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“These Hills and Hollows” – Lee Copen

“The Thompson’s” – 18×24 oil on canvas




West Plains Council on the Arts (WPCA) will host an exhibition of works by local artist Lee Copen, entitled “These Hills and Hollows.” The exhibit will be displayed at the Gallery at the Center, West Plains Civic Center from September 14 through October 18, 2020.  The Gallery, on the mezzanine, is open to the public during regular Civic Center hours.


Born in South Africa, Lee Copen was drawing and painting the land, people and animals that surrounded her before she even started school; later moving to Chile where her love of drawing and painting continued. In Colorado, she encountered her first art teacher; a talented and gifted artist and teacher who encouraged her to pursue art.


Copen studied art at the University of Northern Colorado and received a BFA in drawing and painting. After college she pursued a career as an architectural illustrator. Copen returned to college to receive a teaching certificate and has been teaching art in a public high school ever since. “My high school art teacher was such a positive force in my life, I wanted to be that for other young artists.” Both careers allowed Copen to continue painting on her own, building skills and developing her own unique vision.


She started to paint professionally in 2017. She currently lives on a small farm in Missouri, painting the hills, farms, rivers, and springs of the Ozarks. Her work reflects her love of this land. Copen is a member of the Oil Painters of America, The American Impressionist Society, The Missouri Valley Impressionist Society, and local artist’s guilds; she is influenced by great historical painters like John Constable, George Inness, Claude Monet, and John Carlson. Her work has received numerous awards and honors, including best of show, and can be found in several private collections. She is currently the Art Instructor at Liberty High School in Mountain View.

Copen says, “I have lived in some of the most beautiful places on earth, the high plains of South Africa, the coast of Chile, the Colorado Rockies, the Yorkshire countryside and currently the Ozark Mountains.  I believe for this reason I have always found myself drawn to the beauty and diversity of the landscape. I traveled extensively throughout my childhood; these days I am more of a homebody, but I still find inspiration everywhere. I find myself absorbed in a sunrise or a simple field and I see hundreds of potential paintings. I am happiest when I get the chance to capture these fleeting moments of beauty in paint. Whether working in the studio or on location my work is inspired by the beauty that can be found in nature. I work in both watercolors and oils, bouncing back and forth between the two. I love both media and never could settle on just one. My style is realism with a touch of impressionism.”

A virtual tour is available here.

More information and samples of Copen’s artwork is available on her website:

Event flyer

WPCA will host a Meet the Artist event on Saturday, September 26, from 2-4 p.m., in the Gallery at the Center. All are invited to attend, meet the artist, and discuss the pieces.  The exhibit is co-sponsored by the West Plains Civic Center and West Plains Council on the Arts, with partial funding provided by Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.