Karen trained as a fashion designer at Harrow School of Art and then as a Costume Designer at The English National Opera Company. Later she discovered her love of set design, interiors and architecture. She then worked for many years as a Set decorator and Props Stylist on many feature films, commercials and TV productions.
She has been a figurative painter now for some years and loves to paint people, fashion, exterior architecture, interesting buildings and flora in landscapes.
She works in oils and has a distinctive style, no matter what she paints. Her work is thematic and she is attracted to and revisits time and time again, her favourite subjects, including crowds which feature highly detailed colourful images in the vogue of sophisticated and stylish fashions of the 1950s. She paints people, inspired by people she knows, people in the public eye and others from her imagination.
Her fashion/stylist background allows her to invent a chorus of colours making patterns all painted with a stylist's eye for colour and imagery. A fascination with non-uniform informality, that is to say, enticing the viewer at first to be attracted by the repetition of objects (people, trees, buildings) in a scene. But on closer inspection, inviting them to notice and compare discernible differences.
Her 'Crowd People paintings' are inspired by her fascination with people in groups, their faces, their similarities and their differences. The fashion elements are from her training as a fashion designer.
Her other passion/inspiration comes from the interior/exterior design part of her background and experience, where for many years she 'dressed' sets for feature films and TV to create the scene for the Director. With her architectural paintings and the crowd people paintings, the common theme is her love of the retro/modernist look and this inspires nearly all of her work.
The attraction to buildings and straight lines, tropical flora, palm trees and swimming pools, Palm Springs and Bauhaus are currently the main theme of her recent work and seem to complement each other when hung together.
But as different as these themes are, they are linked together by her love of patterns and especially colour. She tries to create in her art, scenes that vibrate and glow from the surface of the canvas. Her experimentation in the recent series of architectural paintings is the incorporation of both strong and neutral pallet that moves the eye through the pictorial space, over mountains, pools, clouds and often the strong shadows cast by the ever-present sun. Straight lines contrast with plants and exotic cacti. Colours are invented and exaggerated to add vibrancy to the whole image.
She has always been aware of the balance in her work between the feminine side expressed as people, fashion and exotic vegetation and the masculine side expressed as buildings, architecture and straight lines.