Show Preview | Coeur d’Alene Galleries: Miniatures by the Lake

Coeur d’Alene, ID, September 14-30

Chad Poppleton, Ankle Deep, oil, 9 x 12.

Chad Poppleton, Ankle Deep, oil, 9 x 12.

This story was featured in the September 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art magazine September 2012 print edition here, or purchase the Southwest Art magazine September 2012 digital download here. Or simply click here to subscribe to Southwest Art magazine and never miss a story!

Hear mention of a gallery miniatures show and you’ll likely think of it as a precursor to the holiday season. Miniatures, after all, carry lower price tags than larger pieces, making them ideal for buyers to give as gifts or add to their own collections. The typical profusion with which they are displayed also tends to give a gallery an especially festive air.
The annual Miniatures by the Lake show presented by Coeur d’Alene Galleries in the northern Idaho lakeside town of Coeur d’Alene, however, comes around not in early December but in mid-September. And there’s a good reason for defying the common calendar slot.

David Marty, Autumn Aglow, oil, 8 x 10.

David Marty, Autumn Aglow, oil, 8 x 10.

“Summer is our peak season,” explains gallery owner and show organizer Buddy Le. “A lot of my regular customers are snowbirds, and I wanted to put on a big show before they leave town.”

This month marks Le’s fifth big miniatures show and, despite coming earlier in the year than most such exhibitions, its appeal is similar. “People love to collect miniatures,” he says. “Most collectors have only so much wall space, so they can usually find room for small pieces. And for new collectors, they’re a great way to start.”

The annual show also offers Le another welcome change of pace. “My gallery has always focused on historical works by deceased western artists. So,” he chuckles, “this gives me a good opportunity to invite a lot of living artists I don’t normally get to work with.”

While still hewing closely to western themes, Le aims for a diversity of subject matter—wildlife, cowboys and Indians, landscapes, still lifes, and sporting art—and a variety of styles, with paintings ranging from impressionism to tight photo-realism, and sculptures both expressionistic and impeccably detailed. One quality they all share are their tidy dimensions, no more than 154 square inches for paintings and, at most, 10 inches high for sculptures.

The works on view also have in common their high quality. “The first-rate caliber of the artists is one thing that made me want to participate,” observes award-winning historical western painter Steven Lang of Monterey, CA, who is participating for the third time with two petite works: a mountain man and an Indian woman. “It’s a very fertile environment,” adds Deborah Copenhaver-Fellows. The respected sculptor, based in southern Arizona and also exhibiting for the third time, is sending a bronze of an Australian Shepherd pup playfully dragging a spur by its leather strap—a lighthearted change of pace from the monumental public pieces for which she is known.

For two weeks, over 150 works by upward of 80 artists fill the gallery, giving the compact space in the lobby of the Coeur d’Alene Resort the air of an old-fashioned salon. Then, for the grand finale—a gala artists’ reception and sale—the artworks move a short stroll away to the resort’s conference center, where a party on September 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. features a fixed-price draw for purchasing the works, an open bar, gourmet hors d’oeuvres, live music, and a chance to mingle with up to a dozen artists.

“Whether or not you’re there to buy,” says Le, “it feels like a real celebration.” So, in a sense, thanks to the show, late September in Coeur d’Alene really does feel like “’tis the season.” —Norman Kolpas

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Featured in the September 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art magazine September 2012 digital download
Southwest Art magazine September 2012 print edition
Or click here to subscribe to Southwest Art magazine and never miss a story!


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