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Clyde Aspevig

 (born 1951)
Clyde Aspevig is active/lives in Montana, Colorado.  Clyde Aspevig is known for mountain landscape and coastal view painting.

Clyde Aspevig

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Clyde Aspevig
Inspired by the sagebrush and wide open horizons of Wyoming and Montana, Clyde Aspevig is a landscape painter who does sketches on location and finishes the work in his studio.  Although he was trained to be an art educator, he has had little formal training as a painter, but has studied the work of artists he much admires including John Singer Sargent, Anders Zorn, and Winslow Homer.

His obvious talent has won him prestigious recognition including the Frederic Remington Award* and the Robert M. Lougheed Memorial Award*, both from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame.  He is a member of the Northwest Rendezvous Group, and is the first Montana artist since Charlie Russell to exhibit at Grand Central Art Galleries* in New York City.

Aspevig was born in Rudyard, Montana, and raised on a small working wheat farm near the Canadian border.  He became mindful of people's reliance upon the land, although he left the farm to attend Eastern Montana College in Billings.  However, he dropped out to spend the winter in the Bear Paw Mountains and then returned for a degree in art education.  He taught for one year in Sandy Oregon High School and then went back to Montana with his wife, artist Carol Guzman, to paint full time.  From 1988, the couple has lived in Loveland, Colorado where he remodeled an historic church for his studio.

Aspevig travels widely to paint, choosing landscape subjects in the Southwest and the West including along the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers, and in foreign places such as England, Italy and the Caribbean.

Of his feelings about nature, he says: "Paintings are a spiritual communion with nature which results in my celebration of life.  Toward this end, I yearn for country that has not been tainted by subdivision, power poles, billboards, and water slides. I choose to paint my pictures as if I, or the viewer, were the first person to set foot upon the landscape". (Hagerty 20)

Sources include:
Peggy and Harold Samuels, Contemporary Western Artists
Donald Hagerty, Leading the West

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see Glossary


Biography from Thunderbird Foundation for the Arts
In the last years of his life Maynard Dixon (1875-1946) built a log and stone cabin in the high arid country of Southern Utah with his artist wife Edith Hamlin Dixon.  Their summers there were filled with days of painting and enjoying the dramatic beauty of the area.  Before he died in 1946 he requested that his ashes be scattered there.  Edith buried his ashes near a large boulder on a high hill on the property which overlooks the mesas, pines, cottonwoods, hay fields and rivers and above all of this  the magnificent cloud formations which under Dixons adept hand became the iconic symbol of so many of his famous works.

Now in 2010, the home and property have been restored and the last week of August has been dedicated for the Maynard Dixon Country Event.  This year will mark the twelfth celebration where 32 nationally known artists are invited to participate in the painting excursions, exhibition, sale and awards ceremony.  The purpose of the event is to provide a venue for artists who share the same passion for the American landscape and its people as Dixon did.  This year, noted contemporary artist Clyde Aspevig will be the guest of honor and will give a presentation on his artistic career and a painting demonstration on Saturday afternoon.  The event opens to the public Friday, August 27 with a preview and sale and continues with a wet painting sale on Saturday morning in the old Dixon studio and a gala celebration that evening on the big lawn surrounded by the shade of cottonwood trees. Sponsored by the Thunderbird Foundation for the Arts, the event is a fund raiser to keep the Dixon property and the art programs offered there. 

Clyde Aspevig and Maynard Dixon are artists who are stylistically miles apart.  Art historians might describe Dixon's paintings as highly stylized, simplified and powerful through the elimination of detail and strong geometric compositions that are not stating the literal but instead capture the essence, some say "spiritual" aspects of the American southwestern landscape.

Aspevig achieves the same thing, but with an entirely different approach. Aspevig's paintings are more in the vein of the American impressionist movement, akin to such painters as John Henry Twachtman.  Sophisticated color relationships, textural surfaces and his unique vision transport the viewer directly into the scene.  Even on his paintings of wide vistas, we are instantly planted there and are a part of the scene before us.  His cloud paintings achieve the feeling of air and space and movement, as somehow his clouds seem to float across the canvas. A master of water, Aspevig often has us viewing not from the shore looking out, but in the middle of the water looking toward land.  The abstract colors and shapes of the water keep us enchanted with the water and the vision of the shore beyond becomes somewhat secondary.  These qualities of painting are the secrets of masters.  Dixon often had us dwarfed as humans, a tiny speck compared to the big expansive skies above us, the feeling that anyone who has traveled in the west can attest to.

To Aspevig, born in 1951 under the big skies of Montana, he romped around as a child in the grasses and rivers and the cool, clean mountain air.  Quoting from the artist "When I was growing up in the area of northern Montana called the Hi-Line, I cherished my walks out into the untilled pastures and coulees where the natural prairie still exists.  I marveled at the mosaic of color and textures of the glaciated rocks, grasses and forbs unfurling beneath my feet.  The constant wind transmitted the scents of prairie biomass sweetened by the pure, cool morning air - smells that linger a lifetime.  Sparrows flitting across my path and the drama of a drifting cloud evoked the union of earth and sky.  Thunderheads began to form against the distant enchantment of viridian softly caressing the purple horizon.  Sometimes I would lie on my back, turning my head to the side, following the cobalt trails darkening in hue, changing to ultramarine.  As I looked straight up, with the cool earth pressing into my back and the warmth of divine light on my face, I saw the shimmering deep blue, purple infinity.  The mystery and vastness overwhelmed me.  I am still working on this painting."

