One of Nick Eason's sculptures. [Courtesy photo]

Gallery Moab will feature work by guest artist Louise Seiler and featured artist Nick Eason throughout April. Seiler and Eason have both lived in Moab for decades, though their art forms are much different: Seiler paints playful desert scenes while Eason carves wildlife sculptures from wood.

“I really enjoy sharing my art with all the people that love art,” Seiler said. “When I stand back and watch people observing my art, without knowing I’m the artist, when I see them smile, then it’s all worthwhile.”

Seiler’s acrylic paintings typically depict animals—toads, rabbits, coyotes, horses—drawn in an almost comical style, juxtaposing the landscape they’re placed into. Seiler wants to portray “happiness” in her art, she said.

“Happiness, and the beauty that goes with happiness and health,” she said. “Longevity finds its way into my work because we all need more laughs in life, especially now.”

Seiler is a self-taught artist, though she grew up in a family of artists: her sister is an artist, and her parents studied art at the University of Utah. Her style was unconsciously born out of years of painting, she said, and of her art studies.

Her painting process starts with a “spark,” she said, which can really be anything: another painting, an animal she saw on a hike, or an “unconscious awakening.”

“It’s a little hint, or something I see in nature, and from there I elaborate it into my style,” Seiler said.

Featured artist Nick Eason has lived in Moab since 1995, following a career in the army and the National Park Service. He picked up wood carving on a whim—he discovered the art form when he found a book about whittling in a library in Chicago.

“I found a chunk of wood in the alley, and I had a pocket knife and a coping saw,” he said. “That began the interest, and from there, it evolved over years and years.”

His intricately detailed wood carvings depict wildlife: his works currently on display at Gallery Moab include owls, birds, rabbits, and deer. Eason has always had an interest in nature and wildlife, he said, which is what led him to pursue a career with the National Park Service. What he calls his “interpretive” style was developed over years of trial and error, he said.

Eason begins each sculpture by carving the animal in plasticine clay. He’ll use reference photos and observations to perfect the clay “sketch,” then he’ll carve the piece into wood. Eason uses hardwoods, such as black walnut and sycamore, because those woods have more character to them, he said.

“There’s a good community of artists here, and it’s always wonderful to get together and hear different people’s views and different approaches to things,” Eason said.

The cooperative gallery, founded in 2014, shows work by different local artists monthly.

Manager Peggy Harty said she picks artists to showcase in a variety of different ways: the featured artists are already members of the gallery, and the guest artists she usually finds through connections with other artists.

Harty said she’s proud of the way the gallery has grown through a recent move and through the challenges of COVID-19.

“Somehow, I just feel like we’ve developed a reputation, and people see us as a real art gallery,” Harty said. “We’re here to support local artists and enrich the community through art. And I do think we help fulfill that role.”

Seiler and Eason’s works will be on display at Gallery Moab (58 S. Main St.) all month. There will also be a reception during the April Art Walk on April 9 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.