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2 local artists will exhibit landscapes at Pride Gallery

The Pride Gallery will feature local artists Ginny O'Leary and Kristine Lee Lantgen for a combined exhibition, "Deep Oklahoma Roots and World Traveler."

Although O'Leary grew up in Oklahoma City, she has been a patron of the Lawton arts community for as long as any local can remember. She's lived in Lawton for 55 years, to be exact, and her time here has been devoted to the arts. Her presence has graced the stage of Lawton Community Theatre and her art has hung in various local galleries and people's homes. But her combined exhibition at the Pride Gallery will only be her second time for her paintings to be mounted on the medical center's walls.

"When she (Diana Brown, gallery executive director) asked me, I think, two years ago, I said that was optimism. She books ahead," O'Leary said.

Her portion of the exhibition will consist of landscapes of all sizes featuring forests, mountains and open fields, but they're all done in shades of blue, green and yellow.

"I like the colors," she said. "I don't know; they just appeal to me. I like the colors of the trees in the fall, spring when they're green."

But with her paintings, she wants viewers to see beyond the canvas.

"One thing I like to have in my landscapes is the thought that there's something else behind the tree or in the glade or in the tree, someplace there's a deer hiding or a couple having a picnic," she said. "I imagine that, and I want the people that look at them to see what they see back there in the glade or the trees or the creek."

O'Leary used to paint her landscapes plein air, but as the years went by she began to paint from photographs she has taken on her travels, photographs given to her by friends, from images she finds on the internet or simply straight from her memory.

"I'll remember or I'll see a picture on Facebook that someone has posted and I'll just have a memory of it," O'Leary said. "I'll do a little sketch and then use that as a guide for a painting."

She's looking forward to showing at the Pride Gallery because she enjoys visiting with other local patrons, but she's also hoping people will take some of her pieces home.

"That kind of validates your work as an artist," she said. "But that's not why I paint  I paint for my own enjoyment. But it is nice when someone wants your paintings to hang in their own home to look at or share or to give."

Since she retired in 2014, Lawton has become Lantgen's home. She moved from Virginia Beach, Va., to Lawton in 1991 after accepting a position at Fort Sill as the training services officer and visual information manager. Before taking up permanent residence in Southwest Oklahoma, Lantgen was born to an Air Force family, which allowed her to travel to England, Puerto Rico and all over the United States. She attended California State University, Long Beach, and upon graduation she taught art for four years in South Los Angeles, after which she moved to Sitka, Alaska, where she taught art to Native American students from across the state.

"Because art is a rich part of their heritage I think I learned as much from them as they learned from me," she said. "Also, the landscape there is incredibly beautiful, so any artist can't help but be inspired by it."

Her landscape paintings are what will be on display for her portion of the Pride Gallery exhibition. Her portion will include five to six oil paintings  one is based on a photograph she took while visiting family in California, while three are based on photos taken by her daughter and son-in-law's trip to Ireland. She will also have watercolors on display. Some will be on traditional watercolor paper, while several will be on watercolor canvas.

The Lawton Constitution

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