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Sportsman’s Gallery features sporting themes

Stew Mosberg

Owner Michael Paderewski started Paderewski Fine Art, in Atlanta’s Buckhead district and opened his second art showcase, The Sportsman’s Gallery in Beaver Creek, a year and a half ago.

Focused on 19th century to present-day work, it represents some of the finest sporting-themed art to be found anywhere. The gallery frequently rotates inventory and keeps portfolios on hand of non-displayed work for buyers to browse through. In fact, it is not unusual for a client to commission a painting from one of them.

Some of the artists you can view include Eldridge Hardie, the watercolorist. His “Early Flight,” depicts a field bathed in a soft-hued sunrise casting a glow on distant farm buildings, as birds fly overhead and hunters set out decoys. It is the kind of image that proliferates at The Sportsman’s Gallery.

Stanley Meltzoff paints scenes of underwater life. “Ray on Ridge with Permit” and “Loggerhead Turtle and Dolphins,” employ almost neon colors, and treat the below surface light with sensitivity.

Not far from Meltzoff’s paintings, is a canvas by Mike Stidham. As another underwater scene, it makes it easy to do a comparative analysis of the two techniques. Stidham’s “Riverbed and Rainbows” is a fish-eye view of trout at close range, and exhibits an excellent treatment of underwater light refraction.

Rod Grossman, also a watercolorist, painted “After the Rain,” and it illustrates hunters flushing a stand of pheasants. It is arguably the best work on view, and demonstrates Grossman’s sparse, sketch-like sweeping brushstrokes.

There are a number of wildlife and landscapes by Ralph Oberg on display, and with good reason. Small as well as large paintings of his are hung on almost every wall and partition in the limited space. Oberg’s “Wilderness Traveler” portrays a modern day cowboy on horseback leading another horse through the mountainous terrain. The pastel-colored palette he uses on this piece, suggests a French Impressionism influence.

One black and white painting of a Caribou by Carl Rungius (1869-1959) might not look like much in the way of historic importance, but Rungius is considered one of the premier wildlife painters of the 19th century. Only a few of his works are available, and at $24,000, a wealthy collector might just consider it a wise investment.

Another ubiquitous artist at The Sportsman’s Gallery is Roger Blum. His wildlife and landscape oils take up as much room in the gallery as Oberg’s.

Paco Young, a talented Montana artist, specializes in animals of the wild. I particularly liked his tiny canvas of a mountain lion.

Shirley Cleary’s work is easy to miss, and not because they are unimpressive, quite the opposite, in fact. Her postage stamp size gouache paintings depict fishermen plying rivers and streams, and are fascinating, albeit, tiny masterpieces.

Perhaps the most unique style exhibited in the gallery are the paintings by Linda St. Clair. “Barnyard Stroll,” “Liza Janea” and “Lone Stara” are farm inhabitants painted with expediency and flair, with bold, bright freewheeling brushstrokes and colors.

There are also the obligatory bronzes of animals, around the gallery, and they include sculptures by George Northrup and Michael Barlow. Northrop’s “Green Drake Day” is actually a lamp base with a metal shade that captures three trout swimming in unison. It is a handsome piece that is visible from the arcade window.

Located above the window to your right as you enter, is a piece I almost missed because of where it is displayed. It is an oil painting by Bob Crofut. The tongue-in-cheek title “Kodiak Moment” is almost too cute for the subject; but the giant bear is painted in light, airy and slightly diffused colors, typical of Crofut’s misty, wash technique.

Also somewhat hidden just behind the doorway, is a whimsical, yet functional wine rack by Rich Shepherd. Shepherd has fabricated three fly rods and reels that support brackets to cradle wine bottles. It is a fun and functional piece of art.

Being just a few yards from the ice rink, The Sportsman’s Gallery is not only quite accessible, it is worth more than a few minutes of your apres ski time or summer stroll through the village.

Stew Mosberg is a writer and journalist working out of Blue River. He holds a bachelor’s of design degree from the University of Florida, College of Fine Arts and Architecture, is author of two books on design and is the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.


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