Sunday, March 10, 2013

Along the Napa River

I spent Sunday exploring a bit of the Napa River that runs south of the Carneros highway for several miles before emptying into San Pablo Bay. I have been driving past this area for several decades, and have never bothered to stop and explore it on my own. I followed the west side of the river all the way to a railroad drawbridge, stopping periodically to pull over and run up to the levee and look around. There's a wide variety of houses clustered along the levee, from leaning, weathered shacks, to something more contemporary, most bristling with No Parking, and Keep Out signs, along with moldering boats and pickup trucks peering out of the weeds. To get to this view, I pulled over at a vacant lot, stepped over a chain, and was heading to the levee, when I was suddenly intercepted by a concerned neighbor/caretaker. I introduced myself as a landscape painter looking for a good view. We then walked up to  the levee, to take a look. He seemed rather wary of my intent, so I told him what interested me about the view,  he eventually realized I was harmless, and went on his way with a handshake. I spent the rest of the afternoon working on these 2 pieces, as a variety of boats motored up and down the river, creating that smooth patch of water in the center. Gulls
shrieked and chased each other off of pilings. Planes periodically took off from an airport a few miles away. It was a peaceful afternoon, and a good spot to work. I will probably work on these pieces a bit more in the studio, specifically the upper one could use some work in the tree masses.