Jana Botkin | Cabin Art

A California Artist's Show-and-Tell

Aug 20 2014

More Oil Painting in Progress

Published by under Mineral King,Oil Paintings

Two years ago I printed and sold a calendar of oil paintings. Last year there was no time to paint because of work on the upcoming (Please God, may it be upcoming soon) book The Cabins of Wilsonia. This year I decided to do a calendar painting each month so that when it is time to print another calendar, I will have 13 new paintings for it.

Thirteen? I thought there were only 12 months in a year.

Twelve plus a cover!

I fell behind. Now I am trying to catch up.

I wonder if this painting will look weird in natural light. I have halogen lamps on, in addition to this magical ott-light (or whatever it is called). Who cares? It is air-conditioned in the little studio, and all the book drawings are done and sealed up, so if I get paint on stuff, it won’t be a disaster.

But what is this on the easel?

Why, it is Mineral King, of course! Farewell Gap to be specific. After it is dry and signed, I’ll scan it so you can see the completed piece. Maybe you’ll want to buy it. Maybe you’ll want to buy a calendar too.

Life’s full of choices.

Be the first to respond

Aug 18 2014

Back at the Easels

Did you think all I do is run away to Mineral King? Close, but I finally had time to paint again.

This time I decided to risk the messy business of oil painting in the air-conditioned studio, instead of the swamp-cooler “cooled” workshop.

They got moved out to the workshop for quicker drying.

Of course I painted Mineral King – isn’t it my main source of inspiration?


Have a closer look. They need more detailing and a signature, but this is a good solid start to good solid subjects.

And what was that picture at the top?

It is the Generals Highway, the road that leads into Sequoia National Park. When it is drier, I’ll add yucca in bloom. It wants more detail and a signature. I almost always think paintings need more detail. I am a pencil artist who is prone to drawing with my paintbrushes. So what? I like love to draw!

Be the first to respond

Aug 15 2014

Better Living Through Mineral King

Published by under Mineral King

Run run run run run-away. Book problem not resolved, Mineral King as a prescription to anxiety – works for me! (temporarily, because then I have to come home again, but I’ll just think about that tomorrow!)

Swamp Onion and Corn Lily (AKA “skunk cabbage” because it resembles the plant by that name that grows on the right coast)


Penstemmon, the kind that doesn’t show up in any of my wildflower books

Explorer’s Gentian, my favorite!

Manzanita – both beautiful in color and texture, but ever so slightly grotesque in form

Sierra Gentian, more colorful in person but still not the awesome color of the Explorer’s Gentian

Goldenrod doesn’t usually appear until August, but this year it showed up in June!

Be the first to respond

Aug 14 2014

A New Art-making Experience in Mineral King

I have a very dear friend who is in college. She is a “Resident Assistant” this year, which is sort of like a camp counselor for a dorm full of freshmen girls. “Freshgirls”? “Freshwomen”? Hmmm. . .

Part of her duties are to make some sort of name plates for each dorm room door. When the girls arrive, they will know immediately which room is theirs and feel welcomed when they see their names.

My friend isn’t too inclined toward artistic activities. She told me of her assignment, and I was immediately excited to be able to help her.

We found some scraps of watercolor paper and she bought some watercolor paints. We discussed ideas, I showed her a bit about how watercolor (mis)behaves, and she went to work.

It was so much fun to think about color combinations and make suggestions, then just sit back and see her go to town. (That’s a euphemism for “commence work” – you can see we were nowhere near a town.) We looked for inspiration all over Mineral King.

I think she liked it too. She discovered the splatter technique and really got serious!

Abstract art doesn’t do much for me, but color is so much fun! Here are a few of the 30 or so that she created.

Can you think of a better combination than a dear friend, color and Mineral King? (Okay, throw in a little dark chocolate and maybe some yarn. . . )

Be the first to respond

Aug 04 2014

Mineral King Photos As An Escape

I hit a bit of a bump in the road with the book The Cabins of Wilsonia and I don’t want to talk about it. So let’s put our hands over our ears, shout LALALALA in a loud monotone and run away to Mineral King. These are not in any particular order – I’m just speed slamming Mineral King photos, sort of like I do M&Ms or chocolate chips in times of desperation.

