Karen Stiehl Osborn is an artist enamored of the colors and textures of Nature. She shares her interpretation of Nature’s beauty in collage, watercolor paintings, fiber artwork, and photographs.
But she is not a studio-bound artist. She is active with dog rescue organizations, including the Wag N Train Terrier Rescue, volunteering to shoot photos of rescued dogs so that each animal has the best chance of achieving a forever home.
Karen has also been an integral part of the Fiberart For A Cause fundraising efforts from the very beginning. In fact, she was the first person who asked, “Could I make a postcard also?” That was over $205,000 donated to the American Cancer Society and five years ago.
For this year’s big fundraiser to fight cancer on February 16, Karen is donating collages as well as working hard behind the scenes to prep all 100 collage jpegs and the event pages. Karen took a moment from her busy schedule to participate in a little Q&A:
1. Why are you participating in the ONE fundraiser for the American Cancer Society?
Dad died in 2001 from leukemia at a fairly young age. His death changed my life in many ways. I learned that life can be shorter than I realized and that it is important to me to live a life with meaning. I quit my career as an accountant and started working in my studio all day. I also started donating to causes that are important to me, including the American Cancer Society. I have been a part of FFAC since the beginning, and it means a lot to me to continue to support Virginia’s fundraising efforts, as a tribute to Dad and as a way to add meaning to my life.
Soul by Karen Stiehl Osborn. This artwork will be available during the ONE fundraiser on February 16.
2. Tell us about your collages for ONE.
These collages are a new series titled “ME Words”. I started by making a list of words that are important to me as an artist. I included some words that have a deeper meaning, and some that are a little more practical, like “collage”. I scanned the dictionary page with the word on it, circled it in black, and glued it down as the first layer of the collage. Then I added layers of hand painted Chinese papers, more layers of paint, more layers of papers — until I was happy with the color combinations and layout of each collage. Coincidentally, these are my favorite colors — earth tones and jewel tones.
3. What are you working on in the studio now?
Photography, watercolor, and collage. I have a series of photographs that I took on a recent art retreat, and I am working with these photos and some watercolor paintings that I did from the photos. I am hoping to incorporate the photos, the watercolor paintings, and painted papers and cloth into a new series about the natural beauty of that special place.
4. What has been the biggest surprise of your art career so far?
That others appreciate my art (and even buy it!). I have always created for myself, so it is very gratifying when people email me to let me know that they love different pieces that I have created. Even when I switch gears in the studio, my followers continue on with me. It is a fabulous life!
Winter into Spring #4 (6×4″) by Karen Stiehl Osborn
5. Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere! I am inspired by nature, but I take that inspiration and create abstractly from it. I am rarely without my camera, so I take tons of photos of nature and the world around me. My art almost always evolves from something I have seen or something I have experienced. It is very personal, although the viewer may not always realize that. Most of the time, it is very subtle, and I like that because it allows the viewer to bring their own experiences to the piece.
6. Do you collect art? If so, how do you know a piece is right for your collection?
I do collect art from other artists. It gives me a good feeling to support other artists, and I enjoy living in a home where art surrounds me. I buy art that speaks to me. It is an immediate feeling that I get when I see the piece, and if it doesn’t go away, I know it is an artwork that is right for me. I try to collect art that is outside of the mediums that I use, but that is not a definite rule as I own many collages from other artists.
7. What would you do with a year free to do what you wanted with no responsibilities or financial concerns?
This is an easy one! I would pack up my camera and art supplies, and I would travel. I would photograph and paint all day every day until the year was over. And then I would wish for another year just like that one!