On Saturday, Jan. 10, Janice Harding Owens, of Mount Vernon, will demonstrate folk art painting from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea.
A native of Rockcastle County, Owens comes from a family of creative quilters and painters. In the 1980s she began painting the wooden works created by her husband, Ron. Eventually Owens began to paint on boards, and in 1989 painted her first canvass with acrylics. When folk art collector John Irvin saw Owens’ work, he arranged for her to have her first exhibition of paintings at Central Bank in Lexington in 1991. She has since had painting exhibitions in numerous states, including Connecticut and Wisconsin, and in Washington, D.C.
With children in her household, Owens chose to work with water-based acrylic paints to avoid the harsh smell of turpentine and to achieve a faster drying process. She often bypasses sketching the painting first, saying, “Sometimes I just go at it with the paint, as by the time I sketch something in, I could have painted it!”
While commissioned paintings require Owens to render a specific image, her own landscapes often come from her imagination. She takes photographs of her surroundings and looks at other images for reference before juxtaposing them in her own unique way.
Works by Owens are regularly available at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, located at 200 Artisan Way, just off Interstate 75 at Berea, Exit 77. The center’s exhibits, shopping and travel information areas are open daily, year-round, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the cafe is open from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Admission is free.