Spotlight | Oil Painters of America

Cincinnati, OH
Eisele Gallery of Fine Art, May 12-June 24

Michele Usibelli, Mozart Symphony No. 41, oil, 16 x 20.

Michele Usibelli, Mozart Symphony No. 41, oil, 16 x 20.

This story was featured in the May 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  May 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

On Friday, May 12, the Oil Painters of America unveils its 26th annual National Juried Exhibition of Traditional Oils at Eisele Gallery of Fine Art in Cincinnati. The show opens with an artists’ reception from 6 to 9 p.m. and features the work of nearly 250 artists from all over the continental United States and Canada. “We don’t know who is going to be the Manet or Monet of tomorrow,” says OPA executive director Kathryn Beligratis, “but it could be someone participating in this show. It’s a snapshot of what’s being created in representational art today, and it really is worth coming to see.”

While the show opens on Friday, collectors are encouraged to attend events beginning on Wednesday, May 10, when the Cincinnati Art Club hosts the “Beautiful Ohio” paint-out at its facility near the Ohio River riverfront from noon to 5 p.m. “We’ll have our artists all over the area,” Beligratis says, and it’s not just plein-air painting—artists can paint models indoors as well. The painting continues on Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with the Southwest Art Pampered Paint Out, also at the club. The works painted during these two days are for sale during the weekend.

The weekend continues with panel discussions, painting demonstrations, and awards ceremonies through May 13, and the works remain on view until June 24. For collectors unable to attend in person, all artwork can be viewed and purchased from OPA’s website, and a full schedule of events is posted there as well. Here we introduce a small sampling of artists who were juried into this year’s show.

Texas native Victor Blakey received a fine-art degree from Texas State University, then spent the next decade teaching while he studied portraiture. Now a full-time artist, he brings his training to his favorite Texas subject matter—anything from cowboys to cattle, wildlife to wildflowers—with impressionistic techniques mixed with a “heavy dose of realism.”

Paul Cheng grew up in China, where he studied and later taught at the prestigious Guangzhou Academy of Fine Art. After working for major entertainment companies as a visual development artist in Australia and in the United States, he has pursued fine art. For Cheng, art should not only show its technique through line, value, brush stroke, and composition but also it should show the passion, mood, and spirit of the artist.

Toni D. Danchik grew up in South Africa, studied printmaking at Johannesburg Technical College, and then spent a decade as a graphic designer before immigrating to the California coast and focusing on fine art. While her work is inspired by her local land- and seascapes, she continues to be influenced by the plight of women and children in her homeland, where poverty and disease are juxtaposed with colorful textiles, “beautiful smiles, and warm hearts.”

Gail Rein spent many hours in the Boston Museum of Art as a student at Emmanuel College and then continued her study of masterworks in major European museums. It was the visceral response she felt in the presence of these paintings that inspired her own work. She says, “I see things as an expression of an underlying whole, with intermingling energies, colors, and lights. I try to convey this in my art.”

After graduating with a degree in architecture, Michele Usibelli pursued her passion for travel and her love of Russian Impressionism. These have created the foundation from which she creates her art. Inspired by the vignettes of everyday life, she says, “It is my primary goal to have each artwork I create resonate with energy and the poetry of light.” —Laura Rintala

contact information
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www.oilpaintersofamerica.com

This story was featured in the May 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  May 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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