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Wellton artist Lynn Morgan's painting to be featured in balloon festival
Lynn Morgan's art is hitching a ride into the sky this fall.
Organizers of Yuma's annual balloon festival love one of Morgan's paintings so much that the image will soon be found on advertisements, framed posters and T-shirts all over town – and flying over it.
Each year Caballeros de Yuma chooses artwork to represent that year's Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival. Out of eight entries, Morgan's image of colorful balloons gently rising into the Yuma sky won the honor of representing this year's festival.
And it's no surprise that the Wellton artist is flying high herself, ever since the Caballeros announced this year's winner.
“Oh, I am so excited!” Morgan said, letting loose a happy squeal. “I am pretty happy.”
As winner of the art contest, Morgan received $400. In addition to her art being used in all publicity for the festival, the actual painting will be proudly displayed for the public's enjoyment throughout the festival, which is slated for Nov. 16-18 at the West Wetlands Park and Desert Sun Stadium.
“There is always excitement around the new design. We sell hundreds of T-shirts and posters to the general public. It is always fun to see the shirts being worn throughout the year,” Mario Jordan with the Caballeros told the Yuma Sun when the art contest was announced earlier this year.
Morgan's name may not be familiar to local art lovers, but that's a fact that the veteran artist is working to change. Morgan moved to Wellton full time just last year, after having retired in San Diego from a long career with AT&T. She and her husband began venturing out to the desert several years ago, visiting Yuma County with friends to play some golf. They also enjoyed following the San Diego Padres to Yuma, during the years that the baseball team trained here.
The couple built a house in these parts six years ago.
“It's quiet here. Really quiet,” Morgan said, smiling brightly. “From our home we have the view of the golf course, the water hazard, and the mountains – plus I have ducks, geese and all the birds to feed.”
Morgan describes herself as a self-taught artist who is “inspired by the masters.” On her website, she shares with visitors that “art is a true gift from God and should be shared with others.”
Morgan discovered her artistic gifts early in life.
“I always tinkered with drawing. I've always had a creative side – crafts, knitting, sewing,” she said. “I look a lot of art classes in junior high and high school.”
But one art memory stands out from the rest.
“You know that little thing in magazines that says ‘You can be an artist. Can you draw this?' That's how I started. I did that little picture and sent it in.”
That drawing was the image of a dog's sweet little face.
“Since I was the oldest of the children, I would pick them up after school and help my mom with the house. After taking care of the kids, I would sit, draw and just kind of occupy my time. It made me happy.”
Morgan began painting acrylics, preferring landscapes and Egyptian figures. These days she prefers watercolors and is drawn to Native American imagery and architecture. Many paintings receive their inspiration from photographs that Morgan takes on her travels.
Since retiring Morgan has sold art online and through big art shows such as the one at the San Diego County Fair. She's also shared her art locally during several shows at the Yuma Art Center.
Morgan is quick to say that she's happy to be enjoying her life as an artist in a much smaller community.
“I tell my husband I would rather be able to sell my work and be known in a small community, than being in a big city where there's so many artists and you just get overwhelmed,” shes said. “I would rather spend my time painting than hustling the market. Besides, I'm more of a country kind of girl and I'm kind of shy. So I like the smaller places.”
Darin Fenger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6860.