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Miles of Canvas


Shea Stanfield
Arts Columnist

“You learn a lot about what and how you like to paint when you have miles of canvas behind you.” This is an astute observation on “being” a painter by local artist Marless Fellows. Marless owns Saddle Up Gallery in Cave Creek, where the mystery and magic of art happens on a daily basis. Not only does Saddle Up Gallery exhibit a stunning array of provocative works by a diverse variety of artists, it is also the place Marless has her own studio. What a perfect way to meet her clients, former and new, as well as oversee the various activities happening at the gallery for those of us wishing to explore our creative passions. Marless simply makes art accessible and fun for all of us.

Marless grew up primarily in Arizona; her father was in the Navy, which required the family to move a number of times when she was a child. But there was something about the vista shadows, brilliant sunsets, and the serenity of the desert’s flora and fauna that called her back. As Marless remembers her childhood experiences, she credits her father for being the first person to influence her in art.  “He would draw little cartoon elephants and other figures for my sisters and me, so I picked it up for fun.” Marless didn’t think of making a career out of art until her 30s, when her husband’s grandfather came to stay with them. As she 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 to begin her foundation in art. She developed an interest for life drawing. Six semesters later, her development of human anatomy and form serve as a firm background for her exquisitely detailed human portraits based in western “cowboy” culture. Following Mesa Community, Marless attended Scottsdale Artist School, where she continued her education in drawing and painting with master artists, from all over the United States. As she recounts, “I began at the beginning and followed through until I completed the most advanced courses.”

To add to her expanding experience and education, Marless loves to visit museums and galleries, where she picks up composition, painting styles, and ideas from both past and present artists. Because her philosophy is, “you can never know everything there is to know about painting,” Marless continues to attend workshops and Master classes where she constantly updates her techniques. The result is an evolving body of quality work that delights and excites her ongoing and growing client base.

To view a selection of Marless Fellows’s paintings, visit Saddle Up Gallery’s Web site at, or drop into the gallery, located at 6140 E. Cave Creek Road #3B in Cave Creek, AZ, Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saddle Up Gallery represents a variety of gifted artists from Colorado, Montana, and Canada, as well as local talent, with a price point to fit any budget. A schedule of events and classes hosted by the Saddle Up Gallery can be found on the Web site, as well.

Contact arts columnist Shea Stanfield at