay tuned. . .

Hiking Mineral King – White Chief

The eclipse. Big deal. Lots of chatter. Lots of ideas. Lots of rah-rah. What to do about it in Mineral King?

Easy! Poke a hole in a piece of cardboard with an ice pick, get a piece of white paper, and walk to White Chief. 

I say “walk” because I elected to not carry a pack or food. My camera was in my pocket, and a water bottle was in my hand. Let’s go!

Neither Trail Guy nor I had ever used a device like this. We both decided that if a “pinhole” (ice pick sized) is good, then why not a larger hole?

The answer is that the small hole works; the larger ones do not. We have a theory on why this is, but it will take too long to type.

I couldn’t tell the difference between light from an eclipsed sun and light when high clouds are obscuring the sunshine.

See the light in the ice-pick-sized hole? The moon kept eclipsing the sun for awhile, although I was hard-pressed to tell without the device.

Trail Guy insisted that the light was different from just a cloudy day. He’s observant and artistic like that; me? I just bumble along.

Since the steepest part of the hike was behind us, we decided to just keep on trucking up the trail into White Chief. The day became very crystal clear.

When this thick cloud passed over the sun, I aimed my camera at it. Does this look like an eclipse?

To be continued. . . tune in tomorrow.

Cabin Life

Posted by on Aug 29, 2017 in Mineral King | 2 Comments

In case you were thinking that life at the cabin consisted only of hiking, here is a peek into what else occupies time while in Mineral King. I also read a great deal, but didn’t photograph my books. I figure you know what books look like. Most recently I finished Round Ireland with a Fridge and Stranger in the Woods.

Baking in a wood stove is a project. Making English muffins can be done on a griddle . . . who knew??

Sometimes we just walk among neighboring cabins. . . snooping, checking out new maintenance, looking for flowers in bloom. . .

I’ve always loved the light on the chimney of this little cabin. It is the oldest one in Mineral King.

This pair of cabins belongs to some people in Hawaii. They don’t come often; instead they let other people use their place. Sometimes those other people have loud parties, but this year has been much better, i.e. quiet.

Explorer’s Gentian – my favorite wildflower

And more Explorer’s Gentian – why does it bloom on this side of the creek and not by our place??

I love to split firewood. Trail Guy gets it into girl-sized chunks, and I whale at it with my girl-axe. It isn’t often in our current times that there are opportunities to just pound on things. It is very satisfying – I’d recommend it.

This yarn is the color of Explorer’s Gentian. Cabin time means knitting time.

New Mineral King Old Paintings

Because 6 Mineral King oil paintings sold at the Silver City Mountain Resort (AKA Silver City Store), I painted 4 new ones.

Seems like bad math or poor production to you? Labor Day is a mere 2 weeks away, and this means the season is almost finished. Part of the business of art is making tough decisions like this. That’s why I earn the Big Bucks have the freedom to spend lengths of time in Mineral King.

I could have painted more to have on hand, but I can paint more when it isn’t so hot in the painting workshop/studio. 

The 2 matching paintings in different sizes were begun before summer started. They’ve been waiting their turn. I’d rather be walking on that trail than painting it.

These are the 2 most popular Mineral King subjects that I paint and sell through Silver City. The 3rd is Sawtooth, by quite a distance. The top is the Honeymoon Cabin, which serves as a little museum for the Mineral King Preservation Society The bottom one is a private family cabin with Farewell Gap in the distance, as seen from the bridge at the end of the road.

These need another layer and some wildflowers.

Alrighty then!! The top painting is 6×6″ ($60 + tax unless you live in another state) and the bottom is 8×8″ ($100 – ditto on the taxes). When they are dry enough, they’ll be for sale at Silver City.


Sold Mineral King Oil Paintings

These Mineral King oil paintings recently sold. That’s the good news. The less good news is that I have no idea who bought them. This is probably usual when one sells through a store* rather than a gallery. 

Tomorrow I’ll show you what I painted to fill the blank spots on the store*’s shelves.

*”The store” is the Silver City Store, AKA Silver City Mountain Resort.


Hiking Mineral King – Eagle Lake, part 2

The rock section of the Eagle Lake Trail is very challenging if you were just expecting a little walk in the woods. Sometimes you have to wiggle your feet between some boulders, sometimes you have to just guess where the trail might be, sometimes you walk on a slab of granite, and none of it is very easy.

There are rewards: this is “Heather”.

After the rocks, there is another section that I forgot about. It isn’t too hard, but you have to watch your step because of all the roots. Trail Guy said there needs to be more “trail checks”, which are things that catch rocks and dirt when water is flowing down the trail; otherwise, all the fill dirt washes down the trail, exposing the roots of the trees (none of which show in this photo- you’ll have to trust me on this.)

Eagle Lake is one of 4 lakes dammed by the Mt. Whitney Power Company so they could control the water flow for producing electricity. Trail Guy is heading out over the dam; doesn’t it look like a lovely inviting path?

Welcome to Eagle Lake. Wish I’d brought some M&Ms. We earned them.

Trouble is, now we have to retrace our steps.

I think of the Eagle Lake Trail as “roots and shoots”, because there are zillions of roots to trip over, and all those rocks required lots of shooting with explosives to make the trail. The evidence is in those star-ish shaped dealies on the rocks.

“Ridiculous!”, said Trail Guy, about the condition of the trail.

The vertical meadow below the sinkhole and above the trail junction to White Chief was still full of a variety of wildflowers.So interesting that Eagle Lake is the most popular Mineral King hike destination, and it is probably the very worst trail. Our conclusion is that people like the name, have no idea what they are getting into (it’s only 2.4 miles one way – how bad could that be?? Try 2+ hours to walk it and then decide for yourself!), and most people want to go to lakes.

Trail Guy’s Favorite Mineral King Hike

Sometimes I have to be down the hill, feeding Samson, watering the yard, blogging, drawing, taking care of business, fulfilling promises. Meanwhile, Trail Guy the Retiree is in Mineral King, hiking and taking photos for me to put on my blog.

His favorite place to go is White Chief. Mine too, unless it is the junction of the Franklin/Farewell Gap trails, or Farewell Gap itself. The lakes might could be, but we don’t go there much so I can’t remember. (I might could go there, but I’ll prolly be down the hill at the liberry instead.)

And sometimes Trail Guy comes home, especially if the Giants are on teevee.

Not the Giants; Samson wants to know why the Giants’ games are blocked out in our zip code.