2019 National Exhibition in Saint George, Utah

28th Annual National Juried
Exhibition of Traditional Oils

Oil Painters of America's is pleased to announce that the Twenty-Eighth National Exhibition and Convention will be hosted by Illume Gallery of Fine Art, located in Saint George, Utah, from May 10 through June 7, 2019. Convention activities begin on May 6, with a Wet Paint Competition in both studio and plein air divisions. Cash and merchandise awards for the Wet Paint competition will be a minimum of $10,000. The opening reception for artists, collectors, the public and the press will be held on Friday, May 10, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., with the awards presentation taking place at 7:30 p.m. Many informative and educational seminars are being planned for the convention, preceding the opening of the exhibition.


Illume Gallery of Fine Art

Gallery Hours
Monday - Saturday
10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Monday, May 6

8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Registration Open Location: Illume Gallery of Fine Art under the OPA Tent

Registered attendees can pick up their registration packets and have their canvas stamped. On-site registration is available as well.

8:00 a.m. OPA's "Southwest Treasures"
Wet Paint Competition Begins!

OPA's "Southwest Treasures" Wet Paint Competition begins bright and early Monday morning! Registered attendees* will vie for approximately $15,000 in awards. A first, second and third place will be given in two categories: studio and plein air, with remaining awards given based on the discretion of the Juror of Awards.

The state of Utah is a plein air painter's playground. Just an hour away from St. George is the majestic Zion National Park, or just 9 miles north of St. George are the beautiful red rocks at Snow Canyon State Park. Looking for more greenery? Try the Pine Valley Zion National Park Mountains about 30 minutes outside of St. George. The city of Pine Valley also is home to the Pine Valley Ward Chapel which is the oldest Mormon chapel in continuous use.

Canvas must be officially stamped by an OPA or Illume Gallery representative prior to painting. Maximum canvas size is 320 square inches. All paintings must be framed and wired for hanging to be in the competition & sale. Admission fees into any of the parks are not included and are the responsibility of the artist.

*Please Note: Only attendees who have paid a full convention registration fee are eligible to participate in the wet paint sale & competition. Eligible convention attendees are guaranteed one painting in the exhibition; however, two or more paintings will be considered based on the number of participating attendees, so please come prepared. Please see the competition rules for the full details.

Wet Paint Rules can be found here.

Tuesday, May 7

8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Registration Open Location: Illume Gallery of Fine Art under the OPA Tent

Registered attendees can pick up their registration packets and have their canvas stamped. On-site registration is available as well.

8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. OPA's "Southwest Treasures"
Wet Paint Sale & Competition

Both plein air and studio artists will have the opportunity to paint. OPA will provide models for artists wishing to paint indoors or feel free to bring your own props. Plein air artists – you are free to explore the area!

*Please note: Admission fees to the parks are the responsibility of the artist.

4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Welcome to St. George! Opening Reception Hosted by Southwest Art Magazine Location: Outdoors at the Painted Pony Restaurant

Help us get this year's conference off to a great start by joining us at OPA's Welcome Reception sponsored by Southwest Art Magazine. Come for a drink and scrumptious appetizers. It's a friendly, welcoming group so don't miss out on an opportunity to meet new friends, mingle and network.

Wednesday, May 8

8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Registration Open Location: Illume Gallery of Fine Art under the OPA Tent

Registered attendees can pick up their registration packets and have their canvas stamped. On-site registration is available as well.

8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Southwest Art Magazine's Pampered Paint Out Location: Dixie Academy

This event is all about you, the artist! Enjoy a continental breakfast, followed by a delicious lunch and great music, compliments of our good friends at Southwest Art Magazine. A little tired from standing all morning? Sign-up on-site for a 10-minute massage with a local massage therapist - it might be just what you need! OPA will provide models and props and plein air artists will find no shortage of subject matter in the historic area of downtown St. George. Don't forget framed paintings for the competition are due at the Red Cliff Gallery between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Deadline for the Wet Paint Competition Location: Red Cliff Gallery

Drop off at Red Cliff Gallery for the Wet Paint Competition begins promptly at 4:00 p.m. and ends at 7:00 p.m. There will be plenty of volunteers on hand to make the process run as smoothly as possible. Paintings should be framed and wired for hanging. If you don't want to bring frames with you, OPA will offer participants the opportunity to purchase frames in advance for onsite pick-up. More details to follow.

