Category Archives: Art

Plein Air Favorites

The following is an aritcal I wrote for the Palette Newsletter for Art Association Napa Valley.

In a previous article, I described my favorite set of watercolor plein air brushes.  Here is a description of some other items you might like to take painting outdoors.

Plein Air Supplies

Plein Air Supplies

Absolute Essentials

  • Brushes in Easel-Style Brush Holder – protects brushes in transit and opens for convenient access.  See previous article for my brush favorites.  Be sure to use Amazon Smile and specify Napa Valley Art Association (our legal name) so that a portion of your purchase is donated.
  • Travel Palette- I like Cheap Joes American Journey travel palette available empty or filled with American Journey paints.  I prefer to purchase empty pans to fill with my own favorites.  I’ve ordered extra half and full pans so that I can experiment with different combinations.
  • Watercolor Paper in blocks- convenient for travel and makes a separate easel unnecessary.
  • Water container and collapsible water cup. I like Faber-castell’s Clic & Go Foldable Water Pot
  • Notebook for thumbnail sketches, mechanical pencil and gum eraser.  You really don’t need anything bigger than 5×7 for thumbnail sketches.  Napa Valley Art Supply has the Strathmore Visual Journals in many sizes and also the Softcover Drawing Journals.  Shown above is the Canson 140lb watercolor 7×10 notebook which is really more expensive paper than is needed for sketching.  Be advised that drawing paper weights and watercolor paper weights are not the same.

Useful Add-Ons

Secondary Plein Air Supplies

Secondary Plein Air Supplies

  • Smart Phone for Camera to capture the light before it changes and doubles for emergency contact.
  • Spray bottle to moisten watercolor pans and also create atmospheric effects.
  • Drinking Water for you!

Handy Supports

Plein Air Easel and chair

Plein Air Easel and chair

  • Stool – this folding seat from REI rotates 360 degrees and is lightweight and comfortable.  I found the typical soft triangle stools too floppy and uncomfortable.
  • Easel and Tray from En Plein Air Pro.  This website has all kinds of equipment for plein air painting for both watercolor and oil/acrylic, but I found the actual tripods much less expensive from my camera supplier. Or you can opt for the typical wood french easel.  Bear in mind that heavy is not bad because easels can easily catch the wind and blow over.  Lighter easels actually sell rock bags to weight them down.
    B&H Photo Sun-Pak Tri-Pod: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/247939-REG/Sunpak_620_060_6601UT_Tripod.html
  • A Bag to carry it all. It’s best to have a backpack or shoulder-style bag, OR a cart with large wheels to navigate uneven ground.  I found a folding metal market cart from Cal Mart in Calistoga.  En Plein Air Pro offers both a shoulder and a backpack.  Make sure the handles of any bag you choose are long enough to sling over your shoulder- the tote bag I took to Yosemite felt ok at home, but quickly got too heavy to walk from our campsite in Lower Pines to the painting site
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Urgent Plea to Napa County Officials

http://sonomafireinfo.com

THE COUNTY OF NAPA, AT NAPACOUNTY.ORG NEEDS TO ADD THIS LINK TO THEIR FIRE INFORMATION LIST.  EVEN THOUGH IT SAYS “SONOMA”, IT HAS MUCH INFORMATION TO ANSWER THE QUESTIONS OF OUR NAPA COUNTY RESIDENTS.  SAD TO SAY, SONOMA AND SOLANO COUNTIES ARE DOING A MUCH BETTER JOB OF INFORMING EVERYONE.  

IF YOU KNOW A NAPA COUNTY OFFICIAL, PLEASE ASK THEM TO ADD THIS LINK TO THEIR HOME PAGE– NOW!

My apologies if you see this message in multiple places on Social Media.  I am hoping someone official will see this and ACT.

Another request:  Whoever is making the evacuation maps should please talk to their counterparts in Sonoma and Solano counties and learn how THEY are doing a better job.

Last 2 Days of Open Studios This Weekend

The White-breasted Nuthatch is a regular visitor to my birdfeaders.  Mine prefer suet cakes but also devour the seed logs.

White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch-Conservation status:  Least Concern

I’ve learned to identify their gentle peep, although they can be quite noisy throughout the day. I don’t think I’ve seen any other bird head straight down the trunk of an oak like the nuthatch.

Open Studios will Fly By in 4 days

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

According to the Cornel Lab of Ornithology, the Bald Eagle has been the national emblem of America since 1782.  At one point these impressive birds were endangered by hunting and pesticides, but now maintain a conservation status Species of Least Concern due to protection.

I was thrilled to see Bald Eagles on a daily basis on our sailing trips in the Canadian Pacific Northwest, but there are still habitat issues.  A bald eagle nest can weigh up to two tons and requires a very strong, preferably old growth tree to support it.  Logging continues to threaten eagle nesting sites.

eagles2_img_0019

Bald Eagles at Port McNeil, Vancouver Island.

Meet Ann Nunziata during Open Studios Napa Valley, studio #33, 625 Randolph Street, Downtown Napa
Saturday 10-5pm; Sunday 11-5pm.

 

Anna’s Hummingbird

AnnasHB-No7-4web

Did you know that our Anna’s hummingbird, native to the west coat of North America, was named for Anna Massena, Duchess of Rivoli?*  Anna was the first lady in waiting to Empress Eugenie of France for most of the 1800’s.

In the early 20th century, the Anna’s hummingbirds only bred in the regions of Baja and Southern California, but due to the introduction of exotic ornamentals throughout the world, their range has expanded.  Some birds have been seen as far east as Newfoundland.

The Anna’s hummingbird population is a Species of Least Concern, but that doesn’t mean you should take a sighting of these precious birds for granted.  The Audubon Society has scientific models that indicate climate change will cause the habitat these birds rely upon will “shrink or move or both.”**

You can make a difference by providing habitat for them in your own backyard.

*Wikipedia
**Hummingbirds and Climate Change, Napa-Audubon Society

4 Days Until Napa Valley Open Studios!