Karen MacKenzie

I grew up on a beach on the western peninsula of Washington state in an old farmhouse with five siblings and slightly bohemian parents. Encouraged from an early age to be creative, I was drawn to painting and drawing in step with my mother's interest in art. My father's love of literature and history fed my imagination as well, and I was given free reign to explore any subject. Having developed an adventurous spirit, I traveled after high school and lived in Canada and Hawaii before moving to Seattle to attend Cornish College of the Arts. At Cornish I studied extensively with Charles Stokes, and began to develop an artistic view that embraced the mystical side of life and was introduced to the works of Morris Graves and Mark Toby (with whom Charles was associated).

    After leaving Cornish, I spent time traveling and eventually circled back to Seattle to join the staff of 'Verve' magazine.  I created a series of mandalas for Verve that were subsequently published and continue to find their way into the world for various uses (such as Journey of Young Women, an organization that offers mentoring programs). 

    Recently I completed twelve paintings in oils titled the 'Empowered Feminine Zodiac'. The various signs of the Zodiac correspond to Goddesses from diverse cultures around the world. Although I started the series in my usual medium of gouache, I switched into oils after the second painting. I've been been studying the 'old Masters' techniques and has have used some of Maxfield Parrish's formulas for creating luminosity and depth.

    Wanting to continue to develop my skills and broaden my creative horizons, I studied this last year with the artist/illustrator Dan Dos Santos.  Equipped with new working tools and information, I am looking forward to creating a new generation of artwork.