I haven’t shared a Paso Robles vineyard in a while and thought it time I did. It was only by chance that I came upon this wonderful “wine grape” view almost 20 years ago. I was going to another vineyard/tasting room that was just across the road. I probably wouldn’t have found it today as the vineyard I was headed for then has their entrance on Vineyard Road, and I’m not even sure there is an entrance to anything back there now. Maybe it goes to the vineyard owners house on the hill? But no matter, I’m glad I captured this amazing CA sight with oil on birch. (Actually there is another that goes on the left. I will share it on another post—keeping you in suspense!)
I’ve posted other landscapes I’ve done with oil on birch panels. (If you are interested to see more of this technique you might look for April, 4, 2020, August 31, 2019, January 19, 2019 and August 12, 2017.) I guess the only other thing I can say about this art is that this image is way darker than the actual piece and there’s nothing I can do about it. That’s because I sold this one a long time ago and this is just a color copy of it. There was a great photographer that lived in my neighborhood in Paso and when I wasn’t in some kind of hurry, I would call him and have him take photos of my originals. But I hung it in a coffee shop in Auburn and it soon sold. Don’t you hate those kind of tiny regrets? It’s not like that individual lack of judgment truly means anything, but add up all the tiny regrets and somehow it seems to loom larger than it should. Is that true for you too?
I have been doing art more recently. In fact this week I did a couple “start with a wash” watercolors that was set as an Urban Sketchers challenge. This entailed starting with what I assumed as a random wash of color—keeping the tones warm or cool. Then you were to sketch on top of that. For the first one I made a warmish green wash and sketched a scene from across my street using my Fude fountain pen filled with black ink. The next day I did the same with a cool sky blue color and black ink—sketching a similar view across the street and down 20 feet or so. Both images looked kind of flat to me and I had a flat feeling upon finishing each one. By the third day, I created a sunny cadmium yellow wash, but waited till the next day to sketch yet another view just outside my front door on my side of the street. That day I used an Inktense pencil (bark) to add the sketch. It took me yet another day to spray some water on that one, hoping to bring some interest and life to yet another sketch that left me flat. I was done and none of them were worthy of a One CA Girl post. Some of my urban sketcher friends said it was very freeing to do this challenge. As for me, there was nothing very freeing about creating flat urban landscapes that didn’t even inspire me to use them as a preliminary sketch for something else. But something good did come from this frustrating week of art and maybe you have already guessed what I am referring to. It seems that my mind wandered to a “rural” landscape that I had remembered doing some 20 years ago. My mind needed a rest from this challenge and the other challenges facing us today. I found it by remembering the warm rolling greens and yellows of the Paso Robles hills, capped with a cool blue sky that was so bright it hurt your eyes to look at it for too long. I hope that looking at this long ago California landscape can bring you a bit a peace right now.
One final note about this typical Paso Robles vineyard landscape
I have often written about these amazing Paso views that I was lucky enough to live near, but I have never spoken about their wine. I’m not a huge fan of white wine, so I don’t really have much of a repertoire of tasting them with the next thought of making a white wine purchase. (I guess I’ve tasted some pretty nice chardonnays in a couple wineries in Napa, but that’s another story…) I am a fan of the big reds, wine with legs. And you know, there are really too many Paso vintners with great reds to name here. If you ever get the chance to go wine tasting in Paso Robles, I highly recommend it. It’s pretty fun to spend an afternoon going from winery to winery. Be sure to designate a driver, as tasting too many lovely reds on a warm summer CA day can make your head swim, literally. It used to be that you could taste for free, but no more. It will cost you to be presented with little tastes. And just between you and me, I almost never buy wine at the actual source—the prices per bottle are sometimes staggering at these little winery boutiques. Of course if you join their wine club and purchase a case of wine, the price per bottle goes down. But that still seems like a racket to me. Actually, for a nice Paso red, you don’t need to go wine tasting at all. You can find a lot of good red wine in the grocery store, or Trader Joe’s. If you see a moderately priced Paso Zinfandel or not too young Cabernet, try it. I had a lovely red wine from Modesto with my frozen cheese enchilada at dinner last night. Of course the dollop of sour cream and sliced SoCal avocado helped to elevate the meal to make it pretty special. Until next time…