Artists

I would like to thank the Oil Painters of America for inviting me to be this year’s Juror of Awards. My wife Mona and I had a wonderful time meeting so many OPA members, while in Missoula. Also, special thanks to gallery owners Dudley Dana and his wife, Candace, for their gracious hospitality.

The exhibition itself was excellent and I was very impressed by the high quality. I was actually disappointed to have run out of awards because there were several paintings worthy of special recognition.

Most of what I look for in an painting is academic: drawing, composition, edges, color and color temperature. When I see a painting that has all of these elements and has passion and excites the viewer, that’s when I know it deserves an award. I find that through this process, I am learning from the artists as well – and when I see a great piece I am eager to take a closer look.

I am very proud of my affiliation with OPA, and was extremely proud of all of the artist in the show. Everyone did an outstanding job of representing our profession to collectors and the art community.

Sincerely,

Ramon Kelly OPAM

Santa Fe Drive, Denver

 

Santa Fe Drive, Denver

 

Santa Fe Drive, Denver

“Writing an artist statement is difficult because it forces you to define why you paint. I paint for many reasons, not all of which are easily verbalized.

First, there is the simple joy of painting. For as long as I can remember, having a brush in my hand gave me the greatest pleasure I had ever known. I also paint for the sheer joy of expressing the many subtle changes I see in the light at sunrise and sunset, and the multitude of colors I find in nature that constantly provoke me to interpret them in paint.

And, of course, the beauty of the simple everyday things in life constantly inspires me. Just as Van Gough painted his shoes and bedroom, and Rembrandt painted a side of beef, they are priceless works of art today despite their odd subject matter. One of my favorite paintings is of a cement plant at night, it’s glowing lights burning into the darkness. My friends, who pass it all the time, couldn’t understand what I saw in it. Perhaps, it was the subtle colors, or the drama of the night light.

I generally work in watercolor and oil, with about half of the time spent painting outdoors. Painting in nature revitalizes me. Because the light changes from one section of the country to the next, I take annual trips across the United States and abroad to study and paint it.

My passion for painting outdoors led to a two-year study (with permission from the owners and the City of Boulder Open Space Program) of a closed off wildlife area. The money from the sale of the resulting paintings went to support the Birds of Prey Rehabilitation Center and City of Boulder Open Space.

For ten of my twelve years as a commercial artist, I ran my own business. Then in 1992, I took the leap and decided to paint full time. Since then, I work every day, painting and studying with artists the caliber of Kim English, Burton Silverman and Ned Jacob.

I believe that drawing and the fundamentals of painting must be learned before you can become a complete artist. Mastering these skills takes a lifetime.”

It has been a very productive year for me and my printmaking. I’ve begun working with Polymer Plates in addition to my usual aquatint etchings. I’m
currently absorbed in producing two-color etchings (something I haven’t done in close to twenty years) and plan on adding color to the polymer plates as well. The work is abstract and self-indulgent in that I’m able to do anything in the moment compositionally, while using a fairly basic visual language throughout all these images. The addition of color in the “Nocturne” image allows me to explore another visual fascination of mine: light. I tend to view this print as one of twenty pieces of a stained glass window because each print in the edition is a different color.

I was born and raised in the Denver area and graduated from Arvada Senior High School. I then went to The University of Northern Colorado and graduated with a BA in Fine Art with an emphasis in Drawing. I have been making prints since 1988 when I started learning the aquatint etching process under Hyun Shin at UNC. I produce mostly abstract work and find that many printmaking techniques lend themselves nicely to the creative process. I’ve been a passionate printmaker over the years because so many manipulations can be made along the way to the final impression. Open Press has been my printmaking home since 1990 and every print I’ve made since has been produced there. Thank you to Open Press for being such a vital resource for printmakers.

I think its important to work in black and white and I will always make black and white etchings. For me, making these is a way of connecting the printmaking of a couple of hundred years ago. “Pachinko” and “Trunk” are recent examples of what I like to do when armed with a fresh tube of black ink. “The Bather” is my first polymer plate made from a graphite drawing on frosted glass.”

“One collector commented, “When the etchings are hung individually they look nice, but when you hang them together you can see the poetry.” I thought that accurately sums up my feelings about these pieces. All of my etchings, including the “Four Seasons Suite” and the “Countryside Suite” were designed from the beginning to be displayed together as sets of four.

The “Four Seasons Suite” is based on my favorite oil paintings that I’ve done from each season. Whereas, the “Countryside Suite” was drawn from different locations, within a mile of each other, created on the same snowy morning.

I believe that an art collection that includes
paintings, sculptures, etchings and drawings creates a richer experience. The different mediums compliment each other and make a room or home more inviting.”

Jay Moore has become well-known for his tranquil landscapes that epitomize the beauty and grandeur of the West. He grew up in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and as a boy loved climbing trees, hiking and fishing. He attended the Colorado Art Institute in Denver and the Art Students League of Denver and subsequently worked as a designer and illustrator. Moore melded his two loves and evolved into a prolific plein-air painter.

Moore loves wilderness and backcountry and travels the West in search of beauty. His travels have taken him to Canada, Alaska, Hawaii, as well as around Colorado and the mountain states and west to California. His trademark is the ability to capture the serenity of nature in every season, from colorful autumn foliage to icy rivers in the heart of winter. His work is in the permanent collection of the Denver Art Museum and the Colorado Pioneer Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Mike Natale was born and raised in East Chicago, Indiana just a twenty minute train ride away from the Art Institute of Chicago. As a high school student with a great interest in art, Mike was able to take advantage of the Institute’s display of Master’s works, which solidified his dream of becoming an artist.

Following his school years Mike was sidetracked, as were many other 18 year olds by the war in Southeast Asia. He served in the United States Marine Corp with a rifle company in Vietnam, saw heavy action and was wounded. While recovering in the Philadelphia Naval Hospital, Mike took advantage of it’s close proximity to the Philadelphia Art Institute.

Upon returning to Chicago, Mike enrolled in the Ray Vogue Commercial Art program. After attending the Illinois Institute of Technology School of Design, he worked as a graphic artist for several years. Mike then opened his own design studio from 1973-1983. In 1983 he sold his graphics business and moved to Colorado to pursue his primary interest in fine art.

Leon Loughridge

GALLERY NEWS…..Showings Fine Art is pleased to announce that we will be offering a portfolio of available woodblock prints by Leon Loughridge beginning June 1st, 2009. This is an opportunity to view and collect prints by a nationally sought after printmaker who exhibits internationally and has work in the collection of many museums including the Denver Art Museum. If you are interested in receiving a catalog please click on the link below and we will contact you as soon as the prints are available.

“As a printer or graphic artist, I want to record in printed form the elated feelings I have from my original sketches and paintings. Sketching is a very direct and invigorating encounter with the subject, while creating the print in the studio becomes more methodical. The challenge of translating a painterly image into a block print is to capture the energy of the original in the print, not merely duplicating the image. The artist faces many technical hurdles when in the print studio.  When these features of relief printing are treated as expressive tools, and not as limitations, they help to create feeling in a print. The analytical process of building and creating a printed image becomes as invigorating as the original sketch was in the beginning.  To know that the passion of the original idea was translated into the print is the artists’ reward.”

Loughridge was influenced by his grandmother’s involvement in Northern New Mexico art circles. Later study at the Colorado Institute of Art along with private study reinforced his abilities. Stationed in Germany while in the army, he was able to travel extensively throughout Europe. In addition, he studied painting techniques of the old masters for two years, finishing by copying a Franz Hals at the Stuttgart Stattsgalerie Art Museum. Long having an interest in pen and ink, etching took on a special meaning from the museum’s collection of etchings.

Leon has continued to develop his printmaking skills and currently owns a publishing company, producing his Reduction Style Woodblocks as well as limited edition books. His woodblocks are exhibited nationally and collected by numerous museums. He and his wife also own a gilding studio, producing and restoring hand carved gold leaf frames for museums and collectors.

Relief Block Printing
Traditionally, wood panels are used to create a relief block, though anything flat that can be carved can be used. The image is transferred onto the block and the areas that do not print are carved away. The high surfaces or uncut areas are inked and then a sheet of paper is laid over the inked block. Pressure is applied to the paper to transfer the inked areas to the paper.

Multi Block 
A block for each color is cut and when printed, aligned to the other color blocks. Usually, the artist prints the lightest color first and the darkest color last. However, Gustave Baumann often printed in reverse, printing a dark first and the lighter colors on top.

Reduction
One block is used to create a multiple color print. The lighest color and the broadest area of the print is printed first for the entire edition, the block is then carved away leaving the next lightest color, which is printed. As the artist is continually removing material from the block to print the next color, the block is destroyed in the processes of making the image. The edition size is determined by how many acceptable impressions exist after the final color is printed.

