"Gold Country View"
New Melones Lake
20" x 15" Watercolor
The view from the pool
Packing up after painting by the pool
7" x 5" Watercolor
Oldest barn in Calavaras County
Every year, my artist friend Joan and I take an art vacation together. Since meeting on a Maine workshop in 2002, we've maintained our cross-country relationship and taken some great trips, including to tiny Cauliagno, Italy, in Western Tuscany; and Les Bassacs, a petitie hilltown in Provence, France. The link takes you to the final entry for that memorable 2011 experience. Italy was pre-blog days.
This year Joan came from Connecticut to attend an Artist Getaway in Murphys, California, heart of the Gold Country. We were deep in Mark Twain's frog jumping country -- Calavaras County. Joining us were 40 other artists, among them two of my good friends from the watercolor society. The four of us would pile into my little SUV and head out to paint the gorgeous scenery. We were enjoying a dinner at a nice restaurant on our first evening when a couple came up and chatted with us because we were having such a great time. When we told them we would be doing plein air painting, they invited us to their property the following afternoon.
In the morning we went to Columbia, a wonderful state park that preserves an old gold mining town. There I painted my mandatory failure and got that out of the way. After our picnic lunch, we headed to the home of Penny and Mike. We bumped up a dirt private road and then entered their property via a controlled gate. They live at the very top of a steep hill, so we admired their cattle as I carefully took the hairpin curves to the house.
We scoped out the magnificent views out over New Melones Lake, and Mike piled us into his pickup truck to survey the property and visit his barn, the oldest remaining barn in Calavaras County. Returning to the cool shade by the pool on this very hot day, we set up and began to work. Penny told us the vineyards supplied the wine we drank the night before.
The panoramic view demanded a large painting, and it was just such a delight to do. I loved the shapes of the mountains, water, vineyards, and trees. Penny was amazed with the speed with which we painted. We were done in a couple hours. When we shared the results with the AG group and told our story, everyone was intrigued by the serendipity we experienced. Life brings lots of memorable experiences when I am open to them.
Later in my room, I did a small painting of Mike's barn. The photo is taken behind glass, so not so clear. I will replace it soon.