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With a Bold Brush

Two portraits painted by Artist Patrick Geary on display in the Woody Guthrie Center Archives' Research Room.

Two portraits painted by Artist Patrick Geary on display in the Woody Guthrie Center archives’ research room.

We have some new permanent additions to the Woody Guthrie Center, and we couldn’t be more pleased! Artist Patrick Geary has donated six large acrylic portraits of Woody Guthrie to the archives. These portraits were created in December 2011 as part of the celebration of Woody’s 100th birthday. They were on display at the Gilcrease Museum of Art from February 5, 2012 through April 29, 2012 as part of the exhibit,
“Woody at 100: The Woody Guthrie Centennial Celebration.” This event was produced in collaboration with The GRAMMY Museum, and Woody Guthrie Archives.

“I was born with a brush in my hand,” Patrick said to me, as we discussed the transfer of the paintings and where they would best be suited on display in the Center. Using thick flat brush strokes and bold colors in cool and warm tones, Patrick has perfectly brought to life the passionate spirit of Woody.

Two portraits can be found in the main gallery at the Center, and I have the pleasure of having four of them in the archives research area! My favorite is a portrait of Woody wearing a cap and looking at the viewer with a penetrating gaze, a look I have noticed in many of his images. They say still waters run deep…

Artist Patrick Geary signs the back of one of six Woody Guthrie Portraits he painted in December  2011.

Artist Patrick Geary signs the back of one of six Woody Guthrie portraits he painted in December 2011.

Perhaps what I find most fascinating, however, is how these images set the room alive and bring the Center’s open floor space together. The two portraits on the wall outside of the classroom direct the attention of viewers to another portrait behind my desk in the archives. I find it very synchronous that as I learn more about Woody intellectually, my outer space becomes more filled and enriched visually. The walls that were once a blank canvas are now becoming filled to reveal boldness, passion, sensitivity, and sincerity. It is this sincerity that I believe many artists strive to capture, and Patrick has revealed this through the brush he was born with. -Kate