The event, sponsored by the Southern Prairie Library System, is planned from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 22. Hostesses are Donna Tucker, Kathy Hale, Oneta Whitlock, Polly Benedict, Virginia Snell, Jennie Buchanan and Rose Fischer. Selected paintings will remain on exhibit at the library until Dec. 31.
During the past few years, both artists have won numerous best-of-show and first-place awards at southwest Oklahoma art shows, each incorporating a “loose or painterly” realism style. Chesser and Messerly teach painting classes at the library at different times during the year; Chesser instructs in watercolor and acrylics and Messerly chooses oils. Both artists paint portraits, still-life and landscapes and accept commission work; contact Chesser at 482-6830 and Messerly at 477-1822.
Chesser retired in 1994 after 24 years as first curator and director of Altus’ Museum of the Western Prairie, where she not only developed exhibits, guided expansions and presented programs but also painted murals (designed to enhance the museum’s artifacts) throughout the building. She also painted murals for the Oklahoma Historical Society Museum in Oklahoma City and the Chisholm Trail Museum in Waurika. She illustrated southwest Oklahoma history books written by her late husband, Cecil Chesser, academic dean at Western Oklahoma State College.
After studying art in college, Chesser attended numerous painting workshops to improve her skills in oil, watercolor, pastel and pencil drawing. “I’ve studied art anywhere I could find a good teacher,” Chesser said. “I’ve always been an artist at heart; I was drawing before I ever started to school. My lifelong dream has been to paint; it’s always been a part of me.”
Although Messerly received formal art education at Colorado University and North Texas University, she gained many of her artistic skills from reading and studying books on art and attending workshops. As a newcomer to southwest Oklahoma in 1979 (when her husband, Al, a retired Air Force command pilot, began working as a simulator flight instructor at Altus Air Force Base), she viewed the southwest Oklahoma landscape with fresh eyes.
“It’s an amazing area in Oklahoma,” Messerly said. “I show pictures of the Wichita Mountains and Quartz Mountains; and people say, ‘That can’t be Oklahoma.’ But it is and it’s beautiful. Some people have lived here all their lives and have never gone to the Wichita Mountains; they take it for granted.”
Messerly and her husband spend many weekends camping and hiking. She takes digital photographs and makes quick oil sketches for later reference in her studio. Although skilled in both watercolor and pen and ink, Messerly primarily uses oils to capture the beauty of the area and its wildlife and to express its character and feeling on canvas. She finds an endless variety of light, weather, terrain and seasons in the area for an inexhaustible source of inspiration for her artistry.