Is there life on mars - a painting by Mary Lou

Across the Street

The Mountain Artists Guild (MAG) invites the public to an Opening Reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, in conjunction with 4th Friday Art Walk, for two new shows in Spotlight Rooms 1 and 2. These new shows are currently on display and available for the public to view for free through Oct. 15 at MAG, 228 N. Alarcon Street, open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Oil and water really do mix in this collaborative and complementary exhibit by oil painter Niki Simonson and watermedia artist Mary Lou Arnold. Spotlight 1 showcases their vibrant and imaginative paintings ranging from realistic to quirky abstraction.

“I always paint what speaks to me emotionally and try to portray that emotion to the person viewing my painting,” Simonson said. “For example, if I’m painting a stream surrounded by trees, the feeling of peace and contentment is what I hope people are able come away with.”

Arnold explained that her work is made with a mix of water-based media.

“I kind of switch it up between watercolor and acrylic, which is a polymer based but it’s diluted,” Arnold said. “It’s such a beautiful medium, because when you apply watercolor on paper and it just swishes, it’s like magic. So, I did watercolor for a long time and then moved more to acrylic because acrylic is easier. Watercolor is hard to paint over if you make an error or if you don’t like a certain part.”

Arnold started painting about 20 years ago while working for the Chrysler Corporation in Los Angeles.

“A very good friend of mine who also worked for Chrysler in San Francisco has been an artist her whole life, and we would visit each other,” Arnold said. “I was up at her place and admiring her work and she said, ‘I can teach you.’ She kind of inspired me, so I took a beginner watercolor class and it just took off from there.”

Only a year after she started painting, Arnold’s work was accepted by Chrysler’s “Artists at Work” program.

“Employees from all across the nation were invited to submit artwork,” Arnold said. “It was the first show I ever entered, the first show I was ever accepted to, and at the end of the show, Chrysler purchased the painting.”

Featured in Spotlight 2, is “Messages from the Past Redux, Rock Art of the American Southwest,” by Dale O’Dell.

“For these documentary photos my efforts are three-pronged,” O’Dell said. “The first step is to document the petroglyph as it is today, with no post-processing retouching. The second step is to digitally retouch the image to remove signs of vandalism, destruction or decay.

O’Dell explained that his goal is to return the image to as close to what the original ancient artist left.

“The third step is artistic,” O’Dell said. “I’m entering into a ‘collaboration over time’ with the ancient artist, where I take what [they] left and use it as a starting point for a digital, impressionistic reinterpretation – a modernization of the ancient form.”

Visit, or call 928-445-2510 for more information.

Jesse Bertel is a reporter/videographer for the Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter @ JesseBertel, email him at, or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2043.

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