Category Archives: Mona Fox Selph

Mona Fox Selph: Studio Tour Ten Artist

Mona Selph is a veteran of the Three Rivers Artists’ Biennial Tour, having participated in the all the previous nine tours, and now opening her studio for the tenth one in March. She works so beautifully in a multitude of media, recently diving into monoprinting with great enthusiasm.

Studio Tour Artist Page

She taught art to all ages, from elementary to collage levels, and is well loved and appreciated by her students and art fans. Her love of art and art-making permeates her life.

“During my years of teaching I learned much. Not all of it came from my research and practice, or even the serendipity of discovery. Some came from the wonderful attempts and struggles of my students. Working with the ideas and materials at hand, I have always loved the exploration and the play involved in the visual art process. I find that play and discovery in words and poetry as well. The visual and the verbal keep trying to mesh together into my creative projects. Often my paintings are narrative: they insist on telling a story. I guess that is ok, since I love stories. Everything is a story, isn’t it? That face, that building, that river, that moon, that star studded sky…..even if we can understand or read but a little.”

[all images © Mona Fox Selph]

Green Faire and Green Home Tour: October 1-2 in Three Rivers

Green Faire:
Part One of the Three Rivers Environmental Weekend

October 1, 2011
Held at the Three Rivers Arts Center

Free Admission

At the 5th annual Green Faire, one of our long time devoted gatekeepers, Annie Esperanza, Air Quality Specialist for Sequoia and Kings Canyon Parks, will give a morning presentation on the effects of air quality on the ecosystems that include our Giant Sequoias.   Her 10 am presentation will be followed at 11 am with a presentation by Janelle Schneider of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.  At 2 pm in the afternoon, the California Native Plant Society will present a talk by Melanie Keeley.  A variety of information and artist’s booths will round out the Saturday event.  We hope to see you there.

“World Tree” watercolor © Mona Fox Selph


by Mona Fox Selph, artist
and founder of the Three Rivers Environmental Weekend

My first memories are of trees.  The shade of the peach tree under which I made mud pies at age two or three, and coaxed my little friend to eat , for which I was punished.  I remember the incident because in my childhood fantasy world, I only understood it was wrong after I was punished.  At four, the apple tree I climbed with my older brother and a few neighborhood children.

It was there that the other kids shared with me the astonishing facts of life … where babies came from and how they got there.  It was so shocking to me that I nearly fell out of the tree.  Years later, when I was in fourth grade in Bad Wildungen Germany, a huge spreading tree near a brook was the meeting place of all the American children of the area.  We claimed favorite
spots on favorite limbs, and some dared others to climb higher.  In my memory, the tree was kind to us children.  No one ever suffered more than a skinned knee.

I owe much of my environmental awareness to my father.  He almost worshipped trees, perhaps a thread of his very DNA.  His ancestors came from the British Isles, home to tree worshipping Druids.  The exception was a Cherokee grandmother several generations back. American Indians believed that all of nature was alive and imbued with spirit.  Both of my father!s parents were teachers, but in those days almost everyone was a farmer as well, so he grew up on a farm near Franklin, Tennessee, and lived close to nature.  My father seemed to know every tree in the South.  There are some 750 species of trees growing wild north of the Mexican border.  On walks, my father would show us children how one oak leaf differed slightly from another, and so how to correctly name 
the tree.

As an Army officer, my dad had traveled to many parts of the country and the world, but until his retirement, only briefly to California where my young family ended up.  If I have ever seen transcendence on a person’s face, it was that of my father when we brought him and our young children to Sequoia Park for the first time.  I thought he would burst with joy when he saw his first Giant Sequoia.  He stared in wonder, transfixed.  The image of his face that day is burned into my memory.
He was an environmentalist before most people were familiar with the concept.  For years, he sent our family gift subscriptions to Rodale Magazine.  He and my mother purchased 100 hectares in Brazil, where prior to my brother!s tragic accident that made him quadriplegic, my parents had hoped to retire.  After their owning it outright and paying taxes for years, a new mandate from the Brazilian government demanded “development” of the area, including fencing and clear cutting a huge part of it.  My father refused, and because of his inability to expend the time and energy to legally fight the decision due to my brother’s medical needs, the Brazilian government confiscated the land.  I could recount at least three or four other instances of his personal environmental protectionism of forests and trees.