Thursday, May 9

8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Registration & Exhibits Open Location: Electric Theater/Arrowhead Gallery

Attendees can pick up their registration packets at the Electric Theater and visit the exhibitors located right next store in the Arrowhead Gallery. Be sure to plan ahead by leaving some extra room in your suitcase to take home some new art supplies! Even better, artists who visit each exhibitor and have their exhibitor cards stamped are eligible to enter the special exhibitors raffle basket drawing!

8:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Painting Demonstration with Juror of Awards
Kenn Erroll Backhaus OPAM
Location: Electric Theater

Kenn Backhaus is a Master Signature artist in both the Oil Painters of America and the American Impressionist Society. He is a member and past President of the Plein Air Painters of America, the oldest and most prestigious plein air organization in the country. He has also achieved Signature Member status, the highest level, in the California Art Club, one of the oldest and most active art organizations in the country.

His paintings have won numerous awards, including Best in Show, Collector's Choice, Master's Award of Excellence and Artists' Choice Awards. His work has been included in several museum shows. Kenn was one of the host artists in the APT Television Series, Passport and Palette and the PBS Series Plein Air, Painting the American Landscape. Kenn was featured in the Plein Air Magazine's June/July issue, 2016. In addition, his painting graced the cover of Plein Air Magazine in the fall of 2011, and his work also appeared in an article in March of 2012.

His paintings were published in two books, Art of the National Parks, in 2013 and in the book, 100 Plein Air Painters of the Mid-Atlantic in 2014. In November of 2014, Kenn was invited, along with 9 other artists, on a painting trip to China by Chinese-American Master Artist, Zhiwei Tu OPAM and the Zhiwei Tu Museum of China. This trip proved to be a great honor and a very humbling experience. Kenn is very passionate about the historic traditions of representational painting and has given back to the profession for over twenty years in various educational programs and workshops. Kenn continues to look for new opportunities to foster the arts and is currently involved through the internet with on-line educational programs. Kenn's experience has long been recognized, and he has been asked to judge numerous national shows.

11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Lunch Break
1:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Painting Demonstrations Location: Arrowhead Gallery

Lyn Boyer's two great passions in life are carrying on the great traditions of representational oil painting and passing that torch to her students. She is an award-winning plein air and studio oil painter with works that hang in private collections across the United States. After returning from studying art in Melbourne, Australia, Lyn began a 25-year career as an American illustrator and painter, garnering awards from the Oil Painters of America, Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine, Southwest Art, the Society of Illustrators, the Art Directors Club, the Illustrators Workshops, and the American Institute of Graphic Arts among others.

Michael Malm is well versed in a variety of painting styles, from still life's to landscapes, but he is perhaps best known for his impressionistic paintings of figures. The surrounding rural communities and settings provide backdrops for his figural paintings and inspiration for his landscapes. His serious study began under Del Parson at Dixie College where he completed his associate degree. He then went on to Southern Utah University where he had the opportunity to study with Perry Stewart and complete his formal education at Utah State University where he received a Master of Fine Arts Degree studying under Glen Edwards. He is also grateful to have studied under some great artists including Richard Schmid, Burton Silverman, Daniel Gerhartz, Quang Ho, Ron Hicks, Michael Workman, and Jim Norton.

Stephanie Birdsall OPA loves to paint from life. She is enchanted by the way light falls on her subject and travels through it. Her goal is to share the softness and mystery that it brings to her paintings. She graduated from The City and Guilds of London Art School, London, England. In 2004, she was invited to paint with the Putney Painters, founded by Richard Schmid and Nancy Guzik. This ultimately inspired her move to New England and the proximity to VT. She currently lives in a converted barn with a huge north light window.

Ron Rencher is a native of Utah and is currently a resident of Canyon Lake, Texas by way of 14 years in Taos, NM from 1987 to 2001. He earned a B.A. degree in Fine Art at Southern Utah University. His post collegiate art education included classes with Ned Jacob, Mark Daily, Dan Gerhartz, Lowell Ellsworth Smith, and Milford Zornes. His artistic mentors include, Len Chmiel, Dan Pinkham, Walt Gonske, and the late Jim Jones. He has won numerous awards and has been featured in several books and magazines including: Art of the National Parks; Historic Connections, Contemporary Interpretations, Fresco Books; Painters of Utah's Canyons and Deserts, Gibbs Smith Publisher; Enchanted Isle, A History of Plein Air Painting in Catalina Island; feature articles in Art of the West, American Artist, The Artist's Magazine, Plein Air Magazine; and the PBS series Plein Air: Painting the American Landscape.

