Karen Potter

My Story

I grew up drawing pictures.  As children (all 6 of us) we were well supplied with buckets of crayons. My dad started out as an artist, supporting himself and my mom, drawing caricatures at State Fairs. Although, once the children started to arrive, he had to find more lucrative employment, he occasionally took out his wooden box of pastels (which I still have, since his passing) and drew caricatures of us kids, along with our stories (one child had our cat in a chokehold). I can see this influence in my own work, in my self-portraits which hold some of the same picture-story and whimsy of his drawings. He was also a master at watercolor and lithographs and, in his later years, joined me in one summer with the Outdoor Painter’s Project with Terry St. John. It is a memory I treasure.



Landscapes

As a California native, I was raised  in the California sunshine with its varied and beautiful views.  I started painting landscape oils while an art student at UCSC (where I also received my teaching credential). How could I resist those golden hills and peeks of the bay?

Lately, I have become enamored with clouds, so massive, so transient. I see a bit of poetry in these looming, ephemeral mountains, ever-changing,  presiding over our comparatively dwarfed lives (and problems) below. Many of my cloud paintings are on display at Persephone Restaurant, in Aptos. Please stop by.

Self-portraits

My series of biographical self-portraits, evolved unexpectedly. During the years that I had less time to paint (due to teaching, and parenting duties), I created a daily routine consisted of drawing a quick ‘selfie doodle’, that reflected my mood for that day, as well as a  poetry sketch and a journal entry. 

When I recently returned to painting full time (after retiring from teaching), I decided to see what ‘fodder’ these sketches could be.  I started by selecting one ‘selfie’ from each month to develop into a painting. This image became just the starting point, often taking surprising directions as the painting developed. This started as a year long project but it is too much fun. I only take breaks to go outside to paint the sky. I am compiling all of these into monthly journals. These journals have become a visual as well as  written diary consisting of my selfie sketches, my poems and the final painting for the month.


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