Rose Irelan, October 16-19, 2014, Painting en Plein Air

Inspiration at the Ranch

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Rose Irelan brings her inspirational colorist technique to the Ranch

On a classic fall weekend, what could be better than painting en plein air at beautiful Rancho La Bellota?  This instructor-led event featured San Diego artist and teacher Rose Irelan, working her color magic on the vineyards and sycamores in Bellota canyon.  The vines were starting to turn from fresh green to gold and amber, and the trees were a riot of yellow green, orange and russet.  Roses’s use of color, design and brushwork have been described as “soulfully impressionistic” and we learned how she translates the landscape into art.

Starting before breakfast, we had a brief compositional review and sketched several thumbnails, then set up our easels near the ranch’s vines to catch the morning light. As we loaded our palettes and got started, we were happy we’d started so early. It allowed us to take a short break for a filling ranch-style breakfast. By 11:00 or so, we had completed our first canvases of the weekend, and were very pleased with the results.

After taking a walk up the canyon, we had an appetite for lunch, and Carmelita’s delicious tostadas fit the bill.  While we had intended to visit the wine country that afternoon, we all decided to stay at the ranch and tackle another canvas, and we were very happy by the end of the day.   Day one: two 9 x 12 paint sketches, an early start, great food, and dinner to look forward to.  We enjoy the ranch on many levels – not the least is the fact that we don’t waste time searching out a place to eat…our meals are prepared for us, and we just wait for the clang of the old-fashioned triangle bell!  Such spoiling should happen to all artists!

After dinner, it was a bit of tequila sampling, a bonfire, and lights out.  I think we were all looking forward to a good sleep to recharge for day two.

We had spotted a cluster of sycamores up the canyon on Friday, so there was our motif for the morning session.  Again, early coffee and pastries, breakfast break around 8:30, and working at our easels for several hours produced some beauties.  As we lost the morning shadows, we packed up for an outing in the wine country – Valle de Guadalupe.  Tasting with owners Ivette at Tres Mujeres Winery and Natalia at Mogor Badan was a real treat.  We prefer to visit the smaller, family owned wineries (or vinicolas in Spanish), to support the strong local cuisine and farm to table efforts in the valley.  These sites are producing some of the finest wines in Mexico!

After returning to the ranch, we enjoyed delicious chiles rellenos, then made plans for our last day in the field.

Sunday we requested breakfast burritos delivered up the canyon, so we could once again focus on the beautiful morning light traveling along the sloping hillsides.  During our Sunday critique, we all agreed it had been a most productive weekend, and we each had several canvases to be proud of – thanks, Rose!

Visit Rose Irelan’s personal website at to see her beautiful paintings of the Sea of Cortez, coastal Baja, Southern California, and the Sierras.


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