All of my work originates in some way from my love of, and connection to, nature. Though I adore travel and paint everywhere I go, much of what I paint is right in my own neighborhood in Silicon Valley, California. If you’re a casual observer in Silicon Valley, you might wonder how mile after mile of industrial parks can inspire an artist, but if you slow down, get off the freeways, mount your bicycle seat, lace up your hiking boots, or even ride a horse, you’ll notice many corners of visual delight all around.
All invite the artist’s eye.
I am drawn to drama and color, and much of my work is done en plein air. I carry a backpack in place of a purse, and it contains, in addition to my cell phone, wallet and hairbrush, tiny sketchbooks, little post-card pads of watercolor paper, and a small plein air paint kit. If I am out and around and in a nice place with a couple of hours unfilled with urgent business, I get out my kit and paint!
Aside from what I see right around my home, I get lots of inspiration from some of our iconic beauty spots: Big Sur, with its beaches walled with high cliffs; in our magnificent Yosemite, with its stupendous granite faces and waterfalls; and on hiking and backpacking trips to my personal Best Place on Earth, Grand Canyon. No need to elaborate on that!,
For a while in high school, I had the crazy notion that I wanted to be a scientist. At that time, girls and women were not encouraged to pursue such dreams, so that went away. But I believe my art work is deeply informed by my earlier interest in science and math. The interplay of art and analysis in the planning of a painting is exacting and exciting, but in the end, it all simply blends, and then what comes out of my brush on to my paper is really nothing more—or less—than the outward representation of the beauty and power of nature stirring a soul.
You can view Karen Olse's website by clicking here.