The OPA 2019

Blog—OPA Show 2019, St. George.jpg

I attended the OPA show in St. George Utah this past week. I went so I could meet back up with some of our friends and customers. We were selling frames for the wet paint show which turned out a lot of nice paintings but as a painter I couldn’t resist the demos.

I stood quietly watching Michael Malm almost in a trance like state, amazed at how the backlight glowed. I loved how it appeared early on, and the light got stronger even though he never seemed to paint on it. When Mike demos, he paints intensely, only speaking when asked a question. The way he put together his painting was amazing.

As I was quietly watching Michael, very abruptly I hear the words “Ya, stuff happens. Go with it.”

Just around the corner in another demo was Lyn Boyer. Her demo was seriously opposite to Mike’s serene peaceful demo. She’s Miss Energy. I tried catching as much as I could as she spoke and painted. One thing I liked from her demo was her comment on stepping back every few months reminding yourself of the studio knowledge. Walk through the basics: drawing, values, line, perspective, etc. Make sure they are still there.

Another demo was going on at the same time in another room. I was able to catch a glimpse of Stephanie Birdsall laying in dark patterns across her canvas. I don’t believe I have ever painted lilacs. Probably because I didn’t know how I would approach it. She simplified it and I realized it’s not much different than the way I approach anything else. Get a strong pattern, a great composition, nice movement and focal point and it’s going to work.

A quick visit to the fourth demo that was going on at the same time. Doug Fryer with a whole new process to create a painting. His three inch drywall knife and a dark valued purple underpainting made for an interesting demo. if you’re looking for a change, something new to try, this is workshop you need to see. I learned a lot and look forward to trying something new.

I would recommend all the artists I watched, including a few I didn’t talk about: Gary Ernest Smith, Ken Backus and Lori Putnam. All great artists.

The show at Illume was wonderful and had many highlights to it.

Congrats to all the winners. Susan Lyon took home the big award on a well deserved painting!

I would recommend a visit to the show sometime. The show, the vendors, and all the great demos. Maybe I’ll see you next year in Fredericksburg, TX.

Rett Ashby