Peace Valley Guest Ranch Collection

Carolyn and Judy have been painting the scenes from the Peace Valley Guest Ranch for several years now. It never fails to produce spectacular scenes for inspiration, so we’re really looking forward to the Retreat this July.  Here is a collection of paintings we’ve done:


Watercolour Ranch Retreat

Judy and Carolyn are organizing a watercolour painters retreat with the Peace Valley Guest Ranch near Berwyn, Alberta.  We’ll paint, ride, eat great food, talk art around the campfire and enjoy the beautiful Peace River and the valley.


Another Go With Shimmery Paint


It is really hard to take a picture of the sparkle!  This was Carolyn’s second shimmer pour with Daniel Smith’s mica based paints.  The pale pink is the colour of the paint and the mica shows up like silver stars.  It is quite nice because the sparkle is fairly understated, yet cleaner than a lot of other shiny stuff.  It’s very strong, withstanding several pours (it lightens other colours a lot so it took three pours of indigo to get the sky dark enough).  The landscape got carved out a couple of times as well.  This painting actually underwent a lot of experimentation… and all is still not clear with this technique.

Trying Van Gogh’s Perspective Frame

I recycled a loom, a nine by twelve wood frame with nails all around, into a facsimile of Vincent van Gogh’s perspective frame.  All it takes is four strings, strung from corner to corner and in a cross across the middle so that the large rectangle is divided into four smaller rectangles and four triangles.  It has a centre line both horizontal and verticle, and the exact middle is indicated where all the strings cross each other. A basic guideline to help arrange the composition of a scene, and also to give lines of perspective.

Van Gogh practiced with his a lot, crediting it for helping his perspective immensely.  These days, with phone screen photos and print outs, it’s easy to draw these lines right over a photo, mapping it out or even using a program to crop an image to your liking.  However, it is still wonderful practice to draw or paint right on site, where nature or a street full of buildings can be confusing to put on paper.  Van Gogh’s frame is easy to prop up, literally framing the scene as you like it, cropping out the excess space in your field of vision.  It’s a great feeling to realize that you can condense all that information and focus only on what pleases you, and then you realize that, even within that frame, you are allowed to take out more of what you don’t find necessary to the feeling or message of the image.  You are the artist!

Here’s my scene from a local picnic site.  The photo shows the view as I could see it through the frame (without strings).  Lot’s of trees, branches, leaves!


Below is a quick sketch.  My frame doesn’t have legs yet so I had to hunch down on the picnic bench, adjusting my eyes to the frame rather than the way it’s supposed to work.  My guide lines are faintly visible criss crossing roughly through the middle.IMG_1630.jpg

This frame helped quite a bit!  I usually find that my drawings from photos are better than those done en plein air.  That could be lack of practice, but I think I’ll practice a lot more with a nifty drawing frame to help me see the world.