The sign on Delores Hartless' studio reads "Aces High," and list her as the dealer, not because she is a card shark but because she is an artist who happens to live on Dealer's Choice Road in Star Valley.
"My husband chose the name," Hartless said. "He (Carl) thought it was clever."
The couple had been married 33 years and raised their children before Delores took up an artist's paintbrush.
Carl has cut many hard boards for Delores to gesso. He framed many canvases for her in the past 20 or so years.
Hartless started to paint when a friend needed one more person for her community college class in watercolors.
"I got talked into trying and she promised I could use her materials," Hartless said.
The brush strokes and color mixing that had looked too difficult to Hartless as a young child watching a family friend paint came relatively easily to her as an adult.
Dissatisfied with the depth of color she could achieve with watercolors or acrylics, Hartless soon switched to oils.
Her skill with the palette landed her a teaching job at Aravaipa Community College.
Over the years Hartless has increased her own knowledge through intensive workshops with Bill Arndt and Larry Toschik.
"I painted everything, but I really learned by teaching others," Hartless said.
Not one to be placed in a niche, Hartless enjoys painting landscapes, florals and wildlife.
"I like to paint people, but not necessarily portraits," she said.
Hartless seldom lets more than two days pass without painting.
Generally, she composes her paintings from photographs or pictures, but she is also able to paint from scenes in her mind.
She lived in Pine Canyon from the age of five until nine and images of the mountains and creek of the tiny town decorate her walls at home.
"It was in the toolies," she said. "Douglas was the closest town and when my dad drove timber, he had to go through strange rock formations to get to Douglas."
"Painting is an activity I can get totally lost in," she said. "I just love it."
The waltzes and easy listening music Hartless listens to while she paints hold a special reminder of her little dog Peanuts.
"She would scratch at the stereo until I turned the music on," Hartless said. "I miss her."
Name: Delores Hartless
Advice to beginning artists: Don't think you can't. If you want to do it, you can. I really mean that!
Award most proud of: The first oil I painted of the Grand Canyon won first place, people's choice and outstanding exhibit at the Apache County Fair. That win really inspired me to continue painting.
Motto: Paint the best painting -- as you see it through your eyes -- that you can. Some people will tell you, "no, do this, do that," but if your picture is pleasing to you, go with your heart. Your picture will please someone else.
Why Payson? This will sound like a fairy tale, but it is true: Some artists/friends of mine were staying over for a show in Aravaipa, so my husband Carl decided to take a drive. Carl came through Payson and when he returned home, he said he had found the place where we would retire. That was 13 years ago.
Hobbies: I write poetry, less now that I paint, and I love to cook. My favorite cuisine is French.
Points of contact: Artists of the Rim Gallery, 408 W. Main St., Payson, (928) 472-1159 or her studio, Aces High at (928) 472-6974.