​about the work


paintings and drawings

​​​I am interested in the magical beauty seen in everyday life. In my paintings and drawings I like to alternate working from observation with working in a more intuitive manner.  The imagery is inspired by real-life observations and experiences.  My recent work centers around the landscape near my home in Central Kentucky.  The changing light, color, water and vegetation offer seemingly endless opportunities for me to explore aspects of color, light and surface relationships that I find both challenging and beautiful. 

When working from observation, I often choose subjects that are near to my environment and me, including plants, people, and animals.  Dogs  have provided me with much creative inspiration.  As subjects, I find dogs to be endlessly challenging on many levels—the physical, the technical, and the emotional.  Several of the drawings on this site were completed as commissions for others.  Please contact me if you are interested in  commissioning a piece.


Karen Spears is an artist and teaching professional.  She most recently taught at Eastern Kentucky University, where she was a professor of painting and drawing. She has a B.A. in Fine Arts from the University of Louisville and an M.F.A. in Painting and Drawing from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.   Karen has been honored with numerous awards and fellowships, including an Al Smith Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council, a Professional Assistance Award and a Professional Development Grant from the Kentucky Arts Council, two fellowships from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and a Research Award from Eastern Kentucky University. 

Karen has traveled, taught and exhibited regionally, nationally, and in Europe.  Her work is represented in numerous private and public collections in Kentucky, across the United States, and can be regularly seen
 in Lexington, Louisville - including at Wheelhouse Art - and in various exhibitions, from time to time.