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Dialogue with Beauty - Scotty Mitchell Landscapes

November 15, 2014 - February 15, 2015


More than 30 works by pastel artist Scotty Mitchell, who has spent nearly 20 years painting the vibrant hues and ever-changing light of southern Utah and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, are on view now through February 15, 2015 in the Museum of Northern Arizona's latest exhibition, Dialogue with Beauty - Scotty Mitchell Landscapes. (right: Scotty Mitchell, Afternoon Glow, Haymaker's Bench, pastel on paper, 26 1/2 x 38 inches)

Inspired by her first trip in 1993, Mitchell moved to Boulder, Utah in 1997, one year after the monument was created. Encompassing almost two million acres, the Monument is the artist's muse and the subject matter for her work which meticulously captures its canyons, cliffs, meadows, forests, and terraces showcasing the diverse and beautiful region of the Colorado Plateau.

While some plein-air, or outdoor, painters begin their works outdoors and then finish painting in the studio, Mitchell begins and finishes each painting outside, despite the challenging cycle of the seasons. In spring, howling winds can fill the sky with dust and June is home to clouds of Cedar Gnats that can make leaving the safety of one's car or home a mistake. Yet, it is balanced by summer days filled with aromas of sage, fern bush and cliff rose.

"Communion with nature and the sensory experience of the moment are integral in Scotty's work," said Alan Petersen, curator of fine art at the Museum of Northern Arizona. "She is a patient artist, seeking and waiting for the right light and conditions, often making multiple hikes to a remote location in order to complete a work."

The painting Afternoon Glow, Haymakers' Bench required the artist to hike 40 minutes over slick rock and sand to reach her desired location. She made the trek ten times in October 2012 to complete the work.

Mitchell attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, graduating in 1971. Before moving to Utah, she lived and painted on Crete for more than 20 years. Known for her contemporary approach to landscape painting, she exhibits the same rich color and structural abstraction as Maynard Dixon and acknowledges the influence on her work from Henri Matisse, Pierre Bonnard, Wolf Kahn and Dorothy Andrews, another American painter living on Crete.

While Mitchell exhibits primarily in Utah, she has exhibited her work in California and New York. She has also had numerous exhibitions of her Mediterranean landscapes in Greece and Crete.


(above: Scotty Mitchell, Morning Light, Haymaker's Bench, pastel on paper, 19 x 24 1/2 inches)


(above: Scotty Mitchell, A Wind in the RIver II, pastel on paper, 18 1/2 x 24 1/2 inches)


To view the checklist for the exhibition, please click here.

To view gallery guide text by Alan Petersen and more images, please click here.

The exhibition is included with museum admission.


Resource Library editor's note:

The above article was published in Resource Library on December 18, 2014. Resource Library wishes to extend appreciation to Alan Petersen. Curator of Fine Arts at Museum of Northern Arizona, for his help concerning Scotty Mitchell's permission to publish the images associated with this article.

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