A must do at the Ranch is the Art Tour with Jennifer Brandt. Jennifer, in case you don’t know, teaches our jewelry making, painting and drawing classes here at the Ranch. She also has a background in acting and theater, so not only is she very knowledgeable about art, but she extremely engaging and entertaining! Her stories about the history of the art at the Ranch are really fun to listen to (my favorite is the history of Day of the Dead) and I learned (noticed for that matter) things about the Ranch that I hadn’t known before. For instance, there’s three beautiful works of art that you need to keep an eye out for next time you come to the Ranch because chances are, you may have missed them. The mother and child sculpture in the main Administration building where you check in, the native american sculpture on the walk from check in to the dining hall and wood sculpture in the serving area of the dining hall. It’s amazing, after Jennifer pointed out, how many times I have walked past these works of art and not even noticed them because my mind is focused on checking in, getting somewhere and eating. Sad actually. Lesson learned. No sense in rushing around at the Ranch, take the time to notice these beautiful details.
Art from top: Yarn painting by Tim Hinchcliff (Dining Hall), Under the Sea themed Tree of Life (Dining Hall), prayer arrows (Dining Hall), Day of the Dead Tree of Life (Dining Hall), sculpture of woman by Victor Hugo Castaneda (walk from Admin Building to Dining Hall), Jennifer talking about the history of the sculptures at the Ranch, close up of the woman sculpture, “High Mountain Wind” by Bruce La Fountain (walk from Admin Building to Dining Hall), “Maternidad (Maternity)” by Francisco Zuñiga (Admin building), Tree of Life (Admin Building)
One of my favorite things to do at the Ranch is to take art classes. In addition to the art classes provided every week like sculpting and landscape drawing, we also have guest art instructors. Let me tell you, sometimes there is nothing better than taking an art class in the middle of a lovely afternoon. This class was taught by Erin Lee Gafill, an artist from Big Sur who teaches at the Ranch regularly. It was very interesting because we started out writing a little story starting with “I remember…” We were supposed to write whatever comes to our mind and not focus too much on if it sounded good or not.
After we finished our stories, a couple of us in the class read them out loud. After that we created our pieces of art based on each of our personal stories. My story was about how I remember looking through my parents’ record collection in our house down by the beach in the early 80s. I used to love the art on the covers, and I remember dancing to David Bowie and Culture Club. So I tried to create those feelings with the art which you can see above. Did I succeed?
Anyhow, it was a really fun class, and I had a souvenir from the Ranch to take home with me! Next time you’re at the Ranch consider taking an art class, and enjoy your afternoon!
Recently, I attended the sculpting exhibit of Victor Hugo Castaneda at the Ranch. Victor is the one who created all of our amazing life-size sculptures you see here at Rancho La Puerta. We also sell pieces of his work in our Mercado.
Victor was born in La Palma, Michoacan, Mexico and has worked with many world-renowned artists. He mainly sculpts women, focusing on the extraordinary and unique. Having seen his work in person, I can say they are absolutely beautiful, and I feel lucky to have met the man himself, a true artist.
I love the art classes at the Ranch. Spending a leisurely afternoon drawing or painting surrounded by the beautiful landscape of the Ranch…well, there’s not much that’s better than that. I especially love the area where they hold the landscaping class and the sculpture class right outside of the rec room. It’s shady and covered by beautiful vines and tress. Such a lovely area to create art in.
The highlight of the class is our teacher Jennifer. She brings so much light, humor and common sense to drawing and art. You may also recognize Jennifer from teaching the jewelry making class. She started off by telling us that really anyone can create art. We have limitations placed on us when we are younger that make us believe that only a small group of us are truly good at art. However, that is simply not true! It was inspiring to hear her talk and actually it made a lot of sense.
Then she got into the process of drawing landscapes. Like I’ve said in previous posts, I used to do a lot of drawing when I was younger, but it was all self-taught. I’ve never really been into drawing landscapes so I thought this would be a good class for me to challenge myself. In the photos above you can sort of see the process, starting out with the simple things in your view and sketching them out. The tip that I like the most (since I tend to really focus on details in my drawings) is to squint your eyes so that you are seeing only lights and darks. It really helps with shading and it’s something that I’ll definitely use in future drawings.
After giving us the run down of what it is to draw a landscape, she let us loose to find out favorite spot or view to draw. Of course, I had to pick a very complicated landscape with vines weaving in and out of each other. Needless to say, I didn’t finish my drawing in the time allotted for the class (although, I could just come back and it draw that same spot any time), but I really took those key tips away with me. Not to mention I had a lovely afternoon. 🙂
If you’re ever at the Ranch and just want to enjoy a leisurely afternoon consider taking Jose’s sculpting class. It’s relaxing, meditative and fun.
These are some photos I took of the class. There is definitely a process to sculpting the male torso and Jose makes it very easy to understand (and funny at times!). I can’t give away his secrets here on this blog post, but I had never sculpted before and I think my torso turned out pretty darn good! I’m only down here twice a week so I didn’t have much time to finish my sculpture, but if you’re a guest here you can continue to work on it throughout the week. It’s actually quite an addicting process and I plan on trying Jose’s other sculpting class as well!
Jose teaches Sculpting the Male Torso on Tuesdays and also Sculpting Facial Features on Thursdays.