Karen Russell

WATERCOLOR, SILK

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I live and maintain a studio in rural southern Maryland on the banks of a serenely beautiful creek that is a tributary of the Potomac River. Although I am primarily self-taught, I have studied with a variety of accomplished artists over the years, and have taken a number of very informative workshops. I especially value the three years I studied the figure and portraiture with Cedric Egeli in Annapolis and the workshops taught by Dianne Etienne Faxon, Barbara Nechis, Alvaro Castagnet and Joe Mayer.

My first inspiration came from watching my mother draw and paint and my father sculpt. Although my parents were not professional artists, their love of art surrounded me and ignited my interest in art. As a child I traveled with them around Arizona as they gave professional puppet shows for charities. I watched my parents create a magical world and was allowed to participate in that creation.

Although I have lived in Maryland for over 35 years, the amazing light of the Southwest, where I grew up, inspires my love of color and my appreciation of how light affects everything.

Initially I was interested in portraiture and figure painting. That culminated in a series of oil paintings depicting figures on the beach. Since then I have become sensitive to the solvents used in oil painting and as a result I have found my true passion in watercolor. When I changed media I realized I loved the way flowers had an affinity for being depicted with watercolor. I have been excited by the interesting compositions I can create when I come in close and focus on the abstract qualities of the shapes of interesting blossoms. That passion for design led me to explore abstract painting where I have found great joy in discovering the patterns, shapes and colors that come with pouring and manipulating color on paper.

A few years ago I was introduced to silk painting. I love the feel and look of silk and I have had a wonderful time creating colorful abstract scarves and a few wall hangings. They have been well received and are a fun way for me to indulge in my love of dynamic color.

My work has been featured and has won awards in several invitational and juried shows and is held in private collections in many countries. Previously, I had been teaching watercolor classes for over 20 years.

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