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Our artist: Jay Karr

Mr. Jay Karr lives in the healthcare area of our community.

"I have had a love for art since I was young, especially developing an interest while in high school. I would listen to lectures and draw at the same time. I attended Drake in Des Moines, Iowa, and also took art classes at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, later. I also met my wife, Phyllis, during this time, as she taught classes at a nearby high school."

Mr. Karr did a small amount of sculpture work, too, and won a second-place prize while at school. He says that he really began to paint when he retired from Westminster College here in Fulton. He taught creative writing there.

Mr. and Mrs. Karr went on a sabbatical to England for six months in 1974. They stayed at the William Gandalf House while in England. Mr. Karr took even more art classes while they were there. Their children went to school in England and they took Greek dancing lessons.

"I wanted to go to Russia but didn’t get to do so. I love Russian literature."

Mr. Karr’s art covers areas from scenic paintings to nudes. He says that he was taking an advanced art course in the evening while at the University of Iowa and when he walked up the steps to class, there was a nude in front of him. He says, “I dropped everything I had on the steps below me.”

Mr. Karr favors Henri Matisse paintings and the Nighthawks painting by Edward Hopper done in 1942. In fact, one of Mr. Karr’s paintings is of the bar in Murray’s Restaurant in Columbia, Mo. He says that he was awed by the bar, so he took a picture of it and then painted it. He says that he sold the painting to the owners for $1,000 ($500 in cash and $500 in food gift certificates). Mr. Karr says that people were saying, “Who did this?” and then he got a couple of orders for paintings to do. He explained that one person had to cut their headboard down to fit the painting they wanted in their room.

Mr. Karr has also been an author. He wrote a book entitled “Leaving the Homefront." He explains that he started this book after retirement in 2004-2005. It is about his experiences leaving for World War II, where he was in the paratroopers. Mr. Karr also assisted in the republishing of Bellamann’s “King’s Row” in November 1981. Mr. Karr actually did some of the artwork and drew the map in the front of the book.

More recently, Mr. Karr had three paintings entered in the Art is Ageless event. He entered “Amish Spring," “Wine, Roses & Chagall" and “And Holding: Birthday Roses." Everyone loved his paintings, especially the Amish Spring painting.

We are pleased and honored to have such an esteemed artist with us. He teaches us about painting and being creative!

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