"The Willing Suspension of Disbelief" (detail)
(60"x96", acrylic on canvas, with attached canvas portraits)
A collaborative painting when her daughters were young and spent a lot of time with their mom in the studio.
Born in Smithers, British Columbia, Karen and her 5 brothers grew up in a lively household with noisy mealtimes and parents who dared to travel with them across the country in an oversized, seatbelt-free station wagon. Cultural experiences were always an emphasis. She and her family lived in various places in Canada and the U.S. Karen graduated from the University of Waterloo with a major in environmental studies and a minor in fine arts. Her interests led her to work outdoors with various environmental educational organizations. She learned how to walk game trails, identify bird calls and once got within 20 feet of a herd of wild elk by singing to them. Making the natural world more comprehensible to people gives her great delight, especially if moments of magic spark the willingness to invest in conserving our wild places. Her early art was illustrative and served to communicate natural themes and the stories of her wilderness adventures.
Karen's work in natural interpretation eventually led to an education degree at Queen's University. While working for Alberta Parks, Karen fell in love with a ranger named Dale. He drove a pickup truck, listened to Waylon Jennings and knew where wild orchids grew. They married and settled in the Crowsnest Pass where they raised three daughters. Painting took a serious turn after taking summer courses at the Emily Carr College of Art and Design in Vancouver. Numerous solo and group shows later, Karen has a growing art practice. She also enjoys encouraging the creative process in others and doing workshops particularly geared toward the reluctant artist. She and Dale still live in the 'Pass where they are active members of this beautiful community. Besides painting, Karen divides her time between being mom, teaching high school fine arts, and running the trails behind her house with Bailey the wonderdog.