November 08, 2015

OUR FIRST ART WORKSHOP ... with Becky Joy!

The key to plein air painting is being able to work out of doors. Unfortunately, after a year and a half of planning to hold workshops at Painted Views Ranch and months leading up to this one in particular, we were "blessed" with rainy weather on all three days as we hosted our first workshop. But even though there was only one chance for an outdoor session, (up on the hilltop, close to the classroom in case a hasty retreat might be needed) Becky Joy did an amazing job of filling the hours indoors with valuable information for all of our students. Becky's strategies for color mixing and plenty of practice with getting tonal values just right, made for a very beneficial and highly educational experience for all our attendees.

Becky told us it would not take much to get her back again, so with her and three other artists who have already expressed an interest in teaching here, 2016 should present great opportunities for artists to hone their skills. So ... if you're a painting artist looking for workshops to attend, subscribe your email address above so that you can keep yourself informed of our future classes!

July 26, 2015

Ann Hoffpauir to Teach WATERCOLORS

We are excited to announce that a third artist has scheduled a workshop here at Painted Views Ranch.

Ann Hoffpauir will be teaching a three day workshop on

Thursday, Friday and Saturday,
October 22nd, 23rd and 24th, 2015.

This will be a workshop devoted to watercolors, working both indoors and outdoors.

Ann Hoffpauir is a full-time artist from Orange, Texas who paints in a realistic style. Her superb paintings, done in different mediums, reflect a wide range of subjects. She knows when she has hit the mark when there’s a balance between moods, look and feel.

Her painting style blends with a love of nature and its forms, with brilliant lights and strong darks and she wants to teach you the effect light has on form in unique situations whether it’s striking an object, fleeting or spilling over it.

Although she works in many mediums, in this workshop Ann will be teaching watercolors, because she finds the spontaneous qualities of watercolors lend themselves very well to a fresh painterly approach, allowing the painting as a whole to engage the viewer as it conveys a sense of mystery and beauty.

Ann believes the process of educating one’s self is never ending. She has taught at many local organizations and private schools and conducts several workshops a year along with regular weekly classes taught at her home studio in Orange.
Ms. Hoffpauir has won many awards over the years at local, state and out of state shows and has been featured in Southwest Art magazine, Visual Language online magazine and Western Art Collector’s – Art of the Horse.

To see more of her art visit:

For more information or to register for her class, email

June 21, 2015

Barbara Haviland to Teach at Painted Views Ranch

We are pleased to announce that another artist has scheduled a workshop here at Painted Views Ranch.

Barbara Haviland will be teaching a three day workshop on

Thursday, Friday and Saturday,
October 8th, 9th and 10th, 2015.

This will be a workshop devoted to still life painting.

Barbara Haviland has been creating fine art for most of her life. She is an accomplished artist, painting mostly in oils, in bold rich colors that express her enthusiasm for painting. She is mostly self-taught but has enjoyed many workshops with nationally known artists.

Barbara makes her own worlds with her favorite tools: a brush and now a palette knife. Barbara says "It is like reading a book: I can go anywhere. I get so absorbed with my creating that time passes and is gone before I know it. I am very passionate with my art. My favorite subjects are Florals and Bayou paintings, I will paint all subjects and am never bored."

Barbara Haviland has been actively giving of her talents and time to Associated Louisiana Artists /Gallery By the Lake in Lake Charles, LA. as board member and current co-treasurer. She is a member of Port Arthur and Nederland Art leagues, Texas Artists Museum and Outdoor Painters Society. Barbara is actively involved with several groups online, including Artists of Texas which gives her great joy. She is also a member of Oil Painters of America.

Barbara has been teaching still life painting for the past 10 years from her studio in Groves, TX, on the eastern edge of the state. Because this is the first time she will be available to teach a workshop in central Texas, and with the introductory price of only $350, we expect the class to fill up quickly.

If you're interested in taking her workshop,
send an email to
for further sign up instructions.

May 26, 2015

Signs of Spring

After the tornado touchdowns in central Texas Memorial Day evening, with any luck, we may be getting a break in the weather. The percentages of rain possibility for the next week don't exceed a 50% chance and experience tells us that may mean we won't get any rain this week and perhaps things can start to dry out a little.

