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. 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. A geological uplift in the midst of arid desert placed sage and mahogany at the foot of aspen groves, and glaciers carved deep gorges where crystal streams water wildflower-strewn meadows. Gentle mule deer shared this beautiful, silent world with both artist and hunter in an era that is now past. But the beauty remains, both on the mountain, and on the canvases which Ina painted.
Ina issued the invitation to young women and old hunters alike, "Oh come with me to the Mountain:"
Have you walked upon the mountain
Where the cool sweet Blitzen flows?|
Have you ridden up her long, long trails
Where the quaking aspen grows?
Have you seen a golden sunrise
From Big Indian's rugged rim
And watched a doe step softly
Beside a deep pool's brim?
This truly is God's masterpiece,
His handiwork supreme,
From Alvord's mountain majesty
To Kiger's sparkling stream.
The flowers' rainbowed loveliness
No man could duplicate,
Nor the graceful mallard
That cleaves the mirrored pate.
In mahogany and juniper
The zephyrs sweetly strum
And in the gentle aspens
The breezes softly hum.
The bunch grass, rye and sage
All swell the song of praise
'Til every glade, and rock-walled gorge
Proclaim God's wondrous ways.
O come with me to the mountain
Where the cool sweet Blitzen flows.
Ride with me up her long, long trails
Where the quaking aspen grows.
Then, when the sun dips westward,
Let us pause...and meditate.
Breathless beauty! Matchless splendor!
God's love is truly great!
When Ina wasn't on the Steens Mountain she was high in the Cascades or traveling throughout the state of Oregon taking in, and recording for others, the beauty she saw all around her. Above all, she loved the serenity of the quiet places in the mountains where nature was untouched and the people who had the capacity to appreciate such beauty. She painted 350 canvases during her lifetime, which are highly sought after by museums and private collectors alike, and are rarely available for sale.
Come with Ina to the mountain.