Ann Brooks Photography

Photojournalism, art photography, studio happenings & resources

More Art on a Marin Organic Farm

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Cow Track Ranch gate



July 29th, once again I joined the artists from Art on The Farm at one of Marin Count’s organic farms.

Cow Track Ranch, is nestled in Nicasio’s rolling hills in the center of Marin. Owner, Liz Daniels had put out the welcome mat for artists to come do what they do! As a photographer with a bent toward travel and photojournalism, I found some wonderful subjects, not only the ranch the artists, themselves!

As I drove through the gate and and up the dirt road toward the ranch house and out buildings, I found several artists who had set up and were painting scenes from the many vistas along the road.


Artist Sharon Skolnik-Bagnoli at work

Sharon Skolnik-Bagnoli of West Marin was working on two watercolor sketches.

Down the road Deepa Jayanth was painting barefooted with a friend nearby.

Painter Deepa Jayanth at work with barefoot detail below!

Deppa Jayanth painting from a grounded stance!

Not far away Larkspur artist, Ann Switzer was painting a scenic pond.

Ann Switzer painting at Cow Track Ranch

When I got to the many ranch buildings . . .

I found Deborah Cushman painting a still life she had found in a scenic little greenhouse.

The night before they had opened Cow Track for a wedding reception which had been set up in the old barn. There were still paper lanterns floating above the floor which had been specially covered with straw for the previous night’s festivities.

Wedding decorations at Cow Track Ranch

To my delight I found an old boat residing at the far end of the barn … and right outside were several longhorns!

boat in Cow Track Ranch barnCow Track Ranch longhorns

Around the corner was the green modern greenhouse, though at this time of the year all the seedlings had gone to new homes to set their roots down. Loved the group of odds and ends at the other end of the greenhouse and the “Farm Fresh” image.

Cow Track Ranch greenhouse

"Farm Fresh" at Cow Track Ranch

Cow Track Ranch buildings

As the shadows were growing long I left the ranch enclave and headed back down the road. Along the way and just up the hill was Colleen Proppé, Art on the Farm coordinator, catching the rich light at the end of the day.

Colleen Proppé's work in progress

Current Myanmar-Burma news inspires me to bring photos into the light.

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With the momentous election of Nobel laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi to the Myanmar  parliament this week, I have been inspired to finally share a group of photos I made there a few years ago.

In March of 2006 I spent a few weeks in Thailand. One day, from Chiang Rai, we dipped across the border into Burma for just two and a half hours in the market town of Tachileik. So visually rich in such a short time and space!

I was absolutely beguiled by the Burmese people! So open and friendly! As Robert H. Lieberman, director of the new documentary, They Call It Myanmar said in a recent radio interview, in a country in with so much poverty, one sees a lot of smiles. That was certainly my experience six years ago.

. . .

A short walk from the entry was the beginning of the market area.

It seemed I saw Buddhist monks everywhere.



Around the corner from the market, a game

Smiling children, looked after by by auntie, by grandpa and at play.






Just folks and some young monks at the public shower!


Trishaw’s and their drivers — though mine thought I was a little strange when I just wanted to take a picture of his bicycle, he was most happy with the tip!




Here’s a photo of a typical trishaw, then my trishaw driver’s bicycle – which I thought was worth being a photo on a notecard in my studio.



With this last view out over the market street, as I was leaving I thought, “I just have to come back and see more of this compelling country” Sadly, it hasn’t happened and for me, it probably won’t, even though the country is opening up far move than it has been in decades!

Making Art on the Farm

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Last Sunday I drove out to West Marin – a beautiful, sunny, spring day. Traveling with my Canon 40D, my destination was the Cerini Ranch just north of the town of Marshall off of California Highway One. The Doughty family had opened their ranch to artists to come paint, sketch, photograph, or just be inspired, all under the auspices of Art On The Farm – every few weeks a different farm opens it’s gates for North Bay artists to come and practice their art.

