Wednesday, February 10, 2016

"Double Date"

I don't usually show you my paintings framed but I thought this was so gorgeous, I'd show it before I shipped it off to The Red Piano Art Gallery.  Should be hanging on their wall just in time for Valentine's Day this Saturday.

This piece 'Double Date' and 'Formal Wear' - allow me to refresh your memory....

will be included in the Hilton Head Art Auction taking place February 27th at The Red Piano Art Gallery.

If you would like to place your bid from afar,  I'd suggest you call the gallery and place an absentee bid.  You can also find the form online and email to the gallery  -  click here for the form.

Another way to participate in the auction live is to register with Invaluable - but know, if you win the auction, you'll pay a fee on top of the winning bid.

You can find the details and contact information on my webpages for each painting - here for 'Double Date' - and here for 'Formal Wear'.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

"Zen Time"

6 x 6"
oil on panel

A couple of weeks back, I was refreshing my memory about William Merritt Chase (for this post) and came across 'The Ten' - a revered group of artists that included Chase.  I jotted down several names that I was familiar with and love their work, one of which is John Henry Twachtman.

I always stop in my tracks when I come across Twachtman's paintings, very much like another member of The Ten, Willard Metcalf - they both painted landscapes that are so calming, so still, so very Zen.  I especially love their snow scenes.  They painted loose, painterly, seemingly quick - most likely they were outdoors painting plein-air.

In the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Twachtman's 'Arques-la-Bataille' hangs in front of a bench for all the right reasons.  The scene is calm, the color palette is soothing and low-key - a good painting to get lost in.

Twachtman was an American artist, from Cincinnati - traveled and studied abroad with fellow artists and discovered like-minded painters who took on the Impressionistic style of the times, which was in the mid-to-end of the 1800's.

It's also my moment of Zen to paint these images - taking rich greens and blues and lavenders and greying them down a notch.  It made for a mellow day of painting.

Please click here to the auction page.  Auction ends Feb. 14th at 9 pm ET.

Monday, February 1, 2016

"Caucus Country"

6 x 6"
oil on panel

An ode to the beauty of a simple, stately farmhouse in Middle America, Iowa.

Please click here to the auction page.  This auction ends Feb. 11th at 9 pm ET.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

"Double Date"

15 x 15"
oil on panel

I painted this special piece for the upcoming Hilton Head Art Auction - held on February 27th at The Red Piano Art Gallery.  If you're in the area, you can preview this painting and another piece of mine titled 'Formal Wear' on the week leading up to the auction.

If you cannot attend the event, you can place an absentee bid - the form can be found here.  You may also directly call the gallery to place your bids.  Contact information for The Red Piano Gallery can be found on my web page here.

This is always an exciting auction and I thank you for considering your bids on my two pieces or the other works which can be found here on the online catalog.

Please click here for a larger view and contact information.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Ken Auster

 'Into The Light'
by Ken Auster

Somewhere in 2003,  I was on my 24th year running a frame shop with no other future plans but to keep on doing what I knew how to do.  In my off hours, I'd look at art on the web, mostly to sell in my gallery and I landed on the artist Ken Auster.

Mind you, I had never painted in oils, never really painted much at all - I was a drawing freak since I was a kid.  When I saw what and how Ken Auster painted, something sparked a flame inside of me.  For years I framed trendy stuff - cottages, florals, quirky Amish scenes, etc - none of which ever convinced me to join the painting world until I saw Ken's work.  There were everyday, simple moments - glimpses of people, colorful city streets, surfers at the beach - real life that's all around us.

What really grabbed my attention was his style of quick, deliberate brush strokes that meant something - nothing more needed to get the point across.  It was the first time I'd ever heard the phrase 'economy strokes'.  It was impressionistic, never over-done and it made me want to paint.

The end of 2003, I'd taught myself how to work with oils, took photos everywhere I went, and that was the beginning of my life as an artist.

 'Lunch Hour'
by Ken Auster
I bookmarked a gallery that Ken Auster was part of back in 2003, kept up with his new work, and sometime around 2007, that very gallery contacted me about representation - the Morris & Whiteside Gallery in Hilton Head (now The Red Piano).  The first thing I said to Ben Whiteside was 'isn't this the gallery who has Ken Auster's work?'.   Needless to say, I was floored - quickly accepted Ben's invitation and I've been part of his gallery ever since - with my paintings hanging next to Ken's.  Holy cow.

