Odd Job Completed

Posted by on Sep 19, 2017 in commissions, the business of art | No Comments

The odd job of painting a mailbox took about 4 hours. Maybe 5, but that extra hour was probably due to my own inexperience and lack of confidence. Oh, and another hour working on the colored pencil design. 

Will the customer be happy? As a friend, will she tell me the truth if she isn’t happy? I think she will – honesty is one of the things I appreciate about her. She is kind and professional too.

I have some wonderful friends.

She likes it!!

Now, will I start getting mailbox painting requests??

More will be revealed in the fullness of time. . .

Odd Job

Posted by on Sep 18, 2017 in commissions, the business of art | No Comments

Because I am an artist who has lived in the same area for over 30 years, making art the entire time, when people need something art related, no matter how odd, I often get asked. People ask me to do things that I am supremely unqualified to do, lacking skill and experience.

Sometimes, no, often, I say yes. I try to warn them that I am out of my area of expertise and that the results might not be what they expected. (“Past performance is no guarantee of future results” or some such disclaimer?)

Variety is good. Stretching one’s abilities is good. The trouble is, I have only been asked to paint on a quilt square once, a patio umbrella one time, an antique window once. . . is this because I didn’t do a good job, or because there aren’t enough of those types of jobs? 

This odd job is a mailbox for a property management company. My friend told me her idea and showed me a photo of her mailbox. I did 3 sketches for her, she picked one, I gave her a price range and some instructions on how to prepare the mailbox and then drew it again showing both sides and the top, using colored pencils. Then I warned her that trying to achieve tight detail with acrylic paint and small brushes might not produce my normal quality of work.

She said she liked the design and the price and wants the job done. We had to plan this for a weekend when she could remove the mailbox on Friday and replace it on Monday. No pressure or anything. . .

I Draw Better Now

Posted by on Aug 24, 2017 in commissions, drawing, the business of art | No Comments

In 1995, I drew a Hume Lake cabin from the customer’s photos.

Last week I had the pleasure of staying in that cabin and seeing it for the first time. The customer’s daughter and I grew up together and have recently reconnected.

She brought the drawing to Hume Lake, and I was dismayed to see it had a bug spot on it. It also was missing the flag, and now I put flags in color into my pencil drawings whenever possible. Besides, I draw better now.

Daughter allowed me to remove it from the frame and bring it home with me. The biggest thing was to discover if the drawing had been spray-fixed, which would not allow me to do any erasing. I can’t put color over pencil and have it look like anything good – it needs to have blank paper beneath the color. 

YEA! I can repair, replace, add, and improve it, because it isn’t spray-fixed!! Stay tuned – I hope to have some studio time next week to do the work of making this drawing something to be proud of.

P.S. Tomorrow’s post will be of a funny walk at Hume Lake.

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.



Posted by on Aug 9, 2017 in drawing, the business of art | 4 Comments

Some people are early adopters of new technology; I am not one of them. I tried Facebook and it was all I feared it would be – 1/4″ deep, 6 miles wide, and a giant thief of time, energy and brains. My sister and her daughter suggested Instagram. There were techie obstacles, such as not owning a smartphone. (Nope, a borrowed Jitterbug doesn’t take photos).

I signed up for a private account to practice and connect with my family. The privacy settings weren’t private, so now my private family account has 2 extra folks. The “extras” are real life friends, not strangers, so I didn’t panic; I learned. 

Against the advice of my most techie friend, I set up an Instagram account for my business. It was against her advice because she believes Facebook is the most useful for people and businesses, and doesn’t think Instagram will work.

My niece thinks hashtags are key. I know nothing. Hashtags are weird, the word itself is weird (“hashtag”? It’s a number sign or a pound sign, for Pete’s sake!), and people who put that word in front of other words when they speak sound weird.

I am willing to learn and to try. It seems like the right place for someone who deals in pictures. People don’t get mean on Instagram, attack others for opposing political views, or show what they had for dinner, at least not as much as on Facebook; perhaps I am delusional and ignorant. (definitely ignorant)

My business Instagram handle (“Handle”? What do you think this is – a CB radio from the ’70s??) is JanaBotkinArt. The account is public. You are welcome to follow. You are welcome to express your opinion and to offer advice.

I’m just learning here. . .

Ten-four, Good Buddy. Over and out.

Pencil drawing, “Mineral King From The Bridge”, 9×12″, one of the posts on my new Instagram account, complete with hashtags.

Drawing Mineral King

It is Friday, and the only new thing I have to show you of Mineral King is a drawing. My weekends have been taken with memorial services (one last Saturday and another one tomorrow), drawing workshops, art receptions, business presentations. 

I’m not complaining, just ‘splaining.

The drawing is new. The scene is old, or perhaps “classic” is the right word.

Pencil drawing, “Mineral King From The Bridge”, 9×12″, unframed, unpriced, uncertain.

It has been awhile since I drew anything of Mineral King (except for water). Maybe a series of pencil drawings of Mineral King would sell as reproduction prints. Cards? Too much money to print, too little profit. But I’ll give that some thought too.

Want a laugh? Look at how I drew this scene in 1987.

Growth is good, unless you are a cancer cell. 


Gecko or Gekko?

Posted by on Jun 15, 2017 in Murals, the business of art | 3 Comments

I don’t know the correct way to spell gekko/gecko. Both seem to work.

Who cares? (WHAT?? The Typo Psycho actually doesn’t care how something is spelled??) When I spelled it with 2 k’s, I found better images on Google.

A customer has asked me to design a mural of gekkos/geckos, because they are a symbol of welcome. Here are photos of some of the steps so far, using Photoshop Elements (that’s the baby version) to see how things might look.

Better if that board is painted first. . .

Nope, Customer has a stylized gecko/gekko she likes better than the photographic look here. What can I do with this?

She preferred the 3rd arrangement and suggested colors that she likes. I colored them (on copies with colored pencil) and photoshopped them onto the board.

Mind reading isn’t my strong suit, so it takes multiple sketches, colored sketches and photoshopped versions to see if I am able to portray the customer’s vision.

I await her response. . . more will be revealed in the fullness of time. . .

. . . and you thought I just sit around drawing all day? Nope. Sometimes I get to color too.


Redbud Festival (not rosebud)

Posted by on May 12, 2017 in Events, the business of art, Three Rivers | 2 Comments

Redbud is a gorgeous tree or shrub that blooms in March in Three Rivers (and probably many other places.)

For many years, Three Rivers has had an arts and crafts fair called the Redbud Festival. It happens in May, this year on Saturday, May 13 and Sunday, May 14. 


So glad you asked – Three Rivers Veterans Memorial Building


Great question – 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday, 10-4 on Sunday

This is how my booth looked last year. Oh dear, there is that 24×30″ unfinished painting of The Oak Grove Bridge. I may bring it again this year, along with FIVE coloring books, ZERO tee-shirts, many cards and lots of new paintings (including a rooster, a pair of hens, and 2 paintings of eggs).

You Draw Better Than You Paint

Posted by on May 9, 2017 in the business of art | No Comments

An acquaintance of mine told me, “I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but you draw better than you paint.”

What would “the wrong way” be?

I’ve been drawing since I was about umm, oh, maybe 5 or so. I’ve been painting 11 years. It makes complete sense that I draw better than I paint.

But, I continue to work on my painting skills, hoping I am not just reinforcing bad habits.

The bottom line is that paintings sell.

Any questions?

The award winning drawing (First Place, Irrigation, Madera’s Celebrate Ag with the Arts show, year long since forgotten) “Release”. Matted and framed to 20×28″, $495.

Oak Grove Bridge XX, 11×14″, SOLD.