This summer, the Cole Gallery at the Pearl Fincher Museum of Fine Arts will be transformed into a world of color and imagination with Keittoodles by local artist and retired teacher Beth Brubaker.
Keittoodles at the Pearl will feature more than 50 pieces from the Land of Keittoodles in an interactive environment where children can explore their Colorworld. From a “magical” boat to the map that leads them through different “lands” of color, children will be immersed in color and wonder everywhere they look.
Beth Brubaker has been drawing since she was a young child and spent 40 years teaching K-12 art at Christian schools in the Houston area.
Her Keittoodles began when she was on hall duty at school one day. After gathering papers that protected the floor while her students painted, she started doodling on paint splotches and began to see faces. Her students noticed characters as well, saying, “This one wants to be a princess,” or “That one wants to be a soldier.”
It didn’t take long for the characters to take on their own lives and get into each other’s business. “They had to interact with each other because they were so close together,” she says.
The cast of characters includes jesters and clowns, dragons, prophets, fairies, and nearly always the faces of Brubaker’s beloved dogs.
Elizabeth Keitt (thus Keittoodles) was born in the small Central Texas town of Hubbard, the oldest of four children. Her parents encouraged her to play outdoors and nurture her imagination along with her art. After moving to Henderson, Texas, at age 8, she increasingly sketched things she loved from nature. After studying art and education at Baylor University, she moved to Houston to marry her college sweetheart, Jim Brubaker.
Brubaker’s work retains a childlike wonder, with characters displaying emotional honesty that hints at more profound truths.
“God allows me to see whatever I’m supposed to be doing,” says Brubaker. “The whole point is to make you look deeper. The more you look, the more you see.”