Hello, I'm Gretchen

Owner  |  Artist  |  Educator

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My Story

I've looked for creative adventure since I was a kid. I began my art education at Cuesta Community College in San Luis Obispo. I romped with lotsa mediums from figure drawing to painting, ceramics, sculpting and bronze casting.                      

In 1995, I graduated with kudos from Sonoma State University after studying traditional printmaking methods of etching and lithography, instructed by Kirt Kemp and Shane Weare. 


After graduation, I returned to San Luis Obispo and became a member of the San Luis Artists' Gallery in the historic Creamery. The Creamery is where I directed the painting of a mural that still exists today!

In August 2003, I returned home to 29 Palms, where I established the 29 Palms Creative Center & Gallery with the encouragement of my mom and hero, Jane Grunt Smith. Love you, Mom!

As the Creative Center bloomed, I rejoined the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council (MBCAC), Board of Directors. The MBCAC is the lifeline to the thriving community of artists in the Morongo Basin by participating in the Annual Hwy 62 Art Tours and enjoying the active artist community.

I love, Love, LOVE playing with a wide range of mixed media: clay, painting, printmaking on or off the etching press, wood burning, collaging & bookmaking.  And I love teaching creativity — children, adults, schools, scouts, and lots of homeschoolers.

With the Griffin Etching Press, I makes unique prints from simple monotypes to complex combinations of traditional processes: drypoints, stencils, collage elements, etchings, and linoleum cuts. On canvas, the brush-strokes have emerged in striking colors using the surrounding desert landscape for inspiration. I can't help it, I keep learning new techniques, such as burning wood to prepare a drawing for an encaustic painting and sculpting in clay to  to throw unique vases!

I am convinced that the desert environment and its community are a source of inspiration, so I donate 3% of my art sales to the Mojave Desert Land Trust to give thanks for the support! They're awesome!

CLICK HERE to read Gretchen's teaching philosophy.