Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Girard Louis Drouillard's paintings are powerful. Strong. Dramatic. He strives to create drama and power in his compositions—while instilling a Zen-like quality at the same time.

He creates art that is aesthetically pleasing, mentally provocative and spiritually challenging. His primary focus is not aesthetics, but metaphysics, philosophy and spirituality.

“Each of my paintings has a common formula where black is ever-present. This is a suggestion of the negative that exists all around us,” he recently told me.

He uses reds as well as silvers and metallic hues—but never more than two primary colors in his palette. Organic and industrial materials are often blended into his canvas—which is now made of wood, as he’s creating large, box-like structures simply to hold the sometimes-heavy compositions.

I was admiring one of these structure-paintings as it was being prepared for its final coat of varnish. I noticed something that looked and felt like concrete below the metallic paint.

“Well, yes, it is,” he said. “Often times, I use it to create a certain impermeable texture. I also utilize auto paints for those metallic colors.”

When I visited his studio in Palm Desert, I encountered dozens of paintings being “processed.” In some ways, it looked as much like a body shop as a studio, with precision equipment at the ready.

“Sometimes I work all through the night. It depends on my mood and inspiration to create,” he said. “I loathe decorative art, because it lacks soul.”

He indeed strives to create the soul in his works. “They have dimensional qualities evoking Zen and Osho, derivative of Eastern spiritual beliefs that have been prevalent in my life since day one,” he said. “Many of my colleagues attempt to portray a political statement in their work. I have no political statements whatsoever. I like to portray a spiritual ideology in my work.”

Ironically, Girard’s first degree was in international government. He attended Oxford with an intent to work in international law and affairs. Upon obtaining his degree in 1974, he became an intern in the British House of Commons. He later left Great Britain to return to the U.S. and enroll in Georgetown Law School, preparing himself for a career in international law.

However, he was becoming disillusioned by government. He yearned for something “more.”

Fate stepped in when he met a professor who inspired him to attend the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design. It was a life-changing experience; he graduated from there in 1981. A year later, he relocated to Southern California.

Of course, an artists’ first years as a professional are rarely easy.

“I worked for Disney as an art consultant for four years until 1988, when I participated in a show at the New York Expo that same year,” he said.

That's when he hit the big time; six international publishers approached him, Girard said. Reproductions of his works were sold to major players among the Fortune 500. He eventually made his way to Asia, where he became a star in the art world there.

“I spent four years in China,” he said. “… When I returned to California, I was visited four times by Chinese government officials from Beijing (trying) to lure me back to teach the Western principals of modern art.”

Today, Girard maintains studios here and in Tampa, Fla., but a majority of his clients are from Europe and Asia. His works have been shown in more than 100 galleries the world over in the last 30 years.

As for the future?

“Ideally, I would like to settle in Provence or a similar place in Europe. But not in Asia.” Ironically, art-lovers in Asia are most accepting of his works; his strokes evoke calligraphic symbols and are often admired for their serene, Zen-like soulfulness.

Girard is a highly intelligent artist who creates from his soul. View his works at

Below: "Chill'in."

Published in Visual Arts

For some 200 years, artists have been attracted to the Coachella Valley. The reasons for that attraction have changed over the years, of course; today, many artists come here to create and exhibit their works due to the proximity to Los Angeles, and the valley’s comfortable lifestyle.

One artist who has come here, in part, for those reasons is Christina De Musée. She has a rich body of work spanning more than 30 years as a professional artist, including countless exhibitions throughout the country around the globe—including shows in Japan, Switzerland, Germany, the United Kingdom and Canada. Her works have been featured in numerous publications, too.

Her style is bold, colorful, bright and larger than life. Her powerful, seductive images tend to capture one’s attention from the moment you lay eyes on them. Large triptychs can overwhelm, but hers somehow easily merge with any location. They have been a favorite with galleries and collectors alike. Her works have also appeared on sets for Hollywood productions.

