Graphic designer Kara Schlabaugh lives in Denver. She began painting in 2013 during a semester abroad in Florence, Italy.
“My father owns the same woodworking shop that his father owned. He made Arts and Crafts-style clocks and other [works]. I grew up following my dad around his wood shop. When we were younger, we’d go to art shows as a family. My parents have always pushed me to do art.
In Florence, where I took my first art class, I mostly painted Italian landscapes. But there’s something about returning home to the land you grew up on.
I draw inspiration from where I grew up in Iowa, a small town in the eastern part of the state. It’s a farming community, so there are lots of corn fields. It was known to be an Amish community. Lots of farms. Simple living. I took it for granted.
People forget about Iowa, but it has some beautiful landscapes—those big skies and fields. It’ll hit me most when I’m driving. That’s when I see a lot of my inspiration. My paintings are pulling from those memories.”