Events

Deborah Martin Curates the Salton Sea, Marian Yost Rediscovered, Edan Hughes, Travels With Gary

Five years after her groundbreaking exhibit of Salton Sea art, Valley of the Ancient Lake, Deborah Martin again brings together a mix of artists interpreting the Sea. The new exhibit, The Salton Sea: Lost in Paradise, opens March 21st, 2016, at the Marks Art Center at the College of the Desert in Palm Desert. I asked Deborah how the art of the Sea has evolved in five years. “I think there’s more urgency,” she said. “There’s more despair. I feel it when I go out there. There are imminent public health and wildlife concerns. Things are just looking worse and…

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So Long Ol’ Fren’ Bill Bender, Moonlight Merrell, Jennie Kelly Memorial…More

Bill Bender was the last of the desert painters–the original desert painters, that is.  Of the 13 artists profiled in Ed Ainsworth’s 1960 classic Painters of the Desert, Bender long outlived his compadres. He was a caring friend and a tireless resource for my incessant questions about the painters and places he knew. He’s been so energetic into his 90s–fixing pipes and feeding the wild birds at his Victorville ranch–that it seemed he’d live forever. But I regret to report that Bill died on his 97th birthday, January 5, 2016, at the old Route 66 homestead that had been in…

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Desert Americana, Western Abstraction, Coyote Fur and Rams’ Horns

Desert Americana, Western Abstraction, Coyote Fur and Rams’ Horns

The Cathedral City Historical Society hosts the master of desert Americana, Ron Backer, at a luncheon Thursday, November 5, 2015. Backer, a transplant from South Dakota, zones in on a neighborhood and soon unearths stories even the locals don’t know; then he paints the tales so they are forever preserved. Art historian Marilyn Cooper will talk about Backer’s narrative approach, as guests enjoy a lunch by Cathedral City’s own Chef Hector. Come and meet Ron Backer and support the Cathedral City Historical Society. http://www.cathedralcityhistoricalsociety.org/special-events.html Andy’s Sea in Long Beach Salton Sea painter Andrew Dickson shows new images of the Sea…

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Billie’s Taxi, Tribute to Edan Hughes, Adobe Dweller Frances Nugent and More

Fans of Cathedral City artist Agnes Pelton have long awaited the book by the City’s first mayor–and a friend to the early artists–Robert Hillery. At last Cathedral City: the Early Years 1925 to 1981 is in print. You can meet the author at a celebration June 14, 2015, at Bonta Restaurant in Cathedral City. While the book mostly covers small town life, of special interest is Hillery’s personal relationship with Agnes Pelton (she painted his mother’s portrait) as well as painter and art teacher Matille Prigge Seaman. The short section on Matille, known as Billie, is worth the price of…

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Andy’s Sea, Agnes’ ‘Hood, “Wild” Movie and More

If anyone can save the Salton Sea, I’m betting on Andrew Dickson. The Cal State U. Fullerton art professor has been quietly, intently focused on painting the Sea for 15 years. Now you have a chance to study with him at his grandmother’s home in North Shore, February 27-March 1, 2015. To prove his desert worthiness, Andy recently powered through a summer AC outage–doing a series of charcoal drawings at Bombay Beach–with umbrella, ice cooler, sunscreen and lots of water. He hopes to host ongoing workshops at his grandmother’s house and introduce more artists to the area. “I love bringing…

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Joshua Trees in The OC, Agnes’ Spirit Guide, New Morongo Gallery and More

Joshua Trees in The OC, Agnes’ Spirit Guide, New Morongo Gallery and More

In the spirit of the early desert painters, Jim Trolinger and a band of talented friends are taking on the California deserts one by one. They’ve twice journeyed to Death Valley, and they descended on Joshua Tree in March. You can see the results of their three day JT paint-out this Saturday at Location 1980 gallery in Costa Mesa. The desert show is up through the end of the month. Trolinger’s sojourns are marked by cooperation and experimentation. “This is not a class,” he tells participants. “There are no requirements, no tests, and you can paint whatever and wherever excites…

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Willard Pops Up in PS; Sonie’s Road; Helper, Utah Artists and More

Willard Pops Up in PS; Sonie’s Road; Helper, Utah Artists and More

This weekend (March 8 and 9th, 2014) brings a pop-up display of Stephen Willard’s desert paintings to Terry Masters’ Palm Springs gallery. Willard was best known for his work as a photographer in the Palm Springs area but he was also a landscape painter, and he also owned a studio and gallery in Mammoth Lakes. Portland art dealers Robert and Sue Joki recently reopened Willard’s former abode as The Gallery at Twin Lakes. The Jokis are frequent Palm Springs visitors, and on this year’s visit they brought along a haul of rarely-seen Willard desert paintings, to be displayed at Masters’…

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Randall Tipton Returns to Tahquitz and More

With the desert strangely warm this season, the snakes have awakened early and artists from colder places are busy in the canyons. One such visitor, Randall David Tipton, is a spellbinding landscape painter well-known in Portland and the Northwest–but he tells us he grew up painting the desert. “Once I could drive I spent a lot of time in Yucca Valley, the Morongo Valley and the Indian Canyons,” says the former San Bernardino resident. He returned recently to see the Richard Diebenkorn show at the Palm Springs Art Museum  (he studied with Diebenkorn in Santa Fe), celebrate his marriage to…

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Shari Elf Film, Toenjes in Quartzsite, Desertscapes Canceled and More

Shari Elf Film, Toenjes in Quartzsite, Desertscapes Canceled and More

Shari Elf, a well known member of the Joshua Tree art community, presents a short film about Western artist Don Shreves (1918-1997). Shari is working with Shreve’s 97-year-old brother, Rollie, to document Shreves’ life and work. Paralyzed due to a botched spinal tap when he was in the military, Shreves didn’t like to sell his art so it just piled up in his home. For years after the artist’s death, his paintings languished in his brother’s basement and are only now being excavated. The artist was buddies with Burt Procter, another desert painter recently featured on California Desert Art.  Check…

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Agnes Pelton Way, Death Valley 49ers, Morongo Art Tours, etc.

Agnes Pelton Way, Death Valley 49ers, Morongo Art Tours, etc.

Branding experts make big bucks dreaming up campaigns to sell communities, yet one of the simplest ways to build an identity is to promote a beloved artist. It worked for Santa Fe, in the case of Georgia O’Keeffe, and it’s working for Cathedral City, as City leaders increasingly embrace hometown mystic Agnes Pelton. In the latest effort to bolster the brand, the City unveiled new street signage on F Street (the site of Pelton’s former home): Agnes Pelton Way. In contrast, the city of Indian Wells could write the “What Not to Do” book when it comes to promoting local…

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