Thursday, August 9, 2012

A touch of luxury....and Italy

It doesn't get any better than this.

My artist friend, Kathy Allegri, has been teaching a series of watercolor plein air lessons this Summer.  They all have been very enticing, but I have had a schedule that didn't let me go until yesterday.  I am so glad I found that opportunity.  It was great!

We went by limousine from Portland to a winery in Hood River.  It turned out that the winery (Marchesi Vineyards) grows Barbera grapes which are most special to me because they are the ones I harvested with my cousin Jane Davis in her vineyard near Bologna in Italy.  Jane died a couple of years ago, but her family is keeping her La Verde Collina wine label and vineyards going.  I love everything that brings me back to her.  What a lovely woman she was.  So....that was great, with great feelings...but it got better.

Kathy did a superb demonstration of her ideas about the scene, and got us started on our paintings.  We had a great variety of scenes and all were compelling.

We painted for a little while, and then took a break for a wonderful lunch provided by our limo driver in a very intimate dining room created for us in the wine tasting area.   It was SO Italian!!!  Then, we had a tasting of  the Marchesi wines...also very Italian.   Of course, I bought a bottle of the Barbera--maybe I should have gotten two, or three, or????   Well, I can always go back.

Meanwhile, back to the plein air painting.  Kathy had demonstrated a technique that was new to me.  She used burnt sienna to do the drawing and the basic lay-in, instead of drawing in pencil.  I tried it in the painting above, and ended up filling in the other colors with what I call the Velasquez palette--burnt sienna, yellow ochre and ultramarine blue.  It helps that they are also favorite colors of mine.  I'm pretty happy with the painting, but think the background tree trunks are distracting.  I'm trying to decide if I should "knock them back" with another wash of ultramarine, or just call it "done."  The biggest argument on the side of "done" is that the day was completely perfect---leave it alone and enjoy!  Oh, and it helped to be driven back to Portland in a limo!!!  Thanks, know how to host a paintout!!!!