My Life (Greatly Abridged)
Karen L 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, IN 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 – 20 years ago when I 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, I was accepted in 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. I continued to paint and draw taking commissions for portraits of people as well as dogs and horses. 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 is reasonable. We have 6 dogs, 7 horses, 2 parakeets, and a sun conure on 18+ 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 Vice President of The Artists Guild of Northwest Florida in the past and I am usually in charge of installation of the annual Sunday Afternoon With the Arts at Chipola in the fall.
My love of animals, the outdoors and grandchildren inspire my paintings still. I prefer working in Oils and with the beautiful Fall and Winter weather in Northwest Florida, I hope to capture the Old Florida in my Plein Air paintings. I also grow and paint gourds, create charcoal drawings weekly during church service as the choir sings and also create assemblages from found and vintage items. Being a member of the Northwest Florida Artist Guild provides me with exhibition and marketing opportunities, as well as networking and learning from other artists while we go forth and make Art.