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Most people wouldn’t picture a watercolor painter driving around dusty desert roads in a Jeep looking for inspiration – until they meet Myrna Harrison, that is. Her abstract landscapes depict Arizona’s jagged mountains, deep canyons and painted deserts in offbeat ways, using traditional and crayon watercolors, and Japanese sumi ink. “Arizona’s landscape is very meaningful to me,” says the Wickenburg artist. “I don’t want to paint a photo; it’s the emotional feeling of what the landscape is like.”
Myrna’s personal take has led to exhibitions of her art all over the world. See her work locally at the Ratliff Gallery – and at Seven Canyons on Tour weekend.
“I get varied reactions,” she notes. “People used to a realistic depiction of the land sometimes walk away. But others are drawn to the colors and the emotion.”
While Myrna happily talks about her work and meets other artists, she pauses to consider the lack of humans, animals and houses in her art. “I live at the end of a dirt road,” she laughs. “I guess I am kind of a loner.”
It’s so fulfilling to be able to enjoy the beauty of nature, put it on canvas, and bring it into the homes of others for their enjoyment, hopefully handed down from generation to generation,” says David Haskell, a painter since age 16, who finally followed his artistic muse full-time when he retired from the National Parks Service in 1999. His oil paintings – to be featured on the Tour at the Legacy Ranch at Back O’ Beyond – highlight the grandeur of the Southwest with subjects such as Monument Valley, Sedona and the Grand Canyon.
The 5,000-sq.-ft. Legacy Ranch house, owned by Jim Campbell and Hermeen Peterson, sits on 32 acres at the base of Cathedral Rock, along with two log cabins, a barn and stables. The original house was built in 1927; Jim and Hermeen remodeled it last year. It houses an impressive bronze sculpture collection, and has an indoor exercise room and pool, separate guest quarters, and an outdoor kitchen that will serve the Tour’s preview night/BBQ party.
Proceeds from the 2005 Art and Architecture Tour – $18,000 – enabled the Northern Arizona Opera League to sponsor a Feb. 26 matinee of The Italian Girl in Algiers; classroom opera performances at Big Park, Sedona Charter and West Sedona elementary schools; two $1,000 scholarships; and seven performances in local homes, says president Albert DeLorenzi.
James Ratliff, a League cofounder with his wife, Patricia, notes that “last year we were able to send 200 high school students down to the opera [at Phoenix Symphony Hall].” The League also provides buses from Sedona to Phoenix for Sunday matinee performances during opera season. For more information, contact Aileen Lee at 928-203-1774.
The Art and Architecture Tour takes place May 21-22; a $35 donation lets visitors tour all eight homes. A preview night/Texas BBQ party at Legacy Ranch takes place on May 19; admission/donation for the preview night is $85. For information, call 928-203-4264.
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