Home > History Center > Exhibits >  Impressionists

Current Exhibits

Oklahoma Society of Impressionists

In partnership with the Oklahoma History Center, the Oklahoma Society of Impressionists presents a new exhibit at the Oklahoma History Center. The exhibit depicts Oklahoma's historic landmarks, landscapes, and still lifes portraying items from our Oklahoma heritage. This special exhibit will run through August 2014 and will feature a change in images at six months. The exhibit is free with museum admission. For more information about the Oklahoma Society of Impressionists, please visit www.oklahomasocietyofimpressionists.org.

Please note this exhibit is on display in the Chesapeake Event Center; this room is also used for meetings and special events. Visitors are encouraged to call in advance to confirm the room will be open to the public on the day of their visit.

Gil Adams
Buffalo on the Tallgrass
Oil on Canvas

As a student of history, I have only to look at my own family’s history to realize the connection between pre-state Indian Territory and my ancestors. One became sheriff around the Sallisaw area during the very last part of the 19th century to the first part of the 20th century when outlaws and cowboys roamed the area in large numbers. Also, my great grandmother’s immediate family was involved in the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889. That period of our nation’s history was full of colorful characters and also drastic changes in the way people lived as the open prairie began to gradually disappear. As you go north out of Pawhuska and enter the tallgrass prairie, you get a feel of what the wide open plains looked like during those times and I wanted to try to capture a little of that in my painting. I could only imagine the men and women who rode through this area all those years ago and what life must have been like.

Diane Ainsworth
Linneaus Garden Pond
Oil on Canvas

Linneaus Teaching Garden located in Tulsa was named after Carl Linneaus, Swedish naturalist and the father of botany. It began in 2006 with the vision of Barry Fugatt, a Tulsa Garden Center Horticulturist. He had the idea of educating homeowners about horticultural possibilities for their own backyards. The Tulsa Parks Department provided the location in Woodward Park. Its success as the “Linneaus Teaching Gardens” is made possible by the donations of volunteers who offer educational events, gardening advice, garden tours and products.

In 1909, the City of Tulsa acquired the property then known as Perrynman’s Pasture and owned by Hellen Woodward. Now that 45 acres is known as Woodward Park. I grew up about two blocks away from Woodward Park and now also Linneaus Gardens. Many memories come to mind: family outings, picnics, visiting the rose gardens, watching squirrels and always enjoying the view and the ponds and sometimes even painting. Woodward Park is a gloriously beautiful place and a true treasure for Tulsa and Oklahoma.

Today the 45 acre park boasts a wide variety of horticultural features including: a terraced Italian Renaissance rose garden built in 1934/1935 by hand labor and horses as a WPA project; Rock Gardens built in 1930, featuring pathways, ponds, streams and interspersed with all kinds of plants and flowers and bronze statues; an English formal Herb Garden built in 1930; a three acre arboretum; a Victorian conservatory; and an azalea garden with over a thousand azalea plants. The Tulsa Garden Center started in 1919 and now Linneaus Teaching Gardens is part of the Garden Center.

I have painted many paintings of Woodward Park with its ponds, trees and flowers – all are great subjects! Now there is another pond…I painted “Linneaus Gardens Pond” because it represents how history and progress can work together. Instead of being sad because a corner of the park has been changed, I found I was happy that people took the time to do this project right. It still has the beauty and feeling of Woodward Park and the Tulsa Garden Center. I feel peace and calmness all around this new addition and young part of our history. This reminds me that history is going on all the time.

This painting was painted with painting knives and thick oil paint. I wanted to capture the feeling of awe that I feel when standing next to the pond listening to the birds singing, watching the fish and loving the sights and smells of all the plants and flowers. Painting water and reflections is one of my favorite subjects and always a challenge.

