Portrait of the Artist

Kara Schlabaugh

Memories of Iowa

By Margaret Foster | February 6, 2017
Kara Schlabaugh, Yellow Fields
Kara Schlabaugh, Yellow Fields


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.”

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