Thursday, February 17, 2022

DPW Spotlight Interview: Karen Reynolds

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Karen's painting "Hot Lips" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Karen's DPW Gallery Page: 

I have always had an eye for beautiful things. Even as a small child I wanted to create and use color. I remember being very excited to open a big, brand new box of crayons or paint. Everything about them from the way they looked to the way they smelled made me happy. Over the years my creativity has taken many forms from sewing curtains and Halloween costumes to painting furniture and walls to decorating and staging homes as well as designing and caring for plants and gardens. It is who I am and what I love to do. I am a self taught painter with a commercial art degree living in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina with my husband and family. This is a wonderful place for an artist to live due to it's rich history and natural beauty but I also travel whenever I get the chance because there is nothing more enlightening than exploring other places, people and cultures. I paint what I see whether it is in my own backyard or a wonderful unexpected place I visit nearby or halfway around the world. Since I love color and the amazing things that happen to a place or object in light or shadow I strive to capture that in my subject matter. I work mostly in acrylics on canvas and it brings me much joy to know that my artwork is proudly displayed in many homes around the country and cherished by those who see it daily. My goal is to bring happiness with my art so I hope you love what you see.

Hot Lips
(click to view)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW home page announcing interview

What did you want to be growing up? 

Growing up, I only ever wanted to do something creative. I didn’t have much in the way of artistic influence around me so I wasn’t sure what careers were available for artists enough to pinpoint anything specific. I just always knew that making things look a certain way was important to me.

When did your artistic journey begin?

Even as a small child I saw everything as an opportunity to explore color and shape. When I was in school I only ever wanted to be in the Art Studio where it smelled like clay and paint and I could get lost in my artistic process. I didn’t care nearly as much about any of my other classes. I have always been happiest when creating and spending time with other creative people.


Orange you glad?
(click to view)

Did you have any long periods without creative expression? How did you get back on the horse? 

I honestly can’t remember a time when I haven’t done something creative. I see opportunities everywhere to make things around me more beautiful. I craft, sew, paint furniture, decorate, re-organize, dress, style, photograph, and garden all with a artists mindset. If it’s creative I do it. My issue is more that I have jumped around a lot and haven’t been very focused. Lately, because of having to spend more time at home due to the pandemic I have really honed in on painting. I have made myself paint things that have always intimidated me which makes it easier to jump in and try the next thing and the next and the next...

Which mediums and genres do you gravitate toward? Which ones don’t appeal?

I have certainly tried a lot of mediums over the years and I love things about all of them. I love the luminous quality of oil paint, for instance, but I don’t love the clean up and the toxic substances required for that. I have painted many watercolors, but I find I’m too perfectionistic for the looseness of that medium and I tend to get frustrated. I gravitate towards acrylics because they dry fast and can be layered so quickly. I am also very interested in pastels but I haven’t broken out my supply of those in a long time. I’m sure the day is coming when I will open a fresh box of oil pastels and love everything about them and what magic they can do.

Angel Oak
(click to view)

What was the process like of pinpointing your personal style or finding your voice?

I think you can only find your personal style by doing art all the time. It’s all about practice, practice, practice and gaining confidence. It’s my goal to continue to evolve so I’m not sure I’m done finding my own personal style and I think that’s a good thing.


Name an artist (or artists), well-known or not, who you admire. Why?

I love the impressionists way of hinting at their subject matter and using limited brushstrokes and subtle color variations to convey a scene. In my travels I have had opportunities to see many great works like this up close. Renoir, Degas, Cassatt, Van Gogh and others all move me. I once had the pleasure of wandering through Monet’s garden enjoying the place of much inspiration for him in his lifetime. He painted his own immediate surroundings over and over with results that stand the test of time. But my favorite is probably John Singer Sargent who’s paintings take my breath away. I couldn’t believe my luck when I was once in Venice and happened upon a collection of his Venetian paintings. I was absolutely captivated and had to be made to leave the exhibit by my patient husband after hours of wandering and looking. Apparently he wanted me to know that there were other things to explore while in fabulous Venice. I truly love and appreciate so much art for different reasons, but if I have to name just one favorite, the way John Singer Sargent used color and light and shadow is the winner for me. 


Boats at Blue Hour
(click to view)

If you could offer one piece of advice to your younger, creative self — what would that be?

Not to sound like a Nike commercial, but just do it. I have wasted a lot of time dancing around the fact that I was given this gift to use it. I have let the idea that I didn’t know where it fits in stop me from fully doing it. I have let my lack of confidence stop me from trying...I would tell my younger self to stop letting the negative voices win and just go for it.


Do you utilize any habits or tricks for winning the distraction and procrastination battle?

My issue now isn’t procrastination, it’s making myself step away from the easel so I’m not neglecting every other aspect of life. I find that all I want to do now is paint so I struggle more with putting it down and making time for other things. I have to remind myself that good art isn’t created in a vacuum.


Barred Owl
(click to view)

In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you push forward?

I sometimes need to just go do something else and get out of my own head. Fresh air, time with loved ones, sleep, mindless household tasks, etc all help me to come back with more focus and energy.

What are some of your long and short term goals for yourself or your art?

In the short term I am busy setting myself up for success by painting consistently and putting my art out there and actively trying to sell it. In the long term I want to continue to learn and improve my technique. I’d really like to get looser and faster as I paint more and more. Connecting more with other artists is also on my to do list.

Wild Orchid
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?

Success is when something you create makes someone else feel good. When someone loves what you do enough to spend money on it, hang it in their home, and look at it every day, that is success to me.


What is one of your proudest moments in your creative life?

I’ve had many proud moments. It makes me so happy every time I make a connection with someone else through my art and bring happiness that otherwise wouldn’t be there. An extreme example of that came recently when I painted the likeness of a baby who spent his whole short life in a hospital hooked up to all manner of medical equipment. His sweet family didn’t have a single picture of him without all the tubes and tape so I edited all of that out when I painted a portrait of him to give to them. Their appreciation and joy at having his beautiful and unencumbered smiling face forever captured made me feel so grateful for the gift of art I have been given. There just really isn’t anything better than using your talent to bring joy to others.

(click to view)

Thanks, Karen!

© 2022 Maddie Marine

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