Karen Stone

Can you tell us about yourself and your background as an artist/maker?

My mother was a keen amateur artist, so from childhood I had access to all types of drawing and painting materials, and was encouraged to draw and paint in a variety of ways.

On leaving school, I chose to pursue a career in design engineering, and was heavily involved in drawing designs for manufacture. This led to me becoming a technical illustrator which, in turn, led me to become a freelance illustrator. I had always loved visiting galleries, and it was coming across the work of the late British romantic painter, Graham Sutherland, that persuaded me that fine art was my calling. From there, I studied art through first a foundation course, and then a degree, and developed my own practice. I do not tie myself to a particular discipline, preferring to let the subject dictate the materials.

Tell us a bit about your creative process.

All of my work evolves from accuracy of observation, so I will study subjects thoroughly before including them in my pieces. Sometimes this includes artefacts from around my home, sometimes people, and sometimes urban and rural landscapes. The majority of my studies involve both accurate and experimental drawing. For me, a work is at its most creative when I no longer realise I'm creating it: in essence, the working process and my thoughts have become one. This is most exhausting and exciting part!

Where you do usually work from?

My studio is a room in my house with a large west-facing window. I try to keep clutter to a minimum and generally keep the walls clear, except for drawings and ideas that are feeding into the piece I'm working on. It is also a space where I can spend time looking at the work, doing nothing, allowing myself to critically analyse my process. Basil, my terrier, has his own chair in the studio, but is not above stealing mine.

Have you developed any unique or unusual techniques in your work?

There are no new or unusual techniques. As artists, our strengths are found in our reinterpretations of others, the trick is to utilise the reinterpretations in such a way that that it makes our working practice unique.

Tell us about a favourite piece of work and what it means to you.

I have numerous favourites, from contemporary and historical art, for many different reasons. In regard to my own work, my favourite is always the current piece I'm working on.

What is your biggest source of inspiration?

Life with all its idiosyncrasies.

What advice would you have for artists who are just starting out?

"Make a drawing every day and look at the great masters." - Artist Maggie Hambling for Grayson's Art Club

If you sell your work, can you tell us more about how you do this?

I sell my work through galleries and personal connections. I have sold through social media, but mainly to clients who already know of my work.

'Best sellers' is not a term I think about. Good art speaks for itself, and if work doesn't happen to speak to anyone at a particular moment in time, that doesn't make it a 'bad seller'.

Confidence in your work is really important: if you don't believe in it, how can you expect others to? Also, seeking constructive criticism from someone you trust and respect can be very useful.

How has lockdown changed your creative process?

It largely did not affect my process - I have always found creating art to be a solitary practice, and the lockdown offered less distractions.

Tell us about any future projects you have planned.

I am planning to work on a series of pieces developing my portrait and figure drawing, and combining mark making to express character

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Being an artist is hard work, and for most of us, not very profitable, but it is a way of life that I personally never wish to retire from.

See more of Karen’s work on her Worcestershire Artists page.

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