Friday, February 05, 2010

Rancho Arbolado PA

Some of the Rancho Arbolado ranch houses and barn where I met Jose.
Well I headed out the other day to Rancho Arbolado to do a PA painting for the museum in Los Olivos. I arrived at the ranch at 9 am and met up with the foreman, Jose, and 2 very big but friendly dogs. One only had 3 legs but he seemed to move with no problem. He lost his right front leg but moved around so well I didn't notice for the first 10 minutes that I was there. Rancho Arbolado is a working cattle ranch and most of it is mountains. We drove over to another entrance to the ranch to start the drive up the mountains. The places I would be painting were high up and I took our 4 wheel drive truck to get up the narrow and badly worn dirt road. Recent rain storms had cut several large crevaces across it and no way would a car have made that trip. Once to the top I was awarded some beautiful vistas of the Santa Rita mountains, Santa Ynez mountains, the valley below and Pacific ocean. Low lying fog soon blew out and Jose left me to the rest of a sunny day.

Shady and cold painting here....but some excellent scenery.
I decided that I would try and do 2 paintings while there. I had to hurry because I needed to get the truck back by 3 and it was already 10 am. Remember, this is a large cattle ranch of 2400 acres. The first location I chose to paint was on a hilltop and some pretty strong winds blowing. It was cold! I set up my easel close to some oaks for protection but it didn't help much and I was in the shade which made it worse. I hurried on that one and within 2 hours had enough completed to just have to do minor touch ups once back in the studio. I packed up and headed for another the sun and with plenty of trees to block the winds.

Winter Hillside, Rancho Arbolado, 16"x20" Oil on canvas

The museum wanted somewhat larger canvases so I went with 16"x20"'s. Much larger than I normally paint when on location but it worked out. A nice little challenge for the day.

This next spot turned out to be a view looking south to the Pacific ocean and across to the Channel Islands. It got warm enough to take my shirt off and take a little more time on this one. It was shortly after setting up here that I remembered my thermos filled with steaming hot coffee in the back seat of the truck! Duh! By a little after 2 I was packing it up and heading down the mountains for home....but I had my coffee, the view in my head, the feeling that comes with discovery from being allowed to paint up here and I had 2 paintings under my belt for the day.

The only drawback was our recent rains have turned everything green and I was hoping for some dried brown grasses...not to be had. It's not that I can't paint greens it's just that I really love painting the ochres of summer grasses. I'm hoping to maybe go back there and paint again in summer. All in all it was a good day and I was glad to finally get some inspiration to paint again after the lull I've had lately. I did my touch ups but probably did too much since I want these to look good for the museum. Fun stuff.

" Rancho Arbolado View" 16"x20" Oil on canvas

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