12th annual ‘SLOPOKE Art of the West Show’ headed for Solvang
The “SLOPOKE Art of the West Show” is saddling up to present its 12th annual exhibition at Flag Is Up Farms in Solvang.
This unique fine art show celebrates the American West — its scenery, wildlife, ranch life and history — and offers guests the opportunity to meet the artists.
The event kicks off Sept. 23 with an opening night artist reception featuring the awards ceremony and live entertainment by the Silver Mountain String Band from Los Angeles, who will perform their quintessential folk and bluegrass tunes from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
The event continues from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 24 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 25.
SLOPOKE is the leading fine art exhibition and sale on the Central Coast, drawing artists from across the country, to present paintings, sculptures and photography. Each year, artists compete for the coveted silver SLOPOKE belt buckle awards for Best Painting, Best Sculpture and Best of Show.
“We’ll have a record-breaking 37 artists at this year’s SLOPOKE,” said Tom Burgher, founder. “We present art of the west, not necessarily ’western art,’ and look for emerging artists who paint the 21st Century West as well as those recreating the 18th or 19th Century West.
“We are deliberately broad in our definition of art of the West to include ranch life, historical and contemporary Native American life, landscapes, seascapes, urbanscapes and wildlife in all media and styles from realism to abstract work.”
SLOPOKE is held at Flag Is Up Farms, 901 E. Highway 246, the 100-acre thoroughbred horse ranch of Monty and Pat Roberts. The exhibit is set in an open-sided but roofed 30,000 square-foot building with white museum-like walls set up in an open floor plan with LED lighting for the art. Guests receive a complimentary art book that has been curated and features this year’s art showcase and more.
California artist Michael Obermeyer will serve as the guest artist and jurist. In addition to jurying the artist awards to be presented Friday evening at the artists’ reception, he will display a curated selection of his artwork at the event.
A native of Southern California, he received a bachelor of fine arts in Illustration at California State University, Long Beach. A 20-year career in illustration included works for Disney Studios, Anaheim Angels, McDonnell Douglas, Coldwell Banker and the United States Air Force.
Many of his paintings are in the U.S. Air Force Historical Art Collection in the Smithsonian Institute and the Pentagon.
Mr. Obermeyer, who has his studio in Laguna Beach, was presented with the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015. He recently won the Collector’s Choice Award, Artist Choice Award and the Fine Art Connoisseur Award at the Laguna Beach Invitational Plein Air Competition as well as the Best of Show at the Grand Canyon Celebration of Art and the Kern County Plein Air Festival and the Gold Medal at the Carmel Art Festival.
He is president of the prestigious California Art Club and is a Signature Member of both the California Art Club and the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association. Currently, his paintings are showing at galleries in Carmel, Pasadena, Balboa Island and Laguna Beach, where he is a regular exhibitor at the Festival of Arts.
“As an illustrator, I’ve always created art to fit others needs. Painting, however, offers me the opportunity to create for myself, to allow others to see how I perceive life around me, and to totally escape from the real world for a while,” said Mr. Obermeyer.
“I enjoy painting outdoors and working quickly. It keeps my paintings fresh and spontaneous. I especially like to paint as much of the open space that I can, as it seems to be rapidly disappearing.
“When painting outdoors, en plein air, I must work quickly due to the changing light. Therefore, I have a limited palette of four to seven colors. This orderly layout also enables me to mix clean, fresh color.
“I try to find subject matter that fascinates me. Nature provides the perfect balance of shape, value and color— the three elements that I find most important in painting. It can be so satisfying, and I feel blessed for that.”
Additional featured artists at this year’s show include Art Alvarez, Henry Blond, Naomi Brown, Tom Burgher, Annie Cappelli, Alexi Fine, Lori Franklin, Melinda Gandy, Whitney Gardner, John Godkin, I. Errol Gordon, Jan Hndtmann, Carol Hartman, Kelly Hine, Patty Hughes, Doreen Irwin, Eric John, Kasia Kaznocha, Sheryl Knight, T. Kurex, Pamela Larsson-Toscher, Joe A. Oakes, Vicki Pedersen, Elisabeth Pollinow, Irene Pomitchy, Amy Rattner, Sharlene Rayl, Pat Roberts, Lee Rue, Janice Schultz, Naomi Shachar, Chris Slatoff, Glenda Stevens, Tara Rose Toner, Ami Usrey and Tom Wright.