Selected Exhibitions
Coors National Western Art Exnibit, Denver, CO January 2007, 2006
The Santa Fe Trail, One Man Show, Pinon Fine Art, Littleton CO December 2006
“Representing the West”, Sangre de Cristo Fine Art Center, Pueblo, CO September 2006, 2005, 2004
The Place Between, Two Man Show, Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM July 2006
Governor’s Show, Loveland CO April 2006
“Carved Images “, One man exhibit, Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM June 2005
“Saddles, Cabins and Mountain Vistas”, Sangre de Cristo Fine art Center, Pueblo, CO August 2004
“Vistas del Corazon” Great Southwest Gallery, Colorado Springs, CO August 2004
Show of paintings and Woodblocks, Pinon Fine Art, Denver, CO June 2004
National Small Print Exhibit, Creede Arts Council, May 2004, 2003
Kansas Watercolor Society, May 2003
Louisiana Watercolor Society, New Orleans, LA May 2003
Society of Watercolor Artists, Ft Worth TX, April 2003
31st Annual Exhibition,  Kansas Watercolor Society, Wichita, KS May 2001
National Small Print Exhibit,  Creede Arts Council Creede, CO,  Honorable Mention, May 2001
Boulder Art Assn, 10th Annual Crossroads Mall, Boulder, CO “Best Of Show”, April  2001
Colorado Art Open , Foothills Art Center, Golden, CO March 2001

 

Selected Collections
Burger King Corp, Denver CO
Colorado School Of Mines, Golden CO
Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO
Denver Public Library Western History Dept,  Denver, CO
US West, Denver, CO
Historic Denver,Denver, CO
Inter North, Denver, CO
Hyatt Hotel, Beaver Creek, CO
Grand Californian, Executive Suites, Anaheim, CA
Sangre de Cristo Art Center, Permanent Collection, Pueblo, CO

Doug Martin picked up a paint brush for the first time in the summer of 2003, and hasn’t looked back since. “At fifty one I finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up.”

After nearly 30 years as a fine art photographer, the transition to this new medium has been difficult, but rewarding. “I can’t believe it took me this long to try my hand at painting, but now that I have, I’m completely hooked!” After working with all the technological aspects of photography for so many years Doug appreciates “the simple and direct connection the brush gives me to my piece”. His passion and obsession for painting has taken on a new intensity of discovery long since lost in his photography.

Doug studies his love of oil painting at the Art Students League of Denver, where he has had the good fortune to study with Quang Ho, Mark Daily, Ron Hicks, Kevin Weckbach, Doug Dawson and Kim English. His most consistent artistic insight and critique comes from frequent and invaluable discussions with his friend and mentor Dan Beck. He has participated in plein air painting workshops with Ralph Oberg, Matt Smith, Skip Whitcomb, Tim Deibler, Donald Demers, John Budicin, Ken Auster and Kenn Backhaus. Studying with these accomplished artists is helping Doug develop his skills and move forward on the long road of finding his own personal style.

Doug’s paintings are the expressions of his reactions to the intensity, subtlety and wonders of this amazing world. “If I can bring enough of the “feeling” of a place to my viewers they can, in their mind, fill in those details that impressionistic painting leaves open to individual interpretation. And it’s just those details that personalize a piece of art and allow each viewer to participate in “finishing” the piece thus making their experience with the painting unique.”

When Doug isn’t wandering around the country on painting trips in his “home away from home” he lives with his wife and son in Centennial, Colorado.

“I find most of my inspiration in the world around me, often in the natural environment. What typically happens is that I see something and the qualities of the object appeal to me abstractly. I also look for an emotional response, and /or resonance with a literary, poetic, or philosophical concern. Making the image is intellectual exercise, intuition and application of craft. Translating the real existing, three dimensional, temporal, cloud, for example, into lines carved into a rigid copper plate that will be printed in black and white, is the challenge. I am not really concerned that the viewer “gets” my inspiration. I choose the subjects that I do as a consequence of my own life experiences. These form the “filter” through which I assign meaning to the world. My associations with things seen will necessarily be different than those of another. If someone else finds the work exciting, be it for their own reasons, I still find that very gratifying.”

Geoffrey is a native of Colorado, born in 1961, and raised in Loveland. He graduated form Loveland High School in 1979, and began attending Colorado State University that same fall to study music. Music didn’t work out, and as he had always been one to draw, he changed his studies to art. He studied printmaking under the tutelage of Jack Orman and Jim Dormer. He received his BFA in 1985, and put in three years of graduate school before leaving to go teach English in Japan. In Japan he lived and worked for just over four years. Besides teaching, he studied Japanese, calligraphy, and koto. In 1997 Geoffrey arrived in Denver, via Olympia, WA and Boulder, CO. While still in Boulder he decided it was time to put all of the study to practice and start engraving some copper. For the last ten years Geoffrey has been printing at Open Press in Denver.

