High Desert Icons Opening Reception and Unveiling May 6th, 6-9 pm at JTAG, Joshua Tree

By Award-Winning Artist, Snake Jagger


bout a year or so ago, I started thinking about coming up with a new idea for an exhibition of paintings. Something that would be different than what my friends and fans of my work had ever seen me do: portraits of people I have come to know since I moved from the low desert to the high desert community.

When the idea of painting portraits started to germinate, a few people popped into my head immediately. These people I can easily say, are icons of sorts, each in their own unique way. This is how I see my new and treasured friends. I am still getting to know them, and I realize there are many others that would fit into this classification. But the 9 people that I have picked to be my subjects for this project have a special place in my heart. I love and admire them, so I wanted to honor them in this way – by painting their portraits.

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I am partially color blind, so painting people is extremely difficult for me. Getting flesh tones right is not something I can say I do well. But I decided to put my fear of failure aside and attempt this endeavor. For this reason, I chose not to let my subjects know I would be painting them until I was confident that I had captured their likeness to my satisfaction.

Then along comes Paul Donaldson, one of my new friends who happens to be a great and talented artist. Paul and his wife Bonnie had come to my home during the Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours in 2022. While they were here, Paul asked me if he could take my photograph, as he wanted to paint my portrait. He briefly mentioned that he was doing portraits of many of the locals, and knowing and truly admiring his artwork and talent, I was honored to have him include me in his portrait collection.

Not long after that, I got the idea of asking Paul if he would like to have an exhibition with me of our portrait collections, which he readily agreed to. We both agreed that our uniquely different styles would make for a great exhibition together.

Both Paul’s and my inclusions could all be considered icons, each in his or her own right. A rich tapestry of friends and characters who make up this profoundly beautiful, and undeniably groovy, high desert community.

My subjects have been made aware that I have painted them, but they will not see my paintings until the unveiling on the evening of the opening reception. My reward will be seeing their reactions because I can truly say with confidence, I have outdone myself. And in his usual fashion, Paul has captured his subjects superbly.

The opening reception and unveiling will be on May 6 from 6pm to 9pm at Joshua Tree Art Gallery (JTAG) in Joshua Tree. Please join us.


JTAG is located at 61607 Twentynine Palms Highway, Joshua Tree, CA.

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