Mary Rasmussen earned her BA degree from Iowa State University with a major in Applied Arts. Her art education continued by attending painting workshops with teachers trained by the Arts Student League in New York City. She has traveled through Europe painting with Bill Earle and the Southwestern US over a period of 8 years with Ted Goerschner. She also attended the Bill and Nancy Bush School in Fredericksburg, TX and studied with such artists as Kim English and Scott Christensen. Mary was accepted into three shows of the American Women Artists organization and won a scholarship to study with Scott Jennings in Wisconsin. She has exhibited in the Jackson Hole Alliance Show three times. Mary has attended four Richard Schmid demonstrations and retrospective shows. Mary won an Honorable-Mention prize at a Florida invitational art show that was judged by Schmid. In addition, she has studied at workshops in the studio of Jim Wilcox in Jackson Hole, WY. Mary has attended four Prix de West shows in Oklahoma City’s National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum to attend artist’s lectures and demonstrations. Mary was accepted into three shows of the Oil Painters of America and was invited to join the organization by their membership committee. Mary has traveled the Southwestern US with fellow Midland, TX impressionist Doris Spires, sometimes joined by Don Parks, and Charles Pruitt practicing their plein air skills over many years and was the honored artist of Midland’s 1995 Celebration of the Arts. Her art career has even included doing one of a kind hand-painted designer jackets. Mary also has produced original art for greeting card companies that was sold in the New York and Dallas markets. She raised her children in and lives in Midland, TX. This is the 34th year she has shown in the Haley Memorial Library in Midland.
Charles N. Pruitt
Charles N. Pruitt enjoys painting primarily landscapes of the Southwest. In fact, he considers himself an "impressionist of the Southwest" because of his devotion to working from life, painting in oils directly from nature using the "alla prima" or "plein air" method. Using close observation of nature, the effects of light, composition and interpretation of values based on intuition, emotion and his experience, has led to a style described as spontaneous and honest.
He has won over 41 awards, locally and nationally, but one of his most prized awards was the honor of representing West Texas at an art show inside the Capitol Building in Washington D. C., 1977. In 1991 he was selected as the featured artist for the Celebration of the Arts Show, where he was honored with a special poster edition of Plum Blossoms. He has shown in the prestigious C.M. Russell Auction in Great Falls, Montana and was chosen as a Quick Draw participant in 1993 through 2004. His works have been juried into the Arts for the Parks for four years in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and the Allied Artist Annual Show in New York City. He received the Best of Show award in 1993, 1994 and 1998 at the Museum of the Southwest Regional Spring Show.
He has been a signature member of the Oil Painters of America since 1997. He is member of the Outdoor Painters Society and a Past President of the Midland Art Association. He is a member of the Southwest Impressionist that has exhibited annually since 1988 at the Haley Memorial Library.
Don L. Parks is a professional artist who strives to capture on canvas God's creation. Raised in Seymour, Texas, he spent his summers working on a farm where he observed nature (his chosen art subject matter). His background includes the U.S. Air Force, agricultural economist, trust banker, artist. Don has B.S. and M.S. degrees from Texas Tech. While a student at Tech, he discovered art books in the library and was inspired to begin painting. He was a watercolor artist for 15 years until 1985, when he switched to oil painting. He has been painting full time since 2004.
Don paints in a slightly impressionist style, using a simple execution frequently done on location. He believes painting outside is where an artist learns to see color in the landscape. For almost 35 years, he has painted smaller paintings in “plein air” and has done hundreds of these small field studies on location (ranging from Nantucket Island off the east coast to Catalina Island off the west coast). These studies are used as a “reference library” for proper color in large paintings done in the studio. His subject matter is now predominately the southwestern United States. His observations and technique produce art that allows others to enjoy glimpses of our world.
Some artists under whom Don has studied include James Boren, Ted Goeschner, William Earle, Ovanes Berberian, Clyde Aspevig, Matt Smith and Scott Christensen.
Don is appreciative of how Minda, his wife of 55 years, has supported his art endeavors. Don and Minda have two grown children, Charla and Brint, and four grandchildren.
“I am very blessed that I have the opportunity to enjoy God’s creation through painting. I hope that I may share some of that beauty through my art. Life for this artist is a ‘blast’”. D.L.P.