From the research done on our two week stay at Joshua Tree National Park in January, I have created the following eight black ink paintings. They are a departure from my usual black ink painting style. I have combined elements of my more naturalistic style with the tradition of Chinese and Japanese “splashed ink” style. The free, expressive brushwork combined with more controlled representation forms a contrast that was very enjoyable to produce.
All paintings are 9″ X 12″, hand ground black ink on mulberry paper mounted on Ampersand Claybord.
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Joshua Tree National Park is found in south central California, located in the southern end of the Mojave desert and the northwestern end of the Sonoran or Colorado desert. 825,00 acres were established as a national monument in 1936 by Franklin Roosevelt and my heartfelt thanks goes to Minerva Hoyt, who was concerned about the destruction of pristine desert. She hired biologists and desert ecologists to put together the case for preserving desert lands and lobbied the government leading to the monument designation. Later, in 1994, the monument was made a park by the Desert Protection Act.
Patricia and I wished to escape a colder than usual winter in our hometown of Boise, Idaho, so we rented a little cottage in the town of Joshua Tree on the edge of the park. Along with our dog, Douglas, we spent the first two weeks of 2014 at the park. The weather complied with our wishes, giving us consistent 60 degree weather and a warm sun on our backs. Every morning we would explore the park and I would do photography for my paintings. In the afternoons I would paint at my traveling studio and in the evenings Patricia would beat me in gin rummy — it was a most enjoyable two weeks.
I had spent little time in the desert prior to this trip and found Joshua Tree National Park a wonderful place to be educated. The series of paintings*, along with my paragraphs of description and reflection, are an expression of that education. I see the U.S. National Park system as small islands of true conservation in our nation. I hope this little book reflects some of the value and beauty of this particular precious public island.
Mark W. McGinnis
all original paintings are 7” X 7”, Golden Fluid Acrylics on 300 pound Fabriano Artistico soft press paper