Karen Vance hails from a family rich in art. She was born into the sixth generation of fine artists. As a child, in her Chicago suburban home, Sunday afternoons were reserved as family time. "My father, David Swartwout, an accomplished painter and sculptor, would give my sisters and me art lessons -how to draw a tree in our backyard or draw boats from the shore at Belmont Harbor. Or on a rainy Sunday, we would often spend an afternoon at the Art Institute learning from 'The Masters'. In our modest home, art was paramount. We had only original art hanging on our walls, I grew up knowing good art -I was surrounded by it", says Vance.
Vance's fine art studies include art and graphics at Northern Illinois University, the Art Institute of Chicago and Classical Painting at the Village Art Academy in Skokie, Illinois. She has studied under the direction of the "best of the best" living artists in America today: Carolyn Anderson, Burton Silverman, Scott Christensen, Mark Daily, Michael Lynch, David Leffel, William Reese, Quang Ho, Clyde Aspevig, Richard Schmid, Michael Workman among others. Vance is a member the California Art Club, Art Students League of Denver, where she is a graduate of Quang Ho's Master's Class. Karen is a Signature Member of both Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters, and the National Academy of Professional Plein Air Painters, and is a Master Signature Member of the American Woman Artists.
Karen Vance's art career includes nearly 12 years as a graphic artist and the past 19 years creating fine art, professionally. Karen's award-winning paintings have found their place in many important collections, both private and public. She works in several mediums: oil, watercolor, and sculpture. Vance's landscapes have been reproduced in 24 limited edition prints and giclées. Her landscapes have adorned the Winter Park Resort Posters from 1994 through 2006 among others.
Karen's original paintings are much sought after. She has had a string of "sold-out" shows during the past six years including several one-woman shows, the 2000 Plein Air Painters of America Annual Show on Catalina Island, the 2001 Colorado Governor's Invitational Show at Loveland Art Museum, where she was the recipient of the "Collector's Choice Award"; the C.M. Russell Art Show and Auction, where she won the 2002 'People's Choice - Best Painting Award, and the Arlene Hooker Fay Memorial Award; the Buffalo Bill Cody Invitational in Cody, Wyoming, where she won the 2005 Juror's Honorable Mention and People's Choice Award and others too numerable to list.
Art of the West Magazine published a feature article on Karen and her work in their 2006 January/February issue. Southwest Art published her work in "Artists to Watch" - March 2001, and featured her in the article "A Natural Calling" by Norman Kolpas, in their February 2005 issue. In the 2005 and 2006 Winter issue of Inform Art Magazine and on the cover of the 2006 Summer issue, Karen's work is also featured. Her painting "October Morning" was published as the cover on the Art of the West 2002 Guidebook of Western Artists. Her work has been featured in Wildlife Art, Inside Cherry Creek Magazine, and Alpenglow Magazine. She was also published in the book, Enchanted Isle - The History of Plein Air Painting on Santa Catalina Island.
Most recently, Karen won three of the six awards given out at the 2009 Buffalo Bill Show in Cody, Wyoming; the Two Dimensional (painting) Award, the People's Choice Award and the William E. Weiss Purchase Award.
1% of the profits from my work goes to support International League of Conservation Photographers.