Karen Welsh

Karen Welsh


This year we are very proud to announce Karen’s first exhibition at Gallery 21

‘BEYOND BOUNDARIES …..A Creative Journey’
Saturday 25th May – Sunday 9th June 2024

This exhibition will form part of the prestigious ‘SALISBURY ART TRAIL’ over the same period of time.

Be sure to view the exhibition during your art trail – Karen will be in attendance on most days during the event, or simply add your details to our mailing list for Karen’s ‘VIP Preview Opening’ where the artist will be in attendance.

Gallery 21 is now the exclusive dealer of Karen’s work, and always have a selection of new works on display.

About The Works:

With acrylic paint as her chosen medium and using only a limited palette, keeping the paintings fresh & bold. Making marks with large flat brushes providing the viewer with a loose feel to her work, creating that all important abstract side to her originals.

Karen has been on a journey to abstraction. Her paintings have developed from figurative through to semi abstract and total abstraction. Starting with gestural marking then layering the paint, concentrating on balancing tonal value with colour harmony, She develops the works until she has achieved the desired outcome.


Born in Reigate, Surrey January 1962

Karen Welsh is a contemporary, modern landscape painter based in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Karen’s career began as a sign writer and commercial artist beginning with an apprenticeship in her father’s business 1980 at 18 years old. As well as an excellent sign writer Paul Welsh, Karen’s father, was also an artist interested in life drawing and the landscape. The working day was often interrupted with an excursion into the countryside to paint the landscape or a life drawing session. This is where the love for landscape painting was established.

1982 after completing her apprenticeship, Karen set up her own business producing bespoke signs and pictorial art in the traditional way. The art of colour mixing and painting large scale has influenced her painting today.

28 years of forced modernisation in the sign industry had taken her away from her roots. Creating and painting using the brush had become a rarity.

2008 was the start of the change to get back to pure painting. Karen began to paint on canvas full-time. Moving away from her business gave her the opportunity to relocate wanting a more peaceful life in the country.

Passing through Wiltshire towards the West Country for her new home saw Karen falling for the large open spaces with big skies, chalk hills and wide valleys covered with hardy grasslands, she found the landscape surrounding Salisbury Plain unique and special. This place provided the inspiration she needed to work towards making the paintings she creates today.

Finding this way of painting has found Karen drawn to areas such as the moors of Devon and Cornwall, the Dales and the other beautiful landscapes of Britain.


Looking at my paintings will find you are usually viewing the landscape from a high point. The surprise of making my way upwards and finding myself on top of a hill with the vast, never-ending landscape laid out in front of me is wonderful, being on top of the world is what I want to capture. I have found the idea of travelling through the landscape to a place of happiness is my intent.

I want to focus on the land, that is why the skies in my works are understated to give the landscape a centre stage. The paintings are influenced by the forms of the land, my interest the effect ancient landmarks have on the shapes adds to the abstraction of a piece.

As well as acrylic paint I use charcoal to add structure and interesting marks and a medium to give texture to the paintings. The colours will stay clean and fresh due to the limited palette I use which make a cohesive collection of works.

Until 2019 my work was representational landscape painting with a focus on texture and colours. I intended to express the feel of the landscape, the way it forms itself from the ground, to push the contrast between the land and the sky. The colours were taken to the limits, highlighted by spots of blue and pink in response to the reflections of the sky and other objects against each other. I enhanced the textures in the foreground with impasto to create the feel of freshly cut straw in the field under foot, for example.

August 2019, the first attempt at abstraction. My studio practice includes listening to podcasts and videos on art history and especially Abstract Expressionism, eventually I was intrigued as to where I could go with abstracting. I haven’t looked back.

I mark the canvas with charcoal, play with colour finding shape and form to work with, I don’t have an idea of the finished painting. I layer and evolve the painting using instinct, trial and error. I want to capture the feel of the landscape I am painting and provoke a sense of the place.

Every painting feels me with excitement and freedom. I love every one of them. There are endless possibilities to build the work to achieve the optimal outcome.

A new canvas is like a brand-new day.

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