Karen’s artistic spirit was sparked and nurtured by her family who was always in the midst of making something. Starting in early childhood, she holds vivid and visceral memories of drawing, painting, sewing, knitting, hammering, sawing, cooking, and gardening. Her dad’s basement woodshop spawned creations “only a mother could love,” yet the experience fostered a love of and skill with tools. A passion for fabric and textiles came from a mother who sewed all the girl’s clothes, taught her about the hand of a piece of cloth, and that when a garment is complete the inside should look as good as the outside. Access to a stack of chipboard from her Dad’s dry cleaned shirts gave rise to a passion for painting, drawing and mark making and may very well have thrown her over the edge on to a path of creative pursuits.
Studying art at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, where she received a BFA in Crafts/Materials Studies, was a natural step for her formal education. Since graduating, her work has taken her from full-time studio potter to design & advertising to her current work as a surface pattern designer, illustrator, painter, and educator. Her richly textured encaustic/mixed media paintings, with their nature-based imagery, are exhibited throughout the country and collected internationally. With a signature style, her designs have expanded into a line of surface pattern designs and jewelry. As an adjunct faculty member at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA since 2005, she teaches encaustic painting workshops and classes throughout the year.