Time is flying by – and the Napa Valley Open Studios show at Taste of Yountville is only a few weeks away. I have so much work to finish! I have somewhere between half a dozen and ten pieces in process. To mis-paraphrase Samuel Johnson*, deadlines do concentrate the mind wonderfully....
Ridgetop Vineyard is painted of a view just down the road from my home, where vineyards line either side of the road down to Calistoga.
* As Samuel Johnson actually said, "Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully." Preparing for a show is quite a different sort of hanging altogether!
I think I've finished this painting... but you never know. I just finished it today, and I'll have to see what it's telling me tomorrow.
I've been working like crazy to prepare for my new color workshop on January 26th, Secrets of Color Harmony - Part I. I've taught workshops on color before, and I teach color in my Acrylic Painting classes, but in this workshop we'll be taking a slightly different approach.
So I've been painting new examples, and finding new examples, and creating new handouts – and figuring out just how much I'll be able to pack into this day. Each participant will create their own book to take home and refer back to, to make this as practical and applicable as possible. The idea is that you go home with specific ways of creating color harmony in your paintings that you can put into immediate practice.
Here are the specifics:
When: Saturday, January 26 - 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (Bring your lunch!)
Where: Calistoga Art Center, 1435 North Oak St., at the Napa County Fairgrounds
Cost: $85, with 10% discount for Calistoga Art Center members
Materials Fee: $15, payable to the instructor
Register by Wednesday, January 23. (I need to know how many people to prepare materials for.)
Maximum 12 people, minimum of 4
You can find out more information at my art workshops website, at:
www.NapaValleyArtWorkshops.com. You can also sign up online at www.CalistogaArtCenter.org.
In the last four-week class session, I painted this little (8" x 10") painting of an apple as a demonstration painting. The idea is that you keep it small and simple – nothing too distracting or complicated – and you can play with the big shapes of the composition and the colors of the painting in a way that's much less intimidating.
I love painting apples and pears – their shapes are really figurative, and they have character. I particularly like the direction this little apple took (they do lead you in unexpected directions sometimes, if you listen, and if you let them). The pink ground was a surprise, and such a lovely one....
Vineyard Palm, a 5" x 7" acrylic painting on panel, is my contribution to the Napa Valley Museum's Take a Chance on Miniatures show, opening May 4th, 2012.
I loved working out the aesthetic complexities of this piece (yes, believe it or not, a small size doesn't mean it's necessarily less complicated), which took me the better part of several days. I love its color – and, of course, its subject matter, a vineyard south of Calistoga.
The opening reception (free for members, $5 for guests) will be Friday, May 4th, 2012, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Vineyard Palm is one of eighty pieces juried into the exhibition – which is also a fundraiser for the museum. Luck and a $5 raffle ticket could get you this painting!
I've been alternating between painting very large – Dusk in the Vineyards is 4' square – and painting very small. These miniatures measure just 5" x 7".
I discovered I enjoyed painting miniatures a couple of years ago, when I began painting them on panels, rather than on canvas. Before then, I found painting so small insufferable! The problem, I realized, was that the texture of the canvas got in the way of small brushstrokes. Panels solved the problem....
Painting these little paintings on panels often becomes a kind of meditative practice. Sometimes I move them from the easel to my lap, or I hold them in my hand, as I paint, and I slip into a quiet, centered, trance-like space that's a little different from my usual creative process.
The little one above – Silverado Trail Vineyards – of a scene near Calistoga, went home with a couple from Seattle, who live very near my grandparents' old co-op apartment building on Queen Ann Hill. There's a lovely circularity about that, which I particularly appreciated. I think my grandparents would have appreciated it, too....
Although you might think these little paintings don't take very long, they actually take quite a while – often as long as a painting two or three times as large. Painting them is a layering process, and each layer adds a new richness (well, I think so, anyway – but, then, I'm biased).
Two of these found new homes during Napa Valley Open Studios' event at Taste of Yountville in mid-March, so I didn't get to live with them long. But it's especially satisfying to see them go to good homes....
At last! I've finally finished my second painting of this view – although it looks quite different from the first one (I would never do anything the same way twice). Sometimes paintings can give you a struggle – that was true with this one. I began it months ago – I think in November of last year – and went back to it periodically, coaxing it into its best self. It's been a long time and a lot of work, but I think it's finally grown up and is ready to go out into the world.