December 14, 2015
Here’s the latest. During my last visit stateside in September I spent my usual 4 days visiting my daughter, Erica, in Los Angeles. I love my visits there. She lives in a nice apartment in Silver Lake. She has a very nice life there, well-connected with her neighbors, loved by all the baristas and wait staff in the many cool restaurants and bars in the neighborhood. The temperatures were shooting up above 90, so one day we, Erica, Tino the amazing dog, and I fled to the coast where it was 15 degrees cooler.
Then the next day I got to accompany her on her annual wine tasting excursion to the Santa Ynez wine country in Santa Barbara county. I was excited for the artistic possibilities. After a great breakfast in Los Olivos, Erica was kind enough to let me drive her car around to shoot the vineyards while she and her friends did the actual tasting. I spent a lot of time just finding my bearings. Eventually I found some nice hilly scenes I had been searching for. As the day progressed, a thin layer of high clouds softened the contrast. I painted this view pretty quickly here in Oaxaca so I forgot to take some in-progress shots.
Back home, things have warmed up a bit. A week ago, Rocío and I went out on a plein aire painting outing. We drove west toward the village of Jalapa del Valle. We set up our easels off a dirt road overlooking the valley. The sun was beating pretty fiercely so I set up an umbrella for shade. The sun was a minor problem compared to the m***** f****** tiny biting flies that swarmed our arms and feet. Their bites were barely noticeable at the time but later that night we were scratching away at ourselves like washboards in a jug band. Like Monet and Renoir, we exchanged pictures after signing them.
I hadn’t flown my drone in a long time so I thought we could launch it from the bridge over the river to get some aerial shots up and down the valley. I hadn’t flown it in so long that the aircraft no longer recognized the transmitter and I couldn’t remember how to bind them on the spot. As I was packing it up, a couple of security guys came by to check us out. They said there are sometimes “bad people” in the hills dumping garbage or the occasional body! They requested that we announce ourselves to the local officials so as not to attract the attention of vigilantes. Fun!
Back home I had to fly the drone in order to discharge the battery. Here’s an aerial shot of the source of so much of my lost sleep:
Be well y’all and GO HAWKS!