Over the last few years, I have immersed myself in the practice of making art. I am motivated by both a need for inner peace that comes when I focus on the process, as well as the hope that if life immitates art, perhaps I can make the world a better place. My art depicts people, plants and animals in vivid colors to evoke emotions of joy, harmony and humor.
My connection with nature started at a young age. It led me to work as farm hand during high school and to study Environmental Engineering in college. During that time, I also took a number of ecology classes and was constantly practicing my drawing. I fell in love with natural science illustration.
My art today blends natural science illustration with symbolism. Like traditional natural science illustrators, I create realistic representations of living things. Yet, I do not avoid being sentimental. The colors, composition and setting of my subjects is meant to celebrate humanity's connection with the natural world and each other.
Karen O’Lone-Hahn is a painter and potter who has tirelessly created since she was first able to conceive of the word “art,” in childhood. With minimal formal training, Karen is primarily a self-taught artist. Her first series, “People on the Couch” included numerous black and white portraits done in oil paint. These works were based on photographs of friends and family members, all of whom relaxed on couches. In later life, she shifted gears entirely and created hundreds paintings in acrylic, each featuring abnormally colored cows which existed in peculiar and dreamlike landscapes. Much to her delight, this body of work got her dubbed “The Cow Lady,” within both her artistic and local communities. This twenty-year effort became Karen’s imagistic manifesto, “folk art meets surrealism.” Her paintings are built from her raw and unfettered imagination, as evidenced by bold colors, fantastical representative mashups, and a rootedness of inspiration from daily life.
Once Karen found herself having painted as many cows as she could, she took up the potter’s wheel. While learning from potters around her, she focused on the craft’s formal and architectural elements. Now in control of her medium, her focus has returned to the whimsy found in her paintings. Through unique shapes, color choices, and painting with glaze, she has morphed her painterly work into a three-dimen- sional realm. Inspiration for her current works often is derived from the farms, gardens, cats, and other creatures which surround her rural home.
Karen has been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, with her works held in many private and corporate collections across the globe. She is featured in the book “Self-Taught, Outsider, and Folk Artists,” by Betty Carol Sellen. Karen is also the author and illustrator of her debut children’s book, “Millicent and the Far Away Moon,” a book which features her brightly colored cows achieving the impossible by vaulting themselves through the sky. Karen’s work in numerous disciplines bleed into one another, leaving a body of work which shows unity, progression, and a singular voice.