The Golden Age of Warner Graves: Back to the Canyons

With so many international artists now sampling desert themes, it’s refreshing to meet a painter who is not a tourist but is genetically rooted in this place. Via his grandparents, Warner Graves III is connected to many epochal events in the region, including the formation of the Salton Sea and the building of the All-American Canal and the Old Plank Road. When Warner was a boy, he would lay on his grandmother’s sofa and study her desert landscape paintings on the wall while Lula Mae told him stories of the prospectors and desert rats she’d known in the 1920s. Lula…

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Jim Trolinger and the Magnificent Six: Showdown at Joshua Tree

Ed. note: In the grand tradition of early desert painters, Jim Trolinger sees plein air painting as a team sport. We previously posted Jim’s tale of his group’s Death Valley expedition. In his latest account, the optical physicist and his merry band of painters take on Joshua Tree. In February 2018, the Magnificent Six+ returned…

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Desert Devotional: The Anza-Borrego Paintings of Jane Culp

Desert Devotional: The Anza-Borrego Paintings of Jane Culp

Editor’s note: Many people paint the desert but only a few embody the ur-qualities of the early desert artists. Jane Culp is one. She lives in an off-grid straw bale cabin perched above the Anza-Borrego desert. From this solitary outlook, she observes–and participates in–the natural forces that pulverize granite and push tectonic plates. ¬†¬† Her…

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Collecting Arizona: How Gary Fillmore and David Picerne Tracked Down the State’s Greatest Paintings

David Picerne, a real estate developer, and Gary Fillmore, an art appraiser and owner of the Blue Coyote Gallery, went on a hunt to find the state’s very best landscape art, seeking out offerings from the Taos artists, Santa Fe railroad artists, California Impressionists and our own Smoketree Painters.¬†Currently on view in Wickenburg (through March…

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Harry and the Giants: The Geoglyph Photographs of Harry Casey

Harry and the Giants: The Geoglyph Photographs of Harry Casey

Editor’s note—One morning in the 1980s when I was working as an LA Times reporter, I hopped in an airplane with archaeologist Jay von Werlhof and pilot Harry Casey. Flying out of Brawley, we cruised low over a sandy expanse in search of the original desert art. Casey, an Imperial Valley farmer, steered us over…

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