At our recent PS I Love You annual meeting, I asked the guests to join in a very unusual project, Ann Rea’s Essence of Color Program. Prominently known as a fine art Impressionist, Ann has created a very innovative way for people attending events to enjoy the evening in a very memorable way. At some level, we all took advantage of what she was offering, walking away from a very unique experience… one that we’ll not forget any time soon. In the process, we were also supporting the arts.

Ann had brought in a sketched vineyard image, and all of the members were encouraged to visit with her, while she patiently instructed everyone on how to apply color to the waiting canvas. In the process, this piece of finished art was intended to become a silent auction item at our upcoming Dark & Delicious event (February 20, 2009).

Jeff Miller above of Jeffrey Miller Vineyards and Artisan Family of Wines is applying oil to begin the sky. Ann has shared with me people’s reactions to this process. While one may have been fearless in a court of law as a lawyer – Jeff’s former profession – when they get to the canvas, it’s a humbling experience and one of intense concentration. Ann was quick to show us that while the oil is still wet a simple spatula cleaning quickly removes anything not really intended.

Steve Hall, the winemaker at Robert Biale Vineyards is now filling in the hills in the horizon behind the vines.

What’s also going to make this painting really special is that the back of this oil was signed by many of the attending winemakers and winery owners, like this image above of Dink Mather from David Fulton Winery talking to Ann before it was her turn. Dink applied moisture to the canvas, so that the vineyard soils could take on variances in color when oils were applied. Dink’s husband is Fulton Mather, both of them being part of this annual meeting.

In the next image, Kristen Stanton of Stanton Vineyards began the grape leaves. Following closely behind Kristen was Rachel Cecchetti, wife of wine industry leader Roy Cecchetti, It was interesting to see so many husbands, like Roy and Doug Stanton, abdicate their turns to their wives, because time was somewhat limited and they were both great partners, both women were just really ready to paint!

It’s hard to say who was more drawn to the canvas, the men or the women, as all stood by at some point in the evening and watched the canvas come to life. The intensity and dedication is reflected in the above image of Dave Pramuk of Robert Biale Vineyards. Dave is a partner in the wine company and their marketing director. He’s got a great eye for detail, so the above image makes a lot of sense to me. This year Dave received the 2008 PS I Love You Phenomenal Service Award… (Heavy emphasis on the P S).

This unique painting is one that will be a treasure, given the artists involved, including Ann Rea, herself. Ann’s reputation as a fine art, wine country artist is very strong. Her Ann Rea web site has thumbnail images of all of her vineyard pieces, if you’d like to see more of her work, or even buy a piece of her art. In the above image she’s got me squinting, so I can help rework the sky to have more light. I followed Clark Smith, for whom we didn’t get a picture, but he was also on the canvas working the leaves.

As the canvas neared completion, Eric Stine ~ the assistant winemaker at Langtry ~ took up the brush. Langtry is also known by Guenoc, a name that many of you will recognize.

Following Eric was John Concannon, Jim Concannon’s son. A new dawn is happening at Concannon Vineyard. Jim’s son just joined the Concannon team on November 17, as their national sales manager. This event was John’s first official Concannon event.

This final image has Steve Heimoff in it. Steve was our keynote speaker, and he also ~ along with Wine Enthusiast ~ received this year’s Phenomenal Scribe Award, for their continued support for Petite Sirah.

If every picture tells a story, this one’s been told from our perspective, and now the rest is in the eye of the beholder and in the hearts of those who participated. This was, after all, the PS I Love You annual meeting, which gave us all license to get a bit mushy. At one point during dinner, I noticed my daughter Lyla, from the corner of my eye, applying paint. It was a dear image to see.

This oil is drying and getting the final touches from Ann Rea, as we head toward our Dark & Delicious event at Kent Rosemblum’s new digs in Alameda, the Rock Wall Wine Company.

The oil will be part of our silent auction, at which time ANOTHER painting by the attendees will also be created. And, that one will also be part of our silent auction. Two wine country images that are collaborative experiences, living in the hearts of those who were part of the process, will be up for grabs to the highest bidders as great objects of art with amazing stories beyond their vines.