I know Ken knew his impact on my life and although we never met, I knew him through his paintings.

Ken passed away yesterday I'm told, way too soon.  This is my small tribute to a brilliant artist who lives on through his work.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


6 x 8"
oil on panel

Most people know Toulouse-Lautrec for his short stature and his paintings of the Moulin Rouge.  I'll tell you a bit more about this genius, who was also a printmaker and illustrator born in France in 1864.

He was the son in an aristocratic family, his parents were first cousins who, early on, split up and Henri was raised by a nanny until the age of 8 when he went to live with his mother.  He was a budding artist early on.  At 13, he broke his right femur and a year later fractured his left, which never healed properly.  He suffered from several genetic disorders, attributed to a family history of inbreeding.  As an adult, he stood at 4 ft, 8 in tall which most likely was why he immersed himself in art.

Toulouse-Lautrec had a tragic life, contracted syphilis, abused alcohol to deal with his pain, had a nervous breakdown at the age of 34 and died at the age of 36.  He left behind more than 700 paintings, 350+ prints and posters and over 5,000 drawings.  The quintessential suffering artist I'd say.

What stands out to me is he painted real people in real places doing real things.  Not glamoured up but people as they were, warts and all.  Honest and sympathetic.

From the National Gallery of Art in DC, a woman in Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec's painting 'A Corner In a Dance Hall' seemingly looks on at a visitor studying another piece.

Friday, January 22, 2016

"Black and Blue"

6 x 6"
oil on panel

For many, I hope you are home safe and sound and ready for snowmageddon - I was hoping we'd have a little of that here in Atlanta.  

My work days were interrupted by my 19-year-old furnace dying, fortunately it was replaced yesterday - so now we're broke but warm and happy.  So the painting goes back on to recover from that.

I could go on and on about Andy Warhol, but most people know how brilliant, odd, prolific he was.  One of my very favorite movies is Basquiat - the late, great David Bowie portraying Warhol.  Great flick to stream in this wintery weekend.

Friday, January 15, 2016

"Mother Figure"

8 x 6"
oil on panel

Naturally I began obsessing about James Abbott McNeill Whistler after finishing my recent painting - an artist best known for his large, iconic oil painting 'Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1', widely known and referred to as 'Whistler's Mother'.  It's permanent home is in the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.

In America's museums, you can see stunning portraits by Whistler - like 'The White Girl' in DC's National Gallery of Art among others.  I love his moody, low-tone color, landscapes.

There's several stories about the portrait of Anna McNeill Whistler.  One is Anna stood in for a scheduled model who was a no-show.  It's been told that Whistler originally envisioned the pose standing up, but his mother preferred to sit if it were to be a lengthy pose.

What may surprise many is the painting is huge - about 64" x 57" without the wide, original frame that Whistler designed himself.  And the pure, beautiful details really are stunning, especially the delicate headdress and her hands and hankerchief.  

I loved studying it more and painting it - I broke out every tube of Torrit Grey I had and really noticed the subtle differences in Whistler's painting - the cold vs. warm greys throughout are a great lesson in mixing paints.  My next larger piece will be of this scene and his painting,  I'm very excited.

Sunday, January 10, 2016


5 x 7"
oil on panel

Here's one of my favorite paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City - a large portrait of the artist 'James McNeill Whistler' by the friend and fellow artist William Merritt Chase.  I've read when the two painters met, they became instant friends and both agreed to paint a portrait of each other.  They probably were trying to hone their portrait skills to compete with fellow painter John Singer Sargent who was all the rage at the time.

Chase presented Whistler with this finished painting, even inscribing in the upper left corner the words 'To my friend Whistler, Wm. M. Chase, London 1885'.  Chase painted this portrait honoring Whistler's low-key palette and painterly style - only Whistler was apparently offended, exclaiming it a 'monstrous lampoon' which started a rift between the two men for a long time.  It is believed Whistler destroyed his painting of Chase, never to be seen.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

"Dead Head"

6 x 6"
oil on panel

I've always loved this painting by Guido Reni, in the Art Institute of Chicago - 'Salome with the Head of Saint John the Baptist', painted around 1640.  Reni was one of the top-billed, successful artists of the time in Italy and extremely prolific.

