Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Something Beautiful: Happy Birthday, Karen Wray

{  Karen Wray, "Purple Iris," 20" x 20", oil on canvas }  

I have talented siblings. My older sister, Karen Wray, lives in Los Alamos, NM, and she creates quite beautiful regional art, focusing on local (hopefully nonradioactive) flora; haunting landscapes from the area in which she lives; and gorgeous, photorealistic representations of basset hounds in tutus, or playing the guitar, or dancing flamenco. She sells her work and that of other local artists at her studio, Karen Wray Fine Art Gallery. If you ever get to the greater Santa Fe area, look her up. Los Alamos Laboratory and the town that supports it are about a half hour or so from SF. You can also buy her work online at her website, which includes pricing and so on.

Karen is 10 years older than I am, and I'm happy she did not kill me when she had the chance. She had the unfortunate job of babysitting me when I was a kid, and I remember saying to her so often, the moment my parents closed the front door as they left, "You're not my Mom. I don't have to listen to you." From that point on, it was war.

But eventually we grew out of it. In college sometime. She moved to Los Alamos, and as a family, we fell in love with this lovely region, so different from the Southwest suburbs of Chicago. "Look! Non-flat rock things! Non-gray skies! The color brown! It's a dry heat!"

{ Karen Wray, "Summer Thunderclouds," 18" x 24", oil on canvas }  
Karen opened her gallery a couple years ago, and she's been filling it with works by talented friends of hers from the pretty vibrant Los Alamos arts community.

You know, I never imagined Karen would end up as a painter when I was a kid. She worked at the lab, doing horrible number-crunching work as a budget analyst or something like that. When she left her position at the lab because the rheumatoid arthritis she struggles with became too much of a problem, she reinvented herself as an artist. She's faced so many medical procedures, operations, pharmaceutical regimes, therapies, and so on; and yet, she doesn't complain about it. She doesn't whine, or act self-pitying, or let herself off the hook for living a full and happy life with her dogs, her husband Bill, her beautiful home, and her paint. And her dogs. Really, she's a superhero to me, and one of the most brave, admirable, smart, and tenacious women you'd ever meet. I miss her, and New Mexico is a long way away.

Karen, happy birthday! XOXO

(And thank you in advance for not suing me because I posted your pictures without your permission.)

NOT Karen Wray's Painting.
I'm just sayin', they'd be a cash cow!