Saturday, January 25, 2014

Room With a View: Sutter Creek

"Room with a View: Ye Old Church in Sutter Creek"
Ink and Watercolor
We took our first mini trip in the new year to Sutter Creek, in the foothills of the Sierras. It was gold country. Today all the mining is done of tourists. We were there for a performance by one of the premier Ragtime artists, Mimi Blais, from Montreal. She performed at a private home, Skunk Hollow Victorian Gardens, joined by Tamas Ittzes from Budapest, Hungary, a young violinist and pianist. They played a combination of Ragtime and classical music. Tamas runs the International Ragtime and Jazz Festival in Hungary, now in its 23rd year. Bob's sister Marilyn is a Ragtime pianist and student of Mimi's, and told us about last night's performance. The evening was outstanding. Today the performers headed to San Francisco to continue their tour.
We stayed in a simple Day's Inn, but Bob treated me to a delicious dinner at Hotel Sutter Restaurant and spent more for it than for the room! I have to admit that to paint my view from the room would have required a great deal of artistic license, so I chose to expand  my view to the tiny preserved church down the street. Bob took a few photos and I just referenced the camera shot. We had taken a nice walk around town yesterday afternoon.
This morning I walked about town for a bit of exercise on my own. I was fascinated by the old cemetery surrounding the small Catholic church. The gravestones tell such stories of the area. Many were from the second half of the 19th century. Some people lived long lives, but many died young. I was especially touched by a plot with a mother and two young children, one who lived one year and one day. The mother outlived both by decades. There were numerous stones for young children. Many of the families were Irish and proudly named their home country.

This morning we returned to the home where Chip gave us a tour of his collections of Lionel trains,  railroad lanterns, and old fashioned home radios in the large basement. The home itself is a real treasure, a huge Victorian set amidst beautiful gardens. Chip is assembling a reproduction of the Tehachupi Loop where a long train passes over itself to lessen the grade. He has done everything to scale. Bob and his sister are both train buffs, having come from a long line of railroad people in Chicago. I found the hour and a half we spent talking equally fascinating. One intriguing set was a Girl's Train made by Lionel in flashy pink. It didn't sell. I supposed if a girl really liked trains, as Marilyn does, she would want the same train that boys had. The failed set is quite the collector's item.

Our return trip included a stop off route in Ione, another cute town where Dave Brubeck's mother gave piano lessons. Note the music theme here? Life with Bob is filled with music. I love it!


CrimsonLeaves said...

I love the painting of the church and your watercolor style is evolving beautifully, Mary. You and Bob live such an interesting pair of lives; how blessed you are!

Mary Paquet said...

Sherri, thanks for always keeping up with me! Bob and I are blessed to have found each other after I was widowed and he was divorced. We have so many interests we share.

hw (hallie) farber said...

Lots of interesting greens in your painting of the church. What a great first trip of 2014. I look forward to more rooms with a view.

Mary Paquet said...

Hallie, next up is a brief overnight stay in San Francisco to take a dance lesson from a real master of Argentine Tango. After that -- Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand. I am very excited about sketching there for future paintings! I am thinking hard about materials. Can only take 1 piece of luggage weighing no mre than 44 lbs for 22 days.