It may take a year to wait for a reservation at Thomas Keller's French Laundry restaurant in Yountville, California, but they very kindly accommodated ten of us for a painting workshop in the garden this last week. Nine beginning painters, visiting from a company in San Francisco, and I spent the afternoon reveling in the views, and finding inspiration in them.
First everyone experimented with brush strokes and getting the feel of mixing paint and water and applying it to a surface. Then we strolled about the garden, enjoying the views – and the tiny new baby quail hiding in a bed of beets. Next, with some initial direction, everyone created an abstract painting inspired by the shapes (and colors) before them. We followed it up with some relief printing. The idea was to have fun, dive into creativity, and play with paint. And they did!
It was a beautiful day – the weather was just about perfect, and the wind wasn't too strong, though it did try to blow things away a few times. It was my introduction to the garden, too – I hadn't known it was open to the public. I took plenty of photos, so I can paint garden paintings of my own.
Karen Lynn Ingalls
I am a working artist in Napa and Sonoma Counties, in northern California. I paint colorist landscapes of rural California, teach art classes, workshops, and private lessons, live in Calistoga, and have my art studio in Santa Rosa, California.