Enjoy a local treasure


Want to go to a lovely timeless place that is warm and welcoming and makes you feel that all is well with the world regardless of the reality surrounding your daily life? I know such a place; it is within walking distance of my home and easily within driving distance for you.

Several paintings by renowned Darke County artist Robert Brubaker are currently on display at Garst Museum, and will remain on view in the Lowell Thomas Meeting Room through December; I highly recommend a visit to take in the charm and wonder of this local treasure trove.

Bob Brubaker, a skilled local artist and teacher, combined naturalism with Impressionism in his acclaimed work filled with beauty. The exhibit consists of 13 Brubaker paintings recently donated to Garst Museum by Park National Bank, along with seven other works given to Darke County Center for the Arts’ Anna Bier Gallery. Katie Gabbard, marketing director for Garst Museum and an artist herself, says that Brubaker was an amazing artist whose talent is apparent in both his oils and watercolors.

“I love the bold strokes in his oils, his ability to balance light with darkness that may look somewhat choppy and chaotic up close, but when one steps back exhibits warmth and rich depth,” she says.

A beautiful winter scene depicting two deer in a winter landscape under a glowing sky is one of Katie’s favorites, and easily demonstrates the truth of her analysis of Brubaker’s abilities. She also treasures the fact that the picture “really reflects our area.” “You can tell it’s a Darke County scene,” she proudly stated.

Another work much admired by Katie is a still life featuring luscious fruit and illustrating Brubaker’s great understanding of shape and his inherent ability to paint what he saw. “He makes beautiful things happen in his use of saturated color,” she explained, going on to say that she loves the cut of the cantaloupe ridges, the appealing fruit appearing “full of juice.”

Cantaloupes are featured in another still life which also includes succulent onions and gourds arrayed before a pot of perky black-eyed susans, while a third painting features burnished apples near a bowl containing cascading yellow blossoms. Shapely crocks dominate another evocative painting of onions, while an old lantern and dented bucket provide the charming background for more of those lifelike pungent orbs.

Brubaker’s remarkable ability to recreate what he saw is also evident in two pieces featuring duck decoys; in one, the decoys resting on a beautiful paint-spattered drop cloth display realistic dimension, while a lone decoy blends into a lush depiction of beautifully arranged flowers and vegetables in the other. Portraits of local iconic figures are on display, one featuring Richard Ackley in full native American regalia, his rugged face thoughtfully expressing strength and resilience, and another showing a youthful Annie Oakley, wearing a cowboy hat and grasping a rifle.

Familiar landscapes recreated in watercolor complete the exhibit, emphasizing the quiet beauty that surrounds us in all seasons. In one, a farmhouse sits by the green banks of a clear blue stream at dusk, while in another morning shadows creep across the rural landscape featuring a red barn. Two of the watercolors evoke Fall on the farm; a red combine harvests golden grain in one, while in another Holstein cattle graze in a field shaded by trees cloaked in autumn leaves. Completing the cycle illustrating seasonal beauty, snow covers the ground as the sun sets over an inviting farmstead in an evocative winter scene. A stately red barn looking somewhat like a medieval castle dominates another inviting watercolor, while a charming brick house with white rocking chairs adorning its porch stands by a meandering stream in another, the enticing shadows adding intrigue to the enchanting picture.

Garst Museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. In addition to reveling in the beauty of Bob Brubaker’s work, you can also take a tour of local history during your visit if you wish; however, to wander throughout the Museum admission fees will apply. And remember, masks are required for entry to Garst Museum.


By Marilyn Delk


Marilyn Delk is the former executive director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

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