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Karen Barton

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My choice to become a portrait artist can be traced back to childhood. Being raised in a pastor's home, I spent a lot of time having to sit still and entertain myself while surrounded by various and interesting faces. A pencil and paper turned out to be my favorite toy and by the age of 7 I had already discovered the rewards of getting a likeness with my little profile drawing of our organist, Mrs. Frost.

I was born in Billings MT, and raised in 6 different towns in Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota. My career in the art field began in Phoenix AZ where I got my first job as an artist at Keyes Art Service, an art studio specializing in yellow page ads. My art education consists of two years of a graphics program at Spokane Falls College. The bulk of my skills are a result of many hours of self-teaching from a large selection of books, and videos. The style of portrait artist Daniel Green has had a strong influence on my portrait work.

Portraits were my first love, and when I started a family I was drawn back to them. In 1988, I got my first set of pastels. I have been working in pastels since that day. It is a thrill to be able to create beautiful artwork that can have such a deep sentimental value to it's owner.

In recent years, country surroundings have had an influence on my choices of subject matter outside of my portrait business. I have always loved the powerful, graceful beauty of horses, and since moving to a ranch near Upton Wyoming in 1998, I have taken on the challenge of painting them.

Most of my portraits are in pastel, but I also work in pencil, oil, watercolor, and charcoal. I have had the opportunity to illustrate a children's book, Butch and the Rooster, by Judy Hess and to create a coloring book of alphabet characters called "Alphatoons" to accompany a CD of songs by Randy Crane and Rhonda Erickson. These items may also be ordered from me via e-mail. I also have available note cards with any of the images seen on the prints pages of this website. A selection of 5 cards and envelopes can be special ordered and assembled as requested.

In the summer of 2003, I had the pleasure of teaching portraiture in the Georgia O'Keefe Art and Leadership program for girls, which was held in the Advocacy for Visual Arts (AVA) building in Gillette WY.

I seldom enter competitions, but have won some awards through the years. In 2002 I was able to collect a selection of my commissioned portraits from their owners for a one-artist display entitled "Images of the Heart" held at the Heritage Center Gallery in Gillette, WY. I hope to do that again in the future.

Reading Dr. Seuss
13x12 Pastel

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