Karen Baker CPS PSA PSTB
“The most exciting aspect of the painting experience is the creative process itself: that spontaneous flow of energy working through the artist, condensed into form. Each one of my paintings is a momentary pause in the ongoing expression of who I am…”
Artist-instructor Karen Baker paints what inspires her the most—the world of Nature and its ever-changing landscape in all seasons. “As a child I was always outdoors playing. It’s no surprise the artist in me is still exploring Nature and all its mysteries through my artwork.”
Karen’s portfolio covers a range of subjects: rural New England farm buildings, meadows and mountain vistas; lowland waterways of the coastal South; Florida shorelines, open waterways, the remote Everglades and sugar cane fields. She is also known for her colorful floral paintings, particularly the prolific Poppy Series featuring blooms in open fields, garden settings, or detailed close-up studies. “I often develop a theme into an extended series which enables me to go beyond the subject’s surface reality into the realm of imagination, where most of my images are conceived.” To date, the Poppy Series alone has produced over 160 paintings—becoming her signature image and symbolic self-portrait. Other recently developed themes include paintings of deep water and open skies.
Interwoven with natural light and subtle emotion, Karen paintings are highly textural and expressive of her ongoing dialogue with Nature. “There’s a peace and completeness I resonate with in Nature. I especially love the soft, late afternoon sunlight, with its long shadows and warm colors.” Her landscapes are clearly recognizable by their dramatic skies and full-palette hues, whether she’s working in acrylics, watercolors, or pastels—her primary medium.
She paints both in the studio and outdoors en plein air, winning regional, national and international awards through competitions. She has participated in local festivals and events including St. Petersberg’s Paint the Town Plein Air Competition. Her artwork has also been featured in Tampa Bay Magazine. Recent awards include: 1st Place,TESA Annual Members Exhibit, Dunedin, Fl.; Honorable Mention, Landscape Category—Pastel Journal 14th Annual International Competition, 2013; Merit Award, Pastel Society of Tampa Bay Annual Members Exhibit 2013; 2nd Place in Pastel Category in ArtBuzz-The Book, which showcased her work in its 2012 international publication; Best of Show at the TESA Annual Members Awards Exhibit 2012 held in Dunedin, Fl.; Finalist entry award in the Landscape/Interiors category from The Artist’s Magazine Annual Art Competition, 2004 & 2010; and First Place at the TESA Annual Members Exhibit, Park Station, Pinellas Park, Fl., 2011.
When she starts a new painting, she uses plein air studies, value sketches, and photo references as visual aides that help identify what her “inner landscape” reveals about the essence of her subject. This practice serves as a springboard for the creative process that follows until the final image appears within the illusion of space. “For me, the painting process is much more interesting to behold than simply producing a work of art. It’s exciting to watch creativity in action, bringing images to “light” in the visual realm. It’s a spiritual joy ride…”
She is a Signature Member of both the Connecticut Pastel Society and the Pastel Society of America. She is also an artist member of Vermont Pastel Society, Pastel Society of Tampa Bay, and The Exhibiting Society of Artists, Pinellas County, Florida. She studied with the late Master Pastellist Herman Margulies and has attended workshops given by Wolf Kahn, and PSA signature members Stanley Maltzman, Elizabeth Apgar-Smith, Christina DeBarry, and Albert Handell. Though her primary medium is pastels, she enjoys exploring and expressing her art vision in acrylics and watercolor.
In addition to creating original artwork, Baker teaches others how to express their innate creativity. “I love cultivating the creative process in another human being.” She is on faculty at Dunedin Fine Art Center and also at the Morean Arts Center in St. Petersberg, Florida, where she offers classes in drawing and painting with pastels, the joys of painting outdoors en plein air, and the art of landscape painting. She offers private lessons in her Dunedin studio and conducts a variety of art workshops for beginner to advanced levels at various locations throughout the region including the Aging Well Center in Clearwater. An active member of the arts community, she supports many civic art projects through volunteering her time and talents. A frequent exhibitor in regional and national shows, she is represented by galleries in New England and Florida and maintains a year-round studio at Stirling Art Studios & Gallery in Dunedin, Fl. In 2013, she established Dawson Baker Fine Art, along with artist Wil Dawson, specializing in quality fine art reproductions for home and business environments.