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On Becoming a Painter

I have always had an artistic side. I loved art classes all through school. I started out in college working toward a degree in Graphic Design but back in the 80s, it was so regimented and perpendicular and not a good fit for me, one who draws outside the lines. And I think in hindsight that I didn’t consider painting to be a valid career choice, so I switched to another activity I enjoy: writing. As in journalism. There I fell in love with the precision of editing sound and images, and did a stint as a videographer upon graduation.

At that time equipment was bulky, heavy and expensive, and work was often on weekends when I’d rather be out on the prowl and hanging with friends. I took a job with a publishing company and stayed there for over 15 years.

About 10 years ago, I picked up a soft pastel as a means of art therapy, trying to get through some personal difficulties. I liked the feel of them. When my corporate job ended in mass layoffs 21 months ago, I saw an opportunity to revisit something I love: art and photography. I joined an art league, and began taking classes. Eventually, I submitted paintings and photography to the league’s jury and got approved to exhibit in their gallery. One of my paintings even made the window!

I like how painting feels and I like what I create. I have received a lot of encouragement and support – other people think I can make a living doing this! It’s a huge compliment and I hope they are right.

I paint from my own photographs. I do a lot of seascapes because I love the sea so much, especially waves. But I also have tried my hand at animals, starting with my own Lulu and she came out pretty well.

I am nervous and excited to say that my very first public show is coming at me like a freight train. I have to finish about six paintings by the weekend since I then have to frame everything in order to hang it next Wednesday. Yikes. On a side note, I started my own custom framing business called Dame of Frames – primarily so that I could save money by framing my own work.

I am honored to be invited to do this show with teacher and fellow artist, Cheryl Ann Spran, who has been kind enough to show me the ropes. The show is called Pastelscapes and will be showing May 3 – July 1 at the Blue Max Café in Forest Park. There is a reception on Sunday, May 6 from 4:00 – 6:30pm with drinks, food, and live music. One can see all the paintings (which are for sale), and talk to the artists. The event is open to all.

I think is going to be a lot of fun and I am looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones. I guess it’s never too late to change paths.

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About Karen

Karen is a recent escapee of corporate america and was raised in the Chicago area. She is quick-witted, non-political and non-comforming, but an astute observer of everyday life. Loves women.

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