Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Inspirational Botanical Art – Artist Karen Kluglein

I have been working on developing more ideas for art to be licensed and fine tuning my initial collections as a result of last week's review from my local art licensing group. If you don't have one in your area you might want to start one up, it's so fun and rewarding!

And for a new week of beautiful and inspirational art I invited artist Karen Kluglein for an interview. Her mother was a watercolorist and her father a woodworker, so she comes from an artistic background.

Artist Karen Kluglein
"People always ask if I learned how to paint from my mother but I did not", Karen says – "she painted at the kitchen table when my sister and I were in school and so I never saw her paint until she had her own studio later in life. Our work looks very similar both in subject and style and though I have worked hard to perfect it I have also been lucky."

Karen went to the School of Visual Arts for illustration and was freelance primarily in advertising and food packaging for about 20 years. When computers took over and illustration was no longer done by hand she eventually discovered botanical painting.

Karen's food packaging
She says: "I went to an American Society of Botanical Art Exhibition and knew that my work was a perfect fit. The ASBA has members from all over the world. It is a specialized art. Shows are judged for composition, scientific and color accuracy, detail, etc. Most people looking at the work would not see what judges would appreciate."

She has also received awards and recognition in the botanical painting field relatively quickly – "I am always trying to push myself a little further whether it is being keenly aware of composition or adding whimsy or depth to my paintings, as there is always something to strive for."

Botanical paintings by Karen
Karen adds: "I love working with watercolor. Soon after I began my botanical work I started painting on vellum which is animal skin. Having been a vegetarian for many years I try to make each painting the very best I can so the vellum is not going to waste and the painting will be treasured."

She also says she was lucky to have had the luxury of time to spend many hours drawing while in high school. They had an experimental program where they had a certain amount of free time each day. She was known to always be in the art room drawing and she knows this helped her drafting skills tremendously. Karin also had a professor while she attended Visual Arts, Marvin Mattelson, whose wife was her representative during her illustration years. He was her mentor.


© Karen Kluglain - Lilacs
"Right now I am working on some commissions for a woman who is creating a one of a kind book. She has chosen botanical artists working on vellum to contribute to her project. It is going to be very beautiful. I also teach at the New York Botanical Garden in Manhattan and on the eastern end of Long Island. I exhibit in the ASBA shows so my time is divided in a few different areas" – Karen says.

Karen does not yet have her art licensed. It is something she is interested in but would like to make sure she finds the right fit for her work. "Because it is so detailed and delicate I often think it would be suitable for fine china where it would not loose detail in the printing. I often feel my life has unfolded in phases and licensing may be the next phase for me!"

For more of Karen's beautiful artwork see her website.

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