CHILLICOTHE — Lynn Carden has been creating artwork for more than 40 years. This November she will present the story of her work at the Pump House Center for the Arts.
At 82, Carden is a passionate artist whose style and subject matter have changed over time as she continues to paint or sketch almost every day. As a student, Carden could only work in black and white, as the school was very traditional and made students practice drawing and not use color for two years before they could explore more. During this time she did a lot of line work and paintings of the human body.
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When he was in school, Carden said there were hardly any artists in the galleries. While women could make and study art, they were often encouraged to leave to marry and raise a family. She even had a professor tell her that even though she was doing great in all her classes, she should stop being a housewife.
Although she allowed discouragement to stop her from following her passions, she continued to paint and learn more about art history. Even when he took a few years off to raise his family, Carden always kept a small hand in the art world.
“I had the confidence that I could do it,” Carden said. “Whatever.”
Whether it’s a small boot room on campus or a loft in a barn, Carden enjoys the many studios she’s had while moving around because they’ve given her room to create.
“It was heaven for me,” Carden said of his tiny attic studio.
Now at her home in Ross County, Carden has a beautiful studio next to her house with large windows and skylights that allow her to look out on nature, her main source of inspiration.
These days, Carden works primarily in watercolor, but began using more oil-based paints after the odorless versions became available. Almost all of her paintings and sketches are of the nature she sees in the area and on her travels. Much of her work also highlights small but amazing details that she feels some people miss. For example, one series she has is about the hidden parts of plants, including roots, seeds, and stems.
Many of Cardon’s botanical works are inspired by her garden as she plants different flowers and watches them grow and change over time. She even took her stock outside to photograph the flower in its various stages of life. Her sketches demonstrate this love of nature as she has several pages of morning doves roosting near her window.
“I find it quite beautiful,” Carden said of the little things in nature. “Something is happening before my eyes and I have to film it.
Because she is the only artist in this gallery, Carden is able to display her larger works, many of which are several feet long and take up considerable space. Carden said he enjoys working more on larger pieces because it’s physically challenging.
After painting for so many years and creating thousands of pieces, some would think it was time for Carden to feel burnt out or uninspired, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. She still gets excited about putting the “beautiful” and “interesting” objects she sees all around her into a picture.
Carden’s show will be held from 6:30pm to 8:30pm on November 2 at the Pump House Center for the Arts. The show will run until November 26, with pieces available for purchase. From 1pm to 4pm on November 12, Carden will be at the gallery selling unframed works from her studio.
“I’m really grateful for this opportunity,” Carden said. “I feel very privileged to have been able to spend my life this way.