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Karen Nelson

Boulder, CO - United States

Karen Nelson - Fine Artist

Karen Nelson

Member Since: 11/02/2013

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About My Work

For now these images are what's ready (out of about 45!) that are ready to make their debut - and it's the holidays. More images will follow. and more stories behind the Rare Insect images.

My Bio ~
Several unusual events led me to do 'Botanical Arts.' Firstly, my life has always been oriented to the outdoors, and, secondly, I have an unusually inquisitive nature and willingness to jump in and figure out how things work. I'd say that plants, of all things we humans use, are the greatest gift (beyond each other) that we have to work with on the planet. Years ago I became fascinated with a poster of beautifully displayed plants I'd come to know as medicinal and useful in many ways, however, the fine print at the bottom revealed that this was a poster of plants targeted by a particular pesticide. I panicked inside. How we were progressing as stewards of the earth suddenly began to take on a more extreme urgency. I am a product of the 60's, and although I certainly don't consider myself a flower child I can tell you these feelings still do run deep in me. One of the essays that got me into college was about how my home town elders of Andover, Massachusetts, decided it best to convert a beautiful expansive lawn in the center of our town into a parking lot. My mission became clear, but I just didn't know how to get it across beyond writing about it.

Shortly after graduating from Prescott College in Arizona, an odd package arrived from an herbarium supplier. There was no information about whom had sent it nor why. Given the source I guessed that the wooden grids in the package had something to do with plant collecting. Inquiries to all of my friends, relatives, acquaintances got me no closer to discovering who had actually sent this …thing. It sat idle for the next 10 years as my adult life presented me with many unusual events and jobs. In 1979 a climbing trip brought me to Boulder, Colorado, and I got hooked by several aspects of the area ~ one being that the prairie and mountain fauna is quite different than what I grew up with in New England. I joined a performing ethnic dance troupe, and after two years of dancing with these people I learned that one of the dancers was graduating as a botanist! We became close friends and I finally got to see her plant presses in action - her wooden plant presses were just like the things I had stored away! This was the catalyst for me to begin collecting and preserving a whole variety of plants.

What to do with my new plant collection soon became an issue. I remembered (and had always had flashes of) a craft my mother had taught me in Camp Fire Girls when I was a child growing up in New England. We would take leaves and things collected on walks through the woods, press them for several weeks, then arrange them on butcher block paper, cover them with a layer of kleenex, and then glue it all together. It was rather messy and not very promising when it was wet, but when the whole thing dried and we put it in a window so the light came through it, there was transformation into a magnificent light show ~ a sight to behold! Twenty years later I found myself collecting the materials to try that process again, and the results were marginal…but I knew I could perfect at least the technique of it, and I have. The method is the same, only the materials have changed.

It takes a great deal of patience and imagination to arrange elements into something that will get the most important point across, much less something worth passing along - alas the dilemma of the creative arts. But what I really want to convey is how incredibly precious, ingenious, and beautiful our WHOLE planet is, and the balance it needs to sustain in order to sustain US - no politics, just basic fundamental human and earthly needs. This pressed plant ‘work’ is about gratitude for that directive Source, or perhaps that serendipity that has evolved all life forms to its greatest moment, which happens to be right now! There is still room for any and all of us.

That you have stopped to look at it more closely is, I hope, only the beginning of that seed of curiosity in you. This work is not only mine. Look closely!

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   |   Image Count = 24


Karen Nelson - Sweet Annie Heart

Sweet Annie Heart

Karen Nelson

Karen Nelson - Peach Heart I

Peach Heart I

Karen Nelson

Karen Nelson - Peach Heart II

Peach Heart II

Karen Nelson

Karen Nelson - Victorian Heart

Victorian Heart

Karen Nelson

Karen Nelson - Flying Lessons

Flying Lessons

Karen Nelson

Karen Nelson - Queen
Karen Nelson - Joy


Karen Nelson

Karen Nelson - Dragonfly and Datura
Karen Nelson - Dancing Wild

Dancing Wild

Karen Nelson

Karen Nelson - Box Elder Heart II

Box Elder Heart II

Karen Nelson

Karen Nelson - Elephant Head Heart

Elephant Head Heart

Karen Nelson

Karen Nelson - Angel with Trumpet II
Karen Nelson - Red Heart

Red Heart

Karen Nelson

Karen Nelson - Blue on Black Heart
Karen Nelson - Peace


Karen Nelson

Karen Nelson - Look to the Stars

Look to the Stars

Karen Nelson

Karen Nelson - Bleeding Hearts

Bleeding Hearts

Karen Nelson

Search Within This Portfolio

   |   Image Count = 24