Posts by Clover Neiberg

Disco Drove Him to Art

Ask Oklahoma City-based oil painter Kenny McKenna what kick-started his career, and he will tell you, in all seriousness, that it was disco. “This is a true story,” he says with a laugh. “It sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. As much as I dislike disco, I can thank it for what I’m doing today for a living.” It does sound ridiculous, and it is a true story. McKenna, an accomplished musician who has been playing in various bands since he was in junior high school, was living in Phoenix, Arizona, and playing six nights a week with a successful local
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Putting Marrow In The Bones

“I used to sit at Clark’s desk and draw. Who does that?” Acclaimed Western sculptor Richard Greeves is reminiscing about his childhood in St. Louis, Missouri, and yes, he’s talking about that Clark: Captain William Clark, of Lewis and Clark. Greeves’ childhood home, a stone’s throw from the Louisiana Purchase celebration grounds, afforded him the opportunity to serve as an unpaid gofer at the Missouri History Museum where he would rummage through the archives and make himself comfortable on the explorers’ furniture. “Back in those days, nobody thought much about it,” he says with a laugh. “They just thought of
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The Studio of Doug Monson

If you happen to find yourself wandering through the galleries in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, do yourself a favor and venture an hour and change down US 89-S to Afton. Thanks to the hard work and bold, generous vision of wildlife artist and Afton resident Doug Monson, the little town—population 2,000—is finding a place on the map for artists and collectors alike. Monson and his wife Donna have been enamored with Afton since they visited it four years ago while searching for studio space. “It’s in a beautiful valley, a high mountain valley,” Monson says. “It’s just a really good area,
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Beautiful Blendings

Acclaimed sculptor James G. Moore—Jim to friends, family, and a growing population of enthusiastic collectors—is leading a very good life, enjoying a mix of work and play that any creative person would envy. “My great joy is to be on the water,” he says. “I kayak; about twice a week I’m on some kind of boat.” On the days Moore isn’t paddling one of two nearby rivers (both the Wenatchee and the Columbia flow an easy drive from his home), he’s apt to be in one of his two studios. “My metal shop is where I make all the racket,”
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A Spiritual Connection

It’s a Monday morning in late May, and Linda Mutti is feeling lucky. “I am gonna paint today,” she announces jubilantly. “And then I’m doing a mentoring class, and then I’m going to hang with my two little rescue dogs. They’re very yappy, but I adore them. They like to come hang out in the studio.” If Mutti’s day doesn’t sound sufficiently idyllic, consider this: The studio in question is on the second floor of her home in Santa Barbara, California, with a panoramic view of the Santa Ynez Mountains. If she feels like painting outside instead of in the
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Living Her Dream

If you are considering taking up painting, Dallas-based oil painter Susan Temple Neumann has three words for you, delivered in a soft Texas drawl: “Go for it.” Maybe you think you’re too old, too established in your current career, too untrained, or lacking in the necessary workspace and supplies. In that case, Neumann has two more words for you: “No excuses.” She considers her own story proof that anyone with some talent and drive can at least have a go at being an artist. “I was in my fifties before I even thought about going down this path,” says Neumann,
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Order and Chaos

If you want to know about Brett Scheifflee’s artistic philosophy, talk to him about tennis. “If you are trying to control everything too much, you’ll never get your best form,” says Scheifflee, who’s been working to improve his tennis game for just about as long as he’s been painting professionally. “That’s something I can reference with painting. If you hang onto it too tight, it’s never going to be perfect. The only way to achieve perfection—or something close to it—is to let go. Stop trying. Open yourself up and be free, and somewhere in there you’re going to find the
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Untold Stories

If you look for dogs in most traditional Western art, you tend to find them in the lower left-hand quadrant. They’re sitting at the feet of a cowboy in front of a roaring campfire, or they’re poised just out of kicking range of a horse at the center of the canvas. Their eyes tend to be looking at the focal point of the painting—a human being, a larger animal, an important event they’re witnessing. Their eyes tell the viewer where to look. They’re serving in their traditional role as man’s best friend. Man remains at the center. Not so with
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The Studio of Nancy Cawdrey

Many people are working from home these days, but few of them have a setup as enviable as that of Whitefish, Montana, painter Nancy Cawdrey. All she has to do is wake up, descend two flights of stairs, and she’s in a 1,000-square-foot studio where she can work on her latest oil or watercolor painting or on one of the vibrant silk paintings that have become something of a trademark during her two-decade career. “My studio is in my house,” Cawdrey says. “It’s a little bit like the European thing, where you work on the ground floor, live on the
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The Studio of Len Chmiel

“It’s a good life, being an artist,” Len Chmiel says as he admires the view from the front porch of his studio. “There’s no other job I’d like … other than maybe a landscape designer.” Fortunately for Chmiel, his extensive acreage in picturesque Hotchkiss, Colorado, affords him the opportunity to do both. Besides creating award-winning paintings, he is also a gardener, winemaker, beekeeper, archaeologist, ranger, and wrangler of a small flock of chickens. Oh, and he also frames his own paintings. Chmiel’s studio, an 800-square-foot structure he designed himself, is the centerpiece of his 23-acre property, which sits atop a
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