View to Mount Tamalpais
This painting was started in plein air, or “outdoors” as most people call it. I was painting from a fellow Napa Valley artist’s property way, way off the main road atop Mt. George. The view was astonishing, taking in Calistoga to the north and San Francisco to the south, so it took a bit of doing to simply choose a segment of this vista on which to focus.
I had finally chosen a snippet that I felt would make a nice composition and had gotten a good start on the painting when lunch was called. I left my perch on the rocky outcrop behind the house and joined the others on the deck, glad for the company and conversation, but itching to get back to my painting at the same time. After lunch I had to really hustle to block in the rest of the painting and pack my gear so as not to keep others blocked in on the narrow driveway for too long.
I so often use photo references when painting the landscape and am used to the very deliberate process of setting up a still life composition to paint from life, so this location (and the delightful company) was a very good challenge and a welcome change of pace.