John Brandenburg's cloud-like art on display at The Depot 

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Sometimes inspiration comes from the most unlikely places. Norman artist John Brandenburg said the inspiration for his exhibit Noble Laundry Paintings came while he was doing laundry at his house in Noble.

“In these paintings on canvas, loosely based on figurative landscapes and geometric forms, I have combined several techniques that I have been experimenting with for quite a few years,” Brandenburg said. “I have also worked in a much larger scale than I felt comfortable with before.”

The good thing about working with acrylic, he said, is that it dries fast. That is also the downside to working with acrylic because it leaves little room for error. With some of Brandenburg’s paintings, what seems like an error might actually be intentional because some of his work is carefully crafted into concrete images, while others are a lot like cloud watching and are left for the imagination to discern.

Brandenburg has been painting for five decades and enjoys trying new techniques to keep things fresh.

“Among my new exhibit are pieces where I used finger-painting with surgical dishwashing gloves. I applied thin or thicker layers of paint over dry or still wet colors with a palette knife, creating unusually black outlines using a liner brush and sometimes mixing a textured medium with colors,” he said.

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In addition to his paintings, Brandenburg is an award-winning poet and playwright. He won a Governor’s Award in 1997 for his journalistic writings. He also received the prestigious Know Your Neighbor award from Norman Arts and Humanities Council, honoring outstanding members of the Norman arts community. Brandenburg received a 1996 Merit Award at IAO for mixed media and won Best of Show in 1995 at the Paseo Fall Arts Festival.

After so many years honing his craft, Brandenburg said he likes to shake things up from time to time.

“I like to work in acrylic, collage, charcoal, ink and pencil,” he said. “I like to experiment, going through phases as many artists do.”

His work is regularly on display at JRB at the Elms, and he recently participated in a group show at Guymon’s Oklahoma Panhandle State University. Brandenburg has had exhibits in Dallas, New York, Kansas and Missouri.

Patrons visiting the Laundry Room exhibit will see some of the artist’s latest works, including “Cloud Horse” (pictured).

The new exhibit is on display now at The Depot, 200 S. Jones Ave., in Norman and runs through Aug. 28.

The Depot Art Gallery hours are 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and by appointment. Admission is free.

Exhibitions at The Depot are made possible by grants from Oklahoma Arts Council, Norman Arts Council and individual donors.

Print headline: Machine wash, A seemingly mundane task can sometimes provide the most colorful inspiration.

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Mark Beutler

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