Jana Botkin | Cabin Art

A California Artist's Show-and-Tell

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


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.





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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Sep 03 2014

A Central California Artist Paints Her World

Published by under Oil Paintings,Three Rivers

I live in Three Rivers so sometimes I actually paint the Kaweah River. This summer it is running low, but as a studio artist, I work from photos, and with 22,000 on my computer, there are some choices outside of going to the river and taking a photo as it looks during this very dry summer.

When an oil painter does the glazing method, paintings begin thin and rough.

Each successive layer adds texture, both visual and actual, if one is a thick painter. Most of my texture is visual.

You can see that I am continuing in my current vein of “juicing up’ my colors. Real life is messy and it is a little dull.

Maybe that is the smog here in Central California. Thanks, Bay Area. It’s blowing down the Altamont Pass. Did you know that?

The next time I show this painting, it will probably be signed, dry and scanned. it is for the 2015 calendar of my paintings – now you know one is coming, so you can plan.

And just in case you were thinking of moving to Three Rivers, here is a little reminder of why it isn’t all rivers and artistry.

Frankly, I am so squeamish that I really don’t deserve to live here. I have a friend who routinely hacks the heads off the rattlers in her yard with a shovel.

Me? I routinely call my friend S who either brings a shovel or sends her nephew to rescue me.


I’m sorry to wreck your day like that. How about just being thankful if you live in a place that doesn’t deal with such creepiness.

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Sep 02 2014

What Else Would You Expect a California Artist to Paint?

Published by under Oil Paintings

As a Central California artist, there are certain subjects that dominate my painting life.

If you have read this blog for any amount of time, I bet you can guess.

If you are new to this blog, welcome! You don’t have to guess because I am about to show you.

These two 11x 14″ paintings, citrus (or oranges, if you prefer) and poppies (or poppies and lupine) are drying on the wall in my painting workshop. I think the poppies painting wants more foliage. I could ask it, but instead, I’ll ask you. My chances of hearing something useful are better coming from you.

The commenting process on this blog is annoying. I think if you comment, it will tell you it didn’t go through. This is because it lands in a spam folder and then I have to “moderate” the comment.

Anyone want to try?


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Aug 29 2014

Trail Guy’s Latest Mineral King Hiking Photos

Published by under Mineral King,Photography

Trail Guy is retired so he hikes every week in Mineral King. I am not retired so I work. He photographs Mineral King so I post it on this blog.

Lucky Trail Guy.

Lucky You.

Lucky me, because I get to do what I love and (sometimes) even get paid for it.

If you let your cursor hover over each photo, it might give you the brief description.

After almost 29 years of marriage, we are starting to resemble one another (No, I am not growing a beard). He says all the time now, “Nice light!”

This is at the head of White Chief Canyon. Yep. We drink untreated water.

This is looking down on Franklin Lake from the trail up the Pass.

Did you know that Mt. Whitney is visible from Franklin Pass? I had forgotten. Now, I can’t remember if it shows in this photo or not.

These rock formations say “Franklin Pass” to me. Can you hear them talking? Must be the altitude. Actually I have not been on Franklin Pass since about 1983 or 1984. Too far for a day hike. Not for Trail Guy!

From left to right – a tarn (that is fancy mountain talk for pond), upper Franklin Lake, and the barest little edge of lower Franklin Lake. Lower is the one I did a mural of about 4 years ago. FOUR?? Must be having fun, because time is flying.

See? Trail Guy is getting all weird about shapes, light, texture, just like his artist wife.

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Aug 25 2014

Inspired by Citrus

I am the daughter and granddaughter of citrus growers. I thought I might become a citrus grower myself, but I became an artist. Still self-employed, but in a much less risky and less regulated business. Still, I am inspired by citrus.


Usually I paint oranges as a still life, which means an orange or two on a table-top. Now I am painting 4 or 5 oranges on a table top, but it is the easel that is on the table top.

never mind. . . worry does strange things to my writing ability

If the colors look juiced up to you, it is a combination of the fancy-pants lights and the fact that the colors are indeed juiced up a bit.

“Juiced up” is the term I’m using to mean a bit over-bright or exaggerated. I’m finding it fun to do this. Just a phase or a new way of painting?

Dunno. Just looking for some fun.

Don’t worry. Be happy. Happy happy happy.

There! Don’t you feel better? A California artist has got to paint oranges!

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