Bernie Sachs has always put an artistic flair on his work. Since his wife bought him his first set of paints more than 55 years ago, he’s continued to paint no matter his day job. Even as the owner of Bernie’s Mustang Lube and Brakes, he embellished the shop with a large mural.
Now Sachs, with his Kingsland and Marble Falls lube shops recently sold, is ready for a job that will make full use of his artistic skills: his very own gallery space and custom frame shop. It’s set to open in June at 212 Main St. in Marble Falls.
“God willing,” he cautioned.
Bernie’s Art Gallery and Custom Frame Shop isn’t his first gallery. Six years ago, he had another space on Main Street but closed it as his two lube shops took precedence. The itch to get back into a gallery of his own didn’t go away, though.
A little more than a year ago, Sachs was inspecting a car and said, “Lord, you know, it sure would be nice if I could reopen up on Main Street. I wonder where Russell Buster is.”
Buster was Sachs’ landlord of his first gallery. It was about then that Buster arrived at the lube shop.
“I was just talking to the Lord about you, just thirty seconds ago,” Sachs told Buster. “And he says, ‘Well he must have been listening.'”
Everything fell into place after that. Sachs’ was able to sell off his two oil change businesses with relative ease, slowed only by the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m not smart enough to orchestrate anything like this,” Sachs said. “It’s a God thing. Everything just fell into place like it was meant to be.”
At the front of Sachs’ gallery is a landscape painting he was initially creating as a model for a mural to go in one of his lube shops. The fine, detailed creation is an excellent example of his work.
“I just finished it, and I thought it was the quintessential Hill Country scene,” he said. “Every Hill Country scene I’ve ever seen usually has a windmill or a rugged road or a barbed wire fence and a beautiful, perfect oak tree. I want to see a scene that shows no sign of man whatsoever.”
His painting instead features a dead, weathered oak tree, its branches framing a longhorn and its calf. In the foreground is a rugged slab of stone with a bluebonnet peeking out of its cracks. A poem by Sachs gives further insight into the meaning of the painting. He does this with all of his works.
“Writing a line or two of poetry seems natural to me,” he said. “It helps me to capture the thought or idea that keeps floating through my mind while I work at bringing that painting to life. Hopefully, it brings some charm, maybe quirky humor now and then. Maybe, maybe a little wisdom from the observations made over a lifetime by the man who’s happy to confess his love for God, the creator of the universe and therefore the greatest artist of all.”
Sachs’ subject matter is varied. The gallery is divided into six sections: flora, fauna, landscapes, seascapes, “life as we live it,” and guy stuff. The final section is home to detailed, draftsman-like paintings of steam engine trains.
Walk with Sachs through his gallery, and he will tell you a story for each of his paintings, it seems.
“This is a dream come true,” Sachs said. “My motivation is to use my gifts and talents to bring some joy, maybe some wisdom, maybe some encouragement. I think my art can do that.”
Bernie’s Art Gallery and Custom Frame Shop is located at 212 Main St. in Marble Falls. Call 830-613-6611. Originals and prints are available. Prints are all reduced by 20 percent of the original’s size and cost one-tenth that of the original painting. Custom framing is offered, but prices vary by size and complexity of the project.