About Karen Stamper
Growing up on the east coast of Yorkshire as a happy beachcomber, Karen Stamper was attracted to the faded painted wood, scraps of gaudy plastic, brightly coloured fishing floats and nets: all sun dried, sand blasted, salted and weathered. Later she headed south until she came to bright blue skies, long skinny palm trees and buildings glowing in the Mediterranean sun. It was here that she felt at home.
Learn more about Karen at her website.
Karen’s sketchbook course allowed me to experiment with media, learn new skills, and visit new places (on my own!) all under the expert tuition of Karen. The course was so friendly that I made good friends, some of whom I’m still in touch with. Karen is a great teacher with a natural ability to make you feel comfortable while learning new approaches to filling a sketchbook!
Artist Interview: Karen Stamper
What inspires you?
Travel, old crumbling surfaces, old buildings, boats in harbour, urban scenes, colour, patchings and fixings, beautiful line, telegraph poles and wires, industrial structures.
What attracts you about travel journaling?
I love to sit quietly drawing and collaging until I become part of the scene and everything that goes on around me. Then I don’t feel like a tourist with a camera. When journaling, I can pick and choose what I want to include in my book. Later, when I look at these pages back home, I am immediately transported back to that place – the smells, sounds and sights. It’s wonderful.
How do you work? What is your teaching style?
We will work the same way as I do in my books by building up layers with inks, gesso, collage papers, a bit of drawing, more collage. This will be a mixture of different views all together to give a wonderful feeling of the place rather than a specific scene.
Why do you do what you do?
I have always used a sketchbook, since I was a child. In my twenties I started to travel and document my travels in my books. They are the first thing I would grab if I had to save my possessions!
Why do students attend your courses?
I think that they enjoy the freedom of the way I work, and the fact that you do not need to be able to draw well. We can make fantastic pages with collage, inks, pens and a bit of drawing. These pages really show the character of the place in an original way.
What is your background?
I went to art college, then went traveling for a few years. I’ve worked (often in the travel industry) in Greece, Turkey, the Caribbean, Australia. Eventually I settled in New Zealand for a couple of years.
When I came back to the UK I taught art at secondary level. There I began making and selling my own work based on my travels. I also ran art and yoga holidays in the South of France and in Italy. Over 10 years ago I found that I just didn’t have time to teach in school anymore. I left to pursue my own creative world of collage and sketchbooks.
What have you learned from creating while you travel?
That people are wonderful and always willing to help. A helpful street vendor in India got all the rickshaws to move so that I had a better view, then brought me tea…I wanted to draw the rickshaws!