Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Well, it wasn't exactly Tuscany, but close enough.

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


  1. this is the most gorgeous place ever!!that car is making my eyes go pop!!!beautiful pictures..i recommend that movie by the way..my friend read the book as well and loved it,i found the movie more to my liking..

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  2. Amazing post ! Very inspiring !


  3. such a beautiful place and artwork!

  4. these shots are so gorgeous! so whimsical and romantic! Xox <3 hautepinkpretty.com

  5. aaaah, i miss italy so bad! Can't wait to go back in 2 months!
    Wonderful photos!

  6. I have always wanted to travel there! These photos are really tempting me to take time off work and vacation there for a while! Great post! I love the photo with the crayons! xo



  7. beautiful paintings ! And what a cool place !
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  8. Hiya doll! I saw your question on my blog post & to answer you, yes they can really be worn!! They are quite pretty aren't they!?! It is like origami, maybe there is a way to learn how to make your own, haha!! Hope your having a wonderful week :) xxx

  9. the sisters painting is very pretty. i like all of your photos. btw, I'm having a 100+ Follower Urban Decay Giveaway! I hope you enter :)♥

  10. What a beautiful house - and amazing light. I think I would have interpreted the empty bags painting very similarly - and I don't think it's guilt-ridden... consumerism as a philosophy of life is so OVER (and boring :) xoxo

  11. These photos are amazing. I like the light and the composition, great choices, bravo!!
    Also your words are beautifully described in each photo. I especially quoted this:

    "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."


  12. What a beautiful place to live and work. Popped over to look at his work with your link. He has a great modern vision. It feels very here and now. Xxxx

  13. These pictures are gorgeous. I would love to visit sometime.

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  14. Fabulous pictures and post. Have a great weekend.

  15. I loved this post! such a beautiful place, thanks for sharing the beauty around this place. The perfect place for an artist to get inspired :)

  16. I'm in complete admiration of those who slow down enough to take notice of the moment. During such a robust gathering of socialites, you managed to capture the serenity that surrounds me daily. I'm humored how you found areas where I didn't have time to clean up before the party. I figured most would not stray far enough from the bar to find these places, but here you captured one of my favorite photos,-the dachshund cast shadow of the scooter next to the garbage cans. The bag painting "collective" has several meanings and like most art, your interpretation is just as relevant as mine. I could go on & on about everything but wanted you to know, in one of my most exciting and busy weeks of the year, seeing your Blog was my high-light. -Gordon

  17. What a place! There is always something so arresting about the sight of an artists materials as you've captured them here, whether that be crayons, pastels, paint or pointe shoes xx

  18. Amazing post ! THis place is stunning !


  19. Beautiful plave, great art! Must have a look at the link you gave.Thanks for visiting me - am your new follower - follow me too?

  20. What great adventure through pictures

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  21. beautiful setting. the light is just glorious here.

  22. Lovely pictures and lovely post Jen. Thanks for taking us with you.
    Steve the kids and I shall be in the Bay Area this weekend
    Coffee maybe?

  23. What a beautiful post. Like the artist himself, in his comment above, I really enjoyed the way your eye was drawn to small, but significant details. I'd love to see those paintings up close. As for the location and the light: perfect.

  24. I don't think anywhere in England could possibly look like that - but Italy, yes. I thought of France, too. It's always good to visit homes whose owners have taken so much trouble. I couldn't do it myself - mess always accumulates around me like iron filings to a magnet. But I do appreciate other peoples' efforts!

  25. Wow, your photos are beautiful! Santa Cruz has beautiful scenery, obviously. Very Tuscan indeed.

  26. Great setting. Sometimes we take our fabulous area for granted ... the gorgeous mountains, the beautiful vineyards (what's left of them) and the great artists. Thanks for giving us this visual treat.

  27. great place and beautiful pics, i like the ones with bike's shadow and with your glass of wine!!


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