January 2019 Issue
Three-time Paisley cover artist Karen Tarlton began her career as an artist 23 years ago, when her husband started his work as an F-16 pilot and test pilot for the United States Air Force. Characteristic of her creativity, Karen’s first works were painted murals on walls and furniture. She began to shift toward painting fine art on canvas about 20 years ago. Since then, Karen has sold her paintings around the globe, shipping to a different country practically every day. “I paint because I love it. I’m so fortunate to do what I am passionate about for a living.”
Karen’s study of art began during college in Virginia and California, where she studied under a number of noted painters, learning the ins and outs of a variety of mediums. “As a student of art, I believed the only way to improve my ability was to paint plein air; so for many years, I went outdoors to paint landscapes with some artist friends.” (Plein air painting is usually done on site, and stems from its meaning: open air.) Karen’s love of painting grew even more when she began studying through “paint outs,” which are opportunities for artists to capture scenes of the outdoors in a timed competition. It was then she began to fully realize the beauty of painting through the light changes that are part of the day and night. Karen also was introduced to the palette knife, another item in her tokens of inspiration, with its thick effect of oils in deep, rich colors. Karen’s style is comparably abstract, with a nod to the Impressionist era through rich colors and complex textures.
Before she began her career as full-time artist, Karen was an elementary school art teacher. She also volunteered in schools that could not afford art programs. Throughout her 17 moves in just 20 years, Karen’s daughters remember she would paint elaborate murals on their bedroom walls to brighten up their house and make it a little more like home. Everywhere she went, Karen’s love of art went with her.
“My work consumes me, identifies me, and keeps me out of trouble,” Karen said. Her paintings, however, do much more than that. They are the essence of what it means to truly be an artist. From teaching to execution, Karen is an expert at it all; that fact shines from her art to the eyes of patrons that light up when they see the life that is created through one of her paintings.
“Winter Girl,” featured on this month’s cover, is one of Karen’s newest pieces. An original oil painting, she created it to “celebrate the joy of winter and new year.” And this original is available for purchase!
Karen’s work can be found in many galleries across the country; in addition, her original works can be purchased in her online Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/Karensfineart and website www.karensfineart.net. Not only can you purchase straight from the artist, you can also find many of Karen’s designs and reproductions among the offering of several companies, including All My Walls, One King’s Lane, Joss and Main, DiaNoche Designs, Wayfair and Rue La La.