Two Teepees

Artist: Joan Marron (LaRue)

These teepees set against a backdrop of the Wichita Mountains in southwestern Oklahoma are an example of Joan Marron LaRue’s early work. The painting hung in the reception area of the Chief Justice at the State Capitol before being moved to the Oklahoma Judicial Center.

Born in a family farmhouse in western Oklahoma, LaRue has always had a love of nature and the outdoors. She felt drawn to art in high school, but a career as an artist seemed frivolous, so she studied fashion-arts instead, graduating from the University of Oklahoma in 1956. Afterwards, she taught at OU, worked in fashion merchandising and modeled part time.

In the 1960s, she moved to southeastern Oklahoma and found fashion industry opportunities lacking. She started painting and soon had shows and gallery openings. But LaRue wasn’t quite satisfied. She enrolled in classes and workshops, selecting instructors who were strong in the areas she felt were weak in her work.

Over time, she began to focus on plein-air landscape work. “Plein air” was originally used to describe how the French Impressionists worked outdoors, but has since expanded to include painters who work outside to capture the nuances of light and shadow on their subjects.

She later taught at the Oklahoma Museum of Art and has conducted workshops around the country with the Plein-Air Painters of America. She completed two murals in the Oklahoma Capitol for the State Senate in 1985. Her work has been exhibited in galleries in Oklahoma, Arizona, California and Colorado. LaRue has received honors from Plein-Air Painters Society, the California Art Club, Oil Painters of America and Cheyenne Frontier Days.

LaRue’s work is included in the collections of the Frye Museum, the Robert S. Kerr Conference Center and the Northwest Rendezvous Group. This painting was donated to the Art in Public Places collection by Betty Price, a fellow artist and former director of the Arts Council of Oklahoma, see page 75.