Artistic Excellence 2013 | Honorable Mention: Karla Mann


Karla Mann, The Waiting Game, oil, 12 x 16.

Karla Mann, The Waiting Game, oil, 12 x 16.

What inspired your winning entry? It was the way the light was hitting the bird and how it stood out against the dark background. I took a photograph, and what I saw, once I downloaded it, was that the light was even more dramatic than when I snapped the photo.

Where did you study art? I was self-taught until I entered Tidewater Community College in Norfolk, VA, the same year my son started college. I then went on to Old Dominion University, also in Norfolk, where I received a bachelor’s degree in fine arts.

How would you describe your style? I have a passion for detailed realism. I like to feel as though the images in the painting could come alive at any moment. I am a wildlife artist, so it is important to me to represent the animal or bird in as much detail as possible. I hope to give the viewer a chance to visit a world they may not have the opportunity to see in any other way.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you? I am pretty much an open book.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Believe in yourself and paint what you love.

What is your pet peeve? When someone says, “Why don’t you just take a picture?” as they comment on a photorealistic aspect of my paintings. The painting always is far more beautiful than the photograph I may reference, because in the painting I can add color, drama, and emotion. Also, I have control over where and how I dramatize the event.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be? A wildlife photographer. I love going into the field to photograph. I marvel at the beauty in nature: the light and the interaction of the animals and birds with each other.

What’s the most meaningful recognition you’ve received for your artwork? I would have to say the most meaningful was when I got a call from Turpin Gallery asking me to be a part of their gallery in Jackson, WY. It was the answer to a dream I have had since I started painting wildlife.

What are your goals for the future? To continue to paint because it is my passion and my joy.

What galleries represent your work? Turpin Gallery, Jackson, WY; Richard Stravitz Sculpture and Fine Art Galleries, Virginia Beach, VA.

This story was featured in the December 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art December 2013 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

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