The Hockaday Museum of Art announces Journey: A Painter’s Life, the first-ever retrospective of nationally renowned watercolorist Karen Leigh’s works, to be on display November 10, 2016 – January 21, 2017. The opening reception will be held Thursday, November 10, 5:00 – 7:00 PM.

KALISPELL, MONTANA – The Hockaday Museum of Art proudly announces Journey: A Painter’s Life, a first-ever retrospective exhibit that encompasses decades of Karen Leigh’s watercolor painting, including her sketchbooks and painting memorabilia.  Landscapes, cityscapes, portraits and still lifes comprise the exhibition of approximately 40 paintings.  The well-earned celebration of Karen’s works begins November 10, 2016 and will be on display through January 21, 2017.

Karen Leigh has been painting all of her life since her days as a youth in Great Falls.  Although she has exhibited as part of many group artist exhibitions at the Hockaday, this is Karen’s first individual show there and her first, long overdue, retrospective.  Most of her works are done in transparent watercolor on paper.  She says:  “I want to share what watercolor can do.  The viewer should be reminded of their own experiences and what the painting says to them.  I hope they find beauty, even in unexpected places!”

Karen has been teaching as an adjunct professor at the Flathead Valley Community College longer than any other professor there to date.  She has taught beginners as well as professionals in nearly every corner of the Flathead Valley.  Karen believes that she and her students form a “tribe”.  There is a comfort level in learning together, bringing different views, experiences and expertise to the table.  She loves teaching and learns as much from her students as they do from her.

Karen says, “As a teacher as well as a painter, I owe much to the many masters of the medium with whom I have studied over the years and am honored to pass on that knowledge to my students.  Becoming visually aware is, I think, the most important lesson of all.”

The sketchbooks presented in Journey include many places that Karen has sketched from all over the world, from cafes to junkyards.  She believes that art journaling is extremely important because it is a wonderful way to learn to see.  Observation is essential.  When artists spend time drawing something, they remember it.  They slow down to observe color, light, pattern and the subtleties of their subject.

The opening reception for Journey: A Painter’s Life will be held on Thursday, November 10 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM.  Admission is free to the event for members, and $10 for non-members.  Throughout the exhibit, visitors may learn more about Karen Leigh’s career and her works by joining one of the docent-guided tours held Saturdays at 1:00 PM (included with guest admission).  The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

The Hockaday Museum of Art is located in the cultural district of downtown Kalispell at 302 Second Ave East. It is housed in a 1904 Carnegie Library building that appears on the National Register of Historic Places.  The Museum is a private nonprofit organization, open year-round, Tues-Sat from 10am-5pm. The mission of the Hockaday is to enrich the cultural life of our community and region, and preserve the artistic legacy of Montana and Glacier National Park. For more information, please visit or call 406-755-5268.

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