New Year’s Day Walk

Posted by on Jan 19, 2018 in Sources of inspiration, Three Rivers | 4 Comments

The New Year’s Day walk could have been a hike, had we taken food and more than one measly little water bottle. Alas, we did not. We went to the Salt Creek/Case Mt. BLM recreational area and walked from the Salt Creek road (rather than Skyline Drive) up, up and up. It was a smoggy hazy day, and the land wanted rain. We encountered about 8 different walking and biking parties; 4 were folks we know. Three Rivers is small. (A friend recently said to me that the good thing about Three Rivers is that it is small; the bad thing about Three Rivers is that it is small.) Going places, even those close to home, getting outside, looking around–these are all sources of inspiration, a requirement to this Central California artist.

We started here by the loading chute.

The road isn’t too steep here. It goes past 2 ponds full of slime.

Up and up and up; that is the first waterfall across the canyon.

The first waterfall.

The sycamores sure held their color this winter.

The second waterfall is barely visible in the shadows; guess you had to be there.


I am so thankful for the rain we have received since New Year’s Day, but we still need more. Alas, those folks in Montecito. . . yikes.

Incremental Studio Improvements

Posted by on Dec 14, 2017 in the business of art, Three Rivers | 4 Comments

I am a big believer in incremental improvements, little changes adding up over time. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be able to draw in pencil, paint in oil, or even be a knitter.

My Three Rivers studio was just a little storage shed on our property until it got gussied up in December 2001. It was thrilling to have a place to work at home!

Over the years little changes have been made. They all add up, and here I am, 16 years later, with a studio that looks like this:

Next will come new siding. 

Interesting Place in Three Rivers

The Perfect Gift Boutique is an annual event held by the Kaweah Artisans at the Arts Center in Three Rivers. This is an old building, vaguely Craftsman in style, somewhat shabby, and in its third life – it has been a home, the Womans Club (Yes, that is the way a national club for women spells its name) and now an arts center with many uses. 

Nikki the weaver and I usually set up on the stage. The back wall is actually made of sliding panels that open onto the back yard, so that the viewers of a play can sit in the back, outside.

The rock work is extensive, resourceful (using river rock) and interesting. I’ve heard that it is a little scary upstairs, but I love those double-hung windows and shingle siding. This is at the very top of the triangular back yard.

The balcony overlooks the back yard; I wonder if it was ever used in plays there.

This is looking up from the stage into the back yard audience area. 

The interior is where we, the Kaweah Artisans, spend our time. It is an open space where about 5-6 folks can set up their wares. This is the view that Nikki and I have of the room from our perch on the stage.

Could you people hold it down? I had a rough night and need my sleep.

First Saturday December

Posted by on Dec 1, 2017 in Events, Three Rivers | No Comments

In Three Rivers, the first Saturday of each month is a special day. Some artists open their studios, some retailers offer discounts, and it is just a little more of an event to visit our town.

For First Saturday December, I will have my studio open for first time in several years.

You can see the newest mural, buy a calendar (other things too), and perhaps even get bitten on the ankle by Samson (unless he worked the late shift and is sleeping in one of his secret hideaways).

Pick up a map at Anne Lang’s Emporium to get directions to all the participating businesses, and this month it includes two other artists in my own neighborhood.

P.S. My studio has come a long ways in the past almost 16 years!

Perfect Gift Boutique Today

Posted by on Nov 24, 2017 in Events, Three Rivers | No Comments

Perfect Gift Boutique is today, in Three Rivers at the Arts Center, from 10 AM – 4 PM. Tomorrow too. Eight of us will showing and selling our wares.

 The Perfect Gift Boutique

Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving,

November 24-25, 2017

10 AM – 4 PM

Three Rivers Arts Center, 41673 North Fork Dr, Three Rivers, California (first building on the left after crossing the Kaweah River on the North Fork Bridge)


Umpteenth Annual Perfect Gift Boutique

Posted by on Nov 22, 2017 in Events, Three Rivers | No Comments

The Kaweah Artisans’ Perfect Gift Boutique will be Friday, November 24 and Saturday, November 25, 2017, at the Three Rivers Arts Center. The times? Oh no, I can’t remember!! 9-4? 10-4? Stay tuned. . . here are some leaf photos for you to enjoy while I look for the times.

It is a little bit hard to leave home on a sunny fall morning.

10 AM to 4 PM!

Three Rivers Arts Center, 41673 North Fork Dr, Three Rivers, California (first building on the left after crossing the Kaweah River on the North Fork Bridge)

Kaweah Artisans

Posted by on Sep 28, 2017 in Events, the business of art, Three Rivers | 2 Comments

Kaweah is the name of the river (rivers – it is THREE Rivers) in town. Artisans are people who make specialty stuff; more precisely “workers in a skilled trade who make things by hand”.

For about 18 years I have been part of a group called “Kaweah Artisans”. We do shows, which we prefer to call “boutiques”, 2-3 times a year. We change venues, and our membership fluctuates. 

The rules are one maker per medium, be different from the crowd, be professional, and know how to display well. So, if you make something cool but not cutesy, are professional in your conduct, approach to business and display, and we have no other item maker in your category, we’ll take it to The Committee and decide. If your items meet the criteria and our space is not too crowded, The Committee will probably say yes. (But not if you have a reputation as a jerk; this is a very small town within a small county, and life and business are hard enough without personality complications.)

