Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Introducing real-life super-Mum, Karen Blake

What makes you smile? Monty Python, The Mighty Boosh, Bill Bailey, Vic and Bob, and my baby girl Ruby, who is swiftly developing into a little comedy genius to match those already mentioned!

What annoys you? The current obsession with “celeb culture”, amongst so many other things, but that is a whole blog post in itself!

Where, in Weston, do you like to take Ruby? – She is a real outdoors girl, so we are loving all this good weather. We like walking in the woods, on Sand Bay, around Knightstone, and up to The Old Town Quarry where I have my art studio. Also love going to Grove Park, which is near where I live. It’s all got so much more interesting now she is crawling!

Who has been your biggest inspiration personally? I can’t pick out anyone specifically, but I was really inspired by all the artists I met and had the opportunity to work alongside whilst I was a volunteer artist at Studio Upstairs, a mental health charity and arts community based in Bristol. (http://www.studiosupstairs.org.uk/)

Who has been your biggest inspiration professionally? An American artist called Keri Smith. She is into guerrilla art, (nothing to do with monkeys!) and writes about how to free your creativity and get out of creative ruts through being more playful and rebellious in the way you work. She is also a fairly new mum like me, and I can really relate to her struggles to keep on being creative whilst balancing her role as a mum.

How do you juggle your art and motherhood? It’s difficult trying to fit it all in, but my art is such an important part of my life I have to try. I remember just before Ruby was born lots of people said with absolute certainty that I would abandon my art as soon as she arrived. I’m pleased to say I proved them wrong, and I’m currently busier than ever. It helps to have a great support network of grandparents, and her very “hands on” dad who relishes time with Ruby at weekends so I can get to my studio.

How would you best describe your paintings? That’s a toughie, as my work is pretty abstract. I always tell people to have a look at my website so they can see what I do. So! If you want to know, go to http://www.karenart.co.uk/.

Tell us what’s happening in the world of Karen Art then! Like I said, I’m pretty busy right now. I am currently designing some fabric for American company Pansy Maiden Bags (www.pansymaiden.com) for their Autumn collection. I am also involved in the forthcoming Donkey Parade (www.donkeyparade.co.uk) that will be hitting the streets in Weston over the summer. 40 life size donkeys will be appearing in a sculpture trail all over town, and I am painting one of them! Lastly, I have an exhibition coming up with Camilla Stacey at Loves CafĂ© in September as part of Weston Arts Week. Phew! It’s manic!

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever had? A woman who approached me during an exhibition and told me that she had felt inspired to paint again after 20 years because of seeing my work. That felt great!

What are your hopes for the future? Simple really. To keep painting, to watch my family grow, to stay true to myself and to be happy. I want Ruby to be proud of her mummy!


  1. Yay! Thanks for the name check! I love your hopes for the future- i'm sure Ruby will grow up to be very proud of you (once she gets past the being really embarassed of you stage that she'll have to go through)

  2. Welcome little baby girl Ruby !! and proud super mum Karen !!

    Great art by the way !!!