Featured Artist: Karen Watson

Karen Watson is a mixed media artist based out of Potomac Falls, Virginia. Working with acrylic paint, ink and collage, she incorporates varying materials including paper, photographs and objects. She enjoys experimenting with texture and dimensional art to create a piece that is visually stimulating and also interactive in the hope that others may find it interesting and add to their own home or collection.

Karen was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions for us to gain more insight into her thought and process behind her work. To see more of Karen's work visit infusionarts.com and be sure to visit us at Tin Top Art and Handmade. We currently have five of Karen's mixed media pieces on display and for sale.

Why do you feel art is important/relevant today?
I think in our fast paced world, it’s so easy to lose touch with ourselves. With all the external obligations of everyday life, it’s easy to spend all your time attending to the demands placed on you by others and soon forget what you are all about. Art is a way to get and stay in touch with yourself – what is inspiring, honest and true to you, rather than what someone else needs you to be. I sometimes catch myself getting off track by starting pieces that are likely of interest to others – and these are the pieces that don’t really work out as well in the end. The work needs to come from me, be inspired from within, and in that case, it is actually more likely to resonate with others as well.

What has been the most difficult challenge for you as an artist?

Taking myself seriously as an artist. For years I couldn’t call myself an artist. I still consider myself as someone who creates more than “an artist” but more importantly, I take it seriously. I’ve always been internally driven to make things. As a child, I drew, worked with my grandpa in his woodshop, and made all kinds of little do-dads. It’s always been a part of who I am, and therefore easy to take for granted and not take seriously. Until you realize that if you don’t do it, you are really missing out on an important aspect of your life and selling yourself short.

Pattern Whimsy - Currently at Tin Top

What is the most gratifying part of making your work?

The moment when the color, pattern, and design all come together in a way that couldn’t have been anticipated, and the piece just hits a sweet spot and is larger than the sum of its parts. That’s the moment when tears briefly come to my eyes, and I see something new that wasn’t there earlier. I don’t have a fully developed vision of a finished piece before I begin, and even when I plan the color scheme or design ahead of time, the planning isn’t able to evolve beyond a certain point without getting my hands dirty. In many of the classes that I’ve taken, I hear it over and over from teachers, “just start.” I say, “just start, and then follow yourself.”

Shell & Sea Fan (sold)

Where do you find inspiration?

I’ve always been a collector of little stuff – mostly items found in nature like rocks, shells, bug wings, leaves, pods, sea glass, nests -- I’m on a perpetual treasure hunt. Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, we were always outside and in the woods and I learned to “see” and find interesting many things that most people would probably not find so appealing. I remember digging randomly in places just knowing that I would hit a treasure (which, incidentally, did not happen other than the occasional old horse shoe.) And, nirvana at the beach, where treasures just wash right up to me – love it!

I’m obviously inspired by the natural world as well as small items that have a history or tell a story like coins, stamps, old paper documents, keys, and books, as well as dramatic architectural elements and interesting color combinations.

Describe yourself in 5 words:

trusting, optimistic, funny, warm-hearted, inventive

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