I confess, I get most of my bible education from television and movies and I mostly remember in the epic 'Kings of Kings' when Salome does this provocative Dance of the Seven Veils for her stepfather, Herod, then asks him for the head of Saint John the Baptist on a silver platter.  Compare that visual scene to Reni's depiction - Salome is seemingly nonchalant when presented the dead head with no visible blood drippings,  dressed in heavy layers of clothing with her staff looking on.  It's pretty tame.  Probably politically correct for those times.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

"Red Up On"

6 x 8"
oil on panel

One of America's great abstract artists, Ellsworth Kelly, died last weekend at the age of 92.  In 2013, President Obama presented Mr. Kelly with the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor for artistic excellence.  This man was important.

I've roamed thru the Art Institute of Chicago a dozen times, barely noticing those six, large, colorful, geometric panels hanging high on the top floor of the American Art gallery.  They're titled 'The Chicago Panels' by Ellsworth Kelly.  To be honest, modern art doesn't grab me like realism does - only because, often, I don't understand it. And being an artist myself, that's a pretty shallow comment.

There's many important 20th century artists I've never heard of or paid little attention to until I read their obituary. After I read several moving obits about Ellsworth Kelly this week, so much made sense.  This man saw patterns in shadows, shapes and colors in nature and in life which he transformed into sculptures and paintings like no other.

Take the example of 'White Curve', which hangs on an exterior wall in the Pritzker Garden at the Art Institute.

Now look at one of Kelly's own photographs taken in the countryside in New York.

Now I get it.  Now I see it.  The red panel in my painting above, one of the six panels I mentioned, was inspired by the rich, reds of a cardinal he photographed while bird watching.  Now I get it.

By most accounts, Mr. Kelly was a delightful, warm, friendly, humorous, creative man who lived in the moment.  That should always be one's New Year's resolution - every day, every year - to live in the moment and  appreciate the beauty around us.  And never judge or dismiss what we don't understand.  We'd all be better for it.

Speaking for myself, I find it hard to appreciate vegetables and Indian food, hot summers, crowds, crowds who sing, performance art and Donald Trump to name a few - but life is long and I'm willing to learn, except for the Trump thing.

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy and Creative New Year ~

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

"Flower Child"

5 x 7"
oil on panel

It's been my observation that most young children are bored in art museums unless they happened upon a work of art that is familiar to them - like paintings of children, mother and child, or big shapes and bright colors - then they pay attention.   

It was no surprise to see a young girl seemingly mesmerized with the colorful, bold, modernist-style painting 'Le Tournesol' (The Sunflower) by Edward Steichen, which hangs in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.

Edward Steichen painted this in 1920, he was around 40 years old and had practiced painting and photography and most of his paintings were landscapes and portraits with very tonalist colors, muted, like his photography.  Steichen abruptly changed his style in his late 30's to a more hard-edged, modernist style and painted 'Le Tournesol', which was exhibited in Paris in 1922, with great importance - along with similar works of art by Leger, O'Keeffe and others who's styles reflected stream-lined forms and off-key colors.

A few years later, Steichen apparently had a 'crisis in faith' and abandoned painting, destroying any photographs and artworks in his possession (this one was sold and not in his studio).  He left New York and returned to France where he dove into gardening, raised sunflowers, photographed them over and over - studied mathematics intensely and painted small, abstract, geometric pieces.  He did eventually return to the US, his photography continued to be his passion and his legacy.  In 2006, one of his photographs sold for $2.9 million, what was then the highest price ever paid for a photograph at auction.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

"Have A Look"

5 x 5"
oil on panel

I spent 6 long days on a larger painting and gladly moved on to baking cookies and enjoying the feasts of Christmas.  Hope you had a nice holiday too.

Painting larger throws me off.  It kinda burns me out.  I love painting small.

From the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC - a woman gets a good look at Rembrandt's 'Self Portrait'.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Wishes

Wishing you a peaceful, happy holiday.

not for sale 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Special Set of Note Cards Available


I created this note card for myself and it's so cool,  I ordered more in the event you're interested.  The front of the card features my painting 'Women In Gold' and it is blank inside.  The card measures 4-/14" x 5-1/2", printed on a glossy finish - sold as a set of 10 note cards with 10 white envelopes.

on that note.... I'm so pleased with the quality and the response, thank you all.  I'll be doing more in the future.

Monday, December 7, 2015

"All The Fashion'

7 x 24"
oil on panel

This new painting depicting a woman viewing Gustav Klimt's stunning portrait of 'Emilie Floge' - will be included in a group show titled 'Silver vs Gold', represented by Robert Lange Studios and showing at The Vendue in Charleston SC.

