Front Page ~ April 1, 2016

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.

From Joshua Tree National Park, Fitz Maurice paints the iconic Mojave Desert Tree of Life
Story and photos by FITZ MAURICE

IMG_7690  Mojave Desert Tree of Life, Joshua Tree National Park, California” ~ Oil Painting

Painting the Joshua Tree was an ideal experience for me because I was given the opportunity to create the Mojave Desert Tree of Life. While painting this joyous subject I felt rejuvenated!
This newest oil painting in the National Park Paintings series portrays the obvious icon of Joshua Tree National Park, California. It celebrates nature’s wisdom in the delicate balance of the chain of life. With the Joshua Tree nearly centered in the painting it represents the center of the chain of life in the desert.

The Joshua Tree is the desert tree of life because it provides life support for all the wildlife around it, from insects and lizards to hundreds of birds. Focusing weeks of time and energy on this positive creation lifted my spirit, which was a particularly good feeling when my body was being challenged by days of excessive heat. As my readers know, I go to the National Parks when they are supposed to be at their ultimate season. Winter out here in the Mojave Desert is usually a comfortable 70-75 degrees. Instead it has been 100-degree days and 30-degree nights! I had to deal with a sand storm of hot wind blowing up to 65 mph with flies and other prickly experiences too.

Many cool evenings were pleasantly spent studying the desert sunsets. I chose to portray the classic rainbow roll of pastel colors that rise from blue to red-violet to soft yellow. This rainbow sunset sky, set behind the Joshua Tree, accentuates the branches of the tree that seem to be rejoicing in life.

Fitz Maurice painting in Joshua Tree
Now that this oil painting is finished I can share with you that I am grateful to have made the concerted restraint to STOP! Knowing when to stop is one of the great mysteries that creative people must solve with each new work of art.
I’ve been an artist all my life, and I have painted 1023 paintings. I dare say that the time to stop painting is before you make it perfect! In fact, something precious is lost in making a painting perfect. Perfection often suffocates freshness, draining the life out of the painting. Often in the past I would push to perfect the painting. Then I realized that perfect is not the ultimate answer. In recent years, I have resolved to finish the painting and just stop – before the freshness is brushed away by over-painting.
It actually takes courage to stop creating and trust that the minimal amount of information has been sufficiently provided and the painting is still alive and breathing with freshness. I prefer my paintings to be full of life’s energy, trusting in the magic of mystery rather than the stale presentation of perfection.
Follow my quest as I continue onward and upward to the next park of the 59 National Parks. And to see some of the newest National Park Paintings, go to Woods Cove Art Gallery, 1963 South Coast Hwy in Laguna Beach.


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.