Mineral King Road Messes

Posted by on Feb 17, 2017 in Mineral King | 4 Comments

Last week Trail Guy and Retired Postman headed up the Mineral King Road. This was a couple of days after some very heavy rains.

First stop? My favorite bridge, of course. (The Oak Grove Bridge). Retired Postman is very very tall, so he was able to take a photo above all the messy shrubs. This may be the first time I’ve ever seen the bridge’s shadow in the water beneath. I don’t think this would be a very nice painting – just a bunch of greenish textures with a tiny bit of architectural interest.I wasn’t with them, so I don’t know exactly how many messes there were on the road. I do know that the messes began around Slapjack, that they were able to walk in to Redwood Creek/Redwood Canyon/Aunt Tillie & Uncle Pete – whatever you call the twin Sequoia trees.

This next photo shows the ridge above High Bridge and how it has slid down the drainage. It will be interesting to see if it reached the road. It could be awhile before anyone gets that far up the road. . .

Say hello to Aunt Tillie & Uncle Pete (I am not making this up – some cabin folks told me that is what they call the 2 Sequoias at Redwood Canyon, and no, I can’t tell who is who or which is which.) Or skip them and say hello to Retired Postman.

There were a mess of ladybugs at Redwood Canyon.

And there were multiple messes on the walk in.

Trail Guy reported in to the roads department in Sequoia, and they’ve already done some work. Is the road passable? Maybe. . . 

 

Repainting Mineral King and Prudence

Posted by on Feb 10, 2017 in Mineral King, Murals, Oil Paintings | 2 Comments

Happy Birthday, Gordon!!

The big Mineral King mural in Exeter has faded.

Yellow fades the quickest, so gray becomes purple, tan becomes gray which then fades to lavender, and green becomes blue.

The mural colors were like this when I finished it after 52 days of painting in 2009.

Now the colors look this way:

It is time to refresh the greens and grays, and when it stops raining, I will do that. The sky and the insets are fine, as are the farthest snow-covered peaks. (Maybe – ever heard of “purple mountain majesty”?)

Meanwhile, I am preparing to repaint Mineral King by painting Mineral King in oil. Painting a mural is very attention-getting, and the process will bring attention to Mineral King. It is prudent to have paintings ready for eager customers; if I had been born in the 1600s, perhaps my name would have been Prudence.

It was prudence that caused me to photograph these through the window rather than going into the painting workshop, which doubles as the Bengal-beast’s safe place. I didn’t want to awaken the sleeping Samson by going into his territory.

Trail Guy Blazes the Way to Mineral King

Posted by on Feb 3, 2017 in Mineral King, Sources of inspiration | 10 Comments

Before Trail Guy was Trail Guy, he was Road Guy in Sequoia National Park. One of his specialties was opening the Mineral King Road in the spring. 

This week someone from the Park asked if he’d help make the road passable for snow mobiles so people could get up there to do a snow survey. This is when they measure the depth of the snow and figure out the water content, some pretty helpful information.

He went again 2 days later because he wanted to check on the cabins, something they were unable to do on the first trip because there were so many downed trees to deal with.

I didn’t go along because while he is retired, I am not. I’ll just do my best to explain his photos, and if I get stuff wrong, he’ll correct me and I’ll fix it.

Sawtooth as it looked on the way in to Mineral King

This is our Cushman Trackster on the most dangerous stretch of road, “The Bluffs”

A cabin in Faculty Flat

Another cabin in Faculty Flat, buried in snow

This might be the second most photographed cabin because it is so picturesque, perched above Cold Springs Campground.

View from the top of Endurance Grade (also sometimes called Coral Hill)

The Honeymoon Cabin with Little Florence (also known as West Florence) in the distance, which is the left side of Farewell Gap.

Classic view of the Crowley Cabin with Farewell Gap in the distance.

Cabins?? Yep, little ones.

Cabin across the creek from us.

The cabin on the right in this photo was knocked off its pins by an avalanche a few years ago (Feels like 2, must be 5?)

Sawtooth in the afternoon

Trail Guy took many photos of cabins, and if I have people’s eddresses, I will send them. Didn’t want you all to get too chilly in the snow with 30 photos.

Little Bitty Ore Buckets

Posted by on Jan 27, 2017 in Mineral King, Murals, Three Rivers | 5 Comments

Say what? Ore buckets? Little bitty ore buckets? 

Remember the first Mineral King Room (in Three Rivers History Museum) mural was of a tram tower below the Empire Mine in Mineral King and only made sense if someone was standing there ‘splaining it?

Now, there are visual aids. In addition to the real ore bucket resting alongside the mural, there are to-scale versions actually on the mural, hanging from the cable.

These are utter perfection, the final touch that makes this mural come alive! Thank you, Nancy B. of the Three Rivers Historical Museum!!

And here are the other 2 murals, in case they were feeling left out.

 

Field Trip up the Mineral King Road

One day while I was painting the Oak Grove Bridge, Trail Guy said he wanted to drive up the Mineral King Road and see how things looked. I put down my brushes and put on my boots.