There had been recent rains and the hills were green. As I arrived, I was easily overwhelmed by the beauty of the ranch, it’s classic old buildings, decaying machinery and green rolling hills. I was challenged to decide what, in all this, would be my subjects. In the long run, the day turned out to be an important reminder to me that what I am drawn to photograph is people living their lives, objects relevant to human activities. Not just beautiful scenery. I’m a photojournalist at heart. Ultimately, only the three photos below made the cut.

As I looked at the above scene, I made many photos of the old backhoe and the beautifully weathered barn. None really “spoke to me” until I got up close and personal, a reminder that I’m inclined to the more intimate approach, thistles, cobwebs, muck, and all!

Late in the day, I couldn’t resist an artist painting the trees and hills beyond, which are so typical of this part of West Marin.

Back down the hill at the gate, as I was heading home, the cows were heading home as well.

Art on the Farm is a community-based, volunteer run partnership between artists and Marin Organic farmers. Art on the Farm was the vision of Bolinas farmer and artist, Alan Mart. It’s history goes back to 1998.

iPhone 4s has an amazing camera!

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Down the hall on the right you can see the “Ann Brooks” shingle hanging over my studio door. Hope you’ll come visit.

I just posted a story about Art Works Downtown’s Dia de los Muertos gallery exhibition. I took all the photos with my new iPhone 4S camera. Absolutely amazing camera – though also a phone. In any case I’m loving having it with me everywhere I go. It’s gotten me back into photography.

You can see the story and all the iPhone 4S photos on my other blog, Ann Brooks Studio which I’ve usually thought of as my jewelry blog.








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December 4, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Old and New India

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In Jodhpur, India in 2006 I was in my favorite market street with my Canon dSLR. Among the many images recorded that day was this one.

I was taken by the fact that this single image seemed to symbolize where India was (and still is, I’d venture) – between two views of itself, between two worlds. Traditional India in a purple turban, looking back through millennia and India in a red motorcycle helmet, rushing into the 21st-Century.

Because the image was made in haste, the focus is on the middle and distance and not on the men, as it should have been. As it is far from technically perfect, I’ve never made it available in my studio. The other day, in the middle of a major cleaning project in my home office/studio, I came across it.

Darn, I still like it and so, decided share it with you here and now.

You can see more images from my Indian trips here on my website, or in my studio at Art Works Downtown in San Rafael, California.

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September 8, 2011 at 9:27 pm

A Manhattan week in early April

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Here’s a photo blog from my early April week in New York City, specifically, Manhattan. In years past, I had spent little time on the Upper East Side. I used to find a great place to stay, which turned out to be on the Columbia campus! Great new New York experience.

Here’s the typical scene, the Columbia University Library as I walked to the 116th Street subway station. I added the second photo because I loved the history written on the Library’s frieze. Early American history.

Our near neighbors were Morningside Park and The Cathedral of Saint John the Devine.With a nursery school on the first floor of our building, the children played below my window.

During our stay, we payed homage to some of the city’s architectural wonders including a door in The Village! The cat in the doors window? — actually the reflection from the side of a pet food delivery truck. When photographing windows, reflections can be a problem. This one was a gift!

Strolled Fifth Avenue’s extravagant windows, Tiffany’s wall art and Harry’s emeralds. And a touching homage to Japan’s nuclear disaster.

Watched shoes lining up at Daffy’s on 57th and strolling the Apple Store.

On the fifth floor of the Modern Museum of Art I could see three seminal, turn into the 20th Century paintings as I stood in one spot and turned in three directions.





One day during the week, as I returned ‘home’, coming up out of the Columbia subway station,  I found revolutionaries from the ’60s at the gates, working on today’s conversions!

First early spring, sunny Sunday in Central Park!

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Arrived in NYC Saturday night. Awoke to the first sunny Sunday in early spring. Just after noon I headed to Central Park with my camera and was not disappointed! Seemed the city had turned out to enjoy!