Born in Lewisburg, Karen McClung has lived there most of her life. She has taken watercolor classes from Jeanne Brenneman, Rose Dobbins, Sharon Johnson, Sterling Johnson, Sterling Edwards, Joe Fettingis, Jean Haines, and Robin Poteet. Through classes and workshops, these artists shared their insight into techniques and materials. Karen enjoyed working under them and their challenges. Karen has been retired for over 30 years. She was a first grade teacher and she also used to own Plaid Eagle Antique Store in downtown Lewisburg. She has a love for children, animals, and gardening but she always puts her paintings first. She says, “You can pull a weed or you can paint it. I would rather paint it!”
Learn more about Karen with our Q&A:
How do you describe your palette?
My palette is bright and happy. I love using happy sunshine colors. When I have to wipe it off my palette to develop room for more colors I hate losing the ones I just used.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
It has been so much fun working with the Greenbrier Artist group. They have helped me develop my skills. Most of all I have enjoyed painting animals and the artist group will kindly tell me where I need to improve a painting. I guess my greatest accomplishment was going “public” so to speak and let others critic my work.
“My palette is bright and happy. I love using happy sunshine colors.” – Karen McClung
What obstacles do you need to overcome to find your creative space/muse?
My biggest obstacle is finding a place to paint each day. Right now I have claimed my dining room as my studio. I get up each morning and do something with art for an hour or so. I might sketch, do research on how an animal looks, plan which colors I want to use, or just paint. Someday I would like to have one room I can call my art studio.
How do you find your inspiration?
I have always loved animals. I can see a picture or an ad and fall in love with that animal. I went to the zoo in Lexington VA and fed a giraffe from a platform 6 feet off the ground. Boy are giraffes tall. Of course I came home and painted two different pictures of giraffes. This month I went to the NC Zoo and spent an hour just watching a Polar Bear swim. Guess what I am working on: a Polar Bear! I’ve done pigs, cows, squirrels, burro, mules and more.
What advice do you have for other artists?
My best advice to other artist is the same advice I give myself: paint, paint, paint. You can buy all the brushes, new colors, paper, books but no amounts of supplies will help until you practice, practice, practice.
How can our readers find you?
You can see my art at the WV Fine Artisan’s Gallery in downtown Lewisburg. This gallery is in the former Old Hardware Gallery, across from City Hall. I encourage you to follow them on facebook to see all their talented artists at facebook.com/wvfineartisans
– HashtagWV #83. November, 2016.