Featured Artist Karen Israel

Artist Karen Israel presents a collection of pastel works in her signature impressionist style. View more of her work by visiting her website.


pastel yellow floral arrangement by Karen Israel

“As Evening Falls” pastel, 20″ x 16″


While there are many things I love about living in Connecticut, the accessibility of the local fauna and flora is my favorite. With so many state parks nearby, along with the proximity to the New York area, my lifelong passions for hiking, visiting gardens and zoos give me essential inspiration towards my artistic process.


Pastel wood scene by Karen Israel

“A Question of When” pastel, 19″ x 18″


On one of those visits, over a decade ago, I stopped to watch the fading light coming through the trees. As dusk lowered its curtain on this remarkable scene, I vowed to return to the same spot at dawn so that I might observe the light at the other end of the day’s cycle. I recorded both moments by sketching them, and this became my daily ritual.


pastel pink rose arrangement by Karen Israel

“A Touch of Grace” pastel, 13″ x 19″


Being an artist has helped me become more sensitive to the richness of the world around me. I’m constantly noticing how the light is shifting, or finding shapes and patterns hidden in plain sight.


pastel of winter road at sunset by Karen Israel

“No Direction Home” pastel, 18″ x 12″


It’s a thrill to discover all the small details that make each moment unique and worthy of deep consideration.


pastel of a wooded stream by Karen Israel

“Coming Around Again” pastel, 24″ x 18″


Sometimes that’s all I want to talk about. Then I remember I don’t have to grapple with the inadequacies of language. I just head to my studio and start painting.


pastel cloe up of pink blooms by Karen Israel

“Haute Couture” pastel, 20″ x 16″


When I began painting, watercolor followed by oil were my mediums of choice. I then discovered pastel and fell in love with it’s vibrant pigments versatility.


pastel of daisy arrangement in blue by Karen Israel

“Blue Notes” pastel, 12″ x 18″


Pastel is both a drawing and painting medium and can be applied in a variety of ways. I sometimes begin a pastel painting with watercolor, ink or thinned out oil paint and then add layers of pastel on top. With pastel, I still find exciting new ways to express my artistic visions even after all this time.


pastel of pink roses by Karen Israel

“Scents of the Past” pastel, 20″ x 16″


Over the years, my work has evolved from the representational to the impressionistic, with an occasional nod to the surreal. Giving each painting a solid design pattern, exciting color harmony and interesting edges enables me to hook the viewer and take them to new, surprising places.


pastel of flamingos by Karen Israel

“Spirits of Summer” pastel, 16″ x 16″


All of my work begins with the question “What if?” Those two words fuel my creative process. What if I choose unexpected colors, or an unusual format, or a new style? Each possibility is a yarn I can pull, a rabbit hole I can explore for exciting alternatives.


pastel of a wooded stream by Karen Israel

“Lazy Afternoon” pastel, 12″ x 9″


Writing about my work is a difficult task. How might I summarize what happens when I’m at my easel, or explain the hundreds of choices that go into a single painting? My process is intuitive and deeply personal. But teaching has helped me clarify what I value in a painting, and I’ve studied with many of the top artists in the United States so that I could learn the art of observation.


pastel of flamingos by Karen Israel

“The In Crowd” pastel, 20″ x 10″


I now take great joy in teaching others how to see and commune with the world around them so that they, too, can record their reality.


Artist Karen Israel invites you to follow her on Facebook, Instagram and the Daily Paintworks site.


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