Karen E. Lewis grew up on the water, swimming, kayaking and later guiding rafting tours down the Deschutes River. She came to painting accidentally, but quickly became obsessed. Water naturally became her main subject, and a new way for her to connect with what she treasured the most. Karen’s landscapes, with their warm tones and atmospheric light, project a great love of the scenery and nature. The impressionistic colors, violet mountains and orange riverbanks provide a dream-like quality to the scenes. They feel similar to how you would remember a beautiful place years after visiting, as something magical and not altogether real. She places the viewer on the river, so that we are floating through the scene with her, dwarfed by the other elements of the landscape. Karen’s car is always stocked with her painting materials in case she comes across an inspiring scene and wants to capture it. She recently experienced a beautiful sunset in the Trader Joe’s parking lot, and fortunately she was prepared with an easel and paint.
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About The Artist
When you spend that much time on rivers, you learn to read the water, looking at swirls for clues to what moves beneath. Which way is the river flowing? Which little ripples signify underwater rocks, and which are a disturbance of wind? Contemplating the sky, I notice that it has its own currents, and a radiance that comes from heat, atmosphere, and the intermixture of air masses.
Water became a natural subject for me to paint. And hey, I just like being there. For many contented hours, I paint from some special spot with sights, sounds and smells of the outdoors around me. River, lake, ocean, water of any kind is always my favorite. In the studio, these plein-air sketches expand into larger works, creating retreats that transport me to that special place.
From intimate experience, I use oil paints to describe the natural world as color in motion: skies, waters, even growing things in their relative stillness. Sweeping brushstrokes express the fluidity of air and water in richly colored shapes. The solidity of rock and earth give grounding to this motion, carved with form-defining marks. Connecting earth and sky are the reaching growths of grasses and trees.
I have been out painting the many moods of water. In paintings, I share my journeys with you.
West Virginia University
Bachelor of Science, 2016
University of OregonMaster of Science