My ex-husband was a rocket scientist at Edwards Air Force Base in the high Mojave Desert, so that is where we raised our children.  I learned to appreciate the special beauty of the desert when it was awash with wildflowers, or blanketed in snow, or on nights brilliant with countless stars.  And all the more so in those times, because most days were brown expanses below and blue expanses above, sometimes cloudless and unchanging for nearly nine months of the year.  Yet all of those decades, my senses yearned for trees, a craving much like my father!s, perhaps from his DNA to mine.

Since I moved here [Three Rivers] in 1981, I have always said that people here live in “almost Paradise”.  The “almost” refers to the air quality and summer heat.  The “Paradise” refers to the rest.  We have mountains, rivers, lakes and we have TREES.  We have trees that are the largest and most magnificent on earth, and nearly the oldest.  People come from all over the world to experience them, and we below are the gate keepers.  We are charged with the responsibility for their health and well being.  Strong and resilient as they are, what we do here below them affects their future.  Although they benefit from occasional fires as part of their reproductive and environmental health, they and the other trees of their ecosystem also need clean air to thrive.

In the early eighties, with a few film classes at California State University Northridge under my belt, I assisted in the production of a training film for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, called “Fire Ecology in Sequoia Park”.  In 1984, 1985, and 1986, I was part of a team, trained by Dr. Paul Miller and others, that established Baseline plots for measuring ozone damage to yellow pines and other species in Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia Park, and Saguaro National Monument.

Strangely, when my children were small, I had clipped and saved an article from the newspaper about Paul’s Miller’s research into the causes for the demise of many trees in the San Gabriel Mountains.  In early controlled studies in the laboratories, he showed that as little as three weeks of gassing of young trees with ozone produced chlorotic mottle and necrosis (death) of pine needles.  Ground level ozone is one of several components of air pollution, and in the case of the Los Angeles air basin, increasing vehicular traffic was a large part of the problem.  He and others after him continued to do field research in many California forests.

My participation in the establishment of baseline study plots was probably one of the most arduous and difficult challenges of my life, but one I felt very privileged to be part of.

My father died too early decades ago, but I feel blessed that he lived long enough to see his daughter carry on as much as possible, his great love for trees.  I know that gave him pleasure in his final days.  We at the gateway to our mountains are called to cherish and protect our trees.  They and all of the others and their ecosystems elsewhere on the planet are the great lungs of the world, vital to life itself.


Green Home Tour:
Part Two of the Three Rivers Environmental Weekend

October 2, 2011
Held Throughout Three Rivers

The fifth annual Green Home Tour in Three Rivers is part of the American Solar Energy Society’s National Tour, featuring active or passive solar applications in homes and buildings.  The five homes also incorporate many other creative green ideas, some as part of the original construction plan, and others as post construction solutions.  Included this year will be one where the home-owners live in a log home, raise and preserve their own food, but have all of the conveniences their off-grid solar power provides.

This year, as in the past, the tours will raise funds to promote responsible building and development in Tulare County.  In the past, recipients of the proceeds from the tour have included Habitat for Humanity’s Green Building Fund, Tulare County Citizens for Responsible Growth,and the Sierra Club’s Kern Kaweah Chapter.

Tours are 25 minutes at each of the five home sites reached by carpool caravan, and require advance registration.  Tours start at noon and 1 pm.  Tickets are $15 per person, $25 per couple. Call Mona Selph at 561-4676 to sign up.

Yokohl Valley Revisited, a group exhibition

Running from January 13-February 26, local artists, interested in the future of Yokohl Valley, have contributed artwork to a new exhibit at the Tulare Historical Museum. The artists’ reception will be on Thursday, January 13 from 5:30-7 pm in the museum’s Heritage Room. Artist and violist Paul Buxman will provide musical entertainment. Refreshments will be served and the public is invited.

“Storm Over Yokohl Valley” © Mona Fox Selph

The exhibit will include various media including oil, acrylic, watercolor, photographs and sculpture. All entries will relate in some way to Yokohl Valley.

The exhibit follows a similar show held at Arts Visalia in 2009 intended to bring attention to development plans for Yokohl Valley, located in the Sierra foothills east of Exeter. The J.G Boswell Company wants to build Yokohl Ranch, a 36,000-acre project to be developed in stages with a planned community of 10,000 homes, golf courses, parks and a reservoir.

