A Brush with Art: Talents of Encinitas artist cross boundaries

The exhibit of Arts Alive original banners created by nearly 100 exceptional local artists continues along the Coast Highway in Encinitas through the end of May 2015.

At the corner of the Coast Highway and “I” Street, the banner created by Encinitas artist Karen Athens titled “Endangered2Extinction” is on display.

“Endangered2Extinction” by Karen Athens is one of 99 original banners available at the annual Arts Alive auction June 7. Image courtesy of Stephen Whalen Photography

“Endangered2Extinction” by Karen Athens is one of 99 original banners available at the annual Arts Alive auction June 7. Image courtesy of Stephen Whalen Photography

Expressing her concern for endangered animal species, Athens’ painting depicts various creatures of the air, land and sea in a gradient of colors. An animal advocate since early childhood, Athens brings visual attention to the critical issue and adds, “The Endangered Species Act lists 88 endangered and 40 officially threatened animals of California, with many others pending. This is happening right now and a very serious concern.”

A native of Encinitas, Athens has the rare gift of photographic color memory, which has proven useful in her career as an artist. The avid traveller’s vibrantly colored paintings and sculptures capture the essence of exotic places she has lived or visited throughout the world. Her current Travel Destination series is a result of her extensive global experiences.

Athens adds, “My love of travel to distant and beautiful areas around the world has given me the ability to transform the sights of these amazing places with acrylic paints.”

For the ambidextrous and multidisciplinary artist whose talents cross boundaries of visual and performing arts, music has been equally important as her visual artwork and she feels a strong inner connection between both types of creations.

Beginning a decade of classical piano training at age five, the precocious young musician taught herself to play the guitar and by age six began composing her own music, creating both lyrics and melodies. Today as a songwriter, composer and publisher, she is a member of The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, with nearly 100 songs registered with the Library of Congress.

The avid swimmer, hiker, camper and yoga practitioner says, “My ideas come from things that I see every day, dreams at night and also when I am swimming. I am either painting, drawing, building sculptures or creating something every day.”

With a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art Painting and Design, Color Theory and Visual Communications, Athens began her professional art career with residential and commercial commissions. In addition to custom fine artwork, her projects have included murals, faux finishes, restoration projects, interior design direction and color consultation for both residential and commercial properties.

Athens states, “My artwork is a visual journey brought to life by combining different types of mediums and subject matter so that it is seen in a new and interesting way. I believe there is a place for all of us to create and share our art with others through our individual talents. The artists from the past, present and future continue to give us hope for a beautiful tomorrow.”

Karen Athens’ banner “Endangered2Extinction” is one of 99 original works of art that will be available at the annual Arts Alive auction in the Cardiff Town Center courtyard June 7. Join auctioneer Rich Houk as he opens live bidding at 2 p.m.

Visit artsaliveencinitas.com to view images of the 2015 Arts Alive banners. For more information on the 2015 auction phone Leucadia 101 Main Street at (760) 436-2320.

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