To capture the essence of a subject in a painted portrait is an artist’s goal. Sure, you can be on point with the perfect eye shape and curvature of a mouth, but to see personality come through the eye due to the precision of a paintbrush stroke is remarkable. When you can hear the laughter behind a smiling child’s face or see the softness that lies beneath hardened lines in a grandfather’s worn look, it is a moving experience. As a purveyor of art, there must be no greater gratification. Some artists can see through to the soul of a person or animal, and to make that come alive for us on canvas is a gift.
For local artist, Karen Chandler, art is in her blood. From a very young age, she realized she had the capacity to make the canvas come to life, painting with oils for over 25 years. With formal training at the Stevenson Academy of Traditional Painting, The New York Institute of Technology, and The New York School of Visual Arts, she has honed her talents to include photography, computer, and acrylic. Karen holds the high distinction of having her art currently displayed at the Pentagon and the National Aviation Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. Her work is in the permanent collection at Kennedy Space Center and the Air Force Art Collection.
Her illustrations have graced the covers of dozens of books including several by R. L. Stine. To her, all the books have been a treat to work on, but she especially loved her artwork featured in Keeper of the Swamp. In this book, she was given a scant description of what the publishers wanted, as is the case with many of these types of projects. With vivid detail, she has made the central character, a young boy, enjoy a seamless pairing with what the author had in mind for his physical features, clothing and facial expressions. Her illustrations can be seen throughout the entire book. The popular “Murder” Series by Victoria Thompson has exclusively featured the cover artwork of Karen Chandler on each of its new releases. That is quite a feat, as publishers generally use a variety of artists.
Karen’s talents run deep and include a series of pet portraits. If you are an animal person with a photo-worthy four-legger in your life, you will fall in love with her pet portraits. She is booking sessions through the holiday season now, so consider letting Karen capture the sweet side of your faithful pal. It may be the most unique and beloved gift under the tree this year.
Locally, you can enjoy Karen’s lively painting techniques infused with her fun-loving personality at Café Barbosso. As it turns out, Karen and Chef Joe DiMaggio, Jr. are chums from the old neighborhood in New York. When Karen and her husband recently relocated to the Sarasota area, she heard about his new restaurant. With a unique twist, live artists paint on canvas while guests dine on Joe’s special dishes. She just knew she had to be a part of it. She placed a call to the restaurant, Joe recognized the New York area code, and the rest was artful history. Check out Karen’s vivid and captivating images on her website. You can catch up with her at Café Barbosso every Sunday and Tuesday evening from 5:00 to 8:30. She will also be at the Venice Mercato on December 16th and 17th. For more information on all of Karen’s art, please visit: https://karenchandlerfineart.com.
Photos courtesy of Karen Chandler