Day 4- Friday August 3, 2018 started with a 2 mile hike in the early morning to capture the beauty some of the surrounding trails provide. While we've never been "hikers" we didn't mind the hills and rough terrain as it gave us a challenge to see just how effective our running and Barre classes back home have prepared us for this wild adventure. I spent most of the morning editing images and cropping them into potential painting subjects and Steve was able to get his first painting on the easel! We believe our Brush Creek Ranch (BCR) collection should be a hybrid of his earlier paintings - giving them a distinct and special feel which is consistent with the atmosphere that we're enjoying here. We ended Friday evening in usual style with a glass of wine (or two) in hand and Steve was appointed as the "scout leader" as he seemed to be the only artist that knew how to build a bon-fire (and put one out as well!) Since we're the "seniors" here, it was only appropriate - once. (smile)
Day 3 - Thursday August 2, 2018 began with an early morning wake up call for a hike back to see the running of the horses as they changed pastures. How exciting! For some reason we seemed to gasp less for air on our walk up the ranch road, either due to rapid acclimation to the new elevation, or the fact that we brought water vs wine with us for the hike! We were disappointed however as they ended up canceling the run for some reason. We did however get some beautiful photos with the morning sunrise on the horses grazing in the pastures. After our 5,000+ steps we got right to work editing images from the evening before and morning and finalized two that Steve was ready to get on the easel. As we sit looking out our studio we see Mule deer literally hopping over fencing like kangaroo's, and unusual birds and critters everywhere. Did I mention earlier there are also Prairie Dogs or it that just expected on the Range? We were warned to be mindful of mountain lions and possible bear sightings but not too frequent! (Yikes) Stay tuned - I have bear spray!
Day 2 - Wednesday August 1, 2018
Our morning began with a bit of a late start as we all settled into our accommodations followed by an Orientations of the Ranch including Do's and Don'ts during our stay. We took a quick driving tour of the ranch roads and trails which gave us a good sense of the beauty that would unfold as the weeks progressed. The driving tour was followed by a quick trip into Saratoga, about 15 miles away to buy provisions (mostly chips and alcohol)! The real artists personalities are starting to come out. (Smile)
Lunch is provided daily which was followed by working in our studios but there is no set schedule or requirements. Walking the man trails is encouraged as well as time to relax, meditate and just be inspired by the beauty and workings of the ranch lifestyle.
Dinner was shared again family style, followed by another hour around the campfire then Steve and I walked up to where we thought we heard a concert, but mostly to photograph the horses along the fence line at sunset. The long walk proved to be mostly uphill as we gasped for air at the 7,500 elevation our bodies hadn't quite adapted to too say the least! The warm hues of amber and radiant green fields were just what we needed to capture some initial images to "get us out of the gate" with Steve's Brush Creek Collection. We had some fun posing with our cowboy hats for our social media posts as we took our thermos full of wine along on our evening hike! My favorite photograph remains our shadows complete with cowboy hats, walking DOWNHILL! Whew!
Day 1 - Tuesday July 31, 2018
After a month on the road, traveling almost 3,500 miles total from AZ to OR, to complete work on the winery building, as well as delivering a painting in-route, we happily arrived on a sunny last day of July to perfect weather in Wyoming, a cool 83 degrees! A welcome change from 110+ temps of Arizona. We look forward to saddle sores over Dodge Ram sores.
We were greeted by Sharon, the delightful Arts Foundation Director, and show our studio spaces and sleeping quarters. The Artist Residency location is set about 1/2 mile east of the main lodge area for privacy reasons so the artists can work peacefully away from the activities of the ranch. Of course, for Steve and I that wasn't exactly a benefit as we thrive on activity but can be easily distracted by them as well. Just like the "Bachelor/Bachelorette" show, Steve and I immediately wanted to forgo our individual sleeping quarters, by creating a joint "sleeping room" and a joint "storage/workout room" in the abandon sleeping quarter. We stared making plans to do the same with our individual studios as we both enjoy the almost constant company of each other (well almost may be a stretch!) His half was larger however for his easel and panels while I sacrificed (smile) and tucked myself in a corner with my computer, printer, and camera images.
The other artists arrived late afternoon so we met up, had a quick meal, and shared a couple of bottles of wine around the campfire area where we were welcomed by our first encounter of Whistle Pigs and well-fed Prairie Dogs that seemed to be as comfortable around the campfire as we were! It's always fun to meet new people, but we're not much the "artist" types so it will be interesting to see how we mix. As we sat around the dinner table, with meals provided family style daily, each artist shared about the work they do or hope to complete while at the ranch. which was fun. The amount of food here is overwhelming as I guess they're use to preparing food for the 250 staff and working hands on the ranch with I'm sure much greater appetites than "starving artists". (Smile)
Our group consists of two musical composers with us at residency, one from Boston and another from Montreal, Quebec. Their studio spaces are in historical buildings complete each with a Steinway piano. Its fun to hear them composing and playing onsite as we walk to/from the shared artist lounge area. There are two writers, one from South Dakota who describes her work as fantasy mixed with comic book like characters and robotics. and another published writer from the NY area that describes her non fiction work using characters or "con artists" that have set the precedence of our US economy from generation to generation. It's been really great to learn about the other art forms and how their business works vs the visual arts world. There are two other visual artists, one from Chicago that describes her work as "dark subject matter" such as death and the beauty that death can bring and the other from the NY area who says her work is "nasty - depicting men in power". Again quite different from our story.... "we photograph and paint beautiful horses"! It was a quick good night, leaving us to wonder what the weeks ahead might hold as much of this was new to us.