Writeup! Gallery Systems – are they right for you?

To Streamline the Hanging of Art...

Gallery systems are made to simplify the management of wall hangings, especially in an environment that often experiences change. With a hanging system installed, a tight organization of art can be also accomplished. But is this enough to interest you in purchasing and installing one of these systems?

Gallery systems are made up of a selection of rails, wires or rods, and hooks that can maximize the art hanging capacity of blank walls. Yet investing in a gallery system, no matter what the brand you choose, is just that - an investment. These systems are relatively expensive. Many galleries make the investment because of the monthly or quarterly costs associated with volunteer time and wall repair materials. For galleries, museums, studios, libraries and businesses, the initial expense is worthwhile because it saves them on time and materials for as long as the system is in use. 

Some artists and collectors have also made the investment if they often showcase art at their homes.The freedom of change can be incorporated easily and quickly, either seasonally or as the mood strikes with these systems. 

The cost can be prohibiting, however, if none of these pros apply to you. 

Case in point - I calculated the cost for an in-home system for me…

I have four walls with a total of 45 linear feet that I can hang the bulk of my art on. If I was able to arrange my art in a tight manner I think I would use 25 cables (the average size of my art is 11x14 framed) and up to 50 clips. It turned out that a system by AS ( resulted in the most affordable gallery setup, coming to $530. This would be a serious investment for me, one that I have not yet taken advantage of.


  • No more repairing walls
  • Fast adjustment to art arrangements
  • Modern look


  • These systems are expensive. They eventually pay for themselves in setup time and wall repair time\cost, but only if you regularly change out and\or maneuver art on walls.
  • Modern look (this can be a con if you dislike metal lines dividing the visible negative space of the wall!)

Gallery System Art Displays

Example Gallery system

Wall track - $29 per 6.5ft track

Original Cable - $69 per 10 pack of 6.5ft cables

Original hooks - $59 per 10 pack of allen-wrench hooks

STAS Picture Hanging System

Example STAS system

Wall track - $26.12 per 59in track

Original Cable - $69 per 10 pack of 6.5ft cables

Original hooks - $59 per 10 pack of allen-wrench hooks

Walker Display System

Example Walker system

Wall track - $29.99 per 6ft track

Metal Cable - $6.99 per 4ft cable

Original hooks - $50 per 10 pack of hooks

AS Hanging Systems

Example AS system

Ceiling track ($31.10 per 72in track)

P-end cables ($4.30 per 4ft cable)

Mini Hooks ($3.95 per hook)

Member List


Most of our members not only support Chaparral artists through their membership and volunteer time, but they also share their art at our exhibits and share their skill during demonstrations and discussions. Some of our members have provided biographies and photos of their art to be placed here, please click on any of the available hyperlinked Names to view a page dedicated to these participating members.

Raini Armstrong
Photography | Watercolors

Sonja Arnel
Acrylics | Mixed-Media

Jeni Bate
Refractured Watercolor | Mixed Media | Acrylics | Oils

David Clements

Kim Clements
Photography | Watercolors | Soft Pastel

Sue Dailey

Susan Davenport
Acrylics | Oils | Watercolors

Mary Catherine Fetterly

Mae Fox
We will always remember you!

