About the Artist

Lisa Dale McKnett an impressionist painter

Good Art should hold your focus

Lisa McKnett - Biography



A good response to my art would be "I love the way it makes me feel" since we paint not only to create beauty but lasting beauty of places and people we know.


Lisa Dale McKnett currently lives in Laguna Hills CA. Where she paints and teaches art and sells in a local gallery.

She began early as a third generation professional fine artist in Sun Valley Idaho. She was torn between art and pursuing a career with horses riding hunters and Dressage horses. Attending Northwest College in Wyoming, she had the best of both worlds to study the western art movement and horsemanship.

Her aunt graduated from BYU with a masters in art and taught her everything she knew and helping Lisa get a full ride art scholarship for College at Boise State University. Lisa took advantage of the first year at Northwest College to learn western art first in Wyoming,  visiting The Cody Wyoming Buffalo Bill Museum with the Remington and C M  Russell paintings. The love of horses were most of the reason for her study there.
It was however a very miserable winter and she transferred her second year to  Boise State. There she learned the basics for sculpture and illustration  and played powder puff football. The next year she transferred to California's  Art Center Collage of Design the first year they were in Pasadena.

She met her husband Chuck McKnett while attending Cal Tech and they married in 1979. He was an engineer and physicist for Areojet Electronics and then Hughes Aircraft company.
With her connection with her husband and commuting partner,  she was offered a job in the art department at  Hughes Aircraft Company Radar Systems. There she drew technical diagrams and  she learned Program Management. It was after work and evenings that she continued studying art and painting portraits of her friends and associates . She taught private lessons and rode her horse everyday

She worked six years and retired to start their family and freelance fine art career in Thousand Oaks and continued to ride with Olympic trainers in the Dressage at Baccarat in Hidden Valley Ranch.
Primarily a plein-air painter, Lisa creates hundreds of studies directly from nature, observing the ever changing light of day.  She then takes her studies and supporting reference photos back to her two studio to paint. She uses these studies as the basis for his larger scale works.

She was an active member of the Westlake Art Guild, helping in any capacity to  hang the shows and sell the art at the local museum in Newbury Park Library center and had various one woman shows around the town with the guild.

She was also a part of the Art Walk juried shows and was asked to judge local artshows in the schools and churches.

All throughout the time of launching her career as a full time artist from 1986 to the current time she has continued her studies at the California Art Institute in Calabasas. She has been selected to participate for the Local Wellness Community charities along with Neil Boyle her mentor and other top artist in the Conjeo Valley. She studied with Fred Fixler and David Jonas two very famous artist in Los Angeles.

Then when the school moved to Westlake Village, Lisa was fortunate to have it closer to home and added more classes at the time she worked full time as a teacher in a private school where her son attended and went to school at night at the California Art Institute.

Some of the students at the California Art Institute were Jeremy Lipking, Tony Pro, Ryan Wurmser and Sean Zents.

Attending for over ten years,  under the tutelage of instructors  Fred Fixler, Neil Boyle, David Jonas, Bobbie Moline Kramer, Karen Martin, Glenn Orbik and Sean Zents,  and Hall of Fame artist, Ron McKee and his wife Myrna. These years developed a passion for the portrait and plein aire painting.

Lisa has taught art for 25 years at private middle and Christian high school  institutes.
She has been juried in  too numerous local and national art shows.

In 1999 the family moved to Rancho Santa Fe and with scientist husband Chuck when he took thier software/hardware company JNIC public .  She remodelled the rooms over six  hundred square feet of hand painted murals, including ceilings. Eight years of remodelling and then six years designing and building a house in Santaluz.

 In total  they lived  in Rancho Santa Fe for over  eleven years s and she continued to study at the Watts Atelier as well as help her families company JNIC go public and start another company after this she was Assistant to the President and HR hiring and managing the sales team. She had a gallery in her home studio.

She started ride Dressage with another  two Olympic trainers on the horse she is pictured here Carlos who was in the  Atlantic City Olympics. She painted portraits of Olympic riders and continued learning Plein Air Painting, anatomy and sculpture of some of the Olympic winners for the United States.

She home schooled her son Matthew and took him to private tutors until high school where then he had AP classes and graduated with honours and went on to Harvey MUDD College studying Physics and Computer Sciences.  He graduated  from Harvey MUDD with high honours and took a job his junior year at Microsoft and works there to this time. Lisa remain very active with the College raising money.
She and her husband were asked to be on the Parents Board of Harvey MUDD College the four years their son attended to fund raise over one million dollars and to help in the clinics for the Seniors graduation experiences. Lisa came away with a better solution for her own teaching methodology.
She painted all five presidents of the College while working on the board and was asked to bring artwork to the College to enhance the campus.

After  their son Matthew moved to Seattle to take a job at Microsoft as an engineer , Lisa and Chuck decided to move to Seattle and sell the business .  

There Lisa studied fine art with Ned Mueller . He was a fabulous teacher and friend.

They were collaborating to create the Art League Institute (ALI) A place for Seattle artist to work and show.
 Lisa's husband Chuck  suddenly died unexpectedly and with the hostile take over of  his companies that created a personal financial ruin, it  has now left her now only to make her living solely on sale of artwork.

The plan of the Art League on hold.

Her life was turned upside down and the family convinced her to move closer to them in Idaho, so she moved to her native state, Challis Idaho and opened a small private gallery and studio . She free lanced painting portraits  and had one woman shows on Sundays at the Madd Dog Gallery when she worked as Arts Council Member.

 After living most of her life in the city with the art world so accessible she felt isolated and after  a year she moved back to California. 

She is currently freelancing artwork and teaching in Laguna Hills California.  She hold many first place titles and has always been awarded favourite teacher in the schools she has taught art. She is organizing The Art League Institute in the Laguna area. See her Face Book updates.

- Artist Member, California Art Club
- Artist Member Oil Painters of America
- Artist Member of Laguna Plein Air Painters
- Artist Member Portrait Artist of America
- Member, The Conservancy Painters Group
Besides the inspiration of art by the masters, William Merrit Chase, Sargent, Sorolla and Mary Cassat, she has traveled extensively through out Europe and Asia and enjoy painting and writing about her travels on her blog and website. 

Her life has been a roller-coaster, but Faith has seen her day to day recover from the tragedy of losing her husband her home and her life savings.

All one can do is press on towards the mark of excellence and make something out of the ruin. She hopes she is making the right choice to continue as an artist and create the Art League Institute (ALI) on line to create a pathway by which artists can make a living with art from beginning to Professional levels. It is a new concept she is inventing for growth and management of the personal art business.  Keep checking of Face Book for announcements of when the installation of the Art League will begin.

She is currently open for commission work for hire and shows at the Art and Frame on La Paz drive in Laguna Niguel California. 

Lisa McKnett - Biography
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