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Dawn, Quartz Mountain

by Carol Beesley

oil on canvas
Dimensions: 72 x 72
Gift of the Artist, 2014

Dawn, Quartz Mountain by Carol Beesley

The Artwork

Quartz Mountain has been the location of many artistic discoveries over the years. The beautiful locale has served as retreat for aspiring artists of all disciplines. In this scene, the artist captures the puzzle-like rock formations that rise from and submerge into the lake as the reflected sunlight enhances the vibrancy of the red-toned earth. Shadows cast from an unseen formation, help the viewer understand the Sun's placement in the sky while also providing a dynamic counterpoint to the rest of the formation which is bathed in sunlight. The viewer's attention is drawn to the water's surface through the artist's use of long gentle ripples and the reflection of the protruding rock formation. Through the use of the complementary colors of blue and orange, the artist has created a scene which allows the sky to seemingly recede behind the distant rocks. Complimentary colors are used again, when the artist presents red stones which advance to the foreground and deep green trees which find a home atop the densely packed rocks.

The Artist

Carol Beesley earned her Master of Art degree with an emphasis in ceramics and graphics from the University of Dallas in 1970 and her Master of Fine Art degree with an emphasis in ceramics and design from UCLA in 1973. Beesley then began a 24 year career as a professor at the University of Oklahoma. Upon her retirement in 1997, she moved to Santa Fe where she painted and continued to teach. She lived there for 12 years before University of Oklahoma President David Boren commissioned her to create artwork for the Schusterman Learning Center on the Tulsa campus of OU. She began traveling back and forth between Oklahoma and New Mexico during the commission, and it was then that she realized Oklahoma was where she belonged. She moved back to Oklahoma in 2009.
Beesley’s work has been featured in solo exhibitions around the world and honored with many awards including: the 2000 Juror’s Choice Award at “Art In the Woods” in Overland, Kansas; 1999 commissioned stained glass window for the Catlett Music Center, University of Oklahoma; 1997 commissioned painting by the College of Fine Arts, University of Oklahoma to honor Dean David G. Woods; and 1995 painting presented by President David Boren to the Board of Regents, University of Oklahoma Center, Tulsa, OK. In 1998, Beesley completed a mural based on the geological formations of the Arbuckle Mountains found in southeastern Oklahoma. The mural was installed at the University of Oklahoma on September 14, 1998, and was dedicated to her late husband, Composer Michael Hennagin (1936-1993).

Carol Beesley’s expressive landscape paintings work as notations of what she has seen in a mix with the imagination. Using hues of pink, chartreuse, and turquoise, Beesley heightens the color in the painting while meticulously rendering the land formation in her compositions. For years, she has collected postcards, marveling at their idealizations, designs and their chemical color, particularly the cyan blue skies, and these served as her sources. Later she came to photograph the beautiful places which she visited including Quartz Mountain, the Arbuckles, and the Great Salt Plains. “I try to get the heart of the place and just express my experience of it,” says the artist. She continues, “My paintings are, in a sense, an extension of the experience people have. It is heightened and more intense when you remember it. And, I want people to be joyous when they see my paintings.”