Select Exhibitions
Republic Plaza Show, Republic Plaza, Denver CO 2007
The Small Print Show, Open Press Gallery, Denver CO 2005
4th Lessedra World Print Annual Sofia, Bulgaria 2005
Open Press Ltd. 15-Year Retrospective, Gallery of Contemporary Art, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, 2004
Los Angeles Printmaking Society 17th national exhibition, Los Angeles CA, 2003
Geoffrey Ridge: Engravings, Hatfield Gallery, Adams State College, Alamosa CO 2003
Three Printmakers, Emil Nelson Gallery, Denver CO, 2002
“PULP” Works on Paper, Fresh Art Gallery, Denver CO, 2001
Prints and Drawings, Open Press Gallery, Denver CO, 2001
Relief Prints, Open Press Gallery, Denver CO, 2000
Prints USA, Springfield Art Museum, Springfield MO, 1999
Open Press 10th Anniversary Show, Open Press Gallery, Denver CO 1999

The Coil Method and Pit Firing

Six years ago I first placed my hands in clay and was immediately hooked. I had long admired Native American pottery and the “coil method” they used to produce their pots.

The coil method involves rolling clay into long pieces, then laying the pieces in a circle on top of each other to make the basic pottery form. Once I get the basic shape and while the clay is still wet, I scrape the excess clay with a metallic rib or scraper while continuously reshaping the vessel into its final form. The process can last for hours until I am satisfied with the final shape and thickness of the pot. While long this process can be very meditative. The piece is dried for a few hours and then burnished with a smooth stone. This final burnishing makes the surface extremely smooth and shiny. There is no glaze applied to these pots.

The final step is a firing technique used by many ancient cultures. The pots are loaded into a pit, and fired in combustible materials. These materials may include burled wood shavings, a variety of sawdust, newspaper, straw, metal shavings, ceramic frits, used steel wool, sandpaper, and manure. The fuel is essentially someone else’s garbage. Flashes of colors are obtained by adding various iron and copper slats, and seaweed. The burning of these materials traps carbon on the surface of the burnished forms. Where the fire burns hot, the surface of the form will be gray to white. Where the fire burns slowly, it will be black. The firing time is between 18 to 24 hours. Once cooled, the finished pieces are cleaned and sealed.

As a chemist by trade, I like to think that I understand the mechanisms that lead to the amazing final results but it is almost impossible to predict how the final piece will look. I am always in awe when I open the pit to discover the wonders under the ashes.

DK
12-28-08

Egg tempera was born in the early Renaissance to meet the desire for “portable” paintings. Egg yolk is an excellence binder that will last for centuries. The artist must mix small amounts of fresh paint for each painting session using egg yolk, water and dry pigments. I find this mixing of paint to be a pleasing meditation during which I consider each color, its hue and intensity, how it will be used, the result I expect, the variations I will need. Generally, I use a palette of only nine colors, including white, to mix all of the colors you see in my paintings. (I do not use black pigment – black is mixed from the other colors.) Mixing these pigments forces me to consider all of the color variants in each object and shadow, not just local color.

The slow meticulous process of painting in egg tempera may be tedious to many artists. The paint is applied with very small strokes of a fine pointed brush. It cannot be blended like oils or acrylics because is dries immediately on the gessoed surface. Blending and modeling must be achieved by cross-hatching layers of varying values. It is the layering that gives egg tempera its luminescence that I love.

“I am a “newbie” to printmaking. To have my prints among works by the pros is a true honor! I was introduced to print making in high school and college; and although I loved the medium then, it’s not been until the last few years that I’ve begun to dedicate some serious time to it. I’m most interested in the techniques that provide drawing opportunities. In particular, the solar plate process in combination with drawing on frosted glass and zinc plate etchings. I’m simply addicted to the endless possibilities of playing with the various papers, inks, plates and how these components can transform a drawing.”

Jill Soukup was born in Buffalo, New York. Shortly thereafter, her family moved to Colorado, where she still resides. Her art education began as a child, and her affinity for horses resulted in countless drawings and studies of them. She graduated from Colorado State University in 1991 with a Bachelor of Fine Art. There, she received awards for illustration and design and worked as an illustrator for the campus daily newspaper and as a graphic designer for the Residence Hall¹s programming team. She initially pursued a career in graphic design. After 11 years as a designer, she made the switch to full-time painting. Since then, her work continues to gain recognition as she receives awards, appears in national publications, and shows in important juried and one-woman exhibitions.

