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.


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!


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

Am I a pebble on the beach?

Am I a pebble on the beach?

An existential crisis is easily ended
I leave footprints in the sand, and dirty dishes in the sink don’t just magically appear.
The notion of why am I here? 
who cares?

I am, and that cannot be denied. Our personal importance is of no matter in the Grand Scheme of things, it is our vanity that makes us think it is so.

The waves erase the footprints, the dishes are washed and returned to the cupboard, and the Grand Scheme drones on with or without me.

I read a blog the other day, I can’t remember exactly which one or on which day, but the message stuck with me, and that’s the important part.

The message was; it’s easy to want things to be different, to want to start on a new path because the one you are on is not working as well as you thought it would.

Then there is the figuring out, do you just need to do alterations or do you need a whole new path. I have a habit, I think of changing paths completely before I have done everything possible to make a plan work, I give up midstream or more appropriately mid Dip (Seth Godin, “The Dip”). I lose track of the goal, it changes mid-stream sometimes and I lose focus. I guess it’s hard to decide if I am beating my head against a wall or I’m just not doing the work I need to do to get to the next level. Mostly, I think it is the latter.

Am I still battling that fear of rejection? Searching for the right medium and message that will satisfy my longing to make “important” art, they say you should pick one and stay there. I have not been very good at that… Going through archives of all the art I have created over the last bajillion years, I see so many styles and messages that I am happy I made and it feels like now I am just going with the flow, following instead of leading as an artist.

This has been a transitional year for me, even an earth-shaking year for me. So many changes in my world and more to come. I guess it is only right that I am also questioning my creative path. Maybe what I need to ask myself is; How can I let the changes I am going through infiltrate my art? How can the madness be expressed? Why do I feel the need to remain calm in my art when my life is in earth-shaking upheaval? And maybe my frustration and confusion are really about the fact that I do need to make big changes, but I am resisting because it seems I am always making changes. Change is good, right?

And even a pebble on the beach causes things to change.

Have a happy day.



An Unexpected Gift

An Unexpected Gift

Today it was good to feel the breeze on my face. To hear children playing and moms talking and sharing stories. To see my grandchildren climb and play on the playground and frolic in the water at the splash pad.

Today it was good to lay back in the grass and watch light filter through the trees. Just to be and not have to think or talk about it. Life’s dilemmas and challenges were not welcome here today. I needed the space.

It was an unexpected gift

Thank you

Hope you had a happy day