I had a friendly visit with artist, Karen Weihs, at her new studio in Biltmore Village that she shares with artist, Gayle Paul. Over coffee we discussed Karen’s love for Abstract Impressionism. She says, “I just follow the paint where it takes me.
One of Karen’s life experiences that solidified her direction as an artist was painting along side Charleston artist, Frank Licciardi, for several years. Licciardi had a successful art career in Charleston with art shows, television shows and gallery sales. He was acknowledged in Charleston as a gifted artist by artists, collectors, and galleries alike. Frank and Karen became close friends. She painted alongside him in his Charleston studio up until his death in late 1991.
Since then Karen has established her own successful art career with gallery shows in Charleston, Atlanta and Asheville at the contemporary Haen Gallery. Even with success Karen continues to challenge herself as an abstract artist. She explores subjects from the real world such as landscapes or figures, breaking them down into shapes and color. Karen believes one needs to know how to paint form first before exploring abstraction successfully. That is part of what she teaches in the art classes she offers for clients and another way in which Karen challenges herself to learn, by teaching.
Karen’s teaching has further inspired her to create a book called Out of Your Mind. You can understand the richness of Karen’s paintings by understanding the richness of her thought in this book. She says,” This book was born out of sharing. Through teaching and being taught, I have learned that people who develop their creativity are more confident and courageous in life.” Karen breaks down a simple way of understanding oil painting, but incorporates life lessons to help you work past your own hurdles to exploring creativity. Karen generously acknowledges the role many people have played in her life and success as an artist. Out of Your Mind is Karen’s way of helping others and bringing her creative exploration full circle.
I encourage you to visit with Karen in her studio across from the new shopping center in Biltmore Village. (text by Troy Winterrowd)