This folk art piece, by an unknown artist displayed on the gallery grounds, was donated to the Artists Guild by Karen Skib from her Wonder Valley property.
This folk art piece, by an unknown artist displayed on the gallery grounds, was donated to the Artists Guild by Karen Skib from her Wonder Valley property.

Welcome to my first Blog on DesertUSA. I have been a writing and photography contributor for a long while, but this is the first real column I have written for DesertUSA.

I am a person with itchy feet, a need to go and see what is on the other side of the mountain. Every dirt road is a question unanswered.

P486_scorpion 29
A rusting metal sculpture by Greg Howlind graces the grounds of the gallery.
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Almost anything will give me an excuse to go driving about as I don’t need much to pique my interest. Route 66; small almost-ghost towns; festivals and sand castle building competitions, you name it, I wanna go see. And being a photographer, I just have to shoot, to capture images. The road is all about that — the journey and the art.

Please join me as we head on down the road in lara’s lane. Or, on occasion, in lara’s brain, as we contemplate the universe and the roads less traveled.

Sunday, Sept. 6, 2009: Today we (Walter-the-car and I) headed down to 29 Palms, California. Or is it Twentynine Palms. I can never remember and I have seen it written both ways. We’ll just do like the locals do and call it 29.

The 29 Palms Art Gallery was having its fall opening reception, Desert Diversity, III for more than 45 painters, sculptors and photographers. The show runs through September 27.

This painting by Mary-Austin Klein is the main reason we went to the artists' opening reception.
This painting by Mary-Austin Klein is the main reason we went to the artists' opening reception.

I wanted to see Mary-Austin Klein’s painting, “Edge of the Racetrack, Death Valley” in person after seeing a photo of it on Flickr.com. It was beautiful, even if it was a bit smaller than I anticipated. I could have stood and looked into that painting for a long time, it was mesmerizing.

Paintings don’t usually move me emotionally, but this one was different. It is so good to see other artists’ work. To immerse myself in another’s vision.

There were several pieces I marveled at including a photograph of a lone tree framed in an old window frame complete with peeling white paint.

A futuristic sculpture is figured prominently in one of the three galleries in the 29 Palms Gallery and Art Center. Guests at the opening reception mingle and enjoy the various pieces of art.
A futuristic sculpture is figured prominently in one of the three galleries in the 29 Palms Gallery and Art Center. Guests at the opening reception mingle and enjoy the various pieces of art.

A sculpture bathed in golden light looked like a futuristic cliff dwelling made from polystyrene foam and concrete. Muralist Chuck Caplinger exhibited a young coyote painting who looked startled to be hanging on the wall in one of the three galleries.

The beginning-of-autumn light on the desert mountains is enchanting, something I never tire of seeing, and going through the High Desert communities of Lucerne Valley, Yucca Valley and Joshua Tree is always entertaining and visually compelling — my mind saying “stop, take a picture!” No, we have to get to the reception. On the way home we’ll stop. And we did.

Artist Chuck Caplinger poses beside his painting of a young coyote.
Artist Chuck Caplinger poses beside his painting of a young coyote.

More info:
Twentynine Palms Art Gallery & Gift Shop
74055 Cottonwood Drive (off National Park Drive)
P.O. Box 115
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277
(760) 367-7819
OPEN Wed.-Sun. 12 to 3 p.m.
(Summer Hours: Fri.-Sat.-Sun. 12-3)

Getting there:
•Twentynine Palms is located on Highway 62 east of Los Angeles via Interstate 10, connecting just west of Palm Springs.
• From Victorville, take Highway 18 to Highway 247 and then to Highway 62.
• From Barstow, Highway 247 to Highway 62.
•The drive from Barstow to 29 is a little less than two hours. From Los Angeles it is a little more than two hours, depending on traffic.

A old Cadillac Fleetwood, for sale in Joshua Tree next to Highway 62, is the inspiration for this image.
An old Cadillac Fleetwood, for sale in Joshua Tree next to Highway 62, is the inspiration for this image.
The Harmony Motel in 29 Palms, California. This is one of the places where U2 stayed on their famous tour around the Mojave Desert.
The Harmony Motel in 29 Palms, California. This is one of the places where U2 stayed on their famous tour around the Mojave Desert.

Next time: Oasis of Murals – Twentynine Palms

Lara Hartley is a freelance photographer and writer and also the Features Editor for the Daily Press Newspaper in Victorville. Adventure is her middle name, traveling is her game.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/redshoesgirl/

6 COMMENTS

  1. sorry we missed you there! did you see the sculpture dedicated to our friend Michael Swigart on the median strip outside the gallery?
    nicole
    ps Mary Austin’s stuff is exquisite — I am a collector of it. Weeks before his final illness, Michael bought a piece by Mary of the Last Chance Mountains, Death Valley. How’s that for spooky?

  2. Wow, this is well done. Boy- it puts my blog to shame! I like the write up and Mary-Austin Klein’s painting IS something to see. It looks quite real. I enjoy reading about your travels and seeing your photographs. Continue on!

  3. Lara’s Adventure Lane – LAL – wonderful. Traveling to provide a visual and descriptive feast for the eyes and mind, which this post certainly was. Many blog posts can eventually a book make.

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