Trees on Oat Hill is a painting of the view from the front of my Franz Valley studio. I just this week completed it — a reworking of a piece I originally painted a few years ago. I always liked the composition (and, of course, I love the view), but the colors were a little subtler than those in most of my paintings.
When I paint on location, I generally feel tied to a more literal vision of the landscape in front of me — and that was the case here. It's when I get in the studio that I can use my photographs, my memory, and my imagination, and see where the painting wants to take me.
Now that it's completed, dry, and framed, it's on its way to Rutherford Ranch Winery's new art gallery space, where you might be able to find it a little later this week. Rutherford Ranch Winery is located at 1680 Silverado Trail South, in St. Helena, and is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.
Also going to Rutherford Ranch Winery's gallery are Autumn Celebration, Sunset on Oat Hill, and Across the Meadow II, where they'll join a number of my other paintings.
I just finished two small paintings today that I began some time ago. Sunset on the Ridge, above, began as an in-class demonstration – the one attended by the couple that gave the Napa River Inn and me five stars! I had set it aside, and then moving, the death of my father, and preparations for Open Studios intervened. Today I gave it the last few brushstrokes it needed to be ready for unveiling.
Trees by the Lake is another painting begun some months ago. I worked on it last week, and today it came to completion. I work from photographs; this photograph is taken of a lovely spot on a small ranch where I used to live, not far from Calistoga.
I took the photos of these paintings quickly in late afternoon light today, so it doesn't quite do them justice, but at least you get an idea of something of what they look like. I'm hoping to get them framed this morning before I pack up for the first Calistoga Art Market.
The Art Market is presented by the Calistoga Art Center, today from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eighteen artists working in various media will be there. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's work. The Art Center is located at the Napa County Fairgrounds in Calistoga, California, at 1435 North Oak Street.
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!
Yvonne Henry is the genius behind the Ekphrasis show, which continues at the Calistoga Art Center through Saturday, April 20th, from 1 to 5 p.m each day. Her idea - what would happen if you combined a photographer with someone working in another medium, and the second artist began with a photograph from the first artist as the inspiration to create something new? Hence, Sharolyn Townsend's wonderful drawing, using Michelangelo as inspiration (one work of art begets another)....
Yvonne presented the idea at the Calistoga Camera Club show late last year, and artists and photographers began pairing up. I was absolutely blessed to be able to work with Wes Thollander, whose photography I have long admired.
But in my case the inspiration works in multiple ways....
Long before I met Wes, I knew of his father, artist Earl Thollander. Wes's and my grandparents were friends – Swedes in Cloverdale, a small Sonoma County town with a reasonably good-sized Swedish community. After my grandparents moved to Santa Rosa, Wes's grandparents would visit whenever they came down to Santa Rosa, and Earl would drive them. My grandmother would tell me about Earl, and he autographed a copy of Bug Haiku for me.
I loved the way he drew - with a freshness of vision, originality, and humor that inspired me. I was a drawer, too (it was many years before I thought of myself as a painter), and I was enchanted by his work. Such beautiful lines! (Oh, what he could do with a bamboo pen!) When Back Roads of California, and later Barns of California came out, I loved looking through them.
Wes, as it turned out, was accompanying his father on some of those sketching trips, and photographing the scenes they found – the beginnings of his photographic career.
It was not easy to choose only one of Wes's photographs as my inspiration – his work is profoundly beautiful. I narrowed it down to two images, but kept leaning to the one you see on the left, Mund Road. The trees twisting their way up to find the light, and the light streaming down to the forest floor, create a magical scene.
I wanted to give a sense of those trees nearly dancing in their places, and the light filtering in between them. I used to live in a forest – Wes and his family live in one, too – and there is something about it that feels magical and reverential.
I wanted to begin with Wes's composition, which required subtle shifts to make the painting work, because the canvas's proportions were different. Some people might have found that direction too literal, but that was part of what I so loved about it. I wanted to work with the image in black and white, so the painting could find its own color. It feels to me that it still wants more color – so I may see where else it may want to take me after the show. But I love the dancing of the trees – I think we caught them behaving as though unobserved, celebrating? – perhaps conversing? - in the circle of the light.
I am absolutely honored to have Wes's photograph as my inspiration for this show, just as his father's drawings have inspired me for so many years. There's a wonderful circularity about it, even though I never got to meet Earl. I just know my grandmother is up there smiling....
What a wonderful weekend! The weather couldn't have been better, and the town of Yountville and Yountville Arts pulled out all the stops to create an event – Taste of Yountville – that drew thousands of people from all over. And many of those people stopped in to look at the artwork of Napa Valley Open Studios artists, in the special exhibition we have presented annually for three years now.
