Gaining A New Perspective
Artist Gretchen Kimball teaches students not only to paint, but to see the world through different eyes What does it mean when your students call you to say they’ve been mixing paints in their dreams? For Gretchen Kimball, it means she’s achieved her own dream—introducing others to the art that she loves. Kimball is the founder of Alla Prima Studio in Napa, a new art center offering workshops and retreats that explore what Kimball calls “the creative process,” via landscape painting. Classes, which run one to five days, take place at outdoor locations throughout Napa Valley, from the vineyards at Quintessa Winery to the terrain of Carneros’s Truchard Vineyards. The Napa native studied formally in Italy, Boston, and Copenhagen, and in 2005 completed a bachelor of fine arts program at the San Francisco Art Institute before returning to Napa to found Alla Prima. In addition to classes, Kimball partners with venues such as Calistoga Ranch and Bonaventura Balloons to offer custom retreats in combination with other activities, such as yoga, using the secondary activities to inspire the painting. No prior experience is required. “People see they don’t need to have a natural talent,” she says. “They can have the time, tools, and a little bit of technique, and discover their own creativity. More important than learning to paint is that people learn to see things differently. Be more inspired by the things around them—the colors in their wallpaper or the view out their kitchen window.” Which is exactly what happened with one couple. The woman signed herself and her boyfriend up for a two-day workshop. The boyfriend reluctantly agreed but talked the woman into just a single day. In the end, the amazed boyfriend left with a painting, more scheduled classes, and a newly purchased set of oil paints. For more information on Alla Prima Studio, call (415) 341-7030 or visit www.allaprimastudionv.com.