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Archive for October 19th, 2008

There’s just no question when you’re in the presence of creative lightning.  It is a sharpness, a clarity and, well, a lightning like electrification of the moment.  It feels to me like that first note the first violin strikes before the symphony begins.  That moment where you know something profound and ephemeral is happening and you are not just the witness, put part of the action, the experience, absorbing every moment into every cell.

That is what visiting Layla Fanucci in her artist studio in St. Helena, California is like.  She is not only the most amazing creative artist in the Napa Valley, she may well be in the art history books our grand children are reading when they look back at turn of the 21st century American artists.  Her Gallery work posted above hardly does the work justice.  Her pieces are large, huge, human size pieces that burst with images city size, or even bigger, with moments between a Mother and Daughter or the workings of a Zinfandel Mind (wine lovers know).  How she compresses the grandeur and majesty of her subjects onto the canvass is only outdone by the breathtaking awe the viewer is participant to when standing before an original Fanucci.

Substance, divine-creative inspiration, appreciation for awe-inspiring art is one of the best core values humans possess.  I find for myself, I don’t nurture that value enough in my life.  But oh the vitality and passion is can stir.  Ms. Fanucci is also fascinating to me because she picked up her first paint brush just 8 years ago.  She was not formally trained to paint.  Before Layla was inspired to become a world-class visual artist, she taught music, in schools!  I’m not sure exactly why I find that leap so magical, but as Layla describes it, she “…was at the end of my rope.  I kept losing my patience.  And when I lost my patience with a student one day, I had to leave the room.  I came back and apologized to the student.  But then I knew I had to do something else.  And I didn’t know what that was going to be.”

The profound part is that most of us have had that kind of “end of the rope” experience.  And here Layla has landed in the middle of her divinely-inspired purpose.  I find her art moving, powerful, and human.  Wine lovers might also know that Layla’s husband, Robert Fanucci is owner & winemaker at Charter Oak Winery.  Her work graces several of their amazing Zinfandel magnums .  As if you needed another reason to visit the Napa Valley.  And don’t let distance stop you:  Layla just completed an exhibit in Toronto and will exhibit again in NYC, North Carolina, Morocco in 2009.

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