Elmer Wayne "Skinny" Schooley, painter, printmaker, and teacher, was born in Lawrence, Kansas on February 20, 1916, and his childhood was spent in rural Oklahoma before the family moved to Colorado during the Great Depression.
Schooley received his BFA in 1938 from the University of Colorado, Boulder and his MA degree from the University of Iowa in 1941. That same year he married fellow artist, Gertrude "Gussie" Rogers and. in 1942, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and was sent of Officer Candidate School. During World War II, he was stationed in the South Pacific and Japan.
Schooley was an assistant professor at the New Mexico Western College in Silver City from 1946 to 1947. In 1947 he joined the faculty of the New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas and taught there for thirty years. He was a professor of art and founded the lithography program at the university.
As a printmaker he produced black and white and color lithographs, etchings and woodcuts. After he retired from teaching, he turned his full attention to painting. Schooley was also a musician and played the cello, performing with the Highlands Orchestra, and a bird love, participating in the Audubon Christmas bird count.
Schooley's work is in the collections of the Albuquerque Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Dallas Museum of Art, Library of Congress, Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New Mexico Museum of Art, Roswell Museum and Art Center, and the Tucson Museum of Art.
"Skinny" Schooley died at the age of 91 years old on 25 April 2007 in Roswell, New Mexico.
"I'm a subject matter painter. My paintings are abstract only to a certain kind of person. I'm very concerned with the subject matter. I want—I don’t want ponderosa pine to look like piñon. You know, I want it to be ponderosa pine. I'm not satisfied to just say "tree" or just say "forest." I want it to reek of nature."