Karen Weihs, “Botanical,” 2017, oil on canvas, 24 x 24 inches

Painter Karen Weihs — or the Colorist of the Carolinas, as she is often called — has returned to Charleston, South Carolina, once more for her annual solo show at Ella Richardson Fine Art. How is she keeping things fresh this year?

Opening on Friday, June 2, “Illusions of Ambiance” is a lovely solo exhibition of fresh, eclectic paintings by Karen Weihs. Each year during Charleston’s magnetic Spoleto Art Festival, Richardson invites Weihs to create a unique, experimental body of work to keep patrons intrigued within the city’s competitive art market. Often inspired by the local ecology, Weihs uses a variety of techniques to capture the movement, color, and textures.

Karen Weihs at Ella Richardson Fine Art
Karen Weihs, “Abundance,” 2017, oil on canvas, 24 x 24 inches

In this year’s show, Weihs has ventured into abstraction, with incredible results. Using a full-spectrum palette, the artist has blurred the lines between distortion and naturalism, but with balance. Several of her works feature the swaying leaves and branches of palm trees while others capture the atmospheric effects of the salty marshes. Four of the works have already been sold.

Karen Weihs, “Stono,” 2017, oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches
Karen Weihs, “Tropical,” 2017, oil on canvas, 30 x 30 inches

As part of her participation, Weihs was also invited to paint in the gallery over a two-day period on June 2 and 3. “I think it’s so important for artists to be able to interact with the public,” she says. “It’s a great way for prospective collectors to learn about my process and philosophy as I’m creating a painting. I created two paintings and sold one of them on the spot!”

Karen Weihs, “Jungle Love,” 2017, oil on canvas, 12 x 9 inches
Karen Weihs, “Marshglow,” 2016, oil on canvas, 18 x 14 inches

The gallery adds, “Karen Weihs is an American painter that works primarily with a palette knife. She paints in both impressionistic and abstracted styles of oil painting. Being a native of Charleston, South Carolina, she often returns to the Holy City to visit friends and get inspiration for her work. Karen and her husband, Chris, retired to a mountain farm in North Carolina. Weihs creates paintings with influential design elements, the most common being her use of color, which is why she coined herself ‘Colorist of the Carolinas.’ Her artistic philosophy is all about flow. She allows her hands, head, and heart to create something wonderful, letting the painting flow and become what it wants to be. It takes a lot of trust in oneself to release control over a painting, and Weihs has perfected her artistic freedom.”

“Illusions of Ambiance” will continue through July 2. To learn more, visit Ella Richardson Fine Art.

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Editor PleinAir Today, Andrew Webster
Andrew Webster is the Editor of Plein Air Today and works as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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