Monday, November 30, 2009

Wine is Bottled Poetry

"Wine is bottled poetry."--Robert Louis Stevenson
(From the Capital Grille website)

My ever vigilant big sister let me know about a wine label competition hosted by The Capital Grille. According to their information "Master Sommelier George Miliotes came upon a winery nestled into a small corner of Napa Valley where the high elevation, rugged terrain and salty breezes from the San Pablo Bay, produce a wonderfully intense Cabernet Savignon with opulent flavors of ripe cherries, black cassis, cedar and vanilla... "

Friday, November 27, 2009

Northern California Wine Country and the Russian River Valley

After our contact period in Pasadena was over, I headed to San Francisco to meet up with J. We rented a car and drove North up through Sonoma to the Russian River Valley. We took a short trip to see where the Russian River empties/meets the Pacific Ocean...kind of took our breaths away when we finally got there. Just fantastic!! Next day we drove down through Napa Valley stopping at Healdsburg of course and the famous Oakville Grocery and Cafe Gratitude. Best wine tasting we had was at Porter Creek, a small organic ( one of only a few) vineyard in the Russian River Valley. Best was their 2006 Pinot Noir Reserve, 2008 Viognier, and their 2006 Syrah was wonderful. We were especially impressed with the Quivira Vineyards which practices biodynamic farming.

" keeping with our goal for a balanced farm, in the spring of 2008, Quivira broke ground on a Biodynamic and organic garden designed to educate visitors on farming and viticultural practices as well as supply local markets with fresh produce. The garden includes 120 raised beds, growing a wide variety of produce, a Biodynamic prep tower, pond, greenhouse and chicken coop." (from their website)

The air actually smelled green, fresh green...I think it was all the arugula and parsely, rosemary, lavender and swiss chard growing...pure aromatherapy:) Local restaurants rent plots to grow their own greens for their kitchens and their signs were in their respective plots. They even keep honeybees on the property to pollinate orchards and vegetables and as a way to harvest honey. There is more info about their practices on their website.

With Thanksgiving fini it is full speed ahead now to the work of my thesis, some freelance assignments, and feeling very inspired by all the illustrators we met. Oh yes, there is Christmas too,.....ahhhhhh.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Southern California Contact

Ok, I am home at last.....Post Pasadena and a side trip to Northern California to visit family. I feel like the quintessential weary traveler. But must get back in the groove for the run up to Thanksgiving. Here's a few pics and I'll be adding more now that I am home. Met some amazing and inspiring illustrators thanks to Murray Tinkelman and the MFA Illustration Program. Carol did a great job keeping us all organized. The best was meeting up with everyone again. A truly talented and great group of fellow illustrators.
We took turns driving our rental car on the dreaded Los Angeles freeways--quite the experience. After that you pretty much feel like there's nothing you can't do....especially with GPS. Lots to see in Pasadena and LA but little time. Did get to the incredible Gamble House, Huntington Gardens, The Getty, Old Pasadena, and The Grove. Then it was on to San Francisco and a brief WOW trip to Sonoma and Napa Valley which I'll post about later. I'm experiencing a little overload and trying to debrief and process everything I saw and heard. Looking forward to diving into thesis work after Thanksgiving. Had a good meeting with Doug about the direction I'm going in.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Hmmm...Palm trees right about now might be nice. It's time for our contact period in Pasadena. Assignments, done. Still ruminating on thesis but am feeling good about what I want to do. They have told us though that our ideas will change a few times. Our jam-packed schedule includes visiting Dream Works Animation Studio, the studios of Greg Spalenka, Jon Han, Gary Meyer, Jeff Smith, Bill Robles, Scott Anderson, Erik Sandberg, Lon Levin, Kenton Nelson, Paul Rogers, the Getty Museum , Norton Simon Museum and hopefully Huntington Gardens as as well as the Gamble House and maybe the Arm and Hammer Museum where there is a Charles Burchfield exhibition including his "late greats".
Photo courtesy of Wikitravel. Will try to keep everyone updated on FB.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Inspiration: Nature

These impressions left on the concrete from fallen leaves
have the quality of japanese sumi paintings.