The Carmel Workshop by Kay Smith

Carmel Workshop

And so it was on March 21 of this year five members of my watercolor class and I flew to San Jose, CA. The day started well

with Barbara Hardman and Gail Covotsky picking me up in Flash Cab which was a SUV in order to handle us  3 dames  and our baggage.

At San Jose the dames had a car reserved –it was a Camry.  It took genius and the help of an air port worker to figure out how to get all our

baggage & gear into the trunk. It couldn’t be done and a large and a small case plus large purse  traveled to Carmel in the back seat with me.

We took off for Carmel with Gail driving and Barbara navigating. In the back seat I had the leisure and pleasure to watch the spectacular scenery

unfolding beyond my car window. It was late in the day and the sun was beginning to slant long and low golden rays across the landscape.

The shadows of the trees on  the emerald mountain sides began to dramatically creep further and further down the steep side of the green mountains until they were long black slanting shapes of the parent trees.

We were zipping along Highway 101and missed the turn to take the Monterey Peninsula route into Carmel. Missed a turn off??? We were doubtful–Barbara had handled the arrangements to book our flights, car, taxi service, maps, directions and all those things needed to make a group trip seem seamless in its perfection of all things great and small. But doubt turned to dubious so we called,Bev Hossa, our host, who set us right and we arrived to our destination before dark.

 Bev, who is my student, was our front man in Carmel and had prepared an itinerary for our week of painting together. She and her husband have a nice house they rent every year in Carmel for the winter months. I stayed in her house with her and the others were in a couple of hotels only two blocks away. 

Bev invited all to come for wine and supper that evening. We were all in lighthearted spirits enjoying the California experience. She had a delicious meal prepared for us. It was salmon, halibut & white fish baked en papillote (prepared individually wrapped in parchment paper.) 

I chose halibut and it was delicately, divinely seasoned. She also served a delicious salad and a good dessert but I now remember only the taste of that delicious fish fresh from the sea. This was the beginning of  gustatory evenings to follow with fine wine and exquisite food. And we got painting done too.

The next day was overcast but pleasant. Bev drove me around the area to show me places to paint. They were spectacular ocean views. Point Lobos, Pebble Beach, the Carmel River and Carmel itself and such splendid trees—especially the cypress and eucalyptus trees. Many photographs later we went back to her

house. Took a little rest, showered, dressed and went out to meet the class at  a great little Greek restaurant right down town. The space was small, long and narrow and alive with life and wonderful smells from the kitchen. One of the owners swept down upon us kissing our hands as he apologized all around for our table not being ready. Those before us at our table were just finishing their dessert he said. We were mollified by his charm but apparently he did not rely entirely on charm. In a wink a waitress appeared bringing glasses of wine for us to enjoy. Subscribing  to the purpose of the wine we enjoyed ourselves  and could not tell you whether it was 10 minutes or 20 before we were sitting at our table ordering more of the same wine.

About Illinois Artist Laureate Kay Smith

After completing my studies at the School of the Art Institute, I worked as an illustrator. As the 1976 Bicentennial approached there was a fever of interest in American history. In 1971, I was asked to illustrate a book on the American Revolutionary War period which required me to travel to historic locations to paint the actual scenes. As my travels crossed and crisscrossed the paths of the patriots, I entered their lives and was forever caught in the inescapable skeins of history and was thrust into the role of historical painter. What began as a single assignment has grown over the past 40-plus years into the largest collection of American historical-site paintings ever created by a single artist. To see these historical works and to learn more about The American Legacy Collection, please visit my website at: The American Legacy Collection is a dramatic panorama of this country's historical places and its defining moments. My original watercolors chronicle 500 years of the American experience and preserve with an artist's palette our American heritage.

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