Marcia Buckpitt has spent much of her long career combining two of her favorite things -- animals and painting.
The artist, who currently lives in Lakeside, Ariz., has been interested in art for as long as she can recall.
"I always painted, even as a child," she said. "I always took art in school."
She received both a bachelor's and master's degree in art from the University of Wisconsin before teaching art for a number of years at Princeton University.
Her teaching spanned much of her career, including a stint teaching art to White Mountain Apache children.
"The children see the fun in just about anything, and they're very talented," she said.
Throughout her teaching tenure, Buckpitt was always creating art. She said she has completed "uncountably many paintings" during her very active art career.
"To paint well, you have to paint often," she said.
Buckpitt said she is now motivated only to create art and not teach it.
"I paint," she said. "I do art now."
Much of her work focuses on animals. Many of her paintings juxtapose normal human behavior and dogs. One of her best-known paintings is of a German Shepherd on a stool painting its nails with bright-red nail polish.
"I put animals in human situations and it exposes our vanity and our silliness," she said. "It helps us to say, ‘aren't we being silly.'"
Buckpitt's love of dogs, especially German Shepherds, led her to open a kennel for breeding the dogs a few years back. The kennel has since been closed, but not before she created her "own, beautiful dogs."
"My dog is the best of the best," she said.
Other animals that have been the subject of her paintings include cats, chickens and horses. She has another series on wild animals called "Mountain Children," which centers on the likes of coyotes, rattlesnakes and hawks.
"I enjoy animals," she said. "They're funny. They're fun. They're completely unselfconscious. You get a pure soul with animals."
Buckpitt's art hasn't always been playful, however. She based much of her early work on the feminist movement.
"I did a lot of political work in the 70s and 80s," she said. "I thought I could change the world when I was younger, but then I realized the world would change itself in its own sweet time and not by very much."
After some time and some misinterpreted work, Buckpitt said she decided to work on topics a bit more whimsical.
"I was pleased in the changes America was undergoing so I figured I did my part," she said.
Much of her newer work is based on animals or people that she knows.
"Our best work and our best selves come from what's closest to us," she said. "As we explore something and get to know it, we can communicate with other people something more profound."
Buckpitt is also very experienced in printmaking and believes that the accessibility of her paintings has contributed to her international success.
Most of her paintings, including the ones to be shown at Bootleg Alley Sept. 7, are available for purchase in giclee prints.
Her newest undertaking blends components of photography, glossing and painting. She said the final product emulates etching.
"I'm really excited about the new stuff I'm doing," she said.
Buckpitt said she is mostly focusing on flowers and people in her new line of work.
"I used to see people in terms of population," she said. "As I've gotten older, I now see people in terms of individuals. They're all trying their best. I've gathered respect for people over time."
Bootleg Alley in Payson is hosting Buckpitt at a show Sept. 7.
Name: Marcia Buckpitt
Medium: Acrylics, airbrush and some photography
Motto: Enjoy life. It's short.
Advice to beginning artists: If you have passion for art, it's worth it.
Why Payson? I visit often because my family lives here.
Upcoming project: A new medium involving photography, painting and glossing that resembles etchings.
Points of contact: (928) 367-5646 or firstname.lastname@example.org.