We head east to New Mexico. Our pastel group is participating in the BRAI (Black Range Artists Inc.) plein air competition to benefit St. Judes.
We are lucky to have friends in the area who find us a cool ranch right off the Gila River.
Our funky wood cabin is like a secret hideaway surrounded by still and flowing waters.
Very old irrigation ditch runs right below the front door. Nice white noise and frisky cool air.
We explore the area and pick our favorite subjects to paint/pastel.
I try out this old wagon but the flock of duck-geese disturb the water with such irregularity I can’t get a good reflection..maybe if I worked from a photo? Noooooo, ahhh.
Continuing on our walk, we meet Sam, a very friendly brown mule. Sam is fat from treats and cannot get enough.
As we near the the river, the trees grow ever more expansive.
The “style” stairway at the ranch/wilderness border.
Little up and over.
On the other side, a tangle of trees and wildflowers, wild animal (bear!) and bugs.
This river flows almost all the way to the gulf of California mostly underground now, to Yuma, AZ, where it pops up briefly to join the Colorado, 600 miles.
Back at our cottage. Pretty Peacock stained glass.
and rustic kitchen. Yes, this is our only stove. Better than camping.
Precarious steps up to the second floor.
To the Princess Turret Boudoir…my room, by default. Nobody wanted to try to navigate these steps down in the middle of the night. Smart people. I love it.
Next morning we start in the midst of outbuildings right down the lane.
After a couple of days of painting, I prepare my booty for the show. I have an evening to relax…what to do?
Take even more pictures? Nooo.
Hey, how about one last painting.
I set up to a grand view of the Gila Mountain Wilderness in the sunset but quickly attract the attention of Ann, the black Mule.
Whoa! Big Mule…don’t hurt me.
Don’t eat my paint..she is going for the blue.
Awe….and then we go on our separate ways.
But, wait, now a longhorn heifer. Very pretty cow. I am parked right where the herd crosses into the field behind me so I am entertained by many animals over the next hours.
This particular cow would not pass, so I hide in the bushes for her. See my palette set up there on the little hillock.
and discover a chilled bottle of chardonnay in the fridge…Many thanks to Denyse, I think.
Nice end to three days in the field.
Next morning we cruise on down to Deming to the BIG SHOW.
After a tour around the fair, I find my fave booth with this scruffy little Yupo Watercolor chihuahua. Pretty red collar and soft brown eyes remind me of little Jack.
The BRAI booth has about 27 paintings on display. Judge Beth Ray from Green Valley, AZ, makes her selections.
Best Of Show
Second Place (moi)
Loise Sackett’s painting of our little cabin-with the red roof.
Beth generously gives us each a critique of our work.
Becky Neideffer, fearless leader of TPS, with her work, very ambitious size and subject matter.
We had a good time and learned a lot. Now we are all ready for the next competition. Bring it on!