A Baja Rancho At Open Studio means each Ranch guest uses their time as they wish – painting, creating photos, pulling prints on our press, or even working with clay. It’s an opportunity to find your private muse, and relax with your favorite medium.
In September we had a mixed group of artists. While some came to work with clay, others brought their easels, and some guests did both – painting in the mornings, and joining us the in afternoon for a raku firing.
On Friday afternoon we decided to visit Valle Guadalupe for wine tasting and lunch at Vinos Fuentes, one of our favorite restaurants in the wine country.
The Fuentes family has been making wine for 3 generations in the Valle, and has a lovely restaurant to the property. They feature meals using fresh local ingredients in traditional combination plates as well as upscale choices like quail and fresh grilled yellowtail tuna. Their wines complement the food perfectly.
Returning to the ranch, we stopped to take some panorama views, collecting some really good source photos for future canvases. I’ve been studying shadows for some time now; they can add such drama and beauty to a simple painting.
That afternoon, we fired up the kiln for a group of rake glazed pots. Raku is an exciting process, based on a Japanese method of firing.. The pots are fired once to harden and completely dry them, then glazed and re-fired. During the second firing, at the right temperature, the pots are removed from the kiln red hot, using tongs and heavy gloves.
The pots are quickly placed in a can of combustibles, often pine needles, sawdust, or paper. This material quickly ignites. The flames are allowed to burn a few moments, then the lid is placed over the can to smother the pots.
Smothering the fire pulls oxygen out of the glazes, which are formulated to create exotic and unpredictable surface colors including metallic, deep black, and crackle patterns.
So, whether you come to the Ranch to create, relax, explore, or gather inspiration, there is always beauty to be found or created.