Gilbert artist Mick McGinty

Gilbert artist Mick McGinty frequently paints Grand Canyon scenes.

Gilbert artist Mick McGinty participated in the 12th annual Grand Canyon Celebration of Art at Grand Canyon National Park last month, joining others whose work can be purchased online through Jan. 18.

The show attracts professional artists nationwide, who paint “en plein air” – or on location – at various South Rim locations.

“The artists that I’ve come to know at the event have been very generous with advice on how to get things done. It’s been like a free workshop from all the best plein air painters around,” said McGinty, who is in his third event.

 “After painting at the Grand Canyon for two years, I’ve painted nearly 30 plein airs or so, and I feel like I need to go back to my favorite spots to tackle a scene again and try to find new scenes so that my work has some variety.”

“Art played a crucial role in the formation of our national parks and continues to do so in our appreciation of them, and the Celebration of Fine Art helps to keep the artistic tradition part of the Grand Canyon experience,” said Mindy Riesenberg, spokeswoman for Grand Canyon Conservancy, the official nonprofit partner of Grand Canyon National Park.

Among its many supportive activities, the nonprofit organization operates retail shops in the park, provides educational programs, maintains trails and historic buildings and protects wildlife. 

In this case, the money raised from the online and onsite arts sale will raise funds to build an art venue at the Grand Canyon, she explained. 

The artists’ work will be on sale for four months at shop.grandcanyon.org.

McGinty was born and raised in South Sioux City, just across the Missouri River in northeast Nebraska.

 “From my earliest memories, I looked for any chance to use my drawing talents. I used magic markers, tempera paint and pencils of any kind to draw portraits of my friends, horses, and cars, for whoever wanted them,” he recalled.

After he and wife Kerry, a Nebraska native, raised their children in California, they returned to their home state for 15 years in Dakota Dunes, about 10 miles north of South Sioux City. They moved to Gilbert in 2007. 

While living in California, he started painting landscapes of the Midwest, reacquainting himself with his love of brush painting oil. 

After his move to Arizona, painting the Grand Canyon became a priority, with Monument Valley and the Superstition Mountains here in the East Valley. 

His style continues to evolve from an illustrator’s concern for detail to just letting his mind take him to where it goes, just what happens when he’s working at one of the seven natural wonders of the world. 

“In the process,” he said, “I’ve learned that I can create a style that’s unique to me –– instead of a look that I might have stolen from someone else.”