You may have read in my previous post about my painting 'Women In Gold' that I painted the surface of the hardbord a metallic gold ground.  With this piece, I painted the surface a acrylic, metallic silver mixed with a little blue - with worked very well with the various blues and greys in the painting.  The result is a subtle reveal of the silver peeking out throughout the entire painting - very cool.

This painting will join the exhibition in early January and it can be purchased thru Robert Lange Studios.  

Please click here for a larger view and contact/purchase information.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

My new ArtistZ Book is Now Available!

I just received my proof copy and my new book ArtistZ is so cool.

The book is 7 x 7" with 58 pages - you can order yours now thru Blurb.

The book includes 26 color reproductions of my paintings in a recent series ArtistZ - for each painting, I included the birth and death year of each artist, a self-portrait or photo of each artist and a selected quote from the artist.  Here's an example....

You can preview a portion of the book here.

And you can purchase your book here.

Thank you so much,   Karin

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

My 2016 Calendars Are Here!

My new 2016 wall calendars Inspiring Artists are SOLD OUT.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Progress and Other Stuff

That's right, I'm painting upside down.  And sideways.

I'm determined to not use my large stand-up easel - I prefer to sit - so I've been painting small portions at a time, working my way down.  It's a hoot.  And it's working.

The hardboard panel is 7 x 24",  I painted an acrylic metallic silver w/a dash of blue mixed in to get a cold ground color - the photos look warmer because of my lighting.  Like my recent painting 'Women In Gold',  I wanted a little shimmering showing thru the oils.

Just wanted to show my progress.

I also spent time completing a new book on my series ArtistZ,  now I'm waiting for my copy to arrive to proof it before I offer it for sale.  And I created a 2016 calendar - inspired by all my recent art history lessons for the series - included are the birthdays of many artists I love.  I think if you're an artist yourself, you'd like it.

Back to work for now ~

Saturday, November 21, 2015


6 x 8"
oil on panel

I easily chose Anders Zorn for my final painting in my series ArtistZ - I discovered him when I read Charley Parker's post on my favorite art blog Lines and Colors back in the spring.  When I delve into Zorn's bio and paintings, I realized I had seen his work before - and I probably thought his large portraits were those by John Singer Sargent because they feel like Sargents in many ways.  

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston held an exhibit in 2013 "Anders Zorn: A European Artist Seduces America" revealing a competitive rivalry between Zorn and Sargent - both painters were involved in the coveted commissions from the high society during the Gilded Age.

In Charley Parker's post - he writes about Zorn's portrait of Mrs. Walter Rathbone Bacon, commissioned by Edward Rathbone Bacon, her brother-in-law and a very powerful, wealthy railway magnate (much like George Vanderbilt II, who commissioned Sargent on several occasions).   In fact, Sargent painted his sister-in-law, but Edward wanted Zorn to attempt a 'better' one.  

 John Singer Sargent's 'Portrait of Mrs. Walter Rathbone Bacon'

The story goes that Sargent saw Zorn's painting at the Paris Salon and conceded Zorn had 'won a brilliant victory'.

Anders Zorn is one of Sweden's most celebrated artists to this day.

Being that I've wrapped up my series ArtistZ,  I want to say how much I've enjoyed digging into bios and really looking at all the artist's works - I never took an art history course back in the days and learning more is always rewarding when it comes to artists and painting.  It drives me.  It inspires me.

Here are some useful websites if you want to discover artists ~

And then there's my favorite, Sister Wendy, who has opened my eyes on a lot of art that I'd never thought about.

If you know of another site you like, please leave a comment and I'll add it to the list.

Onto another painting for the show at the Vendue.  

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving ~


Monday, November 16, 2015


6 x 8"
oil on panel

I chose the artist Stephen Scott Young for the letter Y in my series ArtistZ.

Stephen is just a little older than me.  I've admired his paintings and etchings for years, dating back to my early framing career in the early 80's when I frequently framed prints of his work.  To think he was painting such beautiful watercolors at the age of 20ish-years-old was inspiring - it made me want to be an artist.

Stephen is a graduate of the Ringling School of Art, one of my-then top choices for art school - he took his first trip to the Bahamas in the early 80's and fell in love with the clear, natural, sparkling light and the people who have been many subjects in his paintings thru the years.  The painting I chose is titled 'Faithful', one of my personal favorites.