Doug Fryer was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and was raised in Illinois and California. In 1988 he received his BFA in Illustration from Brigham Young University, Provo, UT. He later returned to BYU for further study toward an MFA in Painting and Drawing, receiving his degree in 1995. Fryer has taught fine art and illustration at several universities and art schools, including Brigham Young University; the University of Hartford, New York City's Fashion Institute of Technology, and Snow College in Ephraim, Utah.

4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. "The Relationships Between Collector, Gallery and Artist" Location: Electric Theater

This session will bring together top artists and art executives to exchange ideas and share their opinions on how to build a successful business relationship between the artist, gallery, and collector. Moderator and owner of Illume Gallery of Fine Art, Jane Bell Meyer, will delve into why it is important for artists to have a knowledge of their collectors, how a gallery can best serve their collectors, and why it is of value to have an open dialogue between all 3 parties with the goal of achieving an exceptional long-term working relationship.

7:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. American Art Collector Magazine's Celebratory Party Location: Entrada at Snow Canyon Country Club

There is no better place to showcase the stunning beauty of southern Utah than at Entrada at Snow Canyon Country Club. After an exciting week of painting, demos and other activities it is time to unwind. As always, American Art Collector Magazine has stepped up to sponsor what has become one of the most highly anticipated events of the week. Dinner, sodas and coffee provided. Alcoholic beverages are not included - cash bar available.

Friday, May 10

8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Registration & Exhibits Open Location: Electric Theater/Arrowhead Gallery

Attendees can pick up their registration packets and visit the exhibitors located right next door in the Arrowhead Gallery. each exhibitor and have their exhibitor cards stamped are eligible to enter the special exhibitor raffle basket drawing!

8:30 a.m. - 11:00 p.m. Painting Demonstration with Lori Putnam OPA Location: Electric Theater

Prior to becoming a full-time, fine artist in 2005, Putnam owned a successful graphic design business for 13 years. In 2008 and 2009, she and her husband Mark sold their home and belongings and traveled to the Italian countryside. The sole purpose was personal study and artistic experimentation. The concentrated work accomplished during that 7-month period culminated in an impressive breakthrough. While she considers herself primarily self-taught, the advice and support of Scott Christensen, Quang Ho OPAM, and Dawn Whitelaw have been key to the artist's development and success.

No stranger to hard work and dedication, her career has soared. Featured in numerous issues of major magazines, Putnam is now recognized as one of the finest American Impressionists of our time. She served as an Artist Faculty Demonstrator for the Annual Plein Air Convention for six years and has been keynote speaker an d guest lecturer at many other notable events in the U.S. and abroad. Her sold-out workshops are a testament to her teaching style and her gratitude to those who taught and nurtured her.

Lori has exhibited with many respected organizations including, but not limited to, the Salmagundi Club in New York City, the Oil Painters of America, Laguna Plein Air Painters Association, the California Art Club, and the American Impressionists Society. Additionally, both Lori's plein air and studio paintings have received awards too numerous to count. Some of her more recent accolades have come from the Salmagundi Club in New York City, the Portrait Society of America, The American Impressionist's Society, the Oil Painters of America, All Along the Sierra Exhibition, National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society, and the Forgotten Coast Plein Air Invitational. Currently, Putnam also serves on the Board for Art Ambassador for a Colorful World, founded by Kevin Macpherson OPAM, whose belief it is that art has the power to change the world.

11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Studio Safety 101: Luncheon Presentation with Joe Gyurcsak OPA, AIS, ISAP, Resident Artists Brand Manager of Blick/Utrecht Artists Materials Location: Dixie Academy

Artists are very much familiar with paints and mediums, but many are not so familiar with personal, studio and environmental safety. OPA Signature artist Joe Gyurcsak will provide a comprehensive look into the labeling, usage and disposal of fine art materials. In this 1-hour presentation, artists will be educated on all the elements of exposure and best protection as a daily practice. As an added feature, artists will learn about the invention of Utrecht Cadmium-Free Artists Colors and why it is creating a major shift in the artist's market place! A brief Q&A period will conclude this session as artists enjoy this fantastic luncheon!

1:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Painting Demonstration with Gary Ernest Smith Location: Electric Theater

Gary Ernest Smith was born in the rural farm community of Baker City, Oregon in 1942. He exhibited an interest in art at an early age. His parents recognized his talent and encourage his ability through his youthful years. Gary began selling his landscapes and portraits while in Jr. High and High School. After graduating from High School and attending a workshop at his aunt's gallery in Lincoln Beach, Oregon, Gary was determined to get a college degree and teach art.

