Diane Carnright, one of Ajo’s most prolific artists, spent her younger years in upper New York State. She has since lived in California and Florida, moving to Ajo in 1972 where her studio, the Carnright Studio, is still located.
She began drawing while in grade school. Although she says she was very detail-oriented in her first works she now describes her artwork as realistic impressionism.
Diane credits a high school art teacher in New York and Loretta Musgrave with teaching her many painting skills. Loretta was an art teacher in Ajo in the ’80s and is now a successful artist. She taught art classes after school and Diane was her assistant.
Diane has been part of the art club in Ajo since its inception in 1986 when Phelps Dodge had homes for sale. The mine and smelter had just closed. PD suggested community clubs would make Ajo attractive to more buyers. The Desert Artist Guild was born.
When asked what inspires her to paint Diane says, “It is an urge, an urge within me”. In the past year her painting subjects have included a portrait, a landscape, a scene including people and an abstract.
She says the business side of being an artist takes time away from painting but she needs to sell to buy more supplies.
After painting for 35 years Diane says she can now paint what is in her head. In addition to Ajo shows, she has shown her art in Scottsdale, Tucson, Williams and Glendale.
For fun Diane sews, mostly clothes and quilts.
Diane advises new artists to show their work. “Take part in shows and always have some backup work with you because you never know when what you show will sell out. It happens.”
The Federated Church show coming up on Dec. 14 will be featuring some of Diane’s newest work as well as many other local talented artists will be available for viewing and purchase.
Written by Ajo artist Pat Rigdon