Artists’ Studios | Clyde Aspevig & Carol Guzman

By Bonnie Gangelhoff

Where is your studio located? Clyde: We are in the country, about 25 minutes from Livingston. We live in the middle of 350 acres on the Shields River with views of mountain ranges as well as cottonwood and juniper trees.

Do you keep works by other artists in your studios? Clyde:
Yes. Emil Carlsen, Len Chmiel, George Carlson, and Walter Matia. Carol: I have a Dan Pinkham painting in here right now. And I have pieces by Hollis Williford, Kang Cho, Skip Whitcomb, George Carlson, and William Matthews.

Did you ever consider sharing a studio? Clyde:
We both like working in our own space. I think the level of concentration is much better when you are by yourself. Carol: No way! He can talk on the phone when he’s painting; I like it quiet. And my studio is much closer to kitchen because I love to cook.

What music do you play in the studio? Clyde: Classical, jazz, and blues. Carol: Jazz and piano. But only instrumentals—lyrics get me off track.

What are your work routines? Clyde: I travel a lot, but when I’m home and working on shows, I try to paint as much as I can every day. Winter is mostly reserved for studio work. Carol: We work every day. We love working on the weekends because the telephone doesn’t ring.

How does living in Montana influence your work? Clyde: The landscape dominates. I grew up roaming these prairies, badlands, river valleys, and mountains. I think I relate to this landscape on an intimate basis. Carol: When I lived in New York City, I had a studio in Tribeca where I did portraiture and also illustrated for Seventeen magazine. In Montana it is much more about the natural world. I do a lot of small landscapes outside.

What do you turn to for inspiration? Clyde: If you are a curious person, anything can get you excited. Inspiration to me is knowing as much as you can about the natural environment. I have a term for it: “land snorkeling.” It means taking your time to look closely at what’s in front of you. One thing leads to another. If you look at something closely and want to know how it got that way, you do research. It’s very much like the process of painting. You have to pile on the knowledge before you come up with the end result. Carol: All I have to do is look out my window for inspiration. I am a very positive person and can even see beauty in ugly things. The way light changes things inspires me too. Light makes everything.

What is the public’s misconception about the life of an artist? Clyde: That it is easy. They think, “Oh, you are just having so much fun. I wish I could have that life.” After 35 years, I’m successful. But people don’t see what it took to get to this point. The public thinks you just throw some paint on the canvas and put a price on it. Carol: People don’t realize how much artists struggle.

Where can people find you when you are not painting? Clyde: Outside. And a big part of my life is my work on the board of the American Prairie Foundation. We are creating one of the largest wildlife preserves in the lower 48 states, larger than Yellowstone National Park. I also spend a couple of hours reading every morning, mostly nonfiction and science. Carol: We love the outdoors—kayaking, hiking, biking, snowshoeing. And I love to read. Recently I read a biography of Andrew Wyeth and Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art Since Pollock. We don’t watch television.

What is the one place people will never find you? Clyde: I probably won’t make it to outer space, even though I’m interested in it. Carol: In a cave, because there is no light there.

Juniper Ridge Studios,

Masters of the American West Fine Art Exhibition and Sale, Autry National Center, Los Angeles, CA, February 6-March 7.
Solo exhibition, Santa Barbara Historical Museum, Santa Barbara, CA, November.


Trailside Galleries, Jackson Hole, WY, and Scottsdale, AZ; Simpson Gallagher Gallery, Cody, WY; Tierney Fine Art, Bozeman, MT;

Masters of the American West Fine Art Exhibition and Sale, Autry National Center, Los Angeles, CA, February 6-March 7.
Western Visions: Miniatures and More Show & Sale, National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson, WY, September 11-26.
Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale, Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, WY, September 24-25.

Featured in February 2010