Board of Directors

Suzie Baker

 

 

 

PRESIDENT

Suzie Baker OPA joined the board of Oil Painters of America in 2013. She holds a degree in Advertising and Fine Arts from Louisiana Tech University and worked as an Art Director in ad agencies before trading in her Pantone swatches for a palette and brushes.

She has been on the cover of and profiled in Plein Air Magazine and named "Three to Watch" by both Southwest Art and Fine Art Connoisseur. She regularly exhibits in prestigious national shows and plein air invitationals earning signature memberships in many organizations including, OPA, AIS, AWA and others.

In addition to being a still life and figurative artist, Suzie has been painting en plein air since she was a teenager. Her humorous and informative teaching makes her a sought instructor for workshops nationally, internationally and in her home state of Texas.

Kurt Anderson

 

IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT AND DIRECTOR

Kurt Anderson OPA joined the Board in 2010. Kurt paints in many genres — figurative, portrait, and landscape — but his reputation has primarily been associated with his floral paintings.  Since exhibiting in his first OPA National Show in 1999, Anderson has won multiple honors with OPA.  He has won honors with the Salon International, the ARC International Salon, and the Open Market National, in which he won Grand Prize.  He also won Grand Prize in International Artist magazine’s Floral Painting Challenge.

Anderson received his artistic education in the traditional atelier or studio system of training under Minneapolis artist Richard Lack.  This makes him part of a master-pupil lineage that can be traced back to 19th century masters such as Jacques Louis David.  Anderson received his BA in studio art from the University of Arizona, where he also studied marketing and received a master’s degree (MAcc) in accounting.

Anderson’s paintings are included in numerous major collections, including Iowa State University, where he was commissioned to paint a mural for the interior of the historic Parks Library.  His other commissions have ranged from painting book covers to portraits of corporate presidents.  Over 20 articles about Anderson’s painting have appeared in leading art magazines.  He has been featured in seven books and is author of Realistic Oil Painting Techniques (North Light Books).  www.kurtanderson.net

Susan Abma

 

VICE-PRESIDENT

Susan Abma grew up in Montreal, Quebec in Canada and moved west to Alberta as a young adult. A full-time painter since 2000, she spent more than 20 years publishing numerous newspapers and trade publications including Canadian Brushstroke Magazine. Susan studied drawing and painting under master Chinese artist Xin Yu Zheng, and has been fortunate to have also learned from many other talented artists. She paints commissioned portraits for art galleries, corporations, government officials, individuals and local celebrities. About a third of each year is spent painting at her studio overlooking the ocean in Newfoundland, Canada. Her studio near her home in Alberta, overlooks pastures and grain fields - a great place for contemplation and inspiration. Along with two other artists, Susan worked on a long-term Canadian national project honoring fallen Canadian soldiers from the Afghanistan war through oil portraits and stories.

She is proud to be a long-time member of the OPA board and is also a member of several other professional artist organizations. Her work has been featured in magazines, newspapers, on television and radio, and her articles have been published in numerous newsletters and magazines. www.susanabma.com

Stuart Fullerton

SECRETARY AND TREASURER

Stuart Fullerton grew up in north central Wisconsin and studied ancient Greek and Latin at Harvard College. After a year studying archeology in Greece and Turkey, he returned to Harvard for law school.

Today Stuart works and paints in Chicago. He is a long-time member of the Palette and Chisel Club and of the Plein Air Painters of Chicago.

Stuart has participated in juried shows such as the Oil Painters of America National Exhibition, Salon International, the American Impressionist Society National Show, the OPA Eastern Regional Exhibition, and the Bosque Art Classic. He has been invited to take part in the Door County Plein Air Festival, the Carmel Plein Air Festival, and others. www.stuartfullerton.com

John Michael Carter

 

IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT

John Michael Carter OPAM attended the American Academy of Art in Chicago and received a B.F.A. from the Art Center College of Design. John Michael has taught at Scottdale Artist School and Dallas Artist League and the Arts Club of Cincinnati. He is the winner of first place and the Artist's Choice Award at the 2002 Amerian Society of Portrait Artists’ International Portrait competition, 2003 Artist's Magazine Award at the OPA National Competition, 2007 Best of Show at the IHA Exhibition, as well as many others. Mr. Carter’s portraits include governors, senators and university presidents as well as corporate and civic leaders. His paintings hang in the collections of Phillips Petroleum Corporation, J.B.Speed Art Museum, the McDonalds Museum, the Patton Museum, the State Capitol Museum, the governor’s mansion, Frankfort, KY and in many other corporate collections. He currently serves as Co-chair of OPA’s Fundraising Committee  www.johnmichaelcarter.com

Susan Birdsall

 

DIRECTOR

Stephanie Birdsall received her formal training at the City and Guilds of London Art School in England. After graduation she spent time traveling through Europe honing her skills as a both a studio and plein air painter. Upon her return to the United States, Stephanie continued her study under several top artists including: Richard Schmid, David Leffel and Sherrie McGraw. Stephanie and her work have been featured in popular publications such as International Artist Magazine, Southwest Art, Plein Air Magazine, Fine Art Connoisseur and American Art Collector (see detailed list below). Public Broadcasting Station WGCU aired a special on her work as part of their "Expressions" television series. DVDs featuring Stephanie's work, including "How to Paint Flowers in Oil" have more than 140,000 views on YouTube. She has 3 dvds available from Northlight Publishing and recently recorded a new dvd painting, "Lemons and Leaves" in oil with Lilliedahl.

