“Ya gotta have art” is the theme of Donald L. Houseman’s life.
Houseman, a 1972 art history graduate, will be presenting his work at the Rourke Art Gallery, Moorhead, April 6- May 27.
Although he was inspired by art in early childhood, challenging his classmates for the single easel in kindergarten, it wasn’t until high school where he found his “voice.” He also fondly remembers his years at Concordia with mentors and instructors Cyrus Running, Dean Bowman, Elizabeth Strand and Orland Rourke. He credits Strand for being very influential in his life and helping to shape his path forward.
“These wonderful people shaped my art teaching career … and now my art career,” the artist said. “Of course, how can I measure the impact of Concordia in my life without also mentioning Dr. Walther Prausnitz?”
Instead of George Bernard Shaw’s “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach” Houseman believes those who choose to teach do so “because they can” and he spent 34 years of his life teaching art.
After retiring from teaching in 2006, Houseman returned to his own art and, in addition to paintings and woodcuts, decided he wanted to leave something to his eight grandchildren so he began writing children’s books. His stories revolve around his rural and small town experiences and love of nature and grand old buildings.
Houseman’s show, “Barns Are Noble,” is a series of paintings dealing with the Great American Barns of the Midwest. The show will be presented in the gallery rooms on the second floor of the Rourke. One room will include the original artwork of his illustrations and paintings from his self-published children’s books, “Harvey and His Friends,” and another will hold a collection of the artist’s woodcut prints.
There will be a member’s only opening from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, April 6, at the Rourke. The show opens to the public at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 7, with a book signing, followed by the Artist Talk at 2 p.m. in the upstairs galleries.
Houseman previously presented in 2016 at the Rourke with other artists from Studio 10 of the Bemidji, Minn., area and he’s excited and honored to be invited back. He is also hoping to work with the Rourke’s Educational Outreach programs to present artist talks to young artists from F-M area schools.
“I am honored and excited to have this showing of my ‘Barns Are Noble’ series of paintings and my original pen and ink drawings from my ‘Harvey and His Friends’ children’s books at the Rourke Gallery,” Houseman said.
Houseman lives north of Bemidji with his wife, Janet (Pistone) ’73, in Tenstrike and spent his teaching career in Blackduck. He has presented “one-man” shows across Minnesota, is a member of Studio 10, spends summers presenting his art at festivals around the state, and makes presentations to art groups both young and old.
In 2010, Houseman launched his business, Stuff on Paper, which was named by his oldest son after he said, “Dad, it’s just a bunch of stuff on paper.” You can find his work at stuff-on-paper.blogspot.com.