Retired teacher brings Old West to life with art

Mark Whitacre

Painting by Mark Whitacre

Local Painter Mark Whitacre says he looks small before looking big in his paintings, meaning he takes careful notice of the fine details in a small area before looking at the big picture. It helps explain his collection of small detail brushes in his studio.


Artist Mark Whitacre has found a secret worth knowing.
“I think the secret to anything is how good are you at fixing mistakes,” Mark Whitacre said.

He is well known in the Lebanon area as a retired math teacher at Lebanon High School and for his ongoing work as an assistant Yellowjacket football coach.

Whitacre applies this philosophy to his art.

Whitacre, now 66, did his first painting in 1971. He had always drawn and sketched and doodled, but he did not get serious about art until he decided to major in it in at Missouri Western in St. Joseph, Mo. in 1969, a major he soon changed.

“That art department was so wild I couldn’t go there every day. It was way out there. It was not my thing,” Whitacre said.
Whitacre met a well known artist at Missouri Western.

Whitacre was on the Missouri Western rodeo team, and George Flett, a fellow rodeo fan from Spokane, Wash., inspired him to pursue his art.

Flett is famous for his ledger art, painting on sheets of paper from old ledgers used at cavalry posts and the like.

Flett was also the curator of the museum in St. Joseph.

He employed Whitacre and allowed him to go through the artifacts at the museum and helped him with painting technique.

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