Sunday, November 11, 2012


Ghost Ranch country in Abiquiu, New Mexico

In October I joined seven other painters from Texas, Arizona and Colorado for five days of painting at Ghost Ranch in northern New Mexico. Ghost Ranch is famous for several reasons but is known mostly because it is where Georgia O'Keefe lived and painted for most of her career. It has also served as the backdrop landscape for many major movies including "City Slickers" and "Silverado".

 From l to r: Bob Rohm, Fran Ellisor, Steve Atlinson, Morris Reese, Jeanette Stutzman, Jane Christie, Dave Bates and Rusty Jones

This was my first trip to Ghost Ranch but it won't be my last. The only negative was not having any cell service, internet or TV. It was kind of like living on Mars for a week.

First morning and first painting. Right after breakfast on the first day I headed to the valley at the back of the property and did this 12" x 16" appropriately titled "Off to a Good Start". Unfortunately it was a lot 
like scoring a birdie on the first hole in a round of golf. There's no way to go but down and I struggled the rest of the day.

  "Off the a Good Start"  12" x 16"  oil/linen

"O'Keefe's Place"  8" x 16"  oil/linen

One morning we were given permission to paint on Georgia O'Keefe's property. I spent most of the day here, producing three paintings.

"Dry Gully"  12" x 16" oil/linen

As the wind picked up in the afternoon I found refuge in a deep gully. The plein air easel I'm using is a new brand from Plein Air Pro. I like the palette being separate from the panel holder and it has a custom designed turp cup that fits right in the front. I have a Best Brella attached to provide shade. I thought for sure I would have problems with the wind, but it all worked out well and I got a good painting done.

Steve Atkinson knocks out another good one.

Morris Reese is one of my favorite people to paint with. Knowledgeable, talented and one funny guy.

This was Bob Rohm's 22nd annual trip the Ghost Ranch. He is normally teaching a workshop so having five days just to paint was a real joy for him.

Fran Ellisor had to survive an early morning mishap when the wind destroyed her easel. But being the trooper that she is, repairs were made and painting continued.

Jeanette Stutzman join us from Colorado. She was a blast to be around and a really talented plein air pastelist.

"Ghost Ranch Colors"  12" x 16"  oil/linen

My painting of the scene photographed above. This is right at the front of the property as you drive in from the highway.

Took one day away from painting to do a little fishing with my good friend Dave Bates.

"Cottonwood Crossing"  12" x 16"  oil/linen

On my drive home I took a different route back to Texas that took me through Taos and down through Mora. The cottonwoods were magnificent and I couldn't resist the temptation to stop and do one more painting.


Debra Bryant said...

Looks like a dream trip! The last one was definitely worth the stop :)

Steve Johnson said...

Chanceless creativity..Excellent work and all the pictures looks quite natural..