BROOKSVILLE — For Brooksville artist Carole Knudson, it all began with her love of photography. For years, she carried a camera with her wherever she traveled, stopping to click the shutter whenever she saw something worth capturing on film.
But being a creative artist with an abiding appreciation for composition and light, color and texture, began four years ago with a trip with her husband to see the Tampa Bay Rays take on the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2008 World Series.
Wanting to create special banners to hold up during the game, Knudson bought some oil pastels and poster board. The brightly decorated banners turned out beautifully — enough so that TV cameras showed them several times during the national broadcast.
Perhaps even more important, working with the pastel medium gave Knudson a creative thrill she had never felt.
"I loved working with them, blending the colors and seeing what I could come up with," Knudson said. "It just opened up a world I had really known nothing about."
Knudson, 60, prides herself on being a self-taught artist. But anyone gazing at the seascape Endless Seas, Knudson's latest creation, which is part of the Brooksville City Hall Art Gallery's summer exhibit, would be hard-pressed to believe that a more experienced artist didn't create it.
The scene, depicting a storm-tossed sailboat on a darkened Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pine Island, shows just how far Knudson has come in her ability to use different hues in creating light and contrast. Much of that, she says, comes from her lifelong love of photography.
"Doing photography greatly enhanced my perception of light and how painters use it to create different effects," Knudson said. "A lot of the art I create actually comes from photographs I've taken."
Self-taught, Knudson said much of what she learned from working with soft pastels and oil pastels was by simple trial and error.
"They are fairly easy to work with, and that was a real blessing early on," she said.
In addition to landscapes, Knudson's work includes wildlife portraits. Re-creating textures and hues found in nature are among her favorite challenges as an artist.
"For me, the eyes are always the place to start," she said. "I know that if I get them right, the rest of it is pretty easy."
Although her art remain mostly a hobby, Knudson, an information specialist for the Hernando Tourism Bureau, looks forward to when she can devote more time to it.
"I love the challenge of creating something new," she said. "Opportunity presents itself. You find something to work with and make it your own."
Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435.