First Paint Mount St. Helena

First Paint Mount St. Helena

Sep 28, 2022, Wed — A wonderful, fruitful, fretful first paint on Mount St. Helena. I never know how to begin, so I just begin! A bit of color experimentation at the start to hammer out the palette. This painting is particularly is tricky because I really want to get that pink champagne color that Mount St. Helena takes on after the sun has set. And that means the sun is down and the vines are cool, the oaks are dark. It’s about adding enough color back in to be “correct and in shadow” but still adding that color! We need the light above all, lol. The eye sees it, but the camera does not. You cannot believe the camera. It is simply one storyteller, not the truth. 

And this painting is extra tricky, because the vines are made up. I could not find anywhere to shoot Mount St. Helena where I could get vines in the foreground. I would need a drone for that. So instead, I’m adding them in a place they don’t really exist. But the composition looks great, as if they do belong there. 

I’m shooting from up on the trail to Rector Reservoir again. Self-drone-making. Only this time, I braved the ticks and went off trail to the north in order to get an unobstructed view of Mount St. Helena. She’s really stunning. Every time I’ve been there at sunset, she is like a shimmering pink UFO sitting in the north sky above the Napa Valley. It’s like, what is that beautiful apparition?

Whoa, wait! The actual sunset is right now out my window! Hang on a sec, must break for sunset. Okay, back. For once I’m writing this not at bedtime. I’m making a witch’s vat of soup on the stove, enough for lunches for three weeks I hope. Passing the time out in my kitchen office until I’m sure it will be simmering and not scorching. THEN, I’m going to finally get off my feet and read my book. 

And what a weird book it is!

I’m totally captivated. It was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2020. “The New Wilderness” by Diane Cook. Oddly, I started this book about a year ago and stopped reading after the first chapter or so. It’s a dystopian novel and they are winning a lot of prizes right now because great books do serve to wake people up. But I can only read so dystopian books in a given time period or they are depressing. They really affect me. Even as some are even among my favorite books, like The Dog Stars and The Road. So I started in on this book the other day and was like, oh! this book again. Only now I could handle it, having just read 12 or 15 “normal” books. It’s really captured my imagination.

Circling back… great first paint on Mount St. Helena! And a warm invite to you to browse my originals gallery, and sign up for my monthly newsletter.

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Lauren Forcella

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About Lauren Forcella

Painting nature is my way of being devotional to this beautiful planet we’ve been born to. I strive to bring onto the canvas the livingness, aliveness, and wildness of this wonderland we call Earth… Read More

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