Artsy About Town

Artsy Around Town: Hwy 62 Art Touring

It seems like every Fall when the Open Studios and Art Tours gear up we seem to just miss them.  So I was elated to know we would be able to spend a Saturday checking out some of the local work Joshua Tree and the surrounding communities have to offer.  A day spent seeing new places, meeting artists , getting a peek inside their studios and process– what could be better?!  Wanna go along for the ride?  Buckle up.  Safety first in the Artsy mobile!

Not MY Artsy mobile, but someone else’s spotted in Joshua Tree

Our first stop took us down a few long, lonely dirt ( OK, sand, really ) roads.  We hoped the trek would be worth it.  And when we came upon Judy Wold’s studio, something told me it would be.

Outside Judy Wold’s studio

Judy and her husband Bob live in Santa Monica, but the desert keeps drawing them in, allowing them to enjoy the best of both worlds.  We were greeted warmly and with mimosas ( my favorite kind of hello! ).  Her little abode/studio is tucked away from the rest of Joshua Tree, overlooking an undeveloped valley and a spectacular view of the mountains to the north.

Views around Judy Wold’s studio

Mr. Forager and I fell hard for the painting in the bottom right above.  My photo doesn’t do it justice– it was full of color, depth and texture in person.  We’re contemplating a purchase..

If you’ve ever been on an Art Tour, you know that artists not only open their studios, but utilize other spaces to create make-shift galleries.  Judy’s Airstream guest room turned gallery was our fave.  It had just the right boho vibe.  Definitely got our wheels turnin’!

Wold’s Airstream gallery/guest room

Next we ventured out to Twenty-Nine Palms to check out some work that had looked a bit interesting in the brochure.. unfortunately, the photo was very deceiving and I found the building to be much more interesting than the art inside.  Bummer.

Artsy building filled with so-so art. Art Tour number obliterated to protect the innocent.

Back to Joshua Tree we went, this time heading to the South and the studio of wood sculptor Mark Doolittle.  This artist is one of those fascinating creatives that begins in a largely left-brained profession ( biomedical research ) then transforms into a beautifully creative artist.

Symbiosis, amboyna burl and basswood with bubinga base, 32x33x6. George Post, photographer.

Mark Doolittle’s work bench and the fossils that inspire him

In talking with Mark, he related to us how he was always struck by the aesthetic beauty in microbiology.  The same quiet, patient methodology needed to work in the biomedical world equips him with the ability to spend hours carving meticulously.  Truly phenomenal work!

A few more stops, among them an installed re-creation of Western Motel by Edward Hopper, created and installed by Jenifer Palmer-Lacy and the studio of Marjorie Franklin and Janis Commentz ( click on the artists’ names to check out their websites! )  One of our last stops was the home & studio of Karine Swenson.  Her paintings of desert wildlife really enchanted me, as did her postings throughout of random facts regarding her work and her process.

One of Karine Swenson’s rabbits with a little note about her process

What I love most about this kind of outing is the conversation.  Not only with the artists, but with Mr. Forager.  Coming from outside the art world, he looks and questions with a different perspective, one that always makes me stop and think.  Hope you enjoyed this little virtual Art Tour as much as I enjoyed the real one.

Quick question for my readers– Would you like to see more posts like this in addition to artist features?

Rocks at Judy Wold’s studio

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  • Ken Hamilton

    Love the “Hippy” bus, it’s GROOVY!

  • Brenda Davis

    Enjoyed today’s post more than usual…so that’s a lot!

    • So great to hear! Thanks, Brenda!

  • Hi Lesley, I loved this post! Thanks so much for the mention, and for showing me a few of the studios I didn’t get to see. I’m so glad you stopped by.

    • My pleasure, Karine! Wish we could have made it to more studios!

  • Quick answer, yes please :)

  • I loved the art tour itinerary and findings! I find the relationship between the art and the environment that inspires the artist very fascinating….I appreciated the discovered gems, as well as “stops” to pass by. A road trip out West always appeals to this Midwestern girl, I would definitely like to see more of these!

    • Thanks, Jennifer! The desert landscape is a new experience for me. The way this landscape influences the work of these artists is very interesting. Each artist has a perspective on it as unique as they are.

      Cheers!
      Lesley

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  • Lesley

    Hi Janis! The Art Tour has definitely been one of the highlights of our stay in Joshua Tree. I’m curious, does the Life Drawing League offer open figure drawing sessions? My skills are rusty and I would love to get some practice in!