This past Tuesday we drove all day and by 9pm found ourselves on a windy mountain road on the western side of Virginia. All day the GPS and the printed Google map were in conflict with each other and we thought we might never get there. We arrived in the dark; just down a steep hill was a little red building - a gallery that represents Angela - with a little guest cottage snugged into a hill at the back.
In the morning we drove east on 39, a narrow two-lane with switchback turns and electrifying drop-offs, worthy of a Hitchcock film. We painted in two locations, both with gentle mountains sleeping in the distance. We returned "home" by six and could barely stay awake long enough to eat dinner - homemade meatballs that came all the way from my freezer in Saugatuck.
Thursday we drove to Charlottesville and pulled into the drive of a lovely home with another lovely guesthouse. Barbara Buhr, the owner of Warm Springs Gallery, again found us beautiful accommodations. The temperature is much warmer here at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains and trees of all kinds are in bloom.We have painted the last two days at local wineries. "Le Blue Ridge" was small and intimate and there were cows in the nearby fields that became small black smudges in my landscapes. The owners are from Quebec and very friendly.
Yesterday we found "The King Family Winery". We were challenged in finding a spot that would both welcome (or tolerate) our presence and provide shelter from the potential rain. The winery has a broad covered walk, running the length of the building, and a very nice staff that kept track of our progress throughout the day. We were privy to sweeping views with horses, cows and a sprawling colonial home in the distance. Unfortunately, the animals could not survive my paintbrush.
Today we are heading to a nearby farm that is owned by an artist who paints cows. I want to paint cows! We will clean up, pack and head back to Warm Springs tonight. Tomorrow I may make my way into West Virginia to paint in that state, leaving Angela to find a landscape on foot in the little town, population 123, where Thomas Jefferson once imbibed in the healing powers of the naturally warm water.