I returned from the Oil Painters of America National Show on Monday, held in the historic town of St. Augustine, Florida. In addition to having my painting "Peonies and Roses" juried into the show, I was also there in my capacity as OPA board director and treasurer. I stayed at the Casa Monica Hotel where the OPA events were headquartered. Built in 1880, it is one of the original grand resorts built in Florida. The exhibition itself was held a couple of blocks away at Cutter & Cutter Fine Art, one of the leading galleries in the country.
On Thursday artists were invited to attend the “Pampered Paint-Out” at Washington Oaks Garden State Park. I joined dozens of other artists and tried my hand at painting the ancient moss laden trees there. This painting was sold two days later at the plein air show that was held in conjunction with the national show.
Sales were good in both the plein air and national shows, and nearly $100,000 value in prizes were awarded by the judge Huihan Liu. Among my many other duties as treasurer, I'm the one who signs all those checks.
Some of the events I saw included painting demonstrations by Don Demers and Louis Escobedo, and a lecture by Scott Gellatly of Gamblin Oils on painting chemistry. The most compelling presentation I attended was a talk by Zhwei Tu. He detailed his journey as an artist from a humble Chinese farm boy to an internationally acclaimed artist with a massive museum in his native land devoted exclusively to his work. I have joined Tu in China on two different occasions for painting tours. I am in the process of writing an article about the lecture for the summer issue of the OPA newsletter “Brushstrokes.” I'll include it as a future blog post.