EDITORIAL — Lasting impressions: Artist’s work inspiring

Published 12:08 am Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Douglas Jackson does more than create beautiful paintings from an impressionist style. But he surely handles that mission well.

The Port Arthur native, nearing 66 years old, will show and offer for sale more than 50 of his original paintings at The Museum of the Gulf Coast. His show is scheduled to run from 3-5 p.m. Aug. 3 and his work will remain on display at the museum until Oct. 26 — or perhaps until the last piece sells.

The event will help mark Jackson’s 55 years as an artist; from the age of 11, when he painted “A Summer Place,” he has created works that captured the imagination of his fans and patrons. “A Summer Place” will be among the works on display.

His work draws upon his travels, upon photographs, upon his faith and the natural beauty that surrounds not only him but us, too. If he can embrace that beauty, why can’t we all?

“It’s a big deal,” museum director Tom Neal said of the scheduled members-and-guests show in the museum’s first-floor gallery. Jackson did a similar show five years ago and, Neal said, “People really did enjoy it, and he is known throughout the community.”

Here’s why Jackson does more than create beautiful work. His efforts inspire what’s beautiful in all of us, or what should be. Born with cerebral palsy, Jackson has never been able to use his hands or legs. He paints with the use of a headband stylus, first created by his art teacher and his father, R.T. Jackson. It’s painstaking work, accomplished with passion.

His brother, architect Robert Jackson, first put a paintbrush at the end of his brother’s stylus, and the result was “A Summer Place” … and the launch of a career.

Jackson’s paintings have hung in the living rooms of legendary entertainers like Bob Hope and Jimmy Durante, who both met Jackson in his youth back when he was educated at the Hughen School for Crippled Children in Port Arthur. As a boy, he painted while lying on the floor.

His work has also been received by national luminaries from Southeast Texas like country artists Mark Chesnut and Tracy Byrd; by former U.S. Rep. Jack Brooks, D-Beaumont; and by football coach Wade Phillips.

“All of these people have been taken aback by Doug and his stories and his skills,” Neal said. We are taken aback, too.

Jackson’s remarkable efforts ought to lure a large and interested crowd to the museum, both for the opening and after that. Artists are not with us forever, but their work can inspire, console and enthrall us long after we meet them.

We recommend museum patrons meet this artist in person, to review his work and enjoy what Jackson created.