Monarch Trail


Monarch Trail

Hey! I painted that! Back in the olden days when I had time to paint because I didn’t have a book at a printer with a bump in the road LALALALALALALA!

Monarch Trail oil painting

Farewell Gap Mineral King

Mineral King

Franklin Falls

Franklin Falls

Explorer's Gentian

Mineral King

Maybe tomorrow I will be able to talk about it. If so, it will be on my other blog, www.thecabinsofwilsonia.com Meanwhile, LALALALALALA.


Be the first to respond

Aug 01 2014

Hiking In Mineral King (Trail Guy, Not the California Artist)

Published by under Mineral King,Photography

Trail Guy, AKA The Retiree, does a tremendous amount of hiking in Mineral King while I’m in Three Rivers trapped on the phone with AT&T because my email doesn’t work. But I’m not bitter. I enjoy his photos, and then you get to enjoy them. These will mostly be without comments. All you need to know is that they were all taken along Mineral King trails (and in between, because Trail Guy don’t need no stinkin’ trails!)

Pride of The Mountains

Sky Pilot

Sierra Columbine

Sky Pilot

Steven in Farewell Gap

This is our dear friend Steven who walks 12 miles a day and gets paid for it. These trails were no problem for this guy!


This is a Pika, pronounced “PEE-ka”.


Monarch Lake Trail


Be the first to respond

Jul 31 2014

Friends in Mineral King

Published by under Mineral King,Photography

There is something very unique and special about cabin communities. The friendships go on for life and through generations. Instead of yammering on and on, have a look at a very special Mineral King friendship.

Friends at Franklin Falls

Friends knitting in Mineral King

Mineral King Deer

I’m not close friends with these guys, but they might be close friends with one another. At least they aren’t eating my geraniums in Three Rivers.

friends in Mineral King

I knit, my friend helps me weave in the ends, and she models for me: a perfect blend of skill between Mineral King friends.

Be the first to respond

Jul 30 2014

Babies in Mineral King

Published by under Mineral King,Photography

What, me work? Nah. The Retiree is in Mineral King, my book The Cabins of Wilsonia is at the printer, drawing lessons are suspended for July and August, and it is too stinking hot to be down the hill.

So, let’s look at some photos.

July is the month of babies and little critters in Mineral King.

blind marmot

Every year without fail, there are marmots born underneath our cabin. This is a little bit yucky, but I don’t know what to do about it. So, we just take photos. This year is a little different. There is a blind marmot, whom I have named RayCharles. You can tell it is him (her?) by the nose in the air.

Mountain Quail

Mountain Quail are not the state bird, which is California Quail. These Mountain Quail are usually very very shy. It is tricky, but if you look closely at this photo, you may be able to spot a baby.


Spotted fawns abound. Abounce, too. Bambis, Bambis, everywhere. Hey little guy, watch out for bears!

Austin isn’t really a baby at age 3, but he looks like one to me.

Braden isn’t really a baby either, but he and Austin are the youngest generation of cabin folks in Mineral King.

Hey RayCharles – watch out for bears!

Be the first to respond

Jul 25 2014

Mineral King Again

Published by under General

Hey, California Artist, don’t you work?

Beats me. It seems as if I spend all my time working on the computer, writing 2 blogs, answering email, redesigning murals, designing book covers, designing pre-order postcards. Oh yes, and I spend way too much time on the phone with AT&T, Paypal, and Apple. You really would rather not hear about that.

You are right, California Artist. Why don’t you tell us something interesting?

How about if I show you some nice Mineral King photos?

Now that’s what I’m talking about!

White Chief canyon in Mineral King

White Chief canyon in Mineral King


Whorled Penstemmon in White Chief. “Whorled”, not “whirled” or “world”. Got it? Good!

Sawtooth from White Chief

Sawtooth from White Chief


Pride of the Mountains is another version of penstemmon.

Green? Purple? Gurple!

Be the first to respond

Jul 22 2014

You are Invited To My Other Blog

Published by under Mineral King,Wilsonia

Hi. Thanks for stopping by my regular blog. Today I am posting at The Cabins of Wilsonia blog.

Tomorrow and Wednesday too.

You are invited to see what is happening with the upcoming book at that site.

Thanks for stopping by – come back on Friday for Mineral King photos and a little commentary.

Be the first to respond

Next »