Thursday, September 19, 2013

California Dreamin' Day Seven

The Touch of an Artist’s Hand

Day Seven was bound to be fabulous after the disappointments of the day before… and it absolutely was. We were excited for this day from the get-go, as everything we researched about Mendocino invited us to come see. So glad we did. To get there we drove through amazing Redwood forests to the ocean. There lies Mendocino, a beautiful little coastal town, warm and welcoming and surely a step back in time. We checked into the Mendocino Farmhouse, a bed and breakfast tucked away in a redwood forest a couple of miles from town. It was even more enchanting than I dreamed it would be. The house was built in the 70’s for the family to live in, but when the children grew up and moved away, it was converted into a six bedroom bed and breakfast. We were greeted by beautiful country gardens surrounding this lovely old frame home and Margie, the owner of this beautiful country retreat. Our room was spacious and inviting with book shelves filled with books, a fireplace, a King-size bed and a sweet window seat which doubled as a twin size bed… which quickly became Emilee’s nook. From here she caught up on all her days happenings she missed while we were “out of service” with her cell phone. Our own private bathroom across the hall had an old fashioned bath-tub with claw feet. We were the only guests this night so we felt very much at home.  It was exactly what I wanted for this part of our adventure…  a place to relax, soak in nature and simply enjoy. And enjoy we did. 

After checking into the Farmhouse we drove the mile and a half into town… a quaint little village filled with happy people. We walked from shop to shop browsing their wares and talking to the shopkeepers. These folks are a friendly bunch. (Wish we had pass along cards.) We arrived there later than we’d hoped and didn’t have time to see everything we wanted as many of the shops began to close around 5:00. Main Street Square had garden paths and walkways interconnecting each shop. It wasn’t long before we realized just about everything was closing up.  Dad had his eye on an art gallery but to our dismay, it closed right at five. 

As we meandered through the corridors of gardens and shops, I spied a small little shop tucked away in a corner with paintings on the walls begging us to come see. This little town boasts to be an artist’s mecca, and this seemed to be one of those artist’s haven. My eye was drawn to a beautiful country garden image that touched this gardener’s heart. As I beckoned Bill and Em to come see, a voice from the tiny loft above invited us to enjoy her artwork. As we looked up toward the sound of her voice, a woman began her descent down a spiral staircase, eager to greet admirers of her art. She was an eclectic soul, as I imagine most artists are. We began a delightful discussion with Suzie and I asked her what medium she painted in… the colors were bright, definitely not oil paint, too much detail for watercolors.  She led me in a guessing game until I gave up… “Pastels” she said with a sparkle in her eye. She then proceeded to tell us how she one day tried pastels and has been using that medium ever since. 

I felt to share with her that my husband is a closet artist, that his father was an artist and painted beautiful landscapes. I also shared that I am a gardener and we’ve always said that someday Bill will be my Monet and will paint beautiful images of the gardens I create. ”I have something for you” she spoke as she crossed the room to a little corner. There she picked a small box, opened it and began to explain the contents… a field watercolor kit complete with watercolors, a brush, a sponge, a quality sketch pad and an Indian ink sketch pen…all the supplies that a budding artist would need to get started. 

I loved the look in Bill’s eyes as she explained each article and how to use them. “I’ve seen my Dad do that” he offered several times. This was not a chance encounter… she was put in our path to bless our lives, to bless Bill’s life. He had a wonderful exchange with this sweet woman as she taught him the basics of how to begin. With newfound skills in his pocket, all that remains is for him to paint the images he sees in his heart.  We left Suzie and her art gallery with not only art supplies but a promise that I would keep in touch with her regarding this budding artist’s progress.  Somehow, I feel within my soul that this was a most important moment.

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