Show Preview | Oil Painters of America

Steamboat Springs, CO

Steamboat Art Museum, May 29-September 3

David Leffel, Dusk in Des Montes, oil, 18 x 28.

David Leffel, Dusk in Des Montes, oil, 18 x 28.

This story was featured in the April 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art May 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Oil Painters of America heads to the Colorado Rockies this summer for its 27th annual National Juried Exhibition of Traditional Oils. The show opens at the newly renovated Steamboat Art Museum in Steamboat Springs, CO, on Friday, June 1, with a reception at 5 p.m., followed by an awards ceremony and an after-party at nearby locations.

In years past, the show has been hosted at art galleries around the country, where exhibition space is generally limited, notes OPA president John Michael Carter. “We’re always looking for ways to expand the national show, and one idea was to put it into a museum setting,” he says. “When Steamboat Art Museum discussed its plans for renovations and upgrades with me, we immediately started talking about the possibility of having an OPA show at the new facility because it would be quite large.” The museum offers not only “more hanging capacity,” adds Carter, but also more display time. The traditionally monthlong exhibition hangs for three months at the museum, through September 3.

Also new this year is a more robust plein-air event—the Colorado Rocky Mountain High Wet Paint Competition—which runs May 29-June 1. Originally introduced as “a tag-on form of entertainment,” this year’s event has its own awards program and exhibition space at the Steamboat Springs Art Depot during opening weekend, says Carter. “For members who perhaps don’t have a piece in the national show, this allows them to exhibit their work and win prizes,” he adds.

The plein-air competition is a can’t-miss attraction for members like Karen Lindeman, of Houston, TX. The bucolic surroundings of Steamboat Springs have enticed the artist and her family to the area for years, and weeks before the show, she was already pondering what she’ll paint when she arrives. The region offers beautiful views of country roads, fields, barns, and aspen trees in a panoply of colors, says Lindeman. “My work is definitely going to have mountains,” she adds, “but I haven’t decided if I’ll do a close-up, a vista, or maybe a bit of both.”

California artist Frances Pampeyan is also looking forward to the show—her first national OPA exhibition—to which she brings a portrait of her dressed-up grandniece during a family Christmas dinner. “I tried to capture her happy, somewhat mischievous smile,” says the artist of the colorful piece, titled THE RED DRESS, in which the young girl carries a plate of cheese, grapes, and bread, having carefully avoided “all the other good foods adults enjoy,” says Pampeyan. “I find children so amusing and precious, so I’m drawn to painting them.”

By contrast, Master Signature member Daud Akhriev, of Chattanooga, TN, brings a somber-toned painting that reflects his views about current events in the world, he says. In the portrait, titled GOSSIP, a raucous flock of seagulls encroaches on a silent female figure seated in a boat. Amid the birds’ “oppressive” presence, the woman symbolizes honesty, justice, and perseverance, says Akhriev. “I love to paint seagulls—it’s one of the most beautiful birds to paint—but it’s a very selfish bird that will take advantage of a situation,” he says. “I paint everything, but my favorite genre is portraiture because you can put some of your own thoughts into it.”

The juried exhibition features some 250 works by OPA members, including David Leffel, Howard Friedland, Marc Hanson, D. Edward Kucera, James Tennison, and 30 other Master Signature members. —Kim Agricola

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815.356.5987
www.oilpaintersofamerica.com

This story was featured in the April 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art May 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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