Nick Berry
Through These Doors
Oil on Canvas

The Chapel of St. Edward the Confessor is located on 9500 North Pennsylvania Avenue, Oklahoma City. The Chapel was built in 1948 and intended to be a physical and spiritual center for Casady School. Today, with improvements and additions made over the years to the original structure, it is still used by Casady School as well as for weddings and funerals. I am a graduate of the Casady School Class of 1973. Each school day began with “morning chapel” inside the Casady Chapel (The Chapel of St. Edward the Confessor). Through these doors I have worshipped, learned, laughed and cried. Upon exiting, I am always inspired.

James W. Bruce, Jr. opa
Capitol Fog
Oil on Canvas

All Oklahomans should be extraordinarily proud of our Capitol. Not only is it a wonderful exhibit of splendid architecture, but it houses one of the finest art collections of any state capitol. Some months ago in the late fall, I was driving to the Capitol at dusk for an event – the Capitol was shrouded in a blanket of thick atmosphere. The scene reminded me of an impressionistic scene where the values and temperatures of the colors displayed a rich envelope of light, enhancing the beauty of the building. The building’s neoclassical architecture captures a beauty which is timeless but also representative of today. Although a relatively young state, Oklahoma certainly has a rich heritage which makes us proud to be Oklahomans.

I trust that my painting in some small way captures the mood of that evening – the colors in the sky which were modulating from pinks, chartreuse, cerulean blue to a deeper blue hue. Most especially, I trust that the viewer will find his or her own story of how the Oklahoma Capitol reminds them of the rich heritage which we Oklahomans share and why we want to live here – the best state in this wonderful Union.

Claudia Kates Doyle
Full Regalia
Oil on Canvas Laid on Board

As a native born and third generation pre-statehood Oklahoman, I have always been a booster of all things related to our state, but I was late in truly appreciating our Indian Heritage…until I went to my first Pow Wow. As a painter my one love has always been color and more color. The Pow Wow Dancers knocked me out...the beauty and vibrant movement of color with music was pure enchantment and begged for a canvas, and there have been many since.

Jody Ellison
The Brook at Beaver’s Bend
Oil on Canvas

While touring Beaver’s Bend State Park in Southeastern Oklahoma on a beautiful June afternoon, we came around a curve and saw this clear stream making its way down the side of the mountain. This was my first visit to Kiamichi mountain country and I wanted to record something of its natural beauty. The stream was exactly what I was looking for. The combination of sunlight, tree covered mountain, rocks and clear, moving water made a perfect composition for a painting. This terrain was foreign to my native Pawnee, Oklahoma where I had started sketching subjects in high school. Later I worked in fashion illustration until oil painting dominated my artistic efforts. I particularly enjoy painting en plein air so this day at Beaver’s Bend seemed to be perfect for the purposes of this Exhibit. To me, it represents the best of our colorful state.

Kelli Folsom
Frankoma and the Sunflowers
Oil on Canvas

Choosing Frankoma Pottery and sunflowers as subject matter for my still life was a perfect combination of the natural beauty of Oklahoma and the creative human spirit. I love the entrepreneurial story of John Frank. By using the simplest of means, his technical skill, his imaginative design and humble Oklahoma clay, he created a line of affordable pottery that would come to be known and collected nationally. His designs were classic, nostalgic and playful and it is no surprise that his glazes capture the natural colors we Oklahomans experience every day. I chose “Flame” red and “Desert Gold” pieces to compliment the brilliant yellow of the sunflowers. For me, all of the colors in the painting are reminiscent of hot summer days in Oklahoma, from the red clay dirt revealed underneath the worn glaze, the blues and greens found in the sky and grass, the wild sunflowers that explode every summer and the flame red because it just gets plain hot here.

Mary Anna Goetz
The Milk Bottle
Oil on Canvas

I am always prepared for wind when I’m working in Oklahoma, but this October, 2012, painting trip was the windiest ever. I ended up using C clamps to keep my palette from blowing away and a heavy ceramic tile to hold my easel down. One day, gale force winds made it impossible to work out in the open. Fortunately, while shopping at a CVS store, I found a sheltered place to set up in front of the store, with a great view of another OKC icon, “The Milk Bottle”. The aerial view I painted of it a few years earlier sold as soon as we featured it on the Internet.

