Rain did not dampen our spirits on Saturday, although they did prevent me from getting my work up until afternoon, since I'm outside at Studio #48. Then, with more clouds threatening, I just put up a bit – just in case I had to move it all quickly.
Sunday was clear and lovely, and I was able to hang paintings! I have a lovely space to show my work in, at Sequoia Buck's studio (I used to live in the cottage there until I moved into Calistoga a few months ago, too).
One of the things I enjoy about Open Studios is that I am able to show work that I may not show in other places – whether it's my humorous mixed media collage paintings, my sketches and block prints, my abstract paintings, or (sometimes, though not this year) my figurative work. They are all part of my creative process, whether they usually get seen or not, and here I can share all of them.
Although you don't see them here, I have paintings from my Skies series and simple abstract paintings, and next week, with no rain threatening, I'll be able to bring more of everything.
An odd thing happened when I moved... the small paintings I'd been working on (mostly 8" x 10"s) throughout the year have decided to hide, and I haven't yet rediscovered where they've gone. I did find a couple of them, and I'll bring them next weekend. With luck, the other ones will emerge (sheepishly, perhaps)... I can only hope.
I've printed lots of new greeting cards and matted reproductions, and have more of the tiles I first had made for last year's Open Studio. And this weekend I will have a painting or two or three in process, up on the easel (I tend to chat with people a bit, so how much painting I am likely to get done is questionable).
Sequoia is giving demonstrations in handmade papermaking, too (you might even be able to try your hand at it yourself), and has her handmade paper-and-photo collage mixed media pieces on exhibit, along with beautiful, colorfully bound journals she makes from her paper.
You can find us there on Saturday and Sunday, September 28th and 29th, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 5140 Sharp Road, just off Petrified Forest Road west of Calistoga. We're Studio #48 in the Napa Valley Open Studios catalog. Come and visit us!
It's hard to believe that Napa Valley Open Studios is this weekend (two days away). I'm packing as much as I can of two months' worth of preparation into these last few days. My father helped me with many of my Open Studio setups – I think of him as I pull out my canopies – especially the place on the leg of one that's a little wonky, from Dad's impatience when it wouldn't cooperate one year.
This year I'll be at Studio #48, with Sequoia Buck, which is actually where I just moved from a few months ago. Sequoia is a wonderful artist who took painting and mixed media classes from me a few years back, and combined the mixed media techniques we used in class with her own skills as a handmade papermaker and commercial photographer. She'll be demonstrating papermaking there, and I'll have work in process on the easel – and may demonstrate a little, too, if there's time.
I'll have the painting of birds above there, too. It's a little different from my landscape paintings – and related to a series of abstract paintings I've done. Some time back, I'd photographed birds on the deck rail at my parents' house. Every morning, my father would put out bread crumbs for them, and keep feeders filled with bird seeds and suet. (His father used to feed gray squirrels daily in the empty lot next to their home in Seattle, so there was a precedent for this....) Both he and my mother kept a sharp watch out for the crows that would scare off the smaller birds.
One day when I was visiting, nine or ten birds were perched on the rail and around the birdbath. It was a party! I took photos, one of which was the source of this painting. I wasn't sure what I would call it until just last night – they were, after all, his birds. So now it's My Father's Birds.
If you're in the area, I hope you'll come see us – the next two weekends – September 21-22 and 28-29, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. We're on Sharp Road, just off Petrified Forest Road west of Calistoga. Just follow the signs!
I found this photo recently, taken by my mother, of my family when we were all much younger. There I am painting away (it looks as though I'm wearing a nice smock along with my cowgirl hat), and it looks as though my father is teaching my brother how to hammer nails. It would have been before I entered second grade. I don't remember the easel – but my dad was a constant.
My father passed away at the end of August. It's still hard to imagine how someone so packed with vitality, good humor, and love could be gone, even though I was with him for much of that last month, and there helping give him hospice care his last two days, after he'd returned home from the hospital.
I found the photograph as I was going through as many photos as my mother was able to dig out, scanning them to make a slide show for his memorial service, which we held this last week. Although I don't remember the easel – which I'm guessing he probably made for me – I remember the patio. Dad built it himself, along with the lattice fence behind us and the arbor overhead. Out of range, to my left, my handprints, along with my brother's and the pawprints of our dog, Nipper, are memorialized in the cement.
Construction wasn't his first priority. Our family was. He was a social worker, for much of his career working for Child Protective Services. He worked with children and families who weren't anywhere near as fortunate as we were, and then he came home, and made sure we all knew we were loved.
He supported me in my choices, whether it was to study Art or English; to sing (he and my mother went to all my concerts); to tell stories or be in plays (they went to all of those, too); to teach high school, though it took me to another part of the state; to make art, this crazy life of creativity I would not be whole without; or to move into Calistoga, this little town I love.
I miss him tremendously; we all do. I was very, very lucky, to have been his daughter. Thank you, Dad.
Karen Lynn Ingalls
I am an artist in Napa and Sonoma Counties, in California. I paint colorist landscapes of rural California, teach art classes and lessons, and live in Calistoga, California. I also teach private, group, and corporate art workshops in Napa Valley, Sonoma County, and other parts of Northern California.