Santa Fe, New Mexico, is known for its art community. Artists are drawn to the region’s beauty, and the city has a thriving, art-friendly atmosphere. The natural beauty of its surroundings and the history of the region make it an obvious choice for patrons and artists alike, which is why Carlos Acosta and his partner John Strong own and operate a gallery — Acosta-Strong Fine Art — there.
When the time came to explore a new venture, opening a gallery in Oklahoma City, with its proximity to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, was a natural choice. The museum is home to one of the most prestigious collections of historical and contemporary Western art in the nation and hosts the Prix de West exhibit, acknowledged as the crème de la crème of Western art.
With the new gallery, they don’t just want to duplicate what they have in New Mexico. The Acosta-Strong gallery aims to grab people’s attention with a selection of carefully chosen artists ranging from traditional Western artists to more contemporary styles.
The gallery will feature a new artist on the third Thursday of each month with an opening reception and a chance to connect with the artist. June’s featured artist is internationally known impressionist painter Evelyne Boren (no relation to the famous Oklahoma statesman), who has lived a life almost as colorful as her paintings, working as a professional stunt diver in the James Bond films Thunderball and You Only Live Twice. She was also the first woman to swim with an orca, or killer whale, in the film Namu the Killer Whale and made numerous television appearances on Sea Hunt and Aquanauts. She even dived with and helped train everyone’s favorite dolphin, Flipper.
And this is all before she went on to be an internationally acclaimed artist and teacher. She started painting while on location in the Bahamas, hoping to capture the color and light of the islands with brushstrokes.
“I was so taken with these incredible colors of the turquoise sea and the natives with their really bright colors,” she said. “I wanted to capture some of that beauty.”
What started as a way to express her feelings about a particular place has evolved into a successful career of living in beautiful places and interpreting them with her brushes. She lives in both Santa Fe and Mexico, and she travels extensively, pausing now and then to teach what she calls her “gourmet painting classes.”
“I like good food, good wine, and they’re in a beautiful location,” she said.
Boren has recently been experimenting with applying oil paints with a palette knife, giving the paintings an interesting texture as well as her signature vibrant color. Although her techniques have evolved over the years, she has never lost her fascination with color.
“My paintings make people happy,” she said.
With over 4500 paintings in private hands all over the world, it would appear that her fascination with color has a universal appeal.