September 18, 2017

The Strange Tale of Creating a Plein Air Event

Artist MC from Texas meets Artist AP from California in France and becomes a student of Artist AP. Artist MC searches the internet for art workshops in central Texas and discovers that Artist QH will be teaching at Painted Views Ranch. Artist MC tells artist AP about the ranch and Artist AP contacts us. "How did you ever hear about us?" we ask. "From Artist MC, who said I should come teach there. And by the way, you should contact her because she's in a group of plein air painters in your area." We contact Artist MC who says "Our group is always looking for new places to paint outdoors." And the rest is now history because we had a great group of painters here this past Saturday. And two of them will be taking a Workshop with Qiang Huang here on Sept 29th through October 1st.

There is just enough time to grab one of the few spots left in that class
OR one of our October classes. Click this link to find out how to get signed up.

Now here's some photos from Saturday's event.

In the shade of the breezeway and looking west.

Lined up on the front lawn, painting views from southwest to northwest

Rascal the Ranch Foreman supervises the two painting our koi pond with it's waterfalls from the east patio.

Is that a plein air painter's dream or what?

And just a few steps away there's this!

Rascal keeps watch for possible vulture attacks.
He must have done a good job because all the painters came out alive.

Our only problem is that now Rascal thinks he's an art critic.

To see all their completed paintings, go to our website with this link.

August 29, 2017

Judy Wilder Dalton's Workshop was a Big Hit!

We've just had our first of four workshops for 2017 and Judy Wilder Dalton did an awesome job of making it inspiring, informative and FUN!

She started each of the three days with a demo and then the students set to work, and it was amazing to see over the three days all the different results that came from each of the 13 artists, even though they had all watched the same demos.
Rascal our ranch foreman, with his winning personality, quickly became the darling of the classroom, but when all the students were focused at theIr easels, he knew he could finally relax and just be a good protector.

Unfortunately, this was the weekend that Hurricane Harvey became The Terror of Texas and sadly for us, a few of our class members decided they needed to drop out.

But if you weren't here for this workshop, we want you to know that Judy has already told us that she would like to do another one here next year, so subscribe your email address to the top of the column at the right so you can get notified as soon as we set the dates.

And as for poor old Rascal, as we packed up the classroom on Monday after Judy left, he came in expecting another day of rollicking good fun, but just couldn't seem to understand why all of his new friends weren't coming back.

For information on the other three of our 2017 workshops,
which all happen to center around plein air painting, visit our website at:

July 30, 2017

September Outdoor Painting Class with Qiang Huang

We are happy to announce that our Sept 29 - Oct 1 class with Qiang Huang has reached the minimum number of students and is guaranteed to be held. The remaining slots are sure to go quickly so don't hesitate if you are interested.
Also, be sure to check out our other fantastic workshops that will be held in August and October while there are still places available.

June 30, 2017

Adventures in Pond Cleaning

This month we cleaned our fish pond. Unfortunately the combination of using a pump which turned out not to be the best for our needs, having our wet-vacuum kinda sorta fail during the process and suffering a personal injury in the afternoon of our first day, spun the whole process out longer than we had anticipated.

The primary concern was minimizing the time the fish would be in a holding tank on the shaded patio, and getting the refill started so we could return the fish to the pond.

But we started with what we thought would be the hardest part of the project, the bog, which put us behind schedule right from the start. When we realized how much time we were losing, we skipped over that and began pumping out the main pond. Even though most of the water was out, everything was going along just swimmingly, but in the middle of the afternoon, the new pump we had purchased became a problem when the water level was really low. Our backup pump worked better but kept clogging with algae and we had to keep stopping to clear it. That put us even further behind schedule, which meant the fish spent the night in the holding tank. Sure glad we invested in an aerator to keep it oxygenated.

So on the second day we had to shade the holding tank from the morning sun as we continued cleaning the main pond. Once that was done we started refilling but we couldn't put the fish back because of a heat wave that would have heated the small amount of water too quickly for the fish to survive. So they had to spend a second night in the tank.

But eventually it all worked out and of the 57 fish that came out of the pond, 56 went back in.

Then we tackled the bog again. It was as difficult as we had anticipated but some of that was due to things we found that we hadn't anticipated. We corrected those problems so we won't have to deal with them again next year.

