Ann Brooks Photography

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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

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.