Yesterday was a warm afternoon. I wound my paint smeared Honda up a high hill. After my third try punching in the security code the black iron gates parted and I arrived at my patron's Healdsburg ranch home. Mimi was waiting with two tall cool iced teas and beautiful mozzarella salads that she had prepared with fresh colorful greens from her container garden. She's gracious and fun. We loaded up my painting supplies, her inner tube, and beach towels into her red Mule tractor. I’m convinced that this vehicle could climb a wall. As we rambled down the steep hill to the edge of the Russian River, I wondered if the oil painting I was about to create was going to make it back without suffering a few face plants into the tall grass. But there was only one way down and I knew that I’d just have to hold my finished field study like a delivery pizza. We arrived at the bank of the river. As I set up my easel and canvas Mimi balanced her backpack on her head and dutifully walked across the river to give me space. Her plan was to catch up on chapters of Moby Dick in time for her book club meeting that evening in San Francisco. But it was a glorious day and somehow I just knew that she wasn’t going to read that book with the glistening river and woods to explore. As she wandered around I painted this first field study pictured above. This is the beginning of a series of studies. One study will be chosen and I’ll reinterpret it on a larger scale custom canvas for Mimi’s second story hallway wall. She absolutely loved this study. And of course I was glad that she did. This is my third trip to the river bank but I’m just getting warmed up. My intention is to create a painting for Mimi that will have meaning. Mimi has years of family memories stored by this river. And now we've shared an experience of this special place will help inspire her painting.