+1 ::: Why are you an artist Karen?
love a challenge, puzzle solving, exploring...
and it's all there in creating a painting.
I had no exposure to art museums or galleries
when growing up, but I think I was attracted
to painting by a "I bet I could do
that" gut feeling. I needed time
away from routine so I took a few art
classes and was hooked, working in a traditional
manner in oils. Later, when I was introduced
to contemporary art and other mediums,
I was off and running. I couldn't go back
to school for a degree, but I could and
did study with excellent artists and teachers
wherever I could find them. Over thirty
years later, I'm continuing the learning
process with every painting.
::: Could you tell me some more about
images have evolved over many years, from
to loose interpretive representation*,
to the abstract*,
mostly non-representational work I do
today. As one mode was satisfied, I moved
on to something else that promised more
depth. Today, I remain totally challenged
by abstract painting and feel that everything
that came before was in preparation for
the work I do now. Looking back, I can
categorize the varying modes as if they
changed overnight, but I know it was an
unnoticeably slow evolution, which causes
me to wonder what might be next.
+3 ::: Your latest
abstract works seem to have suggestions
of landscapes (with roads, horizon lines,
hilltops,etc). Are you conscious of these
elements while painting them or are they
I never quite let go of the landscape.
It's the one venue that has been a constant
over the years, though never a total focus
point. A landscape painting, even though
super simplified, is like comfort food,
an occasionally satisfying indulgence.
Then too, I work closely with my galleries
and am sometimes asked for a landscape
series, which I certainly don't mind doing.
Even if done very abstractly, it sharpens
my observation skills.
+4 ::: What artists
have influenced you and why?
course signs of Rothko*,
are evident in my abstracts, as well as
Asian influences, but over the years there
have been many artists who have been important
to my way of painting, and most are not
household names. The mentor who scolded
me with a "Yes you can!" is
the one I feel was most influential. I
didn't know I could.
::: What do you do for fun (besides art)?
was a gardener before I became a painter
and the urge to dig in the dirt is with
me still. I think of it earth sculpture,
composing with dirt, rocks and plants...
very satisfying. Browsing the Internet
is a great past time... any curiosity
can be instantly gratified and it's a
tremendous learning tool. Also, we have
grandchildren and trying to keep up with
them are priorities which are fun and
::: What inspires you to paint and how
do you keep motivated when things get
tough in the studio?
art/painting came easily, if the answers,
the solutions, were obvious, I'd find
another occupation. It's the challenge
that keeps me in the studio, digging around
for a better idea, a different technique,
a rule to break... that's my idea of a
good time. It doesn't come easy for me,
and I have to plug away, constantly move
paint around even on bad days or good
things are just not going to happen. Audio
books (history or historical fiction)
keep me from bolting when I'm less than
interested in what's happening on canvas.
They help me hang around long enough to
break through the current fog.
::: How have you handled the business
side of being an artist?
experience as an assistant gallery director
early in my career prepared me to understand
the gallery's point of view so I'm better
able to understand what the director is
dealing with. Also, I make no attempt
to sell the work myself. I have very good
representatives who earn their percentages.*
Then there is the computer. I've kept
accurate, detailed records of my work
on my database since my first Windows
3.1 computer... transferring previous
data from hand written logs. I never take
work to a gallery without taking two copies
of a complete inventory of everything
they have plus the new work with all necessary
information. Every gallery I've been associated
with has remarked on the value of this
kind of professionalism. It would only
be fair to acknowledge that my husband
handles the heavy end, taxes, investments
and that sort of thing. I'm not a numbers
::: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
at a point in my career that features
a very satisfying view of my life as an
artist. In ten years I'll still be painting
with vigor, meeting deadlines and taking
advantage of whatever comes my way. Keeping
my galleries stocked with quality work
comes first. But I wouldn't mind having
a few more regional museum shows under
my belt. I have one scheduled for October
2004 and we'll see how it goes.
::: What benefits has your website been
to you as an artist and do you think its
important for an artist to have one? Why?
been very fortunate with my website, and
made many profitable contacts through
it. There is a disclaimer on several pages
that I am happy to answer questions as
to technique and availability, but sales
are made only through my representatives.
This makes my gallery associations much
more comfortable about my site. Although
it was designed for them to use as a sales
tool, I think most don't have the time
or inclination to deal with it. I have,
however, sent a number of sales to them
via my website.
a result of the site, I've been introduced
to a number of galleries and have had
exhibitions in several states which I'd
have missed otherwise. A movie producer
spotted my work a few years ago and that
resulted in 24 of my paintings being used
in an independent movie "The Next
It wasn't a bad movie but it didn't make
the big time. At least I've got a great
keepsake from the experience.
encouraged many of my artist friends to
build websites for their work, but most
give up before it's effective. Perhaps
a younger generation will make the internet
work for them. Again, building my site
was the kind of challenge that appeals
to me. I guess it's not everyone's idea
of a good time.
::: What are your latest works about and
where are you going with them?
mentioned that I'll have a museum exhibition
next fall... I'm mentally composing the
show, trying to visualize how it will
look, what type of work I want to explore
and present. I'll have two rooms, I think
in one I'll focus on a shape or symbol
and repeat it with studied variations
in several different media (encaustic,
canvas, paper, monotype), maintaining
the same dimensions for a consistent look.
The second room will have much larger
work, possibly running a unifying motif
through each piece... for instance, a
connecting, undulating landscape horizon
in each. But these are just early thoughts.
I'm also thinking of working on unconventional
shapes. My husband is quite handy in his
workshop and can build whatever I propose.
said all that... I know from experience
that the process will begin with my predictions...
then take over and proceed in some unknown
direction. My job will be to try to control
the outcome in some sane fashion.
::: What advice would you give to an artist
just starting out?
much depends not just on talent, ability
and commitment (though those are critical)
but also on timing and just plain luck!
Be ready for anything. Always have finished
work on hand, prepared to show, to move
out the door. Work every day! Even if
just for a few minutes... be in your studio
doing something! Work (paid or volunteer)
in art related jobs. It can be a real
learning experience and you can't know
enough about the career you've chosen.