Events

Effie Anderson Smith: How To Revive the Legend of A Forgotten Artist

Effie Anderson Smith was an early Arizona settler and artist who studied with the esteemed California Impressionists Anna Hills and Jean Mannheim. She admired the Salton Sea mirages, declaring them on par with the Sulphur Springs Valley mirages in Arizona. So, for our purposes, she belongs in the annals of California desert art. For her nephew’s purposes, though, she belongs everywhere. I’ve watched in admiration as San Diego resident Steven Carlson has restored Effie’s name to public view from Laguna to Bisbee. If you have an obscure desert artist to promote–or are one yourself–you’ll want to heed the story of…

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Carl Bray: Rare Images and a New Exhibit

Carl Bray: Rare Images and a New Exhibit

The Historical Society of Palm Desert is opening an exhibit of Carl Bray’s last paintings, along with a display of memorabilia from his studio loaned by the Indian Wells Historic Preservation Foundation. The opening reception is Saturday, October 5, 2013, from 11 am to 1 pm. For information, see www.hspd.org. A folk hero to desert art lovers, Bray died on July 23, 2011 at age 94. At his memorial service in Banning, his children showed a slide show of his life as a railroadman, father, fisherman, inventor, bridge-builder, humanitarian, artist and Indian Wells homesteader. For those who didn’t attend, you’ll…

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Patricia Schaefer: Modern Desert Soul

My new culture heroes are painters who defy the art school injunction against old-fashioned landscape painting and simply walk outside with a paintbrush.  You can meet one such rebel, Patricia Schaefer, tonight (Friday, April 27, 2012) at the opening of her exhibit at Korakia Pensione in Palm Springs. Schaefer was previously known for her scenes of lawnmowers, motel pools and other modernist symbols of urban discontent. But hanging around the desert and hiking its trails made her want to sample an older way. When she first wandered out to try plein air painting she faced a considerable frustration curve. Her…

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The Artist as Collector: A Tour of the Lou Armentrout and Mick Welch Collection

The love of terrain (common to landscape painters and collectors of desert art) starts in childhood. In my case, ditching high school in the hills of the San Gabriel Valley imprinted me with an ardor for dry ranges. I don’t know if Lou Armentrout and Mick Welch also ditched school, but like me they came to love the land early. In their case: the marshes and fields of Ohio where they both played as boys, and where both later taught school for 30 years. Their childhood attachment to a particular landscape led to a fascination with paintings of the Ohio…

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Death Valley Children’s Book Animates the Arroyos

On April 3rd 2012, at Furnace Creek Visitor Center in Death Valley, artist Janet Morgan unveils her new book on the park, along with a month-long exhibition of paintings by Janet and her husband, Gregory Frux. Morgan was already on the leading edge of landscape art in her role—shared with Greg—as an adventure artist. Together the two have traipsed Peru, Patagonia, Antarctica and remote California deserts in the style of early expedition artists. Now the three-time Death Valley artist-in-residence leads the way again in her children’s book  Welcome to Death Valley. As two ravens, Ravenna and Ramón, explore the desert…

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Terry Masters’ Beautiful Planet

It was 2010, in Terry Masters’ painting class at Palm Springs’ Desert Art Center. Terry walked to the front of the room and hoisted a large canvas onto an easel. He flipped open his portable plein air kit (battle-scarred from hundreds of painting encounters). Terry is no shrinking violet. At 6′ 5″, he is a Tower of Power.  He grabbed a brush (with a very long handle) and began to paint. Not in a placid, controlled, way. He literally attacked the canvas. Watching him was eye-opening: a plein air action painter. Slash! Splash! In Terry parlance it’s “Stab and Drag”: Hit…

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David Greene: Mojave Noir

Moving from Ohio to the alien landscape of Wonder Valley, David Greene encountered many wonders—not the least being the desert night. Greene had been working in a toilet factory in Ohio (hand-painting ceramic bath ware), and had never traveled east of St. Louis until friends moved to 29 Palms. He and his artist wife, Lorelei, decided to follow, settling in the hipster outpost east of Joshua Tree in 2005. Back in the Ohio metro area, the night did not entice. There, street lighting obliterated the starlight and moonlight. But in his new home, Greene would walk out after dark and…

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Agnes Pelton Revival in Cathedral City

The first-annual Agnes Pelton Birthday Tea–on August 22, 2011–was hosted by Peter Palladino and Simeon Den, the new owners of Pelton’s former home in Cathedral City. Though Pelton died in 1961, her presence at the gathering was as strong as if she had just gone out for ice cubes. The event marks a hometown revival for the artist. For years the city paid little notice that one of the West’s most visionary artists spent her working days here. Recently there’s a growing awareness that Pelton is as important to Cathedral City as Georgia O’Keeffe to Abiquiu. A transcendental artist who…

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Desert X Etiquette, Lou Armentrout, Cathedral City Arch, Desert Drawing Club and More

Desert art is in the news this month with the approach of Desert X, the site specific event (February 25-April 30, 2017) that will overlap with the Coachella music festival. A sister event, Joshua Treenial, takes place March 31st through April 2nd in Joshua Tree. While the Smoketree painters connected with the land by camping and roaming on it for decades, many of the arriving artists are out-of-towners who don’t know Tahquitz from Tachevah.     To help them with the local etiquette, the Mojave Desert Land Trust is preparing a guide: Reading the Landscape. The Joshua Tree-based conservation and education…

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Lost Desert Artists, Erin Hanson’s Painted Parks, Bill Ogden, Hilbert Museum and More

Lost Desert Artists, Erin Hanson’s Painted Parks, Bill Ogden, Hilbert Museum and More

One of the premier Impressionist painters in the US in the early 1900s,  Julian Itter was also a Mojave desert artist and gold miner. Yet none of his desert paintings have been found. Adrienne Sadlo, a student at Eastern Washington University, hopes to find the paintings as part of her thesis project on Itter. Before moving to California in 1926, Julian Itter painted extensively in the mountains of Washington state, helping to preserve Lake Chelan and earning the title Father of North Cascades National Park. “When Julian moved to Southern California in 1926 he kept his passion for art and…

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