Like many artists, Ned Mueller has a life path that is woven with art. Raised in Montana, Mueller played football in his youth before studying at the Art Center School in Louisiana (considered the Juilliard of art schools). There, he majored in Illustration, and took many drawing classes along the way. An interesting side note: the school restricted students from working with color for two years during their training. Of this, Mueller says, the “core principle of value teaches essential structure, volume, and design” and that “if you don’t get the value right, the color is going to be wrong.”

In this podcast with Eric Rhoads, Mueller talks about how after his time at the Art Center School (and before the Vietnam war) he was drafted into the Marines. During this time he came down with pneumonia, and at the same time he had a nervous breakdown, and so was given a medical discharge. After being disabled several months, he became a union carpenter and picked up illustration work on the side for 25 years.

Eventually, Mueller began creating Western art, in which he found a good deal of success, but he soon wanted to do more than this style alone. He began traveling internationally in order to paint more exotic subjects, but today his travel is limited due to chronic medical issues.

Click below to listen to this PleinAir podcast to be inspired and learn more from Mueller, who says, “We learn in three stages – we paint what we know, we paint what we see, and we paint what we feel.”

Visit Ned Mueller’s website at

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  1. I studied a year with Ned Mueller and never saw on bad painting in his studio. LOL!
    He has such talent and maybe he threw them away . . .He had a studio full of the best paintings ever!
    He also is a great friend and was very supportive when my husband died and he helped me through that time as I had to move to Idaho and leave his tutelage. I never had a better teacher than Ned!
    Take his courses and hope he shows us more boats. He is fabulous. I also went to Art Center and he was twice as good as the time spent there.


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