De Musée is always in motion between her homes in Palm Desert, Las Vegas and Marina del Rey. However, she’s put an emphasis on doing good things locally. She has been involved in the past with the McCallum Theatre’s Muses and Patroness Circle; a sale of her paintings in 2010 benefited the nonprofit theater.

I could go on and on about her past accomplishments, but instead, I want to focus on the future: What is next for Christina De Musée?

The answer: She’s currently working on what she calls “Photo Art,” featuring works are meant to be displayed online. The works are excitingly fresh and hip, and should appeal to art and photography connoisseurs. One of these works, which you can see above, is titled “Calculations.”

Below, you can see two works in the classic De Musée style. One is the large mural-like triptych “I Forgot My Cell Phone,” featuring large images of faces, wild animals and flora. The other is “Infused Pleasure,” demonstrative of the sensual essence of her paintings.

De Musée is an ever-evolving woman who is familiar with the art industry. I am certain her new “Photo Art” series will be a successful venture, and will appeal to a huge audience in the cyber world of online art. The demand for art being viewed and purchased over the Internet has escalated on a global level. For example, China can’t keep up, with new art sites selling to the emerging middle class who want to be rewarded with collections of their own.

Stay tuned for Christina De Musée’s new website, which promises to showcase the exciting new direction for this savvy artist. In the meantime, her current website can be found at

Richard Almada is the CEO and president of Artistic Relations and heads up Desert Art Tours. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Published in Visual Arts

Welcome to my new column, which will feature reviews of and news about of the Coachella Valley art scene.

My goal is to cover the various galleries and the exhibitions, from the newly appointed galleries on North Palm Canyon Drive, to the Coachella Valley Art Center in Indio.

I have been a resident of the desert for 33 years and have seen so many galleries come and go. The good news is that there are great new galleries sprouting up, to the delight of the art community, which is a rich blend of local artists and transplants from other parts of the country.

One such new gallery is the Woodman/Shimko Gallery, at 1105 N. Palm Canyon Drive—next to Archangel Art Collective, and across from the noble, iconic Michael H. Lord Gallery.

I recently met with the gallerist, Woody Shimko, who established a presence in Palm Springs after operating a gallery in Provincetown, Mass., for several years, where during the peak season, more than 100 people an hour came through the doors. The gallery has an eclectic representation of various artists included in a contemporary setting, with photography, large abstract portraits and modern works chosen by Shimko, who has had much experience in gallery management and creative direction on a global scale.

The gallery scene in Palm Springs evokes a feeling of Bohemian Soho and the L.A. Underground, which is chic, hip and radiates a certain street-scene modernity that blends well in the company of the modernism and mid-century dwellings that Palm Springs has catapulted in international consciousness.

Elsewhere in the desert, art-lovers can purchase art ranging in price from a few hundred dollars to millions of dollars—in the galleries on El Paseo in Palm Desert, such as the sterling Heather James Fine Art.

The exhibitions at Heather James are legendary, from contemporary to European impressionists to the masters (such as Rembrandt) with other amazing works by emerging artists, all the way up to blue-chip art at its finest.

When I lecture on early California art, people are often amazed to learn that this entire area developed into an artist colony toward the end of the California gold rush in 1849. Artists from all over the globe came to witness the legends of gold flowing in the streams. An exotic mystique was born, giving a focus to the New West, where California's reign as the Golden State began.

The artists’ colonies that had developed in the early 1800s moved into the Arroyo Seco near Pasadena, where the great powers of Christianity had helped pave the way to the missions, from Riverside to Indio. These early artists made pilgrimages to experience the majestic mountains with hues of lavender and splendid sunsets beckoning to be painted on canvas, thus forming the plein-air movement of American impressionists.

The Coachella Valley was and is a place of inspirational natural beauty for artists to contemplate and create. I am delighted to see that the art scene continues to flourish—and I look forward to telling you all about it.

Richard Almada is the CEO and president of Artistic Relations, and heads up Desert Art Tours. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Published in Visual Arts