Gary Dunaway has worn many hats in his 70 years on the planet. He's been an educator, a counselor, and a picture framer.
He's even raised exotic chickens, dabbled in poetry and raised two children.
But his life's love is art, and that's what led the 10-year Golden Valley resident to open Gary D's Gallery of Fine Arts and Photography last month.
His breadth of experience explains why, when asked if he's always been an artist, he said, "Off and on, yes and no.
"I started painting in '67," he said. He opened his first gallery in Douglas, and then Waldport, Ore., and then a couple of more in Joshua Tree and Palm Desert, both in California.
He taught art and his paintings, drawings and photography have sold throughout the U.S., he said.
To help pay the bills, Dunaway spent a career as a speech and language pathologist, working primarily with special education students.
After moving from Oregon to Golden Valley, he began another career as a counselor for Mohave Mental Health until December 2011.
The desire to open another gallery never really went away and retirement, he said, allowed him to put that goal on the front burner.
"The gallery is a work in progress," he said. "And it always will be, I think."
The vast majority of artwork is his, and he's not yet prepared to exhibit other artists' works. He does sell turquoise jewelry and items such as vases, fossils and other artifacts on consignment.
Some of Dunaway's photographs are set on canvas and have the texture of a painting. His colored pencil drawings show amazing depth and he even has on display a poem or two he's written.
Dunaway admits he sometimes develops an emotional attachment to his artwork, but he also is honest about what it all means. "Some of my art I love," he said, "and some of it is just junk."
His art shows a love for the diversity of the desert.
"I think I'm enamored with the entire area," he said. "I have been for years. I find the desert delightful. People who say it's just a desert, I think they miss the beauty."
Gary D's is somewhat a family business. His son, Jeremy Dunaway, is a talented picture framer, as was his father.
Folks who have a favorite painting in need of a frame and mat to do it justice can contract with Dunaway to get the work done.
And while Dunaway opened the gallery as a business venture - "you always hope to turn a profit" - he encourages residents throughout Mohave County to stop by and visit.
Just don't carry any food or drinks inside, "Unless you're bringing it for me," he said. Apparently, Dunaway remains a starving artist.
Gary D's Gallery is located at 3659 W. Highway 68, Suite 7, right next to the Outpost convenience market in Golden Valley.
The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday and is closed Monday and Tuesday.
For more information, contact him during business hours at (928) 279-4171.