Saturday, July 26, 2008

Taking a Break

The "baby" came to visit us this week. Sarah, 21, is a criminal justice major at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. She will be here for 2 weeks, exploring Napa and taking a well deserved rest from her studies. She graduates in December with what will be her third degree (you go girl) and is trying to decide if a Master's Degree in Psychology is next or if it's time to get out there and strike some fear into the criminal population.

Last night, after closing the gallery, we strolled across the street to Ceja's tasting salon and wine bar for "Hot Salsa Nights." I have been telling Sarah how much fun salsa can be, but have been met with the usual resistance when a parent suggests that something is "fun." I know my daughter, all she needed was the right environment, and a terrific salsa partner to help her loosen up a bit. To my delight, both were present and as it turns out, she's a pretty quick study. Ariel Ceja had her on the dance floor and doing fairly well almost immediately. The best part was the smile that stretched from one side of her face to the other for the whole evening. She was having fun and so was I.

When they are small children we marvel at their accomplishments, console their pains and encourage their growth. Last night, I watched my daughter take "first steps" of a different kind and found myself enjoying parenthood all over again. Afterwords, we talked and laughed about the evening's events and made plans for this evening's encore.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Sometimes you know when something wonderful is going to happen, and the mere anticipation can have you behaving like a child at Christmas. We celebrated our own little Christmas in July this week when the much awaited "Deliberation" by Bryan Larsen arrived. She had been perfectly crated, and it appeared that the shippers had paid mind to the fragile stickers that called for special handling. I carefully removed each of the 3 dozen or so wood screws, knowing that each brought me closer to the moment I had been waiting for since March.

Quent and I had the pleasure, no make that honor, of visiting Bryan, Sara and Asher Larsen in their home earlier this year. While there, Bryan treated us to a sneak peek of "Deliberation" yet unfinished in his studio. There among the brushes, easels and paint was a site to behold. A vision so lovely despite its being incomplete. For me, it was love at first site. This was to become one of my favorite paintings ever and I know the artist! How cool is that? Thank you Bryan Larsen for creating and creating and creating. :)

I already had a spot reserved for "her" prior to her arrival. An alcove right next to the area where I often write these posts, greet gallery guests and return e-mail. She keeps me company and reminds me how wonderful life is and how much there is to enjoy. Sitting next to the painting, I find myself remembering to breathe and relax in the midst of our very full schedules and daily agendas. There has been much deliberating for us these days, both as we've created this beautiful gallery and as we continue to make major changes in our lives with respect to our Napa relocation. "Deliberation" is an ideal moment in time. Whoever purchases this painting is in for a lifetime of joy and inspiration and maybe an occasional guest. ;)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Another Milestone

Thursday afternoon we took another step towards making Napa our official home. After months of preparation, perspiration and even a little trepidation, Quent and I celebrated our new location with a ribbon cutting ceremony surrounded by our new friends and business acquaintances. We hope to have a Grand Opening event later in the year after we have completed all of the details that remain on our to-do list. This event was the city's way of welcoming us to downtown.

Each day it seems like the number of tourists grows, which is a welcome site. Although, I'm almost convinced that the price of gas alone is affecting the amount of foot traffic in downtown. Area merchants have confirmed that things are definitely slower than usual and that the number of visitors from elsewhere in California is down compared to this time last year. I am however, optimistic that we will still enjoy a very busy summer.

This afternoon a gentleman in his 80's took rest on one of our comfy sofas while the two ladies that he was with wandered through the gallery. He motioned that I should come over. "Young Lady," he said (I loved that part), "you may not believe me, but I have never been one to appreciate art. Today, that changed. As you can see, I am not a young man, but sitting here looking at these two beautiful paintings, (Deliberation and Rendezvous) I feel young again. What beauties they are and what talent it took to create them. Thank you for being here and for making an old man smile. "

I have nothing that can follow that. :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Good News...No Snooze

Over the last several weeks we have only taken a day off here or there, and now that the doors are open, we scheduled yesterday as our first official day off and closed the gallery. I'm not sure what Quent had planned, but I was looking forward to a day of jammies, movies and lounging. Mix in a little reading, a nap and maybe a mani-pedi and voila, instant revitalized Linda. Ok, yes that seems like a lot to squeeze into a relaxing day, but it would likely be another week before I got another one so I had to make the best of it.

The day turned out a bit differently than I planned. Tuesday morning when I rolled out of bed, Quent greeted me with a cup of coffee and a newspaper. As it turned out, the local Napa Valley Register had decided to place us on the front page of Tuesday's edition. to work we went. The employees had the day off since we were supposed to be closed, so it was Mr. and Mrs. Cordair, side by side, all day. Thanks for being there Babe! We enjoyed a fair amount of foot traffic as a result of the article and the traffic has been pretty good again today.

Today's gallery pic is of our lovely "Carefree." She stands outside the gallery welcoming those who pause and contemplate a stroll through the gallery. She has been a very popular and patient model for those who have posed with her to have their picture taken. More than one dog out for a walk has barked at her in frustration when she will not move or respond to them. Thank you Karl Jensen for such beautiful work. We love "her" and it appears that Napa loves "her" too.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Sunday brought us among many wonderful things, friends and fans from our Burlingame location. We were honored to have Dave, Portia & Paul spend part of their afternoon enjoying a beautiful new surroundings. We are also starting to enjoy repeat guests, which is a real compliment. The word is out; the Cordairs are in town.

This week we will be working on many details in preparation for Thursday's ribbon-cutting ceremony. With the last of the art now here from Burlingame, the finishing touches are in the works. New elegant tags accompany each work of art, the comfy sofas are in place and at this very moment, the incredible voice of Pavaratti adds the perfect touch as we welcome more
visitors today.

