It should not surprise anyone who has seen the work of Harriet Douglas that she lived on a farm for most of her life. Although she and her husband now live in Rochester, they worked a farm near Byron for more than 40 years. Working from those experiences, Douglas paints country scenes and landscapes, and her work has been displayed throughout southeastern Minnesota.
Currently, her paintings are sold through Root River Artists (Preston) and the Mantorville Art Guild.
How would you describe your art?
I pretty much paint country scenes, or I could be called a landscape artist, I suppose. I like the realistic look. I paint because I believe it’s a God-given talent, and you shouldn’t waste it. Yes, there are other things that I can’t do, but I can do this. I enjoy doing it. It’s relaxing. I feel good while I’m doing it. It’s something I can do at home and be with my family.
Why do you paint rural life?
A lot of that is disappearing, and I would like to keep that up. I loved living on the farm. I enjoyed it, and I miss it. I miss the wildlife. We had turkeys. We had pheasants and deer, which would come through the yard. My husband had to chase fawns out of the way so he could mow our backyard. An eagle started to come just before we moved. I miss the wildlife, and the painting helps.
You started painting in 1969. When did your hobby turn into a career?
I got to join Root River artists in Preston. It’s a group of about eight people down there. We each get to hang about eight pictures at Transitions Assisted Living and at the Preston Public Library. (Currently, Douglas has work displayed at the Branding Iron Restaurant).
You have painted portraits of your grandchildren. Would you like to do more portraits?
I’ve been dabbling in portraits with my grandchildren. I’ve painted the two older boys and the two little ones. I like to dabble in it, but I wouldn’t like to do it for other people because I figure they could find someone who does it more often. It’s a lot harder than doing a landscape because who’s going to say that tree isn’t right? But they will say that hair isn’t right.
What’s next for you?
I’m enjoying working on the paintings inspired by our trip to New Mexico and Arizona last November. I took some snapshots of some pots. I saw a pair of cowboy hats and boots in a display, and I thought that would make a nice painting.