A celebration of the female through flowers, fruits and figures. Oil paintings, textiles and botanical water-colours.
2017 was a turbulent and trying year for women, from the inauguration of Donald Trump, the explosive succession of reports of sexual harassment and assault and the shocking exposure of pay gaps across the genders. With the centenary of (some women) gaining the right to vote in the UK, 2018 is set to be a year for women to rise, re-energised, to use their voices and talents to influence and demand real change.
Many of her botanical pieces in this exhibition refer to the taboos placed on the natural menstrual cycle and seek to empower this beautiful gift bestowed upon the female sex. The paintings hope to promote open and positive conversations around a topic normally associated with secrecy and disgust in a world where women, even on our own doorstep, are unable to afford or have access to sanitary products.
In contrary style, Karen’s figurative oil paintings explore inspiring women, making references to representations of women in history, art, religion and mythology.
Why is it so easy to blame a woman for her own sexual assault in this world? Because she ate the apple first. She sinned first. So we blame her. It is that easy.
Society used to refer to the sacred period as woman’s ‘moon time’ as their cycle was synced with the moon. The word menstruation itself is derived from the Greek and Latin words meaning month and moon.
When a woman ovulates with the full moon and bleeds on the new moon, she is following the White Moon cycle. Her body acts as a perfect mirror for the fertility of the earth since the earth itself is most fertile under the light of the full moon. The White Moon cycle represents the fertile power of women and was considered the cycle of the ‘good mother’.
Women who bleed during the full moon follow the Red Moon cycle which was linked the archetype of the seductress, the enchantress and the women who knew how to wield healing power and magic. She was considered by our patriarchal ancestors to be the ‘evil woman’. In truth, this moon cycle belonged to the medicine women, to the midwives, the magic-makers and the wisdom keepers of the community. These women were not focusing their feminine energies to give birth to children, rather their energy was used to empower other women and their communities.
In mythology, menstruation was seen as a punishment after the Moon Goddess – who represented women, sexuality and fertility – disobeyed the rules of the alliance and slept with the Sun God.
Iris was the Greek goddess of the rainbow. Purple irises were placed over the graves of women in Ancient times to summon the Goddess Iris to guide the dead in their journey from earth to heaven via a rainbow.
To deflect the impression of masculinity that was projected upon the women’s suffrage movement, women were encouraged to wear dresses in delicate fabrics and colours. Devised in 1908 by Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, their official colours were purple, for loyalty and dignity; white for purity and green for hope.
‘Purple, as everyone knows, is a royal colour, it stands for the royal blood that flows in the veins of every suffragette, the instinct of freedom and dignity...white stands for purity in private and public life...green is the colour of hope and the emblem of spring. ‘ Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, editor of Votes for Women
Enwombed in Gold
Oil on Canvas
Oil on Canvas
Nemophilist - Memories of Emerald Hollow
Exhibition held at The Lansdown Gallery, Stroud - October 2016
Exhibited again at The Great Oak Hall, Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire, 1st August 2017 - 14th August 2017.
Living in a wooden cabin, in a beautiful woods in the Cotswolds, inspired Karen to create a collection of work about this time, evoking feelings of nostalgia and a connection to nature.
She exhibited with her partner, Denius Parson, a sculptor.
Along the Path
Waiting for the Storm
Under the Lilac Tree
Into the Jungle
Giclee Prints available 10" x 12"
Unframed - £20
Framed - £30
The Objects of My Affection
Exhibited at Hobbs House in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire: June 2014
The Red Shoes
What Do Your Hands Say About You?
Solo Exhibition; June 2013; Lansdown Gallery; Stroud, Gloucestershire
An exploration into hands and what they say about their owner.
Hands play such an important role to an artist and crafts person, giving many clues as to what the person does. Every hand is unique so rather than faces, Karen focused on hands as the identifier to people.
Palms have been read throughout history as a form of fortune telling and Karen spent time researching this traditional technique. One of her paintings analyses her own palm-reading using visuals to communicate what her hands are telling.
Hands are also used as symbols and help to communicate internationally, from signs of peace, hope and protest. In this exhibition, Karen used text within her many of her paintings to support the visuals and add to what they are communicating.
People & Travel
Paintings from Karen's travels around the world, focusing on the people she meets and the cultures she immerses herself in.
Flowers in Oil
50cm x 50cm
£180 with frame
50cm x 50cm
50cm x 50cm
£180 with frame
Painting figures from life...
Aside from her figurative oil paintings, Karen is a passionate botanical artist working in water-colour.
Capturing the flowers and plants of the seasons, she works from live samples, studying their structure and researching their behaviours and properties.
She sells her botanical work under her company, 'The Painter's Pantry'. Through her website and at craft fairs around Gloucestershire, particularly at Cheltenham Promenade, you can buy greeting cards and prints of her work.