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Meet Karla Shuster

I go through periods during which I consume more art by fellow artists than I produce myself. I LOVE ART! It's been a few years (decades!) since any studio art classes in college, so I'm eager to see what others are up to, and often, at night before drifting off to slumber, I do the infinite scroll dance at Pinterest. Or, I check out classes at Domestika and Skillshare. When I was back in college, it's hard to believe, but THERE WAS NO INTERNET. Not a problem, really, for art history classes; you just needed to hang out in the library and check out the art books. But viewing work by contemporaries was not as simple as a hop over to Instagram. You'd need to go to a gallery or exhibit. Which meant you could not consume copious amounts of art from your laptop. Because, yeah, laptops did not exist in those days, either.

Reflecting on those days of limited access, I'm so happy to now have unfettered access to any art I can google or pin. As I struggle to refine my own techniques, I seek the solutions of others. Today I stumbled across the work of Karla Shuster, a mixed media/collage artist. I have several collages planned using a torn paper technique and was delighted by how her work comes alive on the page.

Because a number of my planned collage/mixed media works depict birds and cats, Karla's subject matter was of particular interest to me. I review the background treatments, light and shadow, and assess how text on torn strips is used. As the artist, you don't want any text to fight for attention, but you also may wish to place some text like Easter eggs, interspersed with secret messages.

Shuster's work is masterful. You can check out her portfolio at She writes: <blockquote>Creating beauty lifts my spirit and affords me respite from everyday life. In my work I focus on simple themes, and use found papers, hand-painted papers, and any paper with an interesting color, pattern, or texture.  I have a particular fondness for vibrant colors.  Each piece of paper, however small, is hand-torn and mixed with the different colors and patterns to express beauty in a form different from a traditional oil or acrylic painting. </blockquote>

You know I can't resist a pelican!

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