Last week my family and I visited Joshua Tree National Park for a few days of painting and exploring. We found it to be a uniquely beautiful part of California with huge piles of massive boulders, desert vistas and of course the unusual Joshua Trees. Both of our boys loved climbing the rocks and looking for lizards along the trails. Our older son, Ian, also did some painting with me.
I used my Open Box M pochade box, which is always a great choice for painting outdoors. But for those of you who might be interested in an outdoor painting option for kids, we found that the Strada Pad works great. We attached it to a camera tripod, set it up flat like a table and used clips to attach watercolor paper. There was still plenty of room for brushes, water and a palette on the surface too. It didn’t even blow over in the wind when Ian got distracted by the sudden urge to run around and do some high-speed desert rock climbing.
Although we missed the peak season, wildflowers were still blooming here and there with clear, blue skies overhead. I was reminded of the incredible brightness of painting in the desert, with the sun beating down from overhead and also reflecting up from the ground underneath. Temperatures were in the upper 70s, but it felt like 90 out on the trails. Windy too. Quite a different painting experience than I’m used to, but I enjoyed it all the same. I’ll be awaiting the chance to paint Joshua Tree again, or another of the many desert regions in California.