Posted by on Jun 12, 2017 in drawing, Lessons, Personal | 8 Comments

Jennifer Logan was a friend of mine for about 30 years. We met in Lemon Cove at the Womans Club (yes, that is the correct spelling); I was taken with her English accent and for some reason, she liked me. She called me “Janner” and referred to herself as “Jennifa”, which tickled my fancy. 

When my studio first was public, I shared space in a very fine gift shop called “Shirley’s Home” in Exeter, before Exeter had murals. Shirley hired someone each year to help us during Christmas, and for a handful of years we had the pleasure of working with Jennifer. It was during one of those times that Jennifer suggested to me that I publish a book of my art, which became The Cabins of Mineral King.

Left to right: me, Jennifer, Shirley – 1994? 1995? 1996?

I followed Jennifer to Foothill Fruit in Lemon Cove; the next year after working a temporary job at the Lindcove Field Station, they offered me a full time job, so I recommended Jennifer, who lived around the corner. A few years later, after I finished a temporary job at the Citrus Research Board, Jennifer went full time there.

There were also two years when I needed crutches several times, and Jennifer was always there with a pair for me to borrow. We laughed about it, and sympathized with one another while being thankful it was always for temporary conditions. She didn’t mind when I confessed using them to get into the neighbor’s swimming pool (only as deep as the top step.) 

About five years ago, Jennifer asked me if she could take drawing lessons. I was astonished and delighted. She had done photo retouching and also set-painting in her life, but had a desire to try my style of drawing. It was a pleasure to meet with her each week, to have that regular time together. She began with this peony, which she later came to dislike (we call that “growth”!) (Jennifer, I’m sorry for showing this, but not sorry enough to not show how you increased in skill.)

We joked quite a bit about how she chose difficult subjects, working from photos that were too small to see the detail or just plain challenging in other ways. She was always cheerful and sometimes cynical at the same time, which would make us laugh.

She loved gardening, reading, horses, her dogs and cats, and her grandchildren. This is Anna, and although I haven’t met her, Jennifer said she caught the likeness.

Jennifer joined some of the secret oil painting workshops (given just for my drawing students, not open to the general public). She definitely marched to her own drumbeat – when everyone else painted pomegranates, she painted a buoy. When the class painted redwood trees, she painted a cat.

Her drawing classmates bugged her to try a redwood tree in pencil, so that was the project she was currently working on. She referred to it as “wood with leaves” and when I would correct her with, “Needles”, she would say, “Whatever”. Then we’d look at each other and snicker, and I’d call her a closet tree hugger.

Jennifer was the only person who called Trail Guy “Mikey”, and he liked her so much that he just accepted it. My dad used to tease her about her accent and call it “a speech impediment”, and she was always gracious with his offbeat sense of humor.

A few months ago, Jennifer surprised me by inviting “Mikey” and me to her upcoming birthday party. For the first time in almost 30 years, she actually told me her age, which was also a surprise. I said, “Jennifer, you could be my mother, and it wouldn’t even be a scandal! I had no idea.”

On Wednesday, June 7, 2017, Jennifer surprised us all by moving to Heaven. She went quickly with no fuss, no 911 calls, no tubes, no hospital indignities, and no warning. 

Jennifer Logan, you were a dear friend and I choose to be grateful for the time we had. “See you, Sweets”, as you used to say to me.

Opening Mineral King 2017

Posted by on May 26, 2017 in Mineral King, Personal | 5 Comments

Mineral King officially opened on Wednesday, May 24. This is remarkable, considering it was a huge winter. Most of the reason it is open is because Trail Guy borrowed a backhoe and spent 120 hours of volunteer work to fight through the avalanches. This made it possible for the Park’s road guy to do the basics in time for Memorial Day weekend.

Fantastic water flow as seen from the bridge at the end of the road, AKA Mineral King Bridge

Bless those older generations of cabin folks who planted daffodils!

The parking lot at the end of the road is boggy, but Trail Guy is also Retired Road Guy and we rigged up a barricade.

Whoa. This is the beginning of the Eagle/Mosquito trail. The Park’s sign took a hit. Your feet might get wet heading this direction. (Might get wet heading any direction.)

Our cabin had a ton of snow on the front porch (and the back porch too). Trail Guy is resourceful, and after I spent an hour or more shoveling, he thought of this tool.


Spring Walk in Three Rivers

About a mile from my home in Three Rivers there is an extensive area of BLM land. There are several ways to get there, all of them a little ambiguous, but the place is still well-used and loved by mountain bikers, casual walkers, hard-core walkers, photographers, and horse-back riders. The place is called “BLM”, “Salt Creek”, and “Case Mountain”. I tend to call it “top of Skyline”. Sometimes, just walking to the opening gate is enough exercise for me, so when I want to get far out on the trails, I drive to the beginning.

Enjoy some photos from a recent excursion, where I went farther than I have for a year or two. (To a view of the second waterfall!)

Hmmm, I seem to have a pattern of photographing animals as they stick out their tongues.

Eggs, One More Time

Posted by on Apr 20, 2017 in Oil Paintings, Personal | No Comments

Before we have one more little talk about eggs, here is Samson, in case you were wondering.Ethan’s eggs are so interesting to me that I took many photos and started 2 new paintings. These are in the category of This Looks A Little Bit Too Hard So I Will Challenge Myself.

The little plate will really test my ability to control a paintbrush and see elliptical shapes. 

The egg needs to become the right color. Why? The current color is believable, but I am always testing my ability to mix colors accurately. And that plate might just be the undoing of me.

Meanwhile, Samson is testing himself while neighbor dog Tombo is oblivious.


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.

Little Break From Repainting Mineral King Mural

Posted by on Mar 23, 2017 in Personal, Three Rivers | 6 Comments

I wasn’t able to paint on Wednesday, due to life’s other commitments that make me thankful to be self-employed.

Have you been missing Samson? He is semi-civilized now, although better behaved for Trail Guy than for me. It might just be a male-bonding issue, or perhaps it is that Trail Guy is around more.

The first photos show our redbud tree in bloom. In the last photo, you can also see the tail end of the bloom on the flowering quince.

Just an average spring morning in Three Rivers . . .

Spring in Three Rivers is almost worth the long hot dry smoggy crowded summers. No, it IS worth it (but I doubt if you would like to move here – remember, we are all fat, poor, uneducated, have diabetes, get pregnant as teens, and have bad air. Besides, there is no Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.)



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.

Don’t Feel Like Talking

Today is 17 years since my Dad died. I don’t feel like talking. You can look at Samson biting his way out of a paper bag, and then we’ll take a walk in Three Rivers. Maybe later I can draw some water from one of these rushing river photos.

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.)


Did You Miss Samson?

Posted by on Feb 16, 2017 in Oil Paintings, Personal | 4 Comments

Samson is still around and participating fully in everything.

So far he has wrecked 3 pairs of tights and a cable knitting needle.

I began this painting of a jalapeno pepper, and he immediately began batting the pepper around the workshop. I encouraged him to bite it, hoping it might cure him of this nasty habit, but no, he only chased it all around the room.