Jana Botkin | Cabin Art

A California Artist's Show-and-Tell

Sep 30 2014

Painting for a Show in a City

With the first fall show coming on October 11, the pressure is on to get some paintings finished, signed, dried, scanned and varnished. Let’s see what is in the painting workshop.

Yikes. This photo shows me that my Mineral King mural needs to be freshened up. Wouldn’t it be fun to repaint it every 3 months to reflect the actual season? Forget it – I have to finish paintings that can be sold!

I had no trouble finishing these pumpkins. The bridge might be finished. The poppy fields are rough – this is after one pass over the canvas. The orange wants a few more blossoms.

I thought this would be too hard, because it is a challenge to turn 2 rectangular photos into one square scene, and real life is very messy so I’m trying to clean it up here. The rocks and background trees have been really satisfying. I love detail – did you know that?

On the advice of a trusted friend, I added more foliage to the poppies. It probably isn’t enough to suit her, but I like it. Those 4 orange poles will become The Four Guardsmen, 4 sequoias you pass among as you enter Sequoia National Park from Three Rivers. There is Farewell Gap (Mineral King) as it appears in early fall – leaves changing a bit, no snow, and very low water. Getting the water and rocks to look right is stretching my limited abilities. And the bottom scene is the trail to Farewell Gap. The light was wonderful that day! It isn’t finished in this photo.

Upcoming Show: Taste the Arts, Saturday, October 11, 11-5, downtown Visalia on Garden Street from Main to Oak Streets. (no idea where I will be – I’ll just follow directions like a good soldier when the time comes.)

Woohoo, world, I’m going to the big city of Visalia to meet some people and sell some art!

Yeah, I know, I really don’t get out much. Visalia is the county of seat of Tulare County, population around 125,000. “City”? It is to me! Three Rivers is 35 miles east and has about 2500 people, including all the part-timers. Just sayin’ so you can keep things in perspective from where I live.

 

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Sep 29 2014

Fall Shows Ahead

Last year I couldn’t do any shows in the fall because I spent the entire year drawing for The Cabins of Wilsonia (WHEN WILL IT BE HERE???)

This year I am painting again, because paintings sell best at shows. Truthfully, cards, tee shirts, and calendars sell best, but if one is an artist, one needs pure art to set the stage, provide the atmosphere, supplement and be a backdrop for the small stuff.

Here are paintings in progress:

The raven is for an upcoming show for which I lack information. The oranges are in progress.

My favorite bridge in progress on this 10×10″ canvas because I love to paint this. The rocks are always challenging, as are the arches. Each time I am sure that I am making a dog’s breakfast of the scene. Each time I persist, and then I almost break my arm patting myself vigorously on the back.

The beginnings of another Mineral King scene and some pumpkins that I have been reluctant to finish for about the past 6 years. If someone said, “I love that and want to buy it!” – that might light my fire to finally finish it.

Earning a living as an artist, particularly in a rural place like Tulare County (3rd least educated and 13th poorest county in the state) is a balancing act. It would be just grand to be able to paint anything I want and have a large population base from which to find the buyer. The reality is that I paint what people want because that is the way to please customers.

Even so, I continue to repaint my favorite bridge and oranges. Over and over and over. . .

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Sep 26 2014

Early Signs of Fall in Mineral King

Published by under Mineral King,Photography

 

The color and the light and the feel of the air changes in September. It is still green, but not quite as.

The deer get weird.

The squirrels get busy. This is a chicaree messing around with a red fir cone. They drop them like bombs in the early morning on the roofs of cabins. It is rude.

There is a hint of yellow beginning in the cottonwoods.

It is a peculiar change of color.

A reluctant change.

A hesitant change.

The currants aren’t as confused as the cottonwoods.

I don’t know what this is and never notice it in the summer, but it is a confident harbinger of fall.

The East Fork of the Kaweah has dwindled to almost nothing, and in fact, it does dwindle to nothing at one place in the upper valley. Very weird to see it just go away and then re-emerge a few yards downstream. I’ve never seen that before, but maybe I wasn’t looking. The drought is making us all hyper-aware of water in all situations. (I was playing in water coming out of a fire hydrant at home last week as we were testing water pressure – couldn’t stand to see it just flow without some sort of reverence or enjoyment!)

Farewell, Farewell (Gap) and I hope “farewell, Summer” soon.

 

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Sep 24 2014

Hidden in the Leaves

Published by under General

Turning Leaf XV, oil on wrapped canvas, 6×6″, $50

No, nothing is hidden in these leaves. These are 2 new paintings for a small (fancy word for that is “intimate”) show coming to Three Rivers in November.

I think we are all discouraged by the ongoing heat and drought, and there are so many trees that have died or prematurely lost their leaves that we are going to have to produce our own colored leaves this fall. This California artist certainly has wanted to feel and see Autumn.

Turning Leaf XIV, oil on wrapped canvas, 6×6″, $50

It is fun to paint leaves because it is a rare chance to use bright reds and because they are forgiving in their shapes. Plus, these are small enough that they feel like a painting instead of a commitment.