Gary met and married musician, Judy Asay in 1967. He completed a Bachelor's Degree and was pursuing a Master's Degree when he was drafted into the Vietnam war. Following basic training he was assigned to Ft. McLellan, Alabama teaching at an NCO Academy. After a year he was sent to Korea for six months and was released from active duty. Throughout his military service, he pursued his Master of Arts in Painting at Brigham Young University where he taught part time and served as gallery director at the Harris Fine Arts Center. The friends he knew in college had all moved on by that time and after graduating he decided to pursue a career in painting rather than teach. It was very hard in the beginning, but after ten years of commissions and perseverance, he met art dealer and agent, Ray Johnson from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Ray developed Gary's national career over the next forty years and still serves today as Gary's good friend and agent.

Gary Ernest Smith broke on to the national art scene in 1983 with paintings and sculpture that deal with his rural roots, the subject matter being both historic and contemporary. He has had more than forty one-man and group shows in galleries and museums in the US and throughout the world. His paintings have been displayed in such museums as the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio, Eiteljorg Museum of American Art, Indianapolis, Indiana, Denver Museum of Art, Denver, Colorado, Phoenix Museum of Art, Phoenix, Arizona to name a few. Gary has been featured in numerous publications such as Southwest Art, Art of the West, Western Art Collector, Western Art and Architecture. A book on his life and work was published in the late 90's titled "Holding Ground: The Art of Gary Ernest Smith" by Donald Hagerty.

5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. OPA's 28th Annual National Exhibition Opening Reception Location: Illume Gallery of Fine Art, Authentique Gallery and Mission Gallery

Please join us for a very special evening as we celebrate the opening of OPA's 28th Annual National Exhibition held at Illume Gallery of Fine Art and its 2 sister galleries: Authentique and Mission Galleries. These three elegant galleries, located side by side, will showcase the beautiful paintings that are part of this year's exhibition.

8:15 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Oil Painters of America's Awards & Recognition Ceremony Location: Electric Theater

OPA's Awards Ceremony celebrates the highest achievement and excellence in representational oil painting. Join us on Friday evening as we honor this year's National award winners and Wet Paint competition winners. Presentations will also be made to recognize artists who have achieved the Signature and Master Signature designation in 2018.

9:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. Visit the Wet Paint Competition Paintings! Location: Red Cliffs Gallery

After the awards ceremony, drop by the Red Cliffs Gallery to take in the paintings from this year's "Southwest Treasures" Wet Paint Competition. Coffee, soda and dessert will be served. Please note: The gallery will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday as well.

Saturday, May 11

8:00 a.m. - Noon Registration & Exhibits Open Location: Electric Theater/Arrowhead Gallery

Last call to buy art supplies from your favorite vendors! Don’t miss out! Exhibitor Raffle Basket winner will be chosen at 12:45 p.m. after the final demonstration of the day.

8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. OPA's Annual Business Meeting Location: Arrowhead Gallery

Find out what's new in the organization and what the future holds as OPA's Board of Directors discusses the state of the organization. This is the time to ask questions and voice your opinions.

9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Painting Exhibitor Demos Location: Arrowhead Gallery

Back by popular demand! Watch some of your favorite artists demonstrate their painting expertise using our exhibitors' products. A great opportunity for you to meet top artists and to see what products they like to use.

11:15 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. David Dibble OPA Location: Electric Theater

Born in 1977, David Dibble was raised on a farm in Davis County, Utah, where he was influenced by the landscape from an early age. He completed a BFA in Illustration from Brigham Young University and began landscape painting in earnest in graduate school at the Academy of Art University. Following the Academy, he and his wife Liz moved to New York, where he worked as a color artist for Blue Sky Studios (20th Century Fox), creating Concept Design for such films as Rio, Epic, Ice Age 4, Peanuts, and Ferdinand. David and his family now reside in Orem, Utah, where he teaches Illustration at Brigham Young University and paints often in the surrounding mountains and valleys, focusing largely on agricultural themes.

Advanced Registration Information

OPA has customized the registration process to meet your convention needs. Registration includes options to attend the entire convention or individual days. Attendees must pay the full registration fee to participate in the Wet Paint Sale and Competition.

To register online, visit www.oilpaintersofamerica.com. Click on the National Exhibition & Convention Registration link found on the OPA home page. To register by mail, complete this registration form and mail it into OPA, PO Box 2488, Crystal Lake, IL. 60039-2488, with a check or credit card information. Please, one registrant per form. Students must provide proof of student status.

Save money and secure your spot by registering right now. Last day to receive the early bird discount is Friday, March 15. Mailed in registration forms must be postmarked by March 15, 2019, in order to receive the Early Bird discount and must arrive in the OPA office no later than Friday, March 22, 2019.

