Tuesday painterly Photo Art – Karen Sperling

Karen’s exquisite work speaks for itself. I’ll let her tell ‘the rest of the Story.’

“My mother was an artist and my father enjoyed photography, so I’ve been painting and taking photos for as long as I can remember. But I never actually finished anything because I was never encouraged to paint or take photos. So I majored in English in college and after graduating, I worked as a writer and an editor for newspapers, magazines and book publishers, including McGraw-Hill. But I never forgot about art and photography. I minored in art in college and continued to dabble in painting and photography through the years and spent a lot of time in museums and galleries.

© karen sperling original image by Kevin Kubota© Karen Sperling – Photo © Kevin Kubota

“Little did I know that I was creating the perfect skill set for writing the first Painter manual, a gig I got through networking in the New York Mac Users Group in the late 1980s. And I’ve been writing about and teaching Painter ever since.

I never thought of myself as an artist and in the early days, I featured the work of other artists in my Painter tutorials, classes, and books. In 2001, after my talk at the national PPA convention, the editor of PEI, a magazine that was later folded into Professional Photographer Magazine, invited me to do an article about creating my art in Painter. When I said I didn’t paint, she said, “You could do it.” And I did! A little encouragement went a long way, and I use this experience daily teaching photographers to paint. I honestly believe if you think you can paint, you probably can, and I’m here to encourage you to try. It’s amazing how much you can do when someone whispers in your ear; you can do it.

© karen sperling









© Karen Sperling -Photo © Karah Sambuco

“My involvement with Painter has opened doors that I would never have imagined. In 2003 I started to paint commissioned portraits directly for clients and photographers for their customers. And in 2007 I had my first gallery show in New York of my abstract art. More recently, I was named the exclusively commissioned painter for a TV cover manufacturer.

© karen sperling© Karen Sperling – Photo © Don Ling

“So I went from not thinking of myself as an artist to being paid for paintings, which is why I truly believe if I can do it, you can, with study and practice, and I encourage you to try.

Because of my many years teaching Painter, I have many different painting styles because I’m always interested in showing something new. One of the things I like about Painter is experimenting and inventing new looks and styles. I know having a lot of different styles goes against the grain of most photography experts who say you should promote one style, but I look to Picasso, who had many styles during his career. So we’ll call my style eclectic so that I can keep painting in any way I like at the moment.

© Karen Sperling - © Karen Sperling – Photo © Felicia Tausig

“I find offering different styles helps sell commissioned portraits to a broader base of clients and photographers. I also offer a variety of styles in my books, videos, and classes. I encourage students to try all the different styles I teach. In this way, they can pick and choose elements to include in their own paintings to create their individual style. Too many times, students paint exactly like someone they studied with instead of finding their own voice and vision.

© Karen Sperling - © Karen Sperling – Photo © Don Ling

“If you’ve been thinking about learning to paint, I encourage you to try, and if you’ve been thinking about offering paintings based on your photos to your clients, I urge you to try that, too. And I’m here to either paint for you or to show you how to do it yourself!”


Karen Sperling is an Elite Corel Painter Master and the original Painter expert—she wrote the first several Painter manuals when the software was first invented, and many published Painter books, including her newly published Painting for Photographers Volume 3, currently available at Amazon.

Karen wrote one of the Forewords and was a featured artist in Cecil Wiliams’ book, Painter Showcase.
Karen has been interviewed on radio and in many podcasts, including Michael Coy’s Cashtography.

Sperling has taught photographers to use Corel Painter at just about every venue there is, including the national Professional Photographers of America (PPA) and WPPI conventions, local PPA affiliates and PPA schools. Photographers travel to study with Karen in Los Angeles from as far away as the United Kingdom, New Zealand and South Africa, and from all around the United States, both in classes and individually.

Karen is known for taking complex art and software concepts and boiling them down into easy-to-follow, thorough steps. Her concise, complete books, tutorials, and classes have made painting accessible to photographers who never thought they could paint, but always wanted to try. Karen demystifies Painter’s mysteries and photographers who study with her report being able to sell their works of art to commissioned portrait clients and in galleries for tens of thousands of dollars.

Clients and photographers alike commission painted portraits by Karen Sperling, an artist in her own right who minored in art in college and who has exhibited her paintings in New York and Los Angeles and during Art Basel Miami Beach.

Karen’s fine art and commissioned portraits are held in private collections around the world.
To study with Karen or to commission her to paint portraits for your clients, visit her website:
http://www.artistrymag.com/ Email at karenlsperling@gmail.com
Karen’s books at Amazon
Connect with her on Facebook
Subscribe to her on youtube

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob