Carin’s Corner

The NAA Gallery has grown from being a cozy locals’ gallery to a competitive venue for our community and visitors to find that perfect piece of art. The changes in the gallery from new lighting, wall coverings and 3-D display cases have accumulated over the past several years due to a proactive NAA board and a growing active membership. In this section of the newsletter, we will acknowledge just a few of the many members who volunteer but who are not necessarily board members whose tasks can be viewed on the website. 

Carol Taylor   After teaching for 27 years in Round Mountain, NV., Carol moved to Carson City where she lives in the house her parents built. Loving art since she was a child, she easily stepped into art when taking classes at WNC  8 years ago to renew her teaching credentials and has never looked back. While she has taken classes from several local instructors in all kinds of media over the years, she is self-directed in her passion. Now she quenches her curiosity about new techniques online. If she sees a design she likes, she experiments until she figures out how to make it. While Carol is drawn to the design in her Zentangles, she challenges herself to layer the Zentangle design over a prepainted water-colored surface to get the contrast and emphasize the subject of the design. And there is no erasing or painting over!

When a WNC art class required her to visit a gallery, she discovered the local NAA Gallery which has become a second home for her. Not only is she the past membership board chairperson for several years and is now the acting secretary; she regularly volunteers whenever she can to host the gallery when other members are unable to fulfill their hosting responsibility.

Maggie Stillwell    Several years ago, Maggie Stillwell was horseback riding outside of Phoenix with a friend who encouraged her to attend classes at the Milan Art Institute in Queen Creek, Arizona. After introductory classes, Maggie was soon hooked on the school’s philosophy and left her home and family in Carson to complete an intense year-long program where she was forced to paint out of her comfort zone…beginning with cityscapes. After the production of a multitude of paintings and drawings in different media, styles, and subjects, she discovered her favorite subjects are still animals and Western themes. She prefers to paint abstractly as it allows the freedom to express the vitality and movement of the subject without being “fenced in” with restrictive realism. The first three large canvases in her recent mountain wildlife series are perfect for playing with the palette knife she uses to get the texture in the animal’s fur. She also uses a reverse process where instead of working back to front as she usually does, she works the image first, then the background. Maggie says, “This allows for the subject to be peeking out of the background, as wildlife tends to do.”


Maggie Stillwell resides in Carson City but spends time at her homes outside of Phoenix and at Lake Tahoe. Her art reveals flavors from each of these residences as well as her travels. While Maggie had always loved to make art, she had gone into education for a profession. Now as a retired teacher from the Carson City School District and University of Phoenix, she has the time for art. She joined the NAA 5 years ago to build a local network of artistic friendships.

Sabina Bye   

Sabina Bye, an active member for over 20 years who designed the first NAA Website appreciates the updated NAA website. Through the years,  she has garnered many commissions via the website through the online artist gallery. The BIG one she says was a $1000 commission for a pastel landscape of the Truckee River which now hangs in the Sparks Community Center. Pet portraits are another popular request. 

A versatile artist, Sabina prefers pastels and oils for layering on color but also enjoys the free flow and lifting techniques in watercolor. As she works from her own photos, learning the importance of strong compositions in a photography workshop assists her in creating interesting paintings.

She prefers using her own photos for reference when making pet portraits but uses the owner’s photographs if necessary. She loves the challenge of capturing the animal’s character in her work.  Her favorite place to take photos of animals is the zoo where she can observe the animals for some time. Sabina will use charcoal to express the exhaustion of this mother gorilla who rests her hand on her head after wrestling with her young ’un from a photo she took at the Atlanta Georgia Zoo.

NAA is fortunate to have many members volunteering on the critical day of show change.  It wasn’t surprising to see Sabina taking the extra time to help those who needed guidance on preparing their work for display at last month’s show change. Not everyone who needed the information was able to attend her free gallery demonstration on preparing work for presentation before the exhibit, so we were lucky to have her on-site to assist.

Heather Nicole Cudworth   Another artist who is a regular on Show Change Day and has a good eye for displaying artwork is Heather. Heather Nicole Cudworth arrived in the Carson City area in 2019  after seeking a temperate climate with seasons. On her many walkabouts in the city, she found an apartment near the Nevada Art Association Gallery, which she discovered while she took photos of the community structures and inhabitants while socializing was limited because of Covid. When she’s working, it’s not unusual to see her with three cameras slung around her neck: a full manual control to catch the landscape, a limited  auto setting camera for buildings, etc., and a telephoto. Whatever she comes across, she wants to be ready.

Having left her patron support in Florida when she moved to Nevada, Heather carved out a new niche in the western style subjects favored by locals but felt something was missing for her. “Don’t bend your style to fit a mold” she states. In a Tanzania photo workshop in 2016, she had discovered what moved her heart in her chosen medium: to see, feel, and hear the animals talk to each other on their land. Others with her would witness the animals acknowledging her as well, as if they were giving her permission to photograph them.  Heather believes no photograph is worth disrespecting an animal’s life.

That little girl who began her journey with her mother’s Canon AE-1 has grown into a woman making her mark to honor and record the earth and the animals who live upon it. Whenever she can, Heather continues her mission in photo centered travels and professional workshops to Alaska, Kenya, India, Costa Rica and most recently the Artic Circle.