Category Archives: Art

Mustard Madness

Mustard-On-Ham-tileArt Gallery Napa Valley Reception

  • March 21, 6 to 8pm
  • 1307 First Street, Downtown Napa

Our artists in the gallery  have stepped up their marketing game.  They did some research into our Mustard theme and came up with some interesting info.

Mustard is known as a spice, a condiment (What’s a hotdog without mustard?) and was even used as a “plaster” to promote healing.  Historically, French monks who mixed the ground seeds with “must” or unfermented wine, inspired the word “mustard,” which stems from the Latin Museum ardens -roughly meaning “burning wine.”

In Napa Valley during February and March, the mustard you see is a breathtaking display of masses of delicate flowers used as a cover crop between the rows of pruned vines.

For my part, mustard brings to mind culinary pursuits. The the famous Mustards restaurant in Yountville is one of my favorites.  At the same time, this is Year of the Pig, so I couldn’t resist this whimsical addition to my display in the gallery.


Time to Mix it Up


It’s time to mix up more of that “Birgit Grey”!

#Birgit O’Connor Watercolor is starting another session of Atmospheric Landscapes online starting December 15th.  I highly recommend this class!

IMG_E8595Ann Nunziata

(at the Napa Town & Country Fair)


Travels with Watercolor – Palette 3

This leads me to believe that maybe the pre-filled pans are the way to go after all. They are certainly the least messy alternative for painting on a boat. My third palette is the new QOR set of pans, and I think you can agree that it’s a very good range of colors. I look forward to trying it during our current cruise through the Canadian Northwest.

The New QOR Watercolor Pan Set

Travels with Watercolor- Palette 2

My troubles began with my new smaller empty Meeden palette. These can be purchased on Amazon in many different configurations; I chose 6 full pans, and added 5 half and 1 full pan of my own. It would probably have been just fine if I had filled it and let it dry for several days, but I always wait until the last minute to pack my art supplies. Still, I thought I was ahead of the game filling it a whole day before leaving. But when I opened it, it was quite a mess as you can see.

I was especially disappointed but not totally surprised that the magnets didn’t work. I used thin magnetic disks with adhesive on one side to stick the pans to the palette. I was hoping this would keep the pans in place. The magnets were sufficiently strong, but the adhesive was really weak. I could tell that the pan was separating from the magnet as the magnet practically flew onto the palette when it got close. When I opened the palette after carrying it around for several days, one of the pans had completely flipped out and upside down.

Disk magnet should be attached to a pan

Travels and Trials with Watercolors

A popular practice of watercolor artists is to fill an empty watercolor travel palette with their own tube colors.  This allows the artist to work with their own palette rather than carry around pre-filled colors that they don’t normally use.

I’ve recently learned that there may be a problem with this approach.  I’ve seen some information on the internet that suggests tube paints are not the same as pan paints, and that pan paints are formulated differently for the wetting and re-wetting that a travel palette undergoes.  

I’ve not been able to find enough information to confirm or deny that claim- yet.  For now, I’m still mostly filling empty palettes with my own tube paints.  I brought 3 different travel palettes with me this trip with some issues of note.

I’ve been very happy with my American Journey travel palette filled with colors from the Michael Reardon palette, but I have had a problem with the pans popping out from under the metal retaining edge at times.  This palette has become easier to handle since the paints have mostly dried.  I’ve also stuck each pan down with a wad of Museum putty which was time consuming to do, but seems to work well.

Plein Air Supplies

American Journey travel palette


Ann Nunziata Art- Latest News

Dear Friends and Art Lovers!

Open Studios Napa Valley is the next two weekends, but you won’t find me there.  I’m writing this from Anacortes, Washington where we are preparing for our annual cruise through the Pacific Northwest and Canadian waters.  All the same, I encourage you to visit at least one studio during the event.  You can find catalogs at Art Gallery Napa Valley (see link in sidebar), where you can also see my display exhibiting some of my latest artwork.


My Display at Art Gallery Napa Valley


I’ve really been enjoying the online courses taught by Birgit O’Connor.  We’ve painted Atmosphereic Landscapes and Rocks, Sand, and Sea Glass.  The Sea Glass really takes me back to my childhood in Seaview, WA where my mother and I could find whole glass floats on the beach.

Again, you can also get an online PDF of the Open Studios event at the Open Studios Napa Valley website.  Please visit some of my fellow Napa Valley artists. I always like to visit and buy a small item or two as a way of Paying it Forward to support local artists. 

Look for my vacation inspired artwork when I return in November.  My next public show is the Calistoga Christmas Faire on Saturday, December 1st. I’ll also be posting my travel sketches at, but I’d better update the blog name somehow because our new boat is named Fifth Element!


Fifth Element sketch

As always,
Thanks for your interest!

Ann Nunziata

PS  You may not be aware that my images are available on many fun items such as towels, pillows, cell phone cases and now spiral notebooks at my Fine Art America website,