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Artist Karen Roland shares her path to Kentucky

The public is invited to view the plein air paintings of artist Karen Roland in the LWC Slider Hall Lucretia C. Begley Gallery. Her collection includes many area landmarks visitors will recognize. Below, she shares how she came to be here.

By Karen Roland

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, my love for horses inspired my constant drawing of them with occasional renderings of family pets, people and wildlife earning ribbons at the local fairs.

I earned my BFA from Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana and began an art career in airbrushing at Astroworld in Houston, TX and later Dreamland Drive-In, Asheville, NC and Shipwreck Island at Panama City Beach - 30 years ago when I also received Best of Show for a colored pencil still-life at the Bay County Fair.

Needing serious money to raise a family I moved back to Cincinnati and became a Police Officer.

I started out as a patrol officer and was later trained as a composite artist. In 1994, | was accepted into the Mounted Patrol Unit and in 1995 with my partner Gin, won the National Mounted Police Competition held annually at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. I continued to paint and draw taking commissions for portraits of people as well as dogs and horses, including several Police Canines and Equines.

I took early retirement in 2000 when my husband, also a Cincinnati Police Officer, retired after 26 years of service. We raised horses on a farm 40 miles east of Cincinnati til we got so sick of the weather we decided to move to the Florida Panhandle where the weather and the price of land was reasonable. We had 6 dogs, 7 horses, 2 parakeets, and a sun conure on 20 acres southeast of Chipley.

My interest in Art led me to Chair the Gallery Committee for the Washington County Arts Council and in 2008 through 2010, I became Chairman of the Washington County Arts Council. I have also served as VP of TAG (The Artist Guild) in the past and I was in charge of installation of the annual Sunday Afternoon With the Arts at Chipola College in Marianna every fall.

My love of animals, the outdoors and grandchildren inspire my paintings still.

I prefer working in Oils and with the onset of beautiful Fall and Winter weather in Northwest Florida, I hoped to capture the Old Florida in my Plein Air paintings.

I also grew and painted gourds, created charcoal drawings weekly during church service as the choir sang and also created assemblages from found and vintage items.

In 2011 I received Best of Show at the North Florida Fair in Tallahassee, Florida.

In 2017, we moved to a farm in Kentucky to be closer to family in Cincinnati. I paint with the group PAACK, Plein Air Painters of Central Kentucky and the Wandering Artists out of Somerset, Kentucky and have participated in each of their annual exhibits. I also belong to IPAPA (Indiana Plein Air Painters Association .

During the year 2020, most plein air events were canceled due to Covid.

In 2021, I received 3rd Place at Lexington's Annual Paint the Town and 2nd Place at the Annual Louisville Visual Arts Paintout at the Waterfront Botanical Gardens.

Before Covid I received 2nd Place in the Art on the Town in Paducah, Kentucky and the People's Choice Award at the Annual Outdoor Painting Contest at the T.C. Steele Estate outside Nashville Indiana in 2019.

I had a painting selected by Team Kentucky to hang in the Kentucky State Capitol Halls from January 2022 to June 2022. In August of 2022, I received a 4th Place for a Mixed Media piece at the Kentucky State Fair and 2nd Place for Paint the Small Town in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky.

Though born in Cincinnati, Ohio, both my parents and those before were from Kentucky, so though I am not a native Kentuckian, I am a PUREBRED Kentuckian. LOL, I hope to capture history and memories of a pure and simpler place and time before it was bypassed by major roads and interstate. I hope to celebrate and relive and redeem the Heart of Kentucky through the capture of the heart and soul of these once treasured places, forever in my plein air paintings.

This story was posted on 2023-01-15 21:34:27
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