My personal highlight of the Capricon 39 Art Show

I’ve written several posts about Capricon 39, this year’s Chicago convention from Phandemonium. I wrote about assorted (weather-related) experiences, and about fellow panelists who are authors, but no group of posts from me about a convention would be complete without mentioning the art.

In this case, one amazing artist, whom I particularly associate with Capricon. Although Karen Ann Hollingsworth exhibits her work at many different sf conventions art fairs, and other exhibitions, and although she is an accomplished illustrator as well, I first met her when we were on a panel together at Capricon 38. That also was the largest collection of her art all in one place that I’d seen.

I was enchanted.

 I’m also beyond excited to share some of her gorgeous work with you in this space. I hope her visual magic will enchant you, too.

"Imagine" is Karen Ann Hollingsworth's signature piece. Mostly rendered in tones of green and yellow, it's a picture of a beautiful fairy on the right side of the composition, looking straight toward the viewer, surrounded by Celtic-looking swirls and leaf-shapes.
Imagine is Hollingsworth’s “signature” work, because it embodies so many aspects of her art.

I asked Karen for permission to post some of her images here, and she not only gave me permission–she gave me stories for each piece. Here’s what she said about Imagine

“I must lead with my signature piece Imagine. It combines both [of] the ways I approach my work. The right side the way I work when I do illustrations and commissions and the left is done in the intuitive way I approach my fine art pieces. It also embodies the sense of magic and wonder I try to infuse in all my work.

“Most of my work is done in watercolor and colored pencil on hot press watercolor paper. The only time I involve the computer is when I scan the images in to make reproductions, for a client or for doing promotion.”

"Catnip Dreams" by Karen Ann Hollingsworth shows a light tan cat curled up asleep in the center of the design. around the cat is a green, embossed-looking design of catnip leaves. In bands at the top and bottom of the composition are stylized designs. The band at the top is a green, embossed-looking frieze of flying birds. The one at the bottom is a similar, green embossed-looking design of stylized fish.
Catnip Dreams by Karen Ann Hollingsworth

Karen wrote: Catnip Dreams is an example of one of my private commissions. I got permission from the client to sell reproductions of this one of the three images I did for them.

"Shades of Grey" is a stylized, fantastical design of abstract, vaguely tree-branch or plantlike looking forms, rendered in a range of gray tones the go from near-black to almost white.
Shades of Grey by Karen Ann Hollingsworth

Karen described the origins of Shades of Grey“This is an example of one of my intuitive fine art images. I was experimenting with doing a black and white watercolor.”

not only saw the next piece at Capricon 39, I voted for it

"Just a Dream?" by Karen Ann Hollingsworth was created for the Artist Challenge at Capricon 39, which it won. The composition is a study in mostly green foreground images on a lavender-to-greyed purple background. In the upper part of the painting is a very goatlike green kaiju, entangled in an aggressive-looking seaweed. In the lower third of the painting a small white goat sleeps in a nestlike bowl structure, with its head on a glowing green-and golden egg.
Just a Dream? by Karen Ann Hollingsworth

Just a Dream? is my very latest piece, winner of the Capricon 39 Artist Challenge,” Karen wrote. Challenge artists had to “incorporate a goat (the convention’s mascot) and three of the following five items: an animal skull, a carnivorous plant, a kaiju, a strange/glowing egg, or a monster-hunting weapon” in their composition.

"Coffee Dragon" by Karen Ann Hollingsworth is a study in black, brown, and tan, with a light green coffee mug in the lower fourth of the composition. Above it, appearing to form out of the steam rising from the cup, is a serpent-like brown, wingless dragon, whose head is turned to look directly at the viewer.
Coffee Dragon by Karen Ann Hollingsworth

Green Tea Dragon is one of my most poplar images. This year I finally got around to finishing the series, with the Coffee and Hot Cocoa Dragons,” Karen wrote. “I do like doing series. I don’t always realize . . . till after I do something that it will become a series.”

And speaking of series (she has created 7 or 8 series so far), here’s an example of another:

"Great Horned Owl" by Karen Ann Hollingsworth is a fanciful painting of a Great Horned Owl, with a swirly blue background and a tan, brown, and white owl, whose enormous, yellow eyes with black centers dominate the composition. The owl is painted in a stylized manner, almost seeming to be made of the dark green leaves from which it emerges at the bottom of the picture plane.
Great Horned Owl by Karen Ann Hollingsworth

“I completed [this series] last fall. My owls,” Karen wrote. “I started with the Screech Owl that I had been hearing outside my window at night. I didn’t know what it was. When I found out and saw photos I had to draw one. More often I hear the Great Horned Owls. To my amazement they sound just like the owls in cartoons. It’s always special hearing them. I don’t find they sound spooky at all.” 

I told her I usually like to include links to pages where people can buy prints, but she is still rebuilding after website problems last year. “As far as buying reproductions or prints of my work the best way to do so is in person at the Art Fairs and conventions I participate in,” she said. “People can contact me online via email if they know the image they want.”

What’s next for Karen? “At the moment I am hard at work prepping for my next Art show/convention. . . . I’ll be in Kansas City, MO [March 29-31, 2019] showing and selling in the Spectrum Fantastic Art Live pavilion [Booth #1412] within Planet Comicon

“It’s my 6th time doing Spectrum Fantastic Art Live, but [my] first at Planet Comicon. Not certain how my work is going to go over. I plan to have more updates on my website soon about some of the special products I will have at Spectrum Fantastic Art Live  / Planet Comicon.”

Don’t worry, Karen. If the Planet Comicon attendees have eyes, they’ll love your artwork!

IMAGES: All images are © 2007-2019 by Karen Ann Hollingsworth. They are posted here with her express permission. Please do not re-post any of them without her permission! For prints or more information about purchasing her originals, please follow her blog to learn about the art shows where she’ll be exhibiting and selling her work, or contact her directly. Unfortunately, she’s currently having to rebuild her website. Perhaps you can buy her art there at a future date.