I arrived at Denver International Airport amid temperatures of 100 degrees and fires raging in the distance. The heavy haze from the smoky horror was left behind as my rental car climbed up the lovely highway to Evergreen site of the Oil Painters of America National Exhibition.
Evergreen Art Gallery hosted the show, which features some of the best work produced in North America this year, and did a lovely job hanging the hundreds of paintings. We had several M Gallery artists in the show and were exceptionally proud of their works.
The venue for the conference which features demonstrations and work shops was a funky Elks Club. The OPA organizers had to scramble apparently due to a last minute re-location caused by a gallery owner’s serious illness. Despite the awkwardness of the venue Quang Ho did a stellar job with his demonstration and the presentation on the Art Market by Joshua Rose was superb.
Charlie Bogusz (Fine Art Connoisseur VP Sales) and I shared a room at the Hidden Haven Lodge (complete with bears in the parking lot) and attended a fun reception at the show with Atlanta painter Bill Davidson, Minnesota painter Marc Hanson and friends followed by an outing to hear a great blues band Young Austin & No Difference http://youngaustinband.com/ at the Little Bear Saloon http://www.littlebearsaloon.com/. The band was so young I don’t believe the keyboard player has started to shave, but it was the best blues I have ever heard (complete with Dad on the drums) Wow. The altitude almost killed me. Oh my, don’t do the Little Bear the first day you leave sea level. Oof.
As a part of the conference, we had a lovely dinner at Keys on the Green watching Elk meander through the golf course. I was able to connect with some of my favorite painters: Jeff Legg, Bryce Cameron Liston, Deborah Elmquist, Robert Spooner.
Sunday was a pleasant lunch at the Winery on the Creek with Joshua Rose (Editor American Art Collector) and Amy Gause (American Art Collector Advertising and Marketing Director) Talking about ways to promote Charleston as an art destination. The local Viognier was simply wonderful and the conversation exciting. Bear Creek babbled under our deck and we enjoyed Colorado at its best.
I managed to drive up Mount Evans (elevation 14,250 feet) and the road there is the highest paved road in North America. It goes all the way to the summit. I was shocked by the mountain bikers pedaling along, as I was so altitude sick I could hardly walk much less contemplate riding a bike! Egad! There were big horn and little prong sheep right near the road (very exciting!). You could see large fires burning in all four directions, horrific monsters visible from the mountain top. My friend Charlie’s home is near Fort Collins where one of the big fires still rage and I am still not sure how her home has fared. The drought conditions throughout the region made me appreciate our rainy summers back home.
After a quick tour of the Denverart scene (a vibrant bright spot) I headed back to sea level, ample rain + my beloved Charleston.