Stained Glass | Oils | Wood Carving

Dorene Fundin

Sharon George
Watercolors | Scratch-Art

Jennifer Grandi
Soft-Pastel | Mixed-Media

Shirley James
Oils | Watercolors

Ed Keesling

Nancy Kimes
Ink-Art | Acrylics

Valya Kindelvich

Julianne Koza

Lynzy Kunz

Sunshine Laue

Kyle Layton

Deane Locke

Lalo Lucio

Lisa Manifold

Darla McAlister
Watercolors | Gourds

Nancy McHenry
Mixed Media | Ceramics

Terry Meyer

Nancy Miehle
Oils | Watercolors | Stained-Glass

Kathy Miller
Photography | Acrylics | Mixed Media

Linda Moore

Karen Mortensen
Fabric Sculpture | Poet | Soft-Pastels

Virginia Neal
Acrylics | Oils

Sharon Nieters

Carolyn Nye
We will always remember you!
Acrylics | Watercolors

Laura Paez

Jo Ann Petersen

Jim Petersen

Patricia Quandel

Tami Roleff

Claire Sampatti Plowman

Laurie Schafer
Fabric Arts

Beverly Schmuckle

Joan Scott
Acrylics | Pastels

Diana Shay-Diehl

Carl Smelko

Red Toph


A hearty thank you to those amazing people that choose to support Chaparral Artists through membership. These individuals might be art collectors, art enthusiasts, or supportive friends. They pay membership and for that they can choose to subscribe to our newsletter for updates on group activities, attend outings and volunteer their time at our events. We appreciate you!

Molly Cummings

Tom Dailey

Richard Davenport

Donald Irwin

Carey Meyer

Robert Miehle

Duane Nieters

Jerry Paez

Don Wallin

Betty Wallin

Writeup – Feather Art Workshop 2021

A personalized painting tool

The feather art workshop with instructor Nancy Kimes was held in December of 2021. Attendance was sparse but something personable is gained with limited participants - we had the instructor's full attention! I was lucky for such an opportunity to fall into my lap for it gave me time to participate and take plenty of photos.

In this Feather Art workshop, participants were provided materials to both create their own feather brushes AND paint with the newly created tools! The brush creation process could easily take much of a creator's time and love as they customize and beautify their tools, so I am so happy that we were given ample time to create our feather brushes.

The brush and the breathing

Once our painting tools were assembled, we jumped right into using them! The process was as much about using our tools as it was understanding our tools. We were given time to experience the unique properties of our newly created brushes, of the way they felt in the hand and of how they prefered gliding upon paper. We were urged to relax into the creation process using calming breath exercises and repeating motions. There is a meditative aspect to the painting process we were shown, and the process was absolutely inviting.

Circles and much, much more

The creation of circles is important during this process of meditative painting. There is a start and a finish. There is hope and finalization.  These are called Enso circles, an ancient Japanese art-form blending art and spirituality. It is a fantastic feeling experiencing how the brush, the feather reacts to the ink and the paper. And yet, our painting technique did not start and end with the creation of circle figures!

Nancy introduced us to a marbling process using water and ink. We practiced placing ink to paper and then placing that paper face-down into water AND we swirled ink into water first before placing the paper into the water. The end products were subtle at times, with fine strokes and beautiful forms, and occasionally they were bold. The process was as much engaging as it was surprising and completely enjoyable.

Absolutely fun

The day was a success and though the workshop was scheduled for six hours, we didn't have a lull at any time. We were creating and enjoying the results all throughout. Each of us came out with a set of beautifies and an entire bucket of concepts to work into our art forms moving forward. Thank you Nancy Kimes for a fun and exciting workshop. I look forward to the next one in January, 2022!

Our Projects

Past & Presents Projects

Chaparral Artists have been involved in numerous projects throughout the years. We hope to provide a creative outlet and a learning environment to youth groups and we support one another by providing art sharing opportunities and inspirational group outings. Some of the following projects just scratch the surface of what Chaparral Artists have worked on over the years. We hope to continue sharing, inspiring, and creating together!

Tank Art Project

The Tank Art Project finally Completed. The project is in conjunction with the Joshua Basin Water District to paint murals on the water tanks in Joshua Tree. The first tank will be the tank located behind the Water-Wise Garden located on Cholita at the JBWD office. The Mural would be under the Chaparral Artists' direction with the Yucca Valley High School Art Club's help. The Chaparral Artists assisted students in learning about murals, the process of prepping and painting, and the development of a personal art portfolio. The painting began on October 6 and was completed during the week. Chaparral primed and readied the site on the 6th and 7th. Painting with the students proceeded on the 8th and 9th; students painted each day from 2:30 pm to 5 pm, finishing up with pizza and sandwiches. A reception was held on the 11th, honoring the students.

Boys & Girls Club

Nancy Miehle has worked with the Boys & Girls Club in Yucca Valley for years, providing fun and interesting projects and painting opportunities.

