We had the good fortune of connecting with Karen Chatham and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Karen, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk taking in art (and life) is always an adventure that enriches my life whether it ends well or not. All risks result in learning experiences for me but most of them are life changing. For example: I was very determined to get from Texas to NW Colorado to see the wild horses with my own eyes and photograph them for future paintings, so I took the chance and traveled alone. I slept in my car for two nights and thankfully, a friend who knew the area and the horses met me there and took me to where the horses like to hang out. It was so exhilarating that I planned another trip this past summer with another artist friend. I contacted wild horse photographer friends and they met us in Utah and in Wyoming to take us out to photograph the horses. Now when I paint , I can go back to those places in spirit and connect in a way I could never have done before. Risk taking is actually necessary, as in this case, if I want to bring more emotion into my paintings of the wild horses. I hope to continue this trend and go to more places where the wild horses roam.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in rural North Texas close to Fort Worth, so I would take a visiting friend to Sundance Square, downtown Fort Worth to enjoy a scenic walk and shopping. Then we would head over to the Fort Woth Stockyards to eat either a good steak at Cattleman’s Steak House or delicious fajitas at Los Vaqueros Mexican restaraunt, and maybe do some bootscootin’ at Billy Bobs. The next day we might go hiking at Mineral Wells State Park. Another day, we might go horseback riding at the LBJ National Grasslands, But sitting on the back porch under the oak trees drinking coffee would be just as fun to me. Laughing at old times, baking cookies, telling stories, shedding a few tears… that is the most important thing to me.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First of all, my family who have been patient with me to chase after my dreams. Second, my art mentor, teacher and coach, James R Spurlock, who has relentlessly challenged me and pushed me past my own hindrances to take the risks of trying new skills and fighting through the tough stuff. But above all, I give the credit to God who gave me the gift and determination to keep going and never give up.
Facebook: Karen Kennedy Chatham
Credit for reference photos for paintings: Helmut Hussman and Joy Fitz Edwards