Disconnected Observations of Life in Three Rivers

Posted by on May 17, 2017 in Thoughts, Three Rivers | No Comments

Thoughts collect in my brain, camera and computer that are disconnected from art but seem worth mentioning.

  1. Last week I waited for a mess of RVs to pass before I pulled out onto the highway. As I went around the lake, I picked off 7 identical RVs through the 3 passing lanes. When I got below the dam, I could see 7 more identical RVs in front of me. There’s a story here that I probably will never learn.
  2. On the way home, I was struck in my heart by the signs that said spring is almost over. They are the fire danger sign, the brown hills, and the Farewell-to-Spring flowers. 
  3. At the Redbud Festival, I had two conversations with different people about specific trees they love. One told me of a Redwood tree somewhere in the backcountry; the other told me of a sycamore somewhere near Conley Creek and the South Fork of the Kaweah. I tried to find the sycamore, but there are several, so I just took some photos of the river, in case I want to draw more water.
  4. Samson is too interested in the nests of some scrub jays outside one of the living room windows.

Chicken or Egg Question

Posted by on May 11, 2017 in Oil Paintings, Thoughts | 2 Comments

We’ve all heard the question: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? (ever notice the chicken always comes first in the question?)

Last week, I painted some of Ethan’s chickens (the same Ethan of Ethan’s Eggs). Shiny, wet, unsigned, still sitting on the easel.

Just before this, I showed you some egg paintings. This might cause you to think the egg came first.

Ethan’s Eggs, 8×8″, oil on wrapped canvas, $100

But wait! A few years ago, I painted one of Marilyn’s chickens. This might cause you to decide the chicken came first.

Alas, you would be wrong about the chicken coming first because 10 or 15 years ago, I drew some eggs in pencil. Bummer, it was before digital photography or scanners or computers had become part of my business. I gave the drawing to my friend Annie, because she was always sharing eggs from her birds with me.

In my art life, the eggs came before the chickens. Guess you’ll just have to trust me on this.

Good grief. You people are so boring.

These paintings and more chicken and egg paintings will be available at the upcoming Redbud Festival in Three Rivers, Mother’s Day weekend at the Memorial Building.


Artists’ Words

Once of the most dreaded tasks of an artist is having to write a biography. However, this is a piece of cake compared to an “Artist’s Statement”. I have no idea what this actually is, in spite of having read about them numerous times and having tried to wade through such things as written by other artists.

Look at the type of Artspeak that fills up Artists’ Statements.

I’m constructing a framework which functions as a kind of syntactical grid of shifting equivalences.

Or try to digest this one:

Imagine the possibility that painting might take root and find a place to press forward into fertile new terrain.

In reading a blog by artist Lori Woodward recently, I came across this sentence with which I agree completely. I have had this thought this many times:

Representational works need no explanation – they either resonate with the viewer’s life experience, or they don’t.

Here is a piece of art that I hope just speaks for itself:

Sunny Sequoias IXXX, 8×10, oil on wrapped canvas, $125

And here is the link to Lori’s post: Lori Woodward


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.

Disconnected Thoughts From an Artist’s Brain

Posted by on Jan 31, 2017 in drawing, Thoughts | No Comments
  1. Samson matches a breed of cat called “Bengal”. That accounts for his distinctive markings, his thick and silky short hair, his busy nature and his propensity to play in water. This is just a lucky accident of random breeding, but the discovery and description helps explain some of his peculiarities.
  2. Two of my drawing students and I will join our works together for a Visalia show in May and June that we have titled “Gray Matter”.
  3. Drawing water is both forgiving and precise. I’m on my second new drawing this year of running and flowing water. Water is a big thing right now – 4 dry winters followed by abundant rain and snow in January, and now my interest in drawing water. I’ve drawn water for years, but now I want to draw nothing but water.
  4. My website is definitely broken on the For Sale pages. It was rebuilt only 2 years ago. This is too fast for me to comprehend, and a decision needs to be made.
  5. The Farm Bureau coloring books are at the printer.
  6. The “new and improved” laptop means this: my scanner won’t work, the email program is arranged differently and has lost some options, the dictionary is no longer on the computer but online, Powerpoint won’t work, Word won’t work, the photos aren’t as easy to find or edit or export or email or get printed. I like “tried and true” quite a bit more than “new and improved”.
  7. Still no decision on a cell phone. I don’t want one. That is an opinion rather than a decision.

If you made it to the bottom of this post, you deserve to see a pencil drawing of water. Makes me feel better.

I have made the decision to pay to repair my website. Anyone want to buy a painting?? Too bad the For Sale page is broken. You can use the contact button, and I can email you some specifics. 

Rain in Three Rivers

Three Rivers got 9″ of rain in 10 days. This is phenomenal! We walked to the Dinely Bridge several times to check out the river.

I can’t remember how many storms – one big one? a wave of storms? The early ones were warm and the river was very exciting.

See that white stick on the lower left? It shows the depth of the river. I’m not sure the water even reached the stick last winter. In these storms, the stick washed away.


Looking downstream, Kaweah River middle fork, from the Dinely bridge.


Looking upstream. St. Anthony Retreat Center is the group of white buildings with red roofs in the distance.


Looking downstream again. Either the stick is buried or it is washed away. See the little rocks sticking up on the distant ridge? Stay tuned.


Looking upstream on the Dinely Road side of the river.


Looking upstream on the highway side of the river.


Where is that measuring stick?

Okay, now for those rocks in the distance. They are called “Comb Rocks”, either because they look like a rooster’s comb or because someone named Mr. Comb (or Combs?) owned them. I don’t know.

