YoloArts held its first Art & Ag Project outing of the year in Woodland at the E & J Farms almond orchard on Thurs. Feb 20 and Sat. Feb 22, 2014.. The 196 acres of newly blooming trees on Jim and Terry Heidricks' farm was visited by over 40 Art & Ag participants this month.
Painters dotted the area with easels as they found a bit of shelter from the chilly breeze by setting up next to old farm equipment or their vehicles. Perhaps the best wind shield in evidence was the handy raised hatchback of artist Sally Borges. Some artists stuck it out for the entire visit schedule of 8:00 a.m. to noon while others were conquered by the elements and packed it up to later complete their E & J Farms inspired artworks from photographs taken of their favorites scenes.
Photographers strolled the lanes and gazed at the canopy of hundreds of trees just beginning to dance with the fresh blossom colors of white and pink. Favorites of many toting lenses rather than paper and paint was the collection of farm equipment stacked in neat rows and highlighted with an old Chevy truck that caught the eye of eager painters and photographers alike.
At the northwest corner of the farm, Willow Slough enticed many eyes framing their masterpieces as they captured the slow flow of the water, the native grasses, valley oaks and willow trees. The original row crops and tomatoes that once populated the E & J acres were reflected in neighboring farm choices that border the lanes of almond trees. Busy bees performed their pollinating tasks, birds came and went and Art & Ag visitors did their best to capture the beauty of the agricultural setting.
The YoloArts Art & Ag Project will continue monthly until its last outing in November and then return again next year in February. The schedule for forthcoming outings is tentative but is expected to include a March visit to a farm in Knights Landing on the levee with row crops, open fields and one of "the hugest collections of old farming tools, equipment and vehicles" in Yolo County. The April outing will be in Clarksburg and will include a plein air painting workshop with renowned Delta painter Ning Hou. Other outings in 2014 include a chicken farm in Capay, a horse ranch in Woodland and a final outing in November to Taber Ranch in Capay.
"The Art & Ag Project cultivates a dialogue between artists, farmers, and the community to raise awareness of the importance of preserving farmlands and the visual arts in Yolo County." The project has become a hugely popular opportunity for artists who may not typically have access to the lands. Farmers and ranchers become part of the visual arts community by welcoming visitors to their lands like the Heidricks' E & J Farms that has been in the family since 1949. Artists (including photographers) of all levels are welcome. Beginning painters, hobbyists, professionals and every kind in between make the farm trek and are never disappointed by the options for visual stimulation for artistic rendering. There is no fee to attend and many of the attending artists often donate one or two of their works to the annual art gala with auction, wine tasting and rewarding social engagement. You can find out more about the Art & Ag project at the official YoloArts webpage here. YoloArts can also be found on facebook here.