MORONGO BASIN — If you haven’t made it out to see any of the work on this year’s Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tour, you’ve still got this weekend. Pick up a catalog at one of the informational locations, pick out some artists and map your route.
Many of the artists are also on Facebook and Instagram, allowing for a more in-depth look at their work before venturing out.
A trip up to Snake Jagger’s Morongo Valley studio (Studio No. 8) not only includes many standard sized works in his familiar style, but walk into his studio and you’re presented with his work in miniature. Outside the studio, you may feel like you just stepped into one of Snake’s paintings.
Snake has created a walking path lined with stones resembling those in his paintings. Along the path, you’ll find sculpture combinations of rocks, horseshoes, cactus in pots, rusted materials, whimsical colorful sculptures and golf balls, some of which are surrounded by Snake’s signature rock border, neatly infilled with chunky white, black or brown stones.
In his sixth year on the tours, Dan Bartlett (Studio No. 10) has fashioned his country kitchen into a welcoming scene with pitchers of water and tea, snacks and antique glass pitchers filled with old-timey candy. To the right, you’ll find fun and interesting assemblage pieces, most of which incorporate some type of light. While Dan’s studio isn’t open for viewing, you will find a lamp that will double as a conversation piece. Dan is also a photographer and offers prints for every budget.
Dan is not on the tour for the last weekend, so maybe check out his studio next year.
In Yucca Valley, don’t let the ride up the unpaved hill to Salvatore Sinare’s place (Studio No. 39) deter you. Though you won’t get to peek into Salvatore’s studio where his Picasso influences hit the paper, you will find thin, six-foot tall tribesman and colorful cats named “Ethel.”
Salvatore’s wife mentioned a visitor came by last weekend with a photograph of where she’d placed a piece she’d purchased from Salvatore on a previous tour. Salvatore added, “it’s interesting to see how and where people place an artists work.”
On the other side of the highway in Yucca Valley, mother and daughter Linda Shrader and Echo Westover (Studio No. 56) welcomed tour-goers into their shared garage studio. The two work together as Larger Than Life Murals, but each have distinctly different styles in their individual work. Linda is trying something new this year with sculpture. Using a two-part epoxy compound, the consistency of clay and the color of desert sand, she forms the material into very convincing replicas of our beloved Joshua Trees. These three-dimensional sculptures take quite a bit of time with Linda rolling each of the Joshua Tree “spines” or “needles” individually. Linda’s paintings put forth the female form while Echo captures the desert landscape in amazing color combinations.
Welder Gubby Beck shares exhibit space with three other artists in downtown Joshua Tree at the home of a local who just loves art and artists. Beck said, “She’s been hosting artists on her property during art tours for a number of years.” Beck’s studio is in Yucca Valley and though this was her first time on the Art Tours, she said it’s not her first showing. Beck has a love affair with steel, from which she creates her sculptures and has metal work available in many designs and sizes for walls or outdoor sculpture. Artists sharing space with Beck at Studio No. 87 are painter Alaine Levinsohn, fiber artist DIY Dreamer Studio and photographer Sam Roberts.
Nearby, at Studio No. 83, Teresa Watson paints not far from her washer and dryer. The pair make an appearance in one of the works displayed above her desk. Teresa’s work is quirky and strange with dogs in jackets, mice with wings and phrases like, “kick ass and chew gum.” Teresa is working on large samples of her forthcoming Tarot deck.
On the north side of Joshua Tree, watercolorist Raini Armstrong sits under a white pop-up tent, working at her easel. “If people can’t see you in your studio, they do like to see you working.” Raini is at a multi-artist location (Studio No. 103) with Book Art by Lori, Raven Rock leather goods, Teri Hudson Pottery and Karan Murphy’s Desert Rust Designs.
At the other end of the Basin, assemblage artist Tami Wood awaits at The Glass Outhouse — a new stop on the Art Tours this year. Wood and painter Jeni Bate make up the majority of the exhibition with additional pieces from other local Basin artists. Wood’s creations include hinges, springs and other rusted items she picks up on walks near her Morongo Valley home, which she then uses to form words like “love,” “breathe” and “peace.”
Overheard at one of the stops, “It’s a jaunt through Mojave weird and the conventional -— a good balance. But, it’s impossible to see all the work.”
Be sure to sign in at each location — this helps the artist and the tour organizers keep a head count of the number of visitors at each location and gain insight about from where visitors traveled.
And if you think you can’t find anything in your price range, some artists are offering items starting from as low as $2 and most have something in the $25 range.