|Helen Crain Hunter, Artist, was born August 4, 1920 (1920-2003), the first child of Rufe M. and Lydia Goodwin Crain in Pleasanton, Texas. Her mother often related to
everyone that Helen loved pencils and crayons almost from the start of her life. At the age of two, Helen acquired a pencil against her mother's wishes and ran
through the house trying to evade her mother's grasp. She tripped and the point of the pencil succeeded in tattooing her forehead permanently.
When Helen was about three, her mother related that Helen was drawing small circles vertically on a page of paper. She asked Helen what they were, and Helen replied, "Buttons."Her mother asked, "Buttons for what?" Helen said, "Buttons to go on the dress of the little girl I'm drawing now."
Her first art teacher was her beloved cousin, Mrs. Walter Davis Jahn, who was also her kindergarten and first grade teacher. After Walter married Jeff Jahn and left Pleasanton, Helen took art under Ellie Wheeler, a well known Poteet artist whose teachers were Jose Arpa and the Onderdonks of the Texas Impressionists School of the 1920's.
For two summers, during her four years of Pleasanton High School, she lived in San Antonio and studied at the Witte Museum art classes. After graduating from
High School as the 1937 Valedictorian, she attended Texas Woman's University (formerly Texas State College for Women) for four years, receiving her B.S. Degree in Costume Design and Art Education in June of 1941. While attending the University, she was cartoonist for the daily newspaper, "The Lass-o" and art editor of the college annual, "The Daedalion" in 1940-41. Helen was also elected to be a charter member of the
college chapter of Delta Phi Delta, National Honorary Art Fraternity. She was also chosen to participate in an art honors course the summer of 1940 by designing and executing three painted stained glass panels of the Madonna Window in "The Little Chapel of the Woods". The chapel was one of O'Neal Ford's earliest architectural designs using native stone materials.
Helen was an art teacher in the Cotulla Public School System before resigning to join the war effort at Kelly Field in San Antonio by becoming a draftsman. She transferred to Galveston as foreman of the engineering drafting department of Galvestonís Army Base for two years, then became an artist for the advertising department of a well known retail women's wear store in San Antonio.
On May 18, 1946 she married Akridge Charles (Beau) Hunter, a Pleasanton native, a graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio in 1934 and of Southwest Texas State University in 1939. He was a five-year veteran of World War II and Captain
in the Army Air Corps. Helen spent four years in Houston as advertising manager of Palais Royal, a retail women's wear chain of stores, while her husband was becoming a dentist. In 1950, he received his D.D.S. from the University of Texas School of Dentistry
in Houston and they moved to Pleasanton where he went into partnership with his father.
Helen Hunter re-entered the fine arts field in 1957, first studying oils with John Squire Adams for one year, then seven years with Lesle Larsson. She gradually developed a style of painting that ranges from impressionism to complete realism. She has gained regional distinction for her renditions of the flora arid fauna of South Texas, particularly of the many varieties of cactus, wildflowers, birds, and brush
country landscapes of the area around her. As a featured artist, Helen Hunter, has exhibited her work in Houston, Corpus Christi, Del Rio, Austin, Pearsall, and San Antonio.
Helen participated in many juried shows earlier in her career, winning ribbons, prizes and honors such as the top award and purchase prize of the Texas Watercolor Society's Annual Exhibition in 1965. Helen was a member of the Texas Watercolor Society, San Antonio Watercolor Group, San Antonio Art League, Coppini Academy of Fine Art, and the Brush Country Art Club of Pleasanton, Texas. She had taught private art classes in San Antonio, Dilley, Floresville, and Pleasanton, but was content to conduct an occasional workshop.
Helen Hunter's work is collected by many large corporations, banks, insurance companies and business professionals, such as lawyers, physicians, and dentists. Her paintings are in many lovely homes as far away as Venezuela and France. Her paintings have been reproduced on two covers of Independent Cattleman
magazine, and she has been featured editorially in the Southwest Art Magazine, November, 1978. Her work has been mentioned favorably in the following newspapers:
Houston Chronicle, Houston Post, San Antonio Light, San Antonio Express-News, and Pleasanton Express. Her paintings have been advertised in the southwest regional issues of Time, Newsweek, Sports illustrated, U.S. News and World Report and Southwest
Helenís work schedule usually included painting around four days a week. Painting cactus, in oils, with realism was her specialty. You might say she still likes pencils and crayons too.