8 Things I Learned in September

Posted by on Oct 2, 2017 in Lessons, Personal, Thoughts | 2 Comments

Still biting us after a year, although he is much larger now, Samson the Bengal wanna-be.

These are life things I learned mostly in September, although a few may have spilled over from late August.

  1. An Americano is espresso with hot water added. I can’t tell the difference between that and a cup of black coffee. My nephew is employed by Starbucks and informs me that Americanos suck. Not sure why this is his assessment.
  2. A dog will eventually eat food it doesn’t like rather than starve; a cat will become anorectic. Samson actually ate some dry food for the first time in the past couple of months, so maybe his tastes are changing; he is a year old now.
  3. Some people never do figure out where they fit in personality profile tests; I may be one of them. Just finished reading Anne Bogel’s Reading People, which is an overview of different personality typing tests; it was helpful, even if my main conclusion is that I don’t know who I am. I’ll keep learning. . .
  4. No matter how much I use InDesign and Photoshop Elements, they just keep confounding me. Adobe and Apple have been compared to a couple after a bad divorce; I come down on the side of Apple every time.
  5. If bread doesn’t rise very well, it will take longer to bake; conversely, if it rises very well, it will get done much sooner than expected.
  6. A battery powered drill can also be called an “impact wrench”–say what? Must be man talk.
  7. Crystal Pepsi is a thing. It tastes good. I almost never drink soda of any kind, and a friend gave me one of these to try. I have no idea if it tastes like real Pepsi or not. Because I don’t drink soda, the sugar and caffeine really packed a wallop!
  8. Drawing lesson for me: when shading by layering with pencils, with a heavy hand, you’ll get your darkest blacks by beginning with the blackest pencils; with a lighter hand, you’ll get your darkest blacks by ending with the blackest pencils. Maybe. Haven’t cemented this yet, even after years and years of drawing and teaching drawing.

Betwixt and Between

Posted by on Sep 14, 2017 in Thoughts | No Comments

I didn’t post yesterday because I didn’t have anything to say.

I don’t know what “betwixt” means, but it sounds good with “between”. This is a between sort of time of year – still hot, but not quite time for sweaters. Darker in the a.m., shorter days in the evenings too. Still summer on the calendar, but hints of fall. Still cabin time, but not as much because the work is coming in and I need to pay attention to my students and customers and plan for a couple of upcoming shows and more beginning drawing workshops and think about painting, ordering calendars and making a Christmas card and finishing a book design and edit job.

See? Who has time to think about blogging?

 

What I’ve Learned Recently

Posted by on Sep 14, 2017 in Thoughts | 2 Comments

One of my favorite bloggers, Anne Bogel of “What Should I Read Next“, posts a list of things she’s learned at the end of each month. Being a copyist, I’ll borrow this idea and tell you a few odd facts that I’ve learned recently.

  1. Tulare County used to have a building designed by Julia Morgan, the architect of many lovely buildings in Monterey (at Asilomar) and the Hearst Castle (and probably many more things I know nothing of). The building was the tuberculosis hospital in Springville, since replaced with a more “modern” structure.
  2. The tuberculosis hospital was a “sanatorium”, which is a different thing than a “sanitorium”. The first is a place where you go to be helped, healed or cured; the second is more of a spa.
  3. Huge & Rude, the telephone company that “serves” Three Rivers, keeps trying to sell something called “Uverse” to its customers, in spite of no fiber optic cables beyond the main building in town. Beware of this baloney if you live in Three Rivers; many of my friends and neighbors have gotten into techie-messes because of this misunderstanding.
  4. I found some shoes that I think are fabulous by (oh how embarrassing this is) looking on Pinterest. They are made by Keesky, come in a wide variety of colors, are very comfortable and only cost about $18. Here’s a link: great shoes
  5. Weird stuff happens. Our friend crawled out and walked away from this with almost no injuries:

    An upside down car in a ravine

  6. There is an ailment called “SIBO” – Small Intestine Bacterial Overload. It has slammed a friend hard, one who went vegan thinking she was eating healthy. Sigh. . . who knows what “healthy” even means any more? (Remember when butter, bacon and coconut oil were bad for us??)

What have you learned recently?

Funny Walk at Hume Lake

When I got to Hume Lake, I asked my friend if she had heard of the Little Brown Church. This was something I learned about and visited one time in 1978, and since so much had changed, I thought it might be gone.

Nope. It is still there. It is a steep steep steep climb; the signs say 1/2 mile, but it felt farther.

I don’t know when, why or who.

Have one more look at the little brown church with my friend so you can get a sense of the smallness.

See what I mean by “a funny walk”??

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.