Saturday, January 16, 2010
It's a Small World
I came across some old note cards with paintings of
my Grt. Grandmother, Sohpie Alstrom Mitchell's watercolor
floral paintings while straightening up a room and decide
to see if they were still available through the Napa Valley Museum.
Googled her name and found her on Allan Stellar's blog that writes
about his hikes everyday. He took a picture of the old house and
discovered that a plaque was placed on the property. His article
dated Dec 26, 2009:
"I drove down to the Napa Valley yesterday. Worked today.
After work, I headed down to St. Helena in order to walk
the White Sulphur Springs road. I was looking for an uphill
walk. I was delighted to discover that this walk, that I
had remembered to be uphill, was actually quite easy for
me to negotiate. Even with my backpack on (loaded with
thirty pounds of books), this road was not as much uphill
as I remembered. Good news.
Of course, this is the walk that passes through the grounds
of what some call a "white collar cult". White Sulphur Springs
is amongst one of the oldest resorts in California. In it's
heyday, beginning in 1852, 1,000 wealthy San Franciscans would
stay at the resort. Now it is home to what EST has evolved into:
"The Hoffman Process". Six thousand bucks for a five day seminar
promises to heal all your suburban angst.
Sophie Alstrom Mitchell lived at this resort in a simple house
from 1862-1882. She was a watercolor artist regionally known
for her paintings of local flowers. An interesting lady, when
her first husband died in 1882, she took up with a local
Presbyterian Minister--seventeen years her junior. Sophie's
artwork is on permanent display at the Napa County Museum."
Sophie painted in what we think is gouache, selling some of
her florals to a buyer in New York. Some of her collection
of paintings were found in an attic in New York and sent
back to California and placed in the Napa Valley Museum
and note cards made of the paintings.
She took botany at college and also had a talent for art.
Her husband would drive his horse and buggy throughout the
Napa valley and pick wildflowers on the way home for Sophie to
paint. Some paintings are of flowers that are now extinct,
which have a very exotic look.