Board of Directors

John Michael Carter



John Michael Carter OPA attended the American Academy of Art in Chicago and received a B.F.A. from the Art Center College of Design. John Michael has taught at Scottdale Artist School and Dallas Artist League and the Arts Club of Cincinnati. He is the winner of first place and the Artist's Choice Award at the 2002 Amerian Society of Portrait Artists’ International Portrait competition, 2003 Artist's Magazine Award at the OPA National Competition, 2007 Best of Show at the IHA Exhibition, as well as many others. Mr. Carter’s portraits include governors, senators and university presidents as well as corporate and civic leaders. His paintings hang in the collections of Phillips Petroleum Corporation, J.B.Speed Art Museum, the McDonalds Museum, the Patton Museum, the State Capitol Museum, the governor’s mansion, Frankfort, KY and in many other corporate collections. He currently serves as Co-chair of OPA’s Fundraising Committee

Kurt Anderson



Kurt Anderson OPA joined the Board in 2010 and currently serves as Treasurer. Kurt paints in many genres — figurative, portrait, and landscape — but his reputation has primarily been associated with his floral paintings.  A Signature member of OPA, he has exhibited in ten national shows, won multiple honors with OPA, as well as the Salon International, the ARC International Salon, and the Open Market National, in which he won Grand Prize.  He also won Grand Prize in International Artist magazine’s Floral Painting Challenge.

Anderson received his artistic education in the traditional atelier or studio system of training under Minneapolis artist Richard Lack.  This makes him part of a master-pupil lineage that can be traced back to 19th century masters such as Jacques Louis David.  Anderson also studied at the University of Iowa and early in his career he fell back on his brief training in accounting.  For nine years he had a day job as a data analyst at for a company that monitored money managers and pension funds.

Anderson’s paintings are included in numerous major collections, including Iowa State University, where he was commissioned to paint a mural for the interior of the historic Parks Library.  His other commissions have ranged from painting book covers to portraits of corporate presidents.  Over 20 articles about Anderson’s painting have appeared in leading art magazines.  He has been featured in seven books and is author of Realistic Oil Painting Techniques (North Light Books).

Susan Abma



Susan Abma has been a full-time artist since the end of 1999, painting commissioned portraits for art galleries, corporations, government officials and local celebrities. Abma studied under master Chinese artist Xin Yu Zheng and has enjoyed workshops by talented artists such as Doug Swinton, Bev Tosh, and William Rodgers, among others.  Receiving her inspiration from the outdoors, Susan spends her summers painting en plein air in Newfoundland. Her winter studio near her home in Alberta, overlooks pastures and grain fields - a great place for contemplation.

Susan founded and publishes Canadian Brushstroke Magazine, an online magazine geared towards Canadian artists. Through it, she is able to interview amazing artists from all over Canada. Currently Susan, along with two other artists, is working to on a project honoring fallen Canadian soldiers from the Afghanistan war that will be featured in a national exhibition during the latter part of 2012.  Presenting solo exhibitions as well as jurying among others in group, Susan is a member of OPA, as well as the International Guild of Realism, the Portrait Society of Canada and the Alberta Oil Painters. Her work has been featured in magazines, newspapers, television and radio, and her articles have been published in numerous newsletters and magazines.

Suzie Baker





Suzie Baker OPA joined the board of Oil Painters of America in 2013. She has a degree in Advertising and Fine Arts from Louisiana Tech University, and worked as an Art Director in ad agencies before trading in her Pantone swatches for a pallet and brushes. Suzie is an award winning artist with work held in public and private collections in the US and internationally. She has exhibited in OPA's National Juried Exhibition and Western Regional Exhibition as-well-as other national competitions including, Portrait Society of America's - Members only Competition, NOAPS - Best of America Exhibit, Raymar - Painting Competition, American Women Artists - National Juried Competition, and Salon International at Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art. Suzie teaches oil painting at The Woodlands Art League in The Woodlands,Texas, where she lives with her husband and two children.

James W. Bruce, Jr.



James W. Bruce, Jr. OPA is a Signature member of the Oil Painters of America and one of OPA’s newest board members.  Jim lives and works in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  Although the pursuit of a business career kept Jim from a full measure of devotion to painting, the love of art has been where his heart has been.  The real love for art began when Jim was fifteen, when he took a summer workshop from noted Oklahoma artist, the late Richard V. Goetz.  Becoming a lifelong friend and mentor, Goetz instilled in Jim a love for still life painting and color.  Since then, Bruce has won a number of awards including one he is most proud of being a recipient of a Governor’s Arts Award presented by Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry in 2006.  In addition, he has been selected to exhibit in several of OPA’s national and regional competitions.

He has studied with a number of nationally recognized artists including Scott Christensen, Kevin Macpherson, David Leffel, Sherrie McGraw, John Budicin, George Strickland, and the late Henry Hensche.  In his business life, Bruce is Chairman and CEO of American Bank Systems, Inc., a bank service company located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  In addition to serving on the board, Jim serves as Co-chair of OPA’s Fundraising Committee.