The rains we've had in the past several months have really hampered progress on our projects. The koi pond site has been unworkable for at least the last three weeks. The excavation is holding water even without a rubber liner, just the underpadding, so that tells us the ground is saturated. The "pond" will have to be pumped out before the liner can go in. Then the rocks could go on the rock ledges that have been created in the pond, but the backyard is a sea of mud so bringing the rocks across it is just about impossible until the yard firms up a bit.

It's been too wet to mow the new grass in the front yard and it's so high now that it's become irresistible to the cattle that allow us to have an agricultural tax exemption on most of our property. Found hoof prints in a large part of the front yard this morning because the ground is so soft the hooves sink right in. Obviously it's time for some fencing and probably a cattle guard, but good luck finding workers to take on a new project when they haven't been able to work on the projects they already have.

But the surest sign of spring is birds nesting activities. The barn swallows were at it even earlier this season and it's been a constant battle to keep them from building over the door and window ledges on our porch and balcony. Rolled up plastic trash bags, held in place with tape seemed to work for a while until the little buggers figured out that they could pull the bags down and expose the ledges again. A friend told us that she read about using a suspended paper bag to repel wasps and yellowjackets because they mistake it for a hornets nest and she wondered if that might scare the swallows too. Well that's certainly worth a try. Just stuff a couple plastic bags inside of a lunch bag, tie the top with a string and hang it up. So we've had our bags in place for two full weeks now and the swallows haven't made any further progress on their construction project. Let's hope this is the solution.

But being able to work outside this morning, I discovered a bird nest in a persimmon tree very close to the house. It was off the ground to right about my eye level so I was able to take a peek and get a photo. Thanks to the magic of the internet, I've identified the eggs as being Mockingbirds, (the state bird of Texas, for all our non-Texan friends).

Mockingbirds, unlike those pesky barn swallows, are welcome here. Why? Because they have the good sense to build a nest in a tree, that looks like a woven work of art like any sensible bird should, instead of building a muddy mess on our house and leaving "calling cards" all over the porch!

May 17, 2015

Joy Filled Times are Coming to Painted Views Ranch

We are pleased to announce that we have our first artist signed up to teach a plein air workshop here at Painted Views Ranch.

Becky Joy will be teaching a three day workshop on

Thursday, Friday and Saturday,
November 5th, 6th and 7th.

Becky is a veteran plein air artist and because we know that she travels the US and Europe looking for the best places to paint outdoors, we are extremely pleased and honored that she has added Painted Views Ranch to her list of choice destinations for plein air painting.
Becky is an exhibiting member of Oil Painters of America, a signature member of American Women Artists and the American Impressionist Society, serving as show chair in 2014 and 2015.

Her work has received numerous awards in national exhibitions and has been collected by corporate clients. She was a speaker and demonstrator at the National Plein Air Convention in Carmel in 2013.
Becky has achieved signature status in Plein Air Painters of Hawaii, the Outdoor Painters Society, Plein Air Painters of Colorado and been invited to participate in plein air events, including Art in the Open in Ireland in 2014. Several national publications and books have featured Becky's paintings. Becky is the author of Using Foundational Concepts to Create Better Paintings. She also teaches workshops across the US and Europe. Becky's work has been exhibited in galleries in Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Texas, Montana, Pennsylvania and California.

Becky has been having some difficulties with her website recently, but if you would like to learn more about how to register for her upcoming workshop here at the ranch, send her an email at:
or just give her a phone call at: 602 910 1897

In the meantime, while we're waiting on her website to be repaired,
you can see examples of her work on her Facebook page at:

If you're a new visitor to this Painted Views Ranch Blog, don't forget to go to the upper right corner and subscribe your email address so that you can receive future announcements of other artists' upcoming workshops.

If you're a teaching artist, and would like to schedule a workshop, send an email to:
so that you can reserve your first choice of dates while they're available.

April 15, 2015

Through Winter into Spring

It's been three months since our last post. Why? Well progress here has been in fits and starts, go ahead and then stop.

