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Work Samples

Queen Esther and the King

"Queen Esther and the King" focuses on the moment that Esther, the newest wife of King Ahaseurus (Xerxes I) is about to tell her husband about the evil Haman's plot to kill all the Jews in Persia. She has risked her life by requesting this audience with the king, and her anxiety is apparent in her body language. Her determined expression and direct gaze, however, derive from her deep seated faith that God will save her people.

Reflection

oil on linen, 20" x 24", 2018

Seeking Wisdom

oil on linen, 18" x 24", 2017

The Plea

oil on linen, 16"x16"

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About Karen

Baltimore City

Karen Warshal earned her MFA at Tufts University in conjunction with the Boston Museum School and her B.A at the University of Pennsylvania. Her interest and training in classical art began in 1988 when she studied at the Parker School of Structural Sculpture in Bethesda. She then spent several years in museums in Italy, Denmark and Hungary copying after the antique. In 1995, she came to Baltimore where she studied at the Schuler School of Fine Arts. Ms. Warshal teaches "Portrait Drawing" and "Anatomy... more

Women from the Old Testament

This project contains a series of three paintings of strong and courageous women from the Old Testament, otherwise known as the Jewish Bible. While each woman has a special place in the history and religion of the Jewish people, they also represent principles important to Christianity. The story of Queen Esther portrays Faith, Hannah embodies Hope, and Ruth and Naomi exemplify the concept of Charity.

  • Queen Esther and the King

    "Queen Esther and the King" focuses on the moment that Esther, the newest wife of King Ahaseurus (Xerxes I) is about to tell her husband about the evil Haman's plot to kill all the Jews in Persia. She has risked her life by requesting this audience with the king, and her anxiety is apparent in her body language. Her determined expression and direct gaze, however, derive from her deep seated faith that God will save her people.
  • Hannah's Prayer

    Hannah, heartbroken that she has been unable to bear a child, prays fervently to God in the temple, promising him that if he gives her a son she will in turn give him back to God. She soon gives birth to Samuel who becomes one of the great prophets of the Old Testament. Her anguish as well as her hope that her prayers will be answered are apparent in her pleading expression. 24"x36". oil on linen
  • Ruth and Naomi

    “Ruth and Naomi” is the touching story of two women exercising pure love and charity in their respective willingness to sacrifice for each other. Alone in the world in a foreign land after the deaths of her husband and sons, Naomi counsels her daughters-in-law to return to their families where they will be taken care of. Despite the promise of danger and discomfort, Ruth responds with the famous line, “Whither thou goest I go, Your people are my people, your god is my god.”

New portraits, 2019

some new portraits

  • Elena

    oil on linen, 26"x39" 2019
  • Vini

    ...oil on linen, 12"x16",2019
  • Luz as Deborah a Judge in Israel.jpg

    detail of "Deborah a Judge and Prophetess in Israel". Part of the Women of the Old Testament series. Full painting, 24"x30".
  • 1110192230 (1).jpg

    portrait of Mercedes as "Widow of Zarapeth", detail of 24"x30" painting. Part of the Women of the Old Testament series

New work, 2017-2018

For the last few years I've been painting figures in interior spaces. Sometimes specific, other times ambiguous, each piece tells a little story.

I start by having a model in my studio and often other artists come to work with me. We experiment with different poses and setups until we arrive at the magic combination. I've been lucky to have wonderful models! If you notice, Luz is featured in most of these paintings. She's an award-winning actress who also, fortunately for me, loves to pose for artists. The model in "Seeking Wisdom" is my husband who posed patiently for many hours for that painting.

One of my favorite things in the whole world is to work in the studio with fellow artists and a great model!

Figurative work, 2015-2016

In the fall of 2015, I decided to sit in on Mark Karnes' landscape and interior painting class at MICA where I also teach. I did it so that I would go outside to paint landscapes, but the biggest surprise for me was the love and interest I developed for painting interior spaces. I began to look not only at the figure in front of me but at the entire environment in a new way. This experience changed the direction of my work. I began to combine still life objects, something I'd always painted, with the portrait and figure, my favorite subjects. This was my entree into narrative painting.