Setting my easel up under a portico in front of the store, I had a great view of The Milk Bottle, was protected from the wind and didn’t have to lose precious painting time. I opted to use the old Townsley logo, rather than the Braum's Ice Cream logo that’s on the bottle now.

Joan LaRue
Western Oklahoma Icon: Forlorn not Forgotten
Oil on Canvas

The deserted farmhouse represents hundreds of family farms in the early days that were once happy, thriving, wholesome places in which to raise a family. New lifestyles emerged with changing times. Young people left the farms, migrating to educational opportunities and city jobs. One hundred sixty acres would no longer support a family. It took eight times that acreage to make a living.

Joan Finkenbinder LaRue was born and bred in this western Oklahoma farmhouse. It was originally a pioneer dugout with sod walls and big timber supports. These two rooms had different additions over the years. Karl Finkenbinder purchased the property in the early 1900s. In Kansas, he had developed severe allergy and pulmonary problems. In Wichita, when he crawled on the train, he declared that when he found a place with easier breathing, he would settle down. Thomas, Oklahoma fit the bill and he moved his family there soon thereafter. His son, Gordon (Joan’s dad), was only three years old at the time. Upon Karl’s death, Gordon and Alta inherited the homestead. There was no electricity, running water or indoor plumbing. Is it any wonder that the woman of the house was eager to move to a home in town with all the modern conveniences? It just took her a decade to accomplish this goal.

Joan’s idyllic childhood followed. She rode and cared for her own spotted Shetland pony, and rode the rural school bus to a consolidated country school which featured two grades to a classroom. Her farm chores were minimal. She brought in the cows from the pasture for milking. She was the chicken caretaker and egg gatherer. Her playmates were her younger sister Kaye and brother, Don Carl. They recall that she often assigned them to make believe roles for which they were ill suited. She loved hanging out with her Dad. They hunted, fished, rode the tractor endless miles and attended farm and cattle sales. On “egg and daughter day” (Saturday), the family went to town. This recreational evening was for grocery shopping, attending the movie, eating out and socializing.

Joan’s roots lie deep within this little house and the short grass country of Oklahoma!

Jay O’Meilia
Jason White
Sculpture, Maquette

Jason White was the 2003 Heisman Trophy winner from the University of Oklahoma. I was commissioned by Lee Allen Smith and his group to sculpt a nine-foot bronze of Jason White that is located in Heisman Park on the east side of Owen Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma.

This is the working model, or maquette, that I created to work out the pose to show my client for approval and to make any changes before enlarging it to the final size.

Sooner football is certainly a significant part of Oklahoma’s heritage and I am pleased to have been selected to memorialize Jason for the Heisman Park at the University.

Derek Penix
Farmers’ Market
Oil on Canvas

Oklahoma has many “farmers’ markets.” It is a trademark of our state and one which offers artists who love to work en plein air wonderful subjects. The fruits, vegetables and flowers make a colorful display and the backdrop of the locale and the shade of the stands are compositions that attract the artist. One need not go to Europe to find the beauty of the marketplace. It’s right here in Oklahoma!

Carla Perry
Hidden Gem
Oil on Canvas Laid on Board

“Hidden Gem” shows a little waterfall tucked away in the Nickel Preserve in Eastern Oklahoma. The preserve was donated to the nature conservancy by the Nickel family to save this beautiful land where the Illinois River flows. I had a guide who led me to this particular place. We scrambled down a rocky ledge to it. It is good to know this “hidden gem” is now protected for coming generations.

Christopher Westfall
Weathering the Years
Acrylic on Canvas

This house has stood just south of Piedmont, Oklahoma since 1895. It is still standing and it is an example of the hearty souls who inhabited what is now Oklahoma. It was built by James and Sarah McGranahan who lived in the house until 1940. The house has remained in their family for five generations.

I was inspired to paint the house after seeing it on a day trip to Piedmont. I loved the way the storm clouds formed a perfect backdrop for the house and the way the field and the house were illuminated in the sun.