...and we are surviving many events and visitors. The Hwy 62 Open Studio Arts Tours will continue for a second weekend - October 22-23! I visited many and encourage you to do the same. Over 5,000 visited Joshua Tree during the Desert Daze concert featuring Iggy Pop and more. From my trip to Vons at 4:30 the Friday before the event, I knew I wasn't in Kansas any more.... We who travel by the venue daily, saw cars, lights, small pop-up Sahara style white tents and a grand outdoor stage appear. Even Steve Lopez, columnist from the LA Time featured the hi-desert,
The weather is PERFECT! Although I encourage you to create your own tour --discovering which of the 134 artists appeals to you, here are a few photos from my two days on the road.
You can also visit Gallery 62 (the official gallery of the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Associan which sponsors Hwy 62 Art Tours) to see over 60 artists from the tour represented at one address! and to pick up a catalog. The gallery will have special tour hours 9-5 during October 22-23.
Elisabeth Pollnow David Bottomes Robert Arnett
Allene Payne Vera Topinka Marcia Geiger
Penelope Benson-Wright Paul Donaldson Heathe Sprague
Be adventurous. Talk to artists who are delighted to tell you about their work. Follow the map!
It is the desert-carry water! I always have a small cooler with about 6 bottles of water!
Tomorrow, October 14th, the highly acclaimed Joshua Tree based Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours begin for the 17th season! There are so many choices and so little time - literally. There are over one hundred artists to visit, and you will want to view the catalog first.
Today, I want to share painters. As a painter myself - this is the medium with which I am most familiar. I urge you not to miss these two artists who specialize in plein air painting of the incredible Joshua Tree area. They are open both weekends, Esther Shaw - studio #23 and Krista Wargo - studio#16. See images above.
However, it is wonderful to see artists whose work and medium may be completely new to you:
Pine needle basketry - Kathi Klopfenstein #28
Assemblage sculpture - Allene Payne #73
Earth baked sculpture and assemblage - Elisabeth Pollnow #81
If you love abstract paintings, try visiting a realist for a different perspective. If you are drawn to realism, visit an abstract painter!
I guarantee you will be greeted warmly, learn about a new art form and much much more! Happy touring!
The hard copy free catalog is spectacular and available at the official Information Centers. Here is the link to the virtual catalog.
The Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours are in their 16th year and begin this weekend.
If you have not picked up a catalog, here is the link to the virtual catalog. You may have participated in the tours for years or are discovering a brand new experience. Over 100 artists! Where do you start?
Many communities have open studios art tours – but few compare in size, variety and landscape. And how many take place near the beauty of a National Park—and the incredible landscape of Joshua Tree?
As a figurative artist, I must begin with two figurative painters. The studios of
Alane Levinsohn Studio 57 and David Bottoms 54 (first weekend only) are worth visits!
A sample of their work is in the catalog, but you can find more on their websites:
Look through the catalog--mark your preferences and you're off on a creative adventure! October only comes around once a year!
Look forward to news about the art, music, and theater this month!
In a land of desert enchantment and a destination for hipster visitors, two things are not new to the area: music and alien lore!
Joshua Tree appeared on the music map with the last visit by Gram Parsons and U2's ground breaking album The Joshua Tree. Desert Skies have triggered imaginations of life from beyond the blue. Today music abounds.
In the 1950's, George Van Tassel built the Integratron, a dome structure in Landers , CA. Van Tassel believed that the strong electromagnetism within the dome could rejuvenate human cells. During the 1960s and beyond, UFO Conventions at Giant Rock and the Integratron were popular. Today one can attend a "sound bath" within the Integratron.
This month, Barnett English, creator of the Joshua Tree Music Festival, will host the 12th annual festival, an event that draws musicians from around the world and from the heart of Joshua Tree, catering to families and artists, as well. May 18-21
Interested in aliens? Attend the Alien Invasion: drive in installation and art show, created by resident artist Scott Doten.
The Incredible Hi Desert- rarely a dull moment!
From this painter’s perspective, desert spring brings a renaissance of creativity. This year’s superbloom and April awakening is spectacular.
The hi desert boasts a variety of art forms from many artists. Last weekend’s Joshua Treenial lasted three days at multiple sites and included installations, light projections, sculpture, film and more – a contemplative contemporary complement to the desert landscape.
The Glass Outhouse Art Gallery in Wonder Valley-an installation itself on an acre of open land with uninterrupted vistas, features a joyful April exhibit: monsters on yupo (plastic paper) by Marjorie Franklin and clay shell and cactus sculptures by Ann Chevrefils.
Local galleries have new exhibits: Gallery 62, Joshua Tree Art Gallery (JTAG), 29 Palms Art Gallery, Taylor Junction. Hwy 62 Art Tours just completed registration of 130 artists for the fall open studio art tour in October and promises another wonderful autumnal art experience.