Joshua Tree Community Center Summer Splash

For several years running the Chaparral Artists have been able to paint with youths and adults alike during their Summer Splash event. Chaparral believes that in providing a safe and creative outlet, they nurture creative endeavors and results.

Orchid Festival

Chaparral Artists has been proud to work with Gubler's Orchids at their beautiful Orchid Festival for several years. At the festival, Chaparral sets out to paint with youths, introducing tips and tricks to the excited kids in addition to their interested loved ones. Lately, we have also been able to sell members' artwork. We are delighted each year we are able to work with Gubler's Orchids, and we hope to work with them for years to come!

Night Photography – Part 4

Digital Darkroom

Post Processing.


These words have gained a slightly negative connotation when talking about digital photography, but remember that post processing of digital images is based upon the alterations available to film photographer in darkrooms. I realized that it also included a plethora of other abilities like cloning out blemishes, but I do not like throwing the baby out with the bathwater, per say. Taken in its cleanest form, if you burn, dodge, or crop your image you are processing the data POST or after you captured a scene.

The negativity might stem from how quickly digital photography gained popularity. Photography was available to many and the editing of photos became fun, easy, wild, and maybe a little overdone - but that was the fun of it! The digital format made photography and editing accessible to nearly everyone with a computer. Photography has become even more accessible since the strengthening of cameras in smart phones. I think it is safe to say that we can enjoy photos from practically anyone around the world, with or without classic training, and with or without photo-journalistic rules that they go by. That can be exciting, frustrating, freeing.

So, the digital darkroom - are you a purist? Does that even exist anymore?!

I realize that some photographers share that they do not edit outside of the camera. I do not belong to such a group. I may not leverage post-processing as drastically as some, but I always apply some amount of processing. In fact, I do not believe that post processing is actually avoidable. When I say this, I am organizing the techniques of burning, dodging and cropping into the post-processing world. But I am also referring to how the operating systems built-in-software, your printers software, or the print group you send your work to affects the files you plan on printing. There is quite an array of built-in visual adjustments that each of these programs apply before you open things up or send things out to be printed.

But I am getting into the weeds. Post processing isn't a bad word. Maybe it is often overused, but it is a tool available to us as it was to any classic photographer. My favorite photographers had complete control over their resulting imagery and they did that my maintained their own Darkroom. They burned, they dodged, they cropped. The digital world has a digital version of those same tasks and though we can make far more drastic changes to our images, we should understand that the classic array of enhancements are and not to be feared.

For ME, night photography requires practically equal parts onsite work and computer development. Okay, I am overexerting, but still, the time commitment is there. I am not here to recommend a product. There are many. Some more affordable than others, some easier to use. You must make that choice alone. What I can share is what I use purely because of what I was first introduced to - Adobe Photoshop.

I should also share that I capture my photos using the raw format. They are large files. They are cumbersome. I constantly have to update my software to read my aging cameras format. Many photographers do not like raw because of its size and the lack of in-camera adjustments. They come out looking bland and they seem to lack contrast and color quality. However, the information is embedded, I assure you, in fact there is far more information stored in the darkest colors and lightest colors than in that of other formats. So, at the end of the night I potentially have more to work with during my digital Darkroom editing.

To cap off this section, I end with my most repeated adjustments on night sky imagery:

  1. I brighten the lights of an image about halfway
  2. I brighten the darks about halfway
  3. I darken the blacks by a quarter to remove any sudden spike in unwanted mid-tones
  4. I soften and remove obvious noise
  5. I play with broad dodging an burning at various levels of transparency to avoid drastic over adjustments
  6. Hopefully I am pleased, but some amount of saving and reapplying the same settings might be in order.

Night Photography – Part 3

Camera Setup


You will push your camera to the limit during night shoots. You will exhaust your batteries. You will crank up the ISO, making your image grainy... on purpose. You will set the exposure time longer and longer as you test how much light your camera can capture. And you will go to the lowest apparature you can,, virtually erasing the possibility of sharp definition on anythin closer to you than infinity.

