Wednesday, May 21, 2008

All's Fair That's Art Fair

Last weekend I participated in my first art fair. It was the inaugural Village Market, a monthly fair arranged by the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council. I had just returned from a trip to the coast to see my incredible nephew and my wonderful friends Candice and Marc (and Poppy the schnauzer too). Instead of driving back on the freeways, I took a state highway, Route 74, that is a single road from San Juan Capistrano to Palm Desert. It passes through the Cleveland National Forest, Lake Elsinore and eventually becomes the gorgeous Pines to Palms Highway that climbs high on the St. Jacinto range, passes an alpine town called Idylwild and then plunges into the desert.

However, I digress. The fair was held at Roadside Attraction, a local gallery that shares frontage with an insurance brokerage. Yes, the sign says "Art and Insurance". It was held in conjunction with a postcard benefit and silent auction for the MBCAC, into which I donated a set of four postcards. The fair was small, the weather was hot and the crowd was eclectic. I set up with flowers, mandarins, yogurt pretzels, gummy bears and, oh yes, art. My works were the prints I had created at the 29 Palms Creative Center and I displayed them in bags I had purchased at an art supply store in Laguna Beach. People stopped by to grab a munchie and I received one great compliment - on the flowers. However, I had one fan who kept eying a large collage and monoprint entitled 'Crazy World'. By the end of the evening, and with a little gentle persuasion by my friend John Luckett, the deal was sealed. The identity of my first collector is being withheld at her request. I am very grateful for her patronage.

I ended the day at a benefit evening for Sky's the Limit, the new observatory being built in 29 Palms. Music, friends, food, star-gazing - no, not LA-style - desert style through a huge telescope.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Signs of the Times

After all that hard fun, it was good to be invited to a potluck afternoon around the pool at Benjamin (and his Mom Betty) Bottoms' place in 29 Palms. Little did I realize the treat I was in for. The property is a former motel and Benjamin has brought tens of large signs onto the grounds. He has also landscaped away without earthmoving equipment and placed his personal artworks throughout the main house and 'gardens'. It's a rich and inspiring environment to experience.

We were treated to a tour followed by a dip in the pool followed by delicious dinner and conversation. The whole affair was rounded off by Janet, a local sculptor, treating us all to lemon custard, shaped to look like soft boiled egg, served in ceramic eggs of her own making. And biscotti ;)

My Blue Period

Rick's visit was followed sharply by my next print class with Gretchen at the Creative Center. I made my first locally inspired work - an attempt to capture the beauty of the overlapping mountain ranges that take on a variety of blue tones in the late afternoon light. Some happy printing ending in what else? A collage.

One collage led to another - the second intended as my entry into the MBCAC postcard benefit. I liked it too much to cut it up so we ended the day printing another monotype plate onto a set of pre-torn postcard sized papers. They are winging their way to the MBCAC as we speak. Thanks again Gretchen!

The Day Rick Came To Visit

This past weekend was action packed as Rick Guzman, my good buddy from NYC, came to visit. As my first guest out here, he was subjected to a very thorough run around aided by the fact that there was a lot on. We dined in on Thursday evening after Rick's arrival. Friday morning featured a brisk long walk up into the mountain and then all around the houses in the Joshua Highlands. After lunch, we drove into the Park proper and went for a leisurely hour walk around Barker Dam. Then a trip to the cactus garden before dinner at the 29 Palms Inn. The evening was rounded out by an opening of Tina Bluefield's work at the 29 Palms Creative Center. Gretchen always throws a great event and this one was no different - complete with Belly dancers.

Saturday featured the farmers market, late breakfast at Crossroads Cafe, the Yucca Valley swap meet and then a hike at Black Rock Canyon. Not content with the long vertical ascent and a view of San Giorgiono, we went off trail, scrambled a few hundred feet higher and were rewarded with the twin peak of San Jacinto. A breather was followed by a huge dinner and music at Pappy and Harriets.

Sunday. Leisurely morning into lunch at the cabin. Then a trip to the 29 Palms Gallery for an opening of the tribute exhibition for Noah Purifoy. Lots of familiar folks there, many introductions and then an excursion to the Purifoy Foundation to see the work that inspired it all. We were accompanied there by my local buddy John Luckett, who had a great piece in the show.

A late afternoon drive to Palm Springs and Rick was off home again. I think he was surprised by the variety and depth he saw here and I was happy for his energy and good spirit after all of that activity. Au revoir Rick .