in     by 29 Palms Inn  29-03-2017

Now Showing:

Chuck Caplinger & Ilona Mercier

March 26 – May 28, 2017


Chuck Caplinger 29 Palms Inn


Chuck Caplinger 

A Texas native and professional artist for over 40 years Chuck Caplinger has worked in the creative fields of design, illustration, and art direction. His oil paintings and portraits hang in public and private collections around the world, and his murals are found in cities throughout California and Texas.

Chuck and his actress wife, Holgie Forrester, moved to Twentynine Palms California in 1997, trading a Hollywood studio for a beautiful dome house near the entrance to Joshua Tree National Park that has since become Chuck Caplinger’s Desert Art Studio & Gallery. Inspired by this new environment Chuck began to create stunning oil paintings of the desert wildlife and landscape, many of which are on display now at the 29 Palms Inn.

Chuck has been instrumental in promoting the arts and cultural tourism throughout the Joshua Tree gateway communities and co-founded the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council in 2001. In addition to starting the Arts Council Chuck also co-founded the Open Studio Art Tours (now called the Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours) which has grown to be one of the biggest art events of the year in the high desert. In 2004 Chuck co-founded a public arts program for the City of Twentynine Palms and the Public Arts Advisory Committee (PAAC) and designed and donated the concept for the City’s iconic 29! sculpture.

Chuck is also an incredibly talented muralist whose work can be seen throughout the City of Twentynine Palms and across the state of California. Most recently Chuck collaborated with Art Mortimer and created the California Desert Protection Act 20thAnniversary mural at the Old Schoolhouse Museum here in Twentynine Palms – visible as you exit the driveway at the 29 Palms Inn.


 Ilona Mercier

Ilona Mercier

Ilona’s artist journey with alcohol inks began four years ago, after seeing paintings created by her sister-in-law in Virginia who had taken a workshop. Loving the incredibly vibrant paintings her sister-in-law had created, Ilona was immediately hooked with the medium. She went to work exploring the many different techniques used with this fairly new medium, learning to master control over a medium that can seem uncontrollable.  

Today, Ilona is one of a few alcohol ink artists taking the medium to two ends of the artistic spectrum, creating work in two vastly different styles. Some of Ilona’s work is rooted in the precisely controlled, detailed orientated approach, whereas other works emerges from the very opposite end of the spectrum, where she allows full spontaneity for the medium, and enjoys the freedom of letting the inks flow and mix with minimal intervention. With this duality of characteristics that comes with working with alcohol inks, Ilona says she is inspired by the challenge the medium presents.

The collection of artwork on exhibit at the 29 Palms Inn depicts a diverse range of subject matter, from landscapes, to wildlife, to the beauty of Joshua Tree National Park and the surrounding desert. Ilona’s work is a mix of original alcohol ink prints on yupo paper, paint on tile, as well as metallic prints. The show will be on display at the restaurant at the 29 Palms Inn until Sunday, May 28, 2017.

Residing in Yucca Valley since 1980, Ilona Mercier is a new MBCAC member and is showing her work at the 29 Palms Inn for the first time. See more of Ilona's work at




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