From a very early age Krista Ann Roche has felt a deep connection to the natural world. While growing up in the Chicago area she spent much of her free time exploring the Chicago Forest Preserves, natural lands winding their way through the suburbs. As a child she always knew she wanted to become an artist, as her role models were artists in her own family.
Her formal art education began in high school when she won a community poster contest in her home town of North Riverside, Illinois, the prize being Saturday morning art lessons at the Art Institute of Chicago. These lessons gave her a sense of art as a serious endeavor and when class was over she spent time viewing the Art Institute’s wonderful collection of paintings before taking the train home. Her interest in art was also nurtured in public school art classes from grade school through high school and by her parents who provided art materials and encouragement. After high school she studied drawing and painting in the School of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. After marrying and starting a family she completed her undergraduate degree at the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio where she lived on a small farm in the rolling hills of Amish country south of town, practicing her art while raising two children. Her watercolors, drawings, and oils of the Ohio landscape were juried into many regional and national exhibits where they frequently were awarded place and purchase prizes. During the same period she was elected to Full Membership in the Ohio Watercolor Society.
Her life changed in many ways in 1985 when her husband accepted a teaching job in the Department of Geology at LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. At LSU she was able to further her studio education and in 1992 was awarded a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Drawing and Painting. During this time she was accepted into prestigious national juried exhibits. After graduation she pursued her art, searching for direction in this very different natural environment. She continued working in landscape, but at the same time her attention was drawn to the bird life of Louisiana. While delivering a painting to an exhibit in Jennings she was amazed by the sight of thousands of Snow Geese in a winter rice field. After this experience she and her husband enrolled in LSU Union birdwatching classes taught by ornithologists from the LSU Natural History Museum, and they opened up a new world to the artist. Shortly afterwards a semester-long course in Chinese painting at LSU with artist Wan Ding inspired her to begin painting birds using the very expressive Chinese approach to nature. She combined observations in the field with her painting background, and discovered that birds could be a portal into imagination and creativity. As Mississippi artist Walter Anderson expressed it, “Birds are holes in heaven through which man may pass.” Her most recent works are color compositions in acrylic and collage. In these small gem-like works she makes use of her collection of fine Japanese papers to add color, complexity, and pattern to her bird paintings. Although she now travels the world to see birds, her work continues to focus mostly on the amazing birds close to home in Baton Rouge and throughout the southeastern U.S.
For many years she taught drawing, painting in watercolor and acrylic, monoprinting, and bookbinding to adults, both privately and through the LSU Union. While working on her MFA she taught drawing and design classes at LSU as well as at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.
Formerly a member of the Baton Rouge Gallery, she continues to exhibit her work at the Elizabethan Gallery and the Vanguard Gallery in Baton Rouge and at the Backwoods Gallery in St. Francisville, Her work is in private collections throughout the U.S., as well as in several corporate collections. She continues to exhibit in state and national juried exhibits such as Animals in Art at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, where she has frequently received awards.