Off The Wall Magazine Q&A with Karen Blair



Maine. Is there anywhere else in the country with light as magical as it is in Maine? The bounce of light off of water, the fog rolling in or lifting, constantly concealing and revealing, the inky darkness of the tree shadows and deep water have inspired artists for generations. 

Inspiration. There are moments of every single day that stop me in my tracks. It starts at sunrise with the mountains revealing themselves as a form against the light leaking above them, gathers in the flight of a hawk, the open bloom that wasn’t there yesterday and continues through dusk as shadows lengthen to add mystery and drama to the landscape. Birdsong, bee hum, dog barks all find their way into the paintings. 

Medium. Oil Paint and Oil Sticks are the weapons of choice. The alchemy of pigment and oil is a potent source of magic and opening a new tube of paint is as good as a birthday gift. 

Artist Heroes. Lois Dodd and John Walker. Is it coincidence that both live and work in Maine? I think not. 

Studio. Concrete and plywood floors, white walls and giant windows. Space and light are the hot commodities in a studio and I have both. My painting cart is a packing crate for locally quarried soapstone that I turned upside down and fitted out with industrial wheels. The easel was bought second hand but has great wood and pulleys with ropes and gears; a Ferrari of easels. 

Where in Maine. I have painted primarily on Bailey Island which has maintained a good fishing community and is not too gentrified. It is beloved by followers of Carl Jung who spent time there so maybe it is the energy of the place. Visiting Lois Dodd and her great friends and fellow painters Nancy Wissemann-Widrig and John Widrig in Cushing Maine was a highlight of my life. For an eye-opeing good time a visit to Nervous Nellie’s Jam’s and Jellies on Deer Isle is the ticket. John Walker, if you are reading this may I please come to see you on Seal Point? 

Unknown Fact. I can stand on my head. 

Study. Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Classes at The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts with Eleanor Rufty whose most effusive compliment was “it is better than it was.” I have been fortunate in having great mentors along the way including Frank Hobbs. Thank you.




Learn more about this artist:


Available artwork


Radio Maine podcast interview

Off The Wall  magazine Q&A