Karen Ahlgren grew up in northern California with a life long passion for animals. From spending her early summers in the forests of northern California and later living near the mesas of New Mexico, Karen developed her deep appreciation and love for the natural world. Residing in southern Mexico she became enamored of the wild colors in the native costumes, folk art and traditions. Karen finally realized her dream of living near the wilds of the woods and moved to northern New Mexico. Here her passion and connection with wild beings was nurtured by them passing through her land.
“Ahlgren paints in undiluted watercolor, giving her work a vividness that brings to mind the brilliant colors and magical surrealism of South American art forms. Her style is coherent and powerful. Her conviction, her strength of purpose is evident in her work. The paintings are strong, striking, the animals bold and unequivocal. They gaze out of each brilliant frame w/ a look that commands attention, an unfaltering presence. It is strong work, with a certain rawness, a primitiveness to it. It is work that speaks of a strong inner strength....”
Hearing her speak about her work, Ahlgren declares that ‘my focus on animals in each painting reflects my love, respect and concern for the natural world. The combination of intensity, softness and in-the-moment way in which they live their lives is inspiring. I feel that the combination of portraying these beings in vivid ‘non-local’ colors and with sensitivity allows the viewer to approach their soulfulness with great ease. One can simultaneously be compassionate and delighted.”
Karen is a native Californian. She graduated from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. She also attended the University of the Americas in Puebla, Mexico and Otis Parson’s Institute of Design. Her art instruction has been minimal and she considers herself self-taught.
Through showings and commissions her paintings have found homes in many private collections world wide, including those of John Larroquette, Howard Hesseman, Connie Stevens and Marilyn Quayle.
Donations are made throughout the year to organizations that benefit and protect wildlife and wild places.