Karen Appleton was born in Arlington Virginia in 1956. She received her BFA from the Corcoran School of Art and her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1993. Appleton has exhibited her work throughout the Washington DC area, including The Gudelsky Gallery and The International Sculpture Center. Before pursuing her degrees, she studied painting with the late Leon Berkowitz for many years.

She currently lives and works in Oakland California with her wife and their two children. Her work can be seen through Pro Arts online and is on view at Five Flavor Herbs in Oakland California.


When I listen to a piece of music, I listen with my heart.  Sure the words can tell a story but the sounds of those words, the notes, the rhythm, the beat, all evoke a response.  My breathing changes, my heart beats stronger, my body's energy is affected.  I might smile, or cry, or turn away, or rise up in dance, whatever the response, I am moved beyond thought, beyond meaning and my existence shares the space between the words or notes or sound.  This is what I want to capture on the canvas.  That which cannot be seen or heard with the thinking mind, that which can only be sensed or felt.

Young children have the ability to walk up to a piece of paper and with crayon in hand, make marks on the surface.  They delight in the movement of those marks, the colors, the pressure of the crayon digging into the paper.  When they first begin to draw, it is not about telling a story, it is all about the mark and their ability to make that mark.  Around the age of three or four, their marks become representations of their world.  As we age, our thinking becomes the focus but what about that space or the experience before thought?  What if all the chatter, the visual clutter, the bill boards, the screen, the traffic, the radio, the talking, was to be silenced?  Would we cease to exist?  It is in the stripping away of the recognizable that I find space, quiet stillness and peace.