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Canvas Conversations: Artist Karen Rodgers on painting Manitoulin Island

Canvas Conversations: Artist Karen Rodgers on painting Manitoulin Island

The cold October wind off Lake Huron is a reminder of the changing season ahead. Another is the brilliant crimson, yellow, and orange leaves on the trees in the La Cloche Mountains and edging the rim of Lake Huron. It is impossible to capture the vividness in words; you must be at the right place at the right time—fall in Northern Ontario.

When I was offered to join Canadian artist Karen Rodgers’ workshop, I jumped at the rare opportunity. Known for her stunning landscape oil paintings, Karen Rodgers’ work has been exhibited in galleries and art shows internationally in New York City, Los Angeles, Sarasota, and Sydney and locally at Dundas Valley School of Art, Burlington Art Gallery, Oakville Art Society, and the Manitoulin Fine Arts Association. Her recent collection called “Waltzing Forests” was inspired by the lush tree-filled landscapes of Manitoulin Island in Canada and exude the spirit and energy of this magical island.

Paintings by Karen Rodgers

One of the island’s most striking features is its rugged terrain, which includes rocky cliffs, lush forests, and crystal-clear lakes. This incredible terrain is what drew me to Karen Rodgers’ artwork. One must-see attraction is the Bridal Veil Falls, a majestic waterfall that cascades down a rocky cliff and is surrounded by lush greenery.

I had the pleasure of joining Karen on an early morning walk in nature — or “discovery,” as she calls it. A series of hikes led to an otherworldy enchanted forest—with mossy entangled trees that protected a small lake circled by smooth grey stones. Every detail makes its way into Karen’s art. She has studied every aspect of the Manitoulin landscape, from the stones and trees to the leaves and soil, capturing every nuance with precision and skill.

Karen advises beginning artists to “Start with one small object—a rock, or a tree and build from there,” she also adds, “But do not limit yourself.” The advice she also heeds, while she produces incredible landscape collections, she never feels pressured to only work in one artistic style or medium. “I paint landscapes today, but it could be seascapes tomorrow. Versatility and openness to all art inspiration are how I continue to evolve as an artist.”

Paintings by Karen Rodgers

Karen’s paintings are not only beautiful, but they also convey a sense of tranquility and peace. Her brushstrokes are soft and fluid, creating a sense of movement and energy that is both calming and invigorating. Her use of light and color is masterful, creating depth and dimension that draws the viewer into the painting. Karen captures the essence of the island, from the vibrant colors of the leaves in the fall to the serene beauty of the snow-covered branches in the winter. Each painting is a window into a different season, showcasing the island’s ever-changing beauty.

For more information on Karen Rodgers’ latest exhibitions, workshops, and sales event, follow her at Instagram: @karenrodgers_art or visit her website:  

Paintings by Karen Rodgers
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