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Meet Karen Crenshaw, Portrait and Landscape Artist

Karen Lee Crenshaw says has been drawing since she used to, as she puts it, "scribble on the walls as a child." Karen has lived in Jacksonville, NC for the last seventeen years where she maintains Crenshaw Art Studio in her home. She was one of the first artists to rent a studio at ArtExposure and her plein air painting of the Surf City Swing Bridge was the very first sale made once the gallery opened.


Karen was born in South Dakota and grew up in West Virginia where she obtained a BS in Art Education from Concord College. After teaching in Rockbridge County, VA, she returned to her studies at George Washington University in Washington, DC, earning a MFA in Painting. Her paintings have been exhibited and have won awards in New York City, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and Washington, DC.


Karen has been accepting portrait commissions for many years and specializes in portraits of women and children. Her work is traditional and lifelike, yet it maintains a painterly quality. She enjoys providing her clients with an heirloom that will last for many generations. “I especially love working with children and capturing that innocence that seems to pass so quickly,” the artist says.

Karen’s recent first place painting in the Kinston Plein Air Paintout at the BBQ Festival on the Neuse, “Lavender Fields Forever,” will be featured on the 2019 poster. In addition, Karen's landscapes were selected for reproduction in a recent book, "Painting North Carolina, A Visual Journey," by Kimberly Maselli. Her work joins those of 32 regionally and nationally known landscape painters who have depicted the beauty of North Carolina from the mountains to the coast. When she is not working on portraits, you can find her painting landscapes either in the studio or outdoors, “en plein air.” She regularly paints with the Onslow Outdoor Painter’s Society (OOPS!). 


Karen can be contacted at her studio at ArtExposure Gallery, call 910-228-7802 or email at [email protected]