Pencil Paintings Just Added to the Site

Pencil Paintings Just Added to the Site

Today I had a chance to add some of my pencil paintings to this website.

I haven’t done a pencil painting in quite awhile and have noticed that the idea for something new is ruminating in my brain. These drawings take time. They are built on layers of graphite pencil and colored pencil that completely cover the page. They are far from sketches and that is why I call them paintings.

Many of these drawings are from dreams or from thoughts about our culture that capture my imagination. Sometimes I add writings like poems, or just simple statements that add clarity to them.

The one above is called Can I ask a Question? And this is what I am always doing. Lately my questions have been about color and light and just exploring the things around me. And that is why my new works have been mostly brilliant watercolors.

However these pencil drawings are very much a part of who I am and I need to share them. Some of these will be part of an upcoming event here in Ridgecrest on November 22, which you will hear more about soon. For now here is the link to the page of Pencil Paintings. Thank you for being here.

Have a happy day.


Tying it All Together.

Tying it All Together.

Moon Glow is my latest painting of a Datura blossom or Jimson weed in full bloom. It’s fullness is unfurled during the moonlight hours and to me it mimics and celebrates the full moon.

If you haven’t been to this website lately, I invite you to take a look around. Things have changed and will continue to do so. It was time to bring my blog and my art and photography galleries together under one roof, so to speak. I was getting very scattered as this artist seems to do without even realizing I am doing it! Website for art in one place, website for commercial photography in another, and blog on another platform and shopping cart in another. Well the shopping cart is going to stay on Etsy, at least for now but to put my art, photography and my writings together seemed like a necessary thing to do. Although this site is mostly a showcase, you will be able to access the shopping cart for works that are for sale with just a click of a mouse. Here you will also be able to find out about my architectural photography services if you need them and you will be able to see some of my fine art photography as well. I have been making art a long time and have much to share and it really is time to put it all in one location. New things will appear constantly as I have time to add them, and hopefully I will have enough sense to post new items as they do appear!

I am also making some changes to how I physically show my work and sell my cards. I am creating a home studio gallery space which will be a permanent showroom to show and sell my work by appointments and through open studio events here in Ridgecrest. I want to focus more on showing in fewer places locally and find some galleries in other locations where my work can be appreciated beyond this valley (if you know of any that might be a good fit, please let me know). Websites are good for that, however they don’t take the place of seeing art in person. No matter how expensive the camera is or how good the photographer is, photographs of art do not capture it all.


My first Open Studio Celebration will be held November 15th & 16th from 10-5 and will be by invitation only. If you plan to be in Ridgecrest, CA at that time and would like an invitation (and your not already on my email list) please send me an email and you will receive one. There will be art, cards, treats and libations and I am thinking even a door prize!

I am very excited about having a gallery again and having it in my studio where I actually create gives me a chance to share my work process as well as finished creations.

It’s kind of funny to me how Fall seems to be the time of year that changes in my life occur. Maybe it’s because my birthday is in the Summer and that is a time of reflection which is probably the origination point of change which then takes time to incubate bringing it to Fall for the blooming of it. Well, whatever the reason. It’s time for change and so I hope you continue to follow along. As you know my blogs wander and ramble and touch on many things. So stay tuned for what comes next!

Have a Happy Day


A Few Words about Pie

A Few Words about Pie

How many pieces in your pie?

How thin can you cut a slice and still savor the flavors?

Is Pie better shared or are you one of those that wants to keep it all for yourself?

Do you have conditions on which you are willing to share your pie? Who qualifies?

What if you run out of pie? Can you make more or is it a secret recipe that no one knows?

I want to consider myself unselfish and willing to share until I realize that I am not that willing. Is giving it away with no restrictions the same as that “doormat syndrome”?

I do want to share, however I do also want the last piece, just incase the recipe gets lost.

Silly me, there is a war going on between my brain and my heart or maybe it’s my inner child and the inner chef. I should know there is always more pie, if you are open to variety. Who wants to eat the same pie day in and day out. Not I!

So feed the child and keep making more pie and invite the others in for a bite. Pie is meant to be shared and that is all there is.

Have a Happy Day!


Cheryl McDonald is a full-time artist living in the high desert at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, to see more of her work click here!

