Merlot In The MorningĀ 

18″ x 24″ watercolor on Aquarelle Arches watercolor block

I have been working for quite some time on a vineyard series of large paintings which include acrylics, oil and watercolor. This particular painting was taken from reference photos taken at quite literally the crack of dawn! Although this painting maintains my typical control with the paint, it is more stylized then my usual realistic approach.

Beginning stages of the painting:

My Window to a Vineyard

72″ x 96″ oil on stretched canvas

Wine country, Paso Robles, is home to friends of ours that own a 10 acre lot that they planted with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes. My husband and I have had the privilege to see it during the different seasons and help during harvest. Harvesting in 100+ degree heat is hard work and although we are glad to help, we have decided that for us, the best property to own is the one next to the vineyard. Our motto….. “access is better then ownership”.

Our home is not next to a vineyard so I decided to paint my very own vineyard to look out to. I began by building this 6′ x 8′ canvas The painting was too large for my art room so I set it up on 2 easels in the dining room and my husband set up the lighting for me. Below is a smaller section of the painting and of me adding final touches.

I’ve included a few photos from harvest.

Among the Wildflowers

10″ x 14″ watercolor 

Some paintings go smoothly while others are a struggle. Originally, I began this subject using a different perspective, in oil and on a much larger canvas but from the start, it was just plain boring! I should have listened to my inner voice but I didn’t and after the 3/4 mark I decided to scrap it and begin again. I chose to work much smaller, using watercolors and in a looser style.

Process of this simple watercolor:

Windmill in Napa

Section of a larger painting from my vineyard series.

3 canvas panels, 15″ x 60″ each
Organizing my paintings and sending some out for framing so that I can get them up at wineries.

Prepped and waiting on the sidelines……

I have a 22″ x 30″ piece of heavy weight watercolor paper that I originally was going to use watercolors on but after drawing on it, I decided to try something new. 

Since the sketch took me quite a bit of time and I didn’t want to lose it, I decided to take a Sharpie extra fine marker to my drawing then gesso over it. I’ve done this on several paintings before using acrylics and was quite pleased with the final product. My choice of using oils this time is because acrylics always dry so fast on my palette and now that we’re heading into summer, I want to alleviate my frustration. If any of you have tried this technique or have other thoughts, I would love to hear from you. 

Terrill Welch, Ceative Potager, recently painted red poppies by the sea and did a beautiful job! I get so much out of seeing how other artists handle the same subject matter and it will be interesting to see how my “poppies in a vineyard” come out.