A trio of artists are sharing their figurative works, still lifes and landscapes with the Coutts Memorial Museum of Art for an exhibit which opens Friday.



Originally, museum co-director Terri Scott had tapped Skeet Sirmons to headline a show alone, but the artist decided he’d not likely have enough work to fill a gallery by himself. At Sirmons’ suggestion, the museum approached Mary Binford Miller and Nancy Whitaker to fill the gaps.


A trio of artists are sharing their figurative works, still lifes and landscapes with the Coutts Memorial Museum of Art for an exhibit which opens Friday.

Originally, museum co-director Terri Scott had tapped Skeet Sirmons to headline a show alone, but the artist decided he’d not likely have enough work to fill a gallery by himself. At Sirmons’ suggestion, the museum approached Mary Binford Miller and Nancy Whitaker to fill the gaps.

“We were trying to find compatible artists to show with him,” Scott said. “Actually, he’s in another group with [Miller and Whitaker] in Wichita.”

The public is invited to attend an open reception to meet the artists and view their work from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday. Sirmons will present an Art Talk at 7 p.m. and will host a drawing for one of his paintings at the conclusion of his talk for those in attendance.

Sirmons lives in Wellington and is not only an artist, but also a musician and songwriter. His early days were filled with time at the kitchen table drawing images from an old set of encyclopedias.

After many years of working with pencil he decided to try his hand with paint. Watercolor was his first choice but after a year of working in that medium he moved to oil.

“Oil paint is a very forgiving medium and I need all the forgiveness I can get,” Sirmons said. “I love oil paint, I love the smell of it, I love the way it looks and feels on the painting surface. There’s nothing else like it.”

Primarily self-taught, he says he’s really just a beginner constantly looking for new ways to grow as a painter.

Miller lives outside El Dorado, but grew up in Liberal among wheat fields and cattle ranches. Cows and horses were abundant, as were beautiful sunsets. She learned to love the Midwest landscape and those who live upon it.

As a child, she was surrounded by the paintings of her great uncle, Wayman Adams, who has been her life-long influence. As a 10-year-old, her parents enrolled her in an oil painting class and she has painted continuously since.

“I paint to give myself and the viewer joy,” Miler said. “I choose to not paint the sadness in the world. My work is not twisted or dark just to try to make my mark in the art world. It is full of color and comfort.

“I love to paint children and young animals when the world is pure and good and sunrises when the mornings are new and fresh and full of possibilities. I love being alive.”

Whitaker is an artist and also a registered nurse who resides in Wichita. She works almost exclusively in oils with landscapes being her specialty. Old buildings and structures are favorite subjects which seem to find their way into her paintings. She enjoys the character evoked in their aging process.

“Art is more than a hobby to me,” Whitaker said. “It is a full-time passion. Everything I see, I picture in a painting. I feel fortunate to be able to spend my hours doing what I love.”

The exhibit will be on display until May 28. The museum is open Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 321-1212.

Also, look for a new program coming to the Coutts at 2 p.m. on May 10 called “Art See.” Scott encourages all to “come and learn how to look at a work of art in a new way.”