Karen Budan: Painting Reflections in Bold Color

NOAPS Budan Gumball Fiesta

“Gumball Fiesta”, 16×20, Oil on Panel, Juried into the 2017 NOAPS Best of America Exhibit

It is a jubilant celebration!  The moment the viewer sees “Gumball Fiesta” we immediately feel the joy in the painting.  The color strikes us first, then the ribbons and lines take us all around the painting to enjoy every inch.  The composition is carefully crafted; the lines on the table bring us in, and at the same time the ribbons floating above dance down to invite us into the glasses.  Even the shadows bring us in.  The high intensity of the colors is joyful, but the subtle intensity shift of the gumballs keeps the color from becoming overwhelming.  The reflections are cause for further investigation, and the more we look, the more we can see.  The artist has composed a painting that balances the bold and the understated, becoming quite a remarkable work of art.

Karen Budan felt an interest in art throughout her life, but during a successful 38 year career in education only considered her art a hobby.  After retiring from a demanding job as national director for professional development for an educational software company and a move to Scottsdale, Arizona, Karen began devoting a great deal of time to her art.  She took classes and workshops at the Scottsdale Artists’ School, and there found a great teacher and mentor, Allan Garns.  Garns helped Karen not only with her art, but also guided her new career path and entrance into galleries.

NOAPS Budan Stripes and Solids

“Stripes and Solids” 11×14, Oil on Panel, Private Collection

Karen’s first foray onto the national art scene began with pastels.  She studied with Richard McKinley, a gifted artist and teacher who provided her with a solid foundation that became a framework for future advancement.  She achieved distinction with her pastels, becoming a Signature member of the Pastel Society of America and a Master Circle Artist with the International Association of Pastel Societies.  As she gained entrance to galleries, Karen made the switch to oils, which is her primary medium.

NOAPS Budan Pool Shots

“Pool Shots”, 12×24, Oil on Panel, Park Gallery, Carmel, California

Karen’s genre at present is contemporary still life.  She enjoys the ability to take time to paint slowly, using the indirect method to achieve the jewel-like colors in her glazes.  In particular, Karen enjoys painting reflections.  In “Gumball Fiesta” she “carried that concept a little further with the use of shiny surface gumballs which also have reflections.  I was just having fun with bold colors and the reflections.”  She also loves to paint the effects that light has on her subject matter, “capturing distortions through glass and the textures of objects.  In addition I am drawn to bright bold warm colors.  My compositions tend to bring in one or more of these elements.”

NOAPS Budan Gumball-tini   “Gumball-tini”, 20×16, Oil on Panel, Private Collection

Inspiration also comes from painters of the past; Monet, Rembrandt, and Titian all hit a mark for Karen.  But in light of her sharp focus paintings, a particular favorite is William Harnett, known for his trompe l’oeil and still life paintings.

Karen uses a variety of oil paints for her work, and enjoys working with the transparent colors for her glazes.  She uses very smooth panels to achieve her stunning results, either Ampersand Gessoboard for smaller pieces, or Dibond panels for larger pieces.  Favorite brushes include Rosemary, Winsor & Newton Golden Sceptre and Trekell.  Karen’s set-ups can take hours or days, and when she has settled on a theme, she adjusts her set-up and lighting until she is satisfied.  She then takes photos, and is able to then look at the photos in Photoshop to evaluate her composition and lighting.  The photo becomes her reference for the painting, but the set-up remains in place throughout the painting process.  The first layer of paint is a local color, and she gauges her values based on the glazes that she later intends to use.  The paintings usually consist of three or more layers of paint.

NOAPS Budan Marbles VII

“Marbles VII” 30×40, Oil on Panel, Park Gallery, Carmel, California

Karen states that she “never dreamed that one day I would be a professional artist with my art being juried into national and international shows and represented by high-end galleries.  To achieve that and love every minute…what more could you want?”  She encourages the development of technical skills, for then creativity can come to life.

To view more of Karen’s work, visit her website at http://www.karenbudan.com.  She is represented by Park Gallery, Carmel, California and Castle Gallery, Fort Wayne Indiana.

To view the paintings accepted into the 2017 National Oil & Acrylic Painter’s Society Best of America Exhibit, visit http://www.noaps.org/2017-best-of-america.  Also visit us on Facebook and Instagram (Nationaloilandacrylicsociety).

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director



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