UPS driver Elizabeth Baumgartner never expected to be selling her artwork. The Cincinnati native has lived in the area for over 40 years, but it wasn’t until recently that she turned her passion into a business on her Instagram (@art.on.her.heart) and at Milford’s Millcroft Gallery.
“I don’t have any art background. I’ve always been kind of crafty, creative,” she says. “I started dabbling with painting about five years ago.”
After Baumgartner’s dog sustained an injury a few years ago, friends and businesses on her UPS route offered to help cover veterinary bills. But Baumgartner wanted to give them something special in return–so she started painting. “I wasn’t on Instagram, I wasn’t on Facebook, I wasn’t trying to sell art,” she said. “Five years later, it’s really opened a lot of opportunities for me.”
The self-taught artist’s paintings soon took off into a part-time business. She chose the name Art on Her Heart, reflecting some of her early paintings on wooden hearts. While delivering packages for UPS, she creates art in her free time and expands her reach using Instagram.
For Baumgartner, painting is “therapeutic.” She uses acrylic paint as the base for her work, but she adds in everything from tissue paper to pastels to create her mixed media pieces. “I definitely like a lot of texture and dimension,” Baumgartner says.
Perhaps the most notable aspect of Baumgartner’s style is her vivid color palette. Her bright greens, blues, and pinks reflect the “happy” and “energetic” stage of life she’s in, she explains.
“I’m in a good place, I’m in a good space, so, you know, I want that to come out of me,” she says. “There’s so much bad garbage in the world. I feel very fortunate to have this natural gift that I can share with people, that it puts them in a better space.”
Baumgartner has a special love for Cincinnati that she incorporates into her work. From landscapes of the Cincinnati skyline to colorful depictions of iconic spots like Cincinnati Music Hall, Baumgartner brings her joyful style to the city and its architecture. “The way I paint is very organic,” Baumgartner says. “I like to kind of let it unfold, like, oh, that looks like that’s where Union Terminal could be.”
Recently, Baumgartner’s colorful work made it to the walls of Millcroft Gallery. Owner Jennifer Stuhlreyer first discovered Baumgartner’s work on Instagram and invited her to join the gallery after seeing her work in person. “She loves to layer and add in depth to her work. You have to look at her art for a bit to see everything,” Stuhlreyer says. “If you don’t give it enough time, you will miss things.” Over time, Baumgartner has become one of Millcroft Gallery’s top sellers.
As Baumgartner gains more presence in galleries and on Instagram, she wants to expand her body of work and grow as an artist. “Every time places reach out to me, it just motivates me more to dig deeper into who I am as an artist because, you know, it’s still unfolding for me,” Baumgartner says. She hopes her art will continue to be “healing to others.”
“Every day I daydream about creating art,” Baumgartner says. “I know my style, I know what I want to do, but yet I still definitely want to keep growing.”