Karen was born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk in 1966, the
granddaughter of Guernsey artist Louis Le Ray. As an adult Karen
travelled the world living in Singapore, Bangkok, Australia and Norway.
During this time she developed her love of drawing and painting,
undertaking portrait commissions and running art classes. ‘Living in
all of those great places, gave me the opportunity to see new cultures,
new colours and new scenes all of which would have an effect on my
On her return to Britain Karen studied Art in Aberdeen. She moved to
Southwold seafront in 1999 and realized her natural ability to capture
the sea. She enjoyed limitless views of the beach, the groynes, the sea,
birds, people, beach huts and of course the waves crashing onto the
sand. Her paintings became increasingly popular.
In 2004 two of her paintings were selected for a permanent art collection in the Palace of Westminster.
Karen purchased the Southwold Gallery in 2005, ‘So now not only
was I in charge of my own destiny, but I had the opportunity to help
others artists to display their work – this has been fantastic for me –
able to support emerging artists as I was supported.’ The gallery exhibits over 40 local artists and has thousands of loyal customers.
In 2008, she was approached by Dorling Kindersley to write and
develop a book on advanced acrylic painting. Following several hard
months of painting, writing and having her work photographed in a step
by step process, the book was published in 15 different languages and
received a number of 5 star reviews.
Karen now lives and works in Norwich but still has a home in
Southwold. In Norwich, her studio is surrounded by parkland and
wildlife. ‘This setting is perfect for tranquil painting time although my heart belongs by the sea.’
‘Inspiration for my paintings comes from the amazing Norfolk and
Suffolk scenery, which I see every day: The dramatic sky, light
reflecting off water, rugged old boats, a pile of fishing paraphernalia
on a beach. Everyday things just lying around, that when the light hits
them look amazing. An inspirational sky for me conjures up all sorts of
emotional feelings, lost loved ones, angels, hopes and dreams, what’s to
come. That particular feeling I portray in my painting creating a drama
which the viewer interprets in a personal way to them. Painting is a
pleasure; time spent painting is my time.’
Karen’s paintings are in private collections in Britain, Europe,
Malaysia, Australia and America, including two paintings held in the
House of Lords Art Collection. Her work is on permanent exhibition at
Southwold Gallery, Southwold and Thompson’s Gallery Aldeburgh.
Making Waves, Artists in Southwold by Ian Collins. Published 2005 by Black Dog Books.
Who’s Who in Art, Hillmarton Manor Press.
March 2007 Elected Member of East Anglian Marine Artists
Author of ‘Acrylics Workshop II, published in 15 languages by Dorling Kindersley 2008.
How Artists See East Anglian Places, A Green Pebble Publication, 2010
How Artists See People, A Green Pebble Publication, 2010
100 Women in 100 Words, Inspirational Women in Norfolk and Suffolk, 2012.
Exhibitions (a selection):
2004 Solo Exhibition ‘Quintessential Suffolk’ – Southwold Town Hall
2004 House of Lords – London “Best of Britain’ Exhibition
2006 Mall Galleries, London East Anglian Group of Marine Artists Exhibition
2007 Hunter Gallery, Long Melford Summer Exhibition
2008 Mall Galleries, London
2010 Art in the Park, Croxton Park
2010 Mall Galleries London
2012 Solo Exhibition, Southwold Gallery
2014 Solo Exhibition, Roger Hickman’s, Norwich