Artist Karen Hartnell is based in the beautiful small county of Kinross-shire, Scotland.

Karen has called Scotland home since 2003, having spent all of her pervious years on the south coast of England in the county of Hampshire. The move to Scotland inspired Karen to return to art.

Karen has enjoyed painting for as long as she can remember and studied art to A Level at college. Only picking up the paint brushes again in the years after. Karen’s primary mediums to work in are watercolours, acrylics and graphite pencil.

Having a love of animals, and being a dog-owner herself, Karen began carving out a career in this field of art, and has painted many beloved pets over the past 15 years.

Me and my Labrador, Logie, with one of his portraits

For the love of dogs

Karen shared her childhood years alongside her parents’ various West Highland Terriers, and finally become the owner of her first dog in 2004; not a Westie but a chocolate Labrador called Corbie, the original artistic inspiration. Sadly, there was the heart breaking goodbye to Corbie on Christmas morning 2017, a wonderful family member and much missed. A second Lab, Logie, joined the family in early 2017. 

My Labradors, Corbie and Logie, 2017

Wildlife watching

Moving to Scotland rekindled Karen’s passion for wildlife, with many incredible encounters since, and it is these memories that will often spark an idea for a painting.

Karen’s passion for one species of bird in particular is evident in her wildlife work: eagles.

From 2014 to 2017 she volunteered with the RSPB, helping to keep watch over a pair of White-tailed Eagles, and continues to help whenever required.

A juvenile White-tailed Eagle I watched in 2019

A selection of Karen’s White-tailed Eagle artwork was on display at the RSPB Sea Eagle Festival in 2017, celebrating 10 years since the East of Scotland reintroduction.

These birds have also inspired many cartoons, capturing their antics in her Eagle Antics: Tales from Scotland’s White-tailed Eagles series.

One of my Eagle Antics cartoons inspired by Scotland’s White-tailed Eagles

Karen’s favourite way to relax is watching wildlife, learning about species and their habits and has spent many hours in the company of all creatures great and small.  Karen’s aim behind her work is for her love of the natural world to show through in her paintings. A piece of art may trigger a memory of a special wildlife encounter you have had.

Karen’s other interests include walking in the beautiful Scottish countryside with her Labrador.

Another interest is teaching her Labrador lots of fun things: he can paint, and even has his own special paintbrush! ‘Team Labrador’ have gained their Do More With Your Dog! Novice, Intermediate, Advanced and Expert Trick Dog titles, as well as Foundation and Bronze levels of the CHUK Online Good Hoopers Awards, and working towards Silver. 

Karen has been a student of world renowned educator in all things canine, Susan Garrett, for almost 3 years, and even appears as trick instructor in one of Susan’s online programs, teaching a couple of fun tricks.