Artist and local resident Graeme Baxter has spent nearly three decades capturing the beauty of some of the world’s most scenic golf landscapes as the official artist to such prestigious golf tournaments as The Ryder Cup, The Open Championship, The President’s Cup and ANA Inspiration (formerly The Kraft Nabisco Championship), as well as the PGA Tour and European Tour. The Scottish-born Baxter’s paintings hang throughout the world in castles, famous clubhouses from St. Andrews to Augusta and in the private homes of royalty and golf legends.
It required some amazing inspiration for Graeme to make his first departure from golf art. What it took was the beauty of Greater Palm Springs.
How did you make the decision to paint a landscape of Greater Palm Springs?
G.B.: I love the desert! One reason I moved here (from Scotland) was the 360-degree views of the inspiring beauty and the amazing colors that I don’t normally use in my golf landscapes. After three years of thinking and talking about the project, as well as taking 3,000 to 4,000 photographs of the area from the Indian Canyons up to the top of the Tram, I was commissioned by Visit GPS to do this painting as part of their marketing and public relations emphasis on arts and culture in the Coachella Valley.
Where did you find your inspiration for this painting?
G.B.: I wanted to include three elements: the beautiful mountains from various levels; the greenery everywhere with the floribunda displayed in a natural way; and an oasis. It is tiny, but there is also a little golf course in the distance! This incredible valley is like an oasis. When you go up into the mountains everything is just rock and stone, but when you look down from the mountains you can see all these beautiful palm trees.
How did you research the project?
G.B.: The painting I ultimately created required 600 to 700 photos with views captured in both morning and evening light. I also collected photos of all the plants that are incorporated. I don’t know exactly how a painting will turn out when I begin, but I visually have an idea in my head of how I want it to look.
What was your ultimate goal?
G.B.: I wanted to create an iconic painting of Greater Palm Springs that would make people want to hunt for the spot and go there… This was a natural progression from my golf landscapes.
What is your philosophy on art?
G.B.: While places change through the years, these landscapes (whether golf or desert) will be preserved for all time just as they are today. To do a project like this is pretty exciting. I have captured the beauty of Greater Palm Springs as a piece of history, always.