Even though we had a mini heat wave in April, with temps reaching 100, I was determined to see what working in the barn would be like. Every new studio takes getting used to: how the light changes, how air flows, where to paint, where to store supplies. I dragged some metal into the barn and began to paint helicopters, my new fascination. I'm realizing they are vaguely religious, like "Ascensions," especially when people are dangling from cables below the hulking bodies. It's strange that again I'm living near a military base (as I do in San Diego). Anyway, we'll see what develops.
I've signed up for the Hwy 62 Art Tours in October, so the public will be invited to the barn. Good to have a deadline to get it in shape, with roof, new/old shutters that lock, and floor repaired. Have to find some old doors now. The textures and worn surfaces out there are really beautiful. Hope you'll come out in October, dear Reader.
Although I'm not making any major work in the desert yet, have been doing small gouache paintings in the evenings of rocks from the yard. The sketchbook is old, and has lots of miscellaneous stuff it in, including drawings and paintings from when my son was young. Just for fun and relaxation.
We invested in the high desert just about a year ago. Happy Anniversary, Desert Dairy! The property is gradually turning the corner from complete wreck to decency. On arrival we no longer confront lists of screaming problems--we can start to think about making art, about enjoying nature. Almost.
When I look back on the photos from a year ago, the ground is bare. Now it's covered with wild grasses, the last of the wildflowers, and brambles. There are lots of critters, it's a whole different place. I bought a desert willow (tried to graft a few, but they kept dying), and an ocotillo (have wanted one since I was a kid!). Digging the holes to plant them, caterpillars kept falling in. They are White Lined Sphinxes, the fairies of the moth world. There's going to be a swarm of them. Our neighbor trimmed our poor butchered tamarisks so they actually look like trees again. Now I can look out from the house into the distance through the branches, and it feels like floating, yellow daisies glowing in the distance.
The scary thing is locals starting to talk about fire danger, because usually there's nothing to burn here. I wonder if this year is a fluke, all the rain. Early in the 20th century there was a decade of wet weather, prompting desert homestead settlement from eastern farmers who were fooled. Some crazy family built our dairy, complete with barn, basement, outhouse and cool houses. And then the dream was devastated with the return of desert weather, leaving failed farms and abandoned shacks across the Morongo Basin.
The Desert Dairy's second artist retreat invited artists who have creative young adult/teens to come and make work together. Thank you to everyone who participated! It was a full weekend...
Mask making workshop with EVA foam.
Encaustic workshop outside on the patio.
Gold leafing workshop.
We did a field trip to the Yucca Arts Center and the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Museum.
Anna does most of the writing. Ted does most of the photos. But sometimes we switch. We are repairing a distressed property in 29 Palms, California, and eventually hope to run an artist residency there.