04 October 2012

Rankin Ranch C.A.C. paint out

"Chicken Run" 9"x12"
The Rankin Ranch is near Tehachapi, in Kern county, California. It occupies a basin and it is somewhat deep in the mountains . The Rankin family has owned it for generations and runs the ranch just like any other ranch except they do allow for visitors who want to enjoy the ranch atmosphere (think dung) . Dwight and Laura Dreyer organized this outing and it turned out to be quite an experience.

Arriving at a new location to paint always involves a bit of scouting and figuring out what is there that will inspire the eye. After our trip to Tejon Ranch, where the main attraction is the natural beauty, I was expecting a similar treat. While also very beautiful, Rankin Ranch's main visual appeal is the fact that is indeed a working ranch, with  cowboys, cows, horses...the works. And they are not there to perform for you or planted by the County Fair. They go about their business and  you can watch. Always behind the fence. Cows are temperamental that way.

It is for this reason that I'm still upset about missing the cowboys as they maneuvered the cows from the corrals early in the morning the first day. We were advised to witness it but I decided to paint the chickens above  instead. It is a nice painting mind you but it doesn't compare to some of the images some other lucky artists took with their cameras. My point is: if you happen to be in a ranch like this, it might be worth thinking of it not only as a place to paint but a great place to gather reference for future studio art. You've been advised. Master of the West I am not but I wish I had been a bit more adept at chasing the action.

"Amanda Rankin, cowgirl" watercolor
 The Dreyers  organized for Amanda Rankin to graciously pose in full gear and with a fidgety horse that ended up not wanting to model. I just got ten minutes to sketch her  (so many options can be overwhelming) but she was a great model. There was also a petting zoo where I met "Poncho" the miniature donkey with a lousy attitude and the subject of the painting below.  And the rest of the rodeo included beautiful vistas, a great homestead building, old barns and even  a cute creek. Lots and lots ob subject matter, most of it in constant motion.

"Poncho and the goats" 8"x10"

This is a working ranch, not  a show

The main painting subject will be cows and cowboys.
 Among the painters that came, I had the chance to make some new friends  and annoy the old ones all over  again. Michael Obermeyer was there creating wonderful piece after wonderful piece and not missing a beat. He certainly knows how to  make great use of his time because he managed to hit all the events and opportunities.  Also there were Alfred Tse, Molly Lipscher (with her new customized Ford Transit in which she intends to install a studio complete with sleeping cot, stove and porta-potty, somehow), Jane Thorpe, Rose Ash, Diane McClary, Nancy Angelini, Diane Nelson, Frances Pampeyan .... some sharing cabins and some on their own. This cabin sharing business was the source of much hilarity. Details shall remain absent.

And talking about cabins, the facilities were very nice with a large community room and a dining hall festooned with "Republican of the Year" diplomas and women in Nancy Reaganesqe hairdos . You get my point, Obama is not coming to visit and a glance at an issue of "Ranch" magazine will bring that point home in a hurry. The people in the ranch couldn't have been nicer if they tried , including the very patient cowboys (even though I suspect they liked posing for pictures because they squinted into the distance with that forlorn look that is "just so" and  shifted their hip balance with a bit of sass as if a movie director was at their heels).

So city folk, if you ever happen to go paint in Ranking Ranch, make sure your camera batteries are in tip top shape and may be this is time to invest in a good lens.

Michael Obermeyer exploring the possibilites

Moments of beauty are unpredictable and fast

Early morning over the


Marian Fortunati said...

Sounds like y'all had a great time!!

You captured some great scenes in paint, too!!

Lori Quarton said...

What a great opportunity!!