From Karen's DPW Gallery:
My name is Karen Broemmelsick, and I'm an animal lover. I've had dogs all my life - I can't even imagine what it would be like without at least one by my side. I'm also a tiny bit horse crazy... I can't get enough of photographing and painting such magnificent creatures, and for the last several years, I've had a beautiful Missouri Fox Trotter mare to call my own. Cats are a more recent addition, and while they seem so completely different from dogs to me, they are every bit as unique. I put love and care into each brush stroke to craft a painting that reflects that which we love most about our animals. I look for the strongest qualities of each animal and I learn the story of each one I paint - most of them I've met in person. Most of all, I strive to create paintings that will connect you with the animals you love. (click to read more)
Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.
Ever since I was just a few years old, I was always drawing something. Eventually, I tried watercolor, making a few paintings of animals here and there. I took a few art classes in high school, and when it was time for college, I decided on a BFA in art. Even after college, I still didn’t paint all that much, mostly focusing on photography and the occasional graphite drawing. But one day, I came across a speed drawing video in colored pencil and thought “I want to try that.” And so I dug out my colored pencils that I’d had for years and started drawing a dog that I had photographed for some friends a while back and posted the finished piece on my Facebook page. Her mother saw it, bought it for an anniversary gift for her daughter and son-in-law, and commissioned a drawing of their other dog. After that, I just kept on going, drawing dogs and horses mostly. Then, about a year ago, I decided to experiment with oil painting, something I hadn’t done since college. I immediately loved how much faster a piece could be finished (if you didn’t count drying time...) and how it was so much more efficient to work with larger pieces. I still have intentions of working on colored pencil pieces here and there, but mostly, I’m working in oils now.
|On the Prowl|
(click to view)
Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW home page announcing Karen's interview.
Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?
Not really. I worked slowly on graphite drawings just for fun, doing just a handful over the course of three or four years, but once I started in colored pencil, I also started posting the work-in-progress and finished pieces regularly on my Facebook page and in Facebook groups. I started building up a following and gaining momentum, and since then, I really haven’t stopped.
What mediums and genres have you experimented with?
Watercolor, graphite, colored pencil, pastel, acrylic, alcohol inks, weaving, screen printing, and oil. Also, ceramic as well as wood and metal sculpture. Primarily, I create realistic paintings of horses and dogs, with the occasional cat, flower or nature painting thrown in. Every once in a while, I experiment with a slightly looser style, but I always seem to revert back to realism.
|Colors of the Knight|
(click to view)
Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?
Oil is currently the one that has stuck, though I’m trying not to let go of colored pencil. Most others have fallen away, though I hope to bring them back some day.
Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?
Alcohol inks and watercolor, and maybe acrylic as well.
(click to view)
Who or what inspires you most?
Every time I walk through a field of horses, I get new inspiration for paintings! I go out with my camera, looking for certain poses and lighting or just capturing whatever happens at the moment, then come home and start fleshing out ideas for future paintings.
What does procrastination look like for you?
Once I start a painting, I have a hard time stopping. It’s the “getting started” part that can sometimes be difficult. I have the ideas and everything ready to go, but then it’s kind of like I get overwhelmed with the blank canvas and come up with fifty things that need to be done before I get entrenched in another painting. Once I actually start though, the only thing I want to do is paint...
(click to view)
What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?
I don’t typically have this problem too much, but if I do, setting a deadline to finish helps. For instance, I decided I wanted to enter a colored pencil show a couple years ago. The bar was very high, so I knew what type of work I needed to produce. However, by the time I found out about the show, the deadline was less than two months away and the piece I wanted to make would take every bit of that. So I told myself I had to work at least two hours every day on it, and more if I could manage, or I wouldn’t meet the deadline. I stuck to it too, and literally finished it the night before the entry deadline.
How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?
I’m also a photographer and have thousands and thousands of photos, so for inspiration, I browse my Adobe Lightroom catalogue looking for likely candidates, then take the photos into Photoshop to experiment further with ideas.
How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?
I usually avoid burnout by changing things up - size, subject, color, style, etc.
(click to view)
What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?
Right now, I’m learning about working in a series and getting together a cohesive body of work so that I can perhaps have a solo show or set up a booth somewhere later on down the road.
What makes you happiest about your art?
I love finishing a piece and especially realizing that it’s one of my new personal favorites. Each time I finish a painting, I like to analyze what I do and don’t like about it so that I can apply that knowledge to my next piece and continue to improve.
© 2018 Sophie Marine