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EVAA Artist of the Month - Mary Rochelle Burnham


Mary Rochell Burnham (Courtesy/ EVAA)

Mary Rochell Burnham (Courtesy/ EVAA)


Originally Published: January 24, 2024 12:12 p.m.

El Valle Artists Association Artist of the Month for January is Mary Rochelle Burnham for her painting ‘Fire and Ice’.

Mary’s artistic expressions exude her passion for all she creates. She has truly lived her art and continues to do so. She is always willing to look to what’s next in her artistic expressions.

Born and raised in Michigan, Mary Rochelle Burnham enjoyed a multifaceted career as a full-time artist. She studied Fine Arts at Wayne State University. Torn between a major in Drawing or Painting, Mary objectively realized that earning an income was required to survive in life. So, she literally crossed the street to earn her BFA at the College of Creative Studies (CCS) in Detroit, MI. She graduated with a major in Illustration.

Mary Rochelle built a strong reputation as an illustrator and a portrait artist. Mary was on-call as a courtroom sketch artist whose work aired locally in the Detroit market, nationally, and in the press. Her illustration work was diverse. It ranged from product packaging, magazine covers, inside art, and spot illustration, including Death & Destruction concept art. Commissioned by her clients, Mary created portraits of their loved ones to hang in their homes, offices, and businesses. She taught classes and workshops for all ages, from young children to retirees. Drawing caricatures at parties and events was both demanding and rewarding. She earned awards in numerous juried art shows throughout Michigan. She won first-place recognition in a national competition. Her work resides in homes across the nation and many countries throughout the world.

Mary Rochelle Burnham and her husband decided to pursue their dreams. Beginning in 2001, they began visiting the Sedona area. In 2012, they officially became full-time Arizona residents. It was a leap of faith. All the pieces fell into place, making the transition natural, easy, and adventurous.

Mary immersed herself in painting fine art full-time while accepting an occasional illustration and caricature job. She joined various art groups, including El Valle, entered into many shows, and won awards consistently. Mary achieved several plumb commissions indirectly through her affiliation with the Portrait Artists of Arizona. She enjoyed participating in classes and workshops at the Sedona Arts Center, Arizona Artists Pastel Society, Northern Arizona Watercolor Society, and with other artists and groups. Mary was accepted into local co-op galleries in the Village of Oak Creek, Jerome, and Cottonwood while taking a hiatus from her art group memberships. It was a joyful journey that culminated with the advent of COVID-19. The blessing of coming through that chaos was discerning a new, meaningful artistic path.

Today, Mary Rochelle Burnham's interest is in mentoring other aspiring artists. Mary has come back to the El Valle Artists Association. She wants to share her hard-won lessons derived from her lifelong pursuit of creating art, which in turn has enriched her life and that of her loved ones.

The Artist of the Month’s art is exhibited at the Cottonwood Library, where EVAA has an ongoing exhibit. EVAA artists can now display their art for sale in the cases at the library. Please stop by to view the artwork.

El Valle Artists Association (EVAA) holds its monthly meeting every second Thursday of the month from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Mountain View United Methodist Church, 901 S. 12th Street. Social distancing and masks are recommended. If you are an artist or interested in the arts, please come to our meetings. The meeting includes a short business session, selection of Artist of the Month and an art demonstration, along with time to enjoy the fun people in the organization.

For more information about El Valle Artists Association please visit ElValleArtists.org.