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March 11, 2021 - Joy Reed Belt

Karl Brenner, "Lemon Lake Inlet," Oil on Canvas, 24 x 30 in., $1,860

It was Mark Twain that said, “Clothes make the man.” Twain also went on to say that “Naked people have little or no influence on Society.” Well, that’s one man’s opinion. But if Twain was right and clothes do make the man, then I think we can agree that “Plants make the space.” Whether the space is indoor or outdoor, plant and vegetable life provide definition, purpose, and drama to the environment in which it exists. Last week, while installing a new show, “On the Way to Santa Fe,” in the main room of the Gallery, a truck pulled up out front and a man unloaded two ornate bronze urns and began carrying them inside. While my staff was surprised, I knew that the urns had been sent by a dear neighbor, who after deciding to downsize to a smaller home, thought the Gallery would make a wonderful home for her much loved 30” urns. At my direction, the urns were placed on each side of a large brick fireplace in the Main Gallery, underneath a wonderful southwestern landscape painting, “Silent Sentinel” by O. Gail Poole. While the urns held their own against the expanse of brick, they did not really add warmth or drama to the tableau. A designer who had stopped by the Gallery to pick up something for a client, suggested that we might want to put cactus plants in the urns. I immediately called Victor at Calvert Plants and sent him snapshots of the fireplace. He had the two cactus plants delivered that afternoon. As you can see, the cacti transformed the entire space, and the painting became more impactful. 


JRB Art at The Elms Main Gallery

Throughout the ages artists have incorporated nature and plant life in their paintings. “Starry Night,” one of the most famous and highly valued paintings in the world by Vincent Van Gogh, features a cypress tree positioned in front of a very active sky. Another famous painting by Van Gogh, entitled “Sunflowers,” is a close up of a dozen sunflowers, painted with only three tints of yellow, placed in an ordinary ceramic vase. That painting, as well as his entire series of sunflowers, is universally loved and admired. Monet’s “Haystacks,” one of the most expensive artworks ever sold at auction, along with all of the paintings he did at Giverny, created a lasting legacy for the artist. John Singer Sargent, the American expatriate portrait artist was inspired to paint a portrait of “Claude Monet Painting by the Edge of the Wood.” In Oklahoma we are blessed with museums who have wonderful collections of landscapes and plant life as their primary subject matter. An extremely talented landscape painter, Carol Beesley, is represented by this Gallery as is Karl Brenner, a former surgeon, who sold his practice to devote his time to his art. But for those of us who can’t paint at the skill level we admire; we can create landscapes that “live” in our homes and offices.



Carol Beesley, "Arrowheads for Nancy," Oil on Canvas, 30 x 30 in., $2,700

Carol Beesley, "Cloud Chair with Tulips," Oil on Canvas, 36 x 36 in., $3,888



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