Category: Desert Artists

Carl Bray: Grandpa Moses of the Desertlands

I’m sitting at Gramma’s restaurant in Banning, California, with the 92-year-old artist Carl Bray across the table from me. The legendary “smoketree painter” of Indian Wells, Carl is one of the last of the early desert artists. With his huge railroadman’s hands, he pushes aside the plates and unfolds a map of New Mexico to show me where he first steered “Brownie”–the esteemed Western painter R. Brownell McGrew–into Navajo country. (Brownie lived in Cathedral City in the 1950s and then in La Quinta—read more about him here soon.)

CV History Museum Auctions Art

Before the Coachella Valley History Museum moved their archives into a new building, the basement of the Smiley-Tyler adobe held a tantalizing stash of early desert paintings that had been donated to the museum over its 25 years in existence.…

Painting World War II: The California Watercolor Artists

The California Water Color Society was an important presence in American art in the 1930s through 1970s. The painters had been perfecting their abilities to document everyday life when World War II came along. Their medium was portable, cheap and…