FRONT PAGE – Editor. Note: Artist Fitz Maurice has set out to paint live at all of the US National Parks. She will be submitting her stories from the road to StuNewsLaguna from time to time.
Fitz’s quest on her national park adventure: Joshua Tree National Park, and the Joshua Tree of Life

Finding the iconic image of Joshua Tree National Park was a no brainer! Naturally, it is the Joshua Tree itself. I am thrilled that I get to paint one of my favorite subjects – a tree. Best of all, out in this desert national park, they call the Joshua Tree the tree of life. Painting such a bountiful subject is greatly rejuvenating for me as an artist. I have been painting trees all my life. In fact, years ago I created an entire collection of oil paintings titled the Tree Series.

The Joshua Tree
I have learned so much about trees by studying their structure, how they grow and what incredible gifts trees are to earth. The more I read and realize about trees the more I believe that they are the answer to saving our planet. We all know that in Northern California there are trees thousands of years old that have survived and thrived regardless of fire, drought, storms and mans continuous interference, pollution and destruction. When will we be wise enough to learn from trees? They preceded us and will most likely outlive us all.
I am a lifetime tree lover and a tree hugger. I’ve been hugging trees so long that they hug me back! Seriously though, if you were to hike with me I would encourage you to hug a tree. Then you would begin to tune in to the living vibration that runs through their entire system. In time you would begin to feel how different trees have different pulses.
The Joshua Tree is an amazing provider to desperate desert inhabitants. These trees provide shade, water, food and shelter to insects, birds, snakes and reptiles – enhancing the delicate balance of nature. They are also often the only splash of green in the endless sea of sand surrounding them.
I do get a kick out of the way the Joshua Tree’s branches seem as if arms thrown up to the sky in a funny frantic kind of way.



The artist Fitz Maurice was recently back in Laguna for the opening of Main Beach Gallery, where some of her works will be shown

For weeks now I have been studying the Mojave Desert skies too. Here, the sky is massive, a moving and an ever changing element, when all else seems to stand still. If you pay attention, each evening offers an illuminating lightshow that divinely lingers on. It’s incredible how pastel colors of pink and orange splash across the sky redefining the entire landscape, highlighting formations that you probably didn’t even notice before.
Heavenly sunsets lift the flat desert into a three-dimensional array of colors with the mountains turning red and blue, and purples. Every sunset offers a new symphony of tones and nuances. It’s like music to your eyes!
Right now is the ideal time to go to Joshua Tree National Park – the rare wildflower bloom is abundant. You also have the unique chance to see the desert tortoise crawling around. It’s unbelievable to think that these tortoises are only wandering around outdoors 5% of their lives – the other 95% they remain underground. So seize this time to get out there. Bring your camera for super sunsets and rare wildlife opportunities.

FITZ Maurice has been on a quest to paint ‘live’ in every national park in America. She is now in her fourth year. Totally committed to help promote and protect the parks, the artist is traveling by truck and trailer to each park. Hiking, kayaking and horseback riding in search of the ultimate scene, she’ll finally set up with portable easel and oil paints. FITZ sets out to capture in paint the wonders that make each national park a treasure to Americans and all the people of the world. To see her National Park Paintings visit: