Texas native Don Dillard is a highly exhibited watercolor artist specializing in historical architectural structures and places through out Texas, New Mexico and the Southwest. He has pursued parallel careers in architecture, urban development and fine art over the last 35 years. He was born in Temple, Texas and attended Temple schools including Temple College. His early interest in art and drafting led him to Texas A&M, where he earned a Bachelor Degree in Architecture and a Masters Degree in Civil Engineering.
Jokingly, Don tells people he went to Architecture school, B. C. (Before the Computer) so he knows how to draw. His classes in architecture equipped him with drawing and sketching skills. Also, his art and perspective drawing classes prepared him for his future art and architecture careers. One of his art professors was the Legendary Texas Artist Buck Schiwetz. His art smacks of Buck’s loose impressionist style.
After college, Don continued to visit Buck. On one of Don’s many visits, Buck presented him with an original pencil sketch from New York City in 1928. He personalized the sketch, encouraging Don in his art pursuits. Don has many stories of his visits with Buck. Toward the end of his time in architectural school Don met and married his wife Camille. They lived in College Station during his last year in college, then moved to Houston. Don worked for architectural firms in Houston, College Station and Temple. During his stint in Houston, Don pursued art in their bedroom closet which he used as his studio. They were lured back to A&M to work on their Masters Degrees.
After receiving his Masters, Don learned of a job opening in the City of Waco, Texas. He interviewed, and got hired as Asst. Director Of The Waco Model City Agency. Don worked for the City for ten years, ending his stint as Asst. City Manager to pursue an opportunity in Dallas. Several major events occurred during their time in Waco. They were blessed with a daughter Danylle. Don secured his Texas Architecture License and started his professional art career in his garage attic Studio. Don participated in weekend art shows thru out central Texas. A Dallas hotel developer, who developed a Hilton hotel in downtown Waco, hired Don as Vice President of his Dallas Development company.
Don and his family knew it was a real opportunity, even though the family had to leave many Waco friends. The move to Dallas opened up other art options for Don. A hotel development assignment in Santa Fe, New Mexico broadened Don’s art activities. In his off hours, he sketched many missions and visited art galleries. He also met with artists and found a gallery to represent him. Another assignment led him to South Padre Island where he was captivated by the Texas Gulf Coast. The scenes of the coast are some of Don’s favorite subjects. A few years later, Don joined Herbert Hunt and his family real estate company to assist in their development activities. Don’s first assignment was a road. Herbert asked to Don to take a leadership role in the development of a road through their properties in Richardson and Plano. Today, that road is the President George Bush Turnpike (PGBT). The Hunt’s vast land holdings in the Dallas Metroplex provided Don with numerous exciting projects. The highlight of these were the development of mixed use projects involving the Dart Stations at Galatyn Park and Bush Turnpike in Richardson. During Don’s tenure with the Hunt / Hill Family, he pursued his art and welcomed several opportunities for public service.
Texas Governor George W. Bush appointed Don to the Texas Turnpike Authority (TTA) Board. Governor Bush also appointed him to the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) Board. Don served as Chairman of NTTA for four years. During his NTTA service, he played a leadership role in the development of President George Bush Turnpike (PGBT). Don is a past Chairman of The Board for the Richardson Chamber of Commerce.
He also received the Citizen of the Year Award from the Chamber. The Collin College Foundation presented the Legends Awards to Don. He served on Texas Motor Speedway’s Children’s Charity Board and continues to serve on their Advisory Board. He was a founding board member of the Transit Coalition of North Texas (TCNT), where he continues to serve. He is a Corporate Member of the American Institute of Architects, as well the Texas Society of Architects. Don recently became a member of the Plano Art Association.
A few years ago, Don retired from his real estate positions with the Hill Family to focus on his art. He established Don Dillard Studio at the Rail Station Studios and Gallery in Historic Downtown Plano. He is enjoying painting and spending more time with his family. He and Camille are blessed to have their daughter and son-in-law’s family close by. Frequently, Don takes his two grand kids to the studio where they all sling paint.
Don is very grateful that he is able to use his God-given art talent, along with his learned art skills to sketch and paint Texas.