I became fascinated with visual art after reading the letters of Van Gogh for a high school paper. His obsession with specific colors and details of nature inspired me to want to know what it would feel like to be that connected to the world through my eyes. During my senior year in high school I spent endless hours in the painting studio, discovering shapes, forms, light and shadows for the first time. I loved the feel of applying paint to canvas.
Studying Art History at Oberlin College gave me a comprehensive overview of art, and filled me to the brim with ideas, approaches and possibilities for expression. I combined my degree with Studio Art, and spent many absorbing hours in the printmaking studio. After college I began doing photojournalism and documentary street photography in socially challenged neighborhoods of Boston. Influenced by the work of photographer Eugene Richards, I embarked on a photo essay called "Eastie" an essay documenting East Boston, a neighborhood besieged by urban problems.
I moved to New Haven to help renovate a factory building into artist's studios, and filled the building with photographers, dancers, painters, sculptors and graphic designers. I experimented with fabric painting and surface design, and had a small crafts business vending one-of-a-kind Tee shirts. I continued photographing the blighted neighborhoods of New Haven.
I began walking in the woods every day with my camera in order to connect more deeply with nature, and eventually followed my heart to the Berkshires. I settled into a more rural lifestyle, shifting from urban documentary to contemplative landscape photography, and began relearning to draw and paint, using watercolor and charcoal. I found the transition between painting and photography to be both nourishing and stimulating.
I married my husband, Michael, a gifted woodworker and artist, and together we fixed up our former horse barn into the Inner Vision Studio, a summer gallery space where I can exhibit my photography and watercolor.
© Karen Andrews, Inner Vision Studio