Friday, August 31, 2012

LIfe in the Country

Back again to the wondrous Anderson Valley near the hamlet of Philo. If you haven't been here, you should just get your tushies on over this way. You will enjoy one of the best places on earth on your way to one of the other best places, which is where I live. It's an over-the-hill and through-the-dale kind of romp, passing vineyards, creeks and rivers, redwoods and farmsteads like this lovely place. Never a dull moment for the eye that seeks out rural beauty and that means you'd surely not get bored. 
Mom's surgery is postponed for a few days due to a sore on her ankle that she's had since January. They're afraid that if it has any infection in it, that it will be dangerous once they cut her open. Keep the prayers going up and thank you all so much for your concern.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wine Country Majesty

This is the Napa Valley from the ground floor of a vineyard. Hmmm, are there any additional floors in that case? I really mean that it's at eye level and it's the result of a lovely day I spent in a friend of a friend's backyard over that way. Jessel has arranged some amazing painting locations for us over the years and I love that area almost as much as I do the coast. She's passionate about the coast and tries to hang with me as often as possible too, thus it's the mutual admiration society of both people and places. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mid Morning Glow

Yet ANOTHER amazing coastal morning and this time I walked to my location. It was probably a total of 45 steps away from my house and though I've painted these houses umpteen times, I have never stood in this very spot so I enjoyed every single minute. I had three phone calls and two visitors, but I managed to get the thing accomplished anyhow. So happy to be out of the garage is all I can say. It was a must-do job for this week as we need to share the space with another family starting Saturday. Hope to visit Mom within the next couple of days once she's out of surgery and hope I can manage to post from the faraway land of Sacramento.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Arch Across the Ocean

Today was exquisite, at least early this morning and again in the late afternoon. I packed up my gear just after waking up and drove around the corner to check out the popular spot in town where people love to park and gaze. This arched rock is a Mendocino sea/landmark and even though I've lived here for 26 years, I don't know that I've painted it before. 
In between painting this and posting, I found out that my Mom is likely to have 3 surgeries done at one time, back, neck and carpal tunnel. This had me in a worried and distressed state, but I plowed through the messy garage and worked out my feelings. That is, until I got so bent out of shape over all the stuff we have that I had a minor meltdown. Such is life for me right now, many things on my plate.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Warm and Wonderful

Came home near midnight last night after the memorial service AND seeing my Mom admitted to UC Davis Medical Center, besides a quick trip to Tahoe in between for a reunion of old friends. Whirlwind is the right word and now I'm a bit bushed but no worse for wear. Mom should be ok once they do surgery on her back to loosen up the nerves that are causing lack of feeling in her hands and feet..........prayers are appreciated. Yep, grateful for all that I am able to do even in the midst of chaos. 
 Here then is a serene image of the Little River Inn at the magic hour and oh how I love this sight after a long trip. Cresting the hill just to the south at just the right time of evening, this local landmark glows like nobody's business. May this serve to calm and delight.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Boo Hoo

Ahoy all,
  I'm out of town for a memorial service while my husband went in another direction to a different memorial service and I'm at the computer quite befuddled. I had done my homework and painted something new to post but am now experiencing technical difficulties and am unable to show you my new piece. Stay tuned til tomorrow or the next day and in the meantime, grab each day by the horns, love your neighbor and give thanks to God for the precious gift of life and breath. Love you and thanks for tuning into my daily musings, you are a treasure to me.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Rooftops and Whitewater

Several years ago I had the privilege of visiting a new friend that owned a house with this view. It's across the highway from the village and high above the rooftops with the horizon line way, way up there. I painted from her west facing deck and took a bunch of photos for use at a later time. I re-visited this vantage point after having painted the other picture postcard type image the other day. It is just SO amazing that I get to live in such a gloriously beautiful place. It nourishes my heart and soul to be sure and I never take it for granted. It calms me when the trials assail, and believe me there have been a few too many of those lately. Hope you enjoy the visual feast and that you come away buoyed in spirit as well.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mighty Fine Evening

A big oops to everyone because I had meant to post this yesterday. I got busy at my studio toward the end of the day and had to go to a dinner with friends and plumb forgot when it was over. Fooey, I guess I'm just plain human, besides that I'm on this cleanse and slightly spaced out now and then. It's going well though and I have confidence that I will emerge happier and healthier in a few weeks. Ok, so let's talk about this painting! It's back to Fort Bragg, the land of overhead wires as well as many lovely old homes with the ocean at the end of the street. This is also within walking distance of my studio, so sometimes after eating dollar tacos at the North Coast Brewing Company, we meander a bit and get lucky with golden photo ops like this.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Picture Postcard Village

Nope, it's not a photo. Decided today to go ahead and strike while the iron was hot by using the photo I posted 2 days ago for today's painting. It's just so neat that a painter can nix funky stuff like gas stations in the background and cause the bushes to bloom don't you think? To tell you the truth, these wild roses are everywhere about town and in my photo they were simply spent. It took me til the end of the day to carve out the time for this, but at least the sun was blazing brightly and I was able to snap a shot of the finished piece in the nick of time.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Yep, it's a Photo

Hi Y'All and top of the morning to you from Mendocino. I've just embarked on a 3 week cleansing and detox diet and since today was the first day, I moved rather slowly. I had a few other things to attend to and before you knew it, the day was over and I needed to make a bee line home to make my veggie soup. This photo is something that I'd like to use as subject matter soon, so consider this a sneak preview. Even though I love the red roof on the right, I might ditch it in favor of showing the bay as well as a bit less fog out there. Hey Jared and Danile, do you recognize the back of 'your' house????

Saturday, August 18, 2012

In the Gardening Mood

I hafta tell ya that after living in our little cottage in Mendocino for almost 3 years, it is high time we got into the gardening mood. We have been running around like chickens with our heads cut off in every other direction but this, so I look forward to some fences, flowers and FUN. I drew up a set of dream-plans about a year ago and with some luck and prayer, we should embark on that project pretty soon. In the meantime, I keep myself surrounded by inspiring images of beauty while looking forward to the day that I can just peek out the window.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Alive with Light

On many an occasion, I am driving south from my studio toward home and almost swerve off the road due to this glorious sight. I whip my camera out and hope I get the shot before I pass the scene, while also hoping that I keep my car on the road. Ok Mom, don't worry. I have a tiny camera and don't have to look through the viewfinder. I just aim and shoot in the general direction and hope for the best. I am honestly in love with eucalyptus trees and though they aren't very easy to capture, I'll sure keep on trying while on this side of heaven.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Lavender and Laundry

Bouncing around the globe with my subject matter and bouncing back and forth between oils and watercolors lately too. Well, to be  honest I haven't been traveling this far and wide but paintings can do a pretty good of transporting us dontcha think? This Calgon-take-me-away scene is from the south of France where laundry on the line in public view is romantic and captivating. (Maybe they hang their under garments out the back window?) I can't help but think that the scent of lavender is finding its way into those dish towels and will liven up the kitchen mood very soon.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Alexander Valley Sojourn

Wineries are ideal places to visit and paint because they typically provide wonderful subject matter along with lovely restrooms for people like me with peanut sized bladders. This scene was painted on location recently at the deLorimier Winery in the Alexander Valley just outside Geyserville and I just made a turn here and a turn there until I ended up there. I then looked for a shady place to sit down in hopes that from the shade I could see something paintable. It was probably 100 degrees outside or more, so even though I liked some scenes in sunny places, I could not bear to be there for more than 30 seconds. Just going back and forth to my car was an undertaking in endurance!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Life on the Edge

This is life on the edge of an island called Hydra in the Saronic Gulf of Greece. It is rugged, romantic and spectacular all in the same breath. I discovered the viewpoint for this painting last October when I was there with my wonderful group on a sailing trip, even though I'd been to this island many times. Pamela introduced me to her lovely corner of the world in 1992 and I have loved it ever since, returning as often as I can gather enough people to make it happen. Anyone tempted?

Monday, August 13, 2012

That Time of Year

Those of you that either live on, or visit the coast regularly know that August is the month that the Amaryllis Belladonna makes its appearance. You might also know that the more common name on the street is "Naked Ladies". They pop up randomly and in the most unlikely of locations and really lift our spirits, especially since we see a lot of fog in August as well. This day was no exception as the sky was almost the same hue as the lit edges of the petals. You can see the Savings Bank in the background, with the sculpture atop called "Time and the Maiden", though I haven't attended to their details like I have the flowers.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Siesta Time on Santorini

This is a scene right out of the "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" as it is the very harbor where it was filmed. This folks, is the stupendous harbor at the village of Oia on the Greek island of Santorini. It is teaming with tourists, but in the late afternoon everyone is indoors resting up for the raucous evening ahead. Night life on the Greek Islands can be colorful, or calm and romantic. You can be sure though, that dinner never starts before 9pm and the festivities go into the wee hours. I had the privilege of sitting on some big rocks to capture this amazing little scene as I was one of the few people not sleeping.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Bygone Roses

