bret maling art

He Colors Our World

Bret Maling is selling a collection of his work to support three local organizations, giving patrons a chance to see it in person at the Desert Art Center's Studio Gallery.

JIM POWERS Arts & Entertainment, Current Digital

bret maling art

An abstract painting by Bret Maling has found a home.

The coronavirus pandemic could have colored Bret Maling’s world in dark colors. Instead, the Palm Springs artist kept to his brightly colored palette and found the brush strokes on canvas served to be both calming and peaceful.

“I think it was probably my way of internally expressing myself, of what I wanted to feel inside, with everything that was going on in the world,” Maling says. “A lot of my work is very bold and colorful, and these [paintings he did over the past year] are bold and colorful, but in a different way. It's not like in-your-face energy, it's more of a calming thread running through the work.”

Maling will be sharing 20 of his works from the last year among 60+ paintings of his that will be for sale March 1-7 as part of a three-part fundraiser where 100 percent of proceeds will be split between DAP Health, the Desert Art Center (DAC), and The LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert. Taking place in the studio gallery of the Desert Art Center, the sale will precede the DAC’s actual opening on March 5.

Coronavirus pandemic protocols will be followed, including wearing masks and only four people allowed in the gallery at one time. Maling says he will be supplying masks and hand sanitizer on site.

Maling spoke more about the sale and the inspirations of his work.

You said the majority of the work you will be showing is from the past three years?

Forty of the paintings are from the past three years. And 20 of them are from the Matissea series that I did. I did a workshop at the Palm Springs Art Museum with Kwok Wai Lau, and I did this whole series, where I just kind of did an abstract of a Matisse. And some of the work was featured at the art museum. It's a variety. It's abstract art.


From Bret Maling's Autumn in Matissea series.

Have you always been an abstract artist?

I used to do impressionist art when I lived in San Francisco, from 1989 until 2003, when I moved to Big Bear and then to Palm Springs in 2006. I was very influenced by Monet when I first started. He just really was a driving force, in the style and the colors that I used back then, and I just kind of evolved. And now I strictly do abstracts. I don't need to do impressionist work anymore, because this is a way for me to express myself rather than trying to use a style.

Are you surprised, you mentioned that you turned 60 last year, that you're still doing this?

No, because I told my mother that if I can do it, I'm going to paint till the day I pass. I just enjoy painting so much, that if I'm 90 years old and still painting, I'm going to be one happy man. Because I can go on a vacation. I went to Costa Rica, to visit friends, and I actually painted on vacation and left those pieces of work in a restaurant, a hotel, and a bed and breakfast. So it's like, I went and I painted, not to make money, but I ended up making money. I just was painting, because I enjoy doing it. And it's kind of odd, but it's kind of who I am.

So what do you attribute the longevity to?

I would say that I've had strong support from friends and my husband. Everybody's kind of pushed me to do what I do. And I have a really good friend in Stockholm, Sweden who commissioned me to paint a painting for his dining room. And so, I painted it in his house. I painted on his balcony and in his kitchen. And then when I was done, he actually had a dinner party and revealed the painting to everybody at the dinner party. It was like everybody wanted commissions. And so, it's like all of a sudden, my whole world over in Scandinavia, Norway, and everybody just started really wanting my art. So I started spending more and more time there. So it went from three months, to six months. And now we bought an apartment there.

That's an interesting contrast of landscapes, from here to there. Like you mentioned the water in Sweden, and here it's the desert. That's an interesting mix.


Bret Maling

Everybody in Sweden, since it's dark there, they just want bright, bright, bright. It's like so many people, "Oh, my favorite color is orange, or my favorite color is red." You don't really see a lot of people saying, "My favorite color is green or purple or black." They want something that just brings the sun or the vibrancy of life into their apartment during the dark months.

Why do this fundraiser now?

I'm just trying to help the community. And I just wanted to bring some normalcy and beauty back into people's life in this unusual time. And it just seemed like the right thing, in my head, to do.


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