'I knew when I was a little kid that I had some talent'


November 12, 2023

Marione Martin

Robert Bryan'd art ranges from wildlife, horses and sporting dogs to scenics. He is one of the featured artists in the "Art on the Western Plains" exhibit at Graceful Arts Gallery in Alva.

A childhood talent drew Robert Bryan back in during mid-life. Now that he's retired from business, he has a little more time to devote to painting. He says he still has difficulty carving out painting time. There are grandchildren, and he still works with cattle.

Bryan grew up in southern Kansas but moved to northwest Oklahoma around the Okeene area when he was 6 years old. During high school he moved to Hennessey, and he still lives there today.

"Art was always interesting to me. I knew when I was a little kid that I had some talent for it, and people seemed to be impressed with what I could do," said Bryan.

"For some reason, I didn't pursue it in college and took up business. I took business classes at Oklahoma State, graduated and got into the business world where I spent most of my life."

He worked mainly in banking and insurance. "In my 40s, I realized that maybe I had enough patience to settle down and start doing it (art) again. So I started taking some drawing classes. Some of those developed into painting classes," he said. "I finally ended up working with oils as much as anything. That's pretty much what I do now.

"I do a little bit of drawing for people. I do some consignment work. People who know me know what I like to do and what interests. I don't take a lot of things that I'm not too interested in. It's kind of a luxury. I work at my own pace, and it works out pretty good."

In recent years, Bryan has narrowed his interests to wildlife, horses and sporting dogs. "I like doing bird dogs and that sort of thing," he said. His display at Graceful Arts Gallery in Alva this month features one of those bird dog paintings and another of a horse.

As for inspiration, Bryan said, "I've always enjoyed it, and it's always inspired me to see good, great work by other people. I became a member of the Cowboy Hall of Fame and just enjoy going down there to see their Pres de West, and draw some inspiration from that too."

Bryan doesn't have a website, but you can look him up on Facebook under Robert Bryan. He left some cards at Graceful Arts Gallery where you can get his contact information.

"I've enjoyed it, and it's been kind of a release to get back to painting," Bryan said about his return to art.


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