Portraits offer glimpse into faces of county

Katherine Galbraith

Westfield resident Katherine Galbraith is an esteemed painter, specializing in portrait paintings. Galbraith is a signature member of the Portrait Society of America, and recently, she’s using her talent of painting portraits to capture many faces within Chautauqua County.

Galbraith’s project, called Painting the Faces of Chautauqua, consists of her painting at least 30 portraits of different residents of Chautauqua County, including a wide variety of professions, including a fire chief, a stone mason, an EMT, a horse massage therapist, and a dentist so far, in addition to some landscape paintings to “complement the portraits to show our beautiful county.”

“This project has no funding of any kind, save me,” said Galbraith. “This is something I wanted to do for the community in which I live, to showcase the character and strength of the people who call Chautauqua home, as well as a personal challenge to myself as an artist.”

Galbraith got the idea from a friend in Iowa who did the same thing in her town. Galbraith asked if she could take that idea and run with it, and she has. Galbraith plans on having her work displayed sometime in November at the grand opening at the Westfield Train Station, which she and her husband own. The goal is to have the people she painted on hand too, so they can talk about themselves.

“I’d love to have all the people whose portraits will be in the show stand up and talk for a few minutes about themselves,” said Galbraith. “It’ll be a portrait of Chautauqua County overall.”

Galbraith added that she hopes this will expand the scope of art in the county, as she feels that the Art Trail is what most people associated with art in Chautauqua County and she wants to show there is more than just that.

“Around here when art is mentioned, people think of the Art Trail and not beyond that,” said Galbraith. “This will help people understand what painting can do and mean.”

In total, Galbraith has completed nearly 15 portraits thus far, though her pace has slowed down a little bit as her husband was recently diagnosed with Lyme Disease. Galbraith said she was able to get back on track this past week, having three different people in for sittings.

Galbraith said she’s happy to paint people who likely wouldn’t have the opportunity to have a portrait done on them, and is looking forward to having the gallery on display for the community to see.

Information about Galbraith can be found at her website, https://www.katherinegalbraithfineart.com/, where the portraits she’s done of Chautauqua County places and residents can be found.


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