Katherine Rountree knew for years that she wanted to be an artist.Katherine Rountree knew for years that she wanted to be an artist. She discovered her passion for painting while attending the University of Utah, working on a Bachelor’s Degree for graphic design. After graduating, she painted on the side while working full-time as a graphic designer. It worked because she couldn’t support herself on her art alone.

Not yet at least.

“I wouldn’t call it a hobby back then. I knew that I wanted to do it. I just wasn’t able to yet,” Rountree said.

The Ely native will finally get her chance as a real, professional artist on Oct. 3 when her collection of paintings will be displayed in the Art Bank. The mixture of private collection pieces and art for sale, around 20 in total, represent five years of diligent work on Rountree’s behalf, and the opening will mark her very first show.

“I’m really excited,” she said. “It’s just going to be a lot of fun. I hope people come and just enjoy it. I hope they like it of course.”
Rountree had sold her art before, in a gift shop in Baker, but October’s opening will finally accomplish her dream of becoming an artist. Though she works with various mediums, from pencil to water colors and oils, Rountree said she mostly enjoys painting portraits.

Through the use of what she calls “atmospheric effects” and different uses of lighting, the artist said she hopes the thing that most people take away from her collection is a sense of “wow.”

“I would just try to capture what it was like to see something and say ‘wow,’” Rountree said.

The artist said a painting can sometimes “paint itself” taking almost no time to finish, but other times pieces can take upwards of two weeks. Not that she minds the extra time, now that she is retired, Rountree finally feels like she has the creative freedom and financial security to take her time on each piece.

“After I retired, I told myself I have to get this done before I don’t have anymore time,” Rountree said.

The opening of the Art Bank in Ely was the final straw in Rountree’s inspiration to paint. According to her, just having a space to display local artist’s work can make a huge difference in the art that can be produced in a community.

“Before, you either had to go out of state or to a big city to show your art, and that just didn’t work,” Rountree said. “There has never before been an opportunity for local artists like the art bank, so I’m really, really happy to have a place like the art bank to have an opportunity to show the work that I do and see how it goes.”