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Meet Karen

Thanks for dropping by, and for your interest in my work!

I'm an award-winning artist, writer, and maker who recently left the San Francisco Bay Area for a seaside home in Ocean Shores, Washington.

I have a B.A. in English and Art History (dbl major) from Santa Clara University, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Stanford. 

I was born under a water sign which may explain my connection to the sea. I've always lived within driving distance of the ocean. I can go months without seeing it, but I like knowing it's there. When we were on vacay roadtrips as a kid, my sister and I used to vie to be the first to spot the ocean as we approached the coast. Seeing the water always generates a flush of endorphins. 

Like my late husband, I am a 5th-generation native Californian, so leaving California was not a move we took lightly. I had oh so many spreadsheets set up to compare weather, cost of living, and other factors essential to our decision. The Cascadian subduction/tsunami threat would likely have been the showstopper for my husband w.r.t. a relo to Washington state. But after he passed, the relo plan had to be rethunk.

I'd narrowed the search to either WA or AZ. Polar opposites, right? Our plan in AZ was to buy a small chunk of land in the Verde River/Sedona area and build a tiny home compound on it. One home for the main living area, an office, a studio, a catio, and storage. Maybe ADUs for future rentals. 

But for a recent widow like me, dealing alone with new construction and contractors and building permits was not how I wanted to spend the last ten years of my life. So I needed a move-in-ready solution. 

I'd been looking at the Sequim, WA area because my high School BFF had relocated there years ago and loves it. It's in a rain shadow, so it gets a lot less rain than the rest of Washington. And, it's got a vibrant arts community. But there wasn't a lot of real estate inventory and most of the homes there were over 1800 SF. I was aiming something closer to 1000 SF. 

Long story short (and many Redfin/Zillow sessions later), I ended up buying a little beach house in Ocean Shores, WA, sight unseen. I'd never even visited Ocean Shores before. But with Mr Google's help, I was able to visualize it and learn everything I needed to know.  

As a wildlife enthusiast, birder, and amateur astronomer, I relish the rural PNW life after too many years working in high tech and spending hours commuting each day. Ocean Shores has several wildlife habitats. One of the very best things about this little town is its prodigious deer population. They are tame and there are hundreds of them. One of mine--Donna--comes up onto my enclosed deck to stand outside the slider to my bedroom and stomp to get my attention. They feed my soul. I feed them honeycrisps.


My artistic work includes illustration, mixed media and collage, paintings, photography (including cyanotypes), and mosaics. I also produce animated videos, and stop-motion animation shorts.


It may seem like I flit around in different media without taking the time to master one, but there's a reason....last year I had unsuccessful hand surgery that left me with limited mobility in my dominant hand, and severe hypocalcemia can render the hand immobile. Expecting that the situation will deteriorate over time, I've been exploring ways to be artful that require less work from my hand. 


Many artists who had careers spanning decades have been faced with physical limitations as they aged. For Georgia O'Keeffe, macular degeneration robbed her of her vision in her sunset years. She compensated first by modifying her painting style, utilizing assistants,  and later by switching to ceramics.



Nothing can kill the compulsion to create. A battle with cancer in the 1940s left artist Henri Matisse confined to a wheelchair. Although poor health prevented him from painting, it didn’t stop him from creating art. Instead of using a paintbrush, he began — as he described it — “painting with scissors.” Matisse cut shapes out of paper freehand, arranging and rearranging the forms until he was satisfied, then glued the compositions to paper, canvas and board.













No, I'm not comparing my artistic gifts to O'Keeffe and Matisse's. But recently a fellow artist my age was disconsolate over some age-related developments that affected her ability to complete watercolors to her satisfaction. It came at a time when I was dealing with my hand limitations. I shared with her the stories of several famous artists like O'Keeffe and Matisse, whose physical limitations drove them to find new mediums in which to create. I hoped that my friend could see that other artists have puzzled through the same challenges, not letting them thwart the creative process. 

And so, as I negotiate my sunset years, my artistic output will morph. I'm slower and shakier, but the creative drive is as strong--if not stronger--than it ever was. I'm trying to see it less as a curse of old age and more like an opportunity or excuse to spread my creative wings. 

Most of my professional life was spent in high tech, building websites and software. I was one of the Internet pioneers who helped get you online....I was on a team that built the first Wells Fargo website and online banking, and sites for Ford Motor Co., Ford Canada and Jaguar. After aging out of the high tech rat race I transitioned into life as an influencer. I published Mousebreath, an ezine for crazy cat ladies and gents, and served as a spokesperson for Purina Pet Care. I also was the Denmaster and creative force behind Cat Scouts, and wrote and illustrated The Cat Scout Handbook. 

Which brings me to my current situation, forging a viable art business in Ocean Shores Art.

But I also have a "I-want-to-finish-this-before-I-die" project. When I was widowed (and diagnosed with breast cancer), my life was put on hold while I picked up the pieces. I hope to resume production of my stop-motion animation movie "Catnip Kingdom," a Cat Scouts adventure. I wrote the screenplay and built many set pieces during the pandemic. But stop motion videos take FOREVER to produce. Looking at the math, I realize I need to prioritize this project if it's going to get completed. 


Got a creative bent yourself? Take one of my workshops! We had a rousing good time in a recent Gelli Print monoprint retreat (part of a bachelorette weekend), and the workshops have been popular. 

Or buy stuff! Click the SHOP link in the top menu to see what's available to purchase. 


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