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Monica Iversen Paints in a Classical Style

New Anderson Artists Guild member Monica Iversen grew up around oil painters. Both her father and grandfather were artists, and she often collaborated with her dad on projects such as murals. She attended the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan but left after a year because the college didn’t offer the kind of classical training she was after. Later, after having children and following a different sort of career, she enrolled at the Schuler School of Fine Art in Baltimore. “They taught in the way of Flemish painters with lead mediums,” she said. “It was very traditional, exactly what I wanted.”

For many years, she worked in graphic design and marketing. At one company, she collaborated with clients to develop ideas for products like the hologram stickers on products in Michael’s and Hobby Lobby. In another position, she marketed a program to help students pass their USMLE and COMPLEX exams, a requirement to become a physician and get into a residency.

She also continued to paint, especially portraits, and to hone her skills, including studying privately with oil painter Lee Alban. Though she wasn’t really interested in still lifes, which is what he taught, she decided it would be good experience. “And it turned out I loved it,” she said. In particular, still lifes provided a way to use her collection of antique toys and to tell stories. “I had all these ideas,” she said. Because some of these pictures included animals, people started asking her to paint animals, and more commissions followed, with beloved pets portrayed in imaginative ways, like the dog featured in an old Irish sweater with an Ohio State logo. “I have a knack for capturing the personality of the animal,” said Iversen.

She also touches on sensitive topics in gentle ways so that people feel like they’ve been hit with a feather, she said. An example is When Power Goes to Our Heads. It features three antique doll heads in front of a poster of the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. Even if people don’t catch her point about the potential violence that can follow power in the wrong hands, they can enjoy the piece aesthetically.

Two years ago—just before the pandemic—Iversen made the leap to devote herself full time to art. The timing wasn’t great, but things are picking up again. She sells her work at fine art festivals in the Southeast and teaches oil painting as well as drawing classes at the Greenville Center for the Arts. She is also available for private instruction.

For more information about Iversen, visit


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