Karen Bruson's Local Color

Capturing the light fantastic



Painter Karen Bruson at work in her studio

It’s hard to peg Karen Bruson as a portrait or landscape or still-life painter. She does all equally well and with a loose, painterly look in well-lubricated oils. The subject doesn’t really matter to her. “I am really just trying to capture a certain quality of light and with a buttery, colorful feel,” she says. 

It wasn’t long after Bruson left her graphic designer job in 1999 (at this magazine) that she dove into learning to render in oil paint. As a self-taught painter, she started a blog called Fresh Paint to encourage herself and others to paint daily, keep active and continue learning. She focused on small paintings at first, saying “small mistakes were easier to fix.” It was through that website that she sold her first paintings, 6x6-inch “appetizer-sized” paintings at prices below $100.

Bruson has continued her dialogue with other artists, first through a shared studio in the Picker Building in Nashua and more recently in a joint venture with several other artists in Amherst at Remember This Antiques. “We all enjoy the sense of community,” she says. “The cross-pollination comes in handy if we get stuck.” The artists have a gallery on the second floor, and shoppers perusing the antiques are welcome to visit their third-floor atelier. 

At least once a week, Bruson likes to get outside for plein air painting in spite of the wind, changing light and blowing dust. She has rendered the rolling hills and farms of Hollis, but currently is focusing on the beachgoers, houses and shops of Portsmouth. She is also exhibiting in Gallery Row on Ceres Street with her Seacoast scenes and at Maison de l’Art in Nashua with a collection of small paintings.

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