Some of you may remember this sketch I created last fall of the Marin French Cheese Factory:
Last spring, I was interviewed by Danny Gregory to coincide with the February release of his book “An Illustrated Journey.” Danny included 40 sketch artists including me in this collection about travel sketching. You can watch the interview here.
My sister is taking a study abroad program this summer and just arrived in Greece. She brought along a copy of my book The Artist on the Road: Impressions of Greece and was kind enough to take a few pictures of the sites I painted when I was there. How exciting to see my art book travel back to where it was created.
Note from my sister: “Unfortunately they’re restoring the Parthenon from your cover, but it was still very cool to compare. Also, we had taken apples from breakfast with us. I had your book open and one of the guys traveling with us asked why you had painted an apple, so I read him that part from your book where that woman gave you an apple. Then we took our apples out of bags and ate them. It was a cool moment.”
While I was painting the Erechtheon, a Greek woman came up to me and commented on my drawing. Then she pulled out an apple out of her bag and gave it to me. She was so nice.
Erechtheon with Karyatids
My Sister (Bear) is on the left and her instructor Dr. White is on the right.
In 1881, Andrea Sbarbono developed an agricultural colony just south of Cloverdale that would later become known as Italian Swiss Colony. In the 1960s, the Colony produced TV commercials that strangely, featured a little old man as a winemaker costumed in an Alpine hat and lederhosen. He closed the commercial with the classic phrase, “That little old winemaker, me!”
Today the wine facility is home to Cellar No. 8 winery. Near the tasting room, two vintage train cars sit in the middle of a vineyard, a carryover from glory days of the 1960s when the Italian Swiss Colony tasting room received more than 10,000 visitors per year.
Amazon has just put my book “The Artist on the Road: Impressions of Greece” on sale at 46% off! I don’t know how long it will be available at this price (it could be permanent). Pick up your copy today!
Bonus! Anyone who purchases (or have already purchased) a paperback copy of “The Artist on the Road” can download a FREE ebook version (epub or pdf) of the book. Please email me for details: Richard(at)Artstudios(dot)com.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, located in Asti just south of Cloverdale, stands in a serene landscape of vineyards and mountains. The church was built in 1960 by the agricultural co-op known as the Italian Swiss Colony that produced old world wines. In keeping with the spirit of the colony, wine barrel staves were used to construct the roof and interior wood workings of the church. Its exterior was designed to echo the shape of a wine barrel.
About a dozen of us Urban Sketchers gathered in Healdsburg’s square yesterday to sketch the beautiful plaza. The weather was a perfect 80° with only a slight breeze. An Earth Day celebration filled the grassy area, providing music, atmosphere, and additional drawing opportunities. I chose to sketch the plaza’s iconic clock tower on the northwest corner of the plaza. Later in the afternoon, we rejoined at Healdsburg’s Center for the Arts to share our sketches, techniques, and the day’s experiences. Thanks to all who attended!
My Sunday Column “Sense of Place” usually runs at the bottom of the Towns section every other Sunday, but today my work was printed in the “Vignette” section at the top of the page. Today’s story is about Robert Rue Vineyards located in the town of Fulton. Bob and Carlene Rue, the winery owners, are some of the nicest people I’ve meet and make some great wines too.
Here is the text (I know it’s a bit hard to read the newspaper from my scan):
South of Fulton and down an old country road, a row of plum trees call attention to Robert Rue Winery. Bob and Carlene Rue purchased this 10-acre, 100 year old vineyard in 1973, and over the years have sold their grapes to many well known local wineries. The vineyard is a field-blend of predominantly Zinfandel, interplanted with Petite Sirah, Carignane, and Alicante Bouschet grapes.
In 2001, Bob and Carlene’s long held dream of producing their own wine became a reality. With the help of winemaker Dan Barwick, and before him, winemaker Carol Shelton, the wine blended from Rue vines has garnered many awards. The first vintage was produced at a custom crush facility and the finished wine stored in their garage. In 2010 the Rue family built a new facility on their property to accommodate an expanding production of almost 1,000 cases per year.
The “Little Free Library” movement has arrived in Sonoma County. Currently, there are two libraries located in the town of Sonoma and one in Cotati. The Little Free Library is a worldwide nonprofit organization that offers free books housed in small containers to members of the local community. It was founded in Hudson, Wisconsin by Todd Bol.
Kathy O’Neill of Sonoma built her Little Free Library out of reused materials and “dedicated it to Maurice Sendak, author of one of my favorite childhood library books.” The sign encourages passers-by to “Take a book. Return a book.” and a bench offers visitors a seat while browsing.
Anyone can create their own library box, which is usually about the size of a doll house, or purchase one from the Little Free Library website. Once registered, the libraries are assigned a number and owners are sent a sign that reads “Little Free Library.”
Locations of all the Little Free Libraries around the world are listed on this Google map.
Back in 1964 when the Bacigalupi family planted six acres of Chardonnay on their property, many people thought it was a mistake since the conventional wisdom of the time was to plant prunes, a much more lucrative fruit. But the Bacigalupis gained widespread recognition as growers in 1976 when Château Montelena’s 1973 Chardonnay (made with 40% Bacigalupi fruit) won the famed Judgment of Paris tasting over many highly acclaimed French wines. This single event helped to change the world’s perception of California wines.