Michael McKee’s art graces Hidden in the Hills artist directory

Pastel artist Michael McKee displays “Sedona Snow” to be featured as the Hidden in the Hills artist directory cover. (Photo by Morrie Farbman)

Landscape painting, “Sedona Snow,” by pastel artist Michael McKee, will grace the Hidden in the Hills artist directory’s glossy cover.

Just as thousands of art enthusiasts are attracted to the Hidden in the Hills Artist Studio Tour just as many are interested in the cover art on the directory, according to a press release.

The four-color, collectible is coveted by the masses attending the November event, the release said, adding that more than 120 original pieces of art was submitted by artists during a selection process.

A committee chose Mr. McKee, a Cleveland, Ohio native who resides in Fountain Hills.

“There were many strong entries this year, but Michael’s painting took our breath away,” Hidden in the Hills marketing chair/glass artist Carole Perry, whose studio has been open to patrons for the 22 years of the tour, said in a prepared statement. “His use of color is both calming and powerful. Whether he’s painting a jagged desert hill, a sunset, or an abstract expressionist piece, his work stirs emotions and has a lasting effect on many people.”

Mr. McKee spent years working as a portrait artist, illustrator, graphic designer, and creative director until a life-changing trip to Chimayo, New Mexico in 1997 where he was captivated by the range and density of color found in the texture of the high desert landscape, the release stated.

After witnessing a sunset with his wife, Cassandra, he ran his fingers through the earth and “realized it felt like soft pastels,” and returned home to experiment with pastels; creating landscapes and abstract expressionisms with fresh, bold shapes and rich color, described the release.

A signature event of the non-profit Sonoran Arts League, Hidden in the Hills is noted as Arizona’s largest and longest-running artist studio tour.

This year will feature 169 artists at 42 studios throughout the scenic Desert Foothills communities of Cave Creek, Carefree and North Scottsdale, the release noted.

The free, self-guided studio tour offers art lovers a chance to observe artists at work in their private studios with one or more guest artists demonstrating how they create their art while displaying and selling it to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 16-18 and Nov. 23-25.

In addition, the Sonoran Arts League’s Center for the Arts will serve as the information headquarters and Youth Art Studio No. 1 for the popular art tour, the release added.

Get details at www.HiddenInTheHills.org. or call 480-575-6624.

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