Fall is time for Old West Day in Randsburg, CA!

Fall is time for Old West Day in Randsburg, CA!

Well, we made it through the Summer out here in Earthquake Land. I live in what some people call the earthquake capital or just Ridgecrest. Having grown up in California, I am very aware of earthquakes, however, here they were not really any to speak of. Tiny ones that no one felt until the July 4th and 5th of this year, quakes that registered a 6.4 and a 7.1 and there have been thousands of aftershocks since!

We are all doing our best to get to a new “normal” where everything is secured with museum wax and locks or bungees on the cabinets and a travel bag packed and ready to exit quickly if the next big one comes. They say there will be a next one which could be anytime between now and a million years from now!

Anyway, I am very ready for Fall. In the summer here it’s really too hot to do much of anything and my business slows down. After Labor day, suddenly things start happening again. Art festivals are plentiful in the Fall, leading up to Christmas, and I try to come up with at least one new holiday card each year which will happen in the very near future. Right now I am working on getting ready for my first event which is always a fun one. It’s Old West Day in the tiny ghost town of Randsburg just off US395. Western re-enactments and dress, and lot’s of desert art, country/bluegrass music, shootouts, and more. It is always the 3rd Saturday of September and this year that is the 21st. I and my junk art and collectible friends will be selling out of the Hole in the Wall by the Joint. Hope you can come and enjoy.

I used to have a gallery in Randsburg and may someday again. I enjoy painting the desert and the old mining towns of California. Back in 2012 when I was in Randsburg I had a series of cards which I have pictured here, and this year I added a new one of the Santa Barbara Church which is a local treasure. Nothing like a deadline to get me energized.

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Also working on adding more to this site then just the blog, consolidating my web presence is something I have wanted to do for a while. Sometimes you just have to try it all to figure out what works. At least that seems to be how it works for me.

Not only am I busier in the Fall, but the weather is much nicer. We are still at the tail end of Summer and it’s hot, however, it won’t be long when the fresh desert air, lasts all day long and into the night. Looking forward to that!

Have a happy day!


Light at the end of at least one tunnel

Light at the end of at least one tunnel

So yesterday I was ranting about software companies. My rant was brought on by built-up experiences over time with a few different companies but came to a head when the software I had and wanted to use for my art organizing plan needed multiple upgrades because of Apple’s incessant need to update and change things.

Well, yesterday there was positive news and a person to person exchange working out a plan to not only get my software where it needs to be, but also a plan for me to learn a little more of how to use it. This company is not a faceless corporation, it is dedicated to helping artist succeed. The company is called GYST which actually stands for Getting Your Sh*t Together. It is a project started by an artist named Karen Atkinson and this is the About statement straight from the website

“GYST-Ink is an artist-run company/art project by Karen Atkinson, providing resources, technology, and solutions created by artists for artists. Our mission is to support arts professionals, educational institutions, and arts organizations with an integrated program of software, services, and information in order to keep artists working. GYST–Ink is dedicated to empowering and educating artists so that they can develop sustainable and successful careers on their own terms.”

It is unfortunate I let my past dealings with software companies color my view and make me think that there was no hope and I would just have to do it all myself in some half-*ssed manner to get my sh*t done. I still have a lot to learn and I am hoping that not only will I learn to use the database, but I just might learn how to be a more professional and successful artist. You see the whole point for most of us artsy-fartsy people is to create something that matters to you the un-artsy-fartsy. We know the value of creativity in the world and the change that can come when we are all open to see and experience something unique. The more we succeed, the more humanity does also. (Yes art is important.)

So based on my experiences here I want to say that if you are an artist and you need to get your SH*T together, here is a good place to start,

Thank you for reading,

Have a happy day!



Cheryl McDonald is a full-time artist living in the high desert at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, to see more of her work click here!

Existential Crisis Part II

Existential Crisis Part II

This is a rant and maybe it will make me feel better to get it out.

Maybe not we shall see.

The story starts like this; There once was an artist who in a strange dream thought it might be important and make her life easier if she got ORGANIZED.

