I was at an art party at an artist's Mediterranean-style villa in the Santa Cruz mountains, and the setting sun was glorious. We may as well have been under the Tuscan sun. (Caveat: I've never read the book nor seen the film. I just thought it made a good title!)
|From the second floor window|
of the artist's villa
Except for a quick hello, I didn't get a chance to talk much to the artist, Gordon Smedt, about his work. He did have about a 100 guests to entertain, an amalgam of people related to art or clients/buyers. But I could see his affinity for everyday objects, particularly clothing, and his enjoyment of dappled light and shadow. With his house all bathed in sunshine, it wasn't difficult to understand.
|Painting called "Sisters".|
Lots of ladies were in fashionable summer maxis,
but this guest in her printed tunic
and fringe purse caught my eye.
Another lady came in a polka dot dress
as a nod to the painting.
I think the painting I related most to was the one of empty shopping bags. It spoke to me of society's materialism. Why do we amass so many objects, leaving a wake of shopping bags behind us? (That's a personal interpretation -- borne of guilt? I didn't get to ask him about it.)
|I don't know what this one is called|
but he has another one,
with new upright bags, called "Harvest"
My friend and I, who had been invited as part of an arts non-profit we're involved in, enjoyed wandering through the grounds, wine glasses in tow. There were two art studios outside the main house, a tennis court, flowered pergola and gardens.
|My friend, T, who is an artist and videographer,|
and looks far too young to have a
son in fashion design in NYC!
|The balcony above is right off the Master Suite|
and the lower wing houses the kids' rooms
|The living room opens up to the gardens and hillside views.|
Perhaps I'm just nosy, but I do enjoy lifting the veil and going behind-the-scenes. So, it was a treat to peek into the artist's main studio. It was an ideal working environment: nestled in the trees but awash in natural sunlight.
|Paint-splattered table in the studio|
hosting my wine glass instead of paint brushes.
I think artist's paint-smeared surfaces are as interesting as their deliberate works. They carry the history of spilled materials and diverse experiments, suspending time through the colorful stains left behind.
|Painting subjects jumbled together.|
He does sometimes glue them together
to make his compositions.
The timing was perfect because the evening sun cast interesting shadows.
|The shadow brought to mind a dachshund version of the scooter.|
It was sometimes difficult to distinguish art objects from the everyday ones -- both equal fodder for his paintings.
|I loved the kids' fire engine and other toy vehicles,|
perhaps art objects as much as useful playthings,
scattered around the tennis court.
We found the menfolk admiring vintage and sports cars outside the villa! Big boys and their big toys ...
We decided to leave around dusk before it got too dark on the winding roads.
|Waning light as dusk approached|
This last glimpse of the house here, through the trees, with a single lamp lighting the path, rather felt like a storybook moment to me. "Long, long ago, deep in the heart of the forest, an enchanted house was patiently waiting ..." I'm sure many of you could spin a tale from this image.
|My last look as we left|
It was a very pleasant evening out. I'm glad my friend twisted my arm to take me, even arresting any final resistance by offering to drive. My schedule had already prevented me from attending the private tour for our non-profit last week, led by the artist. Fortunately, this was an evening engagement. And I never want to miss an appointment with the setting sun in spectacular surroundings!
For more information on the art and artist, you can visit the artist's site: www.gordonsmedt.com