When I joined, there was a florist, a jeweler, a jam maker, a photographer and a weaver. Only the weaver and I remain of the original group. For our next show, we will be joined by a jeweler, a gourdista*, a cosmetic maker, a photographer, a small sculptor, a potter, and a chocolatier.

We still have our original banner, looking tired and worn out. It was time to update things.

When the banner arrived, I unrolled it outside to see how beautiful it is. Samson helped.

I FORGOT TO ORDER IT WITH GROMMETS!! The local hardware had them.

THE VINYL WAS TOO HARD TO PUNCH THROUGH! Our neighbor lent a hole punch.

And, Trail Guy put them in!

Kaweah Artisans marches on with lots of help from our friends, neighbors, family and pets. Our next boutique will be on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving.

*Do you like the word “gourdista”? I just made it up.

The Tree is Finished

Posted by on Aug 16, 2017 in commissions, Murals, Three Rivers | 2 Comments

Is the oak tree mural finished?? I think it is, although until the customer sees it (and my oak tree expert says it is believable), the question remains unanswered. 

It took about 20 hours to paint. All that time was alone except for the busy nice man from Delta Liquid Gas, a brief hello from a friend and a check-up by the property manager. I listened to Truman, written and read by David McCullough, listened to music (prolly a little dangerous to listen to “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress” while on the top of an extension ladder), began listening to an updated audio version of How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (and someone else from the 21st century who applied Carnegie’s principles to the digital era) and spent a lot of time staring and thinking. Building a tree to look believable when none of my tree photos are the right shape takes a lot of thought.

Feeling fairly satisfied with the right side, I focused on the left side. I studied various areas, came up with thoughts like “too narrow, too short, too empty”, then climbed the ladder and tried to remember which thought applied to which area.

This shows twigs now added above the register.

The horizontal branch is too short, too narrow and too empty.

After the left side was done, most of the changes were just tiny adjustments, widening a branch here, adding a few more twigs there, touching up the drips, and just generally polishing things.

FINISHED! (Finished??)

Yep, 3 ladders in the Jeep! (Not my Jeep – I try to work for money, not for fun, I want my money when my work is done.) The extension ladder came with the job; the other 3 are mine. A muralist needs ladders (or a scissor lift, or a scaffold, or a big flatbed truck). 

A Tree Continues Growing in Three Rivers

Posted by on Aug 15, 2017 in commissions, Murals, Three Rivers | 2 Comments

On Day Two of the oak tree mural in Three Rivers, I walked to work, because I didn’t have to haul any paint. That is another benefit of working indoors – all supplies are secure overnight.

Yup. Looked the same on Day 2 as it did when I left at the end of Day 1.

On one of my many breaks, I took this photo through the sliding glass doors. You can see Alta Peak (the elephant!) and Moro Rock. The unsightly palm tree will be going away. And now the house across the street is also for sale – will it also become a vacation rental?? Time will tell. . .

I spent the day studying the mural from below, climbing up the ladder and working until I got confused and too hot. Then I’d climb down again, study the mural some more and make a next step branching plan, figure out which ladder needed to be moved next, reload my palette, and climb back up.

The extension ladder needed to go up another notch, which meant it bumps the ceiling each time I move it. Not complainin’, just ‘splainin’. 

In spite of the air conditioner working hard all day (and it was only about 99º, not in the triples), it was HOT HOT HOT up at ceiling level.

The stroke of brilliance looks really great in the late afternoon light coming in the window.

At the end of Day Two, this is what I had. I fattened the trunk, fattened lots of branches, and climbed up and down all day.

It seemed as if three days would do the trick.

A Tree Grows in Three Rivers

Posted by on Aug 14, 2017 in commissions, Murals, Three Rivers | 4 Comments

A Tree Grows in Three Rivers? Hokey, I know, and I can’t even remember what A Tree Grows In Brooklyn was about.

This is a commissioned mural inside of a home 2 doors away from me. It recently sold and will become yet another vacation rental in a town and neighborhood that is jammed full of such units. But that is a topic for another day, and probably another forum.

Working indoors is a pleasure – climate control, flat surface to stand on, consistent lighting, tunes or an audio book on my old laptop (why didn’t Apple include a CD slot in their new laptops?? – I get SO TIRED of “upgrades”, but again, a topic for another forum.)

This is what I found when I unlocked the door on Monday a.m. (a week ago). The carpet will be replaced, so no tarp was necessary. Weird.

This is outside the house and will have a human sized chess board, which I might be painting next.

I procrastinated a bit before beginning. Giant blank walls are intimidating.

I measured the height of the ceiling, because inquiring minds need to know. 14′. I climbed up the extension ladder and dropped a vertical so I could begin building the oak tree around it. It is the same method I use when drawing trees with pencil on paper (not with blue chalk – just a light pencil line).

The extension ladder was a bit cumbersome, so I went home for my own ladders.

After a bit of staring and thinking, I gave myself some more blue chalk guidelines.

A normal way to paint a mural is from the top down, but trees grow in the opposite direction.

There never is the perfect photo of the perfect tree, so I used all my oak tree photos to remind myself of the bark texture and the branching patterns. It is slow, thinky work.

This was a stroke of brilliance!

The raised hearth is helpful in boosting short ladders.

At the end of day one, this is what