Thoughts After a 40th Class Reunion

Posted by on Jul 24, 2017 in Personal, Thoughts | 9 Comments

My 40th class reunion from Redwood High School in Visalia just happened. I have a list of thoughts pertaining to the event.

  1. Spouses from other schools don’t belong – they are bored, and people generally don’t come to reunions to see who other people married.
  2. I only saw one person scrolling through his phone (a bored spouse).
  3. No one gave me a business card, but I handed out many.
  4. It is good to stay sober at reunions.
  5. You can wear anything you want – shorts, jeans, fancy pants, dresses, high school logo tee shirts – it is merely an expression of one’s personality. (There were no leggings, thank goodness, because leggings are NOT pants!)
  6. Women seem to be aging better than men, but this is probably because hair accounts for 90% of one’s appearance, and most women color theirs (I am one of the exceptions, and no one cared or noticed.)
  7. Loud music and low lights make the experience less enjoyable.
  8. Less rah-rah (silly prizes for non-essentials like the most tattoos or youngest spouse) would give us more time to study faces, remember names and reconnect.
  9. It would be very interesting to know where people live, what their interests are, and what they do for a living.
  10. Everyone is thin and beautiful in high school – the video confirmed this.
  11. A class of 410 is too large to know or remember.
  12. The most interesting people to reconnect with are those from elementary or junior high. . . those with the longest history together.
  13. The most precious friends are those we are in touch with currently – our friends in real life.
  14. Skipping the class reunion when you live in the same town seems rude, especially to those who travelled great distances to come.
  15. Those who went away and then returned to the area usually did so to be near aging parents.
  16. Instead of silly or generic prizes, it would be good to get things from classmates who own businesses.
  17. There was a prize for the classmate who has changed the least – it wasn’t given to a woman who looked the same but instead it was given to the woman who looked the hottest and youngest!
  18. It would be very fun to have a list of everyone’s interests, jobs, locations, websites, emails, blogs, etc. . .

Since you have made it to the end of my list, I will reward you with a picture of my very smart spouse who had the wisdom to stay home instead of attending a party where he would have been bored half to death. I will return the favor when his class reunites for their 50th (in 4 years, in case you were wondering).

Random Thoughts

Today’s post is a list of random thoughts, unrelated to art, things that one of my tens of readers might be interested in.

  1. Crocs shrink if you leave them in the sun. Mine are too short to wear now. Isn’t that weird? Rubber shoes shrink in the sun! (maybe it is related to #2. . .))
  2. After it has been 107º for a week, 97º feels balmy.
  3. I’m editing a previously published book about the Visalia Electric Railroad. It was first published in a hurry, the Tulare Co. Historical Society is ready to re-order, and author Louise Jackson and I know we can do a better job of both the text and the photos. So, we are working on it and hope the TCHS will agree to publish it in a real book format instead of 8-1/2×11″ with dark photos, “Foreword” misspelled, the stock market crash happening in 1939, and someone joining Pancho Villa’s cantina band, as if he were a guitar player. Intrigued? I’ll let you know if this turns into a book.  
  4. What I’m reading (or recently finished): 41:A Portrait of My Father by George W. BushBritt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik BackmanMornings on Horseback by David McCulloughAlone Together: Why we expect more from technology and less from each other by Sherry Turkle (If you click or tap on any of the book titles, you’ll get to the Amazon page that sells the book. If you buy, I might earn 15¢ or something. . .)
  5. Samson still bites.
  6. What I’m listening to: The Smartest Person in the Room, Brian Buffini, Gretchen Rubin, The Road Back to You, What Should I Read Next
  7. No memorial services this week for me. 2 in 2 weeks is 2 too many.
  8. I think white flowers are boring. Did you think this post was boring? (Go ahead–tell me the truth; I can take it!)

Ranger Buttons, a white wildflower

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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