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Oklahoma State University

First Doel Reed Center for the Arts visiting artist to speak

Fri, March 18, 2011

This painting of Doel Reed’s estate in Taos, N.M., is one of eight en plein air pieces Sonya Terpening will have for sale Tuesday after her lecture at OSU.Next week, Oklahoma State University alumna Sonya Terpening, the first visiting artist at the Doel Reed Center for the Arts in Taos, N.M., will visit Stillwater to speak about the experience. The Western watercolor and oil painter spent 20 days last summer exploring the community she calls a Mecca for artists as the 2010 Smelser Vallion Visiting Artist thanks to funding from alumnus Jim Vallion.

“I was incredibly honored to be the first visiting artist,” said Terpening, the 2008 gold medal watercolorist at the Masters of the American West Show at the Autry Museum. “Jim Vallion is a very generous man. To allow a professional artist to go to Taos is a very special gift to give.”

Terpening will speak Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Room 109 of the Bartlett Center for the Visual Arts, at the northeast corner of Knoblock and Morrill. She will display eight of her Taos en plein air (literally “in open air”) paintings while discussing her Taos experience and how valuable the Doel Reed Center for the Arts is to OSU. That will be followed by a reception from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the OSU Foundation, 400 S. Monroe, where the eight paintings will be for sale. Both events are free.

The Doel Reed Center for the Arts is named for one of OSU’s greatest contributors to the arts and humanities. Reed, the university’s first director of the Department of Art, is recognized as the undisputed master of the aquatint. His works hang in museums across the globe, including the Library of Congress, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Paris’ La Biblioteque Nationale and London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. He is the only Oklahoman to gain full academician status from the National Academy of Design.

Doel’s daughter, Martha, gave OSU the family estate, including two historic adobe homes and her father’s personal studio. The alumna and artist in her own right lived there until she passed away Dec. 28 at the age of 88. Terpening said she enjoyed spending time with Martha last summer.

“My goal was to paint the compound as it existed while a member of the family still lived there,” Terpening said. “I got to paint it while it still looked like the personal property of those artists, through the eyes of another artist. You’ve got a 100-year-old adobe and a studio that looks like Doel just walked out the door. It’s not landscaped. It’s the way someone living on it would live right now. It just has that feel of the way it would have been when Doel was there.”

Sallie McCorkle, professor of art and director of the Doel Reed Center for the Arts, said Terpening was a “wonderful addition to our programming and the students’ experience in Taos.”

“It is our intention to provide professional artists and scholars an opportunity to be inspired by the unique Taos environment while being available to students as an example of professional practice,” McCorkle added. “It was a marvelous time for all and I know that the students benefited greatly.”

Chris Ramsay, professor and head of the Department of Art, said Terpening’s lecture will provide students “a great opportunity to learn professional practices from a well-established artist.”

Terpening, who is an art education graduate, has been an invited artist at both the Autry Museum and the Prix de West at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. She was a featured artist at the 2006 Rendezvous at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa. She is featured in the April 2009 and upcoming April 2011 issues of “Western Art Collector” and the May 2009 issue of “Art of the West.” Articles about her have also appeared in “Southwest Art” and “Persimmon Hill” magazines. She has works in the permanent collections of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum; the Gilcrease; the Forbes Collection in New York City; the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth; the Pierce Collection in Corsicana, Texas; the Oklahoma Capitol Building; Great Western Life in Denver; and the Pawnee Historical Museum in Pawnee, Okla.