Sunday, November 08, 2009

Two Paintings and a Couple Pastels

My work done last weekend still needs a tweak or three. I thought I might post them prior to the tweaks, just in case I don't "nail it".

What a wonderful weekend I had.
I arrived after a long drive from Los Angeles, and was greeted in Marin by my dear friends Vicki and Paul. The dinner that they shared with me - pistachio crusted fish and potato gratin, topped off with a chocolate-chip pumpkin muffin, was worth driving 7 hrs for. I adore these folks. They have been in my life for 24 years. Nice to be able to say that.

After a good cup of coffee the next morning I was on my way out to Point Reyes. So many memories were flooding back. I use to take my two boys on jaunts here when we lived in Marin. Passed the famed Lucas Skywalker Ranch, the town of Nicasio. With each turn of the road I was in heaven. This is truly some of the most spectacular parts of the world. It beats Italy in my book... but then again I love California.

I followed the instructions to the hostel, but we were not allowed to check in until 4:30 yet we were meeting at the beach picnic tables at 9:30. There were only four of us early birds, so we found a spot to set up and were on our own for the rest of the day. I did my first warm-up facing the cliffs of Drakes Beach. You can see Chimney Rock at the very tip of the peninsula. The weather was spectacular and life couldn't be better.

Limantour Beach
9"x12" oil on linen panel

I decided to move on about noon, as the light was drastically different. Narrowing down the next spot proved to be quite difficult. I thought I would like to do something back in Point Reyes Station, but the light was quiet flat at this time of the day. So I continued to drive. I found many possible places to set up, but nothing really grabbed me. In fact while waiting for the light to change I closed my eyes. I was glad I did, after chatting until almost midnight the night before. I then decided to drive back toward the Nicasio Resevoir because it had always been one of those locations that when I came around the bend it made me take a deep breath. I wanted to feel that again. The light was really pretty on the water and so I decided to set myself up with a pastel study. I really enjoyed this spot, but the light went behind the mtn behind me quicker than I expected and so I packed up and headed back to the hostel. It was time to check in.

Nicasio Reservoir
19"x25" pastel on Canson

Bunkbeds were the order of the day at the hostel. I had requested a women's only room, and when I arrived the bottom bunks had already been spoken for. This was going to prove to be my only challenge of the weekend. I learned I do not sleep well with 10 others breathing in the same room (you might read that as "snoring" but don't say that I said so). Sleep was difficult and the back of my Volvo wagon beckoned me.

We had a fantastic dinner. I think there were about 30 people checked in, and I had not met any of them prior to the event. How fun that Art had brought us all together.

We set out independently the next morning. Again, the list of options was so great it was difficult to choose where the perfect spot would be. Back again to the town, and I considered a few views, but drove on to the town of Inverness, CA. I happened to see a few other artists painting the Tomales Bay. I just did not want to paint the expected views. I turned the car around, and OMG the trees were golden in the light. This was the spot. There was a wonderful place to pull my car over so that I was not in any ones way. This was a side street, with two of the sweetest homes. I was into my work, when someone walked up to me. She was the restaurant owner of Vladimir's and she said it just made her day to look out and see me painting. She offered me a hot cup of coffee and we both had smiles on our faces when she left to go back to her kitchen.

Yellow Gold
12"x9" oil on linen panel

I continued to paint until the light had changed so much that I would chance making mud of my work. So I packed up and drove back to the hostel. Snacked on some lunch at Limatour Beach. Closed my eyes again, knowing that the night would not be an easy one again. Then realized I needed to find a grocery store to bring my dinner to barbeque.
When I finally made my way back to the hostel, I searched for something to remind me of the weekend. I took out my pastels once again and was captured by the colors near where the hostel's manager lived. A gorgeous red rust roof, next to a shed with turquoise siding, citron colored moss on the roof, and the light created abstracted shapes all over the structure. Again not finished, but the process for me is what is so enjoyable. Chris came to keep me company and pulled out her sketchbook and we created and visited without having to say very much. A great ending to the day.

Leif's Place
19"x25" pastel on Canson

Sterling somehow was anointed our chef for the evening. He deserved to share my mango salsa. It was a wonderful dinner. About half of the group decided to take a walk down to the beach in the full moonlight. I was enjoying my spot on the couch, and learning more about the group I was talking with. I was also thinking that couch sure looked better than the back of my car. That is a whole other story....

The next morning was a hustle and bustle of coffee making, packing, cleaning, and sharing our work. Richard had arranged for two great Sennelier paint sets to be given away. Thankfully no voting, just a name out of the hat and the winners were quite pleased. I said my good byes while the others were still sharing stories. Obviously not wanting the wonderful weekend to come to an end a minute too soon. However, I had another cup of coffee waiting for me, at my host's home, back in Lucas Valley. Then off to lunch with another friend of 25 yrs in San Anselmo. What a great way to set foot into the month of November. I treasure these moments. I hugged Nancy this time, and filled my tank, and headed off back down through the Central Valley.

If you don't know what is happening in the San Joaquin Valley, I suggest you take a moment to check it out. This is the only part of the weekend that made me sad. I have family that farms here. I spent many vacations at my grandparents farm as a child. So it is quite emotional for me, to see nothing but dirt along the hwy. I hope that the family farms can recover from the battle over water.

A change of pace now, with a few Home Portraits commissioned for the holidays. If you are interested in a great gift that lasts a lifetime, please don't hesitate contacting me. There is still time to get one completed and wrapped before the holidays.