All photos below were taken by Darla during the Ghost Ranch workshops. Copyrights apply.
“I enjoyed my escape from reality! The location was inspiring as was the company!" -- Linda, Canada
"Beyond Darla’s teaching ability, I must add that Ghost Ranch is one of the most inspirational places for watercolors which I have visited. Everything is in place to be inspired by Darla's words and the surrounding environment. I love it that the studio is very conducive to art."--Andrea, CA
“The Ghost Ranch workshop was a great balance of photography, learning new techniques, time to paint, time to sightsee, time to hang out. Being off grid (no cell phones or computer) helped us to stay present with our art! The scenery is gorgeous and deeply spiritual; waking up to the cliffs and watching them change color throughout the day was very special. I loved being challenged to try new media and to document our painting process at each step. I learned a lot and had a great time.”—Karin, TX
[Note: there is now a cel tower on the property, so phone service is available.]
"What a wonderful way to re-charge my creative inspiration! It was a GREAT place--I had not been to Ghost Ranch before. Darla showed us so many things to make our paintings unique and appealing. I was SO stale when I left (home) & now am inspired again!"...and many years later: "Ghost Ranch is the most peaceful and inspiring place I have visited. I loved it from the first time I came and I have now attended 7 of Darla's workshops and will return next year!"--Lorraine, TX
“Wonderful experience—great blend of art, scenery and new friendships.”—Charron, NM
"Perfect setting for an art workshop--so much inspiration, beauty & quiet! Darla's teaching style is so relaxed and yet she does multiple demos and always answers every question posed--and always ready to lend a helping hand."--Tina, TX
"I had a wonderful time of friendship, serenity and creativity. I hope to come back next year!"--Christi, TX
"It was TRULY a pleasure to be a part of the Ghost Ranch experience. Even though I was expecting it to be good, I was genuinely impressed with everything. I know I came home with a lot of inspiration. Darla did a Great job on the trip!"--Mark, TX
"Spent a wonderful week with Darla and several other fantastic artists. It was a great time to discover my creative self! Being a beginner was no problem!”--Linda, PA
"I know nothing about painting as I have been a professional portrait,wedding, and fine art photographer for over 50 years. With Darla's inspiration and encouragement I have a new way to satisfy my creative needs, and a way to find peace from within myself. Thank you, Darla, for making this possible. Wonderful group!"--Joan, CO
"What an absolue pleasure this week has been. I am overloaded with wonderful vast amounts of information, good cheer and inspiration--and look forward to doing many more in the future! Thank you for taking such good care of me!"--Bev, NM
"Great workshop! I learned so many new techniques. It was so much fun and you are a great teacher and artist with an adorable personality! Hope to return next year!"--Elaine, TX
"I would recommend Darla's workshop at Ghost Ranch to anyone who wants to spend a week in a spectacular setting with a talented, knowledgable, personable instructor, and others who love art and learning!"--Kay, CA
"Darla's retreat was energetic, inspiring and fun! We learned new techniques, visited local sites and took home lots of goodies."--Suzanne, TX
"This was a fantastic workshop providing creative opportunities to explore personal work. Darla gave great demonstrations on inspirational techniques and processes. I learned a great deal, not only from Darla but from the other wonderful artists that I had an opportunity to work with in the workshop. Ghost Ranch provided a magical atmosphere to create art!"--Caryl, IA
"If you want to embolden your artwork and try new things, this is a great opportunity. Darla will help you move ahead in your artistic journey." --Nancy, CA
"The strongest thing about the workshop was the ceative spirit within the whole group! It's so refreshing to have a week to think only of art and new ways to express oneself through art!"--Carol, TX
"Ghost Ranch is an exceptional environment!!! Its cooler, its color, the majestic cliffs, its quiet serenity, good food, excellent painting facilities, and always, always good fellowship and encouraging teaching!"--Andrea, TX
"Thank you for all the time, energy, passion, and vision you put in to make this workshop happen. I learned so much from so many, and it was just where I needed to be at this point in my life."--Joy, WA
"Enjoyed the workshop greatly. I really enjoyed all the different projects and laid back time schedule."--Bobbie, TX
