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  • Sunset at Mojave Desert in Twentynine Palms, CA

Join Joshua Tree based artist Monica L. Mahoney in a watercolor field painting immersion in the heart of Joshua Tree National Park. Known for her plein air watercolors of sweeping desert vistas and knowledge of the native flora of the region, Monica will guide participants in capturing the “Genius loci” or spirit of this special place. Students will tap into their natural observation skills and paint the landscape in field journals using basic watercolor and water-based pencil techniques. To warm up, Monica will guide students in recording sensory observations during an easy and informative natural history walk in a spectacular private location. Students will then practice gesture and thumbnail painting as well as basic color mixing techniques while using value, tone, line, shape, and depth to capture the essence of the landscape. This workshop is perfect for campers, hikers, and backpackers and all who are interested in developing their watercolor painting skills in the field. From beginner to intermediate, the class is designed to have fun and explore how painting, sketching and journaling in nature helps us see the world- and ourselves- with new eyes. While a good choice for beginning painters, some previous drawing experience will be helpful. All students will be given individual attention as needed.

This class will be conducted at the reserved Lost Horse Campground.

Register today!

Joshua Tree and environs are well known for the burgeoning artist community that has been drawn here. The local contemporary art scene is vibrant and a healthy companion to the music community that has flourished in the area. Bernard Leibov, Director of BoxoPROJECTS, takes us though his highlights of the local cultural scene. After an introduction and orientation in the classroom, Bernard will take us on the road to visit several of the interesting art sites in the area.

Introduction
a docent-led tour of Noah Purifoy Outdoor Museum
a visit to the public sculptures at A-Z West, the experiment in living by Andrea Zittel
lunch and a tour at BoxoPROJECTS, home to a residency program as well as the Joshua Treenial
studio visits with local artists
cap the day off with a stop at Art Queen and local art galleries

Register today!

Get started painting in watercolor, or improve with solid basic skills for creating realistic watercolors that glow and pop. Learn to add drama and impact starting with a strong image and using good color choices to make the subject take center stage. Learn color mixing both on the palette and on the paper. Rather than boring exercises, techniques will be learned while actually creating a finished painting. Often called the most difficult of mediums, there are plenty of tricks and tips in watercolor to help correct mistakes and re-work an area that is less than the desired result. Class format is a step-by-step process that incorporates demonstrations of one small section of the painting at time throughout the class time. Photos of the subject matter are provided and every student will be painting the same painting. The class is interspersed with several demonstrations, then time to paint as instructed. Each student will receive one-on-one guidance along the way. Bring your enthusiasm and go home inspired. Supplies not included, but are available for purchase for an extra $25 directly from the instructor.

Register today!

The opening of Southern Pacific Railroad service in the desert in the late 1800s brought with it a steady flow of artists from the East Coast who rode in exchange for their paintings and drawings of Western landscapes, which the railroad used to entice travelers to explore beyond the Mississippi River. By the 1920s, American and European impressionist painters were fixtures in Southern California’s deserts, mountains, canyons, forests, and coastlines — and especially in artist colonies like the one that emerged in the Coachella Valley. The workshop begins in this early California period, surveying the painters who came through the valley — and in some cases remained and became influential in the area. Next, the trajectory leads to modern art and artists who pioneered the movement in the desert — as well as key events, such as the opening of Palm Springs Desert Museum. The contemporary art segment introduces artists whose work is inspired by the conditions and culture of the Coachella Valley and has gained an international audience. This segment also covers the proliferation and contributions of commercial art galleries, fairs/festivals, and studio/gallery districts as well as public art and events such as Desert X and the Bombay Beach Biennale.

Sponsored by the Living Desert.

Register today!

Painting the landscape from life is thrilling and can be challenging as well. The world is filled with an infinite variety of color and value, and an overwhelming amount of detail. Patterns of shadow and light are changing constantly. This workshop will help you to simplify and organize what you see, and go on to create satisfying, dynamic paintings with strong, logical dark and light patterns. Topics will include composition, focal point, perspective, value (dark and light), underpainting, painting ala prima (layering wet paint without making mud), color theory, mixing paint, and more. Each session will start with a demo painting as Jessica explains her step-by-step method. Students will be given individual feedback and guidance.. Some previous drawing experience will be helpful but not required.

This class will be conducted at the reserved Lost Horse Campground with the option to “car camp” with the instructor on Saturday night. Class registration includes camp site reservations (optional). For more information on camping with this class or a list of local accommodations, please contact us at 760-367-5539.

Register today!

Come explore the Dr. Seusian world of the Joshua Tree with Diane Best, artist and instructor. Capture it on paper with brush and black acrylic paint, thinned down to mimic Sumi ink. Sticking to just black paint is a way to simplify the complexity of the tree structure without having to also worry about the trees’ subtle colors. While this is not a Chinese brush painting class, some of her technique has been inspired by that. Diane will give demonstrations throughout the day, and will give each student personal instruction. The goal will be to create at least one finished painting on handmade paper from Nepal that I will provide. Each student should also bring their own paper to experiment with before we go to the handmade paper.

We will be going to the Lost Horse Campground area of the Joshua Tree National Park – a beautiful campground reserved for the Desert Institute class. While there are many Joshua trees in that area (and shaded picnic tables to work on), Diane Best will also be providing photos of other interesting Joshua trees to work from and she will try to find trees with simpler structures that are easier to reproduce.

All experience levels are welcome. There are so many different ways to approach drawing these trees – from very realistic to stylized and/or graphic. Diane Best will help you find your personal style and technique. There is no wrong way!

Bring lunch and beverages and a camp chair for comfort.

Register today!

Few destinations offer a landscape as unique as Joshua Tree National Park. Spend a day painting in beautiful Joshua Tree NP. In this one-day class, you will focus on observations, setting an intention for the day, and learning the process of acrylic landscape painting. Janis Commentz is known for her color-intense palette and loose brush strokes. The morning will begin with basic instruction on the process and introduction to materials. Topics will include laying out your palette, color mixing, how to observe the landscape and translate it into an image, tips to see patterns of lights and darks, and planning a successful composition. Participants will move outdoors to observe, sketch, and learn what to look for in a potential landscape. The afternoon will include a demonstration on starting your painting, blocking out your sketch on canvas and time needed to developing your painting. This class is for beginning to intermediate painters.

Register today!

Join Joshua Tree based artist Monica L. Mahoney in an immersive field sketching walk-about in the heart of Joshua Tree National Park. Known for her expressive drawing style and knowledge of the native flora of the region, Monica will lead participants on a journey to capture the shapes, forms, and vistas of the natural world using graphite, charcoal, and neutral tone soft pastel. Sharing her wealth of knowledge, Monica will guide an easy and informative natural-history walk in a spectacular private location in search of the objects and vistas that students will choose to draw. Students will explore the power of line quality, shading techniques, and using foreground, middle ground, and background shapes for creating strong, believable compositions. The class is designed for all levels and students will be given one to one attention as needed. The goal of the workshop is to sharpen our natural observation skills while having fun and exploring how drawing brings us closer to Nature and ourselves. The skills learned in this class are complimentary to the upcoming watercolor painting workshop on November 9.

This class will be conducted at the reserved Lost Horse Campground.

Register today!

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Know Before You Go

Your health and safety is the top priority for our hospitality businesses. In accordance with State/County guidelines we kindly remind you to wear your face mask/covering, practice healthy hand-washing, maintain a safe social distance, and postpone travel if you are sick.

Together, our everyday actions can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.