Tony Foster, Mar de Cortes No 5 – from a Hill Northeast of Punta Mechudo Looking 340° NNW, 1994   |   Watercolor and graphite on paper, mixed media   |   16 5/8 x 31 in. / 3 3/4 x 7 5/8 in.  |  1990.1.27

Tony Foster Journey 5 | 1990–94 | 40 artworks

Arid Lands: Watercolour Diaries of Journeys across Deserts

Painting locations: Arizona, California, Utah, Mexico

Arid Lands marked a change for Tony Foster as he moved from region-specific subjects  to broader wilderness themes that spanned the globe. Whereas Foster’s previous journeys took inspiration from the lives of environmental role models and locations, Arid Lands looked at an entire type of ecosystem as its common thread. Foster chose to explore the neglected landscapes of deserts partly because many of these regions have remained untouched due to their harsh conditions. His work concentrated on portraying the intense beauty of deserts, presenting a differing perspective to counter conventional labels. Foster painted in the American Southwest and Mexico, trekking through a diversity of landscapes including torrid canyons, cactus-littered flatlands, and elevated mountain passes. His distinct watercolor style, along with the micro-to-macrocosm layout of his pieces, exposes landscapes rich in life and worthy of admiration.

“Inspiration often lay in the light on cactus spines.”
— Tony Foster

Painting locations

  • Mexico
    • Isla Espiritu Santo
    • Sea of Cortez
  • United States
    • Carrizo Badlands, California
    • Death Valley, California
    • Joshua Tree, California
    • Palm Springs, California
    • Slickrock, Utah
    • Superstition Mountains, Arizona
    • Organ Pipe Desert, Arizona
    • White Mountains, California

Past Tour locations


  • Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England
  • Montgomery Gallery, San Francisco, California
  • Channing Fine Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Sun Valley Center for the Arts and Humanities, Ketchum, Idaho

Other Past Journeys

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