Fraser: Encouragement brings out pilot’s inner artist |

Fraser: Encouragement brings out pilot’s inner artist

by Cyndi Palmer
Sky-Hi Daily News

An oil and watercolor painter who got his start under the caring instruction of two local artists ” Karen Vance and Pem Dunn ” is now preparing for his debut reception at the Fraser Valley Library next Thursday.

More than 32 of his pieces are already hanging at the library and will remain on display through the month of July.

Kent Van Meter, who began with a supportive nudge from his wife, Carol, who signed him up for his first class with local painter Karen Vance. He had always sketched and attempted painting most of his life, but never looked at himself as an artist.

Vance’s instruction changed the way he sees things, he said.

“I see more colors now and observe more of the landscape and the people that I probably never noticed much before,” he said. Vance taught him to always draw a preliminary value study before starting, and paint in the dark colors first.

It was upon Vance’s insistence, Van Meter said, that he is showing his work for the first time.

Like many who find themselves in the Rocky Mountains, Van Meter came here to ski in 1982 and stayed for the summers.

He is a retired American Airlines pilot and served in the U.S. Air Force for six years. In his art, the sky and clouds play a major role.

Kent and Carol split their time between Grand County and Texas, where they first met Vance for that first class. Many of the things that keep them returning as part-time residents appear on his canvasses ” animals (especially horses and their dogs), fishing and landscapes (one of an aspen grove is his favorite so far).

“(My art) is recreational for me, fun to do and very rewarding,” he said. “I hope people think I’ve captured that part of nature.”

Other subject matter includes sailboats and Just Ranch, and he’s working on two other paintings, one of the Vasquez Creek area.

He said he mainly paints for himself, that it gives him a sense of accomplishment and that his only goal is to continue to improve. Maybe, the modest artist said, this first-ever show will encourage him to show again near his other home.

Although many of the framed paintings are on loan from friends who received them as gifts, some pieces will be for sale. Prices range from $125 to $750 and are between 5×7 and 18×24.