Selected Exhibitions
Showings Fine Art, Painting Invitational 2008
Salon International 2006, 2007, 2008
One-woman show, Abend Gallery, Denver, CO 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007
Oil Painters of America West/Southwest Mountain Regional Juried
Art & the Animal, 47th Annual Exhibition, The Wildlife Experience
Oil Painters of America National Juried Exhibition 2001, 2003, 2007
Colorado Governor’s Invitational, Loveland Museum 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007
California Visions, Long Beach Museum of Art 2005
Exhibition of Traditional Oils, Waterhouse Gallery 200

Selected Awards
Top 50, Salon International Museum of Contemporary Masters 2006, 2007
Two Finalist awards in the animal art category, The Artists Magazine 23rd Annual Art Competition 2006
Third place in the animal art category, The Artists Magazine 20th Annual Art Competition 2003
Award of Excellence, Oil Painters of America West/Southwest Mountain Regional Juried Exhibition 2003
Honorable Mention, Northern Colorado Artist Association 11th National Art Exhibition and Sale 2002

Selected Publications
The Artist’s Magazine, Competition Spotlight: Jill Soukup, May 2007
American Art Collector, Jill Soukup: Drawn to Horses, March 2007
The Cultural Times, Jill Soukup: Sharing Her Vision, January 2007
Art-Talk, Summer Art Destinations: One Day There, June/July 2005
Southwest Art magazine, Urban Patterns, August 2004
Southwest Art magazine, Painting Colorado, January 2003
Southwest Art magazine, Artists to Watch, December 2000

I make color woodblock prints using the traditional Japanese hanga method. This is printing with brushes and a hand-held baren from multiple hand-carved wood blocks using rice paste, pigments and water. It was the technique used to make the ukiyo-e prints of Hokusai, Hiroshige, and others during the 19th century.

I love the process of making these prints: the way pictorial simplicity is encouraged, the way an image is separated into parts and put back together, the way the translucent colors blend and juxtapose, the way the wood interacts with the paper.

My imagery explores the development of pictorial space using an inherently flat medium: the carved and printed wood block. By using techniques which build on intimate aspects of the Japanese approach affecting texture and tone (variations in printing pressure, fades in the brushing of the pigments) I seek a balance in the tension between flat printed shape and the illusion of a depicted landscape.

The prints in the Showings Invitational are among my favorite images. Each is the result of multiple printings from between 7 and 12 blocks utilizing between 8 and 13 different colors. The mountain perspective of many of these images seems conducive to working out potentials in woodblock printing I find especially interesting.

Matt Brown is Massachusetts born and graduated from Harvard in 1981 with a degree in Art and Architecture. He worked as a carpenter and cabinet maker for the next 14 years. In 1993 Matt began working in color woodblock printing, soon after the birth of his first son, Nathaniel. His art major in college and his years working as a carpenter and cabinetmaker have helped Matt in learning the craft of woodblock printing.

In his printmaking work Matt is primarily self-taught, but still feels he owes much to fellow hanga printmakers, particularly Dave Bull of Tokyo, Japan, the late Bill Paden, of NYC, and Karl Hecksher, of New Palz, NY.

Printmaking has been Matt’s full-time work since 1996. He currently lives in New Hampshire with his wife Betsy and their two sons (Asher was born in 1997). They have sheep, beehives, and a border collie dog named Lucy.

Dan Beck is a Signature Member of Oil Painters of America and has won six consecutive Awards of Excellence in their National and Regional shows. Additionally he has won two Awards of Excellence in the Raymar Art Competition. Dan’s work has been published in “Southwest Art”, “Art of the West” and “Art Talk” magazines. Southwest Art did a feature article on Dan in their November 2008 issue titled “A Painter’s Playlist” and his painting “Waiting” was selected for the cover of the same issue.

Equally adept at figurative, still-life and landscape, Dan Beck feels he is firmly rooted in the tradition of Impressionism and paints in both oils and pastels. His love of nature and a deep respect for the tradition of art serve as both guide and inspiration to his goal of “making a contribution” to the world of painting. Dan’s paintings evoke a timelessness and dignity that are the underlying themes in whatever he paints.

“Painting is a balancing act between opposite ideas – direct observation and instinct, control and spontaneity, even between the literal and the symbolic. It seems to me that although a painter is deeply involved with his own private investigation, his real aim is to communicate something to the viewer that resonates on a uniquely personal level.”

By invitation Dan participates in such nationally prominent shows as the annual American Miniature Show at Settlers West Galleries in Tucson, Arizona, the annual “Fall Classic” in Hamilton, Montana and the annual Great American Figurative Artists Show at Waterhouse Gallery in Santa Barbara, California. His paintings are found in private and corporate collections, both nationally and internationally, his work is in the permanent collection of the Littleton Historical Museum and he has exhibited with the Phippen Museum in Prescott, Arizona.