Vermont Arts Council

The People’s Choice Award: Karen Ojala

61: Karen Ojala

Create a series of portraits of community members

My passion as an artist has always revolved around capturing people, whether it be a face as in a portrait, a life model in gesture or by an alla prima painting of an intriguing “someone.” I consider myself a romantic painter and also lean towards portrait expressionism. I have been working in figure painting studios for a span of 20 years. In 2009 I filled all of the classrooms of an 1850s village schoolhouse with working artist’s studios. The accomplishment of that effort has given me a lot of validation in myself as a creator for I’m a late bloomer. I raised 4 children before I could put myself first and follow my own vision. Not having gone to an art school (self taught) I sought out artists I admired and connected to. I put alot of time into developing my painting. My work is now my passion and my passion is art. In ’21 I migrated from Provincetown MA to VT to be closer to family. I am so grateful to have started my own atelier here: Studio Hyppy (Finnish for jump, leap & bound)

Project description

My project is ongoing, there is no beginning or end. I am continually developing a body of work for myself. Yes I do want people to see it but I don’t think of that as I’m in the studio, that is not what drives me. My predominate artistic genre could be described as portrait expressionist. Painting in oil and dry pigment (my pastel work I consider paintings ) and figurative charcoal drawing is also a love of mine. Even when I’m working on a still life or landscape I have to express an emotion. I have to have a feeling about what is in front of me to even begin. I always seek out a strong composition, composition is everything.

Media Sample 1


Media Sample 2

Flower Shop Girl.

Media Sample 3

December Rose.

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Acadia Klepeis August 24, 2023