April 30, 2024

Now that she’s painting, this Leesburg woman isn’t about to stop.

1.7 min read| Published On: April 30th, 2024|

By Cynthia McFarland

Now that she’s painting, this Leesburg woman isn’t about to stop.

1.7 min read| Published On: April 30th, 2024|

Lifelong passion unleashed

Karen Jackson discovered her creative side decades ago. But as often happens, life intervened.

Karen was a mother in her mid-20s, living in Indianapolis with two young daughters when she first picked up a paintbrush.

“I took a local art class and did a painting,” Karen says. “Someone who saw it was impressed and bought it from me. I kind of wish I’d kept it.”

Making art seemed like a luxury, so she didn’t paint for long because she and her husband were raising their children and moving because of his career. Throughout those years Karen worked as an executive assistant in real estate, residential and commercial sales and marketing.

In 2002, she moved from Colorado to Florida to be near her grandchildren, which is when she met her second husband, Leigh, an engineer. The couple moved to Leesburg in 2019. 

After retiring, she dove into painting. Today, she puts all her energy into her passion.

“I’m self-taught. Like everything, you have to practice. I learned a lot watching YouTube videos,” says Karen, who dabbled in oils before finding her niche in acrylics.

At first glance, you wouldn’t necessarily know she was a Florida painter because her subjects aren’t typical Sunshine State landscapes.

“I look for something that tells a story. Some of my favorite subjects to paint are old structures like barns and log cabins,” says Karen, who usually paints from photos she’s taken or that someone shares with her. 

She also does commissioned work. One of her favorite works is the painting of her daughter’s late cat. She used photographs as inspiration after he died.

Karen belongs to the art club in The Plantation at Leesburg where she lives and shows her work in their fine arts festival in February and the Arts Café in December.

She finds it rewarding when her artwork impacts others.

“A woman I play golf with bought one of my paintings and gave it to her nephew. She said it inspired him to pick up a brush and start painting,” Karen says. “It made me feel good to think I’d helped someone.”

Karen, 84, is still adjusting to life since Leigh passed in January.

“He was my biggest fan and always encouraging me with my painting,” says Karen, who’s turned one room into her home studio.

She has five grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Family, art and golf fill her days.

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About the Author: Cynthia McFarland

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