The Artist

"I was originally inspired to paint by the work of my Victorian ancestor, Violet M. Read, who painted at the turn of the 20th Century in the school of Stannard. My first paintings were, therefore, traditional pure watercolour - see a few examples below.

After some years I started to feel constricted by the 'rules' of traditional watercolour. I decided to take the time to determine what it was I actually wanted to paint, and how I wanted to paint it. During this period my style evolved to have a far more contemporary and darker feel. This slightly abstract approach suited many of my night-time scenes when things are often very difficult to make out.

Though all my paintings are based on real places, it is more the memory of the place. I do not want to paint a literal view. Many are inspired by the night-time or dusk when everything seems mysterious, especially under the dream-like quality of a full moon.

As I get older I have started to realise how greatly influenced I am by a childhood spent in the woods and fields. I can vividly recall many occasions going out after dark along the edge of eerie woods and across vast open stubble fields. Or entering the darkness of the wood from the heat of a summer's day. The paintings are, I feel, an attempt to recapture those elusive scenes from times of long ago.

I use water-based media and the paintings are built up in layers - lifting off and laying down marks, using whatever methods I need to create the look I am after. I paint intuitively until the picture looks right. I sometimes sketch in pencil in the field, but mostly enjoy sketching with colour and experimenting in the studio.

I am self-taught - a deliberate decision as I prefer to discover my own way of doing things."

Karen Read Coley

The Artist in her studio

Work in progress
Work in progress!

Karen Read Coley

The Artist sketching on the banks of the River Ouse
Sketching on the banks of the River Ouse.

Violet M. Read, age 24

Violet M. Read, circa 1898.
(approximate age 24)


"Winter Trees"

"Morning Light"
"Morning Light"