Chateau Montelena Winery

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Chateau Montelena is a historic winery in Northern Napa County most noted for winning the Paris Tasting back in 1976. The winery grounds are a spectacular sight and loaded with ideal sketching opportunities! I spent two weeks roaming the grounds, sketching, and wine tasting for my brand new book “Impressions of Wine Country.” This finished sketch spreads across two pages in my book and one that I had to come back to three different times before finishing it. I never had one full block of time that was long enough to capture the old chateau in one sitting.

My new book is Available on Amazon.

Impressions of Wine Country

Impressions of Wine CountryI am proud to announce the publication of my new book, “Impressions of Wine Country”. In this book, I talk with a number of winemakers and grape growers to uncover the artistry of viticulture and viniculture in this unique area of the world. It is both a story of how wine is grown and crafted from the vine to the glass and a picture book containing over 170 of my watercolors (drawn mostly on location). Travel with me as I explore the seasons of the vineyard in Northern California.

Preston Vineyards and Farms

Preston_sOver the past month, I’ve visited Preston Vineyards and Farms several times for produce, sketching, and of course, wine tasting. The property is situated in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley and is a beautiful place to visit, especially in fall. The farm store is loaded with gourds, pumpkins, herbs, zucchini, and much more. Picnic tables are in abundance and make perfect places for lunch and a quick sketch.

Windsor Hot Air Balloon Classic

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WindsorBalloon 1My alarm was set for 3:45 am for the Hot Air Balloon Classic, but I awoke on my own, one hour earlier. Dawn Patrol begins promptly at 5:00 am and I wanted to be sure to make it on time.

After entering the gates of Keiser Park, I passed through the concession tents, the aromas of coffee and grilling pancakes warming the cool morning air.

When I walked onto the field, several trucks pulled into position and parked. Balloons were unloaded from trailers and with a flurry of activity, unrolled across the grass. Compressors then filled the balloons until they rose up like sleeping giants. With four balloons now standing side by side, Dawn Patrol began. Hissing flames lit the brightly colored fabrics in a spectacular array of colors and soon after the balloons ascended into the morning sunrise.

Downtown Geyserville


Geyserville is an unincorporated community just north of Healdsburg, CA. Its main drag, Geyserville Ave, is lined with shops, restaurants, and wine tasting rooms, making it an ideal place for sketch artists and wine tasters alike. After meeting for coffee at Geyserville Mud, followed by a couple of hours sketching, our group dropped into Diavola Restaurant. Here we enjoyed Neapolitan style pizza, a variety of seasonal salads, and cold drinks to round out a great day of sketching on a hot spring afternoon.

Westerbeke Ranch

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Westerbeke Ranch is a hidden gem located a few miles west of the city of Sonoma. Used primarily for retreats and conferences, the property delights guests with its lush gardens and meandering paths amid native oaks. Of particular interest are the metal sculptures scattered across the property that were collected by owners Richard and Muriel Van Hoosear while traveling in Mexico and Spain.

I chose to sketch one of the many guest cottages nestled amongst towering oaks. Many thanks to the Westerbeke Ranch’s staff for inviting our Ready, Set, Sketch! group for the day.

Easter Eggs

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Found this piece while digging through some of my old work. This was painted from life during my first semester at the Academy of Art University​ back in 1991. It was for Melissa Marshal’s beginning Illustration class. How time flies. Happy Easter everyone!