Artist ProfileRalph Oberg
Colorado Mountain Morning
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Ralph Oberg was raised in Colorado and has always loved the wild mountain country and its wildlife. An avid outdoorsman he has hunted, fished, hiked and climbed the mountains of the American West and beyond all his life. His 50-year art career started with highly rendered watercolor portraits of birds and mammals. Repeated appearances at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Museum’s “Birds in Art” show in the early 80’s and his 1982 election to the Society of Animal Artists were high points of his early career. The work of Rungius, Liljefors and Kuhnert inspired his movement into oil paints. Rungius’ field sketches showed him the need to paint outdoors to develop his skills for the “animals in the landscape” studio works he wished to do.
So in 1987 he began studying with some of the contemporary plein air masters of the day, and for 10 years his focus was on observing the colors and values of the landscape, although the studio wildlife subjects were still his mainstay. He has maintained an equal love of the mountain and wilderness landscape and the wildlife subjects, and resisted the tendency to be pigeon holed as one or the other. Today his outdoor studies inform the studio paintings with a sense of place and a more impressionist technique. He and his artist wife, Shirley Novak, live and work in Southwest Colorado.
Ralph was elected to Signature Membership in the Plein Air Painters of America in 1998, the first such group in the country, and the Northwest Rendezvous Group in 2001.
Ralph’s work has been shown at the Prix de West, National Cowboy Museum; The Western Visions at the National Museum of Wildlife Art; The Quest for the West at the Eiteljorg Museum; The Masters of the American West at the Autry National Center; The Buffalo Bill Show at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West; and the Night of Artists at the Briscoe Western Art Museum. His work has been featured in all the western art magazines and he has received numerous Awards, including:
• Buffalo Bill Art Show:
o 1988: William Weiss Purchase Award for the Whitney Gallery Collection
o 1992 & 1996: Juror’s Choice Awards
o 2001 & 2002: Painting Awards
o 2015: Wells Fargo Gold Award
• Western Visions at National Museum of Wildlife Art: 2012 Trustees Purchase Award
• Northwest Rendezvous of Art: 2012 Legacy Award
• California Art Clubs’ Gold Medal Show: 2014 Gold Medal Best of Show and the American Art Collector Award of Excellence
• Night of Artists at Briscoe Western Art Museum: 2019 Briscoe Museum Purchase Award
• National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum: 2020 Prix de West Wilson Hurley Memorial Award for Landscape