Karen Landrigan

My first painting, called “Soaring”, is a close-up of a figure swimming in water with her back to the viewer, taken entirely out of context, and painted in such a way that we really don't know where she's going or how she's getting there. She could be flying; she could be dying. And this is what my art, as well as my existence, is about–whether to fly or die. I choose to fly.

Breathing, Acrylic on canvas 36 x 48 in.
Suffocated by fury, drowning in my recovery, I burst through the surface of the sea and in this moment I escape. I am free.

"I was born in the city of St. John’s on the island of Newfoundland, Canada. I grew up on the shores of a lake and learned to swim at a very young age. All of my fondest memories always include water. If I have a first love it is mathematics. My fascination with numbers and calculation led me into the engineering program at Memorial University, Newfoundland. After two years of studying engineering, I left to attend the Alberta College of Art where I studied Visual Communications. After graduating, I got a job in Advertising and went on to earn my living in corporate graphic design, including developing corporate identities for some of the largest corporations in Canada. When I moved to the United States in 2007, I took several classes at the Glassell School of Art in Houston, where I currently live, and focused my studies on designing and producing handmade jewelry. As time permits, I continue to create unique handmade jewelry today. Painting is the current love of my creative life."

Karen Landrigan is an elected member of the Society of Canadian Artists (SCA) as well a Signature Member of the International Society of Acrylic Painters (ISAP).

Moving, Acrylic on canvas 36 x 48 in.
Life comes at me in waves. It overwhelms me. Their force stops me momentarily. Then I face it, pivot and joyfully ride high the crest. The ocean is an expression of my outpouring emotion–sometimes turbulent, sometimes completely still.
Persevering, Acrylic on canvas 24 x 48 in.
When the challenges come and they will, as we wade deeper into our lives and confront the forces of defeat, there comes a moment when our spirit rallies and we push back with everything we have. I push back, l shoulder the weight of my struggle with few regrets and I am not afraid. And beneath a smile, knowing that I lived my life with joy and resilience, I persevere.
Seeking, Acrylic on canvas 24 x 48 in.
Life challenges us to endure hardship and pain, often unseen and invisible. To live bravely one must push against the boundaries. In the ocean I seek peace and joy and I find meaning and exhaustion. I find myself.
Soaring, Acrylic on canvas 36 x 48 in.
Swimming for me is pure joy. It transcends my sadness and it lifts my soul.

"I've dealt with a great deal of adversity over the years and even now, at times I feel as though I exist in a strange state somewhere between life and death. For me, everything changed in an instant, yet my life continues. Today, I find myself living an entirely new existence in what seems like in an entirely new universe. Encouraged to paint by a dear friend and mentor who has always admired my creative abilities, this new reality has become the backdrop for my art. My first painting, called “Soaring”, is a close-up of a figure swimming in water with her back to the viewer, taken entirely out of context, and painted in such a way that we really don't know where she's going or how she's getting there. She could be flying; she could be dying. And this is what my art, as well as my existence, is about–whether to fly or die. I choose to fly."

Review published by Circle Foundation for the Arts © CFA Press ∙ Images courtesy of the artist