About Karin

I love color.

As is true for most people, I loved to draw when I was young. And, as is true for most people, I stopped somewhere along the road.

I was born with dual citizenship, as my dad was a German journalist who met my mother in Washington D.C. in the 1950s. I grew up speaking both German and English, in Darmstadt, and later Hof, Germany. My adult life has been spent living in both countries at different times, which has been a great privilege and a bit of an adventure. My original career was in local newspaper journalism, following in my dad’s footsteps.

It was during my 30s, living in Mobile, AL, after ten years of being an editor, that I finally rediscovered color. I learned how to make quilts and started teaching very soon.

10 years later, after also having published my quilts in “Burda”, an international craft magazine based in Germany, I felt that I needed a change, took a class with quilt artist Nancy Crow and became an art quilt maker.

In 2001 I moved to Tucson, AZ and became involved with “The Drawing Studio” an art school where I Iearned how to draw. Initially, I drew only on abstract fabric compositions I had created, to give them a three dimensional look. I still create these pieces, as visitors to my gallery can see.

Examples of my Mixed media work with fiber
Mixed media work 2018

In 2013, when I moved again, this time to the Pacific Northwest, my sewing machine and all my fabrics were locked away in storage for 10 months.

So I pulled out some color pencils and some paper and started to draw.

My  greatest passion are the Fantasy Fish with their brilliant colors, lovely swirling fins and luscious lips, their amazing eyes and weird antennae. I could probably spend the rest of my days drawing one fish after another, always trying to outdo myself and get more and more creative, layer the colors in ever more intricate ways.

But I obviously love drawing the Character Animals as well. You will mostly see faces of the animals I draw, because I always look for an expression of emotion. That can be worry, or surprise, fierceness or laughter. I rarely draw the rest of the body, as in the information I’m interested in lies in the face, and there, mostly in the eyes.

The Birdhouse Series originates from my love of houses. I love to nest, so inventing all these personalized little homes is fun and emotionally soothing to me. I imagine a little story each time I draw. Who might live there, what the personality of the resident might be. So obviously a Mid-Century Modern birdhouse will look completely different than a Girly-Girl house.

I hope you enjoy your visit to my web site. It is my goal to add fun and color to your life through my art. It is not meant primarily for children, as they are usually already surrounded by colors and imaginative figures. It is us, the adults, who are in urgent need of rediscovering the fun of whimsy, the exuberance of color. So I have made it my mission to provide humans of ALL ages with art work that will make them feel like smiling.

Please feel free to email me. Better yet, come to Sandphifer Gallery in Pacific Beach, WA! It’s steps away from a dog-friendly beach, and there’s lots and lots more to see there.

Karin Malzan Phifer