 

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Sep 19 2014

New Mineral King Painting

Published by under Mineral King,Oil Paintings

It is still summer in Three Rivers, which means it is still nice in Mineral King. But, I have too much work to do, both in the studio and at home to be hanging out every weekend. Summer eventually catches up with me in the form of messes everywhere, incomplete stuff, unfinished business.
I am preparing for fall sales and shows (not that I have a ton, but it is all relative, and compared to what I do in the summer, the fall is cookin’!) This means I have to paint new paintings.

Because Fridays are for Mineral King and I don’t have any new photos or stories, have a look at a recently completed Mineral King oil painting.

Sawtooth XII, oil on wrapped canvas, 11×14″, $175



Yeppers, it is Sawtooth in Mineral King, the peak that is visible from Visalia (unless the smog is thick that blew down through Altamont Pass).

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Sep 16 2014

The Cabins of Wilsonia Book and Blog

Published by under commissions,drawing,Wilsonia

This week on my other blog, www.thecabinsofwilsonia.com, I will explain what these sketches are, along with some other sketches, and also explain that the special pre-order price of the upcoming book The Cabins of Wilsonia  has expired.

 

Join me over there?

 

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Sep 11 2014

Remember

Published by under Photography,Thoughts

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Sep 08 2014

What’s Happening Now in the Work Life of This Artist

Today’s posting is a list of information about what is happening now in my life as a Central California artist.

Mineral King Aspens, oil on wrapped canvas, 6×6″, $50

1. I have another blog –  www.thecabinsofwilsonia.com where I post about the upcoming book The Cabins of Wilsonia.  “Upcoming” as in should be here in several weeks. “Several weeks” as in I don’t really know for sure because the book printer doesn’t really know for sure.

2. This week on my other blog there will be posts about the following subjects:

  • quilt squares in Wilsonia
  • who is interested in buying the upcoming book (and who isn’t – a rather surprising factoid to me!)
  • a story by possibly the most interesting cabin owner in Wilsonia (but he did not end it with “stay thirsty”)

3. I’m still too busy with more important and interesting things to figure out why the comments won’t work and too busy to figure out how to post new work to my website galleries.

4. Maybe I’ll start showing new work on the blog.

5. There is an upcoming show in November called “Hidden in the Leaves”. I could fill the entire space all by myself with this subject, but we are limited to 2 pieces each. It will be here in Three Rivers at Sierra Subs & Salads, preparers of the best food around!

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Sep 05 2014

Sit, Knit and Split in Mineral King

Published by under Mineral King,Thoughts

When I didn’t have a cabin in Mineral King, I said I’d kill for one. My new boyfriend said, “There is an easier way.”

That was about 30 years ago.

I learned that there are multiple parts to cabin life. There’s the social aspect, the having 2 homes challenge, the trails, and just hanging around.

Hanging around suits me just fine these days. Seems that life down the hill, life in the studio, life on the computer, life in a drought while on the local water board, life in the book publishing world and life in general is wearing me out. Retail Therapy isn’t going to cut it. Instead, I go to Mineral King to just sit, knit or split.

Sit

 

Knit

Split

More sit

More knit

More split

Sit and knit, and now I’ve split

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Sep 04 2014

Another Fine Subject of Central California Art

Published by under Mineral King,Oil Paintings

Call me butter – I’m on a roll.

Did you know butter is good for you? Yep. Everything we learned about animal fats and saturated fats is probably wrong. But that’s for a different blog.

This blog is about what a Central California artist finds to paint in a place like Tulare County, the 3rd least educated and 13th poorest county in the state.

Mineral King! I paint Mineral King! I blog about it, paint it, draw it, and live there in the summer whenever I’m not at home painting.

Sorry. Didn’t mean to give you a heart attack with that surprising news. Maybe you should eat more butter to prevent future heart attacks.

Sawtooth Peak is visible from the valley floor (San Joaquin valley, not Mineral King, but it is visible from there too, duh.) except when the Bay Area smog blowing down through Altamont pass is obscuring the vision.

Don’t you think my oil paintings begin with a rough first layer? I show you this in case you are a painter and think your paintings always begins with ugliness. You are not alone – take heart (and have some more butter).

I work from back to front. The sky is first because it is the furthest from us. Then comes the ridge and Sawtooth Peak. I climbed it once. I also got helicoptered off it once. Once was enough for each of those experiences. However, I will paint it over and over. When it sells, I’ll paint it some more.

There are certain subjects that I try to always keep around as oil paintings – Farewell Gap, Sawtooth, the Kaweah River, the Kaweah Post Office, oranges, and poppies. That’s Central California from the viewpoint of a Three Rivers artist. (one who loves butter)

It’s coming along. I might show you a time or two more before it is finished. Or maybe not.

Now I am going to cook an egg in butter.

(Note to self: don’t blog in the future when you are hungry.)

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