Karen’s an early starter, too

Date: Friday 10th November 2017
Art by Karen McSkimming
Art by Karen McSkimming

IT’S not only Santa Claus who is most productive in the early hours of the morning. Brough artist Karen McSkimming finds that her “perfect time for painting” is 2am.

Karen McSkimming
Karen McSkimming
Karem McSkimming, Penrith
Karem McSkimming, Penrith
Kaerm McSkimming, Rabbit
Kaerm McSkimming, Rabbit

She has always had an artistic streak. She enjoyed art at school and excelled in the subject, but when she came to the end of education in the 80s “life took over” and her art was “put on the back burner”.

Karen moved to the area from Crocketford, Dumfries and Galloway, in 1995. In 2007, following the birth of her daughter, Josie, she wanted to reignite her passion for art and make it into work, while also fitting it around family life.

It was then that her business, Artful Regards, was born. She was first commissioned for sign writing, and went on to create a pet portrait, which was sent to America. From that, word of mouth triggered her popularity and Karen, who also works as a housekeeper, is now booked up until February.

The main form of work tends to come in the form of pet portraits for Karen, who lives with her partner of 14 years, Steve Closs. She begins by meeting the owner and animal and taking her own photograph of the pet to work with. “I like to meet them and feel their personality. It’s all about the eyes — they are the heart of the animal,” she said.

Before she sets to painting, Karen dresses in her “work clothes”, which she said puts her in the creative frame of mind, and then begins painting. Karen, aged 50, mainly uses acrylic paint and pastels, with each piece taking anywhere between 12 and 20 hours to complete.

As well as selling commissions, Karen also showcases her work at T’aint Modern, Kirkby Stephen, and is part of Eden Valley Artistic Network, which was set up in January.