arist Lopez adds color to Madison
(July 1999) It didnt take long for Lopez
to develop a following. Known for her watercolors and chalk pastels
of local scenes, the Ohio River valley, flowers and fountains, Lopez
has several repeat customers who often make special requests.
Lopez is usually happy to oblige.
by Don Ward
artist Carolyn Lopez
displays her art throughout her home.
The outdoor scenes seem to sell the best, but I
enjoy painting flowers the best, said Lopez, 65, who works mostly
at her kitchen table at her home on West Second Street.
It is there that she also sells her paintings.
Sometimes people will bring me a photograph of a house or scene
that they want me to paint, Lopez said. Many of my paintings
are hanging in homes and businesses around town. Ive even got
one in the Kings Daughters Hospital.
In addition to flowers of all types, Lopez has painted many versions
of the Broadway Fountain a Madison landmark. In all, she guesses
she has completed hundreds of paintings since those early art lessons
under the tutelage of Hazel Baker and watercolorist Herman Fox.
I started with oils, but now I only do watercolors and pastels
on sandpaper imported from West Germany, she said. I do
well with pastels, but I enjoy watercolors more.
Unfortunately for her, the pastels are her biggest sellers.
Elyse Taylor of Madison discovered Lopezs work 10 years ago when
the budding artist displayed some of her paintings at the Cards N
Such store, where Lopez then worked. Taylor was interested in obtaining
a painting of Madisons Hanging Rock Hill.
Lopez invited Taylor to her home to view her other paintings, and Taylor
wound up buying one of the hill, just as it appeared many years earlier.
Shes a great painter, said Taylor, who directs the
Hanover College Campus Center and runs the annual Christmas Crafts Show
She had taken the time to research what the Hanging Rock Hill
was like when it was only a dirt road. Plus I love watercolors,
Taylor said. She does great work for people who are into Madison
Lopez is no stranger to the Madison area. The daughter of John and Faye
Collins, she grew up on a farm in nearby Hanover. The family moved to
Dayton, Ohio, when she was 10 months old, but by her seventh-grade year,
they were back in the area.
She spent much of her adult life working at various retail stores in
Madison Bears Jewelry Store, Lords and Bulas
dress shops, and at Cards N Such, a picture framing store where
she spent 10 years.
Her first husband, Carl Schafer, died from leukemia in 1967 at age 36.
She remarried in 1970 to Jesse Lopez of Madison. He had also lost his
first wife to cancer.
Their downtown home is decorated with Carolyns paintings
from her early pieces to her most recent ones. Many of her works contain
her signature red bird, perched somewhere in the background.
Lopez is well known in the Madison art community. She has displayed
her work every year since 1983 at Madisons prestigious fall art
festival, the Chautauqua. In fact, in 1977 she was commissioned to paint
the official Chautauqua poster, a high honor among local artists.
Lopez doesnt travel to sell her work, like many artists. She prefers
to stay close to home and, besides the Chautauqua, only displays her
paintings at the Hanover College Christmas Crafts Show.
Lopez began seriously painting for profit around 1985. Shes painted
a variety of subjects, including bookmarks.
Recently, she added a new item to her repertoire personalized
Though popular locally, she remains modest about her work. I dont
claim to be a great artist. I mainly do it for pleasure. And I really
get humbled at the Chautauqua.
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