through history is a great way to learn to make art. I sometimes lament the fact that I didn’t go to a four-year art school. I might have missed some of the technical stuff and the daily discipline of it, but I also know a lot of art school graduates who have stopped making art. As an art history major, I looked at a lot of art, I drew and copied images, I read about the artists’ processes, I tried to get into their head, and I studied it in its historical context. I have a huge range or styles and approaches because of all that I’ve seen and absorbed. I’m pretty diverse and eclectic. Sometimes my gallery shows look like a group show, even if it’s just my work. If I have to classify myself, I would say my work is fairly impressionistic, although I prefer the term “magical realism”. In my painted photographs, such as the “Housatonic Hand-Painted” series, I alter reality by painting with oil pastels on top of photographs. The large hand-made marks invade the “real” photographic space and create an interesting tension that makes one question: what is the reality? I’ve done a similar “trompe l’oeill” effect with a couple of my placemat images like “Lilies” where I’ve photographed the flowers in front of the watercolor painting of the same flowers, so you’re not sure which is the painting and which is the photograph. [Illustration: Lillies] [ Illustration: Between Buildings] What other amazing experiences with art did you encounter that helped your education in art making? Karen: I took a semester abroad my sophomore year in college and went to Paris. I went to a wonderful life drawing class on the left bank that met daily, and learned drawing and French. In college we had the month of January off to do a project, and I spent it at the Art Students’ League. When I moved up to the Berkshires, I took classes at IS 183 and met Rosalind Gordon, an amazingly talented teacher who had studied with Elaine DeKooning. She helped a lot of us move into taking ourselves seriously as artists. I also began commuting to the Woodstock School of Art to study watercolor weekly, sometimes indoors and often en pleine-aire. I found Woodstock very supportive and enlivening. Inter-disciplinary skills are also a part of your art making, yes? Karen: I occasionally write poems, songs, and short stories as well as environmental essays. I sing and play guitar and was in a performing folk group in New Haven. I love to dance, and I enjoy being out in nature. I think each creative modality can feed us in different ways. I don’t want to limit myself.
KAREN J. ANDREWS ASIAN FUSION Watercolor and gouache (giclee print)
What would have been an alternative career for you? Karen: Maybe architecture, but I also enjoy creativity on a larger canvas, and perhaps would have enjoyed city planning. I have considered getting an MSW to become a therapist, but coaching fulfills the need to help others free themselves of distress. Let’s talk a little about your photography work, Karen. What do you enjoy? How does it
26 • JULY 2019 THE ARTFUL MIND