Before retiring five years ago, Karen Lee’s professional life as a psychotherapist focused on using words to identify and explore the human condition. She chose another path in retirement, one in which she uses visual images to communicate feelings and thoughts, and to connect with others. She says she feels so fortunate to have been able to revisit the “road not taken” and become the professional artist she longed to be since childhood.
Using a mixed media approach, blending digital photography and fiber arts, Lee transforms reality into images she prefers. The process of doing so, she explains, allows her to pay exquisite attention to detail in the world around her and to experience her life in a more deeply felt way. She loves to change the colors we typically expect of our environment so that our brains can’t use neural shorthand to quickly fill in detail. She asks us to look closely at everything.
Karen Lee’s Artist Statement
As an artist I’m drawn to the natural world of the forest surrounding my Oregon home as well as, perhaps, its polar opposite, that of the crowded cities I used to call home. The silent beauty of one and the high energy noise of the other draw my attention and bid me to share these compelling spaces in the art I create.
My work isn’t photography in the traditional sense. The digital darkroom enables me to “re-imagine” images into ones that reflect my personal view of reality. I print on fabric specially treated for fine art printing because fabric allows me to layer in additional textures and add stitching to areas I want to emphasize. The completed work appears to be a painting, but I know there’s photographic “buried treasure” at its core.