"Nude on My Grandmother's Chair" was the first one in this series. I can't quite remember the order of the others and many were done simultaneously since the models came on different days of the week. "Alexandra Playing her Cello" and "Spinning Wool" are part of a series I hope to continue on women engaging in their talents.

I would like to note that I always work from life, never from photographs. For me, the excitement of the artistic process is intrinsically connected to the experience of the world around me.

Still Lifes

Still lifes are a wonderful subject, little worlds unto themselves!

Portraits

Portraiture

I spent many years only drawing and doing sculpture in preparation for painting portraits. Here I have included five drawings and five paintings. All portraits were done from life in my studio, and all of the paintings were done with natural light. Portraiture is perhaps my favorite subject. There's nothing like watching a person's personality unfold on his or her face as you paint them. I've been teaching portraiture for years, and I always tell my students to watch for the small movements that lend expression to the sitter. If a snapshot captures a moment in time, the artist working from life has the opportunity to observe and document the inner person as it manifests itself over time.

  • Rick

    Charcoal on paper, 20 X 27"
  • Pamela

    Oil on linen 16" X 20" 2007
  • John

    Oil on panel 9" X 10" 2004
  • Christopher

    oil on linen, 12" X 16"
  • Ed Reading

    Oil on linen 16" X 20" 2008
  • Megan

    Charcoal on handmade paper 15" X 17"
  • George

    Charcoal on handmade paper 18" X 24" This is a portrait of my friend George, who sadly died last year at the age of 40. George was kind, creative, funny and one of the most unusual people I've ever known. He had the talent of making each person who knew him feel that they were special when he was with them. For his memorial, Sasha's restaurant closed on a Sunday and hosted a moving afternoon dedicated to George. The place was packed with people, all of whom were George's friends.
  • Mike

    Charcoal on handmade paper 16" X 20"
  • Andrew

    oil on linen, 18" X 24" 2010 This a portrait of my nephew Andrew who sat for me with great discipline. His bar mitzvah portion dealt with many episodes from the life of Abraham. The background is a copy of a detail of Peter Paul Ruben's "The Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek" at the National Gallery of Art.
  • Conner

    Charcoal on handmade paper, 16" X 20"

More Still Lifes

More still lifes....

More Portraits

Some of these are portraits done in 3 or 4 sittings, so they have a partially finished and partially unfinished quality. Portraiture is the most fascinating of subjects. I love to discover the personality of the model as I observe the small changes in expression over time.

  • Alexandra

    oil on panel. 16" X 20", 2015
  • Latrice (in progress)

    oil on linen, 14" X 14", 2015
  • Ryan

    oil on linen, 16" X 20"
  • Margaret

    oil on linen, 16" x 20"
  • The Queen of Sheba: Seeking Wisdom

    Oil on Linen, 16" X 24" 2009 The Queen of Sheba visits Solomon because he's renowned for his wisdom as a judge. In this painting, the queen is looking at Solomon, symbolized by the balance in the mirror behind her. The basket with the white cloth is the basket of gifts she bears. The lions are attributes of royalty.
  • Lucy

    oil on linen, 16" x 20"
  • Paul

    oil on panel, 16" X 20" sketch

Landscape and Interiors

Landscape and interiors

  • Fulton Theater

    oil on prepared paper, 10" x 11", 2015
  • Clifton Mansion

    oil on prepared paper, 11" X 18", 2015 This is one of the oldest buildings in Baltimore. The second owner was Johns Hopkins (the man, not the school) and he transformed it into the Italianate mansion you see here. The most amazing thing I saw when painting it was the orange light that appeared in the portico at the end of the day.
  • My Living Room

    oil on linen, 18" x 24"
  • Inside Brown Memorial

    oil on linen, 18" X 24", 2015

Drawings

These are just a few examples of drawing, both charcoal and graphite, portrait and figure.

Connect with Karen

Karen's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.