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: