Let me go ahead and state the obvious: the temperature in Los Angeles makes it one of the best places to live in the United States. But, in addition to the weather, Los Angeles has something equally as wonderful…location! While there is plenty to see and explore within our fair city, sometimes it’s great just to get away. The proximity to major transportation hubs makes day trips an easy option…once you can decide from the myriad of choices. A two-hour drive in any direction will lead you to deserts, mountains, and coastal playgrounds providing countless opportunities for one of the Nations’ favorite pastimes…THE ROADTRIP!
We started our Saturday at 7:30 am at Groundworks Coffee on Montana. After getting our caffeine fix and a nibble for the road, we were on our way. One bathroom break, several station changes & two hours later, we breezed into the scenic Santa Ynez Valley. Winding country roads and breathtaking vistas of vineyard covered hillsides, make this a popular destination for Angeleno’s. The vintage cowboy feel and eclectic art community just add to the charm, as does the relaxed “enjoy yourself pace” noted throughout the valley.
Our destination for the day was Gainey Vineyard. Although there would be wine tasting in our future, the real reason for our trip was to join Christi from Gypsy Studios for a vineyard painting class. Because of the uncertainty that is Los Angeles traffic, we ended up arriving 30 minutes early. We used the time wisely to explore the grounds, scope out the scenery and secure our seats/easels. Once everyone arrived, we were treated to a private tasting in Gainey’s California Mission styled room. An oaky earthy must permeated the vast room which was lined with casks creating an atmosphere more reminiscent of European wine caves, than Coastal Santa Barbara County.
With the tasting over and bottles purchased for those who craved more, our motley band of approximately 25 would be artists converged onto the grounds with visions of unlocking the undiscovered Monet in each of us. I was incredibly apprehensive about painting in public. Visions of the toddler artwork adorning friend’s refrigerators swirled in my head. Vocalizing my fears and seeing the slight nodding of heads around me, quickly put me at ease. I was not alone being out of my element
Christy was a great instructor! Her laid-back informative style made time pass quickly. We were all given the same 18x14 blank canvas, the same base colors on our paper plate palates, and the same 3 brushes. Christy’s approach was hands-on. She informed us what she was doing and then demonstrated on her canvas for all to see. The class was very fluid. If someone had a question, she or one of her two assistants would come over to address the issue while the rest completed the step we were given. We painted in stages with layers of colors, shapes, and shadows slowly taking form, all the while sharing laughter, anecdotal stories and an extra glass of wine with our table mates.
Memories were created during our vineyard painting experience…and not just on the canvases. What a fantastic way to experience amazing fall weather in a gorgeous setting, all while learning to relax, enjoy, and create. The acrylic paints were very forgiving, and although no Monet appeared in our midst, we all had a completed canvas that really did look like a vineyard landscape. Until our next road trip…Cheers
BTW, if you book a Painting in the Vineyard class, tell them JamiePnation sent you.
Gainey Vineyard Tasting Room
3950 East Highway 246
Santa Ynez, CA 93460