Please Note: Full registration IS required to participate in the Wet Paint Sale & Competition. A one-day registration includes all activities and social events listed for that day.

Registration is NOT required to attend the 28th National Exhibition Opening Reception on Friday evening at Illume Gallery of Fine Art or the Awards & Recognition Ceremony at The Electric Theater. Both events are free and open to the public.

ADDITIONAL REGISTRATION NOTES - Advanced Registration Deadline by Mail is Monday, April 22, 2019 or ONLINE by Monday, April 29, 2019. To register via mail, complete the registration form and mail it into OPA, PO Box 2488, Crystal Lake, IL. 60039-2488 with a check or credit card information. Please, one registrant per form. Students must provide proof of student status.

Online registration is available at oilpaintersofamerica.com.

Onsite Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, May 6, 2019. Registration hours are listed on the registration schedule below. OPA members must have paid their 2019 membership dues to receive membership rates.

Cancellation/Refunds: An 80% refund of registration fees is allowed if a written request is sent to OPA headquarters 14 days prior to the scheduled start date of the convention. No refunds are made after this date. Requests for refunds must be postmarked no later than Monday, April 22, 2019, and must arrive in the OPA office no later than Monday, April 29, 2019. OPA assesses a $25 administrative charge for all returned checks. NO refunds will be issued onsite or for failure to attend.

Confirmation: Online registrants should receive a confirmation email immediately upon registering. Mailed registrations will receive an emailed confirmation within 10-14 days from receipt of your registration. If you require a mailed confirmation, please make the appropriate indication on your registration form. Your confirmation will serve as your receipt.

Students: Students eligible for the reduced rate must provide a photocopy of a valid student ID from an accredited, degree granting college or university. Special Requests: If you have any special requirements under the ADA, please e-mail your request to Rosemary Murray at mail@oilpaintersofamerica.com. Special needs must be received at the OPA office 30 days before opening day of convention to assure reasonable accommodation.

Important! Registration Packet Pick-Up Hours and Location:
Day Time Location
Monday, May 6 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Illume Gallery of Fine Art under the OPA Tent
Tuesday, May 7 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Illume Gallery of Fine Art under the OPA Tent
Tuesday, May 7 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. To be announced
Wednesday, May 8 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Illume Gallery of Fine Art under the OPA Tent
Thursday, May 9 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Electric Theater
Friday, May 10 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Electric Theater
Saturday, May 11 8:00 a.m. to Noon Electric Theater

Wet Paint Rules can be found here.


Lodging Information:

OPA has reserved a limited number of rooms at The Best Western - Coral Hills. Please make your reservations early as space is limited. The cut-off date to receive this special rate is: April 27, 2019.

The Best Western - Coral Hills, 125 East St. George Boulevard

Reservation line: 435-673-4844
Please identify yourself as an "Oil Painters of America" conference participant.

Rooms Days Price
Double Queen
Guest Room
Sunday through Wednesday $87.99 + tax
Double Queen
Guest Room
Thursday through Saturday $115.99 + tax
King Guest Room Sunday through Wednesday $90.99 + tax
King Guest Room Thursday through Saturday $107.99 + tax

Please Note: Parking is complimentary, and the hotel provides a hot breakfast every morning


Travel Information:

The closest airport is the St. George Regional Airport (SGU) which is a 20-minute drive to downtown St. George. Or, you can fly into Las Vegas - McCarren International Airport (LAS) and drive to St. George which is approximately a 2-hour drive.

Take Note of These Important Addresses!
Place Address Phone
28th National Exhibition
Illume Gallery
of Fine Art
29 W. 200 North
St. George, Utah 84770
Phone: 801-210-2853
Educational Events
& Exhibitors Awards
& Recognition Ceremony
Electric Theater/
Arrowhead Gallery
68 E. Tabernacle Street
St. George, Utah 84770
Phone: 435-627-4520
Southwest Art Magazine's
Pampered Paint Out
Dixie Academy
86 S. Main Street
St. George, Utah 84770

(Please note: This building is also home to St. George's Children's Museum)
Wet Paint Competition Exhibition
Red Cliff Gallery
220 N. 200 East
St. George, Utah 84770
Phone: 435-627-4500
American Art
Collector Magazine's
Celebration Party at Entrada
at Snow Canyon Country Club
2537 Entrada Trail
St. George, UT 84770
Phone: 435-986-2200
Opening Reception hosted by
Southwest Art Magazine
outdoors @ the
Painted Pony
2 W St George Blvd
St. George, UT 84770
Phone: 435-634-1700