Karen Sims

I love to paint. Often a dream of my next piece wakes me from deep sleep and I quickly arise and put on a pot of coffee (usually around 4 am). It is my time, my peace, my quiet, and my vision is clear.

Fascinated with both the sciences and the fine arts, choosing my career path was challenging but I opted to do a Bachelor of Science in nursing, which in my mind is an elegant mix of the arts and sciences. After having three beautiful girls within a four-year span, I have been blessed to work very casually as a RN, but admit to needing a creative outlet - some mental reprieve.

Over the last 16 years, I have been fortunate to have had the experience of living in Canmore, travelling Europe, and finishing my degree at U of A. From Edmonton, my husband Lee and I had the incredible experience of living and working in the Eastern Arctic, where we were enchanted with Inuit art and culture. We returned to Edmonton to practise our specialities but were drawn to the mountains of Fernie, where we have now settled for over ten years.

I can clearly say my flow of creativity has not emanated from one thing in particular. It is a combination of my life experiences: as a nurse sharing intimate moments with patients and their families, as a wife, a mother, a friend; as a traveller experiencing different landscapes from above the tree line, to historical European art and architecture, to the artistry and serenity of the Rocky Mountains. “...The whole performance never exists at any one time, but is a process of becoming....” Mortimer J. Alder.

One day, eight and a half years ago, I thought I needed to spruce up my daughter’s room with something fun and colourful and decided to make the letters of her name Lauryn on individual canvases. I began with oil pastels, using nothing but my fingers, blending colours and having fun. I continued with the oil pastels, designing customized children’s names and quotes for friends and kids' birthdays.

From there I began using a paint brush and paint to see what I could come up with. I love working with oils but decided to use mainly acrylics, as I don’t have a ventilated studio. Instead, I have a dining room filled with canvases, an easel, and colourful, paint-spotted, hardwood floors and dining table. I’ve attempted painting a vast amount of subjects, from flowers to mountain bike shoes. I feel like I have slowly developed my own style, but I am always eager to try new configurations with brushes and palette knives. My favoured elements to paint are poppies and birch trees (that may be the prairie girl in me).

My inspiration and foundation have been driven by my husband, my family and my dear friends. My first commissioned piece was for our friend, who built me a kitchen island in return for two paintings. I was overwhelmed! The support and the encouragement I have had to pursue my love for painting has been absolutely flattering – I can’t express how very honoured I am. As my own walls can no longer hold all of my work, I have begun to sell my pieces and have had a few people at my door wanting to purchase, even before I open it to the public. I will exhibit a few pieces in Freshies beginning June 1, 2012 and hope to do a larger exhibit in the fall at either The Arts Station or the Museum.

Living amongst the beauty of this town and a community that is filled with endowed artists of all types, from potters, to painters, photographers and quilters – there is no doubt I’ll continue to have the cornerstone to explore my creative edge.

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