Because clarity is overrated?

no, it is actually because you are attempting to find a happy balance between maximizing the amount of light that your camera can record and minimizing the degradation such a feat takes on your images.

You might already understand these concepts, but if you haven't manually adjusted your camera settings in this seemingly counterproductive way to producing clean, crisp images, then I am here to tell you... give it a shot.. see what happens. You can at least start out somewhere by using the following settings. I have found success using them with my 15 year old camera when I venture into the dark. Maybe they will help you start as well!

ISO => 1600

Exposure => 20 seconds

Aperture <= 3.8

The idea is to capture as much light as possible while limiting the noise or grain of a photograph. I am using an older camera, so I personally avoid setting my ISO to anything over 3200. My photos end up with too much noise at 3200. I simply do not have the skill and/or time to effectively remove that grain during post-processing. So that is my cap. My lenses do not go below 3.8 aperture, so they will be a bit on the darker side. This is the equipment I work with, and I still love pushing its limits. You may face similar limitations, but do not let that hold you back from trying out night photography if you are interested.


Looking for Clarity in Distant Objects?

Many of the compositions you might be interested in involve a distant object. Milky way shots, crescent moon shots. With these landscape scenes, you will want to focus on the farthest point of your composition. You want the moon and/or the stars to remain crisp. For these shots, you will need to set your camera to 'infinity' on its lens. Try using cloth tape to secure your lens if you do not have infinity marked or have an older camera with a persnickety infinity zone. Photographers often prefocus on a distant object during the day and then tape down the lens. This is very reliable if you only plan on one type of shot during the evening.

Or Are You Capturing Something Close?

With light painting, you are much closer to your subject, and you probably not use the taped-down infinity trick. You can always show up at your location of interest before the sun sets to properly focus on your subject, but that too comes with problems. In this case, you will need a high-powered flashlight to aid you in changing your camera's focus.

Night Photography – Part 2

Be mindful

You have everything - your tools, your plan, maybe even your friends to make the night shoot grand. No matter how familiar you are with your photo-friends, remember to keep a few things in mind, including being mindful of your surroundings. This includes the people you are spending time with.

Situational Awareness

It is essential to be respectful of other photographers during night shoots. A common situation we find ourselves in is the accidental altering of another photographer's shot. You have set up your composition, begun an exposure, walked away from your camera, and boom, the image is affected by the actions of another person. Another photographer began setting up their equipment near yours, mid snapshot. Lights, dim or not, are being used. Or a person inadvertently walks into your shot. Be careful; keep track of where your fellow photographers are. Use your voice - announce your position and announce that you are taking a photo. Clear communication is vital. It will help to minimize the number of aggravations between photographers.

Less is acceptable!

Many photographers of the digital era take hundreds of photos during a session. During a night shoot, you will not come close to that number. Finding your way to a location takes time. Equipment setup takes time. Composing a shot and testing the scene takes time. Safety and sure-footedness are of utmost importance, and you guessed it, it slows everything down! Everything must slow down during a night shoot, so do not be discouraged if by the end of the evening you have only a portion of your typical number of 'snaps.' 

Night Photography – Part 1

Suppose you are intrigued with capturing a crescent moon showering a landscape in dim light. Or is it the silhouettes of rocks and trees against the fall of starlight that calls to you? Or maybe you fancy a colorful glow on your favorite Joshua tree? If these scenes appeal to you, read on to learn what night photography entails and whether you are ready to jump in.

First and foremost, with low light photography, you must have a camera that you can manipulate manually (ISO, aperture, and shutter speed). A steady tripod is also required. Next, you should consider lighting, and when we plan for lighting, ask yourself this - do you prefer natural or false? With starlit and moonlit compositions, we attempt to work with natural lighting. We adjust our cameras to record as much available light as possible. We will end up with naturally lit scenes.

With light painting, we purposefully introduce unnatural light to an object that we hope to capture. In most cases, artificial light is produced by using LED lamps... and sometimes the headlights of our vehicles! With light painting, you must bring all of your lights with you, their batteries, and the means you plan on propping them up with. Consider starting small!

