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Meet Karen Rand Anderson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Karen Rand Anderson.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
Like many creatives I know, I am a very “visual” person, quite right-brained, and tend to experience things emotionally.

That emotional response to visual stimuli comes forth through my work, and I have always felt a need to create in order to express thought and feeling. My undergraduate degree was in ceramics (RISD, class of 77) and I also did some glassblowing while there, so I have a sculptural background as well as a strong foundation in drawing and painting. I was a professional musician as well, having studied classical piano from age 4, then guitar, mandolin and dulcimer in my teens. Writing and performing music was another important creative outlet for the somewhat wild, emotional young woman I was…I actually attended music school in Boston, at a small school called the School of Contemporary Music, prior to going to RISD in 1971. I had a hard time juggling music and visual art for many years.

There was a period of ten years when I stopped making art altogether, 1985-95, while I was raising my daughters, being a wife, and building a home, in Connecticut. In 1995 I re-focused on my creative journey, and in 2005 I entered into a low-residency MFA program in Vermont, earning my MFA in mixed-media studio work in 2010. Going back to art school in my 50’s was an eye-opening experience! I moved to Providence in 2010 after being in CT for 30+ years, and it was the right move—the creative community here is vibrant and inclusive.

Please tell us about your art.
My deep involvement with visual art has spanned many different mediums, including ceramics and glass, painting and drawing, and sculptural work with natural and found objects… I am influenced by a connection with the natural world and my own personal inquiry into mystery. For the most part, in recent years I have been painting, so I guess people identify me as a painter, which is fine, although someday I may go back to assemblage and other art forms. Focusing on abstracted landscape, as well as pure abstraction with an emotional bent, I’m particularly interested in intuitive mark-making, layering of color, gestural brushwork and spontaneity—the energy of the work is important to me; I have a process-driven approach, and would like the viewer to experience some sort of emotional connection to it. I concentrate on working in a “consciously-unconscious” manner, which is a reflection of my daily meditation practice.

Choosing a creative or artistic path comes with many financial challenges. Any advice for those struggling to focus on their artwork due to financial concerns?
While there is always pressure to make ends meet as an artist, I am in a place in my life where if I can actually pay for my expenses, including studio rent, materials, travel and professional development, I feel that is “success”. Everyone always talks about the art market going up or down, and in truth, most art is a luxury item, purchased by collectors who (hopefully) love your work, or see it as an investment. I feel immensely fortunate to have had the opportunity to follow my path as an artist without having to struggle at various day jobs that had no connection to my work. While it is paramount to be committed to making the art, it is also immensely important to pursue the business end of art. I have no head for business. That’s the hardest part for most artists, and I have worked hard for the past five years to get my art business going, while still maintaining a consistent studio practice. Taking online art biz courses, following the journey of other artists, and developing a workshop teaching syllabus have all been helpful for me as I continue to navigate the choppy waters of being a working artist.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I’m quite active on Instagram, @karenrandart so if you follow me you can engage and see new work; I love comments! The best way to see art is, of course, to see it in person, and I am currently represented by Coastal Contemporary Gallery, a beautiful new gallery in Newport, RI.
I also show at ArtProv Gallery in Providence as well as at the Providence Art Club and in various juried and invitational shows in New England. I have a studio in a mill in Pawtucket, RI and welcome appointments, and I am very interested in doing commissions… recently I’ve done several large abstract landscape commissions for private clients, and I feel so lucky to get jobs like that. I will be heading to France in September for a two-week artist residency at Chateau Orquevaux Upon returning I have a 3-person show coming up in November in Pawtucket. Busy year for me, and I am grateful.

You can see my art online at my website

as well as my page on Artwork Archive

and at Providence Art Club

Follow me on Instagram @karenrandart

and Facebook

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
All images are my original paintings; photos by Karen Rand Anderson.

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