Posts Tagged 'Wine Emporium'

Weekend in West Sonoma County

The summer has definitely begun.  First – and most appreciated – the weather is warm and there are no signs of rain.  Second, there are so many things going on that decisions must be made for the weekend.  Many years ago I met a young couple at the Forestville Firemen’s Pancake Breakfast.  They described to me their weekly quest for Sunday breakfast at the bargain price of $5 each. From Memorial Day to Labor Day they can find a Sunday pancake breakfast within Sonoma County.  I have since learned that there are breakfasts, lunches and events each weekend to keep any local or tourist fed and entertained.

This weekend is no different.  Tonight (Friday) began the weekend with an Art Opening at Wine Emporium on Main Street in Sebastopol.  The featured artist is Charles Beck (his Artist Profile from July 2006 follows) and events at Wine Emporium sport great food and wonderful wines.  You can see the Wine Emporium Newsletter at Emporium is just one of the many gems found in West Sonoma County.  Wine Emporium has a wide variety of local and international wines covering the whole price spectrum.  I discovered Chono Reserva Syrah from the Elqui Valley of Chile – a wonderfully drinkable and tasty wine for a mere $15.

Interior of Wine Emporium


The art was spectacular and Tara Linda, a wonderful singer and musician serenaded us throughout the evening.  I had arranged to meet a friend there who had two tickets to Resorts in Bloom for this weekend.  Resorts in Bloom is a charitable fund-raiser for West Sonoma County Heath Services, River to Coast Children’s Services and West County Community Services.  You can learn more about the event at  Tomorrow I will be off visiting the wonderful gardens of Russian River Resorts.  And, again, I will remind everyone that you still have time to visit artist studios this weekend with Art@theSource.   Summer is truly here. 

Here is the article on Charles Beck from 2006.  I cannot believe that it has been that long since we sat on his deck taking in the splendor of Joy Road. 

Salmon Creek by Charles Beck


Artist Profile – Charles Beck 

All artists are independent thinkers, of sorts.  Some are just a bit more independent in the “doing”.  Charles Beck is definitely an independent doer.  A man of few words and quiet demeanor, Charles has taken the less traveled path to pursue his interests in nature, art and life.  

Charles has good roots for independent doing.  His grandmother was a trail blazer when she purchased property for her summer home at Salmon Creek in the 1920’s.  Boulder, Colorado had a mystical draw for the California youth in the 1960’s but when it came to settling down, there was no place like home.  After attending school at University of Colorado and Sacramento Junior College, Charles finished his formal education at Sonoma State majoring in Art.  After spending summers in this pastoral environment, the selection of Sonoma County as home was natural.   No other landscape could pull him away – except for the Pacific Ocean. 

Charles recalls an art appreciation class in Sacramento as a turning point in his interests.  The proximity of The Crocker Museum and the celebration of the Bay Area Figurative movement had a profound effect on his desire to paint.  Richard Diebenkorn, Elmer Bischoff and David Park were in nearby Berkeley and taking the American art world by storm.  Their strong technique and raw subject material moved many into action.  

As many artists are aware, art is not the easy way to earn a living.  When putting food on the table for his young family became a necessity, Charles put down his paint brushes and became a commercial fisherman.  Well, he put down his paintbrushes while he was a sea but savored the blocks of time that the profession gave him to paint.  It is not surprising that another favorite artist is Winslow Homer who is renowned for his depiction of fishermen and the untamed sea. 

The fishing days are now behind Charles and his inspirational activity is bicycling.  By his own admission, Charles is a “passionate bike rider.”  He rides the roads of Sonoma County and takes in the countryside – the hillsides, the vineyards, the orchards, streams, the clouds, the shoreline.  Sometimes he will snap a digital picture.  Sometimes he will go back and recreate a scene at the easel.  Most likely he will imprint a shape or a ray of sun into his memory for future use.  His desire is to draw from his collective experience and produce a work that has a reality at the core.  His current paintings fall into the category of landscape but to call them “landscapes” does not capture the essence of them.  The painting captures an experience that goes beyond the superficial subject matter. 

Charles is currently re-incorporating the figure into his work.  The emphasis on water and land has given way to still lives of apples from the orchard at his home.  The inclusion of people in his paintings brings him full circle to the movement that inspired him in his youth.  To own a Charles Beck painting, one must deal with Charles Beck.  That independent “doing” shuns all but the most special outlets.  So, yes, you can see a few small pieces at Quicksilver Mining Company in Forestville, but otherwise, you need to contact Charles.  Charles participates in the two local open studios each year, Art @ the Source in June and Art Trails in October.  Paintings are displayed across the Beck property on Joy Road.  You can contact Charles at or take a peek at his work at


September 2021


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