Note - regardless of your end goal (naturally or unnaturally lit scenes), you should have a high-powered light to aid you in focusing on your subjects.

So, you have your camera, your tripod, and the dim to high-powered light sources at the ready. Have you tested your equipment? Never take for granted your own backyard when trying your tools. You should be comfortable with the dials of your camera, even in dim light. You should be able to trust in the light sources you plan on using. So test everything in the comfort and safety of your home and backyard when possible.

The Camera

The most important thing is the camera, but it also needs to be capable of setting manual options. Does your camera allow you to control the exposure, ISO, and aperture?

The whole idea of night photography is to capture broad details of your surroundings by allowing the camera to take long exposures. Consider a daytime photograph - those shots only take a sixteenth of a second (or so). With dim-light pictures, you capture a scene for 10, 20, 30 seconds... or longer!

To do this, you need to know how to manually set these features on your camera, preferably before you go out to take photos in the darkness. Your comfort with your own tools will increase the enjoyment of the experience!

If you have questions, Chaparral Artists is full of answers, or at least recommendations. Our membership includes several photographers who love night photography excursions. 

The Tripod

So, those 10, 20, 30-second shots you plan will be 'nearly' impossible without a tripod. I have captured decent photos with a simple tripod. I plan to purchase something hefty one day to withstand slightly breezy situations. Take it from me, though; all you need is a tripod capable of securing your camera and holding it still. Nothing fancy. I do NOT recommend mini tripods for your DSLR equipment. They are typically incapable of securing heavier cameras and lenses.

And for those of you who noticed... I used the word 'nearly' because I have been in a bind before. I successfully made do with what I had - jackets, water bottles, random stuff that aided me in mocking up a reclined 'bed' for my camera. I didn't want to miss out, so I did what I needed to by using a little ingenuity, patience, and humor. 

Accessories for the shoot

  • Headlamps or neck lamps are nice to have, but a red setting is the best (if you can still see decently using the red filter). The red filter allows dull light to be cast that does not affect a person's light sensitivity. Try to avoid blinding fellow photographers or adversely alter their shots with a flash of brightness. 
  • Water and snacks - do not forget to stay hydrated and nourished.
  • Good shoes - you might be hiking the desert, but now you cannot see as well, make sure your shoes or boots provide adequate stability.
  • Seating? Some of your shots might be long, 30 seconds or more, and you might desire a place to sit down.

Night Photography

Are you interested in trying out night photography? It has become a very popular photographic expression, especially in regions such as ours, where the desert sky is relatively dark and clear. But what do you need? What kind of night photography are you drawn to? And where should you begin?

The first two questions are tied together. It goes without saying that nighttime photography requires a certain amount of supporting equipment. A DSLR camera, a steady tripod, and plenty of batteries will be essential! Then there is your comfort equipment for a pleasant trip outside, don't forget the water and snacks! And finally, bring your patience and a bit of enthusiasm, because any low-light photography can be challenging.

Your camera and your ability to manipulate its settings affect what you can capture effectively. A photographer then brings those images back to the studio and begins the digital darkroom dance! If you think your camera can work in low light, night photography seems to fall into three groups. Which are you drawn to?

1) Milky way and constellations over a landscape
2) The moon over a landscape (usually a crescent moon)
3) Light painting

There are other focuses, I assure you, but these three tend to draw everyone in at one time or another. The rest will probably require a decent amount of new equipment and endless hours at play!

So you have your equipment, a plan, and a mixed-up back of apprehension and excitement. What now? For Chaparral Artists, all we need to do is share our interest in the subject. Chaparral has several members that love to head out into the desert and snap up a few low-light scenes.

And for September 2021, we coordinated with the Desert Institute to visit Keys Ranch in Joshua Tree National Park. This opportunity will provide the first quarter moon in the sky as it begins its descent west, eventually setting by midnight. The natural illumination from the moon will offer pleasant light painting opportunities. The Milky way will not be as noticeable until the moon dips low in the sky. Still, you can always attempt to capture the fountain of stars later in the evening.

Interested in more? Follow the links...