Karen Lewis: Painter of Water and Air

Recently, Beth Yazhari, Artist No., 11, turned the tables on Karen Lewis, Artist No. 6, who has been interviewing her fellow artists this summer. Here is Beth’s interview with Karen.

When you visit oil painter Karen Lewis and talk to her about her artistic process, you will find that the words “shapes,” “movement,” ”harmony” and “air” recur frequently. You may also find that you are yearning to visit Hawaii after you hear her passionately talk about her relationship with the air and water there!
Karen has a lifelong relationship with water. She grew up kayaking, swimming, and snorkeling; as she puts it, “My number one favorite thing to do is paint, and right now in my life my number two favorite thing to do is snorkel.” The warm Hawaiian waters, as well as the fact that she can have air flowing through her house all the time, inspire many of Karen’s lush landscapes.
When Karen is working at home in West Linn, she is always prepared to encounter a beautiful sunset or inspiring landscape. Her van is well-stocked with all the paints, canvases, and other materials that a plein air painter needs. She is often inspired by a scene while driving, and she has even spontaneously pulled out her easel in the parking lot of Trader Joe’s in order to capture an amazing sky!
Karen’s favorite part of the artistic process is “being outdoors and really looking.” She pays close attention to how the air moves around her when she is painting—the crenellation of moving clouds creating vibrations in the sky or the emotional quality of an interesting shadow under a tree can provide the inspiration for a painting. She tries to capture the many moods of water, and her sweeping brushstrokes beautifully express fluidity and color in motion. Be sure to visit Karen’s studio for interesting conversation and an inspirational breath of fresh air!