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  • Writer's pictureShea Stanfield

Protecting the Natural World

Arizona resident naturalist, conservationist, and author, Edward Abbey wrote, "It is not enough to understand the natural world; the point is to defend and preserve it." A philosophy of local artist Marless Fellows has taken to heart. Her creative passion runs with the deep traditions of Western contemporary/southwest painting. Many of her first subjects were the Salt River Wild Horses. Marless has grown her commitment to The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group by donating a portion of all her sales to help with the herd's health, welfare, and management efforts.

Marless's father was in the Navy during her younger years, which required the family to move many times when she was a child. The experience influenced how she would experience and adjust to various environments and the people she came to know. Marless credits her father for being the first person to influence her in art; she remembers, "My dad would draw little cartoon elephants and other figures for my sisters and me. I loved the images and creativity of it, so I picked it up; just for fun." She didn't think of pursuing an art career until her thirty's when her husband's grandfather came to stay with her growing family in Arizona. Marless recollects, "He was an amateur artist and enjoyed "creating" as a hobby. He encouraged me to expand my drawing into painting, and the rest is history, as they say."

Marless enrolled in drawing classes at Mesa Community College (MCC) to develop her formal foundation in art. She acquired an interest in life drawing, and six semesters later, her human anatomy expertise formed a strong background for her exquisitely detailed human portraits based in western "cowboy" culture. Following MCC, Marless attended Scottsdale Artist School (SAS). SAS offered her an opportunity to study with master artists from all over the United States. She recounts, "I began at the beginning and followed through until I completed the most advanced courses."

Adding to her expanding experience and education, Marless loves visiting museums and galleries where she picks up the composition, painting styles, and coloration ideas from past and present artists. She continues to attend workshops and Masterclasses, resulting in an evolving body of quality work for her growing client base.

"It is not enough to understand the natural world; the point is to defend and preserve it."

The search for Western wildlife is one of Marless's great joys. She and her husband, a native of Montana, travel summers to wildlife preservation areas in the West, searching for moose, bear, buffalo, elk, and other natural inhabitants. The images they capture in photographs become subjects for future painting. Marless is a member of the Sonoran Arts League. She exhibits in three shows a year; Hidden in the Hills Studio Tour, Arizona Fine Art Expo, and the Phippen Western Art Show in Prescott, Arizona.


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