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Grape Harvest 16x20 oil
Tomorrow it all Changed 24x30 oil
So Long, Stella 24x30 oil (personal collection)
The Uptown, Napa 20x16 oil
Still Life from the Sunflower Field 20x20 oil
Bedside Reading 30x24 oil
An Espresso, a Cigarette and She 30x24 oil
A Balloon Called Mary Jo 20x16 oil
Scouting Waves 20x24 oil
A word about this series...
In the late night hours of October 8, 2017 a wildfire raged from the hills above us on Atlas Peak, one of fourteen wildfires in the deadly Northern California firestorms that devoured thousands of acres and structures. On that fateful night, the Diablo winds fueled fires that swept through the hills destroying everything in their path, my home being among the first to go. All that remained of my studio and a home that took years to restore was ash and burnt, twisted metal.
Gone was everything.
On that fateful night, life took a sharp turn. You mourn your losses, yet you feel gratitude for what you do have: life, family, friendships. Things are things, after all. I am sad to lose over twenty years of my art, family photos, treasured gifts from dear ones, my beloved 1969 Chevy pick-up (Stella), unique things collected over a lifetime of living on three continents, and an unimaginably beautiful home (the original Chimney Rock home) that was uniquely restorative, and a joyful gathering place for friends and family. My husband and I came to the realization that that special place could never be adequately replicated, and we didn't have it in us to try, so we made the decision to move on.
We’ve left Napa to start the process of rebuilding a life in the Pacific Northwest. In a rental house with rental furniture and rental everyday things, I bought an easel, some canvases, brushes and paint and began to create once again. Still raw, I set out to paint my emotions, to show the trauma of the fire, to show the destruction of those things that sit deep in my heart. But dark and dreary is not in my nature, so what came out of this process – this new series – are works that honor the things, places and a lifestyle that are no longer with me. Whether it’s Grandma Signe’s blue, polka dot Swedish porcelain cups, or fruit from our little orchard, an enormous collection of books, or the bustling activity of grape harvest in the valley. Swimming in the rain, concerts at the Uptown, mustard blooming in springtime, trips to the beach, the quirky prickly pear bushes that make me laugh.
It might appear that some of these painting don’t seem to “fit” into this series, as is the case of “An Espresso, a Cigarette, and She” and “Pear #3” and “Pear #4”, but they are a nod to some paintings lost in the fire – the intention was not to recreate the exact works, but to acknowledge them. Some of the paintings in this body of work are done with only a palette knife and no brushes, some paintings are very tight and controlled, and others are filled with loose brush strokes. The paintings I completed in the dead of winter, when life was still chaotic and uncertain, are deeply saturated and heavy, while those I completed this past spring are light, swift, and cheery. There’s a story here, and it is my hope that the viewer can piece it together in their own way.
It is with deep gratitude that I thank Chimney Rock Winery for inviting me to show this body of work.
Pear #3 30x24 oil
Prickly Pear 20x20 oil
McGrath's Garage 16x20 oil
Elevage 20x16 oil
Yellow Table and Calla Lilies 20x20 oil
Grandma Signe's Demi Tasse 20x24 oil
Stella 16x20 oil
Prickly Prickly Pear 20x20 oil
Pear #4 30x24 oil
Rain Swimming 20x16 oil
Pears Redux 36x48 oil (personal collection)
Mustard 48x36 oil/canvas
Little Orchard Bounty 20x20 oil
Northern California: A Love Letter