Among Texas Hill Country artists who are sought after from coast to coast is Karen Freeman. A trained architect, architectural engineer and designer who has spent her entire life sketching, drawing, and painting, Karen brings a unique flair to her abstract expressionist work, which appeals to a growing client base in the United States and overseas.
Disclaimer #1: Karen is my wife.
Disclaimer #2: I don’t really like abstract art.
Conclusion: I might write about this art even if we didn’t go to sleep under the same roof. (That’s about 90% true.)
Texas Hill Country artists | home designs
Originally from New York City and working extensively with people in Hong Kong, I’m accustomed to art collectors having almost no room for large pieces of artwork in their high-priced yet small apartments.
For better or worse, Texans have a lot of space!
We have a friend who’s also an architect whose Texas client wanted a guest cottage built off the main house, which was quite large already.
Our friend asked him how big he wanted the cottage.
The reply was, “Big-ass. I don’t care about the details; just make it big-ass.”
I relate this story as a humorous way to underscore a serious note. Many of the clients who have bought Karen’s art along with other Texas Hill Country artists’ work have lots of wall space in their homes and are willing to invest in significant pieces of artwork that both beautifies their homes and appreciates in value. For an office building in Atlanta, Karen did a commission that was three 48″x60″ panels. That’s 12 feet wide by 5 feet high. That’s a lot of art, bought by a private collector who owned the building.
Other locations for her larger work have been in limited shows at local venues in the Texas Hill Country, like Pint and Plow Brewery in Kerrville, or as installations at places like the Boot Hill Ranch community and August E’s fine dining in Fredericksburg, or Narrow Path Winery in Stonewall, Texas.
“Plan view” and “elevation” and elements blending
As an architect, Karen is accustomed to thinking in terms of “plan view” and “elevation.” She also thinks in terms of layers and movement. Her work is heavily influenced by architect Christopher Alexander, and she did her architectural thesis on jewelry-maker (and almost-architect-under-tutelage-by-Frank-Lloyd-Wright) James Avery and “Design as Process.”
One painting that I learned about in a college Art History course was Paul Cezanne’s “Mont Sainte-Victoire with Large Pine.”
I was told this painting had elements that seemed to blend together, like branches morphing into roads, at least from the viewer’s standpoint.
Much of Karen’s work is like this.
Woven architectural and natural elements lead the eye from one side of the canvas to the other and from top to bottom. The more you look, the more you see. And everything holds together.
This is about appreciation more than selling
Karen knows I’m an unapologetic promoter of her work. There are a number of Texas Hill Country artists who are peers of hers, too many to name here without offending any I omit. Suffice it to say, we have an embarrassment of riches.
So this brief article falls somewhere between fanboy lit and self-serving advertorial.
Yet, I go back to the opening conclusion: “I would write about Karen’s art even if we didn’t go to sleep under the same roof, because I don’t really like abstract art.”
Not to stretch an analogy — yeah, it’s kind of stretching it — but while I don’t like watching the NBA, I loved watching Michael Jordan. I don’t like jazz, but I like listening to Miles Davis. I’m not big on visiting Washington, DC, but there’s little that compares with a morning gaze across at the Jefferson Memorial through just-arrived cherry blossoms.
It’s just one of those standouts in a category I care little about.
Watch later this year for a collection of Karen’s focusing on art made from plan views of Texas small towns like Utopia or Blanco.