Some (even more) unique venues include the Mojave Pot(tery) Shop and Llama Rescue on the Yucca Valley Mesa, studio of Snake Jagger in Morongo Valley, and Chuck Caplinger's Desert Art Studio in 29 Palms (available by appointment). Don’t miss East Joshua Tree galleries and shops. The Joshua Tree National Park Desert Institute offers a vast playground and classes.
Music, theater, local festivals abound for curious and creative visitors, hikers, painters and photographers. Attractions include the Joshua Tree Music Festivals in May and October, the Orchid Festival in October (orchids grow in one of the countries’ largest greenhouses at Gubler Orchids-open year round), Big Morongo Canyon Preserve (year-round) and local historical societies offer programs.
My current work? Inspired by the fields of yellow brittlebush, pops of orange mallow, red Indian paintbrush and blue lupine. And the ocotillos will bloom soon!
This morning I stepped outdoors and knew I had to forget my daily routine and seek wildflowers!
I am overwhelmed by the expansiveness of the lower Joshua Tree National Park. Yes, it is large on the map, but driving it on one of the first “spring” days reveals the variety of flora as one descends the hills to lower elevations. The cholla are at their “fuzzy finest” haloed in the sunlight. The ocotillo-not a cactus- verdant waiting for the heat and right moment to burst into vermilion flame-like blossoms.
As a painter, I take in the shades and hues, thinking of how they can be recreated on canvas.
I am ashamed to say that when I forts came to the desert I did not appreciate all it has to offer. Today the plants are familiar: creosote, cholla, ocotillo, and beautiful smoke trees at the bottom in their natural wash.
Aware of stillness on a Friday before the weekend influx, I cross momentary paths with those stopping, as I, to breathe in the beauty. Two women stop just minutes to photograph the smoke trees. A friendly hiker from Ventura sports a wide brimmed hat.
Humanity’s threads touch for a brief time – all seeking the satisfaction of the day. I see my first mallow of the season, bright orange. A tiny pale yellow butterfly flits by.
The temps are in the high 70’s. I could be a thousand other places, but for today the desert solitude, sunshine, wildflowers are mine to ingest!
Photo credit- Mary at Desert USA Blooms at south entrance of Joshua Tree National Park on March 1st. Poppies, Lupine, Chia, Brown-Eyed Evening Primrose and Desert Dandelions.
Oh, to make plans or to live in spontaneity? Is that the question?
Life is both what we make of it and the product of surprise. I am reminded of the fragile nature of our lives and the deep, healing bond of friendship. After attending the fun Hi-Desert Cultural Center opening night of “Almost Maine,” an eclectic collection of quirky, painfully true vignettes on the subject of love, I received a health alert from a dear friend and a sweet note from another. Are friendship and love not what really matter most, no matter where we roam?
There is no better place to bring a friend or lover than to the beautiful Hi Desert, with abundant attractions.
The draw of Joshua Tree National Park is ever present, providing a spiritual backdrop for artists and beckoning atmosphere for climbers, musicians, writers, actors, scientists, hikers and more.
This week, I had the unexpected joy of introducing guests to the JT National Park. From the Midwest, one had never set foot in the desert, and the other longed to return after childhood visits. I often forget to see through the eyes of the visitor and recognize the truly jaw-dropping landscape. Wracking my brain, I came up with terms such as “yucca brevafolia” (the official name of the Joshua Tree), the history of Barker Dam (cattle watering hole) and the death of Gram Parsons (rock star who died in Joshua Tree in 1973).
We popped in the Natural Sisters Cafe (my meat and potatoloving Midwestern guests loved the vegetarian cuisine!) for sustenance where we ran into local artist, Jenny Kane, director of JTLAB and host of Artists' Tea each Sunday morning at Cap Rock in the National Park.
I described the outdoor Joshua Tree Astronomy Theater and my guests longed to see our incredible star studded night skies.
On a longer visit I would have taken them to the Glass Outhouse Art Gallery, a true desert treasure. Art Opening Saturday February 4th will feature art and music. Chuck Caplinger, legendary desert artist and founder of the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council and Miri Hunter, artist and musician, exhibit during February. When we returned home, I gave my guests a copy of the beautiful photography/poetry book about Barker Dam by local duo Cynthia Anderson (poet) and Bill Dahl (photographer). Reminder to self: pick up more at Gallery 62!
I hope you will take time to look through the events and places mentioned here at the Hi Desert Art and Culture Bulletin Board pages, plan your visit and remain open to the spontaneity and magic of the desert. Come prepared! Carry water always! Dress in layers. Desert winters can be unexpectedly cold with occasional snow! Yet, there are days you'll strip down to a tee shirt and often need sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat!
See page one to leave a comment!
writer, artist, observer, social commentator. I arrived to the Hi Desert 3 decades ago - to enter my chosen field. At the time, I saw the vast horizon as the end of the world. Now, I see it as the beginning of creativity.