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ArtsOld - DO NOT USE - The Coast NewsRancho Santa Fe Lead Story

Ranch artists transfigure the mundane

RANCHO SANTA FE — It’s no secret that artists see the world a little differently than the rest of us. 

Consider Steve and Yvonne Maloney of Rancho Santa Fe who turn the mundane into spectacular art.

For instance, Steve Maloney, a sculptor, bought in bulk thousands of scissors confiscated from passengers boarding airplanes and turned them into an astounding work, “Shear Madness,” that will be displayed in Art San Diego in September.

Another example: Who would think shoes could inspire art, but there they are in gorgeous paintings by Yvonne Maloney, some colorfully depicting what a pile of shoes might look like during a shoe shopping frenzy.

Both are full-time artists whose work is displayed in private collections and in exhibitions all over North America and, in Yvonne Maloney’s case, also in Malta, England, Cambodia and Australia.

Her work is identifiable by the bold colors she uses to depict beautiful flowers and elegant women, but what makes her especially special is that the proceeds of whatever she sells goes to charity.

That’s right. She takes no money when one of her pieces sells. Instead, some worthy charities, many of them local, benefit.

Some of her favorite charities are the Helen Woodward Animal Center, Kids Korps, Make-A-Wish, the television station KPBS, the Rancho Santa Fe Community Center, Scripps in Encinitas, Casa De Amparo, The Rancho Santa Fe Historical Society and the Boy Scouts. Many times she has also donated her work for charity auctions and she is particularly fond of St. Jude’s and the Rady Children’s Hospital.

And because the couple lives part-time in the desert, many Palm Spring and Palm Desert organizations get help from her.

“My creative process is a simple cycle of living, painting and giving as all proceeds of my art goes to charity,” she said.

She has donated much to the charities.

“It’s in the six figures,” Steve Maloney said.

If a person buys a piece from her, she’ll even donate half of the proceeds to the buyer’s favorite charity.

Yvonne Maloney said donating the money makes her feel good and feeds her artistically.

Also in her charitable efforts, in 2004 she was commissioned to take part in the public art program Hail Kalamazoo, where she and other artists painted 4-foot checker cabs for which the city is famous. She also participated in the fundraising Path of the Big Horn in 2003 to bring awareness to the endangered wild sheep in the desert, by painting sculptures of sheep.

“A lot of other people did them,” she said. “Tony Curtis did one. Cher did one. Phyllis Diller did one.”

The sheep she painted still stands in the shopping district of Palm Springs.

Yvonne Maloney knew she was destined to be an artist in kindergarten.

She grew up in Malta, the island in the Mediterranean Sea.

“Initially, I was a self-taught artist, drawing from a sense of color ingrained during my youth when I was living in the Mediterranean,” she said.

She also was taught knitting and crewel and continued to do both until a few years ago.

She began painting in earnest in 2000 when she and Steve Maloney began taking lessons from famed international artist Kwok Wai Lau in Palm Springs.

“He looks at your work and tells you if you are on the right track, and he is a great motivator,” she said.

And he also taught her independence in her art.

“You can do your own thing and not be guided by somebody’s hand,” she said. She said she is also inspired by her travels with her husband.

“You need to get away from your own work once in a while to be inspired,” she said.

To learn more about Yvonne Maloney’s work, visit

More information about Steve Maloney’s work is available at