Karen Bowden earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Art Education at Ohio Wesleyan University and continued with post-baccalaureate work at the Tyler School of Art, Temple University, the University of California at San Francisco, and Randolph-Macon Woman’s College.
In more than forty years as a professional artist, she has studied with such recognized artists as Carole Barnes, Christopher Schink, Alex Powers, Gerald Brommer, David Lussier, Don Andrews and Glen Bradshaw. She has taught in the public schools, adult education programs and, since becoming a resident of Lynchburg, at the Lynchburg Art Club and the Academy Center of the Arts.
Karen is an award-winning artist whose work has appeared in shows across the country. She continues to exhibit regionally and locally. Find her work on her Facebook page as well as in her gallery here.
My mother was an artist and a teacher just as her mother, too, was an artist and teacher. I continue in that tradition. I have found that nothing is more authentic and satisfying than giving expression to what I see by doing art and enabling others to do so as well. Just as creative eyes seldom see the same things in the same ways, different mediums yield a diversity of styles and possibilities for expression. So by painting with watercolor, oil, acrylic, or in mixed media I enjoy the freedom to explore, express, and experience an exciting variety of views and visions.
Being an artist for me is not about living in the box of one single signature style. It is living in the joy that comes with exploring the range of whole, artful, diverse ways of seeing that the variety of mediums makes possible. You have to be a little adventurous if you want to create, and that means being willing, sometimes, to risk making a mess! But to create, to be an artist rather than a technician, you have to have the courage to take that chance–especially when it means getting free of one’s own predictable, comfortable, style. Variety is the spice of life because it is the catalyst for growth.
Lawrence Bowden is an emeritus Professor of Religion & Culture and the husband of Lynchburg artist, Karen Bowden. He began painting in 1997 following an academic sabbatical in which he studied with internationally recognized Zen painter, calligrapher, and scholar Kazuaki Tanahashi. For a decade he concentrated entirely on practicing Zen brush painting using hand ground ink on rice papers. After retiring in 2007 he ventured into acrylics and eventually discovered Flashe, a vinyl water medium he now uses exclusively.
His work has been juried into both national and regional shows including those curated by jurors such as Carter Foster of the Whitney Museum of American Art, Margot Norton of the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, and Doug McClemont, writer for The SAATCHI Gallery & regular contributor to ARTnews.
He opened his studio, ART daisetsu, at Riverviews Artspace in 2008.
My work is simple. Disarmingly so I hope. To me it is a product of my experience with Zen in the way in which I construct my paintings. What matters most is not hiding some esoteric ‘Zen meaning’ within my work, but simply offering a novel image. Someone may see something there or, maybe nothing. Either is OK. My aim is to make a painting that is sharp, clean, and intriguing to look at, that’s all. I want my paintings to be quiet but not dull. Simple but not simplistic.
Yes, you can make ideas and concepts out of them if you want to. Of course they could suggest things. But if they do I hope it’s more poetry than prose you find and more felt than thought. I want you to enjoy just looking at them--especially if you don’t see anything familiar.