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  • Writer's pictureShea Stanfield

Nature, a Source of Inspiration

The richness achieved comes from nature, the source of her inspiration. Local artist, Maya Henaff, transports her viewers to places known and unknown with her elegantly textured and masterly rendered canvases. Maya began her love of art in her home country of Poland. Growing up in Gdynia, she was fascinated by the works of Chagall, Monet, and Van Gogh as she spent hours studying the unpredictable element of their design and the unique use of the color application in their paintings. Maya's intrigue with unusual compositions and painting applications was supported by her keen interest in the unlimited variety of subjects in the natural world. Maya shares, “I remember taking long walks in the woods; I loved the variety of scents, the changing color of the light, the contrasting shadows, and the endless visual textures nature provided.” All of this was her inspiration during her art studies in Poland.

Maya left Poland over 25 years ago for New York City to reunite with her mother and support herself by creating window displays for upscale fashion boutiques and jewelry stores. Later, she used her skilled eye for design as a stylist and consultant in the fashion industry.

During this time, Maya was also studying oil painting with well-established painter and teacher Susanna Anastasia while taking classes at the Art Student League of New York. Twenty years ago, Maya and her family moved to Arizona, where she took up painting full time. As she would describe it, “The constant sunlight, beautiful colors, and the fascinating array of desert landscapes provided an endless supply of ideas and subjects for my work.” Maya joined the Thunderbird Artists and began participating in juried shows; this allowed her to network with a variety of Arizona art communities. Eventually, she found the Sonoran Arts League in Cave Creek and became a member.

Maya’s style is constantly in revision as she experiments with different applications, color combinations, and subjects. She has been working with a pallet knife for the last few years. She loves the contrast of bold color application and fine lines ‘cut’ into the color with the side of the knife. The scooping, scraping, smashing, and blotting produce extraordinary results in the textural quality of her work. She loves the freedom of “mixing” as she goes on the canvas and creating realistic textures in her tree trunks, leaves, and flowering ground cover elements.

“The constant sunlight, beautiful colors, and the fascinating array of desert landscapes provided an endless supply of ideas and subjects for my work.”

Maya’s patrons and collectors have loved the new look coming back to purchase pieces for their homes, offices, and gifts year after year. Maya says, "Many think of my new painting style as a modern classical impressionist." Artist Maya Henaff’s work can be seen at The Art Department Art Gallery and JoyEful Gallery in Scottsdale, The Finer Arts Gallery in Cave Creek, and Saatchi Art Gallery online.


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