Karen Thomas is an award-winning contemporary artist based in the South West, exhibiting her nature-inspired and wildlife paintings. She exhibits throughout the UK, holding both solo exhibitions and participating in numerous others. Venues have included much-loved national institutions such as The National Trust, Royal Horticultural Society and The Royal Geographical Society. Her work has travelled as far afield as the US, China and Australia.
Karen is a keen supporter of wildlife conservation, and is a proud member of the Invitational Collection for the Explorers Against Extinction initiative, 'Sketch for Survival' - a fundraising, touring exhibition and charity auction.
Karen's work is represented by galleries across the UK. In addition, you can visit her studio on the edge of Dartmoor by appointment, in the beautiful Kigbeare Studios and Gallery.
As seen in ...
Winner of Summer Anniversary Painting Competition
Interview for Art Market gallery, one of the leading galleries in the North of England ...
February 2019: Lovely piece written by journalist Jeannie Swales, by whom I was interviewed for the start of my relationship with Art Market gallery,
Karen Thomas has just one artistic aim in life: ‘to create art that dazzles with light and colour’.
The popular watercolourist, whose paintings have graced venues run by much-loved institutions such as the National Trust and the RHS, is the latest addition to the Artmarket family.
Born and brought up in the home counties, after studying at Amersham College of Art and Design she ‘escaped’ to the less manicured countryside of Devon, where she finds inspiration for her gorgeous portraits of wildlife all around her.
“I am best known for my paintings of wildlife and animals,” she says. “It works for me. I am an outdoors kind of person. After college, I was told to get a ‘proper job’, but I just wanted to paint all the time.
“I live in a very rural area – I walk just up the hill and there are cows that I sing to – they love it! They come to see what I’m doing and it lets me get right under their noses.
“I’m quite close to a wildlife sanctuary, too, where there are otters, and birds of prey, and deer – it allows me to get very close and observe their quirks of movement.
“Then, because I know them, I can construct poses for them, such as in my series of ‘flying hares’.”
Artmarket customers can expect, then, to see the gallery invaded by some of Britain’s best-loved animals, from ethereal hares and free-spirited falcons to the more prosaic and sturdy cows and pigs that fill our farmyards. But animals aren’t her only passion.
”I love to paint just about anything. Landscapes, street scenes, the built environment, even a touch of portraiture – they all help to develop my art.
“It’s all about the way the vision in my head finds its way onto the paper – painting different subjects develops an ‘extra eye’ and helps to get my work spot on.”
Karen quotes the renowned Edwardian portraitist John Singer Sargent as a major influence, but more for his attitude than his artistic technique.
“He’s known for his paintings of society figures, but what’s less well known is that he did vigorously executed watercolours, almost as stress relief – paintings from gondolas, or on a mountainside, with a slight abstraction of vision that I’m forever looking to retrieve for its freshness. I’m always looking to brighten someone’s day – if they look at my painting on their wall, and it does that, it’s a keeper. I want to create art that dazzles with light and colour.”
And Karen is looking forward to forging a lasting association with the Artmarket Gallery.
“You dream of attracting the attention of one of the country’s finest galleries,” she says. “I’m really honoured, and looking forward to building on the relationship.”
Leisure Painter Magazine (click article for larger version)
Devon Life Magazine (click article for larger version)
Country Living Magazine - Country Collections - March & May 2017