Karen currently lives and has her art studio in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, having moved there 6 years ago. She is originally from West Yorkshire, but has lived in London, Paris (for 17 years), Deal on the south coast and Tynemouth near Newcastle Upon Tyne. The sea, vast open landscapes, big skies and the beautiful colours and scenery of France (including many visits to Claude Monet’s house and gardens in Giverny) have all had a huge influence on her often brightly coloured, subtly textured artwork.
Karen’s inspiration comes from observing, taking many photos and sketching the natural world around her, often the result of walking in the countryside or a visit to the coast, perched on a rock looking at the sea. Her paintings stem from a subconscious and intuitive process, using oils combined with cold-wax medium (bees’ wax with a small amount of solvent and resin). Using oil and cold wax enables her to build up many layers of paint, using a wide range of tools (rarely a paintbrush), mark making and scraping back to reveal hints of previous layers of colour. She describes the process as becoming an ‘archaeologist’ of her own paintings and thus creating ‘a unique sense of history and interest.’ There is an ongoing dialogue between herself and her developing paintings, using a limited colour palette, she integrates mark-making and layers, scraping back to unveil surprises or to join components in interesting ways. She aims to convey emotions and energy in her work, rather than creating an exact replica of what she has seen.
Henry Matisse “I do not literally paint that table, but the emotion it produces upon me.”
Karen chose to study languages instead of following her heart and attending art college. Her working life began working in a French bank in London and then while raising her family in France, as a teaching assistant. She completed a fine art degree at Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne in 2011, winning the ‘Newcastle Building Society Art Competition’ in 2010 and again in 2011. Finally in 2016, after many years gathering lots of inspiration, she began working in her dream job, as an artist.