The bridge was the first stop.

The bridge was the first stop.

All that muddy water obscured the boulders and rock formations that I have been struggling to decipher in the photos.

All that muddy water obscured the boulders and rock formations that I have been struggling to decipher in the photos.

Through the windshield after the we reached the snow.

Through the windshield after the we reached the snow.

Lookout Point, through the windshield.

Lookout Point, through the windshield.

I got out of the truck to lock the hubs. Glad I wore those LLBean boots.

I got out of the truck to lock the hubs. Glad I wore those LLBean boots.

Lookout point after I locked those hubs.

Lookout Point after I locked those hubs.

We didn't make it very far. This is at the asphalt pile turnout. The snow was about 3" deep there.

We didn’t make it very far. This is at the asphalt pile turnout, maybe 10 miles from the bottom of the road. The snow was about 3″ deep there.

Trail Guy closed the lower gate. Bit of a slide there, but it is easy to drive around.

Trail Guy closed the lower gate. Bit of a slide there, but it is easy to drive around.

This is Squirrel Creek, near Lake Canyon, AKA Mitchell Ranch, AKA Sweet Ranch, AKA Way Station. It goes dry in many summers.

This is Squirrel Creek, near Lake Canyon, AKA Mitchell Ranch, AKA Sweet Ranch, AKA Way Station. It goes dry in many summers.

 

Because Jimmy Asked

Posted by on Jan 6, 2017 in Mineral King | 2 Comments

Who is Jimmy? A friend of mine.

What did he ask? Something about William O. Clough and his memorial and Franklin Lake’s dam and the dams built on lakes by the Mt. Whitney Power Co. It wasn’t a specific question, more of a request for more information. He asked me, because Google sent him to my website (probably among several hundred thousand others).

Bill Clough was a colorful guy (an early Trail Guy, perhaps?) who had the job of closing the dams for the winter that Mt. Whitney Power Co. built on four lakes out of Mineral King. Or maybe he opened them. . . I don’t know how this works. (Yes, it still works, but might involve helicopters for transportation these days.)

One fall, Bill didn’t return. The following spring or summer, or maybe even a later spring or summer, someone found his boots near the little cabin he built about halfway between Mineral King and Franklin Lake. Did he live in the cabin? In the summer? 

So many questions. . . wish the guy had kept a journal, or a blog or something else helpful.

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The corner of his cabin still exists.

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This giant red fir near his cabin ruins has a memorial plaque. Placed by whom? When?

Memorial plaque for Bill Clough

What does it say?

Bill Clough's plaque

Look how high up it is – it must have been placed many moons ago, when that place on the tree was reachable. (Hi Deendie!)

So many questions, so few answers. Here is a list of what I know:

  1. The dams out of Mineral King are on Franklin Lake (the lower larger lake), Crystal Lake (upper or lower? It’s been too long since I was there), upper Monarch Lake, and Eagle Lake (only one of those in Mineral King).
  2. The cave out of the South Fork (of the Kaweah River) Campground of Sequoia National Park is called “Clough’s Cave”. The cave has a gate, so forget about it.
  3. You can read more about Bill in Mineral King: The Story of Beulah by Louise A. Jackson 
  4. My second mural in Exeter called “Men + Mules + Water = Power” is of Franklin Lake as it looks now, with insets of related historic scenes.

Hope that helps, Jimmy, and thank you for asking so that I could put a Mineral King post up on a Friday in the middle of winter when the ideas are a little sparse.

NEWS FLASH: Bill Clough’s great-grand-niece just left my studio. Uncle Bill closed the dams for the winter. He closed the Franklin dam one fall, then returned to his cabin area, sat down and died. The following spring, my friend’s granddad went looking for him and found his boots and his beard. Uncle Bill was “eccentric”, had a very long beard, and sometimes he preached. (To whom? What? Always more questions around here. . .)

Save

Save

Stick a Fork in Me, I’m Done

That’s a non-Google kind of title, but the real title is boring. “Mineral King Mural #3 is Finished in Three Rivers Museum”.

First, a little context. Here is mural #1 as it appears in the Mineral King Room of the Three Rivers Museum (Redundant, I know, but I have to say all those words so this post can be found on the World Wide Web.)

Mineral King mural in Three Rivers Museum of Empire Mt. mining area.

Mineral King mural  of Empire Mt. mining area in Three Rivers Museum . No miniature ore buckets hanging from the little cable yet. . . will they get made in time for the January 22 opening party of the room?? As always, more will be revealed in the fullness of time. . .

And to our left in the Mineral King Room:

2 more murals in the Mineral King Room of the Three Rivers Museum

2 more murals in the Mineral King Room of the Three Rivers Museum

The cabinet in front of mural #3 will be sitting lower once it is removed from the dollies. Yes, those rolling platforms are called “dollies” – anyone know why?? The other sort that guys with their names on a patch on their shirts use to push around boxes of things are called “hand trucks”. (One never knows what sort of helpful tidbit one might pick up on this blog.)

