Karen Stabenow

Contact Information



Philadelphia, PA

Please contact artist for purchases, commissions, etc.


Artist's Statement

I am originally from East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, but Philadelphia has been my home for almost 40 years. My current work focuses on seascapes, arctic landscapes, nature, and Southwest subjects. I encounter many visual images/ideas from research via the internet, arctic blogs, maps, exhibitions, current reports, and scientific accounts of physical changes occurring in the arctic. It is my nature to stubbornly continue to pursue these subjects. Like Georgia O’Keeffe said, “I have a single track mind. I work on an idea for a long time. It is like getting acquainted with a person, and I don’t get acquainted easily.” I am becoming acquainted with the Arctic and I intend to continue work on these subjects with great dedication and persistence for a long time. This is my obligation as an artist.

Abstract expressionism and minimalism are my choice for depicting the drama taking place in a world that evokes threats and hopes, a world many people do not directly observe or touch. Inspired by nature, my challenge is to communicate the essence of the landscape and its momentum. Subject, lines, shapes, and shades define my painting. The ability to collect visual images is imperative in the pursuit of these conceptual subjects. Many people experience the world in a way that is skewed by misrepresentation: glossed over, cleaned up or even exaggerated images of the earth and the human condition. This distorted view of the world is harmful to progression. The lovely and unpleasant both have roles to play in evolution. To ignore one or the other would be naïve. My work deals with perceptual, theoretical, conceptual, and social connections. I endeavor to be frank in my observations.

My art encompasses oil painting, works on paper, and collage. I have been engaged in my art for over 40 years and influenced by my work as an environmental planner. I continue to be influenced by the works of Georgia O’Keeffe, Franz Kline, and Mark Rothko.

Selected Exhibitions

Abstract Juried Exhibition, Philadelphia Sketch Club, Philadelphia, PA

Small Oils Juried Exhibition, Philadelphia Sketch Club, Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia Open Studio Tour

Artists Unite: Project Fishtown, he Hatchatory, Philadelphia, PA

Large Oils Juried Exhibition, Philadelphia Sketch Club, Philadelphia, PA

Member Exhibition: InLiquid, PPAC, Second State, at Ice Box Project Space and Grey Area, Crane Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia Open Studio Tour

Philadelphia Open Studio Tour

Annual Show, Manayunk Art Center, Philadelphia, PA

Aabenraa Galleri, Storegade, Aabenraa, Denmark

AB Wyckoff Art Show, Stroudsburg, PA
2nd Prize

Professional Experience

2005 - 2013
GR Planning, Owner, Sustainable Planning Services

1996 - 2012
Philadelphia Housing Authority, Program Manager for Strategic Planning

1986 - 2012
CH2M Hill, Senior Project Manager for Coastal Planning Projects, Philadelphia PA and Honolulu, HI

1984 - 1986
Research Fellowship, College of Liberal Arts; Temple University, Philadelphia, PA


College of Liberal Arts, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA

School of the Arts, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA

Cheltenham Center for the Arts, Cheltenham, PA

Texas Woman’s University, Denton, TX
MS, Environmental Science

Texas Woman’s University, Denton, TX
BS, Microbiology