Seeing the artistic talent that his son possessed Clyde's father and also his artist-uncle Roald Haaland, encouraged the young man  to enroll at Eastern Montana College where he studied under Ben Steele.  Steele encouraged Aspevig to pursue his own vision, his own voice and to be a representational painter, to paint what he saw and loved, rather than to follow the trend of abstractionism and experimental art forms, common at the time, the early 1970's.  He graduated from Eastern Montana College with a degree in art education and has been a full time painter since 1977.  Clyde is married to the accomplished artist Carol Guzman, who also is an invited artist to Maynard Dixon Country 2010.  The artists reside in Montana surrounded by the prairies, mountains, and rivers that are the subjects of his paintings.  This year both artists will have the challenge of painting the unique landscape surrounding Mt. Carmel, Utah, the site of the Maynard Dixon Living History museum where Maynard Dixon Country is held each year.

Paul and Susan Bingham, founders of the Thunderbird Foundation for the Arts and long time Dixon dealers, remember the first time they were  introduced to Aspevig's paintings.

"We were attending one of the first "Northwest Rendezvous" events held in Helena Montana.  Among all of the many paintings there, one artist in particular stood out. "Of extremely high quality and yet lyrical and painterly, I had to meet the artist", says Paul Bingham.  Impressed with the artist as well as his work, Bingham became a lifelong fan.  When the Bingham's were called on to curate a plein-air show for the San Jose Museum of Art in 1988, Clyde jumped in and suggested artists and helped Paul with the project.  When the Binghams purchased the Dixon home and formed the Thunderbird Foundation, Aspevig graciously accepted as a member of the advisory board.  Through the years, Aspevig has participated in the event whenever possible.  "This year was finally a copasetic meeting of schedules and we are excited to have Clyde be our guest of honor.  He is admired by all of the artists and the collectors who come to the event and all are anxiously awaiting the opportunity to have Clyde be part of the event and to learn from this master of American landscape painting.  With Clyde's participation we expect this to be one of the best Maynard Dixon Country events yet!"  Bingham says. 

By Susan Bingham

Biography from Thomas Nygard Gallery
Considered by many to be the foremost representational landscape painter of our time, Clyde Aspevig has exhibited his work at many important museum and gallery shows throughout the country.  He is a recent winner of the Gold Medal at the National Academy of Western Art.

Clyde Aspevig was born to Gertrude and Donald Aspevig in 1951 on a farm near Rudyard, Montana, just south of the Canadian Border.  At eleven years of age, he fell off a horse and severely broke his leg.  During his convalescence his uncle, Roald Haaland, an amateur painter, introduced him to oil paints.

In 1969, Aspevig moved to Billings, Montana and began majoring in Art at Eastern Montana College, now Montana State University - Billings.  It is here that he began selling his first paintings which were small watercolors.

After receiving his degree in Education, Aspevig moved to Sandy, Oregon where he taught art at Sandy Union High School.  He soon moved back to Montana to paint full-time.  Aspevig's efforts bode well for him, and success soon followed.

During the late 1970s and 80's Aspevig began establishing a national reputation for himself.  His work was promoted through many one-man shows and prestigious awards he received.  At his Grand Central Galleries show in New York City, one of his patron's commented on how wonderful it was to have "good art" in New York City again.

His deep attachment to the Western landscape is evident in his body of work.  He spends considerable time outside communing with the landscape in order to open up his emotions to the psychological aspects of the land around him.

Many young artists are satisfied with that which has given them success. Clyde Aspevig however, continues to seek new challenges and has altered his style. He began suggesting - not replicating - detail.  He leaves in just enough to make the viewer believe in the place while leaving the rest to be developed by the power of an individual's imagination.  He says this evokes, "a deeper response than a literal or detailed interpretation".

Biography from Altermann Galleries and Auctioneers, I
Biography photo for Clyde Aspevig
Oil painter of the vanishing Montana countryside, born in Rudyard, Montana in 1951 and living in Ballantine, Montana since 1976. "The Montana terrain offers everything," Aspevig asserts, "from spectacular mountains to almost desert-like conditions. You'd have to be pretty picky to run out of things to paint here. I'm so thankful that I grew up in that area. It was so unspoiled and free. And my upbringing provided me with a strong moral foundation. Anyone who's living in the country knows that I'm talking about.

Raised in a farming community on the Canadian border. Aspevig became adult at 12 when his father died. He left the farm to attend Eastern Montana College in Billings, dropped out to spend an isolated winter in the Bear Paw Mountains, and then returned for a degree in art education "so I'd have a profession to fall back on." After one year of teaching in Sandy, Oregon, high school, he came back to Montana to paint full time. He works up to ten hours a day, blocking in a landscape in the field and finishing it in the studio. The Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers are favorite locales.

Aspevig believe that Montana is "one of the last pristine areas in the country," and now it is being strip-mined. "We need to be very cautious about how we use out resources. Land like this is so fragile," he emphasizes, and he has donated prints to an environmental organization.

Resource: Contemporary Western Artists, by Peggy and Harold Samuels 1982, Judd's Inc., Washington, D.C.

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About  Clyde Aspevig

Born:  1951 - Rudyard, Montana
Known for:  mountain landscape and coastal view painting

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Clyde Aspevig

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