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Did You Forget? Fire and Ice Backwater Boat Along The Trail
Full Moon Historic Gwinnett County Courthouse, Lawrenceville, GA Ashley River Backwater Beaufort Afternoon


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A New Year?


One of my UN-favorite holidays has become New Year’s Day.  The press focus on the wins and losses of the past year, the hopes for the year ahead, and resolutions for change that everyone is expected to make.  I’m all about reflection, professional and personal, and the value of evaluating our actions and emotions.  Something about the pressure of New Year’s self-promises and exceeding expectations makes me want to dig in my heels and say, “NO!” Could it be that I am just getting sensitive to change in a whirlwind of uncertain times? Or is it that I am seeing that there is not as much time ahead as I once banked, and thus the passage becomes more precious?

 

In my younger, more naïve and hopeful years, I excitedly made plans to conquer the art world, lose 20 pounds, and generally re-invent myself to fit the fads of the day.  I have since learned that we are intrinsically what we are, and that we control our choices, but not our nature.  At the end of the day, we work with what we have. Also, life has a way of presenting situations and challenges that we never see coming, no matter how much we prepare. 

 

The strength of will it takes to push daily, to strive toward a goal persistently, requires a commitment of the soul beyond the realm of resolutions.  To be fair, I have worked diligently to be comfortable in my living standard, and can now afford the luxury of altering my expectations. Over time, I have seen my goals become more realistic, more satisfying, and more “true” to my nature.  The things that are important to me aren’t “things,” as they were in younger years (possibly because I HAVE the things that seemed so important).  Goals focus on relationships, on personal satisfaction in work well done, and attention to the wonders of life. I’ve become more honest with myself on what I really want in life, and more genuine in what I spend my time doing.   I’ve focused on connection with my children and grandchildren, and there are times I wonder at the capacity for love that my heart has been granted.

 

For my art journey, I continue to reap the rewards of over thirty years of creating.  I still feel an excitement when I sit down at the easel and pull out the palette. Making something new is still FUN. I remain un-intimidated by artistic challenges.  I love to learn new things and experiment.  Failure is no shadow lurking in the studio - each misstep is a learning opportunity, and accepted as such.  I prepare to expand my work into new markets and take advantage of new situations, as a matter of growth. 

 

Whether a result of the passage of time, or simply a matter of acceptance of the reality of my life, I can find joy in small, precious moments.  As the singer James Brown proclaimed, “you may not be looking for the Promised Land, but you might find it anyway,” I embrace what lies ahead.  Challenges there may be, and heartache -- courage may be required. With the challenges, come opportunities for enlightenment. Life is what you make of it.  Grasp it with both hands, and wring out of it all the joy, achievement, passion and peace you can.  Time is passing, enjoy the ride!  

 

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Along The Trail


After watching the John Wayne movie marathon, I was in the mood to do something with a Western theme.  I don't often foray east of the Mississippi when it comes to subject matter, but I've always wanted to travel in the Duke's footsteps, and enjoy what the West has to offer.  The quiet, the solitude, and the oneness with nature are quite the temptation.  Of course, back in the day, life required much effort to provide for daily needs, without our luxuries.  Still, it was a big, wild, country not that long ago, and there are still places that hold onto that wilderness nature.  If I can't be there myself, at least I can go in my paintings...what a luxury THAT is! Enjoy!

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Beaufort Afternoon


The afternoon sun is slipping away, the colors of the marsh are growing richer, and the breeze has just a hint of coolness for the night ahead.  Autumn in the lowcountry is a time of slowing down, taking the beauty of the moment and making it your own.  Winter will come, and with it, grey days and muted scenes, but for now, the enveloping stillness rules. Sit back and soak it in!

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Trying Something New


Inspiration piece and Commission in process

Several months ago, a friend sent me an email, telling me about an art opportunity.  Now, we all see these "call for artists", and as many as you might apply for, few really do pan out to be much of an opportunity.  The call was for artwork that would be appropriate for a local hospital under construction.  A company in another state was coordinating the purchase of art, with preference given to artists who lived in the area of the site.  

 

I paint mostly peaceful, relaxing landscapes and art that I believed would be appropriate for a healthcare setting.  I researched some of the previous projects of the company, then put together images, pricing information and  artist statement/bio, and submitted them to the company.  The deadline for submissions passed, as did the initial "we will respond by..."  Being the patient kind, I waited a bit longer before reaching out to check on the status of my submission.  It wasn't long before another response came stating new decision times.  No problem.  When that date came and went, I politely followed up.  Polite response that decisions were imminent.  

