FULTON – Family continues to inspire painter Leah Richter in a variety of ways.
“My grandparents, Arion and Louise Potter, had a 150-head dairy farm between Preston and Goose Lake (Iowa),” Richter, 43, said in a recent telephone interview.
Richter grew up in Clinton, Iowa, and became a painter. The craft work that went into the farm inspired her to want to showcase regional art. She’s working on opening “The Curious Cat” art gallery some time later this year at 1415 Fourth St. in Fulton.
The gallery used to be an accounting firm owned by Leah’s father-in-law, Gene Richter, before the business merged with another firm in 2016.
“I’ll mostly be teaching painting,” Leah said.
Richter does both canvas paintings and furniture decoration. Her artistic path draws a great deal of focus from her family. Richter has four adopted children – Nella, 8, Anna, 7, Mason, 6, and August, 5 – with her husband, Nate Richter, 40
“The bulk of it is about my family being an adoptive family. My girls were 2 and 3 years old when they were adopted. They remember meeting me. It was a process to get to know them,” Richter said.
When working, Richter continues to try to paint in a new way. She said she mixes linear images with realism, adding volume and color.
“I like to leave the image incomplete. I had a teacher challenge me to tell story not just with imagery, but also with how paint is applied,” Richter said.
Richter plans to share her experiences by featuring her and other local artists’ works at the gallery
“I may contact other artists to come in and teach jewelry making, other kinds of crafts. I think there’s more art than people realize. It deserves more exposure,” Richter said.
The gallery will feature small shows, and will have a gift shop with crochet, pottery and other items. Richter also wants to have wine tastings at the gallery, and is waiting on needed licenses and insurance before opening the doors.
“You need a license to do wine tasting. It’ll be only local wine and other products,” Richter said.