Karen Laurence-Rowe

AFC Conservation Artist of the Month for October, 2014

In Karen Laurence-Rowe's modesty she mentions "In fact I don’t think I do enough - all I can do is paint something and donate the money, which is my way. Not a day goes by when I don’t thank my lucky stars that I am in a position to do that.... so many artists, especially the younger ones, are not."
An example of Karen's generosity to conservation causes is her painting "Northern Ranger" raising $13,700 dollars - which all went to the Rangers of Northern Rangelands Trust. This kept them in the field for 46 days - clothing, radios food etc.   "A mere drop in the ocean if you think about it!" as she put it but still a huge benefit from a single individual and a single painting.
She has made numerous donations over the years and at the moment  is donating a painting for an Orangutan project in Indonesia at the moment.  It will be sold at her next exhibition at the going price and the money forwarded to them. She is also donated a painting to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy who had a fund raising exhibition in the UK in July and she is talking to two local conservation groups in Kenya, where she has pledged to donate a painting and the money raised all goes to them.
"I am a self-taught artist – and the mistakes and “happy accidents” made along the way, have become intrinsic to my style of painting. The passion I have for my subject matter seems to grow with each painting – and the terrifying thing is, that as fast as I can paint the beautiful beasts and vistas of this continent – they are as quickly disappearing to the pressures of humanity and poaching. I feel the need to record it in paint – and quickly – before it is lost to us forever"
Karen was born in Uganda, daughter to a civil engineer. Her family lived an almost a nomadic existence, moving around East Africa to wherever a road or a bridge was needed. Home in those early was often a prefab wooden site house with lions and hyenas breaking the sounds of the night. With no towns or cities around for hundreds of miles, Karen and her siblings would draw to entertain themselves – it is this period that influenced her decision to become an artist. These memories of Africa’s virtually unspoiled landscapes, teeming with game and magnificent views, were to influence her subject matter in the years to come.
Despite studying Graphic Design and working in Advertising in South Africa for a number of years the pull of her early roots drew Karen back to East Africa and she returned to live in Kenya with her family. With the abundance of the spectacular wildlife that the country has to offer, her work soon began to swing towards fine art and the capturing of the wonderful light and images that Kenya is famous for. In 1989, she was persuaded to hold her first solo show at the Robert Glen Gallery in Nairobi – the show was a near sell-out and she began to paint full time.
Although Karen is most well-known for painting African Wildlife – She is just as interested in capturing the landscapes, seascapes and the people of the country she is in. She is extremely versatile in medium and style and can switch easily from oils into watercolors or charcoal. 
Karen’s paintings grace the walls of many an art lover both locally in Kenya and internationally - including the world renowned collection of his highness the Aga Khan. She paints from her Studio in Nairobi and tries to get into the field to be amongst the animals she loves as much as she can.

Previous Conservation Artists of the Month

(December, 2019)
(November, 2019)
(October, 2019)
(September, 2019)
(August, 2019)
(July, 2019)
(June, 2019)
(May, 2019)
(April, 2019)
(March, 2019)
(February, 2019)
(January, 2019)
(December, 2018)
(November, 2018)
(October, 2018)
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