May 18-June 17
This story was featured in the May 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art May 2013 print issue, or get the Southwest Art May 2013 digital download now…Or better yet, just subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
On Saturday, May 18, InSight Gallery unveils the 22nd annual Oil Painters of America National Juried Exhibition of Traditional Oils, with 200 artworks chosen from a field of thousands. Every year the OPA strives to present the best in representational art based on draftsmanship, color, and composition with diverse subject matter and styles. The show opens with an artists’ reception from 5 to 8 p.m. and remains on view at the gallery through June 17. An awards presentation begins at 8:15 on Saturday evening with over $75,000 in prizes.
Leading up to the opening, artists and collectors are invited to attend paint-outs and special lectures and demonstrations by masters in the field, including Kenn Backhaus, Scott Burdick, John Michael Carter, John Cosby, Sherrie McGraw, and Elizabeth Robbins.
Here we introduce you to just a few of the artists participating in this year’s show.
Mitch Caster started his career in the news media making courtroom sketches and graphics. Today he focuses on fine art, painting the human form in all walks of life, land- and cityscapes, and architectural works with an impressionistic hand and the drama of chiaroscuro. Although architecture, urban scenes, and pastoral farms all figure into her body of work, California artist Michele de Bragança says it is the mountains and backcountry that fuel her inspiration to paint and fill her small, plein-air canvases.
Judith R. Dickinson started painting in oils at the age of 8. Today she says her greatest love is to show the character, the story, and the beauty of the people who surround her. She paints family and animal portraits, still lifes, and western themes with a hint of nostalgia. Oil painter and pastelist Deb Kaylor was uninspired by the contemporary and abstract art that was being taught while she was in college, so it wasn’t until she had raised a family that she left the corporate world to fulfill her creativity. Today she studies at the Art Students League of Denver and captures quiet moments both urban and rural, from sheep and farm paintings to local al fresco dining scenes to European markets and street scenes.
Atlanta artist Karen Lawrence is intrigued by beautiful homes and the people who live in them. She paints the places where people dwell, studying the way light falls on objects, whether it is early sunlight splashing across a living room or warm lamplight that invites one to pause and rest. After a lifetime of independent study, Karla Mann began her formal art training the same year her son entered college and now teaches at the Contemporary Arts Center in Virginia Beach, VA. Her main interests are wildlife and Native American themes. She works predominantly in oils but also in colored pencil and sculpture.
Will Pealatere grew up in Northern California intrigued by impressionistic realism. He studied classical painting at the Florence Academy of Art in Italy and now captures the drama of the human figure and human interaction in his works. Although Allen Polt grew up and studied in New York and New Jersey, his heart was captured by the West and he left Manhattan in 1974 to paint the landscape from Taos, NM. Today he also paints portraits, characters of the old West, and old New Mexico market scenes in both watercolors and oils.
Richard Prather has spent his life under the spell of the great outdoors, and his passion is to paint it. Trained in wildlife and fisheries sciences, his artwork began as meticulous renderings of what he saw in nature and evolved to express the emotions and moods of his subjects. He now paints impressionistic landscapes of Texas and the Southwest. Colorado watercolor and oil painter Cheryl St. John says there is nothing routine about plein-air painting, with the changing light and weather and the urgency it imports to capturing a scene. She paints the Rocky Mountain landscape and urban street scenes in all seasons.
Jon Smith started his art training at an early age with private lessons, then continued his studies in college in South Carolina and at the Leo Marchutz School of Painting and Drawing in France. He spent a year painting and studying the landscape of southern France before returning to the United Sates and now lives on the west coast of Florida, where he continues to employ the lessons he learned in France. He has recently changed his focus from landscapes to works studying human interaction. Michele Usibelli grew up in Seattle and earned a degree in architecture. Today she combines her love of travel with her passion for art and creates impressionistic renderings of people and landscapes around the world. Relying on her training, she views her subject matter as shapes of light and color and depicts it in loose brush strokes.
The following artists are also members of the Oil Painters of America.
Victoria Brooks says she strives to “capture simple, emotional moments of human interaction within a natural environment in order to evoke a warm and pleasant memory for the viewer.” She paints impressionistic interpretations of California coastal life and landscapes, still lifes, and portraits. New York-born Michele Catapano relocated to Southern California, where she studied at the California Art Institute under Jeremy Lipking. She paints the figure, often children, creating semi-abstracted images with vibrant color.
Belgian-born Christiane David studied art and architecture in Brussels before she, her husband, and their young daughter moved to the United States in the 1980s. Today, she paints simplified landscapes, figurative works, still lifes, and animal portraits with the heightened tones of a colorist. Although his school notebooks were edged in sketches and doodles, aviation was the career path painter Jonathan Frank followed. Now he paints on the side, capturing the speed and thrill of motor sports, his love of aeronautics, and the landscapes he visits during his overseas flights.
Roxanne Hilsman received her master’s in art education from Mississippi College and learned about some of the West Coast’s most notable artists while interning at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s rental gallery. She lives in Mississippi, where she paints still lifes and animal portraits and icons and raises her beloved French bulldogs—also subject matter for her art. Jennifer Hunter studied classical painting at the American Academy of Art and paints—in both watercolors and oils—things that are close to her heart. With a deep love of horses, she is drawn to the past and a time when horses were used in everyday life, and she depicts her “romantic notions and longing for a simple life” in her work.
Jo Ann Kincaid was raised in northwestern Pennsylvania, where art resources and venues were scarce, but her experience there instilled in her a love of the rural life, including its human and animal inhabitants and structures. Today she lives in a remote Colorado mountain town and creates paintings she hopes will encourage viewers to linger and imagine the people who first settled and lived in the land she now calls home. Texas native Suzy Moritz is known for her spunky pet portraits, but her love for the light and textures of New Mexico calls her from her Lone Star home multiple times a year to capture the landscapes of Taos and its surrounding vistas.
Sheila Savannah makes her home in Prescott, AZ, where she paints the western landscape and wildlife. Often working en plein air, she attempts to interpret the vastness and beauty of the world in her works. Jeanne Marie (J.M.) Steele was raised in La Jolla, CA, and, after living in various places around the West, currently resides in Oregon. She paints landscapes as well as figures, animals, and still lifes, all in impressionistic brushwork with luministic overtones. —Laura Rintala
Featured in the May 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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