Bill Chambers OPA



William T. Chambers OPAM is a nationally recognized portrait painter, a graduate of the American Academy of Art in Chicago, and holds a BA from Northeastern Illinois University.  His portfolio of portraits includes those of numerous public figures, including former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar and Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird. He is has also won the prestigious Grand Prize Award in the International Portrait Competition of the Portrait Society of America.  Bill has served as a Board Member-Director since February 2002, and served as Vice-President from 2004-2006 and President from 2006-2008. He also served as Chair of the Jurying Selection Committee from 2004-2006.  From 2006-2008, Bill served as the Chair of the Signature Advisory Committee and Co-chaired the Program Committee in 2011.

Howard Friedland



Howard Friedland OPA was born in Bronx New York. Lived in Miami Florida, Albuquerque and Taos New Mexico and now resides in Bozeman Montana with his wife artist Susan Blackwood. He studied fine art and commercial art at New York's High School of Music and Art. He went to college at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Art and Science in the department of Art and Architecture in New York's Greenwich Village. Howard has studied painting with Ned Jacob, Michael J. Lynch, Mark Daley, Laura Robb, William Schultz, Robert Kuester, Charles Reed, Carolyn Anderson, Mitch Billis, Scott Christensen and most recently with Matt Smith. Howard currently serves as Chair of the Jurying Committee.

Stuart Fullerton


Stuart Fullerton grew up in north central Wisconsin and studied ancient Greek and Latin at Harvard College. After a year studying archeology in Greece and Turkey, he returned to Harvard for law school.

Today Stuart works and paints in Chicago. He is a long-time member of the Palette and Chisel Club and of the Plein Air Painters of Chicago.

Stuart has participated in juried shows such as the Oil Painters of America National Exhibition, Salon International, the American Impressionist Society National Show, the OPA Eastern Regional Exhibition, and the Bosque Art Classic. He has been invited to take part in the Door County Plein Air Festival, the Carmel Plein Air Festival, and others.

Konrad Hack



Konrad Hack OPA received his B.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago/University of Chicago and his Masters from Governors State University.  He is a founding member of the Midwest Air Force Artists Program.  His paintings are on display in the permanent collections of NASA, the Pentagon, 9th Infantry Division Museum-Fort Lewis, WA, and numerous other locations as well as in private collections and corporate headquarters.  Since 1989, he has taught college level drawing, painting, photography, art history, humanities, and film history.  He was first appointed to the Board in June 2001, served as Director until 2011 and currently serves as OPA’s Scholarship Chairman as well as Secretary.

Joyce Hester



Joyce Hester retired in 2016 from a career as a CPA after 30+ years in corporate finance and treasury roles. Now dedicated to her long time avocation, painting, she combines both experiences to serve the Board of Oil Painters of America. Following four years in the US Navy, Joyce received a BBA from Pan American University (now the University of Texas - Brownsville) as her art took a back seat to accounting and finance. While living and working in Russia for two years in the mid 90's, her interest in art was reborn with a vengeance. Upon returning to the States she began a self study program targeting specific subject matter experts and took workshops from some of the nation's most recognized artists including Ken Auster, Harley Brown, John Budicin, Jill Carver, Bruce Greene, Martin Grelle, Qiang Huang and Ian Roberts.

A clear message from all instructors was to "paint what you know" so many of her paintings feature Texas Longhorns which she raises with her husband on their ranch in Texas.

Zhiwei Tu OPAM



Zhiwei Tu OPAM has been a member of OPA since 1993 and joined the Board of Directors in 2000.  He is highly regarded by his peers and is recognized internationally for his figurative paintings.  Born in China, Tu graduated from the Guangzhou Institute of Fine Arts, renown for producing many of the best artists in the world. While there, Tu was able to achieve major recognition for his work and went on to become a professor of fine arts.  In 1987, Tu came to the United States to enter Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, to further his education and career.  Since then he has won some of this country’s most coveted awards including OPA’s American National Award of Excellence in 1998.  Tu has served as Chair of the Jury Selection Committee from 2002-2004 and as OPA President from 2004-2006.  He currently is Co-Chair of the Master Signature Advisory Committee.

Ken Cadwallader





Ken Cadwallader was born and raised in Michigan, Cadwallader received a bachelor’s degree in fine art at Kendall College of Art and Design, an exclusive private college in Grand Rapids, Michigan. While in attendance at Kendall, he was also invited to study at the Royal College of Arts in London. After graduating from college with honors, Cadwallader moved to Chicago where he attended the Palette and Chisel Academy in order to further his understanding of impressionism. Shortly after arrival, Cadwallader was discovered by a respectable Chicago Gallery and so began his professional career. His work has been seen in magazines such as Southwest Art, American Artist, The Artist’s Magazine and Wildlife Art. Cadwallader has participated in many prestigious shows such as the Arts for the Parks, Oil Painters of America, and Portrait Society of America, receiving awards in all. In addition Cadwallader is an active member of the local and national art community. He is a member of Grand Valley Artists in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Signature member of Oil Painters of America and the American Impressionist Society. Cadwallader is also a past president of OPA (2014-2016) and current director of international development.