Ina Pruitt was a great woman. Born in a shack on the Western frontier, she struggled against the odds to educate herself. In college she was a free spirit. She married for love and became a devoted mother. Raising four children in desperate poverty, she forsook personal aspirations until the task was complete. She suffered with courage and silence the plights common to women: miscarriage, childbirth, kidney infections, vaginal cancer, hysterectomy, osteoporosis, glaucoma, blindness, and heart disease. Her special triumph is seen in her art, inspired by the wilderness that produced her, expressing a beauty that transcended her life experience.
Much of her life, the summer and fall for nearly 40 years, was spent on Steens Mountain in Southeastern Oregon.
Ina had carefully cultivated her legacy to Oregon. Late in life she described her aim:
The great variety of beauty with which God has blessed Oregon provides inspiration beyond the limits of time to interpret in painting–the ocean with its many moods, the mountain stillnesses, the timbered hills and valleys, the high sagebrush deserts and the little known spots that the average traveller misses –scenic jewels tucked away in a mountain gorge or high on a snowy slope. My aim is to paint these that the viewer can feel the warmth of the mid-day sun, feel the gentle breeze as it stirs the leaves, hear the murmuring stream or sense the odor of pine, and be instilled with a desire to praise God for His marvelous creation–for Oregon.
She had achieved her aim. She had lived with grace and imparted beauty to all who knew her, as she will to all who see her paintings for generations to come.
Ina completed more than 310 major oil paintings. Her miniature oil paintings, colored pencils, and pen and inks are too numerous to list. Because her work was shown only in the Northwest, and seldom outside Oregon, she is still an undiscovered artist. This book represents the first opportunity anyone has had to see the many of her oil paintings all at once. These are only a small fraction of the many beautiful canvases she painted. Examine them closely. Discover Oregon through the eyes of this great woman. Then examine your world to see the beauty that awaits appreciation.