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.

This, That and The Other Thing (and my job description)

Natalie, please tell “Jee-um” Happy Birthday from me today – thank you!

This rain is wonderful. I went driving around, not just for the sake of burning fuel, but to see some stuff. Artists have to see stuff.

What’s my job description? I see stuff and then decide if it is worth showing to other people.

I saw lots and lots of water, here in January in Tulare County. This is the St. John’s River. I crossed it several times, and also crossed the Kaweah, drove along several irrigation ditches, and crossed the Friant-Kern canal several times.

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If the bridge above looks familiar, it is because you may have seen it on the 2017 calendar. This also gives you a chance to admire my ability to clean up real life, which tends to be messy and cluttered.

What’s my job description? I fix visual messes.

St. Johns bridge

That was “This“.

Now for “That“.

That oil painting of the P fruits is coming along. If you are wondering, the dimensions are 6×18″.


The Other Thing is how beautiful it is in Three Rivers this time of year, especially when it is a wet season. Please excuse the lines across the photo. They are actually what enable me to post on this blog, but unfortunately they connect me to Huge & Rude. (the phone co.)


Can you see the elephant on Alta Peak? Here is a little visual aid as to how it is posed:


The trunk on my elephant is going the wrong direction and his head is bit outsized; you’ll have to use your imagination a bit.

What’s my job description? I help people understand what they are seeing.

Thus we conclude the post “This, That and The Other Thing”. Thanks for stopping by.

Field Trip up the Mineral King Road

One day while I was painting the Oak Grove Bridge, Trail Guy said he wanted to drive up the Mineral King Road and see how things looked. I put down my brushes and put on my boots.

The bridge was the first stop.

The bridge was the first stop.

All that muddy water obscured the boulders and rock formations that I have been struggling to decipher in the photos.

All that muddy water obscured the boulders and rock formations that I have been struggling to decipher in the photos.

Through the windshield after the we reached the snow.

Through the windshield after the we reached the snow.

Lookout Point, through the windshield.

Lookout Point, through the windshield.

I got out of the truck to lock the hubs. Glad I wore those LLBean boots.

I got out of the truck to lock the hubs. Glad I wore those LLBean boots.

Lookout point after I locked those hubs.

Lookout Point after I locked those hubs.

We didn't make it very far. This is at the asphalt pile turnout. The snow was about 3" deep there.

We didn’t make it very far. This is at the asphalt pile turnout, maybe 10 miles from the bottom of the road. The snow was about 3″ deep there.

Trail Guy closed the lower gate. Bit of a slide there, but it is easy to drive around.

Trail Guy closed the lower gate. Bit of a slide there, but it is easy to drive around.

This is Squirrel Creek, near Lake Canyon, AKA Mitchell Ranch, AKA Sweet Ranch, AKA Way Station. It goes dry in many summers.

This is Squirrel Creek, near Lake Canyon, AKA Mitchell Ranch, AKA Sweet Ranch, AKA Way Station. It goes dry in many summers.


Two Last Non-Art Subjects

Subject #5


What is this? Inquiring minds NEED to know. . . we got a pair of insulating mugs for Christmas, and got curious as to which sort of mug will keep coffee the hottest. So, we conducted an experiment. They were all within degrees of one another, with the short Starbuck’s mug in the middle slightly ahead. Trail Guy is a little bit sad that his special old mug from Cabela’s with its hand-carved wooden handle didn’t win.

Subject #6

On Boxing Day, as December 26 is known in England, Trail Guy and I drove down to Lake Kaweah (AKA “The Lake”) to take a walk. This is an interesting place to spend time when the water level is low. There are great views of Alta Peak, lots of birds, an old road to walk on, a bridge or two to cross, cockleburrs to pick out of your socks, rocks to contemplate, the river (Kaweah) to watch, mud to slide around on, and people’s undisciplined dogs to fend off.

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