An Aristic Odyssey: Karen Stene's Love of Travel and Passion for the Sea Is Translated in Her Colorful, Romantic Work. (Karen Stene)
Lo, Kevin, Art Business News
The halcyon of the seas beckoned to artist Karen Stene. So she built a boat. With a shipmate in tow, she embarked on the open seas in search of adventure. Unlike many seafaring adventurers before her, she was not in search of booty. Rather, she wanted to share her experiences with land-bound folk by documenting them on canvas.
Stene's sense of adventure and love of the seas comes from her childhood in Vancouver, British Colombia, where boating was a regular pastime. "Vancouver has the free spirit of the eagle because of its ocean, mountains, gorgeous flowers and the passion for nature its citizens all have there. I just feel as though I was born into art, and from that, my life has become art" Stene said.
To say she grew up in an artistic household would be an understatement. "We've got three architects, two opera singers, professional photographers, professional musicians and interior designers. That's just my immediate family," she laughed. "There was never any pressure, always support. I didn't really appreciate it until I was older and looking back" she added.
The self-taught artist graduated from the University of British Colombia with a degree in education, choosing to take only a few art courses during her time there. In spite of that lack of formal training, Stene has pursued and achieved a successful career in the arts through her self-taught methods. She said, "I am self taught just by painting so much. I paint every day when I'm not traveling, and my technique gets better by experimenting."
Indeed, Stene's humble beginnings in the art world were in fact not so humble. "I actually got really lucky. As soon as I approached a gallery, I sold my work. I got a publisher in less than two years, and I wasn't even looking for one. It was great, but I think it's taken this long in my life to put all my adventures together and create on canvas," she said.
Today, Stene's work is published by New River Publishing, and she continues to learn and improve her technique after each adventure. She has traveled to Alaska, the Caribbean, the West Coast of the United States and across the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean, all by boat. She has also traveled to Turkey, India and Thailand. "I was born with that adventurer's spirit, and what better, more dramatic way to travel around, then by boat? It was a very exciting way of traveling. I document all my adventures through my paint," she said.
One of her most memorable experiences, and one that has inspired much of her work since, was a visit to Mallorca by boat. "We were invited into this old Mallorcan home," she explained. "The owner had this great garden, and we had a great party. I could not wait to get back to paint it. …