The Zapata Ranch area, on the slopes of the Mount Blanca along the Sangre de Christo Mountains, borders the Great Sand Dunes National Park and is one of my favorite places to paint. It is a local treasure with amazing diversity: long views to the Great Sand Dunes and across the valley to the San Juans, areas with cactus and pinion, and running streams flow through aspen glens and deep pine forests. On Saturday Dee Bartee, Kayleith Pellandini, Richard Luckermeier, all of the San Luis Valley Painters, spent the morning painting en plein air in the Zapata. Puck, Richard's faithful friend also came along, enjoyed a swim in the lake, a chase in the woods and put up with a little water color instruction.
It was morning well spent - especially for the painters and our pieces are in the bottom photo. Click on any of the photos to view them larger.
The attractions of this area are so numerous that choosing a spot to paint can be the hardest part. This little pond nestled in the pines was calling but not loud enough. A small stand of aspens framed by pine trees, was just getting hit by the morning sun and I knew that these shapes would be more fun to abstract.