“Hans Olson: Big Sky" at the Bereskin Gallery & Art Academy -- June 29 through July 25.

Exhibit: Saturday, June 29, through Thursday, July 25

Reception: Friday, July 5, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Beréskin Gallery & Art Academy, 2967 State Street, Bettendorf IA

The glories of Midwestern landscapes and idyllic farm scenes will be on display at the Beréskin Gallery & Art Academy June 29 through July 25, with the Bettendorf venue celebrating the works of a gifted artist and Fairfield, Iowa, resident in the multi-hued, evocative painting exhibition Hans Olson: Big Sky.

Born in 1955, Hans Eric Olson grew up in Mason City, Iowa, and he states that drawing lessons began almost as early as he can remember. He was driven to create and was often found refining his works, experimenting with the various methods of painting, or studying the lives of the masters before him. Three days after graduating from his small high school, Olson left in search of an artist to apprentice with, ending up in Los Angeles. Sheer luck landed him a job with a publishing house where he helped to illustrate various books while working with a small, exclusive group of talented artists. He trained much like the old world masters in a painstaking technique called “glazing.” in which layer upon layer of very thin oils are placed on the canvas.

After years spent painting out West, Olson decided to do something he had never before considered since graduating from high school 23 years earlier: He felt a calling to return to the Midwest, and began painting the motifs that inspired him in his youth. “It took almost a year to appreciate the natural beauty of this area after coming from the island of Maui,” says the artist. “Now I look forward to the change of seasons with great anticipation. The simple landscape with its huge sky and rolling prairies inspires me now.”

Olson currently resides in Fairfield, where he spends many hours exploring the natural beauty of the Midwest. His current interest lies in the plein-air style of painting, in which the artist paints directly from nature, quickly trying to capture the rapidly changing light and shadows of the landscape. “I paint because I cannot not paint, if that makes any sense,” says Olson. “It is my spiritual path, one that delivers me from the stress of this crazy world. Since returning to Iowa, I have become increasingly interested in plein-air painting. It challenges me to concentrate every sensory nerve on the information in front of me. I love the experience – from sight to sound, from temperature to atmosphere, and then channeling all those feelings from head to hand, re-creating the vision in front of me on canvas. It is truly a spiritual experience for me. Plein-air takes me out of my mind and into peace and happiness.”

A 5:30 p.m. artist reception will be held at the Beréskin Gallery & Art Academy on July 5, and regular gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays through Saturdays. Admission is free, and more information on Hans Olson: Big Sky, along with other venue exhibits, events, and classes, is available by calling (563)508-4630 or visiting BereskinArtGallery.com.

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