Coutts Memorial Museum of Art

El Dorado, KS



The Beauty of the Outdoors: The Art of Melvin Redburn


"The Beauty of the Outdoors: The Art of Melvin Redburn" is on display at the Coutts Museum of Art through May 25, 2000. A special reception for the artist, public viewing and sale will be held at the museum on Sunday, May 7 from 2 - 4 p.m. (left: Post Cards)

Melvin Redburn is a native Kansan who was born and reared in El Dorado. As a boy he spent much time hiking and camping in the oil fields and the prairie lands of Butler County. With his love for drawing and keen interest in the protection and conservation of habitat, Redburn has become one of the few native Kansas wildlife artists working today. Largely a self-taught artist, Redburn's work is representational and mostly outdoors scenes created in oil, pastel and watercolor. After marrying a native El Dorado girl, Opal Clark, and serving in World War II, Redburn moved to Wichita where he was an electrician for twenty years. He later owned and operated an equipment rental store which included a gallery. Now retired from business, he spends more time painting the Flint Hills, old barns and wildlife.

A picture, we've heard, is worth a thousand words. That is an accurate description of Redburn's paintings. His patience, talent and avid interest in his subject matter has enabled Redburn to bring the outdoors indoors. Field trips, camera work and research are required for each painting before it takes form and comes to life on the canvas with minute detail and fine color sense.

A vivid sense of the sparse yet majestic beauty of the Great Plains and its inhabitants, past and present, provides the spark that kindles the creative fire of this Kansas artist. Redburn's love for the beauty of the outdoors is evident in all of his works whether it be the high country of the Rockies or the rolling plains of the Midwest. Redburn strives for realism in his wildlife and western art. He wants to preserve the memory of the buffalo roaming in the vast Flint Hills and the eagle soaring freely in the clouds.

The Flint Hills are an unending inspiration to him and his paintings. He calls it "Enduring Beauty, I am speaking of the Flint Hills of Kansas. Man has come and gone, but the Flint Hills still are alive with color and splendor. As a lover of wild life and the marvels of nature, I love the Flint Hills for all of its many colors as seasons change. Photographs or paintings can not capture the real beauty of feeling one gets when they are standing
in the tall grass and looking across the Flint Hills. Only a person's eyes and heart really can absorb the vastness of the beauty."

Probably one of his most viewed paintings is "Eagles in the Flint Hills" at the Kansas Fish and Game Park near Pratt. Redburn's paintings have been auctioned at Duck's Unlimited Banquets throughout the state and he has donated paintings to various groups and programs. His works are represented in the homes and offices of his private collectors in Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas.

Read more about the Coutts Memorial Museum of Art in Resource Library Magazine

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This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 2/1/11

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