artNotes from Hyde House: Two friends and the gift of gaze


I love French films. Whether I have the luxury of watching one without a break from beginning to end with my husband, or whether my viewing is limited to ten minute snatches over tea breaks in a busy day, I love French films. In one quiet, cinematic story, Alice, a young provincial French woman, moves to Paris to study textile art on a scholarship. She falls in love with a student from the high society of “haute monde”. While her passion to learn was clear and unwavering, he was floundering in rebellion against his parents’ ambitions for his studies in law. He wanted to be a photographer. Alice encouraged him saying, “You must take pictures! You have the gaze.”

The gaze—that way of seeing that is unique and different. That way of seeing that calls us to other dimensions and invites us to look closer. To possess the gift of gaze is a blessing in any culture. To practice and share the gift of gaze is immensely pleasing.

Very soon two very accomplished artCentral artist members from the Midwest will share their unique while similar gifts of gaze on the gallery walls of Hyde House. Created through their personal lenses of perception, their complimentary œuvres showcased in INA NIDAY & MARY DATUM | TWO FRIENDS | PAINTINGS IN OIL reflect their immense talents for interpreting and telling what they see around them—whether roses in a copper pot, roads winding through pastoral landscapes or a boat floating serenely in still waters. Mark your calendars now for their remarkable exhibition October 2 through December 5, 2020.


INA NIDAY – Born in St. Louis, Ina Niday spent her growing up years in southern Illinois then graduated from high school back in St. Louis. Moving and living all over the United States from Pennsylvania to Wyoming, after thirty-five years in southern California she returned to the Midwest in 2016. Ina never thought she had any artistic ability, but in her early twenties, she took tale painting classes to detail a refurnished antique coal bucket as a gift for her mother.  For this artist “the rest is history”.

Ina has taken several art classes through Coastline Community College in Orange County, California;  however, most of her art training in the 1970’s was through master tole painting teachers and various fine art classes and workshops live and online, from various distinguished artists including Larry DeGraff, Kelli Folsom, and most recently John Pototschick. In 1997, Ina entered her first art competition/show in Huntington Beach, California, and won First Place in the acrylic division!

Using her gift for gazing and the tools of her art have allowed Ina to overcome a neurological disorder (blepharospasms) that developed about fourteen years ago and changed her life completely. Using her brush, canvas and paint Ina’s desire is for her art to bring peace, calm and hope to her viewers as God has provided these for her. 

MARY DATUM – Mary feels her purpose in life is to stir up memories and evoke feelings of joy for those who view her art.

Born in Oklahoma and raised in Northern California and Nevada, as a child, Mary Datum made frequent excursions to the San Francisco fine arts museums. The de Young and the Asian Art Museum were her favorites. Mary always found something new in the paintings and often tried to duplicate the art she saw. She believes her early exposure helped influence her present painting style. Mary started painting with oils as her primary medium in 2008.

Mary has never received formal training in the arts; however she took a yearlong course from Daniel Edmondson in 2010, and also studied with Larry DeGraff in Springfield, Missouri, for over a year. Participating in workshops has expanded Mary’s knowledge and helped her grow as an artist. Whenever possible she attends workshops given and taught by artists she admires, including Larry DeGraff, John Lasater, Jeff Legg and John Pototschnik.

Mary is a member of the Oil Painters of America; National Oil and Acrylics Painters Society; American Women Artists; Missouri Impressionist Society; artCentral; Springfield Arts Council; Joplin Regional Artists Coalition; and Circle of Patrons Neosho Arts Council. She has participated and received awards in local and national shows. Her art is in many private collections in the United States and Japan.

Endowed with the gift of gaze, fifty artCentral artists currently have their art in the 2020 ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP EXHIBITION which remains on display at 1110 East Thirteenth Street in Carthage through Saturday, September 19. Weekend Gallery Hours are Friday and Saturday, 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. CDC protocols are practiced—face masks and social distancing are required for everyone in Hyde House.