Sketching a Ranch in Arizona

“Arizona Ranch” 4×6 watercolor sketch

We were vacationing in Arizona for the last two weeks. It was so sunny and warm. Such a nice break from the cold in Alaska. I rode my bicycle and sketched cactus from the sidewalk. I sketched the Santa Rita mountains from the valley. I saw coyotes and birds and smelled the incredible smell of the desert after rain.

Driving our funny little car up Box Canyon Road into the mountains, I would stop and sketch cows and the valley below. There was a driveway with “no trespassing” signs leading to a ranch and I longingly looked at the buildings, cows, and horses in the distance. As a teenager, I had spent several weeks on a ranch in eastern Oregon and my fingers twitched to sketch the familiar things from my past.

It took a little searching, but online I found a contact number and called the ranch. The owner was very pleasant but cautious about having me on his property. He said to come up so I went the next day. He very graciously gave me a tour for over an hour, then he told me to make myself at home and sketch wherever I wanted. I agreed not to post the name of his ranch to respect his privacy.

The ranch was everything I could have hoped for; beautifully stout red Angus cattle roamed among the rocks, trees, and grass in the warm sun as I sketched. And no snakes slithered about which made me very happy.  This ranch has been there for over a hundred years and I could feel the years of sun and wind on the structures and the land. There was a pleasing sense of new and old on the property.  I felt right at home as I breathed in the smell of leather and horse sweat in the tack room.

I’ll post more of my sketches in the next post, but because this is Thanksgiving week, I want to show how thankful I am to all of you who read these posts and take the time to comment. Thank you! I’m having a drawing for a box of my 5″ x 7″ gift cards. All you have to do is comment before Sunday, November 25th and you will be in the drawing.  And yes, I will mail them anywhere in the world.  Here are some images of the eight cards in the package:

41 thoughts on “Sketching a Ranch in Arizona

  1. So many friends and family have been traveling down that way…. I want to be “beamed” down there too. You have helped me… all I need is smellivision.

  2. I thought you had been pretty quiet. It is good to have you back. But I’m glad you were able to enjoy some Arizona sunshine.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. I’m so glad you had favor with the rancher and you could enjoy some warmer weather.
    If I were to win your note cards I think I would want to frame them and not mail them!

  4. It’s nice to visit old haunts, isn’t it? Funny how the geography of someplace will seep into your bones and become a part of you. Enjoy the sun, Suzie!

  5. Wow, do I envy you….warm and dry….love your painting and your tenacity to go after what you want…..hence the wonderful paintings of the ranch in Arizona…..can hardly wait for th next one.

  6. Suzie, you are one talented artist. I am downsizing to have a minimal amount of things by the end of the year so, while I would appreciate the opportunity to win some of your gift cards, don’t enter me in the drawing. I just would love to see the new sketches that you did on that ranch!

  7. I am so glad that the rancher let you paint and sketch out there!!! I’ve never been to Oregon, I’ve ever only driven through a small corner of Arizona but I always envisioned Oregon to be MUCH different than Arizona though!!! Perhaps a ranch anywhere is very similar even if the landscape itself is different?

  8. What a perfect little gem this sketch is, Suzie! Wish I could have been there to sketch along with you at the ranch. Sounds like you were really motivated to get past the ‘no trespassing’ signs! My motto has always been “It doesn’t hurt to ask”, and it looks like it’s proven to be true again in this case. Thanks for sharing your beautiful little painting.

  9. Barbara, eastern Oregon gets pretty hot, but not near as hot as Arizona. There are rattlesnakes lurking in both states, unfortunately. The buildings and corals are similar and the cows have the same knowing/stupid look only a cow can achieve. The scenery in eastern Oregon is like Arizona, but Oregon’s rivers actually flow most of the year. Thank you for stopping by!

  10. Glad you didn’t see any snakes…: ) …I love Arizona, my parents live by the Grand Canyon and I have been thinking of doing “Plein Air” there…I think I could stay there for a long time…It’s beautiful country…Welcome home

  11. Gorgeous as always Suzie … And love the story and research you did to allow your creative juices to flow! I love the dreamy affect of the watercolors … It goes with your fond memories … I am in Mexico until February … ;). So lovely! I’ve got 3 gorgeous clay fired mushrooms to design with … The wheels are turning, 😉 I send love and thankful joy!

  12. Love the bit of purple in the grassy area in the foreground of the painting. And the cards are gorgeous.

  13. Like Cris, above, I also found you from Leslie’s blog. Your painting is beautiful and how wonderful that the ranch owner let you sketch wherever you wanted to. Your gift cards are wonderful too – I especially love the Prickly Rose – so delicate and beautiful.

  14. Hi Verna! So nice of you to stop by and comment. For some reason, you ended up in my spam (oh, there were some pretty strange things in there…) But I found you and you are in the drawing. Can’t wait til Sunday 🙂

  15. Suzie,
    I grew up in ranch country (Montana), and my husband is from Arizona, so your recollections and sketches in this post are very much appreciated. We live in Quebec City at the moment, and I really enjoyed the ‘mini-vacation back home.’

  16. Thanks for stopping by, Bethann! There is something about ranch life that gets under your skin, isn’t there? So glad you enjoyed this post. One more with ranch sketches this week 🙂

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