Karen Luke I am primarily an oil painter but utilize other mediums, wet or dry if it serves the concept of the piece. I work from small studies, sketches, photo references composed to create medium to large scale paintings. My work at times surreal, are referenced from my travels, experiences, and dreams.
My painting process is inspired by people’s histories, memories, and experiences. Events are obliterated from our memory, or only glimpses are remembered. We are continually recording layers of history and occasionally we can “bump” into those past memories or ghosts. To create the transitory figures and impressions of the world we live in, I use transparent, sometimes drippy, and opaquely applied multi-textured layers of paint. Paint is scraped, added back opaquely, carved back into, until the desired effect is achieved. The surface is saturated with layers, collaged with texture or manipulated with surface tension. A low saturation, muted palette or limited color best supports the mysterious mood I’m after. I feel this approach begins to best mimic our human experiences.
Passionate about art, I love the process of learning and constantly challenge myself to see the world in new ways. It’s not the subject itself, but the essence, or core nature that matters. That’s what I look for in my paintings. However my interests are quite varied as I’m most drawn to psychological, mysterious and evocative imagery. Growing up with a mixture of Chinese philosophy, folk practices and western religion, I was influenced to explore various religions and beliefs. I’m intrigued with the concept of spirituality and our place in the universe. Is there karma? Or has karma run over and flattened the dogma? Is there another dimension(s) or other world? The “what if…?” These are some of the profound, interesting questions, the billions of possibilities life poses which inspires me to investigate, explore and capture.