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Opal (Colorado)

Opal does rosemaling, a form of decorative painting developed in Norway around 1700. In Sweden a similar form of painting stylized flowers and other “scroll-like motifs”* developed concurrently. Rosemaling was most frequently applied to surfaces of wooden objects and architectural features in rural homes. Different patterns and colors predominated in different regions. Immigrant painters brought rosemaling to the United States starting in 1860, but it was in the 1960s that Scandinavian Americans began to practice the art form widely. Opal’s mother was Danish and her father was Swedish. Her family homesteaded in Montana and later moved to Minnesota. Scandinavian traditions were followed and art was valued in their home. Opal’s father farmed, but he also played the violin, sang hymns in Swedish, and did oil painting. Opal began her study of rosemaling in 1983 after moving to Colorado. Collectors from her community eagerly watch to see what Opal chooses to paint each season. Now Opal offers her rosemaling treasures to us.