A Passion for Painting

Photography by Tracy Doyle


For some people, finding a passion in life takes time. For Karen Rolfes, it took 40 years. 

Rolfes discovered her love of painting while recovering from spinal fusion surgery. “I was laid up for over a year and I got antsy, so I started painting,” she says. “I came to really enjoy painting and couldn’t stop.” 

Some might say painting is in her genes – her grandfather and uncle are also painters. “I wanted to express myself on canvas so to speak. I really love color – I found myself mixing colors and coming up with beautiful colors on the palette – it still excites me every time I start painting. I just love it.” 

Rolfes started her painting career using a brush, but switched to a palette knife after being introduced to the technique by well-known French artist Pierre Bittar. “The palette knife becomes an extension of my arm, giving me the ability to really play with the paint and create what I want in different ways.”

As an impressionistic oil painter, Rolfes finds inspiration in nature. She has studied Claude Monet’s water lily ponds and gardens at Giverny. Rolfes continues to develop her skills by attending workshops with master painters. 

“I go to workshops to get inspired,” says Rolfes. “I learn how to look at things through the master painters’ eyes.”

In 2015 Rolfes was recognized for her work through Art Design Consultants’ Art Comes Alive (ACA). The art competition and regional exhibit is open to North American artists. Through ACA, artists working in any medium or style are awarded for their work and connected with individuals in the art business for networking opportunities. Rolfes was the recipient of the William Duebber Artist Award. 

The award is sponsored by Steve and Kim Wanamaker in honor of Kim’s late father, who was a successful and accomplished graphic designer, art director and artist. 

“They (Steve and Kim) went through the artists and chose one that they thought he (William Duebber) would have liked. I was so honored that they picked me – how cool is that?” says Rolfes. 

Rolfes work is available at ADC, downtown, and French Country Road in Madeira. She also does commissioned work.

To learn more about Karen Rolfes’ artwork, visit her website at www.karenrolfes.com.