Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fall at the Homestead

Fall has descended on the Reinke homestead. We feel it in the cool morning air, as we pull on our sweaters. The deciduous trees have made a wardrobe change, too, with their splendid yellow and orange leaves. After months of blending in with the conifers, they now triumphantly stand out from the crowd. 

Steaming mugs of coffee seem even more inviting these days. And soup? Well, even Campbell's will suffice when there's a chill in the air. 

I enjoy all the autumn signs here in Estes Park, but the one that stirs my heart the most is the Fall rut. There's nothing like it. To see our magnificent bull elk this time of year is breathtaking. 

Tuesday morning Dennis and I took a short drive and discovered this bull grazing in a field east of town. Dennis whistled at him, hoping he'd look up so I could get a good photo. Mr. Elk kept right on eating. Then Dennis honked the truck horn. That did it. The bull raised his head and began sniffing the air. Content that no opponent lurked in the area, he returned to his grazing. But not before I got this photo. (The dark areas on his body are wet spots from an apparent dip in a nearby lake.)

Smoke from the barn's chimney is another sign of Fall's arrival.

Workers installed the new wood-burning stove in the studio yesterday. The blue and white square behind the can is the top of an empty milk carton. Dennis says waxed cartons are great for kindling. I had no idea, but I'm glad since Estes doesn't accept these for recycling. (One of these days I'll do a blog on the bag trash program we employ at the homestead.)

I'm just as excited about the barn's rebirth as I am the cabin remodel. Dennis' paintings seem to belong here. . .
Studio Entrance South Wall

Studio Entrance North Wall
North Wall

North Wall

Southeast Corner

South Wall

Southwest Corner

West Wall

Is it just me -- or do these photos suggest "Fall"?

I think I need to add some pumpkins. Maybe some cornstalks and Indian corn, too.

We'll be ready for the Estes Park Art Studio Tour this Saturday.

"Autumn burned brightly, a running flame through the mountains, a torch flung to the trees." --
Faith Baldwin


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Aye, 'Twas a Fine Week

The 2011 Longs Peak Scottish-Irish Highlands Festival is over. Dennis and I were there on Sunday, he painted plein air and I volunteered in the Cultural Arts Council tent. In honor of our celtic friends, I offer these photos taken that last day. 

"Captain, there be camels!"

This gentleman and his Irish wolfhound were very dignified.

A Scottish Royal Guard posed next to his portrait. Fine looking lad, wouldn't you say?

This handsome couple in tartan plaid graciously allowed me to photograph them.

Irish entertainer Seamus Kennedy caught me readying my camera for a shot and stopped in the middle of his performance for this photo. A good sport, funny and very talented.

Another talented artist -- my husband Dennis Reinke -- painting "Bill Colby" plein air.

Here Bill stands beside the finished portrait.

This was the first year the Cultural Arts Council of Estes Park was asked to participate in the festival. Dennis joined other artists in documenting the event with paints and canvas. We had a wonderful time and hope it will be the first of many more to come. 

Work continues on Dennis' studio. The carpenters re-sided the area around the front window, using the boards from the old barn doors. . .

Dennis' hard work in salvaging the boards paid off. . .

Drywall around the storage room has been completed. . .

Electrical and lighting installation is finished. . .

Now Dennis is applying a textured finish to the drywall. The new wood-burning stove is scheduled for installation on September 23rd, just in time for the Estes Park studio tour on the 24th.

Even with all they had to accomplish on the barn this week, the carpenters still found time to install the new door on the front of our cabin. . .

Remember how the old door looked?

Big improvement, don't you think? The glass in the door opens up the dining room, making it appear larger. . .

New trim around the door will finish it off. 

Thanks for checking in. I leave you with this Celtic blessing. . .

Blessing Of The Three

The Sacred Three 
My fortress be 
Encircling me, 
Come and be round 
My hearth, my home.

Fend Thou my kin 
And every sleeping thing within 
From scathe, from sin. 
Thy care our peace 
Through mid of night 
To light's release.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Haste Ye Back

My brother and sister-in-law came for a visit this week. We showed them the local sites, starting with a morning drive to Allenspark. Along the way I got a nice shot of Longs Peak. . .

This close up of the aspen reflected in the pond reminds me of a Dennis Reinke painting. . .

After a yummy breakfast at Meadow Mountain Cafe, we headed to Rocky Mountain National Park for a drive up Old Fall River Road. We had driven less than a mile when we came across this bull elk out for a stroll -- just lolligagging on the side of the road. Lolligagging, I tell you.  We stopped to take a photo. The bull kept walking until he reached our car. Then he stopped and posed for us. . .

After we took our snapshots, he moved on. No doubt looking for another photo op. . .

Next stop Chasm Falls. I never tire of photographing this lovely place. .

Rugged beauty surrounds the Old Fall River Road. . .

At the top of Trail Ridge we stopped for lunch, then drove on to Grand Lake. Along the way we spotted another bull elk. . .

Farther down the highway, a crowd of parked cars alerted us to the possibility of another animal sighting. Sure enough, a bull moose had hunkered down in a meadow, about 1/4 mile from the road. The size of his head told us he must be a very large bull. . .

We drove on to Grand Lake for ice cream, then returned to find the moose standing. Indeed, he was quite large. . .

This is the first bull moose I've seen since moving here last year. I'm glad I got to share the experience with my loved ones. 

After seeing our family off this morning, Dennis participated in the Scottish Festival Paint Out competition. The artists had one hour to paint a portrait and frame it. I'm proud of my husband's work. . .

What makes this very special is that the painting went home with the model's family.

“May God bless you to live as long as you want to; and want to as long as you live!” -- Scottish Proverb


Monday, September 5, 2011

Born-Again Barn

“If a farmer fills his barn with grain, he gets mice. If he leaves it empty, he gets actors.” Sir Walter Scott

Mention that you have an old barn on your property and immediately the listener's eyes light up. There's just something about barns -- especially old barns -- that appeal to most people. Interest really ramps up when you add that you're turning your barn into an artist's studio. 

When we left our downtown Estes Park apartment to move into a renovated 624 sf cabin, we also left behind Dennis' art studio in The Courtyard Shops. Our plan was to convert the 150 year-old log barn on our property to a studio, after we completed the cabin remodel. Now that the cabin is finished, the born-again barn project has begun. 

Last week the contractor removed the double barn doors and replaced them with a triple window. Dennis has salvaged the boards on the doors to use for siding over the Tyvek.

A beautiful view of Mt Olympus can be seen from inside the studio, through the new window. 

Wishing to retain as much of the barn's rustic character, as possible, the existing back door becomes the studio entrance.  

The exterior door (right rear in the photo) opens to a small foyer. Framing of a new wall, part of the storage room, is seen on the left. 

The storage room is ready for drywall.

Dennis will have a nice area to work in, once the storage room is finished and his art supplies are stowed away. 

The studio will be featured in the 5th Annual Estes Park Art Studio Tour on September 24, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m..  A self guided tour of Estes Valley artist studios, the free event is coordinated by the Cultural Arts Center, 453 W. Elkhorn Ave., Estes Park. For more information, call 970-586-9203. Email Website: