Richard has come to create. Pulling his little red wagon filled with wood-handled brushes, blank canvases and oil paints, we walk down the gravel path and hunt for the ideal spot to pitch an easel for the day. Under the Poplar tree is where he lands and the Danes nestle in at his feet in complete consensus.

I determined a few days ago that the Studio Garden is just way too beautiful this time of year to keep it all to myself.  So today, I have invited Richard to paint in an overgrown world of kiwi vines and purple sage, where butterflies and bees are dusting themselves in yellow. 

On the day I met Richard I was buzzing around in my jeep when something intriguing caught my eye. Standing on the fringes of a vineyard was a small-statured man covered in a splattered apron, his head topped with a black beret, a wooden easel nestled soundly in the decomposed granite an arm’s reach away. “I like to think I’m the Cezanne of Napa,” he shared, and upon seeing what was emerging on his canvas, my heart whispered, “yes” in reply. 

This morning, my new friend arrives just as the fog is lifting, looking more like Indiana Jones than Cezanne. Still, in the way he takes in the view, there is no mistaking that this man in his canvas fedora is more romantic artist than rugged adventurer. 

The sun takes the stage just after ten and the drama-lover in me notices she is perfection. Light is everything in the designer’s world and the sun must know I am secretly applauding.

It’s in this moment, bathed in morning light, that I feel the warmth of a great idea rising up my arm and tickling my neck like a message meant just for me [do not dismiss these small messages, I have said to myself too many times to count].

We are being called to the Garden, where the counterpoint to everything lies.

I glance across the vegetable beds and regard the serene intensity on Richard’s face as he paints and realize I’m on to something. “There are so many subjects in this garden,” he yells over the roses, “I could come back a thousand times.” 

So while Richard is lost in his canvas-world I am conjuring a composition of my own—
What if the Garden were a sanctuary for those who hunger for fresh inspiration;
an Open Studio for artists to paint, write, discuss, recite, and dream?
Amongst the hummingbirds and Danes, all creatures tiny and great, those of us who long to reinvent a world of our own imagining can come here to reset and reignite. 

Now, here’s the reason I am telling you…We are all artists in one way or the other—

In how we are moved at the sunset, or caught off guard by some simple beauty that crosses our path. 
In building Lego castles with our children, growing vegetables in the garden, or kneading dough.
In straightening pillows, following recipes, making beds, or setting tables. 

We all have within us the ability to paint a breathtaking moment, in every single thing done or said.  

In this season, more than ever before, we are being called to the Garden for renaissance and revival—writing, dreaming, playing, weeping, appreciating, painting, sculpting, reading—there has never been a more necessary time to build something beautiful than now. 

Follow Richard at @RichardHFox


Sanctuary Garden
Come Create With Us!
Thursdays, Early Evenings
For details, follow me on Instagram & Facebook
~On your own, impromptu small groups [whatever you are comfortable with or longing for]—
~Write, paint, sculpt, draw, recite, meditate
~Learn what your Sanctuary says about you
~Bring your canvas; mini drawing sessions 

Beverages and individually-wrapped artisan cookies by CookiesTooNapa
[covid-compliant event]

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