The bright and colorful painted work of Leah Bartelt will be on display as a new exhibit for the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council Feb. 6-April 27 at Clark Field Regional Airport.

“Leah is wonderful to work with and her bright animal portraits are amazing and so fun,” said CTFAC Executive Director Julie Crouch Smith.

Bartelt grew up surrounded by artists, so naturally, she followed in their footsteps.

“My mother has been a painter for as long as I can remember, but our whole family turned towards the arts whether it be in crafts, painting, poetry or singing and photography,” she said.

Bartelt grew up in the Metroplex but has lived in Stephenville for 16 years with her husband, John, and two children, Kourtney and Luke.

“I work full time at Tarleton and I also serve as the Women’s Ministry Leader at Valley Grove Baptist Church,” she said.

Using bright backgrounds and unique coloring, Bartelt’s paintings really stand out.

“Most of my subjects are animals and I use acrylics to paint them. I have a big love for animals — we live on a small hobby farm we lovingly call ‘Half Ass Ranch,’” she said. “We have chickens, llamas, cows, dogs, cats, a fish and our newest member is a pot belly pig — who I'm sure will be the subject of future paintings.”

Bartelt began painting last May to which Smith says, “She is clearly a natural talent.”

“I had admired some of the colorful animal art I’d seen and decided to try my hand at it instead of purchasing one,” she said. “I had a lot of fun doing it and started receiving positive feedback on my paintings and even began getting requests. So, bam! Here I am!”

Bartelt will have 22 pieces on display and all but two of the works will be for sale.