Posts by Clover Neiberg

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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Journeys Into History

Until a functioning time machine is invented, the next-best way to travel backward into history just might be to take a long, careful look at one of Heide Presse’s richly detailed figurative oil paintings. In doing so, you’ll find yourself somewhere between 1840 and 1860. Zoom in anywhere—the model’s hairstyle, the appliqué pattern on the quilt draped over a chair, the intricate construction of the bonnet, the hem of the petticoat peeking out from beneath the calico skirt—and you’ll see the result of Presse’s meticulous attention to detail. Presse is a gifted painter, but she is also a keen student
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Emotionally Engaged

Natasha Isenhour is having a great year, even if it’s not quite the year she had expected. “I’m doing awesome,” she says. “Suddenly, finally, all this work has begun to come to fruition, and 2020 was set up to be just this amazing year. I was invited to do Cowgirl Up!, and that was huge. My gallery in Santa Fe, Ventana Fine Art, is giving me my first solo show. Then I was asked to be the featured artist for the Mendocino Plein Air event. And there’s more.” In mid-April, with much of the country under lockdown because of COVID-19,
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Storybook Lives

Once upon a time, two lovely, talented, and hard-working artists met in a studio in New York City. They fell in love, he proposed to her at the Brandywine Museum, and they married. He paints portraits, she paints still-lifes, and their 9-year-old daughter Sadie makes elaborate structures out of cardboard boxes. That, in a very small nutshell, is the story of Sarah Lamb and David Larned. It’s not always rainbows and puppies, however. Today, it’s lobsters and crabs—four-day-old lobsters and crabs, in fact, and they do not smell good. “It’s starting to smell really bad in here,” Lamb says with
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It’s A Beautiful Life

Shanna Kunz’s landscape paintings tend toward the complex and moody: winding rivers lit by an unseen sun, autumn foliage beneath overcast skies, dark forest-scapes emerging from banks of thick mist. But Kunz herself is pure sunlight, a self-described and unapologetic glass-half-full personality who loves every minute of her creative life and overflows with enthusiasm for the things she loves best: the artist’s life, relationships with family and friends, and the beauty of nature. “I’ve been painting for 26 years now, a long time,” Kunz says. “And I still put a brush in my hand and feel like it’s new. I
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