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Donald E Houts

 (1908 - 1991)
Donald E. Houts was active/lived in Idaho, Iowa.  Donald Houts is known for portrait, landscape and still-life painting, illustration, calligraphy.

Donald E. Houts

Biography from the Archives of askART

Donald ("Don") E. Houts (1908-1991) -- student

A professional painter, Don Houts was born in Belle Plaine, Iowa in April 1908 and managed to only complete a sixth grade education in Oskaloosa, Iowa, when he was forced to quit his schooling and to financially assist the family by working in a Chinese laundry. Despite the economic hardship, Houts dreamed of being an artist and hitch-hiked his way to the east coast, where he enrolled at the Phoenix Art Institute (NYC) and at Columbia University (NYC), pursuing part-time studies in painting (1931-1933). While a student, Houts lived in the city's downtown YMCA, employed there as a lifeguard, swim coach, and diving instructor.

He returned to Iowa in 1933 and attended the second session of the Stone City art colony; Grant Wood, Adrian Dornbush, and Florence Sprague were his major instructors. Worried that he might lose his Iowa sweetheart, Mildred Roberts, Houts relocated to the small community of Meridian, Idaho; Robert's family had moved there for her brothers to attend college. Having no employment prospects, Houts quickly found work at the W.P. Fuller Paint Company in Boise as a window decorator, eventually becoming manager of the store and marrying Roberts in 1935.

As World War II's draft selections began, Houts enlisted with the U.S. Navy, recruited for his diving expertise. During boot camp, instructors recognized his problem-solving capabilities and his sketching talents. Houts was immediately stationed at Hill Air Force Base (Ogden, UT) where he taught airplane mechanical repair and created illustrations for instruction needs. He was later transfered (1944) to the U.S. Naval Air Station in Alameda, California, where he worked as a technical illustrator for aircraft assemblies. Following his honorable discharge, Houts returned to Boise and was employed at Gate City Steel as a draftsman.

Between 1949-1959, Houts worked as an independent contractor for the Morrison-Knudsen Company (Boise, ID), creating artist conceptions of proposed operations; the company assisted in building the Hoover Dam and Trans-Alaska pipeline. The artist was also employed by Idaho Sprocket and Machine Company, Murry V. Johnston, and Smith & Kangas Engineers, serving mainly as a draftsman. In his free time, Houts made unique Christmas cards and became known for his mastery of penmanship and lettering fonts.

Following retirement in 1970, Houts resumed the life of a professional artist, focusing on oil painting. He was twice selected as the "Boise Artist of the Month" and had several one-man shows in the area (1970-1985). Houts' favorite techniques applied to landscapes; numerous private commissions included portraiture, still lifes, and various life scenes. He was active in veterans' associations, his local church, and a member of the Boise Art Association.

Houts remained in Boise and died there in February 1991.

Don Houts: The Stone City Art Colony and School,

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About  Donald E. Houts

Born:  1908 - Belle Plaine, Iowa
Died:   1991 - Boise, Idaho
Known for:  portrait, landscape and still-life painting, illustration, calligraphy