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'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.
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.
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.