Rough and Scary

The “Rough Fire”  is an appropriate name, although it was named for the Rough Ridge where it started rather than the difficulties it has caused.

It has made life in Wilsonia and the surrounding areas very uncomfortable – unhealthy air, road and area and services closures, worries about safety in many places, and worry about the cabin community.

Neal Mixter has been wonderfully on-the-spot and up-to-the-minute with his fire reports. His latest says this:

The planned reopening of Wilsonia and Grant Grove to the public was postponed at least until tomorrow (Tuesday) due to increased smoke and worsened air quality in the area. The Rough Fire has grown, but so has the containment percentage, currently at 17%. The areas of concern for Hume Lake, Grant Grove and Wilsonia are very near containment. Wilsonians reported heavy smoke in the village this morning and noticeable presence of firefighting aircraft throughout the day. 

In the next day or two, we will announce the status of the Wilsonia events scheduled for this weekend.

Cabin owner and friend Jean Faszholz shared several photos with me. I didn’t ask her permission to share this with you, but I’ll live dangerously and show her photo:

wilsonia smoke from faszholzWe in MIneral King are also experiencing dense smoke. Mineral King is probably 30-50 crow-flying miles to the south of Wilsonia. Not complaining, because we aren’t living with the scariness of the fire being close. It’s smoky in Three Rivers too, so it feels as if there is no place to go to breathe clear air.

Welcome to Central California in a drought year during fire season. It’s rough, folks. Scary too.


I Can Draw Your Cabin


Do you have a cabin in Wilsonia? Big Bear? Montana? Hume Lake? Hartland? Camp Nelson? Alaska?


I can draw it for you in pencil. I am Cabinart, and have been since 1987.

If your cabin is already in the Wilsonia book, The Cabins of Wilsonia, the drawing might available.


If it is in The Cabins of Wilsonia, but you prefer a different view, I can do that.



I price by size.  9×12 – $200, 11×14 – $275, 12×16 – $275, and on up.

sertich gray

There is sales tax. Welcome to California.

Incompetence and Awkwardness Corrected

I kept emailing the Wilsonia cabin owner to inquire if the Post Office had forwarded my incorrectly addressed card.


Finally, I asked if she’d like me to copy the sketch and email it to her. Being a gracious and understanding customer, she was agreeable.

Well, oops.

I drew the wrong side of the cabin. She wanted the front, I drew the back. I didn’t look at the photos she sent me, only looked at the ones I had taken. Knowing that more living happens on the back side than the front, I just wasn’t really paying attention.

Holy cow.

What a gracious and forgiving customer, who kindly let me know that wasn’t the view she had asked for.

That’s the reason I do sketches! Let’s get it all figured out at the small scribbly stage before I pour hours into the precision and detail that make up my pencil commissions.

Quickly, I did 2 more sketches for her. Fast. Immediately. Scanned. Emailed. Red-faced. Git-er-dun. Giddy-up. Hubba, hubba, hubba.

cabin sketches

She preferred the extra width showing in version B, and you can believe I got on it, immediately without delay!

commissioned pencil drawing IMG_1462

Incompetence and Awkwardness

Last winter, a Wilsonia cabin owner contacted me about drawing her cabin. It was to be a gift for her sweet mama. Getting photos wasn’t going to be easy, in spite of the lack of snow. Cabins are closed in the winter, which means there are shutters on the windows which makes them look quite uninviting.

No hurry, said she.

No worry, summer’s coming, said me.

Suddenly, Sweet Mama’s birthday was almost here. Customer said, “Oops”, maybe you can do a quick sketch or something and send it to Sweet Mama in time for her birthday and here is the down payment on the drawing and here are a few photos.

quick sketch

No problem. I did the sketch, turned it into a birthday card, and sent it off.


Yes, they had moved and I didn’t make note of which address was correct – from the check or from the envelope.


What is an incompetent artist to do in this awkward situation?

Tune in on Monday, August 17 to see what happened next.


Why I Still Go To Wilsonia

The full title is too long – Why I Still Go To Wilsonia Even Though The Book Is Finished.

  1.  I like it there.
  2. I have friends there.
  3. Some people want me to draw their cabins. (Really?? After 272 drawings in the book? Yeppers. They want their cabin drawn their way. It’s okay. I love to draw.)
  4. It is fun there, especially over the 4th of July with the parade, ice cream social, silent auction, and potluck.
  5. Ahem. I have books to sell! The Cabins of Wilsonia  is for sale. Want one? This is the link.

Wilsonia and Grant Grove Tradition

Wilsonia is next to or perhaps even in Grant Grove. It’s a short walk, but people speak of walking to “the village” or even “the mall” as if it is a separate location. It is, and it isn’t.

