Karen Eastman has been painting professionally for the last 15 years. Her work has been shown in many venues from large outdoor shows to several galleries. She has created images for the NIH in Washington DC, helped develop an art curriculum for ArtReach San Diego, and taught art lessons in San Diego public schools at all grade levels. She currently works with local designers to create custom paintings, and shows her work at her downtown studio, local venues, and Capitol Contemporary Gallery.
I am intrigued by line and how it creates movement in a composition. I remember an art assignment that I had in junior high where we had to make a line that embodied an emotion. A sharp jagged line could express anger, a slow looping line could express joy. I was fascinated by this. A way to express one’s feelings by drawing a line from point A to point B! I love the flow of a line, how they can come together, or move away from one another. I use these lines to create simplicity in something so complex as nature and the human form. It is the only way all that beauty and emotion doesn’t become overwhelming to me. I like to paint segments, or close-up views of these natural forms so the viewing experience can become more intimate and interpretive. I try to capture the essence of an element by using strong sensual lines and by using an extensive color palette. I want the painting to feel like it is alive. I create each composition from the inside out, depicting what I experience as opposed to what I literally see in front of me.
We asked Karen a few questions about her career as an artist:
What inspired this recent body of work?
My recent body of work titled “Desert Blooms” was inspired by my two daughters. They both live in Texas, one in Austin, one in Fort Worth. The pandemic was difficult as I was away from them for a while, but I ended up having a wonderful opportunity to live in Austin for 2 months and spend lots of time with each one of them. It was wonderful to see their resilience and their ability to adapt to the changes of the pandemic. It made me start to look at the desert landscape in the same way and I became fascinated with the succulents and the cactus. Their shapes and lines are so diverse and challenging. Such a departure from the landscape in Idaho!I had fun creating my own stylized versions of Agave and Paddle Cactus.I was down there right after the snow storm and watched these plants fight their way back to their full bloom. Resilience!
Where did it all start?
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I knew I wanted to be an artist at a very young age. I was always creating something and my mother was very tolerant and supportive of my many projects! She needed to keep all that creative energy busy! I was forever painting, cooking, sewing, building, rearranging my furniture, and decorating. I still am!
How have our Idaho communities inspired you as an artist?
Being an artist is Idaho is such a welcoming experience. I moved back home about 7 years ago (was living in San Diego) and have been embraced by the art community ever since. I find the people to be so curious and respectful of the artistic process. There are many opportunities for artists in Boise, and it is a very creative and emerging city.
What kind of challenges and opportunities have you experienced in recent months?
2019 was actually a very productive year for me. I had several commissions at the beginning of the year that really kept me grounded through all the chaos. I struggled with subject matter to paint for a bit, but was able to work through it with my “goddess series”and then hit my stride at the end of the year.
Recently, I have been doing a lot of collaborative projects. My biggest project to date is a 110 room hotel in Eugene, Oregon. We will be installing prints of my artwork in every room and also the common area spaces!
Next up is a smaller project for a Senior Center in Tacoma, Washington. Then definitely more succulents, and plants! I am enjoying the collaborative design process and hope to work on more interior spaces to create custom work for a restaurant here in town as well as individual clients.
Tell us more?
I have always loved to draw and paint. This interest led me to pursue an education in the arts at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where I graduated in 1987 with a BA in Humanities and a minor in Art History. After graduation, I moved to San Diego, CA and enjoyed a career in retail sales and merchandising over the next several years. I missed creating art though, so I opened up my own business in 1996 called Paint, Glaze & Fire!, a ceramics studio, located in Encinitas, CA. I enjoyed working with customers to help nurture and advance their own creativity, which led me to an interest in teaching, as well as getting back to creating my own work. When I sold my business in 1999, I began focusing on my art career and my teaching career. During this time, I helped to develop an art curriculum for a non-profit organization called ArtReach in San Diego, CA., worked in the classroom with K-12th graders, and began showing my work in local galleries and large art shows from San Diego to Laguna Beach, to Las Vegas. I also worked on several projects for the NIH in Washington DC, ranging from custom paintings, to the use of my images in their website and seminar materials.
Since moving to Boise, Idaho in 2014, I have enjoyed showing my work on the cover of the Boise Weekly for several years in a row, creating a public art piece, and working with local designers to create custom artwork for their clients.I currently show my work at Capitol Contemporary Gallery, located at 451 S. Capitol Blvd. And I am always available for consultations and showings at my downtown studio at 404 S. 8th St. Suite 206 in Boise!
DESERT BLOOMS EXHIBITION
A special thank you to
451 S. Capitol Boulevard
Boise, ID 83702
Monday – Friday 10:00 to 6:00
Saturday 10:00 to 2:00