Around 2007, I got a call from an owner of the Morris & Whiteside Gallery in Hilton Head - a gallery that I had bookmarked for several years because Stephen Scott Young was one of the artists represented.  I was stunned that Ben Whiteside, one of the owners, was interested in my work considering the league I would be joining.  The first time I saw my painting hanging next to Stephen's,  I was floored.  And I still am to this day.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

"Women in Gold"

16 x 20"
oil on panel

Just when you think I'm predictable,  I paint a 16 x 20".  And it took 6 days to complete.  Yikes.

The Robert Lange Studios, in Charleston, invited me into another group show - titled 'Silver vs. Gold' which opens tonight at The Vendue in Charleston.  My painting will join the rest around December 1st.

I painted the ground color a blend of metallic golds, which peeks through the oil paint - also I applied spots of metallic golds in the Klimt painting, the woman's sweater and several other strategic areas.  It's very cool in person.

The Klimt painting I feature is the famous 'Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I', also the subject in the movie 'Woman in Gold'.

For a larger view, click here.

Thursday, November 5, 2015


6 x 8"
oil on panel

For the letter X in my series ArtistZ,  I spent, I'm guessing, five or six hours researching and hunting an artist.  Google painters who's name begins with the letter X and you'll find hundreds of mostly Chinese artists, a small number of Greek and a handful of other nationalities.  At one point, I went to the New York Times archive, because I vaguely remembered the artist Sun Xun, written about several times in past few years and I found him.  Sun Xun lives and works in Beijing, he's around 36 years old, which is impressive given his wide range of mediums and amount of work.

Quite frankly, I don't respond to most of Xun's works, he has explored mixed media, animation, block printing, ink drawings and painting - and I zeroed in on an exhibit in 2012 titled 'These Years', a collection of mixed media oils that include still life, landscapes and figuratives, including my choice piece Waiting.   I just love the grey-green tones and the strong turquoise/aquas together.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Little Blog Talkin'

The artist and blogger, Kelley Sanford, has included me in her 'Ask the Expert' series on her blog In The Artist's Studio on today's post - I talk a little bit about painting a series, how I decide on the subject and generally about painting.

Be sure to read her past posts - it's always helpful to know how other painters tick.

~ Thanks Kelley

Thursday, October 29, 2015


6 x 8"
oil on panel

I easily chose Jamie Wyeth for my series ArtistZ - although I worship the three generations of the Wyeth painters, N.C., Andrew and Jamie equally.    Something about growing up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania with a mom who painted - many Sunday drives through nearby Delaware County where the Wyeths lived and painted - all of that must have made an impression on me.  They made my want to be an artist.

I also chose one of my personal favorite paintings by Jamie Wyeth titled 'Pumpkinhead  (Self Portrait)'.  It has always spooked me, even when I was painting my piece.   In a past interview, Jamie told this story - 'I had been elected to the National Academy of Design in New York, and one of the requirements was that you give a portrait, a self-portrait of yourself.  Well, I didn't want to do myself in a self-portrait, but I love pumpkins.  It's the sinisterness, the Halloween I've always loved.  It's a bit edgy. So I did it and of course they were furious and rejected it.'  Imagine anyone rejecting a Wyeth painting?

The Wyeths were known to be very fond of Halloween,  N. C. was the famed illustrator of great stories like Treasure Island and loved to round up costumes for the kids and get lost in imagination.  His studio would be decorated for family parties complete with pumpkins, Indian corn, candles and symbols of autumn and Halloween.  Taken from Andrew Wyeth: A Secret Life,  Andrew,  the son of
N. C., developed the same love for Halloween.  'Wyeth has made Halloween a personal Walpurgisnacht, an annual reconnection with the unearthly, with witchcraft and hidden meanings. On that day he is electric with fun.  He picks the deformed pumpkins and carves them into jack-o'-lanterns, a long lineage of fantastic death masks summoned up from childhood by the remembered scent of candle-heated pumpkin flesh.'   I read that the family had a long tradition of wearing their costumes for dinner on Halloween night - here's a photo where you can see Jamie on the right.

I gathered up just a fraction of those wonderful paintings by the three generations, expressing their love for the images of autumn and Halloween, starting with three of my favorites....

Treasure Island illlustration by N. C. Wyeth

Automaton by Jamie Wyeth

The Witching Hour by Andrew Wyeth

 and more .....

and a Happy Halloween to you.