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Cara Koolmees paints the colors of Ogden from 25th Street studio

By Chelsi Lasater - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Jul 1, 2022
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"Grounds for Coffee" watercolor painting by Cara Koolmees.
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"This Is Ogden" watercolor painting by Cara Koolmees.

During this month’s First Friday Art Stroll, watercolor artist and gallery owner Cara Koolmees invites the community to visit her studio on 256 Historic 25th Street from 6-9 p.m.

When you step inside Koolmees’s studio, you step inside the colorful world of Ogden. Her paintings of Ogden, Park City and Salt Lake City depict city life and culture and often feature significant buildings to the area. “I do a lot of the businesses in town, as they think of them as portraits of their babies,” says Koolmees.

Koolmees was drawing portraits of her family using pastels by age ten. She grew up in colorful Downey, California, and attended Long Beach State College, majoring in art. Later, she attended Cerritos College as a pre-med and art major and then received a bachelor’s degree in Dental Hygiene from the University of Southern California. Koolmees then pursued a career as a dental hygienist, got married and had two children, all the while continuing to pursue art part-time, taking workshops and entering juried shows. “After we moved to Utah in 1995 and my children graduated from college, I earnestly started painting,” she says.

In 2000, Koolmees purchased a studio at 256 Historic 25th St. That’s when things really took off. “Now with a studio on Historic 25th Street in Ogden, Utah, I am able to paint the fronts of businesses in the area. I also do commissions for residents in Ogden and throughout the country,” says Koolmees.

“I like buildings in Utah,” she adds, “but also anything colorful. I tell people I [paint] nouns (person, places or things).”

In her artist statement, Koolmees explains her process. “While I seek to evoke my feelings of ‘nouns’ (persons, places, and things), I do not try to recreate, but to record how the subjects’ color touches me. Using yellow-based pigment to begin my painting, I try to convey a warm sunny glow throughout. I am more interested in happy feelings than in a somber, moody piece.”

Prints and calendars will be available for purchase at Cara Koolmees’s studio, 256 25th St., during Ogden’s First Friday Art Stroll on Friday. Visitors are also welcome to the studio during open hours on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a tour. Visit CaraKoolmees.com for more information.


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