Archives for Portrait

The Studio of William Matthews

During the peak of the COVID-19 crisis in the spring, William Matthews was spending a lot of time in his studio, and he didn’t mind it a bit. His custom-built studio, which sits behind his home in Denver, Colorado, has always been his sanctuary. It’s his personal space, a place where he can be completely alone and paint in peace. Usually, however, Matthews has appointments to keep at his gallery and office in Denver’s RiNo Art District. That 12,000-foot space includes a woodshop, a frame shop, meeting areas, a public gallery, and his office space. He almost always has projects
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Still Going Strong

Artists will tell you that creating art is a career—but it’s not a job. Why is that? They see creating art as a calling that is so intense it cannot be ignored no matter the risk. And there is indeed risk, financial as well as personal. They put their work out into the world, where everyone who sees it will judge it. If it’s deemed worthy, it will sell. If not, it’s on to the next painting or sculpture, determined to do better. The four artists we feature on the following pages have a combined age of 344 years and
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Portraits of the Past

Ranging in scope from mountain men and covered wagons to Native Americans and working cowboys, Steven Lang’s illuminating compositions provide highly personal insights into Western history. Tracing his Pawnee and Cherokee heritage back to his great- grandparents, the California-based artist has a special affinity for creating imagery that portrays the life of Native Americans. However, an oeuvre of work created during the past three decades also includes action-filled scenes of cattle drives, saloons, and Indian war parties. An inveterate storyteller, Lang finds it equally satisfying to depict the more intimate moments of everyday life. Although they might have lived a
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Making Art Sing

No matter what Cyrus Afsary paints, he makes his subjects sing. The Arizona artist infuses his landscapes, portraits, still lifes, and anything else he paints with head turning beauty that stops you in your tracks. That is his goal with each painting. “My primary objective is to have a viewer stop and wonder how I managed to express the light, color, or composition in the paintings,” he says. “I want them to look at the work in wonder, not pass it by too quickly.” How does he do it? “I don’t know,” Afsary says thoughtfully, going on to compare art
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The Studio of Kyle Ma

Kyle Ma is an art prodigy who began drawing nature scenes at age 4 in Taiwan, where he was born in 2000. Ten years later, he and his family immigrated to the United States, settling in Austin, Texas, where he began his art career in earnest. He astonished the art world by raking in multiple awards and gaining the attention of galleries and museums by the time he was 18. It’s been said he has the ability to create magic from street scenes, still lifes, landscapes—nearly anything he chooses to paint. Where does Ma work his magic? He does so
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Toward a Greater Understanding

During the more than three decades Susan Kliewer has been sculpting, she has created a large body of work that ranges from the beauty and traditions of the Native American culture to images that celebrate the working cowboys and cowgirls of the Southwest. “All my life I have been fascinated by the ever-changing dynamics of our American West,” she says. “Through my work I strive to portray the many cultures that have come before us with dignity, respect and understanding. From the ancient cliff dwellers to the cowboys who rode the range, my subjects reflect the West that I’ve researched
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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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No Regrets

At 17, S.C. (Chris) Mummert knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life: He was going to be an artist. He envisioned himself spending long days alone in his studio, illustrating magazine covers and living the solitary life of an artist. It didn’t exactly work out that way. And maybe, Mummert says, that’s for the best. “I wanted to be a hermit and just paint all day,” he says. “But then I got thrust into business, where I had to deal with people all day. That experience really rounded my corners out. It helped me realize that I
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Hitting Their Stride

Maybe it’s using complementary colors. Perhaps it’s painting in black and white or sepia tones. Maybe it’s diving deeply into one subject matter to capture it perfectly. Artists go through phases of work, improving their techniques and finding their places in the art world. Whether it’s at the beginning, middle, or later in their careers, something just ‘clicks’ when artists find the subject matter, medium, or technique that allows their creativity to shine. Meet three artists who are hitting their stride, and who are being featured in Art of the West for the first time. They are worthy of your
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The Power of the West

“I was born a storyteller.” So writes Mark Kohler in his book titled “Going West.” And he tells those stories brilliantly through his paintings of everything from working cowboys, bronc riders, and ropers to remudas, escaramuzas, and still lifes. “My art mirrors my life and experiences,” he writes. “We paint what we are.” Kohler loves what he paints and goes to great lengths to capture scenes—and people—that captivate and inspire him. He visits ranches in several states and takes a myriad of photographs of the people who work them and the animals that inhabit them. It took awhile for Kohler
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