Prairie Times


An Artist's Eyes 


Most of us dabbled in artistic pursuit as kids. Some of us were even fair at it, but only a genuine artist loves it enough to continue practicing, refining, and seeking out ways to share their art… like Vicki Knoll on Main Street in Elizabeth.


A few minutes into the interview I realized that I bought one of her pieces a number of years ago at a local craft fair: a sketch of John Wayne as a Christmas present for my dad.

Vicki is a true artist, a free spirit who enjoys helping others find their soul’s purpose; but first and foremost, an artist. “I’ve been drawing most of my life,” she says. “I would carry a drawing pad and pencil with me everywhere and sketch whatever I saw. My grandfather and father were both amateur artists and inspired me to become the best artist that I could be. My grandfather was color blind and would hold up his pastels in front of him to see if they matched the scenery in front of him that he was painting. His paintings were beautiful and interesting. Sometimes there would be green sunsets and a beautiful field of red grass, but they were all marvelous!”

She earned an Associate’s Degree in Commercial Art and Advertising and was the art director for a national financial magazine in Dallas, Texas. Vicki didn’t enjoy the fast pace, corporate world, so after her children were born, she stayed home with them while her husband supported the family. But the itch to be artistic never faded. “We bought the small building on Main Street in January of 2000,” she says. “I named my company Serendipity Crafts and sold handmade crafts. I soon realized that I preferred drawing than sewing, so I turned my craft shop into an art studio. I had my friend, Katie Novak, sell her metaphysical gifts in my gallery and we changed the name to Portraits by Vicki and Karma Cottage. At the end of 2012, Katie moved to Florida and I turned my shop into an art gallery now called Art by Vicki.”

Inside the shop, customers can find her colored pencil and graphite pencil illustrations. She has wildlife, landscapes and celebrity portraits. Vicki specializes in custom illustration where she will draw from people’s most treasured photographs. “I draw people, animals, houses, trucks, whatever anyone would like to have rendered in pencil or colored pencils,” she says. “I don’t use any computer enhancements. All my work is hand drawn by me personally.”

Her work is striking, as the framed portrait of “The Duke” hanging in my parents’ house can attest to. If you want a photograph transformed into a personal work of art, Vicki would be delighted to draw you something that will make you smile each time you look at it. —CB