Cardwell finds popularity in local subjects, veterans for her paintings

November 8, 2018 | 3:00 am

Updated November 7, 2018 | 4:34 pm

Painting by Harini Cardwell on display at Owensboro Convention Center | Photo by AP Imagery

Local artist Harini Cardwell is beginning to have her artwork recognized more frequently. This summer, she donated three patriotic paintings to the City of Owensboro, which was recognized on the City’s Facebook page.

“People will see me on the street and will say ‘Oh, you’re that artist,’” Cardwell said of her newfound popularity.

Cardwell, who is also a realtor at Keller Williams, said she doesn’t ever “just sit.” She enjoys painting and does it to relax. She has been known to start painting and not stop until the piece is finished.

“My husband will come home and ask if I have slept or eaten all day,” Cardwell said.

This routine has had to stop for awhile because Cardwell is nearing the end of her pregnancy with her first child, and she is practicing an easier lifestyle free of paint fumes for now.

Cardwell’s interest in art began when she was a small child in India. Her mother and her father, a historian for Indian palaces, took notice of her ability and thought it was “like a professional.” It came easily and naturally, Cardwell said, and as she matured in her artwork, her father often asked her to paint recreations of famous paintings and then, after putting them in similar frames, ask people to decide which was the original and which was “by a young girl.” Often, observers were unable to tell, Cardwell said.

At age 17, Cardwell arrived in New York to attend the State University of New York for undergraduate college on a student visa but was told by the university that she did not need to take classes for a liberal arts degree, she needed to only focus on the fine arts.

She also began selling her artwork in different states and through different buyers and art dealers. During this time, Cardwell was living with a family in New Jersey and when they decided to move to Owensboro to open a business, she decided to come along.

“My friends didn’t believe that it was really Kentucky; they thought it was Connecticut and I had gotten it wrong,” Cardwell said. “But after 12 hours on the road, I realized it was really Kentucky.”

Cardwell thought she would live in Owensboro for a little while, helping with the new business, and then move to a place where there was more art — like Louisville.

“But it’s funny how things work,” Cardwell said.

She met her husband, an Afghanistan and Iraq war veteran while living in Owensboro and because he is from here — and his family still lives here — Cardwell realized Owensboro would become her home.

At the time, Cardwell did not know there was a market for her artwork, but with the popularity of her horses and bourbon paintings, Cardwell found that it was only a matter of time until her artwork was displayed at Studio 105, Studio Slant and most recently, the Owensboro Convention Center where her paintings will be displayed until the end of the year.

“All of it can be purchased,” Cardwell said.

She also paints for charitable donations in the community and works with charcoal and clay.

“I didn’t know I had [the talent]; people told me,” Cardwell said. “Then I had to take a second look.”

Cardwell’s artwork can be seen at the listed locations and she can be contacted at [email protected].

November 8, 2018 | 3:00 am

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