Tag Archives: Ghost Ranch

Desert, dreaming

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I woke up from a dream of the desert. It felt like my subconscious came to some profound understanding about the places of strange beauty and the places of strange mystery.

This photo came from a tour book of sites for the plein air artists.

I don’t know if I can express it in words, but I’ll try.

The time I spent at the Ghost Ranch and the time I spent on the road must have had an effect on me. I was glad I took the time to sit there and stare at it.  One thing about the plein air week was that the artists are expected to make lasting friendships and go to another plein air event to feel part of the plein air family, but I didn’t do that, alas. The group was rushing around to as many beautiful places and whipping out as many oil or watercolor sketches as they could every day and I, with my weak social skills and slow way of working, still kept to myself too much. I didn’t want to try to go fast with it like they did. I wanted to sit there in the beautiful spots and commune with nature every day as I worked on my painting.

How can an artist get the most out of it if they hurry through it? How can they pick up the vibe of the desert if they’re socializing with so many people?  Can they see the mystery in the empty spaces if they fly over it?  When I woke up I felt like out of all the 100 or so artists at the event, I was definitely the slowest, but something else. I have my doubts that any of the others felt it like  I did. Could I ever give up painting the way I do so that I could fit in better socially? Should I change my style? Should I do unfinished paintings that are sketchy and have no depth or detail? No. I remember it well, at least for now. It’s not a fast food hamburger, it’s a piece of prime rib to be savored. Do you know what I mean?

photos from the Ghost Ranch / trip debriefing

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The last few days of my drive were less exciting because of the trees on both sides of the road blocking the view.

I saw cops and robbers on my way back east and they all let me alone. I got tired of driving one night and took an exit only to find myself at a real dive of a motel, but didn’t want to get back on the road. I was lucky the whole trip with not getting bit by either dangerous animals or bugs, and not getting robbed by those scary guys staying at the same motel.

If you are afraid, a road trip isn’t for you, but if you need some excitement in your life it can be rewarding.IMG_2380

If it wasn’t for trucks there would be no traffic on rte. 40. The truckers let me alone too. I made a good choice buying the Taurus for this trip, as I feel the car was respected on the interstates, but I might trade it for a Ford pick up truck to do the next drive so I can go on the unpaved roads

Rte. 81 was so beautiful going through western VA yesterday in the mountains.

Nashville has TERRIBLE traffic and I was glad I took 440 instead of staying on 40 through it, because the cars kept moving fast even though it was very heavy traffic, and I saw total gridlock going west at 6:30 AM!

Now I’m home and I don’t have any food in the house, so, I’m back to doing  boring stuff like grocery shopping, picking up mail and doing wash, etc.

It’s hot and humid here at Virginia Beach. I had great weather for my drive and also at the Ghost Ranch, it only rained a little one day and it was cool and dry all week.

I accomplished my goal at the Ghost Ranch which was to complete 2 paintings in one week. And it was a great trip!

Now I’ll buy a whole pound of fresh NC steamed shrimp and eat it all myself to celebrate. I loved the west, but I’ll never move there because the seafood is probably all frozen. mmmm steamed shrimp.

 

so long, Ghost Ranch / hello Oklahoma

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I took this photo yesterday when I left the Ghost Ranch after breakfast.  This cabin was a popular subject for the Plein air artists. If I had more time there I’d have sketched it.

In OK news tonight, women in OKC are fighting for the right to go topless because men can go topless. They had a topless protest. A lawyer said they should be free to go topless but this opens up a whole can of worms.

 

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I’m in Shawnee OK. after driving for 7 hours across northern Texas then into OK on rte. 40. Traffic was light until I got close to Oklahoma City then it was very heavy and I got in my first traffic jam of this drive. When I crossed the state line I stopped at the rest area and wanted to figure out how far I’d get in OK today so I looked at the map they have taped to the counter and a lady working there spoke to me. I knew I could easily get past Oklahoma City and pointed to a town east of there and said, maybe I’ll stay there tonight. The lady said, ” There’s not much out there.” I had just driven through a couple hundred miles of “not much out there”.  I enjoyed the drive. It was another day on the plain with wide open spaces on both sides of the road.  I left the desert and got into a greener state. I saw thousands of wind turbines, a couple huge stock yards in North Texas and a couple dead armadillos next to the road.

After I got past Oklahoma City it was still early, but I remembered what the lady said about ” not much out there,”  and I knew what she meant because it was a long distance between Amarillo and Oklahoma City with few towns and fewer hotels. I did see a couple exits with motels and got a room before all those truckers and travelers on 40 fill these places up. Oh, the beauty of the vast empty space out there.

The rest area lady gave me this free tour book for OK and I think  the cover is real nice.

 

Ghost Ranch paintings by Gary Alsum

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Gary is from Loveland CO. These paintings are small, there’s a shine on the right. It’s still wet oil paint.

