Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Week - Painting at Leonesse

We just got back from our annual Christmas trek to California to share the holiday with the kids and grand kids  It was prefaced by a major prep effort. I had to pack the car with my oils, some boards to paint on, turps, brushes, paints, paper towels and all the accouterments of a plein air painting day. Oh yeah, there were gifts going in the car too.  And fudge. Don’t forget the fudge. Underwear you can always buy….good fudge is harder to find. 

Looking East from Leonesse's atrium. Friend Irina is painting.
I also had to call the winery ahead of time to set up a paint day for us. It’s really important to always get permission to paint on anyone’s grounds ahead of time. As artists we tend to find out of the way areas to paint where we are not underfoot, and where traffic is minimal, where observations are best, the better to concentrate and paint. 

Here are a few pointers to have a successful day painting.
  • Get permission to be on the grounds. Public grounds require a simple adherence to rules. Private lands require permission.
  • Be mindful of your wake. Do not leave trash around for others to pick up.
  • Voice your appreciation for their hospitality. Thank them.
  • Do be gracious to any onlookers who are also visitors to the location.
  • Enjoy yourself and the process.

Me painting with my hat dorkily set on the front of my face to
shade my eyes. 
I have never witnessed an artist knowingly leave trash behind, and some of us leave the place in better shape than it was when we first arrived. While we painted at Leonesse, in Temecula, we were actually painting as a tour came through. There were questions, and some tour takers wanted to know the usual. How long did it take to paint? Have you painted a long time? Do  you always work so small? How much do you charge for a painting? Small price to pay for a day in the sunshine and vineyards, a glorious time with friends and the hospitality that Leonesse showed us. I will return and paint Leonesse again. 
It was a golden day.
During the execution of this painting, I asked myself first what the painting was about. For me, the thing of beauty was the breaking of the light as it crested the hill and bounced around through the leaves of the trees below me. That was my concept for this painting, and the one elemental thing I tried to preserve during the painting of Leonesse's vineyard.
My almost finished painting of Leonesse's grounds.
View is to the left of this shot.
Leonesse Morning 11x14 Oil on Board

I would encourage those who own picturesque locations to allow artists access to the grounds. It can result in a mutually beneficial alliance. The titles of my paintings from Leonesse always give the winery’s name and location, and have resulted in people hunting out the vineyard. I enjoy recording the husbandry of their fields and the richness of the colors. And I further enjoy the casual friendliness of the staff and management. Leonesse is a class act.

Favorite quote:
"Artists must know what they are doing and how they are going to do it, while allowing room for spirit and intuition to influence the creative experience."    (Donald Demers

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