Not long before Christmas, during a break in the rainy weather, I went with my family up to Calistoga to sample the hot springs and the wine. As is our custom, we took a hike just outside town, stopping right off the road along the Silverado Trail highway. The trail that we took is called the Oak Hill Mine Trail, and it was lovely. It reflected the classic vegetation of Northern California, with Laurel trees and California Oaks, as well as smaller bushes like Manzanita. Almost all of the trail was green and lush, and the native grasses were everywhere. Since it was winter, however, many small plants were gray and long past bloom, and these were what caught my eye. I particularly liked the small Star thistles along the trail, because of their spiky, star-like clusters, and this is what I chose for my latest carved painting. In my photo of the carving seen below, the thistle is seen on the right; the middle section shows a pattern I devised from the criss-cross of the thistle stems; and the left panel shows dried grasses that had matted together. I chose white as the color, because of the relatively wintry temperature, and because of the pale gray/white of the thistle. This was a great short hike, and what was found underfoot proved just as interesting to me as the lovely vistas.
I am a San Francisco artist who enjoys making art and visiting art exhibits.