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

Fall Fun

Posted by on Nov 21, 2017 in Personal, Photography | No Comments

Say what? “Fall fun”. . . don’t you have work to do?

Yes. I do. There is another show coming this weekend. I’ll tell you about it tomorrow.

Poultry Paintings

The poultry paintings are inching along. They might be a little bit too hard for me, so I am taking my time. Productive procrastination is a good way to get through some difficult tasks. I take breaks to rehab frames, blog, touch up old paintings, answer emails, make a new schedule for drawing lessons, sweep, or water plants. All those things need to be done. I’m the boss of me. There is no deadline on the poultry paintings. They aren’t commissions. I have a commission to work on but it is a secret, and the recipient of the project might be a reader of this blog. So, poultry paintings in increments are what you get to see.

Have I convinced myself that it is okay to procrastinate yet?

This is the latest iteration of the rooster named Dinnerbone and the flock, with the appropriate and clever name of “Flock”. (And the rooster painting title is “Dinnerbone”, because I am creative that way.)

Samson discovered my friend’s car, which is named Hot Wheels. She is clever that way. (My car is named Fernando – thank you for being interested in such important personal details.)

List of Unrelated Items

Posted by on Nov 8, 2017 in Personal | 2 Comments

A generous friend’s orchard where Trail Guy and I gleaned walnuts.

Unrelated except the items relate to my life and work. I hope you can relate.

When did “relate” become such a common word? Reminds me of the way the word “issue” is so overworked. But, this topic is not on today’s list.

  1. The Visalia Electric Railroad: Stories of the Early Years by Louise A. Jackson is headed to the printer. We have been working on this together since last October, and began the rewriting, editing, photo editing, book design and formatting in June. What? You thought someone just wrote a book and BOOM! there it is? Nope. Three of my pencil drawings will be in the book, ones I completed in the past for other purposes but fit the book to a tee!
  2. I’ve started several new paintings, one just because, one to donate, and one for a gift.
  3. We hung an old screen door in the herb garden as the next step to discouraging deer. One of them bit the top off a new broccoli plant, so this is our response. Trail Guy is quite handy, and unlike me, he likes to keep lots of stuff on hand for projects like this.
  4. First Saturday Three Rivers has changed its formula for 2018. They will feature an artist each month, along with having a theme. I get to be the featured artist in April and the theme is wildflowers! That’s why I repainted the mural on the studio door.
  5. A sure sign that I am middle-aged is that I think it is a privilege and a pleasure to glean walnuts. It felt like punishment when I was a kid, even though I was paid 25¢ a bucket.

The top one was begun almost a year ago; the 6×6″ will be donated to Exeter’s Courthouse Gallery; the 10×10″ is a gift for a friend who is getting married soon. Two more layers should do the trick on the Sawtooth paintings; a minimum of 8 more hours will be needed on the lanterns.

I drew this in 1992. Who knew it would be just right for a book published 25 years later??

Whoa, this is in the ugly stage. I am painting it Just Because.

To keep the deer out completely is beyond my ability. This door is on hinges and actually swings open. Does it look silly or cool? Don’t answer that, because my vote for cool has been cast.


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.

Final Mineral King Weekend

Posted by on Oct 13, 2017 in Mineral King, Personal, Photography | 7 Comments

This will be a long post with lots of photos, and then I might run out of things to post about Mineral King for awhile.It didn’t have to be the final Mineral King weekend, because the Park gates stay unlocked until October 25. But, life down the hill beckons, fall is very full of events for us, and we need to close things up when the weather is still good during a season of unpredictable weather.

We have taken on the responsibility of closing the Honeymoon Cabin for the past several years. This is a little cabin left after Disney destroyed the resort in advance of building their ski resort, which never happened. The cabin is now a mini museum of Mineral King history, open all summer to anyone who wanders in. It is at the beginning of the Eagle/Mosquito/White Chief trail.

This is the interior. It is about 10×10′.

After our chores, we had time for a final walk.

Sorry to disappoint you, but this is a juniper tree, not a redwood. Mineral King is too high for redwoods.

The yellow tunnel isn’t very bright this fall.

This deer reminds me of Samson

Cowboy Bert listens to an animated Trail Guy explain something important.

It was a smoky smoky smoky day. There was a wildfire south of us.

My favorite ranger of all time!

