Focus on an EVAN artist Karen McSkimming. Interview by Simon Whalley.
In our latest interview, Simon Whalley spoke to our lovely Karen McSkimming. Unable to interview her in person they used ‘Face Time’ while enjoying a cup of coffee. Karen says she loves painting with a passion, especially animals. Karen is well-known for her appearances on the TV programme ‘Home is where the Art is’, which is presented by Nick Knowles. Her exuberant personality soon made her a firm favourite with the viewers. Karen runs her own successful business, ‘Artful Regards’, and takes commissions.
Karen is based in Kirkby Stephen but came originally from Dumfries.
Simon asked Karen:
What got you into Art?
Karen explained how James Cunningham, an artist in his own right but Karen’s secondary school teacher, was an inspiration to her. Karen takes after her dad who was also, quite arty’ and felt like him, because of life circumstances, that she was unable able to realise her own vocation. That all changed, when after training for signwriting, she attended a night class and finally got to take up her paintbrush. So after the birth of her daughter in 2007, Artful Regards was born.
What do you enjoy about Art?
Karen enjoys painting animals. Her main requests for commissions are for pet portraits and but said making a portrait of someone’s beloved pet can be stressful. You have to ensure that ‘Brian looks like Brian and not Bob’! Her portraits of sheep and highland cows are also very popular. For her highland cattle pieces, she gets inspiration from the Highland Cattle Society (https://www.highlandcattlesociety.com/) She also likes painting flowers and produces prints of these to sell as cards. She has found this is an effective way of letting customers see her work.
How has lockdown affected you?
Karen’s time on the TV show ‘Home is where the Art is’ led to quite her busiest year, and normally she is full of orders up to Christmas. But with lockdown, she has been less busy, so has quite enjoyed not being under so much pressure. On the other hand though, she realises that sometimes she needs the challenge the pressure brings.
Why did you join EVAN and how does it help?
She has enjoyed connecting with other artists, gaining knowledge and inspiration from other artists there, especially Maria Burton who has been very encouraging. Karen has found it has opened a few doors for her as well.
What would you like to do with your art in the next few years?
Karen said that she would like to stay in the area and joked about not moving to London as long as she can keep painting and can earn a living. She is optimistic that, ‘Things will pick back up again … People will always buy art’ . She would very much like to take up photography which would help me with some of her ideas for her finished paintings.
Karen’s work is on display in the EVAN Gallery 4 Corney Place, and is happy to take commissions for her work.