Tobias’ painting earns museum spot


Karen Tobias knew she was facing tough competition to earn a spot in the annual Watercolor Society of Indiana exhibit.

“You can submit two paintings. If you’re lucky, they will choose one. You have to have them photographed by yourself or a professional,” said Tobias, a resident of The Barrington of Carmel. “You submit it and a very astute, well-known artist not from this area but from across the country does the jurying. It must be a hard job because the pieces are all (by talented artists).”

Tobias’ painting, “Tea in the Afternoon,” was selected by the Watercolor Society of Indiana to be displayed at Indianapolis Art Museum at Newfields through Sept. 29.

Tobias with her painting, which hangs in the Indianapolis Art Museum at Newfields. (Submitted photo)

Tobias has been painting for 14 years. After retiring from teaching, she saw a children’s art piece and decided to paint something similar.

“I enjoyed it. I thought this is what I’m going to do in my retirement,” she said. “If anyone ever mentioned an art class, I always jumped on it and was happy to participate. I started out loving to paint flowers. I’ve done animals, done my granddaughter, done horses because we had thoroughbred horses. I only paint two pictures a year. Don’t ask me why.”

Tobias moved to Carmel with her husband in 1981. After being home for several years, Tobias, who previously taught in Michigan and Illinois, decided she wanted to teach again. She started out subbing, then became a teacher’s aide and then taught four years of first grade in Carmel at Woodbrook and Prairie Trace.

“After retiring, I did testing for kids to be placed in advance placement for elementary school classes (for Carmel Clay Schools),” Tobias said.

Tobias moved to The Barrington two years ago with her seriously ill husband, Roger Tobias, who died six weeks after they moved.

“Karen’s art is an inspiration to us all, and this honor speaks to the fact that we’re never too old to follow our dreams,” The Barrington Executive Director Jesse Sias stated.