Martha Esch’s 18” x 24” painting of the tower barn and Bruce Hancock at his easel.

Twenty-one members of the Sacramento (California) Plein Air Painters and Sacramento Sketchers recently worked on a farm after persuading the 95-year-old property owner to let them paint on his land. Two children of one of the group’s members also joined the paint-out.

L-r: Bruce Hancock, Ruth Andre, Sarah Laughon, Jeanine Robb, Kathryn Cornett, Joseph Renaud, unknown, Mary Sand, unknown, Linda Abbott, Betty Plazola, Sandy Ridley, and Martha Esch

“We all had a terrific time and the sun was bright and warm, despite January’s morning temps and icy puddles,” reports Martha Esch. “It took some convincing to get permission to be on the farm, but I just knew there was great material for painting. There were rusty trucks, a tilted tower barn, and wonderful farm buildings. After about an hour of conversing with Ben, the gentleman holding on to a walker inside the doorway of his home, I was told that ‘People have asked to come on my property many times over the years and I always say no. For some reason, and now I don’t know why, I’m going to say yes to you and I’ll allow your group to come onto my property.”

Margaret Molloy and her 5-year-old Irish wolfhounds, May and Honey

Mardi Driftmeir holding her pastel painting

Esch goes on, “The gentleman may have regretted his decision when he saw my 21-year-old son, Charlie Sand, poking his head out of the top of the old, tilting, rusty tower barn. Or he may have had concerns when my 18-year-old daughter, Mary Sand, found her personal painting studio atop a large piece of farm equipment. But I’m hopeful that Ben understood that for young and old, a farm can be a great place for adventures.” For more information, visit or


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