Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Trip out to California

Last week, Steve and I went on a five-day trip to Napa, Yosemite, and San Francisco (and everything in between!). Our original excuse to go was that I had a painting accepted into the OPA Western Regional Exhibition in Calistoga (Napa Valley), so we were going to the opening reception. But that ended up being a very small part of the trip. Having never been to California before, I was in complete awe of the diversity in the landscape and climate. I knew the landscape would be beautiful, but it was more than that... it was a breathtaking display of God's creation which offered unlimited opportunities for painting!

We did it right as soon as we arrived by renting a red Camero convertible and driving down Hwy 1 from San Francisco to Monterey and Carmel. That afternoon, I had the wonderful opportunity to set up to paint at Point Lobos State Park. It was so overwhelmingly beautiful, and I realized I still have much more to learn and explore in my journey as an artist. The waves crashing up against the rocks looked different with every single pulse, and it seemed a nearly impossible task to try and capture the movement of the water. But I tried, and had a great time doing it! Life couldn't get any better than this! When I experience moments like these, where my love for nature and art become united, I feel like I can let all the cares of the world crash against the rocks like the waves, while I stand on the rocks up above, free from it all. I can simply enjoy those moments where the ocean breeze hits my face and the only sounds that reach my ears are those of the waves and the birds overhead. Wow.

Where was Steve during this time? He out and about, climbing on the rocks and taking pictures of me while I painted. He got some really great shots!

Above: the finished painting: "Late Afternoon, Point Lobos" - 12"x9". I decided not to touch it up at all when I got home, because I really enjoyed the freshness and immediacy of this one.

Below: here we are in Yosemite. It was a cloudy (and later RAINY) day, but we enjoyed the beauty nonetheless. And I painted by the waterfalls until I got rained out.

Then there was Napa Valley, where we stayed for four of the five days. We toured several of the wineries and had some wine tastings (that's just what you DO in Napa!), but I also did some painting. And, I discovered a gem of a gallery in downtown Napa, called Quent Cordair Fine Art. They feature only "Romantic Realism," so a lot of figurative painting and sculpture. Steve and I lingered there for quite some time.

This was the only painting I had time to attempt in the vineyards (below) -- "Four Rows, Napa Valley" - 12"x9". You can see that the colors are different in the photo. The light was changing very quickly in the valley as in neared sunset, so by the time I stopped, everything had turned orange and pink from the setting sun.

Our adventures took us to San Francisco, where we saw the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz shrouded by fog. We explored Fisherman's Wharf, took a look at the city from Coit Tower, and strolled through Chinatown (my favorite!). It was a wonderful trip and a good source for fresh inspiration. Where will my art take me next, I wonder?


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