Karen Villarreal studied fine art painting at San Diego State University and the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. She did commissioned portrait work before devoting herself to a career in cartoon animation, training at Walt Disney and working on shows for Hanna-Barbera, Cartoon Network, and Scholastic Books to name a few. Now retired, she has returned to her first love ... painting.
"I’ve been trained in a variety of painting media so I have many choices when it comes to imagining a picture, whether it’s a landscape, still life, or portrait. Each medium can deliver different effects, and I love to explore how best to achieve what I envision while pushing the boundaries of that medium. Sometimes, as the painting progresses, the medium itself suggests different ways to go. This is especially true with watercolors. The artist in me can either let the medium dictate how the painting will resolve itself or I can bend the medium to fit my needs. In the case of watercolor and pastels, I often combine the two. Each painting is an adventure!" ˜ Karen Villarreal
My work has always involved found and discarded objects which I combine with recycled work of my own and vintage text and photos.
I collect smashed metal pieces, disintegrating paper, and faded, torn, and worn out objects whose altered appearance records their "life" in the world.
One of my practices is postcard art. Over the last 35 years, it has had themes both narrative and figurative. During the pandemic I used the exercise as a way to work through feelings, and reach out via the mail to family and friends.