Water Tower and buildingsJuly 22nd from 1:00 pm-3:00 pm

Paint the iconic Kelley House water tower on Saturday, July 22nd. Award-winning local artist Suzi Long will be your teacher and guide as you paint your own watercolor masterpiece. With patience and humor, she will show perspective and proportion strategies as well as a few tricks employed by artists everywhere. No experience is necessary.

Suzi Long has a special relationship with water towers: in 2006 she moved into the Wind and Weather Water Tower, where she opened her own gallery and began teaching watercolor travel sketching to visitors. Suzi’s gallery, also known as the historic Jarvis & Nichols Water Tower, was built in 1924 by Perley Maxwell and is the third tower to serve the Jarvis & Nichols property (now the Gallery Bookshop). In the 1960s, Bill Zacha, founder of the Mendocino Art Center, purchased the Jarvis & Nichols property and made many improvements to the various buildings on the parcel, including the water tower.

The double tank water tower was enclosed by Zacha in 1964 and became Esther Nichols’ studio; later it served as Style Salon, Watertower Beauty Salon, The Water Tower Gallery, Emily McAlpin Energy Workshop, Indian Summer, Wind & Weather Shop, The World of Suzi Long, The Water Tower Apothecary, Loot & Lore, and what appears to be an American crafts store about to open. The building now has three habitable floors and two functioning water tanks above them.

Suzi said being in the iconic and historic water tower made her feel special. However, it was sometimes difficult when she still had her studio on the third floor: “Trying to paint with the gallery open was very difficult because I would have to run down two flights of stairs to the gallery to talk to people and find that 99% of them were only interested in the tower.” It was their interest in the water tower that inspired Suzi to use it as the subject of her watercolor classes, which served well over 1000 students.

Although painting without prior experience may seem daunting, Suzi says, “Painting or drawing is something that you learn like the alphabet or like writing. You practice those marks with certain rules and drawing is the same; practice makes perfect (or at least recognizable). Almost all my students were amazed at what they had drawn and painted and showed off their creations to their families or companions once class was over.” Suzi’s classes have inspired many artists, including a young girl who discovered the joys of art when she was eight years old, and ten years later began studying architecture at Cal Poly. An elderly gentleman became an avid artist after Suzi’s instruction and now creates the most wonderful and whimsical illustrations.

Benefit from Suzi’s expert training at the Water Tower Sip and Paint on Saturday, July 22nd from 1:00 pm–3:00 pm. Take in the beautiful view from the Kelley House lawn while enjoying local wine from Fathers + Daughters Cellars, or sparkling cider, and become a painter extraordinaire! Tickets can be purchased online at the Kelley House Museum’s website—$60.00 for members and $75.00 for non-members. The tickets include art supplies and membership for non-members.

The Kelley House Museum is open from 11AM to 3PM Thursday through Monday. If you have a question for the curator, reach out to curator@kelleyhousemuseum.org to make an appointment. Walking tours of the historic district depart from the Kelley House regularly.


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