Joella Mahoney, Painter

Joella Jean Mahoney-Southwest Landscapes.


“As inspiring as the desert itself… a promise of endless worlds unfolding before us, with lambent color and relentless space.” is one art critic’s description of Joella Jean Mahoney’s magnificent landscapes of the Southwest. An enormously talented artist, Mahoney first came to Arizona in 1951 as a student at Northern Arizona University, then called Arizona State College.

“When I first stepped off the train in Flagstaff and saw the Arizona landscape for the first time, I knew Arizona would be home,” Mahoney said. Since then, the Arizona landscape has been a major focus of her work.

Mahoney says of her lecture, the Development of Motif: “There are many motifs in my life’s work as an artist, but these major ones continually appear – the sunflower, the lake and the canyon wall. I’ve selected examples of each from 1965 to the present, and hope to share the process of how earlier work prepared the way for later work and how early sensory experience laid the foundation for consciousness of the spiritual content of nature.” The act of painting for me is life affirming. It is my work and I love it.”

Mahoney has a BA degree in Art and English from Northern Arizona University and an MFA degree in Painting and Drawing from Claremont Graduate School, Claremont, California. She does the “homework” for her brilliant and deeply felt landscapes by painting small realistic works on location, during backpacking trips in the Southwest. Then later she creates her large-scale works in her studio in Sedona.

Mahoney’s canvases have become internationally known through the Art in the Embassies Program sponsored by the U.S. State Department. Her work as teacher and artist is featured in a three-part television series, “On Campus,” which was aired on educational television stations in Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and New York City.

Mahoney believes painting must be more than reporting visual reality. Her work expresses a love of nature and a keen sense of its natural rhythms.

Art critic, Conrad Buff III, says of her work, “In the last several years the American Desert has received increased attention from artists, collectors and museums – A concern that began with Maynard Dixon and Georgia O’Keeffe in the 1920s is now being reexplored by contemporary painters. Among these, Joella Jean Mahoney is clearly in the forefront, capturing in her work the saturated color, the mystery and the majestic forms of the American Desert.” That her work is popular outside the Southwest is a source of pleasure for Mahoney. “I’m pleased that my work is also meaningful to collectors who live outside of the Southwest,” she said. “I use the subject matter to express my love of nature and my acknowledgment of nature as divinity. When I see shadow patterns on the distant mesas, I experience the eternal, the mysterious.”

In 1996 Northern Arizona University honored Mahoney as Outstanding Alumna. In 1997 Scripps College, Claremont, CA, honored Mahoney for her achievements as an artist. In 1998 the University of La Verne conferred upon Mahoney, Professor of Art Emerita. Mahoney has her home and studio in Sedona Arizona. She is represented by the Red Stone Gallery in Sedona, and regularly exhibits her works in New York City in the Chelsea area. Mahoney?s work can be viewed at

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