Mona Fox Selph, a Three Rivers artist, attended an informational meeting on the project in 2008. She became very concerned and wanted to raise awareness about the plans for Yokohl Valley. She organized the first show at Arts Visalia, “Views of Yokohl Valley,” with help from Carol Clum, Laurie Schwaller and Shirley Blair Keller. “It was well attended and received,” Fox Selph said. “I felt that the idea needed to be repeated at other locations so that more people could think about the issue and the impact development would have.” The Tulare City Historical Society, which operates the Tulare Historical Museum, has not taken a position on the Yokohl Ranch development.

Call 559-686-2074 for more information.

Studio Tour 9 Photo Essay #2

In the Studios with the artists of STUDIO TOUR 9, held on March 19-20-21, 2010.

John Griesbach: oil

Nancy Jonnum: pottery, clay sculpture

Shirley Keller: photography, mixed media, clay, writing

Armin Pfadisch: woodturning

Mona Selph: oil, watercolor, pastel, mixed media

Meeting the Studio Tour Artists: Mona Fox Selph

Mona Fox Selph
oil, watercolor, acrylic, mixed media

Studio Tour website page:

“As an art teacher for grade school to college level for eighteen years, I have taught and explored many media. Now retired, I work mainly in landscapes in oil, but continue to enjoy working in watercolor and other media, and exploring introspective themes.

I attended University of South Carolina 2 1/2 years (beginning at age 17);  attended California State University, Northridge and finished master’s degree in June, 1981.  I have attended some good workshops, especially out of doors. I worked as presentation artist for 2 Hollywood design firms while in school.  I worked as  freelance artist for several firms in Tulare and Fresno Counties.  I did newspaper advertisement illustrations, logos, etc. and special commissions, cartoons for Sequoia Park newspaper, and two murals for the Tulare County Historical Museum at Mooney Grove, Indian room.

I was a substitute teacher for several schools and curriculum developer and art teacher for Three Rivers School for 17 1/2 years.  I also taught at other schools including Sundale and Strathmore for 3 years.  I taught in Tulare County Artists in Schools program for many years, at the College of the Sequoias for 18 years and at the Creative Center for the Developmentally Disabled for 7 years.”

How to get Studio Tour tickets…earlybird price until March 5.

Views of Yokohl Valley: July Exhibit at Arts Visalia

The group art show, entitled “Views of Yokohl Valley”, will be held throughout July at Arts Visalia at 214 Oak Avenue in Visalia (across from the Depot Restaurant.)  The gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday, from noon to 5:30 pm. The reception with the artists will be on Friday, July 10th, 2009. from 6-8 pm. The public is cordially invited.

The idea for the show was originated by Three Rivers artist, Mona Fox Selph, who, along with a number of other artists and friends, attended the Yokohl Ranch Planned Community EIR Scoping Meeting In Exeter on March 3, 2008. Many people at the meeting were shocked to grasp the huge size and scope of the planned development, and realize the impact it will have on the health and environment of all of the citizens and wildlife of Tulare County. The plan is for a city of 10,000 homes with all of the additional infrastructure and water needs that it would entail. The goal is to attract 30 or 40 thousand people of means from other areas, which the developers claim will benefit the area economically. Those in opposition believe that the environmental costs are far too high, and that true development benefits would come instead from projects within the boundaries of existing cities within the county, not additional sprawl away from those centers, with destruction of a huge area of the natural environment.

“Storm over Yokohl Valley”  30″ x 40″ oil painting,
by Mona Fox Selph, all rights reserved

Mona Fox Selph, was a friend of Ray Strong, a well known California landscape painter who spent his final years in Three Rivers. Ray was a founding member of the Oaks Group, a collection of landscape painters from the Santa Barbara area which held numerous shows over several decades raising both public awareness and funds, and thereby saving many hundreds of acres of beautiful coastal land from development. She approached Kevin Bowman, director of Arts Visalia, with the idea of a show about Yokohl Valley. Kevin agreed, stating, “I have always felt that art offers the opportunity to raise discussion of difficult subjects, and I envision this exhibition as a vehicle for creative reflection.”

For more information about Yokohl Valley, visit website of Tulare County Citizens for Repsonsible Growth at Tulare County Citizens for Responsible Growth (TCCRG) is a diverse group of local residents united by concerns about the direction of future growth in Tulare County. Reflecting the expressed values and wishes of our county’s residents, they are working to ensure that future growth in Tulare county protects our local economy, communities, and natural resources. They support directing growth into our existing communities and protecting our agricultural land and open space for future generations.

thumbs_picture8 thumbs_picture18 thumbs_picture14 views of Yokhol Valley from