There is a long tradition of a simple parade at Grant Grove on the Fourth of July. It consists mostly of Wilsonia folks, because they are the consistent residents in the area. The Park employees are transient, changing parks, working seasonally. The visitors are simply that – visiting, passing through.

It is short and sweet, simple and moving. (Duh, of course it moves, it is a PARADE!)

Last year was my first time attending. The parade was so short that it had to go around the circuit twice.

This year it was long enough to just go once. Lots of decorated Jeeps, Tracksters, and other fun vehicles, along with Park fire trucks. Flags, flags, flags, and several signs that read “May the Fourth Be With You”.


Gorgeous horse, poor photography.


Daughters of the American Revolution.


Hi, John!


Star Wars??

IMG_1336Fun wagon party!



The Fourth of July in Wilsonia

The Fourth of July is a busy day in Wilsonia. It starts with a parade at Grant Grove at 11 a.m. In the afternoon beginning at 1 there is a silent auction of really neat stuff at the clubhouse. At 1:30 is an ice cream social, also at the clubhouse. Then at 6 in the evening, there is a potluck and the silent auction concludes at 8 p.m.

I’ll be there with my neighbor/friend Robin, with boxes of books and the original drawings. (The drawings will be at the cabin where we will be staying in the Masonic Tract).

This drawing will be in the silent auction:

Meadow Cabin

It kind of gives the false impression of a cabin isolated in the woods instead of a cabin surrounded by 213 other cabins in a delightful community known as Wilsonia!


Through The Parks

In Tulare County, where I grew up and (except for a few misguided college years) have always lived, “Park” is often said with a capital “P” and means “National Park”. Maybe not for all flatlanders, but definitely for those of us in the foothills, particularly in Three Rivers.

A week or so ago, I made a quick trip to Wilsonia to deliver books to Neal Mixter, who will be selling them in Wilsonia.

My 21-year-old neighbor couldn’t remember ever driving through Sequoia to get to Kings Canyon, so we headed up together.

Like many folks, she wasn’t aware of Wilsonia until I began my book. Not that my book has made people outside of my circle aware – but that folks blow past this community of a collection of wonderful cabins without any inkling that it is there.


I recently finished this oil painting of The Four Guardsmen, so was really interested to see these giants in person.


It was morning, and the light was nice. No one was behind us, so I did that stupid tourist thing and stopped right in the middle of the road for a few photos. Obviously in my painting I have done a fair amount of logging and pruning and brightening up. The painting is actually from the other side , heading downhill.


These three orderly trees are just as you get to the museum. A photographer friend calls them “The Three Graces”; I have no idea if this is an official designation or not.


There were a few dogwood blossoms still hanging on near the General Grant Tree.


The old general is still looking strong. (Has anyone else noticed that in all the new signs he is simply referred to as “The Grant Tree”? Who stripped him of his title and why?) In two days, on Saturday, June 20, there will be a dedication of this giant sequoia as “a living shrine”. Sounds ceremonial and symbolic. The bigwigs involved in the dedication ceremony will have lunch at the Wilsonia clubhouse after their formalities. I wonder if I should be there to peddle my book. . . nah. They might ask me why I didn’t include any Park cabins and I would feel like a schmuck telling them the truth – “Because you all don’t maintain them and because they would have taken up too much space and not added sales to the book”. (Why does the truth make a person feel schmucky??)


Oh WOW! I’ve never seen wild iris in yellow before! It is so interesting to me to find new wildflowers and so interesting to realize that Sequoia and Kings Canyon don’t have all the same flora.

Such a fabulous day of clear views of the spectacular canyons of the Kings Rivers. I couldn’t remember which fork was which, but my neighbor was impressed anyway. We headed down toward Cedar Grove just to where she could see the river. The Kings makes the Kaweah look like a weenie little creek. Then it POURED on us!


IMG_1097On the way back down, we chose to complete the loop by going down 180 to 245 and then taking Hogback to Dry Creek Road. I remembered seeing Bachelor Buttons along Hogback and wondering about them several years ago. YEA! They were in bloom there again. Weird. These are not natives. Such a great color of blue!IMG_1100


Book Availability

The Cabins of Wilsonia books are now available in Wilsonia.


Neal Mixter is kind enough to take on the task of selling them whenever there is an event at the clubhouse. The “Village” – Wilsonia Village Inc. – will be making some money with each sale.

I plan to be there on the Fourth of July for the ice cream social, potluck and silent auction. I will also bring the unsold original drawings, but you’ll have to find me later to buy those.

Meanwhile, the book is available on Amazon and through my other website. It isn’t for sale on this website because putting a shopping cart on my blog is above my pay grade. 😎 (That’s smart-aleck-speak for I don’t know how!)

Amazon link to book

book on my other website,