The landscapes in which we reside speak to who we are. Karen Tanner chose to live and work in the vast, isolated space we call the West. She was born and raised in Montana. This environment has had a significant impact on her studio practice. Karen thinks visually and is compelled to create artwork in a two D form. She paints the elements: Air, Water, Earth, Fire and Metal, then arranges them into new, conceptually layered pieces.
A message through symbols, written word and design has always engaged Tanner. "My memory is of always being an artist." she states. Working in the Graphic Arts field early in her career was strong background for the pieces she currently paints. Tanner begins by using acrylics as a wash, layering them to create depth and texture. The last step is adding a resin glaze over the acrylic to provide translucency. There is similarity to the fluidity of the elements of air and water. “Transparency is challenging to paint, and this challenge helps one continue to grow in their art practice.”
Tanner has won numerous awards and participated in many juried shows. She is best known regionally for her illustrations for her Bozeman Sweet Pea Posters. Her book illustrations for Silly Songs has been recognized nationally. Karen Tanner is a retired high school educator who taught art and graphics in public schools for thirty years. She currently lives in Billings, Montana, with her husband Joe. Their basset hound, Tillie, keeps her company in the studio during the day.