in progress Venice Gondola, 18×24

Winter has clearly arrived here on California’s central coast. The rain is so good for all of the land; already we see the green beginning to arrive. Soquel Creek, flowing beneath my house and art studio, has become Soquel River!

During these cool, wet days, I love to hole up in my warm studio and work on paintings from my travels. This past year, I returned from Italy with a “virtual” stack of great photos in my iPad.

Returning to paint from my Italy photos brings back all the wonderful memories of our time in Venice. We were there just four days, and with so much to see I didn’t paint while we were in the city. Photos and sketches are what I brought back for these studio sessions. I have nearly completed a painting of a gondola in Venice, as shown here.

Still life for painting: lemons and persimmons
Still life for painting: lemons and persimmons

Some days, I may prefer to paint a still life arrangement. But what to use in winter? Well, it is still persimmon season and my lemon tree is having a very bountiful year. This winter time fruitfulness enables me to organize a bright still life for painting.

Thanks to Michele and Michel from Canada, who joined me recently in my studio for a private lesson. I enjoyed their company and the success they each had in creating their own paintings. They looked through a set of photographs I have taken and saved for possible painting subjects. It was fun for me, revisiting the grapevine colors of this past autumn.

vineyard, on my easel, needs a name …

Their choice inspired us each to paint the vineyard, including my creation of another gold vineyard painting. It’s not quite done, but you can see it in the picture here, sitting on my easel. 

Painting as a career choice has this added benefit: it can be your year in review and after a while, your life in review. I still love sorting through images of my early paintings to discover what I have learned and how I have grown in the past many years.

Painting is a journey that makes memories for a lifetime. Join me for one of my workshops this winter and we’ll make memories on canvas. Two 3-day workshops are planned for January 19 – 21 (composition and value) and March 29 – 31 (color and atmospheric perspective).

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