Yes, Indiana’s First Lady Karen Pence likes to paint. Pence told the Indy Star that she studied art at Butler, where she majored in teaching and minored in art. “I thought, gosh, ‘I’d like to learn more about art.’ I pulled it out of the air.” She graduated with BA and MA degrees in elementary education, taught art in Indiana grammar schools for many years, and sold her paintings at local art fairs.
According to the Indy Star:
When they had their first child, Karen decided to take a class in watercolors. “I told Mike I need a night when you’re in charge and I just go have fun,” she said. “Then what happened was, I realized, I can paint.” Her mother-in-law asked her to paint the lake house. A sister commissioned her to do her house. The idea for a business was planted. Watercolors, which dry quickly, suited the mother of three young children. “You can paint while they’re napping,” she said.
This past April, she presented a series of watercolor prints at the Indiana Arts Building on the Indiana State Fairgrounds as part of Indiana’s bicentennial celebration.
In 2008, Pence became the honorary chair of the Art Therapy Committee at the Riley Hospital for Children, and later served as a member of Riley Hospital’s Foundation Board. Ms. Pence also has a charitable foundation, Indiana First Lady’s Charitable Foundation, that focuses on children, families and the arts. In 2014, at the inaugural First Lady’s Luncheon, the Foundation awarded $100,000 to the Art Therapy Program at Riley Hospital for Children. This year they donated $52,500 to 57 Indiana organizations and charities.
Pence is married to Mike Pence, Donald Trump’s ultra-conservative running mate. Judging from the type of paintings Pence herself makes and her Foundation’s choice of grant recipients, I think it’s safe to say that their ideas about art are deeply traditional.