Karen Camkin

Karen grew up in Warwickshire and Gloucestershire where she had a lot of freedom to roam the countryside and her attachment to the natural world developed. She studied Fine Art at Exeter College of Art in the late eighties, and then spent the following years in London, designing for companies such as John Lewis, Designers Guild and Camden Graphics. Before her time at Exeter, Karen completed a Foundation Course in Art and Design at Cheltenham Art College in the 1980’s and  returned there to complete an MA in Fine Art in 2012.

For Karen, painting and the exploration of paint, are as important as the subject.  Her works are intimate and studied portraits that are more about discovery than literal representation, they attempt to capture and express what is moving and powerful about nature.

For this exhibition Karen has chosen to put flowers in the spotlight.  “I started making these paintings last February when I had a small bunch of tulips and as they faded, I added more flowers and kept painting.  I have used a round-mirrored table to play with reflections to add a different perspective and extend the onlookers view. Flowers are a passion of mine and these paintings reflect pure joy but also hint at something deeper, tapping into our collective memories and emotions. They are built up with many layers that are scratched into, wiped out and painted and drawn into over and over again.’

Karen has been selected for the Lynn Painter Stainers Competitin, the Royal West of England Academy and the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition.  She is a member of the Arborealists and has shown at the John Davies Gallery and  Hidcote Manor.


View Portfolio

Karen Camkin

‘Lockdown hasn’t altered very much for me. My studio is in our home and my environment informs my paintings. I walk every day and am fascinated with the tiny changes that are happening in the hedgerows and fields.

Nature and flowers can tap into our emotions and trigger our own store house of memories. Painting and the exploration and possibilities with the paint, are as important as the subject. Paintings are built up, scratched into, wiped out and worked into over and over again. They are intended to be intimate portraits, more about discovery than literal – capturing  what is moving and powerful about nature.  These two new works, Sunflowers and Quinces and Summer Breeze  painted over many months, were finished in the first half of lockdown’.

View Profile