Name: Carol Zieres
Preferred Medium: Watercolor paintings, postcards
Zieres was born in Utica, New York, and after majoring in biology and art at SUNY, she joined the ROTC and wound up spending the majority of her life in the military.
While stationed in Europe in 1986, Zieres used her artistic talent to provide a relaxing break from the rigors of military life. She would travel around the continent painting watercolor landscapes of incredible European vistas, and then use those paintings to provide familiar surroundings in the many different homes she lived in while serving active duty.
“I was an ambulance platoon leader in charge of 20 soldiers in Garlstedt, Germany during the Cold War era,” Zieres, who now calls Safety Harbor home, recalls. “It was a lot of responsibility. Painting was my escape.”
Zieres moved around a lot during her 30-year military career, and despite the fact that she reached the rank of colonel and was in charge of important projects and facilities, she never lost her love for painting.
“I enjoyed it because I would always put my artwork in my new home and then it would feel like my home,” she admits. “I could look at those familiar pictures and it made me feel less homesick, no matter where I was.”
Did you know?
Zieres was assigned to command the brand new US Army Reserve Medical Command facility in Pinellas Park in 2008, which allowed her to make her home base in Florida. She found a house in Safety Harbor through a friend and immediately fell in love with the town.
Although she had to spend a few years away in San Antonio, she made her way back to her new home, was named Inspector General of the command center, and retired with the rank of colonel in 2011. That allowed her to concentrate on her art, and she wound up painting postcard portraits of her new hometown.
“I visited the Chamber of Commerce, and I noticed they didn’t have any postcards of Safety Harbor,” she says. “It inspired me to start painting and turning them into postcards. My very first one…became the cover of the Chamber's (business directory) guide.”
Where you can find Carol’s work:
Carol does not sell her postcards individually, but wholesales them to retailers. In addition to that directory cover, Carol’s postcards can be found in the Safety Harbor Galleria; B.J.’s Flower Basket on Main Street; the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa; the Whistle Stop Café; the FedEx annex on Enterprise Road; and of course, the Chamber of Commerce.
Her postcards sell for the extremely reasonable price of $1.00 apiece.
Carol will also be teaching watercolor classes at the new Safety Harbor Museum and Cultural Center when it opens in November. She is also president of the Garden Club and participates in numerous shows, fundraisers and charitble events.
“I'm so busy now I don't have time to do a lot of stuff I'd like to do, " Zieres says. "But I'd rather do what I'm doing. I think I found my calling."