Bill Brooks and Sarah Slocum Paintings December 2015

Doubt you can become a serious artist later in life? December gallery exhibitor Bill Brooks offers encouragement to all who’ve considered a second career in art, saying “I’m 80 years old now; started painting in 2004 and probably got serious about it when I started studying with Bud Heiss six years ago. I prefer to paint with acrylics, although I have tried other mediums, it just feels better for what I'm doing.  I paint mostly landscapes. I am a retired Forest Ranger and the beauty of nature meets my needs as an artist."
Pieces Brooks chose for his Arboretum exhibit range from 8-by-10 paintings to larger ones measuring 24-by-24; all originals -- and priced from  $150-$400. Inquiries about commissioned work can be emailed to
Born and raised in the high country of Northern New Mexico, Brooks' work with the US Forest Service took him to Utah,Wyoming, Idaho, and Nevada. He also served in the US Navy from 1954-1958; and earned a bachelors degree in Forest Management from Utah State in 1962 - followed by a Master's degree in Personnel Management  in 1977. Together with wife Sandra they raised nine children in a household that included hunting and fishing.
December co-exhibitor Sarah Slocum is also a member of the Mesa Art League, and was also inspired to paint by Gilbert professional artist Bud Heiss.
“I’d always had a secret desire to paint. One day about three years ago I walked into Hobby Lobby and saw Bud Heiss's display for lessons; I loved his style and started lessons that week. I prefer oil over acrylics although I do use both, oils blend easier and also dry slower. I have numerous pieces in progress at any time; I find painting to be a major stress-relief, everything goes on the back-burner when the paint comes out. I only wish I had more time to spend with it.”
"I moved here 19 years ago from upstate New York. I grew up on a dairy farm and have always had a love for science and nature. One day my husband and sons walked in the door with a giant caterpillar; turns out this was an eastern swallowtail - ready to go into its chrysalis. They thought I'd find it interesting -- little did they know that would be the start of a major hobby. Since that day I've  raised and released thousands of butterflies in New York and Arizona: monarchs swallowtails, fritillary, Queens... keeping up with the food supply can be a challenge!
" I live in Gilbert with my husband David and have 2 grown sons who live nearby. We do woodworking together and love to build custom furniture. One of Bud's pieces of advice is to paint what you love; landscapes always seem to be a challeneg for me. I have many spoiled hummingbirds in my yard and the butterfly hobby, which lead me into painting them and it just seemed to fit. Sarah's pictures range from 8-by-10  up to 24-by-30; all in this show are originals and priced from $75-650. Direct inquiries to

Boyce Thompson Arboretum is at highway 60 milepost #223 near the historic copper mining town of Superior, a drive of about 45 minutes due East of Mesa. December visitors are admitted from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.; no visitors are admitted after 4:00, and the Arboretum closes promptly at 5:00 p.m. New exhibits begin each month and may be seen daily during business hours; the Arboretum is an Arizona State Park and daily admission must be paid to enter the Visitor Center where our gallery is found. A membership may be purchased in the gift shop on the day of your visit.

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