Karen Steffano – radiant depictions of light and shadow…

by Jeanne Bowyer

Karen Steffano is such a lovely breath of fresh air in an artistic environment that can sometimes feel very serious. The really great thing is, Stefano has a lot of talent – more than most – but doesn’t take her artistic subject matter so terribly seriously. The result is that we are gifted with a repertoire that includes the more amusing and light hearted pieces that some other artists cannot produce as effectively.

That is not to say, however, that her pieces aren’t fantastically rendered or accurate in their portrayal of their subjects. On the contrary – the quality is magnificent and endearing, all at once. Some of her pieces are more whimsical than others; some of her pieces are just plain beautiful and so meaningful – one can tell the artist has had a connection with each and every one of the scenes and the portraits she paints.

Steffano moved to South Africa from the UK in the 1970’s, majored in Fine Art and now works as an artist on a full time basis. Stunningly, it took her years to get to this stage, having lost confidence in art as a way of making a living – something fairly commonly thrown around in the non-art world and a thought process that tragically leads to the loss of some tremendously talented artists! Thankfully Steffano got back on board and the results can be seen now in her excellent online gallery.

From pigs looking over fences to landscapes, Steffano is a very wide ranging artist. We’ll look at one such landscape first – a really beautiful piece that is bound to be sold post haste! This one is called The Walk 2 – CR Swart and Kowie Road and is a dedication to the walks the artist has been taking with a friend of hers – a sort of tribute to that period in both of their lives. Certainly the walks must take them to some beautiful places, because this is a lovely view – flowers adorn the sides of the footpath they are about to tread along; meadow grasses decorating the way; a blue sky overhead caps the scene.

Black Horse on the other hand is a really incredible mastery of charcoal. Steffano states that she loves horses and wanted to explore charcoal – but this is so much more. Steffano’s expertise and familiarity with the interplay of light and shadow is really something to be marvelled at. Take a look at the way the horse seems to emerge out of the page, as though it were made of obsidian and shadow in the same dimension…

Some people just “have it” – Karen Steffano is one of those artists. With enormous talent and prices starting at a mere $67, you’d be amiss not to have a look at her incredible repertoire!