I am teeming with inspiration after just returning from Vermont where I participated in the 2014 Oil Painters of America National Exhibition. Standing in a room with 200 of the most high quality paintings I have ever seen was quite a thrill. Each and every painting was stellar, which is why I am beyond happy that I came away with the “Still Life Award of Excellence”. I am humbled, to say the least. As I stood there fantasizing about which painting I would buy, if I could, (have not won the lottery so oh well), it hit me how much I need to be surrounded by art. Literally, it is like oxygen to me.
I own a painting by Russian artist Oleg Chistyakov, which I purchased last year while in Richmond, VA. It hangs front and center in my house, and I pass by it about 60 times a day. Each time, I get that flippety-dippety feeling in my stomach, the one you feel when you first fall in love.
It was serendipitous that I was able to take the Chistyakov painting home with me from Richmond. As mentioned, I am not in a position to purchase every piece of art that moves me. With this particular painting, though, I felt a tap on the shoulder, or a whisper in my ear, that the painting was to be mine. The gallery owner was gracious in working with me, and because of her generosity I was able to invest in something I care passionately about, Russian Impressionism. I was with four of my best art friends, and when the transaction was complete I thought they were going to cry in joy for me (full disclosure I think one of the guys did shed a little tear...won’t mention names). As you can see, purchasing that painting was an experience I will never forget and a gift that keeps giving. I hope if you ever have a similar opportunity you will throw caution to the wind as I did. It usually pays out one way or the other. I learn from my Chistyakov painting every day.
The OPA National Show will be hanging at the Bennington Art Center, Bennington, VT until July 27, 2014. Stop by if you are in the area, or you can see the paintings at "http://www.oilpaintersofamerica.com"
“What art offers is space — a certain breathing room for the spirit.”~John Updike