After a few days on the road, it was really nice to paint and spend some time with the kids. We had a nice lazy morning watching Revenge of the Sith and then the day really came together as we met up with Jose and the rest of the Sheehy gang by the pool.
Woke up early to avoid the heat and while I was having my coffee the light pouring down from the hills caught my eye. It had a lovely peach tint. Couldn’t go far because the boys were sleeping so I set up by the garden and went to work. I came home about an hour and a half later to hungry kids and Sunday morning cartoons. Good times.
Quick low-light oil sketch of Alexander Valley after sunset. 1hr
Another crazy hot day. Around six the heat became tolerable so I walked down the hill and set up on the driveway. Shortly after the goats spotted me and trodden down the hill to hang out. 1.5hr
Drove over to the other side of the ranch around sunset just to mix things up and paint the Valley from a different angle. Started to unpack my paints and like clockwork, the neighbors security detail drove up to tell me I was trespassing on the Young’s Property. Part of me gets really annoyed by this but another part really likes dragging out the interrogation and then casually explaining that my family has lived on this land for six generations then introducing myself as Robert Young’s Grandson… again. Their shift in body language and expression is always interesting to watch. They are good guys, and we really appreciate their keen eyes and hard work. Its just funny how these guys never recognize me. I think this is the third time they have stopped me for painting. Seriously, How many other Plein air painters are there in these hills? 1hr
Post dinner patio color study. 1hr. Mom pruned the Pride of Madeira last week and it was looking pretty sharp. Its going to look amazing next spring when it blooms again.
Standing by the compost pile wasn’t awesome but the light on the cactus this afternoon was so… here’s another color study. On a technical note, I’m trying a new underpainting wash that’s more ocher and a new panel seal from Michael Harding that’s less absorbent. I think the ocher base is working better with all this dry grass. 1.5hr
Stressful day painting escape 1.5h
Couldn’t paint the last few days because it was deadly hot. I’m not happy with this sketch but I am happy that it has cooled down enough to be back in front of a panel. 1.5hr
I looked up from my lunch to see smoke rising from the middle of the valley. At first it looked like a burn pile but the plume quickly grew and it suddenly had my full attention. I called 911 and got through to the fire department who were already on their way. Then I called David Huebel who, from my vantage point, lives directly behind the smoke, he had also called it in and after a quick conversation we pinned the fire as directly between us. Fire trucks passed by him going north and then by me headed south from Geyserville. I had a house full of kids so I thought it best to keep an eye on this things from afar. I always keep my painting kits packed and ready to go so I grabbed it and set up on the driveway to try and capture the scene. The fire department had the grass fire out before I could finish my sketch. Dang those guys are good. My hats off to them.
Talking to my Uncle Jim after the fact, it sounds like the fire happened over at the Jackson’s property, he thinks they were mowing the tall grass to reduce the chance of a fire and one of the blades struck a rock. Apparently two of our crew, Colan and Antonio, were over there with a water truck before the fire department arrived and helped put it out. Major props to them.