California Artist’s 1st Mineral King Hike This Season

Posted by on Jul 7, 2017 in Mineral King, Sources of inspiration | 2 Comments

The Central California Artist, ahem, that would be me, finally had a bit of time in Mineral King and hiked to White Chief with Trail Guy and a new friend named Jessica.

The artist is sore, and she isn’t happy about it.

The artist is happy to have gone to White Chief, and happy to have spent time with Trail Guy and their new friend.

The artist will now shut up and show you the photos. There will be many.

No bridge across Spring Creek, too scary to cross where the bridge belongs.

We cross below the normal place, where the creek spreads out into 3 manageable sections.

Great flowers along the trail, including these larkspur.

First view of White Chief canyon of the season – no flowers, since it hasn’t been snow-free very long.

Surround Sound in water!

Trail Guy is inspecting one of the sink holes.

Here it is from higher up. Two other people are curious. 

We were snow free until the end of the middle section of the trail. This is where we turned back.

There were fingers of running water where green has begun.

I was reluctant to leave the surround sound of the water.

There were several obstacles in addition to the missing bridge.

These brave and strong Park employees went for it at the bridge crossing.

When Mineral King Trails Aren’t Accessible

Happy Birthday, Rachelle! May this be the year of new lungs. . .

What do you do when the trails in Mineral King aren’t accessible?

You walk the trails as far as you can. This was heading to Spring Creek, where the water is still too high for maintenance guys to put the bridge in yet. These folks were exclaiming over the snow and the water; I was mucking about in the water, mud and rocks, diverting water off the trail. (I’m 57, going on 12).

This is Spring Creek, taken from as close as I dared get. This is the same creek in my drawing titled “Hard Water”, but that was from the bridge. I’m sure you must be able to tell it is the same creek. . .

Hard Water, pencil drawing of Spring Creek

We also went looking for things, like Five Spot wildflowers. Trail Guy had noticed large swaths of them from the road by the Tar Gap parking lot, so away we went, off trail, in search of these special little guys.

First, we found Blue Lips.

Blue Lips wildflowers must have been named by Captain Obvious.

See? Blue lips.

Looks like a nothing burger of white dandruff on the ground from here. Or, if you are a Heidi fan, it looks like the Alps.

Captain Obvious, on his wild naming spree, must have been delighted to discover these Five Spots.

Once again, this is getting to be too long. To be continued tomorrow. . .

Remember, there is a one day drawing workshop at Arts Visalia on Saturday. You may contact them at (559)739-0905 to register.

Wildflowers on Mineral King Road

A few days ago I was in Mineral King and took photos along the road of the abundant wildflowers.

But first, let’s start with my favorite subject to draw and paint, the Oak Grove Bridge.

Look at that water!!!

Wildflowers along the road continue to be prolific. The first photo isn’t technically of wildflowers: these are sweet peas planted by Mary Trauger in the late 1800s.

Blazing Star

I don’t know

I don’t know, even closer

HUGE dandelions

Yellow-throated gilia (pronounced “Jill-ee-uh”)

Ceanothus, wild mountain lilac, or if you were on a road crew with Trail Guy, “ant bush”.

Flannel bush, AKA “Fremontia”

bush poppy

More I don’t knows

Farewell to Spring; some years, you can see them almost all summer as you gain altitude through the season along the road.

Bush monkey flower

Penstemmon, hugely more vibrant in person than in photos

This post is too long. Hope you made it to the end. Tomorrow, Mineral King will be the subject matter again.

Meanwhile, remember there is a one day drawing workshop coming this Saturday in Visalia.

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.

Wildflowers in Three Rivers

The hill behind my house has a wide variety of wildflowers each spring.

The steepness makes it hard to photograph. Or, perhaps it is the lack of skill on the part of the photographer. I miss my manual cameras. Digital cameras have many advantages, but all this automatic baloney is a real hassle. Guess that is life – the more advantages, the more disadvantages too. But I digress. Let’s just enjoy the wildflowers, shall we?

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.

A Field Trip to Sequoia

Posted by on Mar 8, 2017 in Going Places, Sources of inspiration | 6 Comments

Today I begin refreshing the largest Mineral King mural in Exeter (North of Pine, West side of E Street, South side of Capella Coffee)

Tomorrow I’ll show you today’s work on the mural.

Meanwhile, you can enjoy some photos of a recent half-day field trip. Trail Guy and I went to Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park for a little cross-country skiing. It was the day after a cold storm, and it was clear, cold, and beautiful.


View out the window of the dining room at Wuksachi Lodge

View out the window of dining room in Wuksachi Lodge

Front porch of Wuksachi Lodge, Sequoia National Park


Life Source, Pencil Drawing of Water

Posted by on Mar 6, 2017 in drawing, Sources of inspiration | No Comments

Life Source, original pencil drawing on 9×12″ archival paper, unframed, SOLD

“Life Source” is the title of this pencil drawing of water. It is the base of the waterfall at Hospital Rock in Sequoia National Park.

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from a friend that read, “Highest priority today should be looking at clouds. Any chance for a ride?”

I responded, “Forget clouds – let’s go find roaring water!”

So we went to Hospital Rock and took some photos and relished the sound, the fury, the constancy, the changing light, the power, and even the snow flurries that came down as we made our way back to the car.

Here is how the waterfall looked that afternoon. I also found plenty of inspiration for other water drawings.

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.

Trail Guy Blazes the Way to Mineral King

Posted by on Feb 3, 2017 in Mineral King, Sources of inspiration | 10 Comments

Before Trail Guy was Trail Guy, he was Road Guy in Sequoia National Park. One of his specialties was opening the Mineral King Road in the spring. 

This week someone from the Park asked if he’d help make the road passable for snow mobiles so people could get up there to do a snow survey. This is when they measure the depth of the snow and figure out the water content, some pretty helpful information.

He went again 2 days later because he wanted to check on the cabins, something they were unable to do on the first trip because there were so many downed trees to deal with.

I didn’t go along because while he is retired, I am not. I’ll just do my best to explain his photos, and if I get stuff wrong, he’ll correct me and I’ll fix it.

Sawtooth as it looked on the way in to Mineral King

This is our Cushman Trackster on the most dangerous stretch of road, “The Bluffs”

A cabin in Faculty Flat

Another cabin in Faculty Flat, buried in snow

This might be the second most photographed cabin because it is so picturesque, perched above Cold Springs Campground.

View from the top of Endurance Grade (also sometimes called Coral Hill)

The Honeymoon Cabin with Little Florence (also known as West Florence) in the distance, which is the left side of Farewell Gap.

Classic view of the Crowley Cabin with Farewell Gap in the distance.

Cabins?? Yep, little ones.

Cabin across the creek from us.

The cabin on the right in this photo was knocked off its pins by an avalanche a few years ago (Feels like 2, must be 5?)

Sawtooth in the afternoon

Trail Guy took many photos of cabins, and if I have people’s eddresses, I will send them. Didn’t want you all to get too chilly in the snow with 30 photos.