Swift, Confident Brush Marks: Art by Karen Smith

A painting of a bouquet of flowers in the darkDramatic Bouquet, oil on cradled wood panel

Karen Smith is a contemporary still life and landscape painter currently based in Westminster, Colorado. In her artistic practice, Karen paints primarily with oils, building up images that are focused on colour and composition, delineating florals, trees, and mountains with swift, confident brush marks

A white flower on a blue backgroundPaula's Flower


The works in Karen’s 2020 Flower Series are striking, with bright, simple florals on jewel-toned backgrounds demanding a closer look. I really love the way Karen employs contrast in this series. The pared-down, simple compositions -- bunches of flowers on single-tone, lightly textured backgrounds -- lend the works a sense of focus and strong intention. Many of the works employ a distinct saturated blue as background, which interacts well with whites, pinks, yellows, and greens found in the flowers themselves. 


Karen’s contemporary landscape paintings remind me a bit of work by Harry Stooshinoff -- in Karen’s series, the Colorado landscape is pared down into distinct planes and shapes, which are then layered together into compositions that provide just enough detail for the viewer to fill in the blanks.

A painting of a tree in front of a body of waterSprague, oil

Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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