As every artist knows, motivation is sometimes hard to come by. There are many ways to become motivated but one of the best is to attend one of the numerous workshops near or far. I would love to go to Europe for a workshop but somehow, when I’m in Europe the last thing I want to do is find myself lugging a pile of art supplies around and spending my days behind an easel (I don’t sound motivated at all do I?). I’d much rather indulge in the delights of my surroundings and be “on vacation.” So, instead of hopping on a jet plane I chose to cram myself, my luggage and my art materials into a friend’s SUV and three of us set off for a weekend art retreat in the hill country northwest of Austin. It was my first foray into the land of workshops and Wenmohs Ranch (the workshop site) was the perfect place for a nubie like me.
The Ranch was very accommodating and located smack dab in the middle of a few hundred acres of Texas landscape filled with wizened trees, prickly cactus, a scenic creek, rambunctious dogs and a few inquisitive burros. The artists stayed in The Bunkhouse and a few in the Main House with the ranch’s owner, Dena. Most of the instruction and painting happened in The Bunkhouse Barn or out doors (plein air) at various sites on the ranch. We had demos in the morning before lunch and the afternoons were spent painting any one of many scenes found nearby – a rusty tractor, an abandoned barn, smoke house, cactus, trees or creek scenes. Oh, and rocks, did I forget to mention the rocks? I will never forget the interaction with the other artists, the rousing discussions over dinner and especially the evening walk back to The Bunkhouse beneath a huge Texas sky blanketed with stars. Sometime during that weekend I found my motivation.