Being acknowledged for a painting at age 22 was quite the surprise. I participated in a competition in 1991 dubbed, “Napa Valley Painters Paint The Napa Valley”. It was a juried show by Margrit Biever, Rene di Rosa and James Randolph Murphy, who selected 25 artists from the 67 submissions for the competition. I won Best In Show, and as a result, sold the painting for $1,000, and was mentioned in the local newspaper (article below). It was an event I will never forget and a validating experience during a time when I needed it the most. If anyone knows who owns the painting, I would love to know!
The Napa Valley REGISTER
Thursday, September 19, 1991
By Rosemarie Kempton, Register Staff Writer
Does the Napa Valley inspire a style indigenous to the area? Close to 500 curious people went to the opening of “Napa Valley Painters Paint the Napa Valley” earlier this month to explore this question as well as view the work of local painters. “The reason for doing the show was to see if there is a genre in the valley,” said Patti Stewart, Oberong Gallery owner/director.
“The first impression was that there wasn’t. But on further examination, there may be a style – a lyrical quality, love of color and the earth and an objective abstraction. And, no one wanted to paint the ugly.” Patti Stewart, Oberon Gallery owner
The juried art show, sponsored by the Oberon Gallery, drew entries from 67 artists. Jurors Margrit Biever, Rene di Rosa and James Randolph Murphy selected 25 works for exhibit.
Although no one focused on the ugly, Stewart felt the show was not a “safe show.” “There were people pushing the limits, “she said.
“Valley Gathering” by Kris Cummins was voted best of show by the guests. The 22-year old artist, whose painting was also purchased, began attending Oberon School of Fine Art when she was in middle school.
Norm Badion’s “Constructing Winter from Lupine…” was chosen as the poster painting. Three of the paintings will be recreated in tapestries: Fran Persing’s “St. Helena North,” Beverly Wilson’s “Vineyard Workers,” and Norm Badion’s poster painting.
The exhibit will continue through Oct. 31 at Oberon Gallery, 1130 Main St., Napa. Hours are 10a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The paintings will next travel to the Napa Valley Museum in St. Helena for a Nov. 17 opening. That show continues through the Christmas holidays.
The Oberon Gallery has exhibited a wide range of California art since Stewart opened its doors in 1979. In 1988 it became the first small business to receive an award from the Chamber of Commerce for contributing to the arts in Napa. The gallery recently underwent a change from 400 square feet to over 3,000 square feet.