I've finally resolved this little painting of one of my favorite views in Calistoga! (I first painted it in a different palette and on a very different scale – at 36"x 48" – in Mustard and the Mountain.) I'd begun it some months back, posting the various stages of its development on Facebook, until I needed to stop. I'd altered the sky from yellow to blue (as part of a development I'd expected), when the painting announced that it wanted the sky to be much deeper and redder. (Yes, sometimes paintings do that – and it's always a good idea to listen to them.)
The red glaze was too red, but – ooooh – it was lovely. I lightened it, but the painting wanted just a little more of that beautiful glaze. I'm sorry I didn't photograph that final, lovely glaze - which was a radiant coral red. I knew the sky wouldn't stay that way, but I needed to live with that color for awhile before I was ready to let go of it.
The final stage of Mustard and Mt. St. Helena combines hints of that vivid, luminous coral glaze with the orange and yellow glow of a sunset sky. This is the third time I've painted this view, and each time the beauty of the place astounds me all over again.
I'm giving a painting demonstration in Santa Rosa, California, on Wednesday for the Artists' Round Table, a Sonoma County art organization that meets monthly and features painting demonstrations, much like the Napa Valley Art Association. I'll be bringing this painting, along with some others, as one of my examples of my work. Now to decide what else to bring along....
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.
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....
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....
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.