Mary Lasater’s life is infused with art.
Her own work and the work of other artists cover the walls of her home; furniture that she painted in brightly colored designs decorates her porch; and the landscaping around her house is lush and beautifully manicured.
“Creativity is a thing all through my house, not just artwork on the wall,” Lasater said. “It’s not just about the artwork, it’s about everything. Art should surround you. I even have lots of paintings at my office.”
Lasater, 64, was born and raised in Victoria, and graduated from Victoria High School. She is an artist and interim associate dean for the School of Education, Health Professions and Human Development at the University of Houston-Victoria. She also taught art at Crain Junior High School and Patti Welder Middle School.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in art education from the University of Texas at Austin in 1977. Later, she earned her master’s degree in special education from the University of Houston-Victoria and her doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Houston-Main Campus.
“I have never stopped making art,” she said. “I grew up around artists.”
Her mother painted with oils and pastels, and her grandfather painted with oils and practiced “anything he could get his hands on.”
Confined to a wheelchair, her grandfather liked to stay busy with his hands and his endeavors included caning furniture, knitting and carving. Wooden duck decoys that he carved are in a museum in Louisiana where he lived.
In the studio at the back of her house, Lasater works with encaustics, which entails layering heated beeswax with pigments, and oils. While the climate here is not conducive to drying between layers of monoprints, she created some of them on a trip to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
Her subject matter depends on her frame of mind, she said. She goes back and forth between abstract works and realism. Lately, she has been creating more abstracts, but she also went through an Irish phase.
“After I went to Ireland, I came back and did Irish landscapes in oils,” she said.
It’s very expensive to frame the larger works of art, so Lasater uses gold, copper and silver leaf on the sides of her deep canvases for a beautiful presentation on the wall.
Nature inspires Lasater.
“How can it be more spectacular than that,” she said. “I paint abstractions of nature.”
For Lasater, art is personal. Her favorite works are textural because of the way the colors work perfectly together.
“What I like and appeals to me doesn’t necessarily appeal to others,” she said. “It has to strike a chord emotionally, which is something I try to do. Sometimes I like the process more than the outcome.”
Lasater is not above painting over works that are not among her favorites. Sometimes she scrapes off the work and starts over.
“It’s very forgiving,” she said.
Lasater collects the work of other artists including Maxine Price.
“I look for those (works of art) I enjoy and can afford,” she said.
Lasater serves on the board of the Nave Museum. She also served on the board of Golden Crescent CASA for four years.
She has been married to her husband Randy Lasater for 42 years. They have one daughter and a grandson.
“I do what is aesthetically pleasing to me,” Lasater said of her art.