Book: Artist Among Us

ed: Stephen Stinson and Edward Emory

" I was born in Spartanburg. My mother painted- mainly portraits- one of which is of my grandfather with his favorite dog, Spot, which I treasure. My memories of my mother at her easel are very strong. Luckily I still have her beat-up paintbox and wooden pallet. She gave me a love of any and all creative expression- from a first childish sketchbook, to a pre-teen lesson on "the birds and the bees" using an eye-popping picture of Michaelangelo's "David", to regular trips to the public library and required piano lessons, even to sharing her favorite movies with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. All of these got me started on this path.
    I went to Converse College where I received a grand liberal arts education. Professor Melba Long taught art appreciation and opened the door to all the old masters via a slide show extraordinaire. I will never forget her passion. Marriage and six daughters intervened, and the paint brush stayed in the box for a number of years. Eight years ago I returned to serious painting. Once again I felt the delighted pleasure of a child just drawing pictures and exploring light and color, subject and technique.
    The arts community in Spartanburg amazes me with all it's enthusiastic people, resources and activities. We have public galleries at the Chapman Cultural Center and Hub-Bub, and generous artists who gladly share their love of the work and the joy of just creating something. 
    I am mainly self-taught but have had the opportunity to attend some excellent workshops around the country with worthy instructors. Supportive artists/friends have also encouraged me. Oil is my medium, and my paintings are a bit narrative, which makes sense because  I have always loved a good story. Each work becomes a jump-off into a story-land, some imagined place or moment in time, a whimsical glimpse. Dogs, being a big part of my  life, horses too, seem to find their way into many settings , happily participating."


"Belle Magazine"

"Karen began to seriously pursue her art career in early 2001 with the encouragement of fellow artists, Ann Crenshaw and Monta Anthony, but has had a love of oil painting for as long as she can remember.     Her style maintains an emphasis on " borrowed rooms"- these are interiors that evoke a desire to go there and step into another time and place. Her love of dogs and travel are also apparent through her work. Karen states that: " I have always loved a good story. When I paint rooms and places, I am creating my own narratives in oil. Often the imagined settings include a friendly dog; either way the space invites the onlooker to carry out the plot."