December Featured Artists — Nancy Arnold-Harris and Gary McLaren

Valley Art Co-op is pleased to announce its featured artists for December, Nancy Arnold Harris and Gary McLaren. Their work will be on display from December 1 to December 31. A reception will be held for the artists on December 11 from 4 to 7 in the Valley Art Co-op Gallery and Gift Shop.

Nancy Arnold Harris, Collage Artist

I relocated to the San Luis Valley in 2012 from the West Coast, where I began my training as an art historian and artist. Now, I proudly consider myself a Valley artist, and feel nurtured and encouraged by this vibrant artistic community.

Nancy and work, portrait
Nancy Arnold-Harris with Some of her Recent Work

I primarily create mixed-media collages. What I love about the collage process is the opportunity to work with both traditional and non-traditional media. I enjoy experimenting with various elements, including paper and paint, as well as found objects, such as tea bags, bottle caps, and rusty hardware. Ultimately, I love the challenge of solving the puzzle that each new piece presents and working out the right arrangement of materials, colors, textures, and composition.


I strongly believe that art is a collaborative endeavor between artist and viewer; meaning is created by the interaction of the work of art and the one observing it. Because my collages are largely abstract and without a specific message, interpretation is left entirely to the viewer, making the experience of my art one created and owned by you.

Mixed-Media Collage by Nancy Arnold Harris
Collage by Nancy Arnold Harris
Collage by Nancy Arnold Harris
Christmas Ornament by Nancy Arnold Harris


Christmas Ornament in a Walnut Shell by Gary McLaren

Gary McLaren, Whittler, Wood-carver, Sculptor and Painter

Gary McLaren grew up in the Monte Vista area and says, “I love this place so much that I keep coming back.” Gary learned to love art in high school.

“Our art teacher took the time to teach us all forms of art.” Gary has worked  in pottery, clay sculpting, metal smithing, pencil and charcoal drawing, oil and acrylic painting, photography and more.”

“I had already had some success as an artist while I was stationed in California for the Air Force. I sold a few paintings in the Carmel area and thought this might be a good career.”


Painting, Gary McClaren
Batten Down the Hatches, Acrylic on Canvas, Gary McClaren


“When all of my artwork was stolen and I became disenchanted. I still maintained some interest through the years making things for family and friends. A few years back I picked up a piece of wood and began carving.


Saw-whet Owl, Actual Size, carved from an old cedar fence post, painted in acrylic by Gary McLaren

I began carving on old cedar fence posts. It was pretty amazing to watch the transformation. Now I have fallen in love with taking old ‘used up’ wooden things and turning them into things to love and appreciate. I hope you enjoy them as well. I have also studied some old woodcarving traditions that are I find worthy of revival such as the “welsh love spoons’, which for many years was a way for the suitor to woo his lady and her family with his skills.

I also custom carve wedding cake toppers, headboard carvings and anything else that someone may dream up.”

McLaren hopes his carving will, “…inspire some young woodcarvers in this community.”

Welsh Wedding Spoons, Handcarved, Walnut by Gary McLaren
Welsh Wedding Spoons, Handcarved, Walnut by Gary McLaren

A public reception will be held honoring Nancy and Gary on December 11 from 4 to 7 pm. Light refreshments will be served.



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