Karen Nell McKean was born in Chicago in 1948 and currently lives in Oregon Wisconsin. She is a lifelong artist and she was considered a child prodigy in the Chicago area winning many competitions and selling paintings before the age of 16. One of these early works is on permanent display in the Boy Scout Hall of Fame in Pennsylvania. She also painted an illustration of the parable of 'The Elephant and the Blind Men' for the well known theologian, Paul Tillich. She studied art with private instructors and at the Art Institute of Chicago, University of Illinois and University of Wisconsin. She was a part owner and founding member of the Ovens of Brittany restaurant group in Madison, WI. During her adult life she did not pursue art as a full time career, but kept her skills fresh by doing some professional paintings and works for friends and charity. Among these were 4 large mural size oil paintings that were on public display at the Ovens of Brittany restaurant on Monroe Street in Madison, WI. In her late 30's she also became interested in hand thrown pottery and clay sculpture which she sold to private clients and through area galleries. Some of her pottery and sculptures have been featured in the annual Parade of Homes. In 2009 she completed a commission of three large oil paintings for Epic Systems Software in Verona, WI. These can be viewed during the summer months in the Black Dragon Dining Room at Epic. Her current work also includes commissioned portraits for private clients.
'My two dimensional medium is oil painting. Appreciation of the beauty of nature provides the inspiration for my paintings. Thus my work tends to be representational. My interests, styles and abilities are rather wide ranging from impressionistic to almost photorealism. I like to paint portraits and animals as well as interpretive landscapes. I am also a teacher and practitioner of dreamwork so I sometimes paint images from my dreams. I especially enjoy painting horses as I am, myself an equestrian. My paintings feature qualities of brightness and light effects. I have often been called a colorist. I do believe that good art pays homage to beauty, expresses skill, talent and and communion with the Muse. I hope my art makes people smile, feel uplifted and inspired. For me, making art is an expression of my soul and a way of paying homage to the exquisiteness of the Creation.