"I paint from life," said Dallas Mayer about her work which she will exhibit at The Art Center in Dumas beginning August 15. "I like to paint people, animals, and landscapes. That is my thing."
Mayer prefers to paint en plain air, which means she goes outside, sets up her easel, and paints nature as she sees it in natural light. "You can really see the colors," she said.
She also likes to paint live models, human and animal: cowboys, buffalo, cattle, wildlife. "My husband gets painted a lot," she said. "He always says, 'Models are the unsung heroes of the art world.'" As for animals, "I try to paint with emotion and allow people to feel the emotion of my animals. I really like to paint the animals' eyes and get their personalities."
Mayer doesn't have to go far to find subjects. In addition to being an artist, she and her husband, Jim, run a working cattle ranch near the town of Hooker Oklahoma. The Mayers produce natural beef cattle. Jim is an authentic cowboy, and when Dallas is not painting, she can often be found with a branding iron in her hand. Her art, primarily oil panting, is inspired by and reflects the open air life she leads on the ranch. She doesn't limit herself to scenes of her Oklahoma ranch, however. She can often be found painting en plain air in Palo Duro Canyon, New Mexico, Kansas, and elsewhere. She loves mountains and a place outside Hardesty, Oklahoma where she grew up called "Lightning Point." As a girl she could see this hill that was regularly struck by lightening from her bedroom window. She often features it in her work.
Mayer calls the Dumas show "Made in the USA, the Cowgirl Way." It features 85 paintings, more than 20 of which she painted just for the Dumas show. A highlight of the show, she said, is an extremely large painting that was recently exhibited in the Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport as part of a program by the Amarillo Convention and Visitor Council to showcase art that reflects the heritage and culture of the Texas Panhandle. "I am extremely proud of that painting," said Mayer. She added that the works she will exhibit in the Dumas show will be a wide variety of sizes and prices, not just paintings for people with airport-sized walls.
Since she began painting decades ago at the suggestion of her mother-in-law, also an artist, Mayer has exhibited in Amarillo, Taos, Canadian, and elsewhere. She currently has works hanging in the Embassy Suites Hotel in Amarillo as part of a joint Cerulean Gallery/Amarillo Art Institute exhibition. She will participate in an exhibition next spring in Enid, Oklahoma to commemorate the 1893 Oklahoma Land Run, another time when her art will reflect her life. Her ancestors took part in the Oklahoma Land Run. She maintains a gallery and studio a short distance from her home in Hooker where she exhibits work and teaches classes to aspiring artists. The upcoming exhibition in Dumas will be Mayer's first one-woman show in Dumas, but it is not the first time her work has appeared at The Art Center. She has contributed work to past group exhibitions.
"It is kind of my life," said Mayer describing her relationship to her art. There is another relationship that is also important to her: "I love the Lord. When I go to the easel I do a lot of praying." She said she is grateful for her talent and the ability to share it with others.
Mayer's exhibition in Dumas begins August 15 with a reception at The Art Center from 2:00 to 4:00 pm.