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Artist Ann Rea
Like Moths to a Flame
charcoal2I’ve blocked off my entire schedule for tomorrow to devote to painting a commissioned piece in my Pacific beach studio.  I’ll be painting a privately commissioned large-scale canvas inspired by one of twenty field studies I created in and of Continuum Estate vineyards in Napa Valley. This evening I taped the edges of the 30” x 40” stretch canvas with blue paint masking tape so that my thick paint won’t bleed onto the sides.  The framer will appreciate this effort.  Then I reached for a Winsor and Newton willow charcoal stick, a fragile 5” piece of thin charcoal used for sketching on canvas.  They’re ideal for large-scale drawings or filling in forms.  I always break them while I’m drawing. Tomorrow morning I’ll go for a long run in The Presidio to the Lyon Street stairs and clear my head with the ocean air.  When I return I’ll shower and turn off the phones and the computers.  I want no disturbances when I paint.   It’s time to center and engage in an active mediation requiring my full yet relaxed focus. I long for these times when I can create.  I’m excited to just let the painting flow.  I lose track of time and I’m in the most peaceful place that I can be and still remain conscious.  This high is what draws artists to painting like moths to a flame.
Carried Away at Continuum
Carried Away at Continumm This past week I stayed in the simple, almost stark, hermitage of the Carmelite Monastery in Oakville, California. It’s just up the road from the Oakville Grocery and across the street from Nichol and Nichol’s vineyards. I’m developing a series of field studies at Tim Mondavi’s Continuum Estate Vineyards.  One of these studies will inspire the large canvas commissioned by my patrons in Naples, Florida. While I was there, I completed five field studies measuring 16” x 20”.  I’ll return in November to do more studies because it has to be right.  I have to know that I’ve nailed it. So I spent a solitary week away from my studio but it was a welcome rest from my computer, email, my phone.  Instead of staring at back lit screens my eyes rested on colorful vistas shaped by natural light. By immersing myself in my work with no distractions I can do my best painting.  I can dig down deep and I can think and feel my way through my creative enterprise.  This is what I long to do.  Make no mistake; much of my time is spent as an entrepreneur who runs a business.  But I’m growing this business so that I can enjoy creative freedom and develop my artistic voice and hopefully share my inspiration with a greater audience.
The Best Art and Wine, are Created - from the Heart
[caption id="attachment_37" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Tim and Chiara Mondovi at Continuum Estate vineyards"]Tim and Chiara Mondovi[/caption] This past Monday afternoon I wound slowly over the mountain from Kenwood to St. Helena, California.  Then I finally arrived at the Silverado Trail but missed the right towards Sage Canyon Road.  The beginning of a private commission that I am so looking forward to creating for Mr. and Mrs. Moran, friends of Tim Mondavi. I called Tim Mondavi and he graciously acted as my personal phone guided GPS.  I lost phone reception but made my way to the Lake Hennessey boat ramp where he met me with a warm and enthusiastic smile. From there, we began my welcome tour of his Continuum Estate vineyards. We went to the house where I was greeted by his daughters, Carrisa and Chiara Mondovi.  Chiara showed me her huge golden painting of an ancient vine that is the central image on the Continuum Estate wine label. Tim, Chiara, and I piled into the car and drove through the vineyard.  It was stunning.  As we drove along I took in the vistas and sketched paintings in my mind.  I kept asking them to stop so that I could get a closer look, to spend a moment at their favorite spots. As I looked around, I listened as Tim described the history of his land and its relationship to his family’s history, to their destiny. I shared my journey of becoming a painter and my exploration of color inspired by moments in Wine Country. It was clear that Tim has a sense of purpose and passion for this place that I can relate to as a painter. Tim asked what I would be painting.  “Just what I feel like painting, I’ll select subjects and times of day that I respond to.  I’ll feel it then I’ll know it.” Following your passion, your own inclinations, Tim agreed is the only way to really create.  It's personal, heartfelt.  It can't be directed by another, maybe inspired, but not directed. That’s how the best art, and the best wine, are created - from the heart.