"Ghost Ranch was a wonderful break and learning experience. I feel like I learned a lot to help me free up my work--make it more fun! You should be seeing a few new East Coast faces next year."--Laurie, MA
"This trip to the Ghost Ranch with Darla was balm for the spirit. Great painters, great subjects---and play, play, play. No time to worry!"--Martha, TX
"Thank you also for the great time in New Mexico. A truly stunning location and very inspirational! I had a wonderful time."--Pam, UK
"What a great experience! I've been inspired to begin painting again because of you and your workshop. Completely wonderful!--Sheila, CA
“Darla presented several new and exciting techniques to enhance our watercolors. I found the molding paste demonstration to be quite interesting and have since incorporated it into several paintings. Her photographic knowledge was quite helpful for artists who paint from their photos. How to frame an image with your surroundings was really fun, especially at Ghost Ranch where there is no shortage in beautiful, colorful and interesting settings. Overall, the week I spent under Darla's tutelage and at such an inspirational and motivational place was a week well spent and I left with new and exciting ways to excite my watercolors. I have since shared some of the techniques with my own students as well as fellow artists.”—Amanda, CO
“I really enjoyed the workshop. I learned much more than I even expected and many more techniques. I was very pleased!”—Cynthia, KS
A Note From Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, NM
Although this is not a comment from one of my artists, it perfectly describes the spirit of Ghost Ranch. It is printed here with their permission.
October 22, 2012
If you ask ten people why they came to Ghost Ranch you might get ten different answers. We are painters, fighters for social justice, writers, potters, fossil finders and just everyday people looking for a safe place to spend meaningful time with our families. We might first come for a specific event but we may come back for an entirely different reason or to try something totally new. So what happens at Ghost Ranch that changes people's lives and calls us back?
Looking around the dining hall you can't tell the occupations, class or status of the people here. In our hats and layers of sunscreen, and sturdy walking shoes, who among us is a potter, a lawyer, a pastor, a writer?
We come to Ghost Ranch to follow our passions whether it is to find ways to strike back at climate change or to sing in a choir or to study poetry. While on the way, we find ourselves going somewhere else, somewhere deeper and more meaningful.
On the trail at Chimney Rock overlooking the Piedra Lumbre basin we allow our imaginations to fill the valley below with dinosaurs. We see over 210 million years ago when Coelophysis lived in a wet forest on this land near the equator. The planet shifts and we find ourselves in a different time where tribes of Native American Indians traversed the Rio Chama corridor, clashing cultures with Spanish settlers. The planet shifts again and we behold Georgia O'Keeffe walking amid the red hills carrying bones she found scattered across the high desert. Many who visit are touched by all that came before on the very spot they are standing. A chord is struck and something within us rings true.
We find ourselves getting in touch with things that were hidden before. A woman who came to study watercolor found herself processing the grief she had stored after the death of her mother. She thought she had come for the painting but realized she had come for the healing.
Year after year, people return to reconnect, reaffirm, grow and evolve. We absorb the lessons offered not only by the outstanding programs but by the soul enriching siren song of this place. Here we become a part of the place as the place becomes a part of us.
Long time Ghost Ranch painting instructor, Pomona Hollenbeck says it succinctly, "It's not about the product, it's about the process." The process of living is an exploration and Ghost Ranch offers a place where exploration is our purpose. Through paint, clay, and wool, we connect with others, nature and God. With these we feel our hearts and minds expand.
GHOST RANCH is a unique combination of natural beauty, paleontology, geology, archaeology, history and art. It is not just the values of each of these separate aspects of Ghost Ranch, but rather the synergy of its beauty, its scientific value, its cultural and historical traditions and its spirituality that make it like no other place in the world.
By making a donation today, you're helping to keep Ghost Ranch viable, transformative and a sacred gift to families today and to future generations.
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