About the Artist


Karen White
Modern Oil Paintings

“Painting allows me to explore land, city or still life — through a modern lens.  While painting outdoors or in the studio, I enter a space of design, color and texture that continues right through to the finished work.”

Karen White was born in Southern California and moved to Palo Alto in the early 1960s, when much of Santa Clara Valley was agricultural. Apricot orchards, walnut groves, farms and green hills were then hallmarks of the Bay Area. She interprets these landscapes and urban scenes in a contemporary style, emphasizing strong design and vibrant color in her oil paintings.

She has studied at the Pacific Art League, Palo Alto Art Center, Triton Museum and the California Academy of Painters. She continues to study with noted artists including Ray Mendieta, Brian Blood, Kim English, Terry Miura, Peggy Kroll Roberts, Randall Sexton; studied with the late Canadian artist Robert Genn and studied extensively in the East Bay with the late Van Waldron.


Karen paints outdoors as well as in the studio, where she simplifies earlier plein air studies in creating larger, more stylized works.  Her painting process is one of layering.  She first tones her canvas with rusty-red transparency and completes a value study in the same paint.  When this under-painting has dried, she works generally from the darkest darks to the lightest lights, allowing pops of the reddish under-painting to show through at each step. This creates energy as colors bounce off against one another.  Karen uses big brushes, scrapers and palette knives to create textural interest. In a final step, she adds pops of color across the canvas to make the painting sing!

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