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Updated: October 17, 2022 @ 10:40 am
Coastal and landscape paintings are a common theme for Lincoln County artist Khara Ledonne. Using gauche paints when she is painting plein air, Ledonne calls her work colorful and whimsical. (Photos by Susan Schuytema)
Khara Ledonne talks to a visitor at For Art’s Sake Gallery in Nye Beach while her two children patiently wait. Ledonne is the most recent artist to join the Newport artist’s co-op.

The view at Beverly Beach provides the background as artist Khara Ledonne paints her interpretation of the scene. After years of working as a muralist and miniaturist, Ledonne finally made the move to paint what personally inspires her.
Coastal and landscape paintings are a common theme for Lincoln County artist Khara Ledonne. Using gauche paints when she is painting plein air, Ledonne calls her work colorful and whimsical. (Photos by Susan Schuytema)
Khara Ledonne talks to a visitor at For Art’s Sake Gallery in Nye Beach while her two children patiently wait. Ledonne is the most recent artist to join the Newport artist’s co-op.
Khara Ledonne was born an artist. She was an only child until she was 10 and was often alone, so she spent a lot of time drawing and creating. “I liked to draw to invent things like houses, clothes or board games,” Ledonne said. “I think I wanted to draw all the things I wanted to exist when I was a kid.”
When she was 15, Ledonne wanted to paint her bedroom and found a book on Italian landscape murals. She painted her entire bedroom, including the ceiling, in a wine country theme that was popular at the time. When she saw Seventeen magazine had a section called, “Your Room,” she mailed in photos of her work. Two years later, on her 17th birthday, her bedroom was featured in the popular girls’ magazine. That led to an article in her hometown paper and a career as a muralist.
Ledonne graduated early from high school from a small school in Washington and painted murals, mostly in private residences, to save money for college. She felt that going into fine art was too frivolous, so she first majored in interior architecture. “I felt a lot of pressure to be financially independent,” she said. “It was whatever I could get a ‘real’ job doing.”
After just a year, Ledonne switched her major to fine arts. Though her family was very supportive in most ways, they weren’t enamored by her plan to become a starving artist. But she felt she had the ability to bring the practical aspect to her degree by selling her art and making a living.
For 15 years, she made art for other people all over the world. “I would say I didn’t even know what my own art was until like five years ago. I just followed whatever doors opened.”
After she had her first son, Sunny, now 5, something in her changed. Ledonne felt if she didn’t take action and fight for her art, it would never happen. “I always thought I would make art for myself later, then I had a child and thought I have to do this now because if I don’t, it’s never going to happen, and it will get sucked away from me. I defended my right to be an artist for my own sake.”
When Ledonne finally started painting for herself, she had a realization. “I had always thought I was good, but I found I really wasn’t very good,” Ledonne said with a laugh. “Somehow, I painted for 15 years without learning the basics.” She said she didn’t learn a lot in college about composition and values, so she began studying artists she loved and reading about techniques. It paid off.
By letting herself be in the moment, Ledonne said she is more impulsive and spontaneous as a painter. “I used to structure things, plan them out and execute things in very specific timelines,” she said of her mural paintings. “Now, I let myself experiment and play with color.”
Ledonne describes her work as whimsical, colorful and loose. She paints in oils and gouache when she paints outdoors. “I don’t like things to look too perfect,” she said. “I did that for too long.”
Her inspiration comes from children’s books and illustrated books for adults, especially those done by authors who break rules. She even wrote and illustrated her own children’s book, “Who Invited You?” and hopes to illustrate and write more books.
Since moving to Lincoln County just a year ago, Ledonne now has a dedicated art studio and has been getting involved in the local art scene. Her work was recently displayed in a showcase at Newport Visual Arts Center. She entered the Itty Bitty Art Show at For Art’s Sake in Nye Beach, and after one of her pieces won first place, she was asked to go through the four-step jury process to join the gallery. She was accepted and her work is now for sale at the artists co-op. “They are very encouraging about letting me experiment and be myself,” she said.
Though she says she is early on in the process, Ledonne likes creating art that is accessible and affordable. She is working on a calendar that will be coming out soon and has a banner in the Nye Beach Banner Project.
To learn more about Ledonne and her art, go to www.kharaledonne.com and follow Khara Ledonne on Instagram.
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