Self-portrait with Bliss. Just a forester and his dog.
I was in the Trinities this week and there was thick smoke everywhere. It’s burning season in Northern California. We had quite a lot of rain in late November. I assumed that some agency was doing a large burn project. However, I couldn’t see where the smoke was coming from. It appeared to be drift smoke.
During my drive down from the mountains I heard a news report. They reported that smoke from the Thomas Fire was drifting up the coast. I checked Google Earth that evening and the smoke had drifted nearly 500 miles from the Thomas Fire in Southern California to north of Redding. The residue of so many homes and so much wildland was adrift in this smoke.
Here is another installment of the 60 Second Forester by Frank Barron.Today, he’s talking about Fire History in California and what he says is true for most of our western forests. Managing the fire ecology of these forests is tricky business especially now when our forests are so out of balance ecologically. Overgrown forest resulting from over 100 years of all or nothing wildfire suppression have set the stage for the massive bark beetle infestations and enormous conflagrations. Only through the use of forest management can we bring back fire resiliency to our forests.
I’ve been practicing pen and ink portraits lately. I find them uniquely challenging. Some I’ll post and some I won’t, but this one of Marilyn Monroe I decide to post. I’m fairly happy with it, but I didn’t nail it. I didn’t quite capture her essence the way I wanted. I liked the photo reference for the high contrast, which is conducive to pen and ink. Subtle shading is trickier than with pencil or paint. I have a tendency to overwork the piece. It’s been a pretty steep learning curve. Comments and critiques are appreciated.
I realize this isn’t as wildlifey or woodsy as what I normally do, but it’s good to mix things up. Besides, there’s people in the woods too. Although, I’ve never run into Marilyn in the woods, but that would make a heck of a blog post!
This was drawn from a pair of geese on the mill pond. Canada geese are great subjects for pen and ink. They’re already black and white.
This gaggle spotted Sailor and Bliss over on shore. They decided to come over and cause trouble for my goldens, who were minding their own business. Typical rabble rousing degenerate geese!
Sailor couldn’t take it anymore and swam out to say hello. What’s a boy to do.
What we have here is a failure to communicate.
This skull intrigued me with its bleached bone and hard shadows. I wondered what happened to cause it to be here. It was wild and dirty, and crying out to be drawn. So draw it I did!
On our way into camp we often stop in a particular landing to give everyone a break from the ride. A D6 Cat tractor was parked there for several months. A local logger had been using it for road repair and erosion control work. During one stop at the landing we found a bear skull. It wasn’t a large skull, probably from a young bear or a sow.
I couldn’t resist placing the skull in the tractor for the loggers to find. It sat there for weeks undisturbed. Until one day, while we were coming through, it had disappeared. Somebody or something must have taken a fancy to it and packed it off. When I first saw the skull I wondered what it’s story was, but it seems that it’s story may not be done. I wonder where it is now.
It’s situated next to the Upper Sacramento River north of Northern California (Jefferson).
But winter is still trying to wash California away. Here are some pictures of the Sacramento River in the Northern California.
The Sierra Cascade Logging Conference is all over, but for the clean up. The Forestry Education Fund Auction was last night and it was a booming success. The final result of the entire fund-raiser was north of $100,000. Now if you’ve been following our blogs, you know that Mary (Sneaking Bliss) and I provide original art, which is bid in a competitive way. Both pieces of art are on the auction block together. The winning bidder gets to pick the painting of their choice and then bidding begins anew on the second place painting.
Here’s how things went down. Our paintings were items 18 and 19. This is a great place to be on the schedule, the early middle. There were fifty items to auction. Everyone was still there with plenty of money left for bidding. When our turn came they asked us to come up front and say a few words, but this auctioneer was a total pro. I didn’t have a chance to needle Mary with my witty comments when the auctioneer jumped right in and was talking so fast I could hardly keep up. The first bid opened at $1,000. This was a great start! Within seconds it shot up over $4,000. As it went above $5,000 things really got serious. A new bidder jumped in and one bidder got out. Then another dropped out and it looked like we had reached the end. Suddenly, the last bidder to drop out decide he wasn’t done and the bidding took off again. As it shot up to $7,000 then $8,000 I leaned behind the auctioneer and looked at Mary and she look at me with “what is happening here” looks on our faces. The auctioneer finally yelled “SOLD” and the bidding was done. One of our paintings just sold for $10,000! I was floored.
Now the moment of truth. The winner came up to claim his prize. We waited to see which painting it would be. Do you think he agonized over which painting to choose? Heck no! He beelined straight to Mary’s painting and snatched it off the display like he was rescuing a baby from a fire. Mary’s painting brought in $10,000 in support of forestry education! It was an amazing moment.
At this point my painting was back into the bidding and the auctioneer began searching for a new price. Long story short it fetched $5,000. Don’t get me wrong, this was a fantastic price. Higher than I’d seen before, but … she crushed me! Mary absolutely annihilated me! Together our art brought in $15,000. We were thrilled at its success and what it meant for the education fund.
Tonight I’m going to relax, lick my wounds and have a toast with my favorite competitor. Tomorrow will be soon enough to start thinking about redemption for next year. Congratulations Mary, you are an amazing artist!