Husband-wife duo to paint at Beaver Creek | VailDaily.com

Husband-wife duo to paint at Beaver Creek

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BEAVER CREEK — Opposites not only attract, they create unimaginable beauty together. Artists Wendy Schaefer-Miles and Kevin D. Miles are a unique husband and wife team. They work together, painting side by side on the same canvas, enhancing one another's styles to create unforgettable paintings.

They have collaborated on more than 3,000 paintings in the past 30 years. Their artistic journey has taken them around the world on a quest to paint the most beautiful places on earth, while sharing their joy and passion with art enthusiasts they encounter along the way. They return each year to the Vail Valley drawn by the spectacular beauty and amazing vistas they strive to capture in their paintings.

"There is a spiritual connection we make here in the valley that lets us know without a doubt we are connected to the universe and each other," Kevin said.

Different beginnings

Their distinctly different styles seamlessly mesh on the canvas despite different backgrounds and temperaments.

Wendy grew up on a dairy farm in rural Wisconsin. After rising at the crack of dawn to collect eggs from the chickens, Wendy would hike up the hill overlooking the farm, and like a spy she would observe and sketch the happenings below from high atop a tree. She sketched the rolling hills, the abundant wildlife and anything that caught her fancy. She dreamed of a future with a studio on the farm surrounded by her children, family and a loving supportive husband at her side.

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When she was 9, her mother, Phyllis, brought her a set of oil paints for Christmas and her fate was sealed. As Wendy opened the tubes and caught a whiff of that pungent smell, she fell in love with oil paints. Squeezing the vivid colors out of the tubes was an overwhelming experience that still gets her blood flowing. She continued her studies and graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, while attempting to make her childhood vision a reality.

Kevin, the son of a military officer, traveled around the world and lived at 27 different addresses including Eagle River, Alaska, during his youth, where he enjoyed the outdoors. He created a deep connection to nature that today continues to fuel his creative energy.

Kevin's natural talent was recognized at the age of 11, winning a national competition sponsored by Scholastic magazine. He attended the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. He and several artist friends spent countless hours painting in the woods; like Wendy, Kevin found great joy and comfort in nature.

WORKING AS ONE

The two artists met by chance while in Florida. On their first painting expedition, it was very obvious that the two artists had very different approaches. Wendy, with her spontaneous free spirit, takes on a blank canvas with gusto. She uses brilliant color, a flittering brush stroke to develop the basic painting. Kevin studied Flemish Realism and Impressionism and adds the light, atmospheric color and detail to finish off the painting. Together they work as one.

Their future goal is to inspire a new generation of creative people by turning their sprawling farm in Western Wisconsin into a retreat and art center. They currently use several buildings on the property as studio space and their gallery is open to the public; it contains a rotating collection of their original oil paintings and fine art editions.

Their collaborative works have been displayed in some of the nation's largest galleries alongside such noted artists as Peter Max, Salvador Dali, Picasso and Rembrandt. The Wisconsin Foundation for the Arts selected them as their commissioned artists in 2003. This prestigious honor afforded them the opportunity to hang one of their elegant oil paintings in the governor's mansion. It has been placed in the permanent collection of Madison's Elvehjem Museum.

The couple attributes their phenomenal success to the joy and love they have for their craft.

"We've been blessed to share our passion for painting and we're more excited about it now than when we started. Our work has become bolder, more colorful and hopefully more engaging to the viewer," Kevin said.

Wendy and Kevin look forward to showing their work during the Beaver Creek Art Festival on Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. To learn more about this artistic duo and explore their online gallery, go to http://www.Shaefer-Milesfineart.com. For additional information about the festival, visit http://www.artfestival.com or call 561-746-6615.