History

McGuinness, 1964Since my birth in 1947, my life has been very interesting and couldn’t have been easier.  Born with Arthrogryposis, I was being carried around by loving people, and rolled around by family and good friends.  My most vivid childhood memories include an adventure in the second grade when schoolmates attached a long plank to my wheelchair and pushed me as fast as possible to see if I could fly.  I spent many summers at OKC’s Crippled Children’s Hospital having surgeries, some successful, some not.  I realized I was different but drawing, being absorbed in drawing.  Helen, my Mom, the world’s greatest encourager and Johnny, my Dad, “oh be brave”, there to share the pain.  But pain is fleeting, especially with artwork to take my attention.  Christ the King grade school spent doodling in my textbooks.  Sophmore year at McGuinness High School, art class and a new teacher, Sister Stephen, while we worked on our projects, she played and explained classical music or showed slides of famous artists' work.  I was included in art shows at the Science and Arts Foundation.  In 1964 I won first place in a national art show, and it was announced over the loud speakers at school.  Very exciting stuff.  The Oklahoma Museum of Art had shows at local shopping malls, which I entered, won many awards, and sold drawings and paintings, making money doing something I loved.  Rewarding on all levels.

Then to OU, really an adventure, art school, the only building on campus without an elevator.  But friends picked me up and off I went feet first.  In 1967 a new outdoor venue opened up in downtown OKC, the Festival of the Arts; I participated for 35 years.  After I graduated in 1967 I had my studio in my Mom’s gift shop in OKC.  It worked out well for 7 years as I painted and exhibited and sold my artwork.  The OK Foundation for the Disabled, an activity center for severely disabled adults, asked me to make Christmas cards for a fundraising project.  I donated 5 drawings a year through 1978.  It was a great success for the foundation in large part because of public service ads by TV stations, which showcased me and my drawings.

I married in 1978.  Patricia was a second grade teacher with 3 boys and then the real adventure began.  While she was still teaching we traveled to various art festivals and showings.  We were a team having fun and starting a new business and a new chapter of our lives. Then in 1986 we decided to open our own gallery and frame shop.  Patricia and her friend Sandra went to Jackson, MS to learn picture framing.  At last we had a place for people to come to us. What an exciting thing to design our own gallery.  We had great customers, friends, and collectors that propelled us forward.  Patricia’s parents were steadfast advocates of my artwork and her mother, Louise, especially wanted me to experience Europe.  They took us  on a cruise around the British Isles in 1995. Later we were able to travel to France, Italy, Greece, Russia and Africa for new subject matter.  My world had expanded with great family and the opportunity to plan for wonderful life experiences. We bought our first Airstream trailer, a mobile studio and home, and camped in picturesque wilderness areas over the western U.S. for many years.   Our very capable gallery manager and friend, Heather enabled us to be away from the gallery.  Our website became an important aspect of our business beyond our physical gallery.  With so many years of artistic experience, getting older allows one to adjust and relax as conditions evolve and change.  We closed our gallery in 2006 and embarked on a new life with our time divided between our home in OKC and condos in S. FL, and Crested Butte, CO.  gregburns-fineart.com has become more important.  I’m working about as hard as before, still enjoying drawing and painting trying to depict to the best my ability the things that I see.