Karen Darling is an award winning Canadian artist who graduated from the Illustration program at Sheridan’s faculty of Animation, Arts & Design. She worked as a freelance illustrator for a number of years before transitioning into the restaurant business, then started a family and finally returned to her art career in the early 2000’s. She has been painting full time now for many years and has become known for both her abstract and figurative work, and for her work using cold wax.
2 major publications on the use of cold wax have included Karen’s work – ‘Painting with Cold Wax’ by Serena Barton, published in 2015 by North Light Books & ‘Cold Wax Medium: Techniques, Concepts & Conversations’ by Rebecca Crowell & Jerry McLaughlin, published in May 2017. Her figurative work has also been included in ‘Drawn From Life: Contemporary Artists, Timeless Techniques’ by Helen Birch, published in May 2017. Karen also has a series of Artists Wall Murals with Area Environments in Minneapolis, and a series of limited edition prints with Curated Kravet in New York.
Because of her training as an Illustrator, Karen was always comfortable doing things in a realistic manner. However, at some point Karen felt she needed to let go of what she felt most comfortable doing and challenge herself further. Exploring new ways of expressing herself led to a much looser and more abstract feeling in her figurative work, and in turn, led to completely nonobjective abstract paintings.
Recently the introduction of wax into Karen’s painting process has allowed for multiple translucent layers that add depth and ambiguity. Scraping back through these layers reveals even more than anticipated. It is this constant push/pull between happy accident and purposefulness that captivates Karen, and hopefully the viewer.