Karen Lovett

The Pierce County Library, Key Center branch, offers exhibit space for local artists to display their work.

Community branch supervisor Rosina Vertz said they encourage local artists to come and use “our bare walls” to introduce themselves and their art.

“We are happy to be a part of the art theme in the community and the library draws a big audience,”Vertz said.

During March and April, watercolor artist Karen Lovett has her work hung at the library.

Lovett has been taking art classes through Tacoma Community College and Pen Met Parks.

She paints from photographs and from site visits to places like the Olalla Valley Winery and Vineyard.

Lovett said she is able to produce one to two paintings a week while doing in-home care.

“The world is full of subjects to paint. Every season, things change,”she said.

Lovett had wanted to do watercolor for years and years.

“I wanted to learn to paint so I could design my own book covers. Some things you can’t do with photographs,”she said.

When she started, she wanted to paint just like (local artist) Beverly Pedersen, but her art instructor, Sherri Bails, convinced Lovett that she needed to develop her own style.

“Mine is lifelike, so people seem to relate to it,”she said.

From the classes, she has learned to adopt techniques, perspective, design and color.

She had taken a class about seven years ago, but became frustrated with the focus and the procedure of that particular instructor.

“Watercolor is unforgiving. You can’t paint over mistakes like you can with oils,”she said. “I gave up, thinking watercolor wasn’t my thing.”

After several years, watching painting shows on television, reading a book on watercolor, and getting more practice, she got better.

Lovett has written songs and three novels and has other books in the works. But she has been writing less lately, while working several part-time jobs. She views writing like work “a lot of the time, fun work, but still work.”

“Painting should be fun. I don’t think anybody paints because they hate doing it,” she said.

She is active in the local fuchsia club and in the rabbit club, holding offices in both. She volunteers at Key Peninsula Community Services one day a week. She also sews and embroiders and wants to incorporate that into her art.

To keep costs down, she buys art supplies from Daniel Smith in Seattle and Aaron Brothers when frames are on sale.

“It is hard to consider myself an artist when the Key Peninsula is overflowing with artists who have years of formal training and grew up with art. I was a science major. I avoided art all through high school. I told my art teacher I couldn’t paint a straight line,”she said.

She said that she appreciates artists, but never expected to be one.

Now, Lovett spends about 10 to 20 hours a month on painting.

“With painting, it’s fun to see what I can create. It’s such a feeling of satisfaction when you’re finished. It’s amazing that it’s me who created them. They are like my children,”she said.

Artists who can commit to a two-month display are invited to bring a sample of their work and talk with Vertz about getting wall time.

The library is booked well into 2015 so it will be toward the end of the year before they can get in.

“For very new artists, this is an amazing experience as they open themselves to public response and gain some confidence, then they can go forth.

“Lovett said she’s had ‘great feedback’ from those who’ve viewed her work,”Vertz said.

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