Art and Horses at Rancho La Bellota


Photo by Photographer Carole Gilb Massey

When I started this blog a few years ago, my goal was to not only portray real life on a working guest ranch in Baja California but also to captivate the vivid experience  at both ends of the spectrum; from Raul and I, your hosts, and that of our visitors as well.

I’ve written openly on the many rides and adventures we’ve embarked on with the most amazing people as our guests who’ve come to us from all walks of life, and from many areas of the globe.

During the many years that have passed since my husband Raul and I first began to pursue this dream of ours, we’ve experienced incredible comraderie, warmth and joy from everyone we’ve met.  It’s quite a blessing to be able to say we love our job.  We love our life and all the hard work that’s gone into building this life of ours was well worth it a hundred times and more.

Those of you who have visited the ranch within the past two years or who follow us on Facebook have undoubtedly noticed there is a different activity at the ranch.  Although horses still are, and always will be the main focus at La Bellota and as I’ve said in the past, they are the stars who make the magic happen, there is a group of people who bring another kind of magic to the ranch.


The magic they create during their stay with us has left Raul and I with a different perspective about ranch life we weren’t completely aware of before.  All I can say is a bright hue of color, light, warmth and creativity has spread itself over the open landscape and I’d like to tell you about it.

This group of people whom I speak of are artists.  Plein aire painters, ceramists, printmakers and photographers.   Initially, they sign up for an art workshop with our sister-site Baja Rancho Art and come down to take an art workshop with talented, dedicated art instructors such as Plein Aire Painters, Jeff Yoemans, Rose Irelan, Stuart Burton, Catherine Grawin, Helen Schafer Garcia, Ceramicists, Christopher Webb, Printmaker, Carol Catalano Webb, and Photographer, Eileen Mandel.  I should also mention Australian Impressionist Colley Whisson who will conduct a 5 day Plein Aire painting workshop at the ranch this August 4-9, 2016.


Printmaking with Carol Catalano Webb

Before we had art workshops at the ranch, sometimes I’d look at the landscape and think, wow, it’s really pretty today, but I wouldn’t always see much beyond that.  Now, after hanging around painters for a while, when I look at the trees, the mountains, and the landscape, I see bright colors everywhere with highly detectible shades of shadow and light.  Who knew the distant mountains in the horizon are actually a shade of greyish purple?

This is what happens when you hang out with artists.  And when your driving down the road at just the right time of day when the light shines just right, and when the passengers in the car suddenly start screaming, “Stop the car!” as they whip out their cameras and thrust half their torso out the window of a moving vehicle just to capture the perfect shot for their next painting you know your among a special breed of people.

I’ve come to understand mountains are not brown, and leaves are not always the same shade of green.  Everywhere I look there’s a painting waiting to happen and I do believe, no matter what is beholding to our eyes, if, as we gaze upon that scene we feel a heartfelt acknowledgment of beauty within us, we also feel within us the beauty of life itself, and this is what I see from the artists who come to the ranch.


It’s an honor to meet these most talented people.  To my dismay, I sometimes hear them say, “Oh, I’m not really that good. I’ve only seriously painted for about ten years now.”  then I jokingly reply, ” Well ten years sounds pretty serious to me!”  And let me add, regardless of how much they say they’re not that good, they never fail to turn out beautiful works of art.  It’s fascinating how anything they paint always turns into vivid, colorful stories on canvas.  So yes, they are that good!


Our barn has become the workshop studio.  At least half of it is.  Raul has a corner for his tools and workbench, and of course our cherished VW desert racer found it’s corner too. The rest of the barn has taken on the look of a multi-medi art studio complete with two kilns, a potters wheel, a sink, counter tops,  two printing presses, and long tables with lots of elbow room to get down and dirty right up to your elbows.  It’s all good fun, yet it’s serious too.  People come to these workshops because they want to learn, and improve their craft.  They want to dive deeper into what brings them joy and peace, and I’m all for that!

Who knows, maybe someday I’ll pick up a paintbrush myself.





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