Deborah Copenhaver Fellows had two major projects underway late last spring: a monumental sculpture of the 19 firefighters from Prescott, Arizona, who died battling a wildfire in 2013 and a statue of rancher John Palmer Parker for the town of Waimea in Hawaii. Both were nearly complete and ready to roll when the coronavirus pandemic hit. “COVID stopped both,” Fellows says.
Fellows hasn’t taken many breaks in her 45-year career as an artist. She comes from a long line of workaholics, she explains, and she’s happiest when she’s busy working. Plus, she loves her job—and she knows that she’s lucky to have made a living solely from her art for the better part of five decades. But she took a brief break this year. “I’m pretty driven, but this has been a deep-breath time for me,” she says.
By July, Fellows was back at work. She’s had the armature ready for a new project that she decided to tackle just for fun during the long days of quarantine. It depicts a sweet-cheeked little boy in dirty coveralls and a big hat with what she lovingly calls an “ugly old horse.”
She’s A Little Wet Behind the Ears
22″ by 20″
“Today we recognize youth and inexperience as being novice. This little filly fits the bill. Even scratching is difficult. My grandpa would say, ‘She’s a little wet behind the ears.’”
I Saddle My Own Horse
35 1/2″ by 18″
“This sculpture portrays today’s woman, who is not bound by the constraints placed on women of the past. She has a healthy measure of ability, determination, and femininity. In a lifetime of endeavors and relationships, ultimately you have to saddle your own horse to truly claim your position in this world.”