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!
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.