Darn it, my computer is telling me WordPress is taking up too much space. I hope I can keep posting until I get home and get this puppy to Best Buy where they will fix it for free.IMG_2368

I checked out of the Ghost Ranch and drove all day on a high desert plain. I had the open road for hours. It’s pretty much unpopulated from Santa Fe to Roswell.

I shopped in Roswell for ET souvenirs then decided to head east. Now I’m in Clovis New Mexico.

Got a new phone in Roswell, finally, after my old one died a week or so ago.

It’s hot with a strong dry wind out there. I enjoyed looking at the desert. Not many trees until I got almost here.

I missed my turn onto 60 into Texas by a couple blocks, not too bad for a long fast easy drive through a vast desert, to only be a couple blocks off the route. So, I got a room at the Holiday Inn Express. I remember Clovis is famous. They have a natural history museum with a fossil of a saber tooth tiger, and they also have a history of being a music town. Led Zeppelin played here and so did Buddy Holly to name a couple famous acts. I wonder if the music place or the museum is open on Mon.

Box Canyon @ Ghost Ranch / oil

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If I could describe the Ghost Ranch, I’d call it mystical.

I have to make this a fast post because it’s hard to stay connected.

A weird thing happened to my roomie and me. Half the time the lights don’t work in our cabin. Sometimes they flicker. Sue told the maintenance guy and he came right over. Naturally they worked then. He left and the lights went out 10 minutes later. I think it’s a bad circuit breaker, but are we haunted?

a view from the Ghost Ranch / oil

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Art camp is great! There’s so much to do and the energy is great! The food is good, the artists are friendly and there’s no drama! It’s so beautiful up here at the Ghost Ranch, I’m not going on the field trips. I want to stay right here.

I tried to make a post with more pictures but it didn’t fly.

I’ll try again with just this, but I have my doubts the computer will continue to work as hoped,

 

what they dug up @ the Ghost Ranch

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It’s hard to imagine this high desert was once a lush swamp, but 300,000,000 years ago at the end of the Triassic era, all the continents were joined in one extra large land mass called Pangea and even before the real age of the dinosaurs the ancestors of the crocodile were here. This is a Phytosaur.IMG_2356

This little one isn’t too scary. In fact he doesn’t have teeth. It’s an Effigion Okeeffeae, which means Ghost of O Keefe, after Georgia O Keefe’s Ghost Ranch where they found it. I wonder if I spelled all that right.

Tomorrow I’m going to get serious about sketching the scenery. I have a week here.

travel log

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I taped this cartoon inside the cover of my travel log one time when I drove out west. That trip was kind of therapeutic  because my mind was in a turmoil back then. I was totally amazed by the great vast staggering beauty of the country. If I flew over it to my  destination it would be impossible to see the country on the way and every 50 miles is something else, especially when I took the scenic route off the interstate.

My Ford Taurus has a huge trunk and the most comfortable seats. That’s why I bought it, for a road trip. It’ll go up a mountain, no problem.

I can’t decide if I should take my camera and computer or not. I did my road trips without them before.

The Ghost Ranch is at 7000 ft. and I live at sea level. I want to leave plenty early so I can spend a couple days in Colorado and try to get used to the altitude before I go up to the Ghost Ranch which is in New Mexico.

I’m taking 3 primed canvases and oil painting supplies and also my watercolors and paper, easel, and everything I usually take to paint in Plein air. I’d never be able to take all that on a plane. Not to mention clothes with a coat and jacket. The weather up there could be cold or hot. It changes drastically, I think.

I’ll leave tomorrow and might get as far as Kentucky in one day. I’m not driving more than 8 hours a day but I’ll probably do more like 7 hours a day until I get out west.

I can’t take anyone with me, but that’s ok.

I’ll start writing in the back of the old travel log  because I filled in the front  part of it in 2005 when I drove Route 66 from Springfield MO. to Santa Monica, CA. then came back east on 50, “the loneliest road in America”. They are some beautiful roads, and as a taxpayer, they’re mine.

my next big adventure

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This sounds like fun. I signed up.

A few years ago I wanted to take a vacation out west then I canceled my plans because I moved to the beach and I’ve been on permanent vacation since I got here.

I bought a 6 cylinder Ford in 2016 because I wanted a car strong enough to go up a Rocky Mountain without overheating, which is what happened on my last road trip when I drove the old Buick. Every time I drove uphill it ran hot then when I went downhill it ran cold. I wondered if the car would make it back home. It did. Also, the Ford has the most comfortable seats of all the cars I test drove.

I’ve been looking at the Plein air magazine once in a while for a workshop to join but couldn’t decide on any of them until I saw this ad. I was hoping to find a Plein air event at The Dalles in Oregon because in all my cross country driving, The Dalles was one of my favorite places, but I think this one at the Ghost Ranch will be great. I like the part about no competition, no show, no drama. So, I guess it will be painting and partying.

I’ll drive my big ass Ford to New Mexico because I enjoy driving but I don’t enjoy flying. YEA! Now I have another thing to look forward to! The first thing is moving in March which I think will be a good move for me too.