Art both cheery & challenging: A look at the studio tours’ second weekend with a Yucca Valley cross-section

Photographer Kevin Powell is showing his Joshua Tree National Park series at the California Welcome Center. The bighorn sheep climbing the rock is called "Ascent" and the one jumping across to its friend is "Pursuit."

Now three weekends long and featuring more than 200 artists, the Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours continued Saturday and Sunday.

Juan Thorp is enjoying his third time on the tour. His studio is now at his sign business, Crayon Cannon, in downtown Yucca Valley. Thorp paints “abstract geometrics” in acrylic paints as his sign making machine chugs away on commercial projects.

Sculptor “Shig” Shigley, who locals may remember as the man who made inverted Joshua trees, is now creating steel sculptures in his Yucca Valley house’s garage. Many of his pieces are hanging and spinning like mobiles or stately, multi-dimensional entryway pieces. He frequently leaves his pieces with a bare metal finish, but sometimes uses a powder coating magnetic melting process to make them a bright red.

Nancie Mangels makes landscape oil paintings at her home in the Gates of Spain Mobile Home Park. Her earlier works are scenes from living on a farm, but she is now inspired by our desert rocks and wide open skies.

Three artists are showing at the California Welcome Center in Yucca Valley.

Michael Cline is a photojournalist turned fine art photographer and painter. Many of his pieces are of abandoned, rusting vehicles and local wildlife. One piece is a friend’s portrait. “He looks so much like Van Gogh’s self-portrait that I tried to mimic the style,” Cline said.

Photographer Kevin Powell is a master of hunting elusive wildlife with his camera. He is showing a series of Joshua Tree National Park pieces.

Daniel Grindle is showing his watercolor paintings and photographs at the center. He moved here from South Dakota about three years ago. Though he says he will always be a painter, he has recently been inspired to take photos in the national park.

“During the super bloom last spring, I went all over the park every day and took about 16,000 pictures,” he said. “The first year I was here, the flowers were great; the second year there was no bloom at all. This year I was told that it was the largest bloom in the last 50 years and I wanted to take advantage of it while I could. I may never see it like this again.”

The tours will conclude this weekend. Oct. 19 and 20. For participating studios, visit

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