Watercolors   |   Mixed Watermedia   |   Web Design


I believe my paintings are clear reflections of how I see life:  I use strong, bold lines and colors for portraits and figures while I take a more intuitive approach for landscapes and still lifes. I enjoy the decisive quality in very powerful images of women. These women are not weak-willed! I use colored pencil, watercolor crayons, and gouache along with watercolor & acrylics to convey strength.

My landscapes, however, explore a different terrain. Each landscape reflects my emotional response to that particular scene (and I paint only scenes that I personally have experienced.)

I grew up in California and I miss its "golden hillsides" and Scrub Oaks. The Northern Pacific Coastline has a rugged quality, with luxuriant fields leading down to rocky cliffs overlooking the ocean. Watercolor overlaid with colored pencil or acrylics painted over a collaged surface each emphasise the inviting qualities of the scene. In spite of having lived in Virginia for over 20 years, I still consider California "home", and a somewhat dreamlike quality invades my portrayals of it.

For scenes of Ireland, I use green, green, green in all its permutations to emphasize the lush beauty of the land. England has captured my heart, and I love its architecture and landscapes. Cuba needs pure watercolor and lots of light to express the intense color, the heat, and the positive attitude of the people.

In addition to traditional watercolors, I like to explore various watermedia. I incorporate watercolor crayons & pencils, pen & ink, acrylics & gouache into my paintings and monotypes. I cut my own stamps for use in backgrounds & borders and I hand-paint the textured papers I use in collages. All these varying techniques allow me to explore so many creative paths! In sum, I enjoy using all the water techniques available to express my responses to different moments and events.

I have been influenced by several excellent teachers. I've taken workshops with Doug Walton, Linda Stevens-Moyer, Judi Betts, Jean Grasdorf, Gerald Brommer, Polly Hammett, Alex Powers, Carrie Brown and Cheng-Khee Chee, Skip Lawrence, and Christopher Schink, and have learned valuable lessons from all of them. But my primary inspiration has come from Jan Ledbetter and Phyllis Greenway to whom I am sincerely grateful for the support and encouragement they have shown me.

Personal information:
I am a participating artist and board member of Williamsburg Contemporary Art Center in Williamsburg and exhibit my work at Prince George Art & Frame. I am a signature member of the Virginia Watercolor Society. I received my B.A. in Fine Arts from San Diego State University with a concentration in painting and printmaking.

I retired from the College of William & Mary in 2016 and now focus on volunteer work with the Virginia Watercolor Society, and Williamsburg Contemporary Art Center.

Contact me by e-mail with inquiries about purchasing art or note cards.

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©Karen Schwartz 2002, 2003, 2004