We know that you can't all make it here to celebrate with us this week. We encourage you to
visit the gallery on line and celebrate your life with uplifting art. Let us know if there is a special piece that you would like to own and we'll put it aside for you before one of the tourists buys it.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Since opening our doors seven days ago, we have enjoyed a plethora of positive comments from both Napans and tourists. Comments such as the very popular "wow," "this is incredible" and "thank you so much for bringing this gallery to Napa" are just a few of the many accolades that we have heard this week.

Prior to our arrival, the space was most recently occupied by a baby-furniture store, before that a book store and the original occupant for almost 30 years was the Napa Toy Shop. We have enjoyed sharing memories with the locals who grew up here in Napa and were recipients of many a gift from the toy store or who often spent their allowances right here in this very building. Yesterday, I enjoyed a visit from the owner of the toy store. She seemed very pleased with the changes that we have made and shared a few stories about the history of this location. At one point she was near tears as she wished us good luck and said that she would tell her friends about the wonderful new gallery in downtown, I invited her to participate in our ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday and told her that we had plans for a holiday tribute to the toy store for our window displays. I have been actively seeking Napans who still have toys that they received or purchased from the toy store with hopes of borrowing them for a Christmas display.

Last night was the first evening where we stayed open until 10pm to allow the pre and post dinner traffic to enjoy the art. The gallery is especially beautiful and highly visible after dark. The vibrant colors against the sandstone walls are impossible to miss when viewed from outside. The walk-in traffic was good and we enjoyed the oohs and ahs from our evening guests as they wandered into the light. One woman exclaimed that the gallery "took her breath away" and that she looked forward to visiting the "new jewel in Napa" often.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Can You Handle This?

You know a guy since high school, you date for a few years and you even marry him, but do you really know him? I knew my wonderful Man had many talents, but door handles too? Look at these beauties! Designed by, stained and installed by the same guy who's name graces the title of this blog and soon the doors to our new digs. These babies make a statement. Measuring about 18" tall and about 2.5" thick and made of cherry wood, these handles say "push me, pull me, come in and see what's on the other side of these doors." Thanks Honey, You Rock!

All Work, No Play...No Way

Today we took a day off (the first one in a long time) and enjoyed a round of golf with one of our new friends and area merchants. We were joined by his 16 year old step-son who is visiting from Italy. A good time was had by all and the post-round refreshments were especially good in the 99 degree heat. It was not my best round, but I will say that I made it through 18 holes having lost only one golf ball. :)

For those of you who are far more interested in news about the new gallery:

Yesterday we managed to finish hanging the majority of the art. It may very well be a long time before I volunteer to move the gallery again. What a job this has been! Have I told you lately how wonderful it looks? Seriously, each day I marvel at what we have accomplished. There are still many details to complete but we are very happy with our progress thus far.

We were interviewed by the Napa Valley Register (local paper) yesterday and the photographer will be by in the morning to capture history. Let the fun continue. To quote one of my favorite television commercials, "...I'm too excited to sleep." :) Ergo the late night post.

While I do not have any golf photos to share, I happily give you yet another glimpse of the church of Cordair. Enjoy! We hope that you will visit soon and remember that if you can't make it to Napa, we'll be more than happy to send a little Napa your way. Enjoy the art online at

Saturday, July 5, 2008

A Warm Welcome

Napans and tourists alike have bestowed a wealth of compliments upon us since opening our doors yesterday. Our new neighbors are very pleased with the changes that we have made to both the interior and the exterior of the building and the tourists seem very pleased with our presence and the selection of art that we have on display. After an afternoon of wine tasting, the gallery provides a lovely place to unwind and refuel.

We have scheduled an official ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Chamber of Commerce for Thursday, July 17 at 5pm. We expect to have all of the detail work completed at that time. For now, we are opening one room at a time, which seems to be working very well for us as people are expressing a desire to return to see what has been added.

I was told that Craig T. Nelson was standing across from the gallery on Thursday, smoking a cigar. We were busy inside with last minute details and it's probably just as well that I did not run into him since I was sporting my newly stained tennis shoes and a variety of paint samples that somehow found their way off the brush and onto my clothes.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Hello Napa, Happy 4th of July!

Thursday evening's Chef's Market provided a wonderful opportunity to offer a "sneak peek" of our new gallery space. Rather than open the doors, we invited select people to step in and enjoy a limited display. Two of the ten rooms are adorned and the next few days will have us busy completing the other rooms.

We officially opened the gallery this morning at 10:30. Happy Fourth of July! Everyone has been very complimentary of both the art and our new surroundings. We've already enjoyed more people in the gallery today than we would see in a week in Burlingame. In fact, two of our first visitors were from Burlingame and had never been in the gallery while we were located there.

In addition to enjoying Independence Day, today's tasks involve installing a rather stubborn pocket door, un-crating and hanging paintings and a plethora of details. This evening we look forward to celebrating our opening with a fireworks display courtesy of the city of Napa. :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Concrete Evidence

Last night Quent and I stained the first half of the gallery floors and they look mah-vel-ous! Just to prove it, here are the before and after pics.

Not that anyone should be looking at the floors when they enter our hallowed halls, but we do have our standards. How does one make concrete look warm and inviting? It's harder than it looks. Two coats and two colors later, we are very pleased with the results. We managed to get most of the stain on the concrete but some of it did manage to find our shoes, pants and hands. I'll be buying a new pair of sneakers this week, that's for sure.

Details, Glorious Details

The countdown to opening day continues as those involved in our adventure add the finishing touches. Pedestals are being prepared by Shawn, Erik has painted nearly 1000 feet of baseboard and crown molding and Trace has made sure that the art will be beautifully lit. We have all worn many hats over these last few weeks; it won't be long now.