Stephanie's work is among the permanent collections of the Museum of the Everglades, Everglades National Monument; Florida Museum of Art & Culture, The Florida State Art Collection at the Florida State Capital and The Sonoran Desert Museum in Tucson Arizona. She has been honored with a one-women show at the Florida Museum of Art and Culture. Stephanie is a Signature member of the Oil Painters of America, a Master Pastellist with the Pastel Society of America and a Master with the International Assoc of Pastel Societies She is a member of the Putney Painters founded by Richard Schmid and Nancy Guzik, Oil Painters of America, Salmagundi Club NYC, The National Association of Women Artists, and The Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters.  stephaniebirdsall.com

Victoria Castillo

 

DIRECTOR

Victoria Castillo OPA is a figurative painter whose work focuses on women in light-infused settings. She studied painting at Washington & Lee University, the University of Maryland and Studio Escalier in France. Victoria has lived and worked in both the United States and Europe.

Victoria's paintings have received top awards at national exhibitions, including a Bronze Medal from Oil Painters of America, Best in Show at the Women Artists of the West National Exhibition, Best in Show at The National Society of Artists' Exhibition, and Best in Show (twice) at the Louisiana Art & Artists' Guild's River Road National Show. Her paintings have been spotted on HGTV's House Hunter's International and in the magazines Southwest Art, Art of the West, American Art Collector and International Artist. Victoria is a Signature Member of Oil Painters of America and an elected Artist Member of the Salmagundi Club. She is a sought-after instructor and juror for art competitions.

Currently, Victoria resides near Houston, TX with her husband and three dogs.  www.victoriacastillo.com

Bill Chambers OPA

 

DIRECTOR

William T. Chambers OPAM is a nationally recognized portrait painter, a graduate of the American Academy of Art in Chicago, and holds a BA from Northeastern Illinois University.  His portfolio of portraits includes those of numerous public figures, including former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar and Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird. He is has also won the prestigious Grand Prize Award in the International Portrait Competition of the Portrait Society of America.  Bill has served as a Board Member-Director since February 2002, and served as Vice-President from 2004-2006 and President from 2006-2008. He also served as Chair of the Jurying Selection Committee from 2004-2006.  From 2006-2008, Bill served as the Chair of the Signature Advisory Committee and Co-chaired the Program Committee in 2011.  www.williamchambers.com

Jill DeTemple

 

DIRECTOR

Jill DeTemple joined the board of the Oil Painters of America in 2020. After graduating from Vanderbilt University with a degree in Economics, she began her career as a CPA. Later she combined quantitative and creative interests to build brands and customer relationships at DDB Chicago advertising agency. Since then, Jill has built a real estate investment company, while raising two daughters and their horses in the Washington, DC area.

Jill and her husband are passionate art collectors. Their collection started with a foundation of paintings created by living plein air artists and has evolved to include 19th century and Old Masters works. Jill is drawn to the emotional connection to art and enjoys the camaraderie of artists, collectors, and curators in the art community. Jill and her husband are patrons of several museums and the American Impressionist Society, American Tonalist Society, the Salmagundi Club, and Plein Air Easton.

Jane Hunt

 

DIRECTOR

Jane Hunt OPA, following her move to the US as a teenager, Jane Hunt received her B.F.A. in illustration from the Cleveland Institute of Art. After working as an illustrator for several years, Hunt eventually returned to her true love: landscape oil painting. A sought after instructor, she was a faculty member of the Plein Air Convention as well as a demonstrator and speaker at the Oil Painters of America National Exhibition. Hunt recently won 1st place at Door County Plein Air and the Director's Choice Award at the Laguna Plein Air Invitational. Her paintings have been exhibited in numerous museums and are represented by notable galleries in the US as well as her native England. Now based in Colorado, Hunt frequently paints plein air, and continues to be awed by the beauty surrounding her.

Bill Suys

   

DIRECTOR

Bill Suys OPA is an OPA Signature Member who joined the Board in 2017. Recent years have been a period of accelerated growth for Suys, whose work was chosen to hang in 7 OPA National Exhibitions since 2010 and who, in 2013, won Best In Show at the Salon International. In addition to numerous group and one-man gallery shows, event invitations, cherished awards earned, juried show acceptances - and some wonderful editorial profiles - Suys's devotion to his craft, his participation in plein air invitationals, judging, and increasingly teaching, have helped him grow not just in reputation but as a soulful painter who believes in lifelong learning, 'no excuses', and the power of observation.

Bill is best known for his sensitive depictions of "People & Other Animals" and is represented by 7 galleries in the US.

Suys holds degrees in Art and Business, and though he did graduate work in Finance and admits to wearing wingtips in a corporate setting for a number of years, Bill has been a full-time fine artist for long enough to not own a well-fitting suit and to consider the space behind his easel to be his office.

Michele Usibelli

   

DIRECTOR

Michele Usibelli OPA has always felt she was born to create, and was drawn to art from as early she can remember. After earning a degree in Architecture from the University of Washington, she was able to combine her professional life with her love of travel. Michele's extensive travels and life experiences provide the solid platform from which her artwork is created.

Michele's early training established a strong foundation in the Russian Impressionist tradition of seeing and painting shapes of light and color using relatively loose brushstrokes.

Usibelli's award-winning artwork has shown in both group and solo gallery exhibitions as well as regional, national and international juried exhibitions and Museum Auctions. Michele has won numerous awards, including the Silver Medal Award at the prestigious Salmagundi Club, NYC and the UCI Institute and Museum of California Art Award. She is honored to have her work in the permanent collection at the University of Alaska Fairbanks/Museum of the North and most recently, her painting "First Light, Pioneer Mill Smokestack", was acquired by the State of Hawaii for their permanent collection. Michele has followed her passion to teach, conducting ongoing workshops and art demonstrations throughout the US and internationally. She has proven to be a popular juror. Her artwork can be found in public and private collections throughout the world.

She is a proud Signature Member of OPA and other professional organizations. Usibelli is also a valued member of the PleinAir Magazine Advisory Council.