Once upon a time there was a tumbledown shack north of Fort Bragg that was covered with wild roses and it drew many a photographer and painter.  It could easily be seen from highway 1 and was truly considered a favorite local landmark for too many years to count. From just the right angle, you could see the ocean behind it and even through the open rafters come fog or come shine.We aren't quite sure who kicked it over, but understand that it happened on the sly so as to not incite public fury. It did create public grief however, and is still sorely missed to this day so I'm offering this as a token of my own fond remembrance. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Noyo Afternoon

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As if living in the quaint Victorian town of Mendocino wasn't enough, I also get to feast my eyes on the picturesque harbor at Noyo. There is never a dull (visual) moment around here, rain or shine, fog or sunset and I'm one happy paintbrush wielding camper. Tommy's Marine sports the most garish of red roofs, but all the better for people like me and I bet they get a lot of attention from more important folks too.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sublime Summer Morning

I tiptoed out the door this morning in my pajamas, got into the car and scouted around town for a place to park and paint. The weather was good enough to set up my easel, but I would not have paraded around in that garb to save my life. (Alright, if the house was on fire I would gladly have done so) I'm pretty attached to seeing the ocean in the background, so today's location was no exception. I adore this house and think that its color is especially lovely which is a pale sea foam green. Wouldn't you agree that it is perfectly appropriate for this other worldly piece of property?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bold and Bright

The other day when Elaine and I were out at Pacific Star Winery, I shot this photo of their glorious container garden. It seemed sacrilegious at the time to paint anything other than the majestic ocean, so decided to try this today while in the studio. A few things are going haywire in our lives right now, so this piece is working on cheering me up. It's really hard not to smile at such lavish color adorning these gorgeous urns, so I hope that all of us are uplifted simultaneously. 
I thought I'd also include the photo I took last night just as the sun was slipping. We raced outside for 5 minutes and I was able to just catch the coral dusting on the underside of the clouds.....

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sonoma Splendor

Had a delicious Sunday breakfast at the marvelous Hank's Creekside in Santa Rosa, being waited on by one of Hank's gifted kids Angela and were blessed by such a fabulous start to our day. Afterwards, we took Tomas's almost 93 year old Mother Renee on a spontaneous excursion to Matanzas Creek Winery out Bennett Valley Road and I found a fun place to plop down with my supplies. They have a lavish lavender garden that has typically been harvested in late June, but to my supreme delight there were some new plantings and different varieties that still happened to be blooming. I was able to sit beneath one of their strategically placed umbrellas and look south-west to this delectable scene. It was mid afternoon, so the shadows were soft and there weren't many dark darks, but doesn't it feel like a hot summer day as a result?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Perfectly Purple

Still another watercolor and this time we've moved to Provence to an area near Sault. While there are lavender farms here and there throughout the south of France, this region is known for the fragrant purple fields in particular. You can visit a museum and distillery as well as find about 10,000 amazing vantage points. The last time that Leslie and I were there, we were pinching ourselves to make sure we weren't dreaming. It was a perfect day in every way and while painting we were listening to the soundtrack from Emelie. A long while back when I first began blogging, I included a photo of the two of us knee deep in this same bit of purple heaven.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Watercolor Whimsy

How about watercolors for a coupla days? This is a beloved Mendocino scene from the west end of town that I adore because of all the right elements. The golden field, the coastal pine alongside the funky house and that broad band of blue as the bodacious backdrop. I treasure each visit to this particular scene and have been blessed to live within spitting distance for the past 3 years. Before that, I've taken copious photos of it at all times of year and in every possible lighting condition.....sigh........such a tough life.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Few Years Back

A darling young high school friend named Chrissy hung out with me in the studio today. She is quite artistic and loves sketching especially. As we scouted around for something to actually paint together, she lit up over  a print of this image in the gallery downstairs. It seemed ambitious for the few short hours we had together, but she loved it so much that we just HAD to try it with watercolors. Many of you remember that about 10 years back, there was an awesome flight of steps down to Portuguese Beach and the bench was in pretty good shape too.  Some local friends owned the little sailboat that you see on the beach and it was really there one day when I was tromping around taking photos. Chrissy's painting is still in progress, but I went ahead and finished mine and gave it this title because it's been some time since the steps were there and since I've done a Mendocino watercolor. Kind of nostalgic.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Impressions from Pacific Star

Elaine and I went up to the Pacific Star Winery and had an absolutely idyllic few hours basking in the HOT sunshine. I know that this is hard for you to believe, but it was probably 70 degrees there and very little wind, so we sat in the coolest spot possible. We had a little picnic and I couldn't resist pulling out my paints and try to figure out a way to compose one of the most glorious sights on the north coast. It's not that I haven't painted it before, but it certainly is a challenge each time to decide what should be the most important element. This time I liked the odd looking giant rocks on the right and I'm hoping that they ring your bell too.