Most of the year, the desert can be a rather bland, colorless (though still dramatic) place. The greens that appear here tend to be grayed-down and subdued.
Spring is a whole 'nother matter, IF it rains in the right amounts and at the right time. Then the desert explodes with color. Flowers seem to appear from the brown sands and, in a matter of a few weeks, make up for the lack of color the rest of the year.
First to appear are the annuals, or ephemerals as they are sometimes called. This last name is appropriate, for they mysteriously appear quickly, last a short time and then totally vanish, leaving no trace or hint of their glorious existence.
Perennial shrubs and cactus bloom a bit later than the annuals. Cactus flowers, in particular, seem to glow in vivid, fluorescent hues. Pictures of some of these will follow this post soon.
The accompanying photo shows a Joshua tree, signature plant of the Mojave desert, in a field of light-yellow desert dandelions. I've already painted (and sold) a piece showing this view, which I witnessed in April 2008 in Joshua Tree National Park, CA. (I expect I'll be painting more works of this area soon).