Posts Tagged ‘ Burt procter ’

The Hidden World of R. Lee Miller and the Araby Rock Houses

If you walk the levee behind the Palm Springs PetCo and look toward the mountain you’ll see them, but barely: four little rock houses. It looks like boulders tumbled down the hillside and assembled themselves into a hamlet out of a children’s story. Aside from one new roof–suggesting occupancy–you’d think the  structures were vacant and about to be bulldozed to make way for luxury homes. I’d puzzled over the hamlet many times over the years. Then I puzzled some more when I heard that Christina Lillian, the glamorous arts patron and friend of Agnes Pelton, had once owned them and…

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Cabot Yerxa: The Theosophist-Artist of Miracle Hill

One hundred years ago Cabot Yerxa scraped a dugout into a clay bank, claiming a 160-acre homestead on a patch of sand alive with wind and water spirits. (Today we call them energy vortexes.) He spent $10 on a burro, Merry Xmas, then later built a Hopi-style pueblo of 35 rooms, now one of the most beloved handmade houses in California. Desert-dwellers know this story. But you might not know that Cabot traveled with a sketchbook and paints strapped to his burro. You might not know that he was pals with Jimmy Swinnerton, Agnes Pelton and Carl Eytel, or that…

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Burt Procter Painting Demo Surfaces

The secret to Burt Procter’s distinctive style might have vanished with him except that his daughter, Ginny Bohannan, has now shared an early video of her father teaching his technique. Aspiring desert artists can watch as the cowboy modernist demonstrates the patterned, nearly-abstract style that was influenced by Nicolai Fechin, but was ultimately Procter’s own. The film was made by Allend’or productions in the 1950s and was marketed to art students at the high school level and above. An accompanying information sheet says: “The Direct Method, brought into prominence by the Impressionists, can be observed in the paintings of Monet,…

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Burt Procter: A Cowboy Modernist on Miracle Hill

Up on Miracle Hill in Desert Hot Springs, the pueblo-builder and snake-tender Cabot Yerxa took painting lessons from his neighbor, Burt Procter, while Procter’s young daughter Ginny played on a packed dirt floor, sprinkled down with water to keep it cool. Procter had purchased land from Cabot and planned to build a cabin next door to the Pueblo, now a tourist attraction. He would be the first settler in Cabot’s dreamed-of arts colony. While the colony never materialized, Ginny and her parents often drove out from Corona del Mar in the early 1950s to camp on their land and visit…

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