Mimi and Pa’s Ranch

W14 6 7 Swartout Ranch  copyI wish my grandfather had not sold their ranch in California.
I have all good memories there of family and being a kid and critters and holidays and making things and first riding a horse and shooting a rifle and boots and plaid wool and Stetsons and horny toads and snakes and getting over fears.  In fact it would have been a great place for the entire family to share as a getaway place.

Might have changed our lives to have that ranch.

Sketched it based on memory and this photo below.
Yup that’s me pointing!



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About dkatiepowellart

hollywood baby turned beach gurl turned steel&glass city gurl turned cowgurl turned herb gurl turned green city gurl. . . artist writer photographer. . . cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist and interested in the study of spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business mpfconservation, consummate blogger, making a dream happen, insomniac who is either reading buddhist teachings or not-so-bloody mysteries or autobio journal thangs early in the morning when i can't sleep
This entry was posted in art journal, history, journal, memory, painting, sketchbook, watercolor, writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Mimi and Pa’s Ranch

  1. susanissima says:

    I love the way you honor your childhood memories of places and experiences, Katie. The sketch is wonderful!


  2. Sandi says:

    Lovely watercolour. I like the looseness, especially the fine and wayward ink lines doing their own thing, only meeting up with the watercolour now and again. The ranch painting is a treat to look at. And marvellous memories for you. I can understand how you feel it is a great pity the ranch was sold outside the family.


    • Thanks Sandi; that is my goal, to loosen up and fly with watercolor. I was reading in Felix Sheinberger’s book that the dumbest thing you can tell an artist is to loosen up, because they get all tense trying to do that. I totally agree. Making sketches as if they didn’t matter seems key.


      • Sandi says:

        Oh, thankyou. I thought it was just me who was getting all tense when trying to loosen up. I head for Nicolaides to help me get back on – the winding – track. Must look up Felix Sheinberger.


      • Sandi says:

        Ha, ha. I have just bought Ching and also awaiting a watercolour book in the post. So I will investigate Felix in the library…for now 🙂


      • Sandi says:

        Thankyou for introducing me to Felix Scheinberger’s book “Urban Watercolor Sketching”! Yes I love it! What wonderful loose drawings with those uninhibited dabs of watercolour. Buildings with wavy walls, and portraits with character-plus. I agree with you that Scheinberger says some very insightful things; he has a nice chatty style too. While Charles Reid and Kimon Nicolaides have helped me a lot with my drawing practice, Scheinberger will take the fright out of watercolour, so that I can make a start with just a simple splotch to enliven a drawing. At the moment I am mucking around with mixing colours based on Sharon Finmark’s book “600 Watercolour Mixes”. Now I will know what to do with the colour to give my own interpretation to my drawings – so much easier to create individuality when colour and line do not have to meet; thanks to Scheinberger, and to your painting, above, that was the inspiration for this discussion. Cheers, Sandi


      • Sandi says:

        Hi Kate, Yes I have your email addy. Thanks for your interest.


  3. Sammy D. says:

    Love the sketch and the photo. Where was the ranch, Katie. Gosh those hills are beautiful. At least you have some memories. It would have changed your life. Of course the question is how and for whom? (Rhetorically soeaking).


    • If you look on a map for Oregon House, California, which is still pretty small, it is within 20 minutes of that location — Grass Valley is close. I took a trip there in my mid-thirties that was a fiasco but also rich with memories.

      I think that had we had to share the ranch and also come together to help them move back to Los Angeles (all doable for kids and grandkids) it might have cemented a family bond among disparate family members who all got along at holidays. They sold 200 acres + house + every single stupid thing for $180,000 roughly 40 years ago. Broke my grandmother’s heart. My idiot grandfather moved her from her to Newhall, a pit, thank you and I apologize to those who like Newhall but really, it was a PIT.


  4. Dan Antion says:

    This is such a cool way to anchor a memory. I love the sketch.


  5. Pingback: Vetch is Not Good for Horses! | D.Katie Powell Art

  6. I love your sketch and that photo….Oregon House way back when, where exactly was the ranch? do you know if it still stands? I will be painting over at the Peoria Memorial park this coming week….don’t know if you remember it but is about another 7-8 miles from Oregon House on Marysville Rd. So fun looking at your photo, wow.


    • I will find out from my mom what road they were on — 350 acres was cut down to 180 — and send it to you. I’d love great pics now and any info if you happened by! The house was there 10 years ago, looked exactly the same but more livestock. I am not sure what road but we swam in either the Feather River (pretty sure) where it was small, bridge went over (I fell in once at 4yars old and three brother went in after me plus the dog) or the Yuba River (much larger). We turned at Oregon House Post Office and the roads were red earth on both sides. I camped at a small very safe little campground (in my car) last time I visited.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am so curious about where…..I have been googling the history of the area and it is difficult to find some good info. Since I will be painting that way, I wanted to tap into other places to paint in the area….do you know anything of Payne’s Peak? not far from Oregon House, I am wondering if this is the same as Buzzard’s Roost….does that sound familiar?


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