Sunny Winter Day

With all the rain we are getting this week in Santa Barbara it is hard to imagine that we had summer-like conditions here just a week ago. Before this storm system hit California I was lucky to get out and enjoy a warm and sunny afternoon with my good friend Wendy at her family's vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley. She and I had a lovely lunch with her parents and their pack of dogs; then spent 3 hours chasing the sun as it quickly set behind us in the early afternoon. This is the first time I attempted painting a vineyard scene. I was entranced by the golds in the fading leaves of the vines, and how they complimented the blues of the Santa Ynez mountains.
The afternoon was beautiful. And, as it turned out, fascinating. Wendy's family has owned the vineyard since the mid-seventies. They have been growing mainly Chardonnay grapes for local winemakers and have just stared bottling their own this year. Wendy's mom has been running a grapevine sculpture business since the early eighties. Although she is semi-retired now, she still has a few customers that consistently order life-sized deer and moose crafted in grapevines. Life-sized! I watched as one of her skilled workers molded treated grapevines into the flank of a huge moose. The family has also crafted and sold other products related to their vineyard. All this creativity produced from what their land gives them. By the end of the day, I was convinced they were really Amish.
Afternoon at the Vineyard, 9 x 12, oil on board.