|Greg Haussler retired in 2003 from the Upper Hondo Soil & Water Conservation District/Natural Resources Conservation. He took painting lessons from local artist, Lorene Caywood. He soon found that watercolor was his medium of choice.|
|One painting on the wall is not Greg's. Sharing wall space with his grandpa is Greg's|
grandson, Russell Grant Allen, an aspiring artist
Greg's wife, Carol Keys, is an artist in her own right. She authored the family's personal story, Behind Her Smile: A Mother's Walk Through Her Daughter's Anorexia, and co-authored Sharing Moments Over Tea: The Journeys of Four Women.
Below is an excerpt from a story in Vamonos/Ruidoso News 2010 written by Carol about Greg and his journey to becoming an artist.
A Mature Perspective by Carol Keys
Barefoot and tanned to the color of dirt, a young boy skittered and slithered along the creek banks of rural Nebraska chasing butterflies and, sometimes, catching them in those long, hot summers. Occasionally, he would sketch these memories. This child's name was Greg Haussler and he grew to young adulthood in the staked plains region of West Texas.
Greg was able to attend college at Texas Tech in Lubbock because the school was within walking distance of his house. Like most freshman he had no clue what he wanted to major in, but knew that his heart lay in the mountains and hills with his beloved butterflies and birds.
Perusing the college catalogue and knowing that his love was biology, but not teaching or research, he gravitated towards range management. This is where he stayed, earning a degree in that area.
His first job landed him in the mountains of Utah and, later, in northern New Mexico at Mora. With an emerging career as a range conservationist and a wife and baby, there was no time for sketching, but still some time for bird watching and butterflies.
As the years blew by, Greg did find time to pursue his love of nature, hiking on ranches, farms, and federal land of New Mexico and other western states. After 36 years with the Soil Conservation Service (now Natural Resources Conservation Service), Greg retired in 2003 in Lincoln County, expecting to relax, maybe watch a few birds from his deck and encourage butterflies to frequent his Capitan garden. Of course, there was travel, and volunteer committees for church and the local hospital, but other than a little horseback riding and hiking, not much pressure.
Then came the phone call. "Hello, Carol? This is Lorene (Caywood, a local art teacher). I have an opening in my art class and wondered if Greg wanted to come?"
"Of course he does, Lorene," I gloated. You see, I had been trying for years to get Greg to reconnect with his art. Christmas and birthday gifts of art lessons went ignored and unused. Now there was no choice.
Calling out the door, I reported, "Lorene just called and wants you to call her to say which day you want to take art lessons. She has an opening. And, oh yes, you probably need to see what she needs you to bring." (Greg can be single-minded when pursuing his outdoor interest, but that definitely got his attention.)
Now, after years of art lessons, countless watercolors painted for friends and family and a few art shows, Greg is much more comfortable with his craft. No surprise, he prefers nature scenes with a building or two thrown in.