KAREN LA DU
• Teaching • Text • Image • 1981 through 2020 •
My journey has always been a creative one in the studio as well as in daily life. Art is not just the act of making images come alive, but the never-ending quest for beauty in the mundane; the desire to elevate the quotidienne* to a higher aesthetic. I’ve had many inspiring teachers in the classroom and the home. Embroidering, painting and decorating with Nana, sewing, baking and play dough making with Mom, silk screening, wood working, and drawing floor plans with Dad. These powerful hands on learning experiences taught me perseverance, attention to detail, the pleasure of an aesthetically pleasing environment and the satisfaction of a job well done.
Childhood summers were spent at our family summer home built by my maternal grandparents, on a beautiful barrier island. Awash with cousins, friends, sun, storms, shells, sea glass, gulls, fishes, boats, sandcastles and lots of love. Later I lived there alone, enjoying walks on the beach with Mimser. My only child grew up there with Mom and Me, sharing our memories, creating new ones together and making her own. Our home was sold on March 8, 2019. It was time for a new start. These memories flood my work.
• Fine Artist & Art Educator and Arts Advocate, living in Washington, DC.
• Volunteer at The GWU Museum & The Textile Museum, Foggy Bottom. https://museum.gwu.edu/
• Lead Art Teacher for Horizons, DC https://www.horizonsgreaterwashington.org/
• I’m seeking gallery representation, exhibit space and commissions in the DC area.
KarenLaDu.com is an autobiographical electronic catalog of my creativity; my story in text and visuals. It presents the evolution of my process as I continue my journey.
*quotidienne, [kwō tē’ dē en] French adj. Daily, Everyday
The Studio on Egbert Street
The studio was constructed as an extension to the garage in the spring & summer of 2004. It was the “scene” of many creative days and evenings as I held lessons, paint parties (before they were called such…I called them Salons as they were in France at the turn of the last century). Students, friends & family, gathered to paint, collage, draw, visit, discuss and take the occasional nap on the original window seat.
I could never have imagined the sight of this lovely space as I looked into it from the door of the laundry room of the main house on Tuesday, October 30, 2012. I couldn’t leave the house as 4 feet of water surrounded us from Hurricane Sandy. The beautiful studio was an aquarium. The built in shelves, art materials, precious album collection, books and well, anything up to what you see in the pictures on the door at the line of the blue film had been submerged.
When the water receded, I took a look and started to clean..but I couldn’t, Thankfully Veronica’s friends under the direction of her History teacher, did the purge of things, including a collaged box containing all my college correspondence. Amazing what one can live without when all is said and done.
The space became a storage and staging area while the main home was put back together through the course of that winter.
Were it not for the vision and desire of Joseph, the space would have remained a blank shell, maybe with the easel or a table or whatever, but never could I have imagined it as the beautiful tribute to our mutual talents/inspirations/friendship and memorial of sorts to the storm that it has become.
Once again, as of the summer of 2014, it has become the happy space of creative energy and remains as such to date.
May we enjoy many more days and nights, naps and paintings, in this space.
It was amazing to have such wonderful selfless young men and women help with the most heart wrenching part of clean up. Karen & Veronica couldn’t face the studio clean up ….the loss was devastating. Mr. H and crew were a Godsend. So many irreplaceable books, sketchbooks and thousands of dollars worth of art making supplies were lost to the storm waters. As well as her record collection…….The studio ended up being a storehouse for furniture from the main home while the repairs were completed. Enter Joseph to collaborate with Karen and another chapter begins…..
The storm named Sandy changed my life forever.
I am fortunate to have seen the surging ocean waters from the fortress of my family home.
I am fortunate that we found shelter over 3 weeks while the house dried out.
I am fortunate that my Mom, my daughter, our Five Black & White Cats and I are safely back in our home.
Chaos is my middle name these days and Serendipity my first.
I have learned to turn on a dime and enjoy it as plans and situations change that fast 🙂
I have learned that kindness, compassion & a true sense of selflessness bring the most interesting people into our lives.
The energy works both ways!
If I was fearless before Sandy I am FOREVER FEARLESS after Sandy.
May you all experience a pivotal time in your lives where a seemingly terrible situation brings true grace and peace to you as I have.
Enjoy the journey of your life.
It’s the only one you have.