What I do know is that my walking buddy said to me one morning, “Turn your head sideways and look at those rocks. Whose profile does that resemble?”


That’s what I’d call a peculiar sight.

End of the Year Thoughts

Posted by on Dec 30, 2016 in General, Personal, Thoughts | 2 Comments

 Those year end newsletters are good for updates, and they make everyone else’s life seem so sparkly, happy and fun, just like Facebook (Nope, not on, and not going to join). Life is a balance of both good and bad things, but who wants to put the sad, bad and hard stuff in a newsletter?

Here is some of what I remember about 2016, but not all of it. I want my life to look sparkly, happy and fun too, but realistic. The list could be longer, but I want you to stay for the photos at the end.


  1. Lost neighbors on three sides, all for different reasons (We aren’t lawn-parkers, don’t have barking dogs, don’t have loud parties or lights that stay on all night – what’s the deal??)
  2. Lost Perkins, the kindest-hearted cat of 17 years, and gained Samson, the fiercest little feline I’ve ever met
  3. Visited Israel (still in shock – did this really happen??)
  4. Took very long road trip – Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada
  5. Hit 30 years in the marriage department
  6. Walked the Lake Tahoe Marathon


  1. Edited a novel
  2. Edited, designed and published Trail of Promises
  3. Painted 5 murals (2 in someone’s Events Room and 3 in the Three Rivers Museum)
  4. Designed and published 4.9 coloring books (#5 is completed but not printed yet, waiting customer approval)
  5. Did all the other normal work stuff – lessons, oil painting workshops, speaking to groups, oil painting, pencil drawing, blogging, bazaars/festivals/boutiques/shows
  6. Received an award, Women in the Arts, from the DAR (Not sure why, but appreciative all the same!)


Sweet Perkins

strawberry IMG_1733

Trail of Promises


The cover of the next "Heart of" series of local coloring books for grown-ups.


Somewhere in Idaho


T and I were cold, excited and ready!

T and I were cold, excited and ready for our 1/2 marathon in Lake Tahoe


A long bridge into Sandpont, Idaho


Bridges, always bridges. . . what is it with the Central California artist and bridges? The answer is that a bridge picture is the perfect combination of scenery and architecture. This one is in Oregon, not in Central California. I don’t know if California has any covered bridges except for one in Wawona near Yosemite.

mineral king coloring book Heart of the Hills

DAR award

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Mineral King mural in Three Rivers Museum of Empire Mt. mining area.

Mineral King mural in Three Rivers Museum of Empire Mt. mining area.

2 more murals in the Mineral King Room of the Three Rivers Museum

2 more murals in the Mineral King Room of the Three Rivers Museum


Take that, 2016!

Thank you, dear blog readers, for sticking with me through 2016.

Happy New Year!

P.S. Am I always standing by people I love with my arm thrown over their shoulders?? Nope. Couldn’t stand to be touched in Israel because it was always too hot.


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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2 More Random Non-Art Subjects

Posted by on Dec 28, 2016 in Personal, Thoughts, Three Rivers | 2 Comments

Subject #3

This deserves no photos. On Christmas Eve it was raining and dark when we got home from our church’s Christmas Eve service. Trail Guy pressed the button on the garage door opener (my favorite luxury item) and nothing happened. He pressed it again, the door went up a little bit, then it thudded back down with an uncharacteristic loud clunk.

Say what? My car is in there! The pickup is out here! What’s the deal?

A spring broke. It was very important. It took an hour with lots of banging, grunting, and possibly some swearing although no one here is going to admit to even knowing those words, and now the garage door is neatly folded in a pile in our front yard.

Here – look at the new green chair and feel better. I wonder how long it will take to find the right lamp table. . . will we go dumpster diving? curbside shopping? garage saling?


Subject #4

On Christmas Day we had 2 very dear friends join us for lunch along with my mama. It was a perfect day for a post-lunch walk.

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Nothing to say except a good time was had by all, and the Central California artist probably ought to make a New Year’s resolution to give up sweets.

Forget it.


What’s Keeping the Central Calif. Artist Busy

Posted by on Dec 9, 2016 in the business of art, Thoughts | No Comments

Want to know what keeps a Central California artist busy?

I like lists. Have a look at what I’m working on this week. Notice there is nothing on it about actually making art. This is what I refer to as “The Business of Art” or an “Administrative” week.

  • Preparing to give a presentation to the Daughters of the American Revolution next week. Why did they ask me? What do they want to hear? More will be revealed in the fullness of time.
  • Putting away all the stuff from doing weekend bazaars, boutiques and fairs. This usually results in a big clean-out. Why do I still have this, that and the other thing? 
  • Gathering up, scanning and identifying old photos from Mineral King for a video to go on the Mineral King page of Tulare County Treasures. Why me? Because I deal in images, and Mineral King is my strongest subject. When you are able to help someone, it is good to say yes.
  • Teaching the oil painting workshop
  • Packaging note cards. Who writes cards? Apparently lots of people still do, because I ran out of this design and the reorder came this week.

This is the Thank You Acorn card. 4 cards and envelopes, blank inside, $7 includes tax. Email me if you would like some, or order through the website - under For Sale, click on Note Cards

This is the Thank You Acorn card. 4 cards and envelopes, blank inside, $7 includes tax. Email me if you would like some, or order through the website – under For Sale, click on Note Cards

Maybe today I will be able to plan for the next mural, the next oil commission, the next oil paintings to restock my inventory, the next blog post, the next coloring book.

That’s right! I was going to tell you about the new coloring book.

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

This Central California artist is never bored. Boring, maybe but never bored.