Featured Artist Karen Lee

Artist Karen Lee combines photography and fiber art in her exploration of relationships and feelings. Learn more by visiting her website.

 

“Soaring” Mixed Media—Photography and Fiber Arts, 25” x 26” by artist Karen Lee. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Soaring” Mixed Media—Photography and Fiber Arts, 25” x 26”

 

For many years as a psychotherapist I worked with countless adults who were struggling to make sense of the career paths they’d chosen. Not surprisingly, their choices were oftentimes not self-determined but, rather, were made by parents or other influential people in their lives.

 

“Mona Lisa di Santa Monica” Mixed Media—Photography and Fiber Arts, 22” x 36” by artist Karen Lee. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Mona Lisa di Santa Monica” Mixed Media—Photography and Fiber Arts, 22” x 36”

 

It was a dilemma painfully familiar to me as I, too, had allowed my parents’ discouragement of my desire to be an artist get in the way of what I really wanted to do.

 

“Seeking Absolution” Mixed Media—Photography and Fiber Arts, 22” x 28” by artist Karen Lee. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Seeking Absolution” Mixed Media—Photography and Fiber Arts, 22” x 28”

 

After years of helping others make life course corrections that would reflect their true selves, I decided it was time for me to do the same. The practical realities of pursuing a full-time art practice necessitated a move away from Los Angeles, my adopted home, to a big leaf maple forest in Eugene, Oregon.

 

“An Unquiet Mind” Mixed Media—Photography and Fiber Arts, 30” x 23” by artist Karen Lee. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“An Unquiet Mind” Mixed Media—Photography and Fiber Arts, 30” x 23”

 

Here, in a 400 square foot studio, I spent four years taking classes, experimenting with different mediums, and developing a body of work that reflected my own style and voice.

 

“No Longer in the Shadows” Mixed Media—Photography and Fiber Arts, 23” x 30” by artist Karen Lee. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“No Longer in the Shadows” Mixed Media—Photography and Fiber Arts, 23” x 30”

 

I was fortunate that although I was ready to chart a new professional path, my work as a psychotherapist—helping people develop a deeper understanding of themselves and their relationships—had been both stimulating and fulfilling. So, it wasn’t surprising that I still wanted to explore feelings and interpersonal communication. However, as an artist I’m now using visual images instead of words to have these “conversations.”

 

“Ochre Dreams” Mixed Media—Photography and Fiber Arts, 27” x 22” by artist Karen Lee. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Ochre Dreams” Mixed Media—Photography and Fiber Arts, 27” x 22”

 

I would have never predicted the medium that suited me best is one that blends photography with fiber arts, but this unusual mixed media approach has offered me the most authentic expression of my inner voice.

 

“Deluged” Mixed Media—Photography and Fiber Arts, 20” x 26” by artist Karen Lee. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Deluged” Mixed Media—Photography and Fiber Arts, 20” x 26”

 

It’s challenging to explain to people what they’re looking at, because each finished piece appears to be a painting. But it’s not.

 

“Awaiting Diagnosis” Mixed Media—Photography and Fiber Arts, 26” x 23” by artist Karen Lee. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Awaiting Diagnosis” Mixed Media—Photography and Fiber Arts, 26” x 23”

 

I explain that my process begins by taking elements of multiple photographs to compose a new image I’ve imagined. I print this new image on specially treated fabric using fine art archival inks, after which the piece is layered over batting or felt, and stitched for emphasis and additional texture.

 

“When Life was Just a Day at the Beach” Mixed Media—Photography and Fiber Arts, 28” x 19” by artist Karen Lee. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“When Life was Just a Day at the Beach” Mixed Media—Photography and Fiber Arts, 28” x 19”

 

The final steps in this process are applying three coats of protective varnish, and then matting and framing the work.

 

“Competing with Myself” Mixed Media—Photography and Fiber Arts, 29” x 22” by artist Karen Lee. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Competing with Myself” Mixed Media—Photography and Fiber Arts, 29” x 22”

 

I understand that my audience’s initial belief is that they are looking at a painting, because they appear that way to me as well. The multiple layers have great significance to me, however, as they represent the multiple layers of emotions, thoughts, contradictions and longing for connection we humans all share.

 

Artist Karen Lee invites you to follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

 

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