Big Bend Arts Council


  PO Box 1764, Alpine, TX  79831

Mary Ann Matteson


A native of New Jersey, I went to nursing school at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and later completed a BSN at the University of North Carolina, an MSN at Duke University, and a PhD at UNC. I was a clinical specialist in gerontological nursing with a focus on caring for dementia patients and their families. I retired from my nursing career in 2000 as professor emerita at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio School of Nursing.

My first love has always been art, particularly painting landscapes, figures and portraits in oils and pastels. When I retired, I was able to concentrate on art as both a vocation and avocation. We built a house in Alpine in 2002 and lived there full time, going back and forth to San Antonio periodically. While living in Alpine, I had a gallery, Rinconada Galeria for a few years; however, with children and grandchildren in San Antonio, and my husband’s new work there, our time between the two places has been reversed, so the bulk of it is spent in San Antonio. We still have our Alpine house and try to be there as much as possible so that I have the opportunity to participate in the west Texas art community.

Alpine Cows

Big Bend Vistas

Rio Grande Vistas

Artist’s Statement

Art has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. During the process of creating a painting, I am focused in a way that I am transported to another plane and lose myself in the work. For me the process is as important as the product. I am inspired by the beauty of aging faces that convey life’s blessings and hardships; mountains, desert and big sky of the Big Bend region and the animals that populate them, and old buildings that have stood the test of time to various degrees.

I am attracted to oils and pastels because the media can be blended and reworked. At times I am frustrated because the paint isn’t doing what I imagine, but my mentor and inspiration, the late San Antonio artist, Alberto Mijangos used to say, “Destroy it!” when the painting wasn’t going well. I have followed his advice and find that destroying the painting and starting anew makes for a better product.

Desert Mountain Home

Storm on 67 South