I think the left side of my brain is so small that it’s a good thing my skull is hard or my head would just cave in on the left… Organizing is not my thing and silly me, I thought if I got the right software, it would be a piece of cake. Not. Over the years, I have tried many accounting and organizing programs, spreadsheets, etc. only to find that they all require me to be able to think in a much more logical fashion then I am capable of. Therefore I work at them trying to make progress for a while only to get frustrated and decide I should just give it a rest and come back to it later. Well waiting 2 years is apparently 2 long. Not only have I produced a ton more work, my software no longer works on my computer and now I need to upgrade it Twice! to be able to even access the data I had already put in it. This idea that software companies have come up with to hold our work hostage is pretty much ingenious on their part and really sucks on our part (software users). I do realize they are just trying to keep up with the computer designers who are constantly making things “better”, but when something works, why do I have to change it?

I have the same issue with Adobe Creative Suite, now that I only pay for Photoshop and Lightroom, all of the creative work I did in Illustrator and InDesign are now locked and unopenable unless I continue to pay ransom for it. I am not doing much of that work anymore and so I can no longer afford to pay the ransom just to have access to work I have done in the past.

I have never shunned technology, I even enjoyed learning how to communicate with it, like this blog or making art and design, a challenge but I was able to figure it out. However because it is changing so fast and I am not a software engineer, I am beginning to feel like a pile of rusty cans left in the desert. Not much use, but still not gone. LOL

From what I can tell, I have 2 choices. I can pay the ransom or go back to a program like Apple’s Numbers or Microsoft Excel or even a paper spreadsheet and just make simple lists of my work and my accounts and leave it at that. The latter is probably what I will do. Because what this has taught me is that if I want to control the work I do, I cannot count on the software companies to care and I am not willing to give them my work and I am not willing for my legacy, however paltry it maybe to be locked up in software that my family cannot open.

So, that’s my rant and thank you for reading if, in fact, you made it all the way through.

I am going to go make art and try to stay cool.

Have a happy day!



Cheryl McDonald is a full-time artist in the high desert at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. To see more of her work go to or click here

Somethings Are Better At a Snail’s Pace

Somethings Are Better At a Snail’s Pace

i like snail mail 

i love opening the mailbox
and finding a little bit of someones carefully thought out planned story, or sentiment considered just for me.
         time spent with me in their mind. 
         a gift that money can’t buy. 

a thread spun out across the distance to hold us fast to each other. Human to Human.

some things need time to travel…at… a… snail’s… pace.

Yes, letter writing takes time, sending cards takes time.

When was the last time you printed out all the memes you liked on FaceBook or Instagram? Did their sentiment stay with you through the week? Or even through the day?

And how many of the cards and letters you have received in the last year or even longer that are still in your possession? Are they pinned up on your bulletin board may be where they can remind you of the special greeting that someone took the time to share with you?

I have something around 56,000 emails in my inboxes. Deleting them is an overwhelming task and most of those are spam from companies I may have purchased from or often a company that found me on the internet and just started sending me junk mail. There are probably 3 or 4 a day that I actually read and it is often hard to find those among the junk mail. Unsubscribing does not usually work, they don’t care, they still keep sending me stuff. The email has lost its specialness.

Text messaging is tedious and often spam as well. Most people don’t use their phones as phones anymore, and some don’t want to be called unless they get a text first. It’s ok, we all get to choose what works for us. One of the few things we can still have some control over.

An interesting time we live in.

Once the only form of communication across distances is now a luxury and very rare. Maybe that’s what makes it so special.

Sending cards and letters take time and brainpower. Things we are often short of in this day and age of constant endless communication. However, how special would it be if once a week or even once a month your family or close friends received something in the mail from you? A thread of love that connects you to them across the miles.

And just imagine how cool it would be if as an entrepreneur you did this with your customers? I often send thank you notes for purchases, but what about just as a reminder of how important that customer is to you? Yes, I know mail is not cheap and what about the trees? But hey consider it a cost of doing business instead of that email client or social media advertising. Imagine how much more impact it would have to actually receive a handwritten note? Your per-click ratio would be quite a bit higher I suspect.

I realize this is something I need to do, how about you?

Have a happy day!


Cheryl McDonald is a full-time artist living in a high desert community at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. You can find her work on Etsy or by clicking