Karen Wilson Studio


I was born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia and enjoyed a lively childhood with loving parents and three younger brothers. Every year we explored interesting little hamlets found along our sea coast. i am sure that is why I am so strongly bonded to the Atlantic and love its colours and regional beauty. My innate desire to be creative has drawn me to many wonderful hobbies, such as sewing, knitting, sketching, cross-stitching, rug hooking, quilting, wood working, sign making, etc. I have a background in technical drafting and a special love for architecture. In my mid-thirties, I felt a powerful urge to paint. In 1988, I discovered watercolours during an afternoon workshop given by Joy Laking, a wonderfully encouraging artist. The next year I enjoyed a summer workshop given by Alice Reed CSPWC. Something really clicked in me and I’ve been having a great time playing with watercolours ever since.

I have no formal fine art training. My painting style is called photo realism and my paintings are vividly coloured and finely detailed. My larger paintings take at least sixty to ninety hours to complete. One painting, Teapots Galore, took one hundred and fifty hours to paint. I often include special representations of my family and home life within my paintings, such as the names of my two children, Barry and Emily, the children riding their bikes, our dogs, my parents, brothers, vehicles, significant dates, symbols, nicknames, etc.

I listen very carefully to my paintings as I paint. Throughout the time it takes me to create a painting, from conception to completion, I feel like I have a special relationship with it. If I pay really close attention, the painting becomes like a trusted friend whispering advice at key moments. That is the only way I know when my painting is finished: the painting, itself, tells me when it is finished.

I am an Elected Member (2004) of the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour (CSPWC), the oldest and most prestigious Society of its kind in Canada. In 2003, my painting Four Tugs and a Schooner was accepted by the international juried art show, Open Water, in Toronto and was awarded the Daler-Rowney Award. In 2004, Green Dory was accepted by Open Water and awarded the A.J. Casson Medal for Best Painting in the Show. My painting Lunenburg Waterfront is part of the permanent Diploma Collection of the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour.

Though painting is an essential part of my life, I believe my greatest works of art are my two children.