WATCH: Painting during COVID-19 pandemic

The isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic caused some to seek solace in cooking or bingeing digital entertainment, but a local artist turned to painting lively party scenes to get through the loneliness.

The resulting works of art by Carole Katchen will be exhibited today during the Gallery Walk from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Legacy Gallery.

“I’ve always enjoyed drawing party scenes,” said Katchen. “When I moved to Hot Springs, I was really surprised at how well everyone dressed because I grew up in Colorado where everyone dresses casually, and then I lived in LA for nine years and expected them to be formal there but they weren’t.

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“And so I moved to Hot Springs and went to a few parties and social events here. Everyone here was well dressed. The women were so beautifully made up, their hair is always perfect, their outfits are always perfect. So I started painting Those fabulous looking women at parties. That was 26 years ago, “she said.

“Then, in the middle of the pandemic, when everyone was crazy about being stuck at home, I decided to just go back to partying. I was just imagining people in a party setting,” Katchen said.

“Everyone just got stuck at home. I didn’t even have the chance to speak to real people. You know, talking on the phone only goes so far. Like everyone else, I’ve missed seeing people. I’ve been in the studio and in my house for pretty much a full year and I’m happy to have second place that I can get. “

The exhibit at the Legacy will feature nine new party pictures she created during the pandemic, five older party scenes, and numerous other pictures she took of chefs and winemakers.

Katchen will be on the show, which will be her first since the pandemic hit.

“This is going to be great fun,” she said, noting that she had already received her COVID-19 vaccination shots. “So we don’t have to worry too much about people bringing the virus with them,” she said.

“Would I lie to you?” by Carole Katchen is on display at the Legacy Gallery. – Submitted photo

The gallery, said Katchen, has decided to reopen this month. “It’s really fun that it is straight and the weather is going to be nice. Lots and lots of people I know got their vaccines, so people feel a little bit freer when they get out,” she said.

In addition to the missing people, Katchen said she missed the Gallery Walk. “It’s just so much fun to be in public and have my pictures there and have people come over and see them and meet new people and talk to them about what I’m doing. And of course the money is wonderful. “

Last year has been tough for the local artists, she said, noting, “That was one of the things that was really difficult for artists here, just sticking to a sedentary market and trying to get through.”

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