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.