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.
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. www.janehuntart.com
SECRETARY AND TREASURER
Stuart Fullerton OPA 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
Rich Alexander OPA grew up an hour north of New York City and as a youngster marveled at his Mother’s ability to draw the human figure, those moments together, creating art left an indelible impression. Rich attended SUNY Canton for their well-known certificate drafting program. After ten years working various types of drafting jobs Rich joined the New York City Fire Department reaching the rank of Lieutenant during his 21-year career. Rich has attended oil painting classes at The Ridgewood Art Institute in Northern, New Jersey for many years. Rich has enjoyed restoring old houses and old cars as a hobby during his free time however he mostly oil paints full time from his home studio now. Rich has won many national, international and local awards for his paintings in oil. Some of Rich’s oil paintings are part of the world renowned Seven Bridges Foundation’s permanent collection in Greenwich Ct. He has shown in numerous museums and is represented by galleries around the country. Rich resides in Mt. Kisco, NY with his wife Diane, together they have three grown children. www.richalexander.com
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
DIRECTOR AND IMMEDIATE PAST 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 www.suziebaker.com
Stephanie Birdsall OPA 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. www.stephaniebirdsall.com
John Michael Carter OPAM was born in Chicago. He showed an interest in drawing at an early age and began his studies at 15 with his father E.L. Carter, a commercial artist and illustrator. After graduation from high school, he attended the American Academy of Art in Chicago. In 1970 Carter continued his studies at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. There he studied the major classical schools of drawing and painting with Reynolds Brown, Harry Carmean, and Lorser Feitelsom. He received his B.F.A. in 1972. His wide range of subject matter covers landscapes, still life, figurative painting, and portraiture. His portraits include senators, governors, university presidents as well as corporate and civic leaders. In 2004 he was awarded OPA’s prestigious Gold Medal award at its 13th National Juried Exhibition in Kirkland, Washington. He was appointed to OPA’s Board of Directors in 2010 and served as its president in 2016-2018. He has held several positions on the board and currently oversees the Gallery Selection Committee. www.johnmichaelcarter.com
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.
Jeremy Goodding OPA, is an award winning oil painter. Drawn to the challenge of creating his own compositions, he primarily focuses on still-life with an emphasis on light and shadow. Having been raised on an eastern Nebraska Farm, Jeremy has an innate connection to the land and its natural beauty. Time at his easel, painting, has been Jeremy’s most profound educator. In addition to this, he occasionally studies with other renowned artists. master painters, Hovsep Pushman, Rembrandt, and emil Carlsen have also influenced Jeremy’s work. Jeremy resides in Lincoln, NE with his wife, Iris, together they have 3 grown children. Jeremy paints daily from his home and studio. www.jeremygoodding.com
Russ Recchion has won many awards as a portrait and figurative artist. He has painted judges, corporate executives, physicians, both university presidents and deans, and philanthropists. Most recently in January 2024 he was selected to paint the official portrait of Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb. Russ started painting portraits while studying at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Art. Later becoming friends and studying with portrait painter Nelson Shanks. Notable portraits include Judge Arlin Adams, US Third Circuit Court of Appeals; Vaughn Bryson, CEO, Eli Lilly & Co; deans of the Kelly School of Business, IU-Bloomington. Recchion’s many honors include the OPA’s Portraiture Award of Excellence at the 2022 National Exhibition. The Indiana State Museum’s Hoosier Salon The Best of Show 2020, First Place for Portrait 2021, Second Place for Portrait 2022, and First Place for Portrait 2023. Russ has his studio in Tucson, Arizona. Russ is a member of Indiana’s Hoosier Salon and a signature member of the Sonoran Plein Air Painters. Russell published his book Collected Works in 2019. He is listed in John Castagno’s American Artists: Signatures and Monograms: 1800-1989 (Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1989). Russell is the subject of John Thornton’s film, “Catching Up with Artist Russell Recchion” June 18, 2018, and The Philadelphia Inquirer article “Brush with Immortality” by David Iams, December 1, 1991. www.russrecchion.com
Bill Suys OPAM is an OPA Master 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. www.williamasuys.com