Museum celebrates local artist

April Oakden stands in front of a few pieces from her exhibit at the Churchill County Museum.

April Oakden stands in front of a few pieces from her exhibit at the Churchill County Museum.

The Churchill County Museum displays a vintage gas pump and watercolor exhibit until the end of July.

The “Art of April Oakden” is enhanced by the Petroliana collection of Dwight Hunter.

Oakden grew up in a small Central Nevada mining town where art education and supplies were nonexistent.

“I remember drawing with a No. 2 pencil on brown paper bags … or my sister’s typing paper when I could get it.”

Oakden said her drawing was put on the back burner when she married her husband, Bob, of 53 years. She said in 1970 her husband, a native to Fallon, moved her here to his cattle ranch. April and Bob have three daughters — Lisa, Leslie and Linsay.

April Oakden said her passion for painting remained in tact through the years and in 1997 she took her first drawing class at Western Nevada College.

“I have tried almost all of the art classes offered,” she said. “Watercolor has become my passion. Being in a class with so many talented students and a good instructor really kept me motivated and encouraged me to keep painting.”

Life has been the focus of much of her artwork, Oakden said.

“I first picked up photography before I discovered my love for watercolors,” she said. “I don’t take a lot of photographs but I do take photographs of things I want to paint. It allows me to capture that moment and bring it to life by using watercolors.”

Oakden said, though, she has had artistic ability since she was a child taking classes at WNC allowed her to develop and define her skills.

Working on a 50-acre farm, raising cattle left Oakden craving time for her self to take part in something she enjoyed. She said painting makes her take time to paint and she said the more she paints the more she wants to do it.

“Painting allowed me to get away from my responsibilities on the farm and allowed me to focus on my art work … it is a type of relief.”

Oakden said her inspiration comes from the world around her. She said the exhibit on display currently represents the past and what it use to look like. One of the pieces on display is of a burro that use to come visit her mother at her place of work in Manhattan, Nev.

Oakden’s gas pump paintings were inspired by Hunter’s shop and his old gas pumps.

If interested in purchasing Oakden’s work, contact her at 702-423-5444.


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