The koi pond did get started but has changed significantly from the original design. It's gotten bigger. Not by choice, but because of rocks. As the digging progressed there were several places where the edge of the pond should have been, but huge boulders were found and when they were removed it left gaping holes. So the pond got bigger. In some places the holes were patched with concrete and block, but in other places, well, ... the pond just got re-designed.

Then the weather soon threw us the first curveball.

In January and February we had not only some bouts of near freezing temperatures and even some snow, but also some pretty consistent rains, that of course created muddy conditions. That has had a tendency to halt construction as we wait for things to dry out a bit. And just when we think we're ready to move forward again, it would rain again.

But in between rains I did manage to get a rainwater collection basin built. It will receive rain water from one of the barn downspouts and three from the house. Every one of the stones that line the basin was carefully selected and placed by hand. After all, what else do I have to spend my time on?
Now begins the task of selecting the plants that will go into and around it.

The rest of the rainwater from the barn will be going into our new 800 gallon storage tank. Having that set up now is probably the best way to assure that we won't get anymore rain for awhile.

From the humongous boulders that came out of the pond excavation, we set aside two that have flat surfaces on them and they'll be used as a seating area on top of the berm. You'll be able to sit up there and look down on the entire pond from the side opposite the patio. Here's Rascal, our Ranch Foreman, taking one of them for a test drive.

We sat on the patio recently listening to the waterfalls and watching our koi. (We have very good imaginations.)

We've also had some landscaping done since our last post, but of course the weather put a stop to that too. For as much as four weeks at a time. But we now have a front lawn of bermuda grass and a sprinkler system to keep it watered. The problem is that the digital system that controls the sprinklers hasn't been set up yet so watering the sod is a matter of getting down on your hands and knees in rain gear to open an underground valve, and then run like the wind. Gee, what fun.

The front entryway has been constructed. Well, at least the block work is done. When the mailbox is enclosed in block then the stucco crew will come in and finish the masonry. After that, the welder will take measurements for the custom gates and door for the delivery hatch. When will all this happen? Who knows? Yeah, you guessed it. It depends on the weather.

The native wildlife we mentioned before continues to show up. The gray fox has become a regular and the persimmon trees in front of kitchen window have been visited in the mornings by flocks of robins alternating between days with hundreds (yes, HUNDREDS) of cedar waxwings. And this past week I thought I'd been hearing the call of wild turkeys, and a few days later there was one hen that strutted across our front lawn, twice in one day. Well, at least I think it was the same hen twice, but maybe it was two hens at different times. Hard to say. They all seem to look alike you know.

And of course the never ending display of magnificent sunsets continues.
On nights when the sky isn't full of rain clouds that is.
But mornings here in the valley can take your breath away too,
so here's an early morning shot for you to enjoy.
There'll be more sunsets later.

January 13, 2015

Wildlife at Painted Views Ranch

Since our last post ......

We finally managed to get garage door openers installed, on all three garage bays, so we have been putting the car in the garage for the past week. The openers are belt driven and are much quieter than with a chain drive, and they have a battery backup (which is good to have when you live out in the country) and even though we have remotes in the vehicles we can open and close doors with our cell phones. It sure makes it nice when we come home with a load of groceries.

The weather has been raining and dreary the past couple weeks and with little sunshine nothing seems to be drying out. It's been mud, mud and more mud.

Of course that has delayed the start of construction on the fish pond. I drove the tractor through the pond site to try to remove some of the rocks that will be in the way and the ground was so mushy there are now bigs ruts from one end of the pond to the other.

In fact, it's been so muddy that our Ranch Foreman Rascal has been keeping up with his surveillance duties from the comfort of the balcony over the front porch.


We've been having plenty of wildlife visiting the ranch too. One day last week, as we were having lunch, a grey fox limped along the driveway in front of the house. He didn't let his left front paw touch the ground hardly at all. We wondered what may have happened with him.


And today a Great Blue Heron swooped across the front yard, not very far in front of the house. Not a good sign, considering there's a koi pond in our near future.


And with the weather lately, with fog and heavy clouds, most of the sunsets have been blocked out, with a few exceptions. Here's one of them. Stay tuned. There are bound to be more.