Rocki did yeoman service working like a trooper as she took charge of the bog by removing much of the gravel and washing it while I disassembled all the components that make the bog work, cleaning out the space and getting it all reassembled, so she could return the gravel.

Days before we started, I took a chisel and hammer and "fine tuned" the spill rocks in the main fall...

(Do these waders make me look fat?)

... to give a more "artistically appealing" spread of water for our visiting plein air painters.

All things considered, it was a big job, it was a learning experience (we're already planning to do some things differently next year) and it was a big cost savings to do it ourselves. Anyway, a good time was had by all, including Rascal the Ranch Foreman and his first assistant Sweetie, who seemed to enjoy hanging out in "her fort" in the shade under the John Deere.

Our August painting class, "Abstracted Landscapes" is filling up but there's still time to sign up for one of the few spots left. And we also have three plein air painting workshops in September and October.
Visit for all the details.

May 29, 2017

As the Season Moves Along.....

... we've been having just enough rains to encourage the wildflowers to "volunteer" around the pond berm and the verbena and coneflowers are making things look like a garden in a Monet painting. The yucca that we transplanted last year has bloomed and moved into the stage of making seed pods. We're watching those so that we can gather the seeds to make more yuccas in the future because it's way easier than digging them up.
Unfortunately the rains are also encouraging the thistles and other weeds so there is always something to work on.

That would include getting things ready for our upcoming workshops.

One of the things that we will have to do every year is clean the koi pond. So we've been getting ready for that task in order to make it happen in early June. We've purchased a larger pump (than we've ever had) and a hose for emptying all the water from the pond, and a water trough for holding the koi while the pond is being cleaned.

Did a bit of a test with the new pump this past week and it should work out just fine. In fact, at 3,566 gallons per hour this thing is A BEAST! It'll probably empty most of the pond in about 3 to 4 hours.

Click here to see it in action!



We've also installed the new sign on the front gate.
So now when visitors and students for the art classes arrive, they'll know they have the right place.

Speaking of art students, we should mention that there are still some openings in this year's lineup of classes. If you're a budding art student and would like to check out what we're offering, and how to sign up for a class, you can get all the details on our website by clicking this link:

April 23, 2017

Springtime Update

Well we started last week with the threat of a week of rain ... that never arrived. After living here almost three years now we've learned from experience that unless the likelihood of rain is predicted at greater than a 50% chance, the likelihood here at Painted Views Ranch is that we won't be getting any rain.
And then last Saturday was a day when the temperatures plummetted down into the 40's and never got much above 60 all day. I know that's not much of a hardship but it was a shock after all the nice weather we've been having recently.
But, when I was taking a break from the landscaping projects I've been working on, I was out and about taking some springtime photos here on the ranch this week. You'll find some of them below.

But first I just want to say that there are still some openings in our art workshops for this year, so if you're an artist looking for instruction, please review the workshops on our website, check out the style of each instructor's work, (there's a lot of variety so it should be easy to find someone that you'd like to learn from) and get yourself signed up for one of them.

Each of the workshops are on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Aug 25 to Aug 27Judy Wilder DaltonAbstracted Landscapes
September 29 to October 1Qiang HuangOil Painting - Plein Air
October 13 to 15David ForksBringing Plein Air into the Studio
October 27 to October 29Rich GallegoA Simple Approach to Powerful Plein Air Paintings

For details on the workshops, and how to sign up, click the link to visit our website at:

Now, here are those photos ....
(Click the images for a larger view.)

We've had some gorgeous irises blooming in the pond bog. This photo is from the second batch of them.

The bog is actually part of our pond's natural bio-filtration system. Water from the pond is pumped into the bottom of the bog where it filters up through the gravel allowing the bog plants to take nutrients from the water before the clean water is then returned to the pond.

I thought this might make an interesting shot of our old plow, with the landscape to the west behind it, but as I was taking it I noticed that .....
... Rascal, our Ranch Foreman, had taken up his post for keeping a watchful eye on the cattle in the pasture below, to make sure that none were carried off by vultures.
He must be doing a good job. We haven't lost any yet.

March 28, 2017

Plein Air Painting Workshop with Rich Gallego

We now have a fourth class scheduled for 2017. In addition to Judy Wilder Dalton in August, Qiang Huang in September and David Forks in October, we now have plein air artist from California
Rich Gallego also teaching in October.