 

Then the response came....sorry, but we've chosen others.  Okay, at least I tried, and I was courteous enough to thank them for the opportunity.  I thought that was the end of it. But no.

 

Several months passed, and I got a phone call.  The art design firm was looking for a large piece in the hospital's adjacent medical office building, and had selected one of my submitted images.  Could I produce it to certain specifics? And what about the price?  What about a quick delivery?  Sure, I could accommodate them on all their requests. A purchase agreement was sent and signed. Then the purchase order. Signed and sealed.  The studio work began, and the painting was completed. The initial down payment was received.  The company asked for an image of the artwork. Image sent.  The art director wanted a slight adjustment. Adjustment done.  Finally the art was delivered to the local company who was coordinating the framing and installation of the art.  

 

In about three weeks, the artwork should be hung and displayed and the final check will arrive.   My work will be in a very visible location, and add beauty and peace to a medical office building.  I've learned a lot from this process.

 

Was the effort worth the time and attention?  I think so. This specific type of business works with its own rules.  There are a lot of hoops to jump through, because there are many approval points along the way, within the company and from THEIR client.  But an attitude of patience, understanding, and confidence in one's work make the process possible.  A good working relationship with an art focused company is a valuable commodity.

 

One thing leads to another.  My work has been seen by people who procure art on a large scale for healthcare facilities. Who knows? They may need my type of art again.  I've proved to be easy to work with and true to my agreements.  I'm receiving payment that I think is fair and reasonable, doing something I love to do.  I will be looking for more of these opportunities, and have a better understanding of how this type of art is selected. Patience and attention to detail is important, too.

 

I'm looking forward to seeing my vision in its new home! And for those of you who are thinking of giving this type of work a try, I hope my experience is helpful. Paint on!

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Making Decisions


Human beings are decisive creatures.  With every day, for every person, decisions loom.  Some decisions are made for oneself, but sometimes choices are made for us. Each decision an effect, large or small. Artists have their decisions to make too.  Some are easier than others, but all direct efforts to create and express. 

 

Here are a few areas of choice:

1) Subject matter: do  you create something familiar and comfortable? Do you stretch your visions to confront, to provoke the viewer? To record reality or share a dream?

 

2) Media: is your vision better conveyed in paint and canvas, drawing, carved stone or wood? Glass or ink? Fabric or steel? Music or dance? or both?

 

3)  Purpose:  are you creating to lead to cash, feed your family or your ego? Share your heart? Get your point across? Reflect a social conscience? Personal enjoyment? Creating a legacy?

 

4) Getting it seen:  Only for you, or for others? Who do call? (Not Ghostbusters, hopefully) Gallery, online, art shows or fairs? Co-op? Door to door?  eBay? Advertise?

 

Whether the choice is conscious or impulse, we are guided daily by the decisions we make.  Make the conscious ones in honesty, with your heart, and with positive intention.  It's yours to choose.

 

 

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Shadows


Late on a summer afternoon, the shadows on the marsh lengthen, and daytime life slows toward evening.  The wading birds continue to search the mud and water, seeking dinner.  The breeze in the trees whispers and cools.  Welcome rest from a hectic day is ahead.  This painting reflects that most special time of day, a time of beauty and peace.

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In The Garden


As I was organizing the studio, I came across this piece from my early days of painting.  In 1987, I was in love with oil paints, and exploring what I could do with this living medium.  The inspiration came from a photo I had seen in a magazine...a figure standing at the edge of a garden.  The background of a misty, rainforest-ish hillside above the glass greenhouse gave a sense of quiet and simplicity.  The sunflowers imply the joy of the garden, the figure, neither male or female, serene in the garden path.  I've ordered a new frame for this piece, and will keep it in my personal collection.  A memory of my early painting experiences, and a precursor of the many many paintings to come.  I look at it, and I am, again, in the garden.

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Under the Sea


Sometimes you just have to have fun!!  

 

After a visit to the Georgia Aquarium, I was fascinated by the huge reef display, with its many colors and shapes.  I have been playing with this painting off and on for several years, and finally have it where I am happy with it.  It is a painting full of color, movement and joy.  When I look at it, I smile.  Goal achieved!

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Awash


The days are full on the coast, lots to do and see. Sometimes, one forgets that little boat down on the tidal marsh, waiting for a quick check of the crab traps, or a snag of a spotted bass.  It waits patiently through high and low tides, for that special moment when you wade through the high grass and take a seat, pushing into the tide's pull.  Who knows what you'll find?  Or what will find you!

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Last Light


At the end of the day, the last light hits the trees and grasses, one last glow before evening falls. It is a time of settling in and resting after a long day of work, or play.  

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