Reception to welcome whimsical exhibit

In painting old houses, Reynolds contorts a normal scene into a slightly twisted version of itself.

House painter turned painter of houses, Karen Reynolds will be the featured guest at the Friends of the Library Arts Alive reception February 4 at Northumberland Public Library, 7204 Northumberland Highway, Heathsville. The reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m.

Reynolds explains she began her life as an artist painting rooms and houses for home-owners. She challenged clients to try out bold colors instead of “roll the walls with another version of beige.”

“My motto was that if they didn’t like it, I would drab it back for them free of charge. I don’t recall ever having to repaint a room,” Reynolds said. “I found myself creating wondrous effects on walls, using rags, plastic bags, weird brushes, colors rubbed in to each other, whatever worked.”

This background led to painting pictures, which began with a Bob Ross VHS tape. After studying every book and tape she could find by Ross, “the joy of artistic expression had found me.” She now works mostly with water colors and acrylics and since moving to the Northern Neck in 2008, began painting skies and water scenes.

“My usual style is to contort a normal scene with a slightly twisted version of itself,” Reynolds explains. “I love painting the old houses in Northumberland County, allowing the old beauties to shine some of their personality through the layers of neglect and decay.”

As visitors to the exhibit will see, Reynolds likes to do large compositions. She points out that she has done several murals, including one for the 4-H camp in Williamsburg.

Reynolds teaches landscape painting for adult beginners at the Holley Graded School in Lottsburg. In addition, one of her large paintings named, “A Puzzled Life,” recently won an award in a juried contest for being “Most Creative.”