Karen Stockwell's Profile

About

My name is Karen Stockwell. I blame it on my muse, but I suppose I should take credit for my own artistic wanderlust. When I was young, I wanted to be a writer. But after a teacher declared I had a good color sense, my mother put me on the path toward visual art. In college I compromised as an art major with an English minor. I received a degree in teaching at a time when the arts were losing ground in school curriculums. So I made my living in advertising while pursuing my art career. I exhibited my carefully rendered drawings in art fairs, galleries and juried shows under my maiden name (Karen Dilsaver). Unfortunately, drawings turned out not to be a big seller. So I stuck to advertising (later educational publishing) to make my way in the world. My writing simmered on a back burner.

Then I got the itch to go to grad. school. I had taken studio classes in figure painting for years, but my creative…

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  • Female
  • Born on September 9
  • Joined February 1, 2008

Favorite materials

silk scarf blanks, silk and rayon scarf blanks, Jacquard textile paint, Setacolor paint

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About

My name is Karen Stockwell. I blame it on my muse, but I suppose I should take credit for my own artistic wanderlust. When I was young, I wanted to be a writer. But after a teacher declared I had a good color sense, my mother put me on the path toward visual art. In college I compromised as an art major with an English minor. I received a degree in teaching at a time when the arts were losing ground in school curriculums. So I made my living in advertising while pursuing my art career. I exhibited my carefully rendered drawings in art fairs, galleries and juried shows under my maiden name (Karen Dilsaver). Unfortunately, drawings turned out not to be a big seller. So I stuck to advertising (later educational publishing) to make my way in the world. My writing simmered on a back burner.

Then I got the itch to go to grad. school. I had taken studio classes in figure painting for years, but my creative juices were drying up. I needed fresh ideas. I thought of getting a MFA at the Art Institute of Chicago, but settled on a MA in Art History instead. Besides art history, I studied art theory, which I never fully grasped. But all that intellectual, philosophical pondering got its grasp on me. Art became too intellectual and upon graduation, I was totally blocked! I don’t regret the experience, however. I took fascinating classes and met people from far flung places like Nigeria and China. I traveled to Europe to study turn of the century (19th-20th) art. I even sat behind David Sedaris in a class on outsider art.

But after grad. school, I didn’t know what to do about creative expression. So my muse took over and I began writing poetry. Before long I was reading at open mikes in Chicago. I published a chapbook of my poems called Possibilities, which I also illustrated. But that didn’t satisfy the muse because she had just discovered the Old Town School of Music on Lincoln Ave. I had always wanted to play guitar, so I jumped into that next, along with studying vocal technique. Before long I was writing songs and performing at musical open mikes. I was even half of a duet called Moon Lodge with Shelley Miller. During that phase of my life I sang My Funny Valentine at a Torch Song class performance and spent a wonderful week at Planet Bluegrass in Lyons, CO where I attended Song School.

But then there was that novel I always wanted to write. So I did. It’s in the fourth or fifth draft now. I lose count. But a New York agent said the writing was good and gave me some tips. I’ll get back to it one of these days. Oh, and there’s that other rough draft of my second novel that’s close to finished.

Yet, my visual art is calling me again. I’m slowly working my way back to it as I play with color, texture and composition in the jewelry and collage I’m enjoying at the moment. And the soap? Well my muse has a domestic side, too. I may be baking next!

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