Ranchos: The Oak Group Paints the Santa Barbara Countryside


mine. Vandenberg Air Force Base offered us an informative guide, Major Rob Lindsay, to accompany us to the remote and incredibly beautiful sand dunes near Purisima Point and to the Sudden Ranch.

Riding in Jim Poett's truck we found the secret places of the San Julian Ranch. Carson Scheller welcomed us to paint the De la Guerra Adobe on his Rancho Los Alamos de Santa Elena, and eat under the magnificent grape arbor. Maggie Woolley and family flew us to Santa Rosa Island for days of exploration and painting.

On Jack Ricard's Spanish Ranch we read the ranch history he'd sent us and found the impressive remains of the old circular corrals made of juniper in the 1870s. In most instances over the years the ranches had been divided, yet they still retain the original early California feeling of life - a picnic on the porch of an old adobe, the cattle grazing the same hillsides; the wind, fog, and light on the land.

It has been a wonderfully fulfilling experience to take these talented artists to ranch after ranch and watch the magic of their paintings come to life on canvas. I hope we've captured for the reader a visual journey through Santa Barbara County's land grant ranches - their beauty, history, and romance.



From top to bottom: Michael Drury, Jalama Hills - Spring Evening, 34 x 62 inches, oil on panel, collection of Charles and Jan Clouse; Hank Pitcher, Wild Mustard, Haskell's Beach, 12 x 36 inches, oil on canvas, collection of Dellie Woodring; Joellyn Duesberry, Chamberlin Ranch - Santa Ynez Ranch Lands, 36 x 48 inches, oil on linen, collection of Laura Susman Armor; Phoebe Brunner, San Marcos Ranch, 24 x 62 inches, oil on canvas, private collection; Patty Look Lewis, Patty and Molly's Room,Tajiglias, 13 x 10 inches, pastel, collection of Mr. and Mrs. John Harrigan; Donald Archer, Masini Adobe, 12 1/2 x 18 1/2 inches, watercolor, collection of the artist.

Text and images courtesy of Ellen Easton and are excerpted from her book titled Ranchos, published by The Easton Gallery, Montecito, California. Please click on thumbnail images to enlarge them.

Editor's note: RL readers may enjoy this video:

California's Green #125 - SANTA BARBARA ARTISTS is a 28 minute 2006 video by Huell Howser Productions. "Some people talk about the environment. Others actually do something proactive about it... Like the group of 26 Santa Barbara artists who founded the Outdoor Airing Club more than 20 years ago. The O.A.K. Group, as it is known, is made up of artists who paint magnificent, unspoiled open spaces threatened by development. They then sell these art pieces at a special auction with 50 percent of the profits going to organizations in Santa Barbara County working to preserve our precious and unfortunately disappearing open, natural, landscape... Huell spends a day with some O.A.K. Group members as they painted in three different spectacular locales, and then attends the auction several months later. The resulting episode of California's Green is not only beautiful, bit inspirational as it shows how important a small but dedicated group of people who really care can be." Text courtesy of Huell Howser Productions.

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rev. 5/9/07

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