Martin and Ray Winery

Hungry Caterpillars and more

My recipe for sanity during these simultaneously turbulent and boring times relies heavily on variety. You may have noticed that I go from detailed portraits to mixed media madness and writing to nature journaling to everyday sketching, and then I throw it all into the pot of the blog and hope for the best.

Today I assemble here pieces of the last few days that are all local to my shelter-in-place sphere.

Jameshouse

Like the view up a steep hill across the road from my house, where my neighbors the James live. Out here in the country you have to wait a bit to catch any humans to sketch, and then there’s trees in the way.

martinray2

Mostly I just see my friends on Zoom these days to chat and sometimes to sketch. But I realized this week that out here on the countryside two people at least can get together to walk and sketch, keeping just enough distance to follow the Covid protocol, but still share the same scene. It felt almost like a forbidden pleasure to spend a couple hours with Bettina in this way!

hungrycaterpillar

My friends know that I’m a bit overboard about my pipevine plants, the caterpillars and butterflies that do their metamorphosis thing in my studio garden every year. Well, here’s what they’re up to right now. The butterflies are laying piles of eggs on the leaves. And there’s the fruit, this one 4 inches long and clearly a favorite meal for the hungry caterpillars.

pipevine_matilija

Last year at this time I sketched them, along with the poppies that are now beginning to bloom again.

hungrycaterpillarhidden

Here’s a Where’s Waldo picture for you! How many caterpillars do you see? Look down into the leaves.

Country Pleasures

martinray

This winery is five minutes from my house and along one of my favorite walking routes, Vine Hill School Rd. The iconic landmark of Martin Ray Winery, seen from far and wide, is the tower. I always find it easier to do a quick sketch of a lovely landscape if I can fit a manmade structure in as a counterpoint to all the foliage. (And there’s a farmworker in there too below.)

So Bettina and I spent a lovely half hour or so in the shade, enjoying the pleasures of the quiet garden (with the busy wine-making going on behind those trees). And while sitting there we were visited by a welcoming crew of the marketing chief, the assistant gardener (who gave us freshly dug up dahlia bulbs) and the master gardener who shared his project plan with us.

sheep fountain pen, watercolor in 8 X 8″ hand.book w/c sketchbook

Once again taking advantage of the weather I ventured out with Carole this time to another Sebastopol farm to visit a friend who gave us a tour of her magical garden with chickens and doves and these sheep and an arts and crafts studio and more! All the creation of a person with an irrepressible urge to manifest things of beauty.

farmvisit

At her kitchen table I couldn’t help myself. . .

duncansmills

Saturday was Bob and my 27th wedding anniversary and we headed out toward the beach, getting as far as Duncans Mills before the cold wind moved in. So I practiced some speed sketching (and painted it later).

The anniversary date continued with a visit to art galleries in Guerneville and in particular the Blue Door where we met paper (collage) artist Douglas Devivo and were treated to an explanation of his process of transforming paper of all kinds into tapestry-like art of stunning beauty.  Check it out  at devivolife.com I left with a bag full of papers scooped from his table and blessings to give it a try. . .which I will!