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Arizona inspires: A celebration of creatives

The Birds and the Bees by Jennifer O’Cualain, 14 x 11 oil (Courtesy/ Mountain Trails Gallery)

The Birds and the Bees by Jennifer O’Cualain, 14 x 11 oil (Courtesy/ Mountain Trails Gallery)

Originally Published: January 3, 2024 1:15 p.m.

Mountain Trails Gallery Sedona begins the New Year with a spotlight on a series of Arizona artists who create outstanding paintings, sculpture, and mixed media work inspired by one of the most beautiful states in the country. Energized by its deserts, mountains, canyons, and history, these gifted and imaginative artists tell the stories of Arizona’s natural beauty, its rich tribal heritage, the spirit of ranching, as well as the variety of wildlife, while all these inspirational highlights keep calling creatives to fully realize their voice in this extraordinary place. The celebration begins on First Friday, Jan. 5 and continues each subsequent Friday during the months of January and February, as the gallery shines a light on outstanding categories of fine art at Mountain Trails Gallery’s location in the always festive Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village in Sedona.

Leading the celebration are two outstanding Arizona artists who have lived the authenticity that comes from being a part of a multi-generational ranching family. Painter Shawn Cameron knows the challenges of working the land so well, being the fifth generation rancher in her family. Her paintings of cowboys, cattle, horses, sweat, and long days of working the ranch fill her canvases with impressions that seem to exude the very dust of everyday life in which she is immersed. Receiving many top honors at prestigious exhibitions, Shawn has merged her love of life and family into her work as an award-winning artist.

Sculptor Deborah Copenhaver Fellows came from a rodeo background as well as a cattle ranching family where she developed a love of horses and the spirited life of a competitive rodeo rider. From all of life’s opportunities, Deborah’s experiences led to her discovering a remarkable talent for sculpting which then grew into sculpting life-size figures including thoroughbreds as her career became filled with awards for public and private monuments. Deborah continues to create award-winning sculpture which expresses her heartfelt connection to the Western way of life she continues to live on a ranch in Southern Arizona with her artist husband and all their animals and horses.

The passionate brushes of texture and color define the work of both Susanne Nyberg and Gregory Stocks. A salute to these creatives begins Jan.12, as each of these Arizona artists use nuances of color and brush strokes to achieve different results. They both create energetic works with the beat of a musical heart that exudes the inspiration of a symphony of color and texture. From large canvases to small postcard-size works, these artists bring a wide variety of landscapes that can be found all over the state.

A spotlight on painter Jennifer O’Cualain and sculptor Natalie Diedrick, two delightful artists who bring wildlife to our attention in unique ways, begins on Jan. 19. Both give color a leading role in their work, and each brings a sense of irony or tongue-in-cheek humor, but always with charm, grace, and a kind of whimsical wonderment.

Jan. 26 brings the next celebration of Arizona creatives. Exploring beyond the surface of their works, landscape painter Linda Glover Gooch and portrait painter Jerry Salinas build their subjects with so many expressive passages and layers of information, all the while there is the feeling that one is seeing a place or a person for the very first time. There is so much information in the nuances of color and brush work for these Arizona artists but with dramatically different results, as one appreciates the complexity of both their techniques.

We are also proud to celebrate the New Year with work from East coast equine artist Maria D’Angelo who has introduced an exquisite group of giclée canvas archival prints, framed and ready for hanging. Also, our West coast figurative storyteller Steven Lang has created new oil on canvas paintings which are dedicated to depicting Native American history as accurately as possible as he always imbues his work with the spirit of the people.

Celebrate what is new and lively at Mountain Trails Gallery, beginning with the reception for the New Year on 1st Friday, Jan. 5, 4-7 p.m. as well as each Friday during the month of January, at their Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village location, upstairs, Suite A201 overlooking the Patio de las Campanas, beside Oak Creek in Sedona. Also, the gallery invites all who are fascinated with fine art to save the date of Feb. 2 to visit again as the celebration continues. For more information: mountaintrailssedona.com, fineart@mountaintrailssedona.com, 928-282-3225.