Everybody loves owls, especially bright, vibrant abstract owls painted by the talented brushstrokes of Karen Kent.
We’ve been excited to profile Karen’s work before and enjoy going to the openings of her new shows to see what she has in store for us this time.
And on cue, Karen once again dazzles us.
Karen’s Owls on Display at Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Karen’s latest show, the 212 Juried Exhibition at the Ridgefield Guild of Artists in Ridgefield, Connecticut, showcases 13 owl paintings.
We first saw Karen’s work on display at the Greenwich Audubon Gallery in Greenwich, Connecticut, a few years ago.
And in awe of her incredible gift for expressing an owl’s stunning beauty through color, line, and form, with a playful, whimsical twist.
Even more surprising is that Karen doesn’t know the owl species she’s painting.
Karen’s paintings are intuitive and open to interpretation.
The paintings aren’t literal recreations of owls we find in the wild, so the viewer can decide what owl it looks like to them.
Karen’s creative process combines collective memories with imaginings of the ethereal world of ideas, structures, and surrounding environments, that transports us into a magical world of owls.
Entering Karen’s Magical World of Owls
Karen’s secret formula for creating beautiful owl paintings includes a brush, pencil, charcoal, and small bits and pieces from her past.
Each piece perfectly placed throughout the paintings.
Using a clipping of her daughter’s dress, or a sliver of an old book on her shelf, a piece of cardboard or mesh, or scraps of textiles, she forces us to look closer.
Karen paints beautiful owls, but it’s the subtle details she injects from her life into each painting that engages us to take part in a fabulous creative journey.
The owl is the catalyst to capture our attention, but the joyride is experiencing the details she works in each painting.
Karen’s work becomes a portal for the viewer to enter her world and pause for reflection.
As a viewer, we’re drawn in and want to know more about the objects scattered throughout her paintings.
You can’t touch them, but you want to feel all those textures.
And each has a story to tell.
And if you talk to Karen, she’ll tell you about the different textures and the meaning behind them.
Karen names each owl, and there’s a story behind its name too.
Joia, Christopher and Ariel, Josie, Charlotte, and Tony, to name a few.
Tony the Owlet
One of our favorite paintings was ‘Tony.’
The mixed media painting reminds us of a Great-horned Owlet peering over the large sticks in its oversized nest.
The golden owlet fluff and ear tufts draw us in, but then standing in front of the painting, we appreciate Karen’s impeccable attention to detail.
Paper, mesh, cardboard, textiles, and other textures bring forth the owl’s nesting materials.
You begin to think about the owl’s process in selecting this array of materials, and you feel like you’re looking at an owl’s nest in a tree.
Karen’s selection of materials makes this piece a multi-sensory experience.
You gaze at the painting and sit back and enjoy the ride.
New Owl Series in the Works
Karen points out a new mixed media painting she’s most proud of named ‘Bashful.’
It’s Karen’s interpretation of a photo many of us have seen online of a young angelic-looking girl with a Barn Owl posing on her shoulders.
This painting is the catalyst for a new owl series – Snow White and the Seven Owl Dwarfs.
The show features the second installment of this series. An owl perched sleeping on a branch with a hat on over its ears called, ‘Sleepy.’
The Sleepy Owl
‘Sleepy’ was another one of our favorite paintings from the show.
Without knowing about Karen’s Snow White series, we resonate with this media media painting because it reminds us of Robin of Loxley, Robinhood, the heroic outlaw in English folklore.
The owl is sporting a bright green hat, wearing its badge off honor.
Even though this owl was sleeping, it projects a feeling like it has everything under control. A sentiment many of us in this country ponder every day.
But ‘Sleepy’ has everything under control, with its keen eyesight, and impeccable hearing, no harm will come.
It’s a playful piece, and we’re excited to see the rest of this fabulous series.
Owls by Karen Kent
To see more of Karen’s spectacular owls, read our previous features:
If you’re near Ridgefield, Connecticut, stop in the Ridgefield Guild of Artists and enjoy seeing Karen’s work up close.
And check out the five other talented artists in this small group show.
The owl paintings will make you smile, leave you in awe, and wish there were even more to see.
Karen’s exhibition, ‘Owls by Karen Kent,’ is running through March 8, 2020, at the Ridgefield Guild of Artists located at 34 Halpin Lane in Ridgefield, Connecticut.