Burneta Venosdel

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Burneta Venosdel is a fourth-generation granddaughter of an 1896 Oklahoma land run pioneering family on both sides of her family. Venosdel has had the love of the land and animals instilled in her from an early age, riding the untouched hills and washes on the northwestern land from the time she could sit a horse. Running through the undisturbed pastures of short buffalo grass and large divots of ‘buffalo wallers’ in the land which remained, as a reminder of the past of which she would never see in her lifetime, only to imagine. The remaining ‘buffalo hollers’ made by the thousands of bison, filled with water after spring rains and stirred the imagination of what it must be to have been like only four generations earlier as she ran barefoot through the natural wading pools.

Venosdel  at the age of eight, took art lessons from a local artist who painted the landscape of the area, but never got to realize her dream to become an artist until  she was in her thirties when she took art classes at Northeastern State College, now known as Northeastern Oklahoma State University, at Tahlequah, later completing BFA degree in Educaton at the Missouri University, Columbia. Her first teaching job was in the middle of a Missouri wheatfield where a small school was built on land donated by a farmer.  After a year Venosdel landed a teaching job at a small school in Osage County in Northern Oklahoma where she taught art to ranch kids whose parents were foremen on large ranches. Eventually retiring from a large school in the middle of the Cherokee nation and working with the Cherokee cultural center teaching all the native crafts like pottery, and flute building and fine art to the native children anchored her love for the native peoples. Teaming up with the Cherokee Nation afforded her a chance to help teach the Cherokee language through a small production of a Claymation video produced by her students which garnished an award at the Cherokee National Holiday and eventually being placed in the Heard Museum. Venosdel’s art journey as a professional artist didn’t begin until nine years after her retirement in 2004, after moving back to western Oklahoma to take care of ailing parents. The love of the land was renewed and out of the clay from the earth and petroleum under the surface, Venosdel created sculptures of cattle, horses, and people of the plains, from oil=based clay to be turned into bronze. Venosdel loves pastels because it is still working with the earth elements and a direct application of pastels through drawing and painting. Venosdel was chosen to teach a month-long camp as sculpting instructor at Schreiner University in 2019 to forty-eight 0f the cream of the crop art scholastic winners of the famed Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Art Scholarship Competition. Venosdel has two sculptures in Oklahoma Historic site Museums. A bust of Set-Tainte’, commissioned by the Great granddaughter of the Chief and was installed with a ‘cedaring ceremony’ at the Indian Journey Museum at Fort Sill, placing it next to his War Shield. The second sculpture, honoring her heritage, is located at the Sod House Museum in western Oklahoma in a region where Venosdel’s great grandparents came into Oklahoma. Venosdel lives on a small ranch near Tahlequah, the Cherokee Capitol of Oklahoma, with her husband Dick where they raise Fleckvieh-influenced Registered Simmental cattle.


“I have always had a very strong connection to the land, and the sense of where I came from and the struggles of all peoples over time. As an artist I feel an obligation to paint and sculpt what I know and what is important to me. I try to record those things that represent the land. I am indeed blessed to be from strong pioneering stock and also realize the frailty of the eco-system, the plight of the Native Americans and the ‘manifest destiny’ of my German-Irish roots.”

Works by Burneta Venosdel

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