A Focused World: The Art of Greg Burns

Great State
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OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA -- Dip the brush in paint.

Apply paint to surface.

How an a task so simple turn into something so rich in-depth and meaning?

"All's fair," says artist Greg Burns. "Whatever it takes to get the job done."

He sees potential paintings wherever he goes.

But he's always been good at finding the details that tie everything together.

"The rest of life, to me, is kind of like that," he continues. "You can't do everything. But you can focus on something, and you can make it interesting."

Born with a rare condition called Arthrogryposis, Greg's muscles never did develop normally.

But his mother handed him pens, brushes, and a lot of encouragement.

Burns smiles and says, "My mom was the kind of person who didn't want me to have idle hands or mouth."

His art won contests even before he went to the University of Oklahoma and before he settled on art as a major.

"I was a psychology major," he says.

Burns found landscapes suited his style best, drawing an ink outline with his hands then filling his canvas with watercolor applies with a paintbrush in his mouth.

"I've been doing things like this for a long time," he says.

Modern technology helps too.

Burns will sometimes sketch outside or just upload a picture he takes with his cell phone.

The photograph isn't nearly as important as the detail he provides as an artist.

"You can't trust it," he says of pictures he takes with his cell phone. "Because it's one eye."

Over more than 50 years, he's painted hundreds of different places in and around the state; a field across the street from his house, and more famous places you might recognize if you live here.

In semi-retirement, he admits his work is a little less structured now, a little freer from the confines of how something is supposed to look.

Burns says, "I think I've allowed them to become more organic."

His style, like his self-portrait are both free to explore a world that keeps getting bigger all the time.

The Oklahoma History Center is displaying a collection of Greg Burn's Oklahoma paintings beginning June 21st.

The show runs through September 30.

For more information about Greg Burns go to www.gregburns-fineart.com

For more information about the show or the Oklahoma History Center go to www.okhistory.org/historycenter

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