Austin Sovar’s innate artistic abilities are at odds with his mathematical and science-minded brain. He will graduate from Owensboro High School this May and will continue his studies at the University of Kentucky (UK) where he plans to study engineering.
Sovar said he has always been into art and has always drawn, but he has never had formal training, although he has taken photography classes.
A couple of years ago he received a paint set from his parents as a Christmas gift. While he didn’t use them immediately, when he decided to experiment a few months later, he painted portraits of himself and his brother. Those paintings now hang in the family’s living room.
One day while visiting the home, Sovar’s neighbor Diane Ford noticed the paintings on the wall.
“I was so impressed to see the unique paintings Austin did of his family and immediately knew we would love to have him create something for ours,” Ford said.
Sovar painted both of the Fords’ children and their family dog. Those paintings hang in their family room and Ford said that she and her husband Clay refer to Sovar as “the renaissance man.”
By word of mouth and people seeing the paintings at the Fords’ home, Sovar has been asked to paint other portraits, including family pets.
Ford, who is heavily involved in the Wendell H. Ford Government Education Center, commissioned Sovar, a Wendell Ford Statesmanship Academy student, to create a portrait of Wendell Ford.
“The final product was beyond our expectations,” Ford said.
Sovar describes the artwork he creates as freestyle painting. He begins his process by first doing an outline and then applying paint, mostly in shades of black and white, but he is open to color.
“I like the idea of a portrait — the black background and then the white paint to give it contrast,” Sovar said.
The time invested for each painting varies, but most take around four hours from start to finish.
“The thing I enjoy most about painting is how satisfying it is to watch my own progress, from the initial sketch to filling in the lines,” Sovar said. “I also love how each painting can be different from the last — I can be as creative as I want with them.”
While at UK, Sovar plans to continue painting as a side job as time allows. He also plays the piano and guitar and is heavily involved in soccer, playing since the age of four.
“I paint mostly to relax and have something to do that I really enjoy,” Sovar said.”I feel really passionate about it, especially when a painting is meaningful to others.”
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