Inspiration is a multifaceted organism, and so to create based on a lifetime of diverse experiences results in a richness that is superb.
Karen Christensen has much to draw from in the artistic realm. As a musician and gardener, her perspective on the world around her is real and open.
Her art has been as varied in her life as her many different job titles, and so coming to the present place of developing watercolour paintings inspired by garden flowers is only fitting.
“I love watercolour because of the effects I can get, and the way it slows me down,” explained Christensen.
“Watercolour seems to lend itself very well to the flowers. It is transparent and so are the petals. It allows me to present the light and create light coming through.”
“I create visual work that is an extension of my gardening and my love of flowers and nature. Right now, I am really interested in old type flowers. Cottage garden flowers that you see around houses that have gone derelict.”
“I have strong memories of my mums garden flowering, she always had her garden and she taught me a lot.”
A stroll through Christensen’s blooming garden cultivates evidence that her passion for art extends past the walls of her studio.
“Some of these are about memories, some of them are about presenting beauty.”
“I have been through ACAD and the experience of performance art, the harsh reality and cold presentation. I choose to create beautiful things now.
“Beautiful sounds and beautiful paintings because that is my response to what may be quite harsh in the world.”
When she was in high school, a science teacher had pulled her aside to complement her on a drawing she had created of a dissected earthworm.
She looked into medical illustration as a career after that, but could not find a program that suited. Instead she went to the Alberta College of Art and learnt, amongst other things, to paint.
Always a musician, she has often drawn upon her background in percussion music to help her create visual art, using the rhythm to aid her in producing beautiful marks. Previously, these marks were bigger and looser in their style.
“Watercolour is more controlled. These paintings relate more to guitar.”
An instrument she is learning to play right now.
"But the guitar brings out a more controlled side of me”
It is in this controlled setting that she has learned to be more patient with herself.
“We all have a different desire and a different goal. I think this is the sum of everything I have done over the years. It is the sum of what I have planted and grown.
“This is all very personal to me.”
“When you are at a certain part in the creative process it sometimes just doesn't look that good. You just have to go away and have a tea or wait until your heart says you want to work on that piece again.”
Karen Christensen is currently represented by Bluerock Gallery in Black Diamond.
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