Featured Artist: Karen Olson
Thank you for popping into the blog today. I am very excited to introduce our featured artist this month. I originally met Karen Olson "virtually" through her beautiful Instagram account, @renukostyle. I followed her feed and was in love with her soft still-life photos. And then, in September of last year I had the pleasure of meeting her in person at Findingstillness16 when we both found ourselves at the Kim Klassen retreat in Rivers, MB Canada. What a joy!
Karen has been very busy during the past year developing her skills and a host of online classes. Here is her beautiful story of reinvention and discovery as her life took a very big twist.
As creatives, we feel technology is beyond our grasp, understood by those left brained scientific types and not meant for us artistic types.
And that's the way I felt. It was a language I could not understand and I didn't want to try. But life took an interesting turn in my late 50's. I could no longer work at our family's painting business, it was too physically demanding for an aging woman with fibromyalgia and chronic arthritis. Around the same time, my husband suffered a brain injury. And although, thankfully, he recovered, financially, things looked sketchy.
I said that my husband recovered, but not completely. It took months of therapy and years of healing. He is still not quite the same, he was left with several physical and cognitive disabilities. While he was recovering and in a somewhat blissful state, (after all, he was still alive!), I was in panic mode.
What was I to do? We were still years away from retirement and I had no marketable skills. I felt I had to try and make money with my art, but how? I could not hire a web developer or a social media consultant. I had to figure it out for myself.
In the process of learning how to navigate the world of technology, I discovered that it can be approached like any artistic medium, step by step, methodically, with a measure of trial and error. I began to see it as a tool to create my artistic vision. I discovered that it is more about our perception of the tool than it is our ability.
I began to form a love for the medium as I already had with many other artistic mediums, from fiber art and macrame in the 70's and 80's, to watercolor and acrylics in the 90's. As we reached the year 2000 my passion was collage, and then later metalwork became a way to generate income.
But now my medium of choice is photography. I am all in, as I am with everything. The knowledge I gained through the years working in various artistic endeavors has informed the work I am doing now. Both in photography and technology.
My new found skills landed me a job at a local art community non-profit and I began teaching creative individuals the skills they need to craft their own online presence. It has been a real joy to share my knowledge with other like-minded individuals and help them do just that. I realized that there are so many individual artists that need simple and direct instruction that fits into their very busy schedule. So I decided to create online classes based on my teaching at The Art Loft. After 6 months of planning and learning the processes it takes to make online classes, Creative Biz Academy launched in August 2017.
I still dive into the deep end of artistic expression, pushing my boundaries, ignoring my comfort zone, thinking so far outside the box I guess there really isn't one. But now I do it digitally, and am totally in love with the process!