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’ gallery Saturday and Sunday.
Willard was just one of many desert artists who made the High Sierra a part of their annual painting circuit. Now contemporary artist Terry Masters is about to embark on the same circuit. He has agreed to be the Jokis’ first artist-in-residence this summer. Watch CaliforniaDesertArt.com for updates on Terry Masters’ Sierra adventure.
On Sunday March 9th, 11am to 4pm, the Jokis have invited Willard experts and Palm Springs historians to help honor the art and life of Stephen H. Willard. Drop by and celebrate the desert-Sierra connection.
Wonder Valley Gets a New Tank Mural
Our favorite water tank painter is up on the scaffolding again. Joshua Tree artist David Greene sent images of a tank he has just completed in Wonder Valley. “The image is an elaboration of my painting Sparky Observes the New Moon,” he writes. Sparky is David’s dog and a frequent model for his paintings.
Top Desert Painters in Borrego Springs This Week
The 8th Annual Borrego Springs Plein Air Invitational winds up with a reception and awards event this Saturday. March 8, 2014, from 5 to 8 pm. If you haven’t yet made it to Borrego to see the classy new home of the Borrego Art Institute, this is your chance. It’s also a chance to discover some of the best contemporary desert painters. Invited artists this year include Dot Renshaw, Jason Situ, Bryan Mark Taylor, Kirsten Anderson and many others.
The paintings will remain on view through March. Contact the Borrego Art Institute for information: http://www.borregoartinstitute.org/index.html
Sonie’s Road Paved With Flowers
Anza-Borrego is famous for its wildflowers, of course, and desert flowers are inextricably twined with desert art. San Francisco and Joshua Tree resident Sonie Sampson is melding her interest in the desert and flowers in a new website: www.DesertWildflower.com. Sonie recently visited Borrego and Palm Springs on a camper tour of wildflower sites. A dedicated desert nomad, she talked about her love for the early naturalists like Edmund Jaeger and her respect for naturalist-artists such as John and Kathi Hilton.
“The road is a compelling mistress, or in my case, master,” she writes. “If the road is paved with flowers, I’ll be on it.”
Andrew Gillespie Co-Chairs California Art Club’s Desert Chapter
CaliforniaDesertArt.com congratulates Rancho Mirage painter Andrew Gillespie in his new role as co-chair of the California Art Club’s Desert Chapter.
Along with Elaine Mathews, he’ll be planning exhibits and hosting the Club’s popular series of paint-outs. We often run into Andrew painting in the canyons, and can attest that his devotion to desert art is bedrock.
For more on Andrew see: http://desertpainter.com/andrew-gillespie-biography/
California Art Club: http://www.californiaartclub.org/
California Desert Welcomes Helper, Utah Artists
Sometimes we have to expand the boundaries of California Desert Art to include places with a similar terrain and a kindred spirit. That’s true of Helper, Utah, named for the “helper” railroad cars that boost locomotives over steep grades. Through March, 2014, CODA Gallery in Palm Desert showcases the work of artists from this small mining town, 120 miles east of Salt Lake City. In recent years, artists from the University of Utah began to renovate old buildings in the decaying town; workshops started up; more artists moved in. Helper is now the center of an active art scene, with its roots in local history and a firm grasp of place. Many of the Helper artists are represented by CODA (with galleries in Park City, New York and Palm Desert). Stop by CODA, Palm Desert, in March to see what’s going on in Helper, without the long drive.