Tag Archives: Cactus & Succulents


Anza Borrego - Desert Bloom

After winter rains, it is time for the wild flowers to in the Anza Borrego Desert.   Some years there may be no wild flower bloom at all & other years the blooming flowers may be spectacular.  This makes seeing these wild flowers very special.  No one knows which ones will bloom, if they bloom at all.

These flowers are Desert Dandelion & Golden Poppies & when they bloom as a group, the desert floor is a carpet of yellow wild flowers. 

The Desert Lily is one of these lovely wild flower gems to search for.  I love lilies & the graceful arching serrated leaves are lovely as they lay against the desert floor.

Some of the flowers are lovely shades of purples & pinks, too.  The wild flower on the left is Sand Verbena.  I think the one on the right is Larkspur.

What would a desert landscape be without cactus?  These are Barrel Cactus.  There are all kinds of wild flowers & cactus.  I think a lifetime study of these would be required to know all of their names, especially since they don’t bloom every year!

Teddy Bear Cholla WATERMARK

This cactus is called a Teddy Bear Cactus.  I don’t see a teddy bear, but I do see a rabbit!

Here are a few of my quick Japanese brush paintings of desert wild flowers & cactus.

Cactus on Chinese Prac Paper 5-2014 WATERMARK

Big Horn Sheep 5-16-2014 WATERMARK

One of the inhabitants of the Anza Borrego Desert is Big Horn Sheep.  I have not yet been lucky enough to see them in the wild.

Fish Hook Barrel Cactus 5-16-2014 WATERMARK

There is lots of wild life living in the desert that is not easily seen at first glance.  I’m glad that Anza Borrego State Park is preserving this very special & unique environment for all to come & enjoy.


Yucca Tree - 7

Joshua Tree at the La Jolla Cove – I looked at this tree for years & never once thought that it was beautiful until one miraculous day when I saw the blooms, which took my breath away.  

Joshua Trees are native to California, are in the Yucca plant family & Cahuilla Native Americans ancestors used the leaves of to weave sandals and baskets in addition to harvesting the seeds and flower buds for meals.  

The flowers seem very orchid-like to me.  Waxy white flowers with a pale green flower buds.  Gorgeous.

Yucca Tree - 2Sometimes when I see something & start photographing it, I notice that other visitors will suddenly see what I’m seeing.  People lifted their heads up & suddenly saw the blooms, too, which they likely would not have seen.  I wonder how long I walked under this tree without ever noticing the flowers?  Sometimes having a camera in my hand means I’m not really present in the moment, but at other times having a camera in my hand opens my eyes to things I might not have noticed.  My camera now gives me “artist-eyes” & I view the world as if I was painting it.  Photography is another way to feed my creativity.

Here’s a quick Japanese brush painting of a Joshua Tree on Japanese calligraphy practice paper.  This practice paper is 60 sheets for $1.50 so it’s very cheap.  Painting on cheap paper means that I paint without the worry of ruining expensive art paper.  So freeing & brings back the FUN into my painting.   Painting what you know breathes life into your art & people feel that when they view your art.  Paint what you know & have fun.

Joshua Tree on callig prac paper 5-2014 WATERMARK


A few years ago I took a day-trip to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to view the desert wildflower bloom in the spring.  I had never been here before & was excited.  We crossed the mountains & the bus descended down into Anza Borrego.  There were thousands of Ocotillo cactus growing & they were in full bloom.  My first site of them from the tour bus windows was so awesome.  I spent the day viewing wild flower blooms with a Park guide, but my favorites were the Ocotillos.  

Saguero Cactus on Chinese prac paper 5-2014 WATERMARK

Here’s a Japanese brush painting of an ocotillo cactus surrounded by wild flowers.  This painting is done on Chinese calligraphy practice paper.

FYI:  The park is named for Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and the Spanish word borrego, or bighorn sheep. The park features washes, wildflowers, palm groves, cacti and sweeping vistas. Visitors may also have the chance to see roadrunners, golden eagles, kit foxes, mule deer and bighorn sheep as well as iguanas, chuckwallas and the red diamond rattlesnake.