Napa Valley Golden Hour

Napa Valley Golden Hour

July 3, 2024, Wednesday — Napa Valley golden hour. Yep, that’s me repeating myself. And it really is quite something to behold, this golden hour moment that is ticklish pink as it turns out. Here’s the description I wrote about it for the painting called Vineyard Enchantment.

Vineyard Enchantment, oil on canvas by Lauren Forcella:

Magic hour in Napa Valley wine country is extra magical when Mount St. Helena undergoes her evening transfiguration. This mountain is named for a saint for good reason. When viewed right after sunset from the south end of the valley, she appears to disconnect from the terrain and levitate above it like a giant neon pink apparition. It’s an otherworldly experience. Even the hills and rows of vines in her shadow momentarily take on the glow from that pink light. I used thick impasto brushwork and expressionistic shapes to bring you this enchanted moment.

I really go bonkers over this view of Mount St. Helena from the south end of the valley. Napa Valley at golden hour. That one. You do not get this experience looking at this mountain from the west or north. Napa Valley is long and narrow and St. Helena is at the north end, so seen from the south end, at sunset, through the corridor of haze and humidity and wine vapors, it becomes the color of Dom Pérignon. And appears to literally lift off like a hovercraft. Wine tasting in the hovercraft everyone! You have FIVE minutes!!

Wherefore St. Helena tickled pink at Golden Hour?

Because it’s the 4th of July and we need all the help we can get! Calling all saints! We have a situation! Yes, that. And also because a wonderful new collector from the UK just bought this painting. So I’m thinking about it and grateful for experiencing it. Over several trips to Napa for painting purposes, I was bowled over by the hovercraft. You can see a little bit of it in the upper right of the painting called Napa Sunset. I climbed all the way to Rector Reservoir at sunset to get that view. For my next visit, I plotted and planned how to see St. Helena best from my own two feet, which meant clambering off trail on the mountain below Rector Reservoir at sunset, not getting back to my car until dark, covered with burrs and stickers, and I hoped not ticks.

Then painting it. Turns out, you can’t get high enough and due south enough to see the hovercraft and the valley floor at the same time from the side of the mountain on two feet. So, the entire foreground is imagined. Oh, my god, then there was that point in the painting where I was stumped by the transition from the material to the ethereal. Really stumped! And my friend, Andrea came over and she had some kind of clue that unlocked those bright blue hills. Clearly, the painting needed a UFO base camp where you ramp up your third eye before entering the pink glow. Big fun. And now selling it and having it bring joy to someone else and their family for decades if not centuries to come. Very grateful.

Napa Valley Golden Hour

Well, folks, thanks for reading. Before I go, a few serious words: Calistoga weekend, Silverado Trail, diamonds, weddings, luxury champagne, Dom Pérignon, luxury Napa hotels, Napa golf, best wine in Napa. You know the drill. Take care.

Until next time. Or with my newsletter. Please sign up!
Lauren Forcella

Napa Sunset, 30 x 40 in, by Lauren Forcella. See the tickled pink hovercraft melting into the sunset on the right? That’s Mount St. Helena.
Picture of Lauren Forcella

Lauren Forcella

Leave a Replay

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

Follow Us

Recent Posts

Sign up for our Newsletter