This is the only place where you can see so much work in one place by many of the artists of Napa Valley Open Studios. This year, Yountville Arts added special lighting to a second large room, giving us two exhibition spaces and extra room for each of us to present our work.
One reason I enjoy the weekend is that it brings new people to see our work, people who may not have heard of Napa Valley Open Studios before, or met any of the artists who live here in the Napa Valley. We have a chance to meet and talk with them, sharing what we do and love, and, in my case, sharing what I love about this place that makes is special to me.
With the extra space, I was able not only to hang more paintings than before, but to put them together with more of a gallery-setting eye, hanging them with work of a similar palette, or with work that was similarly framed.
This year several of us also gave demonstrations. Although it is challenging to engage in conversation and make any real progress on a painting at the same time, I gave it the old college try. I set up my plein air easel and a table with all my materials, and went to work on a painting whenever I had an opportunity.
It was a wonderful weekend, altogether. I sold four paintings, as well as some small matted reproductions, met some delightful new people, and got to visit and talk about art and the Napa Valley with all the visitors, friends, acquaintances, and family (including my cousins, newly arrived from Sweden!) who were able to stop by. My thanks to all of them (especially the people who loved my paintings enough to take them home)! And my thanks to Napa Valley Open Studios and Yountville Arts for all they do to share our artwork with the community of both locals and visitors!
I'm looking forward to this next weekend's show at Taste of Yountville, with my other Napa Valley Open Studios colleagues. The opening reception is Friday night, March 15, from 5 to 7 p.m., in the Yountville Community Center, from 10 to 5 on Saturday the 16th, and from 11 to 4 on Sunday the 17th. I'll also be giving a demonstration on Saturday and Sunday.
So I've been working on new paintings to debut at the show, including Mustard and Mt. St. Helena, which you can see in process in my previous two blog posts (I'll post the final stages later).
I'll also bring The Colors of Dawn, above. It began one morning at dawn, a few years back, when I lived at a ranch across the road from my current home. Perched higher on the ridge top, we had a perfect view of the back of Diamond Mountain – and on this morning, the colors of the light suffused a layer of ground fog behind the trees on the next hill with a radiant apricot–colored glow.
I began this painting as a workshop demonstration piece, and brought it to a degree of completion later, but something wasn't quite gelling. I've come back to it this week, recognizing what it needed now that I couldn't see before, and this is the result. Sometimes paintings just take as long as they need to take before they're all grown up....
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!
It's hard to believe I have less than three weeks until Napa Valley Open Studios! This year I'll be in St. Helena again – this time at the studio of Carolynne Gamble, a painter of wonderful mixed media mandalas and fellow San Francisco State alum (though we weren't there at the same time). Davina Rubin, an abstract painter whose work is glazed in luscious layers, will also be part of the fun.
We're Studio # 8 – and we'll be open from 10 am to 5 pm on the last two weekends of September – September 22 & 23 and 29 & 30. You can find us in St. Helena, not far off Highway 29, at 1807 Crinella Drive. You can find out more at our studio website at www.GambleIngallsRubin.weebly.com, as well as see some of Carolynne's and Davina's work.
We'll be giving demonstrations of acrylic and mixed media painting with collage throughout the day, incorporating contributed hopes and dreams into a painting – and encouraging our visitors to participate!
Lots of plans afoot... it will be a wonderful day! If you'd like to learn more about Napa Valley Open Studios, you can go directly to our press room website at www.NapaValleyOpenStudios.info for general information; blog posts on individual artists; an article about our catalog cover featured artist, Mark Mattioli; videos; and catalog and map downloads. You can browse images from each of the 74 artists in this year's Open Studios at www.NapaValleyOpenStudios.org to see who else you may want to visit!
My sketchbook – and all the sketchbooks that are part of The Sketchbook Project 2012 – moves next to Portland, Oregon, where it will be shown Friday (that's today!) until Sunday, May 11 – 13, 2012.
Then it heads up to Canada for the Vancouver show on May 16th and 17th. Wow... these little sketchbooks are logging a lot of miles....
You can learn more about their adventures on tour in the Sketchbook Project blog - here's a link to their entry about Chicago.
Friday, May 4th, marked the opening reception of Take a Chance on Miniatures at the Napa Valley Museum. Who woulda thunk - my painting on the upper left shares a panel with the paintings of two friends (and former or current students!), Diane Kuykendall on the left (her painting is in the middle), and Jennifer Deutsch on the right (next to her painting). And friend and fellow Calistogan and NVOS artist Charley diLimur's painting was just on the other side of Jennifer. What good company!
The show continues for three more weeks. I've got to get my raffle tickets and decide what works I want to take a chance on – but it will be a tough choice. There are too darn many that I really like....
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.