Posted by: karensaenz | October 2, 2008

Karen Saenz blog about painting…

and beauty and culture and art and biology and running and all the other things I think about while I am PAINTING =)

Posted by: karensaenz | April 6, 2017

Big Show, Small World!!

Exciting news!  Tomorrow I am hanging a show at Austin Holistic Health, in Westlake just outside of Austin.  This time I am doing it right and arriving like Santa with all my goods in tow with a massive U-HAUL 🙂

Listen to this!  20 years ago a client, and now dear friend, commissioned me to paint a mural on the front door of her home.  To this day the mural still stands and she still calls me, “Door Girl!”  Last week, she had a rolfing session with Norma Bell Bandy at Austin Holistic Health and told Norma all about “Door Girl” and my artwork and how perfectly it would fit their space.

Little did she know, I have sought the wisdom of Norma and her husband, John Bandy, for years.  Somehow they have seen my whole family through each of our little mysteries of health too strange or confounding for Western medicine.

This opportunity to hang my work is so special to me because the entire circle of people who are making it happen.

Cheers to a small world right here in Austin,




Posted by: karensaenz | December 16, 2009

Will somebody please bring me some SUN???!!!

Artists have this reputation of being like those “air plants” that you get at Big Red Sun- that all we need is our selves to create amazing beauty out of virtually nothing…  Well, I don’t know about other artists but I need inspiration!!  And, while the fog and mist and atmospheric haze are indeed quite beautiful, I have to be honest- my current body of work is in dire need of A LIGHT SOURCE!!!  PLEASE!!!!  Will somebody PLEASE make the sun come out!!!!  Nothing seems alive or able to come alive in this bath of blandness!!   There is no drama or movement in this flatness!! 

I want warm, gooey light… Or even intense, piercing hot light…  I would really LOVE a lowslung, sideways light- the kind that makes long, graceful shadows of Giaccometti-ish proportions!  I want all the objects and people and creatures flitting around outside, unaware that they are moving in the flattering spotlight of the sun for my next painting =].  I want twinkles and sparkles on all the dew in the morning and mirrors of copper and amber on the skyline in the afternoon.  Indulge the trees in just a dance of light through their branches since now they are completely bare of color!  The wind needs sun to see the patterns of the waves it makes along the river!  Even the most ominous cloud knows, to be a real showstopper, it needs the sun to back it up! 

I’m not inventing this.  LIGHT and HEAT are why life exists on planet earth!!- AND if you have ever seen my artwork, it is also why my ART exists on planet earth!!! 

Until this months-long season of doldrums breaks, I will TRY to be patient.  I will focus on the subtle translucency in the wings of the white crane I saw… and the irony of the laundry draped across a clothesline in the rain… and the powerful spears of rowers I see chasing each other over the water in the early morning.  

And if I try hard enough, maybe I can finish all these paintings by the time Spring comes and my wishes all come true-

Posted by: karensaenz | May 20, 2009

About my work…

A while back (ok, a very long while back) I began this blog as a way to talk about my work.  But as my work changes and grows, in more ways than one, I find it harder and harder to commit time to my computer.  Marketing my work is not my strongest talent, as I have rediscovered trying to update my website.  I have great admiration for people who are savvy with technology because they are so efficient with computers that they are probably all out frolicking in this great weather.  Not sitting, hunched over at a desk inside, becoming even more glow in the dark…   

The truth is that I have thought about hiring someone to build me a spectacular website a million times over the last few years.  But I’d like to think that doing it myself is building some sort of crazy new web of neural pathways and maybe even help my art!  We’ll see… Right now I’d much rather be painting than taking photos of the paintings, editing them, moving jpegs around, trying to remember what’s been uploaded where, and all that stuff.  All you awesome web designers out there, you are amazing!!! 

Power to the programmers!!!!  (and please have mercy on my web skills!)


Posted by: karensaenz | October 30, 2008


This year, Karen Saenz Studio is proud to help sponsor the 2nd Annual RUN FOR THE WATER!  As a member of the Austin-based Gilbert’s Gazelles running group, I have come to appreciate the invaluble power of training with a coach and running with a team.  Our coach and inspiration, Gilbert Tuhabonye, is a huge-hearted, incredibly talented distance runner who miraculously survived a genocide attack on his village in Burundi, Africa.  He came here to live, to start his beautiful family, and to coach the most amazing group of people I have ever met.  We are looking forward to a fantastic turnout at the race this year, with all the proceeds going to help the Gazelle Foundation build wells in Africa.  Come run the scenic and challenging 10 miler (or fast 5k) this Nov. 9th, or help by making a donation at

The reason I feel so strongly about this:  I have loved running since I can even remember, but becoming part of the Gazelles and friends with Gilbert has literally changed my life.  I love running more than ever now.  In the movie “Prefontaine” Coach Bill Bowerman says, “You can’t coach motivation.”  But I know a million people out there would say that Gilbert does it every day.  The surprising thing to me, is that what happens in the running group so early in the morning feeds energy into so many other goals.  So many times I have been working on a tough part of a painting and I just can’t seem to get it and feel like I am at a loss- and I honestly can hear what Gilbert tells us on the track when we think we are “too tired” to do any more- he says “DO IT FOR THE LOVE!!!”  And so I do.

Posted by: karensaenz | October 2, 2008

The process…

So, the reason I started blogging- well, actually there are several! 

The first is that I value the process that each artist follows in creating a finished work of art, and I wanted the chance to explore mine more publicly.  People ask me every so often if my paintings are photographs, or if I use a projector, or if they are prints (the answers are all NO!!).  I still believe that the finished product speaks for itself, but I want to also argue for the value in true craftsmanship and the neverending honing of better technique.  Luckily the viewer rarely sees the mishaps and stuggles that go into so many phases of a beautiful piece of artwork.  But I know other artists can relate.

Secondly, I hope to open a dialogue, to get feedback, and to foster a community for anyone interested in adding to the seemingly random scope of thoughts and goals pursued here.  I just like thinking a lot, and pondering things in great depth comes easy if a piece takes me weeks and weeks alone in a studio.  To be honest, the process can sometimes be lonely, and I invite you into all that goes on in my studio, and some of what goes on in my mind. 

And lastly, I want to document my progress.  I hardly ever have the natural forethought to take pictures of all my paintings while they endure so many days in the Ugly Duckling phase- so I think this will hold me more accountable.  I also want any aspiring artists (Hi, to all my old St. Michael’s art students!!!) to know deep down in their hearts that most artwork is very VERY ugly for most of its “life”, often until the end when it finally looks good enough to sign.  It looking terrible is not a good reason to stop making something.  In fact, it’s a pretty good reason to keep going =)

I leave you with a poem I had to memorize as a kid, that I have never forgotten: