The walls of An Original Hitt, Fine Art and Atelier, literally paint the story of nationally acclaimed artist, Karen Ann Hitt. Referred to as her Miracle Studio, it is indeed a working studio. Her door signage reads, If not in, gone painting. If she and her husband are not taking the road less traveled around the states, then you can find her in the studio, donning her paint-splattered wardrobe: jeans with a matching long vest, working Cowboy boots, and Cowboy hat atop her long flowing radiant curls.
As a child she would do anything to stay home and take summer art classes in lieu of partaking in family vacations. She only wanted to paint, and subsequently submit her artwork in to local shows in her native Columbus, Ohio. Even today she delights in being a judge for the annual children’s art festivals in Venice, and gives a big thank you and shout out to Sister Maureen of Still Point Studio.
She arrived in Florida in 1975 where her family settled on the other coast, and she attended high school in Ft Lauderdale. While she took classes at the Vo Tech, she asked the teacher where she should go to college. The teacher gave her only one response, Parsons School of Design in New York, and that was it. She applied, was accepted and would later major in illustration.
In the mid-90’s, she moved to Venice, became a single mom, and raised her three children here. In 2015 she married her soulmate and together they spend many months of the year traversing the USA in their dream home-away-from-home on wheels. She paints and he hikes.
Her photos are captured on a nearby laptop for easy display and reference. Blank canvases and canvases in various stages hang from a wall-sized easel where she stands, brushes in hand, and lets her vision come to life. She explains, “A photograph cannot read everything that the human eye can read. But a painting shows more of the At that moment… experience”.
The open air ‘Plein Air’ work (painting on location outside) is an essential resource for many Studio Works. Oils are her preferred medium of choice, and she does paint with acrylics and watercolors too. From a still life to a landscape, from a single palm tree to a beach scene, or a town view, each work tells a story.
One of my personal favorites is Artist Studio Life with Lemon and Blues Choices. Created in 2014, this oil on linen was featured in ine Art Connoisseur. The artist incorporated three of her other paintings into background of this painting, along with a still life of a glass jar of honey, lemons, and berries. Her inspiration came from lemon-like and bluesy news which she transformed in to a work of art. The jar of honey was provided by local bee keeper, Ron Goulet. He even gave her a dead bee that had stung him that day. The heart-shaped rock depicted in the lower right-hand corner was found as she stepped out of her vehicle to paint along the Merced River on the way to Yosemite National Park.
Karen Ann has long been known for her portraits of children and still paints them today. Mary Lou Dunn-Rankin, says, "One of our most treasured possessions is the portrait Karen painted of our children when they were small. She painted the portrait from a candid photo she took of them reading together, and it really captures their personalities.
As the artist explains, “When you paint kids, it is from photos, therefore you spend time in the studio by yourself painting. While I enjoy doing portraits, I told myself that I need to get out more, and so I do just that.”
Founder of Venice Plein Air Group, she thrives on being outside, taking in the scenery, and making it come to life on the canvas. As this article was being penned, Karen Ann was working on A New Day Dawning, the view of a sunrise on the Intracoastal Waterway in Venice. Presently, Karen Ann is compiling her studio paintings for Women’s Impressions group exhibit opening on January 17, 2018 at Hughes Gallery in Boca Grande, FL. The Opening Reception is scheduled for January 17 at 5pm.
She shares, “One of the things I learned while studying at college in NYC, is the importance of supporting your neighborhood. Because I quickly learned that if I want things to stay nice and appreciate what I love about my neighborhood, then I have to support my neighborhood and the local merchants, or they won’t be there in the future.” An active participant in Venice’s local art walks, Karen Ann buys the wine she serves from Venice Wine & Coffee, and passes out their business cards because she wants them to succeed and to always be there to supply the wine for her events. And if you want to support your local artists, come on down to An Original Hitt…and support the neighborhood.
The hours of An Original Hitt – Fine Art & Atelier, are not set, and appointments are always welcome. It is worth a visit if nothing more than to find the actual bumblebee that is still on hand as a model in her gallery located at 230 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Venice. Tel # (941) 586-0287