Art in relation to craft is a delicate balance. Painter Karen Khoury has found it. At 48, she has taken formal training from Boise State University and Ohio University and developed her own brand of fine art through craft. And she's found a way to do it while raising a family and teaching art at both Colorado College and Cottonwood Center for the Arts, where her husband Jon is the executive director.
"My art is a celebration of what women have done with craft, and how they pursue craft like quilt-making, knitting and even homemaking," Khoury says.
Philosophy aside, her work reflects what resources are available for a busy woman. Her paintings are small and intimate because often she wouldn't have a long period of time to put them together. And since she didn't have the time to seek out the usual art materials, she started painting on wood scraps and using house or craft paint she could easily buy at Michaels rather than from specialty shops. "I wanted so badly to work," she says.
Interpretation of Khoury's subject matter is completely subjective, because her true passion lies in the pure constructive form. "I'm interested in what the paint can actually do rather than what a paintbrush can do," she says. "My method is that I pour the paint out and I let it dry. Then I manipulate the forms from there — I fold them, stack them or cut them to apply more layers."
She lets the process to formal creation lead her; Khoury said she lets art happen by letting go of the ego.
"I am very Zen with what I'm making and very in tune with it," she says, adding, "It is kind of rounded and not too perfect and too ethereal and really grounded in my day-to-day life."