Karen Portrait © 2014 Nathan Johnson

Karen Portrait
© 2014 Nathan Johnson

Karen Johnson is a member of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators (GNSI), and the Nature Artists Guild of the Morton Arboretum.  She exhibits regularly with the Guild and was their featured artist in 1995.  She has also exhibited with the American Society of Botanical Artists  at the Chicago Botanical Gardens, the Olbrich Botanical Garden in Madison, WI and at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL.

She has bachelors’ degrees from Iowa State University in biological illustration and entomology, the study of insects.  Karen has done the majority of her color work in watercolor, gouache, acrylic and pastel and her black and white work on scratchboard.  Her realistic depictions of flowers and insects are done on a variety of backgrounds ranging from plain to abstract.  She also utilizes the computer to make her paintings available in cards and calendars.

She has done illustration work for a variety of clients including: Iowa State University entomology and veterinary departments, Organic Gardening Magazine, Horticulture Magazine, the University of Illinois Extension Services and Ball Horticultural Company.  Her artwork is included in private and corporate collections.

Currently she teaches pen and ink, scratchboard, and insect illustration classes at the Morton Arboretum.  Exploring polymer sculpture in the form of jewelry is her latest foray into depicting insects and plants in an educational and artistic way.  Texture, color and the interesting shapes of insects inspire her.  She hopes that these wearable creatures and flowers will inspire people to take notice and care for what’s around them every day in nature.

Artist’s statement:

“When I discovered in college that I could combine art with science, I was thrilled.  With my science background, I could more accurately depict the animals and plants in my artwork.  I’ve always been fascinated with the smaller details of God’s creation, especially with the variety of insects and the beauty of flowers.  It is my hope that my paintings and sculptures will inspire people to look more carefully around them at the wonders that God has created, both large and small.  All of my paintings are fleeting moments that I have observed and captured so that I could share with others the wonder that I still feel when I observe the intricacies of God’s nature.”


20 thoughts on “About”

  1. You are very, very talented. I’ll be back!

  2. Hi Karen, great work here too!. I did not know, there was a BA in your field. Sounds interesting. Keep on going. 🙂

    • There’s also a masters in bio-medical visualization or medical illustration as well! Check out the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators (gnsi.org) for all the different areas we illustrate.

  3. hi karen, the illustrations are so endearing, i know your blog has to be listed here http://kintal.wordpress.com/2013/08/16/abc-award-nominees/. please accept, thanks.

  4. Hey! Thank you for popping by my blog! I saw that you like quite a few of my old posts, so you really looked! hehe! You also have a great blog! I am glad I came across it!

    Thank you!

    • Well, I will admit I focused on the ones from France because I’m planning a trip there. I love to see where other people like to visit…May have to add the catacombs to my extensive list!

  5. Thank-you so much for the follow and your comments. You are such a talented and knowledgeable lady!

  6. Your work is gorgeous! Can’t wait to see more 😀 And thank you for visiting my blog ❤

  7. Beautiful art. 🙂

  8. art + science perfect harmony:-) You are blessed:-)

  9. I’m also interested in the combination of art and science.

  10. Yes! Gods’ creation…..I love your statement. 🙂

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