Artists / Arizona

Sheila Cottrell

Tucson, AZ

A love of American West history, particularly her family’s lives in the 1800s in Texas and then early Arizona, inspire most of Sheila’s paintings. On April 18, 1900 seven covered wagons containing the Wells clan arrived at the abandoned Fort Bowie in southeast Arizona. They set up homesteads throughout Sulphur Springs Valley and freighted ore between mining towns, ran the Wells Brothers’ Overland Service, operated one of the Indian trading posts, and quarried stone for the historic Gadsden Hotel in Douglas, Arizona. R. G. Wells became a deputy sheriff in Tombstone and had numerous run-ins with horse thieves and rustlers. Sheila says, “I enjoy painting anything to do with the West, past and present, but especially love illustrating the tales of pioneering adventures my family experienced.”

Sheila studied art at the University of Arizona and Scottsdale Artists’ School but believes that her real painting education began with her tutorship under James Reynolds in 1983. A career highlight was a joint show with Jim in 2005 at the Claggett/Rey Gallery in Vail, Colorado and the special honor by the Desert Caballeros Western Museum’s purchase of one of her paintings for their permanent collection. Another highlight was recently being chosen a Lifetime Honorary Member of the prestigious Mountain Oyster Club in Tucson, Arizona.

She has participated in Cowgirl Up! shows at the Desert Caballeros Western Museum for the last 12 years, and she is most proud of multiple awards she has received at these events, including the “People’s Choice Award” and the “Governor’s Choice Award.” She is represented by Settlers West Gallery in Tucson, Arizona and Big Horn Galleries in Cody, Wyoming and Tubac, Arizona.

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