Sunday, September 13, 2009
Although the rich greens and subtle grays of winter and the sprays of floral color in the spring are soul-satisfying, I think the colors of autumn and summer call to me most deeply.
The Red Tree and Neighbors are two of a series of three paintings on full-sheet watercolor paper, all from photographs I took in the same area. The madrone trees that year were full of red berries, more so than they had been in eighty years, according to my friend's father-in-law. When the berries fell beneath the trees, they created red "shadows." It looked more like magic than anything else....
I love painting oak trees and meadows, the kind of rural California scenes that have disappeared in so many parts of the state, but whose beauty embodies my sense of what California is, at heart.
Autumn Vineyards at Sunset was a gift. I was driving, taking roads at random to see where they led me, considering future painting locations. I found myself up on Bennett Ridge, looking down at vineyards and across at Sonoma Mountain, just at that last hour before sunset, the one filmmakers call "the golden hour."
From my perch high above the valley floor, the rows of vineyards became patterns of line and color, all cast in a sunset glow. Even better, the only camera I had with me was a little disposable one, with old film, so that the results, developed, were grainy and indistinct, allowing my imagination and memory to fill in the gaps.