Drinking from a Cold Spring

January 2 – March 27, 2021
a creative immersion with Erin Lee Gafill

There is a current of energy that exists within us.
When I connect to it, I’m transported by a much bigger energy than my own.
I no longer care if the work is “perfect”.
I don’t worry about technique, how it looks, or how it makes ME look.
I feel the energy.
I feel the power.
I feel alive in a bigger way than in any other space in my life, and nothing matters except sharing in the current.
When this state passes, it is my daily pursuit to reconnect with it.
Every daily habit or decision is a way back to this energetic river, this “river of joy”.
This is the work of our program, tapping the current.

Color Duets – Kaffe Fassett & Erin Lee Gafill

Hardcover Edition – 112 full color pages
Introduction by Kaffe Fassett
Written by Erin Lee Gafill
Paintings and Textiles by Kaffe Fassett & Erin Lee Gafill

Color Duets
Kaffe Fassett & Erin Lee Gafill

Color Duets is a new book of original artwork, textiles, and family stories. It memorializes a series of artist retreats shared by Kaffe Fassett and his niece, Erin Lee Gafill over the last twelve years.

Two artists in the thick of noted careers celebrate beauty through color and pattern. Each works tirelessly to create work expressing their individual visions, while touring the world evangelizing to the faithful their message: “You, too are a creative spirit.”

For over twelve years, they have come together each May in the home where they both spent their formative years. They retreat to a cabin in a redwood grove across the highway from Nepenthe in Big Sur, California. In this stolen week, they sit side by side, surrounded by palettes, easels, brushes, and paints. They observe and render the nuance of color and form as the canyon light illuminates selected groups of vases, pots, and flowers.

Color Duets represents more than the creative outcome of still life paintings. It reflects on the contemplative experience of sharing a studio and focusing the artist’s eye on simple objects. It honors the magic of the brush, which elevates these objects to a place of honor. It is about looking and seeing and finding the rhythm and the melody in the juxtaposition of simple objects. It speaks of taking time together in retreat from the pressures of the world.

This book serves as a catalog for Color Duets, a museum show opening in May, 2021 at the Monterey Museum of Art in Monterey, California.

Release date, June 15, 2020 by 26 Letter Press

ISBN: 978-1-950731-01-5

Introduction by Kaffe Fassett

Images, paintings, and text by Erin Lee Gafill, Kaffe Fassett, and Tom Birmingham

Touring Italy – Awaken the Artist Within

Spannocchia, Rosia, Italy
Castello di Spannocchia

We were enchanted with Italian culture, cuisine, art, and society from our first visit in 1991. That year we brought our two children for three weeks, spending time in Rome, Florencer, Venice, and Parma. Each meal was a revelation. Each cafe was an oasis. Each chapel a gallery.

It took us several years before we could return, but in 1998 we did come back, and brought our first group tour to join us in our love affair with the birthplace of the Renaissance.

Soon we were bringing groups to Italy each autumn. Our tours center around a week at the fourteenth century villa at Spannocchia. There we enjoy delicious meals centered on fresh vegetables from the organic gardens, daily walks through the 1000 acre estate, and a regular painting practice.

The annual retreat we coupled with visits to some of our favorite cities, Rome, Naples, Orvieto, Florence, and Venice. There is nothing we enjoy more than sitting with a group in a piazza, enjoying an espresso, or a glass of wine, and sketching the unique environs of Italian cities.

With the onset of COVID this year, we have suspended our annual visits for now, but look forward to a time on the other side, when once again we can immerse ourselves in the inspiration and “il dolce far niente” that Italy affords.



Erin Lee Gafill – erinleegafill@yahoo.com

Tom Birmingham – tom@bigsurarts.com