Co.'s Ann Carter
draws inspiration from childhood
Helen E. McKinney
LA GRANGE, Ky. (October 2002) When Ann Reuter Carter
sets out to do something, she doesnt give up until she has accomplished
Swiftly becoming known as The Barn Painter of Oldham County,
the La Grange, Ky., resident preserves on canvas her content childhood
memories of growing up on a farm in Southern Iowa.
Its important to save that way of life, Carter says.
Carter moved to Oldham County in 1975. She has formally trained at Art
Instruction Inc., the Louisville School of Art, and Jefferson Community
College. While at the latter institution, Carter said she was asked
to run the airbrush room and then the photography lab.
Carter with her artwork
Carters mother was an artist, so naturally painting
is a creative talent born in me. I paint partly because I want
to paint. Its a gift.
When someone recognizes a scene in one of her paintings, Carter said
she is thrilled. Her main goal in painting a picture is for someone
to benefit from her work; to recognize a scene that brings about an
A part of me is in every picture I complete, she said. I
feel I have a God-given talent, and Im just sharing it with the
world. If my talent can make someone enjoy life a little more, then
Im happier too.
Unlike other artists, Carter said she doesnt always have to be
in the mood to paint. If you start, it will come to you. At the
beginning of a painting, Im excited.
After first sketching the scene on canvas, Carter then goes about filling
in details to flush out the scene. Sometimes its a struggle to achieve
a certain feeling or look in her work, but she diligently stays with
the project until shes satisfied with the end result.
Carter is not limited to oil paintings. Due to her education in commercial
art, she has also created items in many areas of graphic design
banners, flags, brochures, posters and advertisements.
For eight years, Carter was the editor of the Kentucky Conference Methodist
Newspaper, The Voice.
Due to a severe brain injury in 1979, Carters future as an artist
looked uncertain. But with determination, she recovered, and with encouragement
from her youngest son, she took up painting again.
She took a refresher class in La Grange at the Angie Campbell Studio.
Carter now spends time every day in her own studio.
Her studio is filled with dozens of photo albums containing floral shots
that she has taken over the years. If stalled on a painting of a particular
flower, for example, Carter can turn to a certain picture and see how
daffodils look in the springtime, she said.
With each painting, I learn more, Carter said. She prefers
to take her own pictures of a scene before painting it, but she said
customers could provide her with a photograph from which to paint.
Her commissioned paintings hang in homes in Kansas, Minnesota, Ohio,
Maryland, Tennessee and several Kentucky counties.
Carters husband, Merlin Carr, also is an artist. Originally from
South Dakota, he grew up on a farm that was homesteaded by his great-grandfather
in 1882. The 1,280-acre Carr Farm is now a private hunting farm.
Similar to his wifes intent, Carr would like to someday paint
scenes from a bygone farming era, when life was more simple and carefree.
Carter said she has discussed the possibility of a Barns of Oldham
County exhibit at the Oldham County History Center.
History Center executive director Anita Fritz is open to the idea. We
definitely want to do an exhibit, but it wont be until the summer
or fall of 2003, Fritz said.
Fritz is looking for other barn painters and photographers to display
their work with Carters.
To contact Carter about her work, call (502) 241-4152.
Back to October 2002 Articles.