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About the Artist

  Frances Collins, who had studied art at the Art Institute of Chicago, realized her daughter Rosemary was born with a photographic memory when nobody else did. Frances lined her bathtub with newspapers, and put two-year-old Rosemary in the tub with a canvas board and some of her oil paints. Thus R. M. Collins Baker began painting in oil with her mother at the age of two.
   When she was four years old her father, Lawrence O. Collins, taught her to play the violin and the piano. Rosemary feels that she is best at oil painting. Her younger brother Joe Collins is a sculptor and printmaker.
   In Davidson Elementary School, Rosemary’s 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Xula Love, asked her to paint a mural of the first Thanksgiving, with Pilgrims, Indians, and the turkey. The mural was so beautiful that the Principal Mrs. Traynor had Rosemary paint a mural of the Phoenix Bird for a display case at the entrance of the school. Little did she know that one day the Bishop of Phoenix would call her “Cousin.”
   In 7th grade Rosemary and her good friend Betty Wald Allen won the Shriners Halloween window painting contest for her drawing
of the Headless Horseman. Betty helped paint in the colors, and together they won cash and the Grand Prize.
   In 8th grade Rosemary won first prize in the Doolen Junior High art contest with a pastel drawing of a horse head. The next year, as a freshman at Catalina High School, she won first prize in a national art contest with a drawing called “Running Horse.” The University
of Arizona Museum of Art hung this in their upstairs gallery next to a Frederick Remington painting of a cattle drive. Miss Mary Beath, her high school art teacher, organized a field trip for the Catalina art class to go and see it.

   Rosemary told her father that she wanted to study art at the University of Arizona. He said, “Learn to teach it so you can support yourself.” At the University of Arizona, she joined Alpha Delta Pi Sorority, Delta Gamma Chapter. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education, with a teaching minor in Spanish.
   Rosemary M. Collins married David H. Baker in 1970. In 1971, her parents died suddenly and tragically. Following her entry to
a national art contest in New York City, she was given a one-woman show at Paula Insel Galleries, NYC. Her show featured a stunning lifesize portrait that her mother had named "Kathy." Having launched her art career as Collins Baker, she has kept the name although the marriage ended in divorce in 1976, followed by an annulment from the Catholic Church.
   On October 7, 1978, she married Ray Blonigan at SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church. Their marriage was a happy one, lasting until Ray's death on August 14, 2012. During this time, she became close friends with Ray’s cousin, Bishop James Stephen Rausch of Phoenix, Arizona, who encouraged her to become a Eucharistic Minister and a Benedictine Oblate. She began to do religious paintings and give them to the churches. She also corresponded with Mother Theresa, and did her portrait.
    R. M. Collins Baker also has a beautiful painting of Pope John Paul II hanging in the Vatican in Rome. Her landscapes, horses, and Southwestern art have shown in Tucson at Jamieson Gallery West, Sanders Gallery, and Rosequist Gallery.
   After the passing of her beloved husband Ray Blonigan, Rosemary moved to a Senior Living center in Tucson, where she now resides. She is still painting.

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Ray and Rosemary
Ray and Rosemary

Running Horse
Running Horse

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