These are cottonwoods.

These are juniper berries

And then we made time for one final pass down the Nature Trail. It goes through so many changes in such a short season. . . in July it was packed with all variety of wildflowers. Now, just look at this:


The Captain

Three weeks ago these were goldenrods.

This was an unusual summer in Mineral King for several reasons. Perhaps I’ll make a list for you next Friday.

The Real Columbus Day

Posted by on Oct 12, 2017 in Personal, Photography | 8 Comments

Today, October 12, is the real Columbus Day. In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Ferdinand and Isabella paid for the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria. It’s a fine holiday, but it has fallen out of favor.

Fake Columbus Day has also fallen into obscurity. It changes every year, just chasing the 3 day weekend. Only federal and bank employees are aware of it. Postal employees, too.

Who cares?

Careen, Nicole, Kim and I. Happy birthday to us. 

Fall in Mineral King

Posted by on Oct 6, 2017 in Mineral King, Personal | 5 Comments

Warm sunny fall days in Mineral King . . . a transitional time, torn between 2 places. I could be gardening at home, but I can still be hiking in Mineral King. I’ve been gone much of the summer, I miss home, but the cabin is still open and it is nice up there. 

Choices and consequences, decisions, saying yes to one thing means saying no to a whole bunch of others.

We were up the hill last weekend and these are some fall sights.

Lots of wood, but not enough is split. We have more fires in the stove in the fall and sugar pine burns up quickly.Fortunately, it splits easily.Alrighty, then, let’s go for a walk. (Not a hike – used too much energy swinging an ax? Nah, just lazy.)

I helped Trail Guy close up a neighbor’s cabin – such solid shutters.

The water in the east fork of the Kaweah seems just as low as it did in the falls of drought years.

Very heavy currant crop this year

A neighboring cabin isn’t quite closed for the season, but has that “almost over” look.

Tall grasses and a more yellowish coloring on things say “Fall”.

The cottonwoods are turning.

I love this tunnel of yellow.

Very low flow of water at Soda Springs, tall grasses, that golden look over all. . .

Pink?? What is this? Dried out something-or-others. Definitely not golden.

Just three months ago it was too scary to cross this stream (Crystal Creek).

A stock party lost a bag of grain along the trail.

A hiker lost his group, and Sierra the Trailhead Ranger is on her way to escort him back while Trail Guy demonstrates the path that we saw the search helicopter take. You can tell it is fall because he is wearing long sleeves.

8 Things I Learned in September

Posted by on Oct 2, 2017 in Lessons, Personal, Thoughts | 2 Comments

Still biting us after a year, although he is much larger now, Samson the Bengal wanna-be.

These are life things I learned mostly in September, although a few may have spilled over from late August.

  1. An Americano is espresso with hot water added. I can’t tell the difference between that and a cup of black coffee. My nephew is employed by Starbucks and informs me that Americanos suck. Not sure why this is his assessment.
  2. A dog will eventually eat food it doesn’t like rather than starve; a cat will become anorectic. Samson actually ate some dry food for the first time in the past couple of months, so maybe his tastes are changing; he is a year old now.
  3. Some people never do figure out where they fit in personality profile tests; I may be one of them. Just finished reading Anne Bogel’s Reading People, which is an overview of different personality typing tests; it was helpful, even if my main conclusion is that I don’t know who I am. I’ll keep learning. . .
  4. No matter how much I use InDesign and Photoshop Elements, they just keep confounding me. Adobe and Apple have been compared to a couple after a bad divorce; I come down on the side of Apple every time.
  5. If bread doesn’t rise very well, it will take longer to bake; conversely, if it rises very well, it will get done much sooner than expected.
  6. A battery powered drill can also be called an “impact wrench”–say what? Must be man talk.
  7. Crystal Pepsi is a thing. It tastes good. I almost never drink soda of any kind, and a friend gave me one of these to try. I have no idea if it tastes like real Pepsi or not. Because I don’t drink soda, the sugar and caffeine really packed a wallop!
  8. Drawing lesson for me: when shading by layering with pencils, with a heavy hand, you’ll get your darkest blacks by beginning with the blackest pencils; with a lighter hand, you’ll get your darkest blacks by ending with the blackest pencils. Maybe. Haven’t cemented this yet, even after years and years of drawing and teaching drawing.

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.