I was born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk in 1966, the granddaughter of Guernsey artist Louis Le Ray, whom sadly I never met. As an adult I travelled the world living in Singapore, Bangkok, Australia and Norway. During this time I developed my love of drawing and painting, undertaking portrait commissions and running art classes.
On my return to Britain Karen studied Art in Aberdeen, Scotland which helped to naturally develop my own distinctive style. I moved to Southwold seafront in 1999 and realized her natural ability to capture the sea.
I love the strength and drama of the sea and it’s ever changing mood depending on the time of day and the season. Capturing light and movement is very important to me, I want you to feel the warmth of the sun or the blow of the wind as it moves the clouds along. My paintings are spiritual and have deep personal meaning which is often reflected in the titles.
I am forever finding new inspiration in the big East Anglian skies, the reed cutters, the fishermen, the local characters for which I feels an urgency to capture and catalogue. I paint everyday, mainly in my studio and often I feel frustrated and disgruntled on days when I cannot paint. I paint mainly in acrylic on canvas but I am excited and determined to experiment in other media in my new studio. I enjoy solitude and losing myself in my painting.
Although there are no main influences in my art, I do admire the strength in Lucien Freud’s paintings; light captured by the impressionists and the eccentric character of Maggi Hambling.
My paintings are in private collections in Britain, Europe, Malaysia and America, including two paintings held in the House of Lords Art Collection.
Changing exhibitions of my paintings are on permanent display at:
- Southwold Gallery, Southwold.
- Thompson’s Gallery , Aldeburgh.
- Hunter Gallery, Long Melford.
- Chrome Gallery, Norwich.
I am referenced in: Making Waves, Artists in Southwold by Ian Collins. Published 2005 by Black Dog Books.
March 2007 Elected Member of East Anglian Marine Artists
Author of Acrylic Workshop II, published in 15 languages by Dorling Kindersley 2008 . Available in hardback at Southwold Gallery all good bookshops.
April 04 Solo Exhibition ‘Quintessential Suffolk’ – Southwold Town Hall
June 04 Suffolk Open Studios
Summer 04 Thompson’s Gallery – Aldeburgh
Dec 04 Thompson’s Gallery Annual Exhibition
2004 House of Lords – London “Best of Britain’ Exhibition
Easter 05 Thompson’s Gallery East Anglian Artists Exhibition
Summer 05 Thompson’s Gallery – Aldeburgh
December 05 Thompson’s Gallery Annual Exhibition
June 05 Suffolk Open Studios
April 06 Solo Exhibition ‘ Spirit of Suffolk’ – Southwold Gallery
Easter 06 Thompson’s Gallery East Anglian Artists Exhibition
Summer 06 Thompson’s Gallery
July 06 Mall Galleries, London East Anglian Group of Marine Artists Exhibition
Aug ’06 Big Shed, Iken Red Cross Exhibition
Nov ’06 Mandell’s Gallery, Norwich. EAGMA Exhibition
May ’07 Peter Hedley Gallery, Dorset EAGMA Exhibition
July ’07 Hunter Gallery, Long Melford Summer Exhibition
July 08 Mall Galleries, London
Oct ’08 Solo Exhibition ‘Where I Go’-Southwold Gallery
House of Lords
Late 2003 two of my paintings were purchased the House of Lords Arts Committee to be exhibited to the public in “A Best of British Tourism Exhibition” at the palace of Westminster in 2004. They were shown from 1st to 14th December 2004 to people taking the House of Lords guided tour. They are now on permanent display in the House of Lords.
Suffolk Journal Article
The September 2006 Issue of the Suffolk Journal (Cambridge News), features an article on me and my artwork:
She has an urgency about her which is a very definite purpose. ‘I want to paint it all. I love painting the things we see every day, I am forever seeing things that are often taken for granted but in a different light, in a different season, everything can seem new.’ Capturing light and movement has become an obsession she revels in.