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Willmar artist displays work at local gallery

Brian Korthals/Daily Globe Artist Donna Jean Carver stands by two of her animal paintings currently on display at the Nobles County Art Center in Worthington.

WORTHINGTON -- The road between Willmar and Worthington has become a familiar path recently for artist Donna Jean Carver.

Carver's first trek to Worthington was this past spring, when she entered a few pieces in the annual Area Art Show at the Nobles County Art Center and took home two merit awards. Now, she's making a return trip with many more examples of her work for a solo exhibit in the gallery.

Working primarily with acrylic paints, Carver especially likes to paint animals and flowers.

"I work in almost any size, from 12 inches up to 2- by 3-feet," she said. "I have murals on my walls at home, and they're big. In fact, I have more than 20 murals on my walls, all animals."

Carver calls her artistic enterprise Topaz Tiger Studios, the name a nod to her interest in animals.

"Topaz is my birthstone, and the tiger part comes because I paint a lot of animals," she said.

She sells a selection of notecards featuring animals on several Internet sites.

But the Worthington show will feature some of her original paintings.

"I have a little bit of everything," she said. "A lot of animals, of course, some florals, and lately I've gone back to my farmer's daughter roots, painting farm scenes, farm animals," she explained.

For her rural-themed paintings, Carver experimented with an alternative to canvas -- blue denim. She finds old jeans in thrift stores and recycle the material into a makeshift canvas. The blue material imparts an Americana quality to the works.

"Because it absorbs more paint, sometimes I have to go over things two or three times," she noted. "People seem to like them, and they go with the rural theme."

Largely self-taught, Carver has dabbled in the creative arts through most of her life, between raising children and other endeavors. Now, with her children and grandchildren mostly grown --and one great-grandchild and another on the way --Carver has plenty of time to focus on her artwork.

"It's made me very happy," she said.

The opening reception for the exhibit of Carver's work will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Nobles County Art Center, located in the lower level of the War Memorial Building (Nobles County Library), 407 12th St., Worthington. The exhibit will continue through November. Hours are 2 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, phone 372-8245.

Daily Globe Features Editor Beth Rickers can be reached at 376-7327.

Beth Rickers

Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at  

(507) 376-7327