Flagler Artists: Local marsh settings are Inspiration for pastel artist

As a painter, Karen Ann Patton is drawn to the local marshes.
“The marshes are like old Florida used to be,” she said. “I love the old trees in the marshes and the grasses. The sky behind it is just so beautiful. That is what I really love.”
She is a major fan of morning and evening equally at a local marsh because of the variation in the skies associated with each time of day.
“Each gives a whole different palette to work with as far as the colors are concerned,” Patton said. “The skies in Florida are just so beautiful with all the shades of orange, purple and green.”
Her work is on display through April 6 at the Expressions Art Gallery on Colbert at Grand Living Realty formerly known as The Grand Gallery. Patton’s display features a variety of acrylic, oil and pastel paintings. Her work has been on display since March 6 in a joint show with Trish Vevera.
Patton’s passion is being able to paint outdoors. Now in her mid-80s, accomplishing that isn’t quite as easy, she admits.
“There are just so many places around here that are just so beautiful to paint,” Patton said with a bit of chagrin in her voice as she continued. “But now I am more of a studio painter. Painting outdoors involves a lot of work dragging all of your equipment out there while wishing for good weather and hoping that it does not start to rain and you have to pack up and leave.”
As a child, Patton was always interested in painting. But she didn’t get serious about pursuing her passion until her mid-30s when her own children were older and she was able to take lessons and attend workshops.
Having lived most of her life in New York City, Patton was able to study under many of the top painters there including Wolf Khan – a German born American artist whose combination of realism and color field work brought artistic advances in pastel and oil painting as well as printmaking.
“I really enjoyed that,” she said of the workshops she did with Kahn.
She learned much about the use of pastels, which is her most preferred medium.
“Pastels are just so much softer and calming,” she said.
Patton is delighted that one of her larger pastels of a local marsh remains on display in a cancer center waiting room at an Ormond hospital.
“People have told me that they looked at the painting while waiting for their appointment and that they felt much calmer about their treatment,” she said. “That makes me feel good to hear that it helps others.”
Her work is on display in several other hospitals — one in Jacksonville and a few in New York City.
A breast cancer survivor herself, Patton’s art is also on display in the art collection of pharmaceutical giant, Eli Lilly and Company located in Indianapolis, Indiana. One of her pastel paintings won top prize in the company’s 2010 competition.
Her work has been on the cover of many Flagler and Volusia-based magazines as well as the cover of Sun and Surf Magazine. She’s also been in multi-artist shows and solo shows.
Having moved to Plantation Bay in Palm Coast in 2002, she quickly surmised many of her neighbors were also artists. Thus, a few years later, she organized an annual show for which Plantation Bay residency was a requirement to display, but the public could attend to purchase and view.
“Thirteen years later, that show is still going strong,” she said. “I like that.”
— Amy Armstrong