Here's another example of one of his new works.

For all the details, visit the Workshops page on our website.

To see more of his work, visit his website at:

March 20, 2017

First Plein Air Painting at PVR

For those who haven't heard, "en plein aire" (pronounced: "on plehn air") is a French term meaning "in the open air". Just a fancy way of saying "outdoors". And in recent years, painting outdoors seems to be growing exponentially in its popularity among US artists. Even though I'm not a plein air artist myself, I've often thought the sights here at Painted Views Ranch would lend themselves quite well to all the plein air excitement among artists. Which is why we have a schedule for teaching artists to sign up to teach workshops in painting here at the ranch.

This past Saturday, two members from a group known as Plein Air Austin were here painting as a sort of "test drive" for our Ranch being a venue for one of the group's future painting outings. The good news is that Lori and Juanita seemed to have a little trouble deciding which of the many vistas here to choose as their "Painting of the Day". After scouting around a bit they decided on a shady spot, protected from a gentle breeze looking in a southwesterly direction that had some of our persimmon trees and about a five mile horizon in the view. Then they set up their gear, got after it with an air of determination, turned out a couple of good ones and even made it look easy in the process.

And here's a look at the end results.

  Pretty interesting, huh?

  Give each of these a click for a closer look.

  Very talented ladies!


Before they left, we talked about when the group may want to come out and the month of May seemed to top the list of possibilities. So if you're a plein air artist, or even just want to give it a try, make sure to subscribe your email address over there at the top of the right hand column, or "like" our Facebook page so that you can know when that event will happen.

And if you're a teaching artist, or a potential art student. and you're interested in giving or taking workshops here at the ranch, check out our website at:

And who knows? I might even get up the courage to try this plein air thing myself. Seems a shame to let all these beautiful vistas go to waste, especially when I'm lucky enough to live here!

March 12, 2017

Springtime at the Ranch

We had a few plein air painters scheduled to come do some painting here last Saturday but the weather didn't cooperate, so they're scheduled again for next Saturday. All things considered, it probably worked out for the better, because during this past week, with the rains we've had, many of the persimmon trees are starting to leaf out with a very lovely shade of yellowish green, making a nice contrast to the dark greens of the cedars. And with having had the spring time change, next Saturday should be better for lighting in the morning, if the painters are here early enough.

During, the week, some of our "neighbors" stopped by, with their kids, and we had a nice chat over the fence, right out side of my north-facing studio windows.

But then the herding instinct kicked in for Rascal, our Ranch Foreman, and his First-Assistant Sweetie, and they decided it was time for the cattle to go and informed them of that point, in no uncertain terms.

Click here for the Action Video!!!

February 22, 2017

Something Fishy

With the (unusually warm for February) temperatures we've been having, the fish in the koi pond have been stirring about quite a bit. As I watched them recently I got the impression of looking into a kaleidoscope made of fish! It will be interesting to see if visiting artists will try to "impressionistically" capture a scene like this.
Speaking of visiting artists, we're beginning to get students signing up for this year's round of workshops. While there are still some openings, if you're interested in taking a class here at Painted Views Ranch, visit our website at and click the "Workshops" link for more details.

January 23, 2017

Abstracted Landscapes with Judy Wilder Dalton

We now have a third class scheduled for 2017. In addition to David Forks in April and Qiang Huang in September, we have Judy Wilder Dalton teaching in August. Judy will be instructing on the use of color, line, texture and composition as well as emotional expression when creating a landscape.

For more details visit the Workshops page on our website.

January 08, 2017

Goodbye 2016, and Hello New Year!

It's been over a year since our last post, (in case you're a subscriber and wondered why you hadn't heard anything) but 2016 has been a busy year.

Projects here have moved along in fits and starts during the past year, but the big news is that the koi pond was finally finished! A year and a half in the making but it's looking great. We are adding more plantings around it as time and weather allow but we expect to have it in good shape by spring and then the backyard landscape project should be proceeding.

And now that we've moved into 2017, we have a new website. Make a visit to for more info and photos.

Now for the REALLY BIG NEWS!!!
We already have TWO artists committed to teach Workshops here in 2017!
Qiang Huang and David Forks will be teaching plein air painting during this year.
If you're interested in taking a class with us, the website will give you details on all the upcoming classes.