And now for a little glimpse into what sort of fiddling and polishing happens at the end of a mural job – here is how the left side looked last week:

Left end of mural #3 before the final details.

Left end of mural #3 before the final details.

Left end of mural #3 after touching up a few details

Left end of mural #3 after touching up a few details

Louise said that the snow patch on the far end looked like white paint. I agreed, and saw that it had the wrong angle on the bottom. Then I added a spot of rocks in the center. She also said that the trees were too sparse, and of course she was right there too. 

These are minor details, but those who know, KNOW. Louise KNOWS. I fully trust her judgement, particularly about Mineral King. She has been a tremendous help to me on every Mineral King mural I have ever painted, and I LOVE working with her on any project. (Remember the book Trail of Promises this year? It came out in July, and is available here and on Amazon.)

No blue tape! Stick a fork in me; I'm done!

No more blue tape. . . Stick a fork in me; I’m done!

3rd Mineral King Mural, Day #3

Posted by on Dec 19, 2016 in Mineral King, Murals, Three Rivers | 6 Comments

The third Mineral King Mural in the Mineral King Room of the Three Rivers History Museum is almost finished. I estimated 3-4 painting days, and that’s about right.

First I worked on the mountains on the upper right. They were still rough, but it wasn’t apparent until I had detailed the other mountains. The contrast was strong between finished and unfinished mountains, but I didn’t take a close-up photo because I was DETERMINED to finish that day. (In spite of being a conscientious blogger, I do try to live in the moment rather than live to document life.)

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Now the upper mountains are tighter, and it shows the unfinished forested areas and everything else below the upper ridge.

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Can you see the improvement now? Louise helped me decipher the miniature details of the actual Mineral King valley, because that is the most important part.

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I added detail to the foreground – texture, rather than specific rocks.

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There might be no difference here, except that I remembered to move the photo taped to the mural.

I added details to the mountains to the left of the valley, detailed the foreground a bit more, added a foreground tree on the left and one on the right, added texture, snow, contrast, details, details, details. The pencil artist in me wants to take this thing to the nth degree.

Couldn’t stand it – I was compelled to remove the tape to get a cleaner view.

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This is how it looked at the end of the day. I left the photos up so that visitors to the incomplete Mineral King Room can see that it is real, not just a figment of some demented artist’s over-active imagination.

Here is the list of what remains to be done on day 4, which hardly counts as a painting day:

  1. Review all the details and the accuracy with Louise Jackson, author of Trail of Promises, dear friend, coordinator of the Mineral King Room and all-around Mineral King expert.
  2. Remove blue tape.
  3. Wash off blue chalk.
  4. Touch up wall paint where the mural paint bled under the tape.
  5. SIGN IT!!
  6. Ride off into the sunset.

This is how it looked when I stepped outside after painting 7-1/2 hours without stopping.

This is how it looked when I stepped outside after painting 7-1/2 hours without stopping.

Third Mineral King Mural in Three Rivers Museum

Posted by on Dec 15, 2016 in Mineral King, Murals | 4 Comments

“Third Mineral King Mural in Three Rivers Museum” does not sound like a colorful, clever or creative title, but that’s the truth of the matter.

This is mural #1 in the Mineral King Room of the museum.

Tram tower for ore buckets from Empire mines in Mineral King

Mural of tram tower for ore buckets from Empire mines in Mineral King

Here is mural #2.

Sawtooth mural through window of Mineral King cabin facade.

Sawtooth mural through window of Mineral King cabin facade.

Finally, here is what you have been waiting for and wondering about: Mural #3!

Step one: determine where it belongs and tape off the edges.

Step one: determine where it belongs and tape off the edges.

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Step two: draw it. Actually, draw, erase, draw, erase, draw, erase, draw.

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Step three: start painting with whatever is farthest away.

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Step four: keep painting. Paint what matters the most, sort of working from farthest to closest. Get those peaks right so that everything else will line up underneath.

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Step five: block out giant patches so there is a sense of progress after all the little fiddly things make me feel as if I’m not getting anywhere.

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Step six: recoat the sky, retouch the tops of the peaks, reorganize the photos so it looks as if I am in control.

I think this will be a three day mural. The size is 9 feet by 2 feet. (Bet you can guess which dimension goes with which number. . .)

Third Mineral King Mural in Three Rivers Museum Day 2

Posted by on Dec 15, 2016 in Mineral King, Murals, Three Rivers | No Comments

Day #2 on the third Mineral King mural in the Mineral King Room of the Three Rivers Museum might be easier to paint than to spell out.

I began on the left, working down and forward in space. 

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Then, I realized that the farthest mountains were quite unfinished. This meant starting at the top (farthest distance) and painting down.

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Sort of. Maybe it would be good to add some more detail in the middle ground. Or a few trees up close.

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Or fill up all that white space on the far right. I think it is all forested over there.

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What do you mean by “It’s time to close”??? I’m not done, and I thought this was going to be quick and easy.

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One of the best ways I know to stay self-employed as a full time artist in Tulare County is to never lose my optimism.

To be continued. . .