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Louise Theis painting
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Louise Thies umbrella
By Lauren Young
Louise Thies finds her greatest inspiration in open air. That’s why she specializes in plein air painting, a method of painting originally popular in the early 20th century. The method is characterized by the fact that paintings are created outdoors.
Much like more recognized plein air painters—Claude Monet, for instance—light is critical to Louise’s paintings. Once she finds a scene she would like to paint, she has to paint it quickly before the sun moves. The result is beautiful images bathed in a soft light.
Before painting full time, Louise worked as a taxidermist. Even then, she worked in an artistic manner. As she puts it, she sculpted the animals as she worked with them.
Louise has always loved art. It started at a very young age while living in Houston, Texas. On her website, she tells fans of her work she was “consumed with copying the Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck that were on her hand-me-down chalkboard instead of practicing her alphabet.” A self-declared art nerd in high school, she was offered a scholarship to go to art school. But her father would not let her go because he insisted “there are too many starving artists.”
Louise moved to Missouri in the early ’80s, and after being unsuccessful in finding a job, she opened her taxidermy shop, which had originally only been a hobby. It wasn’t until she was two classes away from completing her biology degree at Southwest Missouri State University, now Missouri State University, that her love for art fully resurfaced. One of the classes she took was art history, and she loved it so much that Louise changed her degree to art education. But she quickly realized her teaching style did not mesh with the regimented education system, so she never became a teacher. Instead, Louise turned to her own painting and never looked back. She has been painting full time for 12 years.
“I just go full force,” Louise says. “I want to be the absolute best at what I do.” At 50 years old, she finds inspiration everywhere and loves new knowledge.
Louise uses oil to paint a variety of subjects from landscapes to people to animals. One such painting, The Perfect Male, was created while she was taking care of her son’s Rottweiler. While the dog was lying on the floor she decided to paint it, and as Louise puts it, it turned out pretty well.
The painting of her son’s dog will most likely not be sold; however, Louise does sell her art in galleries in Missouri and Texas. Currently her paintings can be found in Missouri at The Hawthorn Gallery in Springfield, MacCreed’s Art Gallery in Lebanon, and The Vine at Osage Beach. Her paintings range in price from $350 to $1,800 depending on the size of the work.
Besides painting, Louise also does etchings on stone for several monument companies. For one of her etchings, she recreated a man’s favorite painting on his gravestone. Painting, however, is still her favorite.
“There is just so much you can say through painting that I haven’t found in any other medium. It calms me.”