Don Oelze

True col­ors

Western Art Collector - - CONTENTS - DON OELZE

Lately, Don Oelze has been fo­cus­ing heav­ily on the con­cept of color in his art­work. In an up­com­ing ex­hi­bi­tion at Le­gacy Gallery, Oelze will ex­hibit works that re­flect his typ­i­cal sub­ject mat­ter, Na­tive Amer­i­cans in pic­turesque Western land­scapes, ex­e­cuted in a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent color schemes.

“Ev­ery paint­ing is its own ad­ven­ture,” Oelze says. The artist ex­plains that it’s easy to get into a rut and pro­duce what feels like the same art­work over and over, and that for this new body of work, he de­sired to break out of that haze. In Trail of

the Singing Wa­ter, in­spired by a creek Oelze vis­ited in the Elkhorn Moun­tains of Mon­tana, he uses a vi­brant aqua green for the wa­ter, de­sir­ing to chal­lenge him­self with this par­tic­u­lar hue. It’s im­me­di­ately ev­i­dent if you use the wrong shade of green, he ex­plains. Trees and shrubs in the back­ground of this piece are ren­dered in a blend of vivid for­est greens and deep yel­lows.

On the other hand, High Coun­try de­liv­ers more sub­dued green tones, fo­cus­ing pri­mar­ily on blues and oranges. The piece de­picts two Na­tive Amer­i­can men on horse­back in the fore­ground, with moun­tains in the back­drop set in late af­ter­noon light. “I wanted to cre­ate a con­trast of light—the warm low­lights of oranges and yel­lows vi­brat­ing against a very blue at­mos­phere,” Oelze says.

Most of­ten, the artist is sim­ply in­spired by the beauty of na­ture. Of­ten, upon com­ing across a par­tic­u­larly gor­geous lo­ca­tion, Oelze says his imag­i­na­tion will start to run wild, con­jur­ing images of Na­tive Amer­i­can ex­plor­ers trekking through the land­scape. “Ev­ery paint­ing has its own story...i live in a place where there is beauty all around me,” he says.

Oelze’s one-man show at Le­gacy Gallery’s Jack­son Hole lo­ca­tion will run from Au­gust 16 through 26.

Trail of the Singing Wa­ter, oil, 44 x 32”

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