Can You Hear Me Now?

Where I was

No post last Saturday. My apologies. I was at Rancho Largo with Doug Holdread and the gang.  No wi-fi, no cell phone service. Verison would have hated it out there but our little band of plein air painters  found it to be one of the most beautiful places to paint you can imagine. Rancho Largo boasts one of the few  wild herds of long horn cattle and a species of lizard growing to over a foot long. (including the tail) Our host called them Whiptails.

first light

We were all invited to go Saturday morning to a branding on a neighboring ranch. A bunch of ranchers from the area get together and one ranch at a time do the branding until all the work is done. (but not all on the same day)  I’ve been to see a branding and mostly what I got was in the way. It’s  interesting to be sure with lots of activity and cowboys,  a big mid day meal and tall tales told all around.  There was only going to be one day of painting for me though so I passed on going branding and made good use of the sun. The photo of the cactus was taken just minutes after sunrise.

my subject

This old cedar tree was my choice of subject. It’s mostly front lit and I kinda  liked the dark shapes and shadows down inside it. There weren’t a lot of cast shadows to speak of except those lower left so I took some liberties and painted them  more prominently.

About 10:30 a.m.

At about 10:30 a.m. this is what I had. The shadow area lower left is a little on the violet side but it made sense with the yellow light of the early morning. It measures 18×24 inches.

I pulled up stakes and went back to the bunk house thinking of a nap but that didn’t happen. It was way to hot so I just lazied around.


next thing

But by about noon I thought I’d best get my heinie back to work. The temp. was already in the 80’s so I thought I’d look for a subject I could paint from the shade. What did I find  to paint? The old ranch house and the only shade was what fell beneath the brim of my hat. Oh well, I rolled down my sleeves, pulled up my collar and commenced the roast.

the result

Worth it though. The reflected light on the side of the house was what did it for me. The photo doesn’t show the light as I’d have liked it to but the painting pulled it off.

early afternoon

And as per normal early afternoon brought the thunder heads. I was all worn out from painting so I decided to explore a little bit and get you guys a few photos of what the ranch is like.


The cactus is early in the bloom. Most blossoms aren’t even open yet but this one growing from the top of a rock was awesome. It amazes me how the desert plants live so well with so little.

Indian Paint Brush

This flower is called Indian Paint Brush. Our host, Grady, said when he first came to the ranch the only place they grew was in his yard that was fenced and not grazed. He has taken a unique view of helping the land replenish itself and now, through his efforts, they’re all over the place.

We listened for quite a while as Grady told us about his method of ranching,  (he’s a biologist, Princeton edumacated) and he aint no slouch. Had I had a second day to hang out and hear more I’d have gladly slept on a rock to do it. Sadly I had a boat load of paintings to frame and get to the Squash Blossom in Colorado Springs so I reluctantly put up my gear and headed home. Thanks Grady for a most excellent time at Rancho Largo.

leaving Rancho Largo

This is the last photo I got as I left the ranch. The afternoon had clouded over and a rain storm was approaching that no doubt added a little more green to  Grady’s grass. Rancho Largo was once on the list for the army expansion at Pinon Canyon. It has since been removed and will supposedly stay that way.        Yeah right.        For now.



8 Responses to “Can You Hear Me Now?”

  1. Hey Eldon- I love the painting of the cedar- the colors are fantalicious!
    (my new word for fantastic and delicious combined) Sue

  2. Vicki Barton Says:

    You were blessed with some great views that will carry you for a long time. Vicki

  3. Hi Vicki! Yes I was. The area was most beautiful and I got several photos.
    The time spent with Grady was educational as all get out. He invited me back. I guess I’ll just have to do that.
    How’s painting?

  4. Hi Sue, Fantilicious is a good word. What kind of world would this be if ya can’t make up a new word once in a while. Glad you like the painting. I love those old Cedars. Well, everything about that area is beautiful. One of these days you and Coni outta come down and do a paint trip with the Pinon Group.

  5. Vicki Barton Says:

    Remind me to tell you about branding days at Perry Park. I’m painting for the “Flower Power” opening in Taos as part of the “Summer of Love” city wide summer promotion. Vicki

  6. Great blog and great paintings Eldon,

    It looks like I’m a bit behind and have to catch up. It has been a bit busy lately, but I sure do hate to miss your blog.

    Take care,


  7. Vicki, your story about branding at Perry Park needs to spread around a bit. Great story. I conjures up great pictures . Good luck with Flower Power. You’ll make it.

  8. Barbara, I’m way behind also. Sometimes resposibility just gets in the way. We’re back tho. Maybe things will get back to normal for a while. Cross fingers please. I/ we probably need a good rest.

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