Artist Profile

Welcome to my Web Home. I hope you are enjoying the site and my work. This is the page where you discover a little more about the artist … me. I live in California in a town called Oceanside in northern San Diego County. I am a wife and mother first … then I am an artist. My family means the world to me. Thank goodness my loving husband is very supportive of my artistic talents. I’m sure it is not always easy living with an artist. I can definitely make a mess when I am in the midst of a project! We raised 8 children together, his four and my four. With all those kids sculpting was always an “extra”. Now that the kids are happily married I am able to work on my artwork full time. I am entirely self-taught and it has taken me many years to be proficient at sculpting the human body. I learned to sculpt by the trial and error method. I do have natural talents that helped me along the way though. I am extremely determined and goal oriented. I am naturally spatial: I see both positive and negative spaces. I have always had a natural sense of balance. I also inherited a talent for healing from my Mother. I consciously try to include that gift in my sculpting. Sculpting is not a natural gift of mine. It is a learned talent. It is simply the method I chose to express my deep feelings about many topics. I started sculpting little figures in 1980. First they were made out of bread dough and soon after out of polymer clay. I thought my work fit into the miniature world at the beginning because my figures were 6 ½ inches tall or less. I soon learned I didn’t really fit in that group. They are mainly concerned with scale and I am more concerned with proportion. I felt uncomfortable staying within a restrictive size requirement. I needed more freedom to express my artwork. Fortunately I discovered the doll world in 1994. My work ranges in size now from 2 inches to 28 inches. I have tried sculpting the human form in many mediums too; bronze, porcelain, paper and stone clays, polymers, wax, and resin. I have an exploratory nature and I am always trying to push my skills to the limit. The process has sometimes been painful, however, I have gained a lot of experience because of this tendency to stretch and to explore new techniques. Experience has taught me not to be afraid of new ideas and challenges. Over the years friends have asked me to sculpt men, women, and children of all ages. Because I was brave enough to stretch in the past I have a lot of flexibility in what I choose to sculpt now. During this exploring time I tried to find my own style. I was looking for the size and medium that makes me happiest. When I started sculpting I sculpted whole figures. In the last few years I have gone back to whole figure sculpting. I have discovered that classic, whole figure sculpting is my favorite style. My favorite size is rather small and feminine. I prefer dolls that are 12 inches tall or less. Detail is very important to me. I have learned that I prefer a medium that is skin toned and warm to the touch. Polymers and resins have become my favorite mediums because they are warm. I look for subjects with a lot of diagonals. That gives me movement in my dolls. I discovered I enjoy the challenge of sculpting two figures together. Finding my preferred style of sculpting is comforting but I will probably never stick entirely to one style. My nature won’t let me do that. I prefer the freedom of expressing each idea in the medium and size that best suits it. And I am sure I will stretch in new ways as challenges come up. I am always growing and changing. Along with my polymer work I have explored the world of metals. Working with molten bronze and aluminum has been interesting. Metal work is physical and very dirty. I do the work myself. Taking a sculpture from clay to metal is quite a long process but I enjoy the results. I enjoy using power tools and getting “gritty.” My dental technician background served me well but the learning curve has been an adventure full of surprises. I enjoy a wide variety of mediums and sizes and I also enjoy all sorts of people. I am a true people lover and enjoy meeting the public. Going to shows is like going to the candy store to me. I love sharing the diversity of the doll world with the uninitiated. The surprise and fascination on their faces excites me. One of my talents has been to sell dolls to people who would not consider themselves doll collectors. My work many times bridges the art world and the doll world making that rather natural. I am fortunate that my work has gained a loyal following. My work has been included in gallery shows in San Diego, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Long Beach, San Francisco, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, New York City, Boston, Chicago, Moscow, and Tokyo. And my work has been featured in national and international magazines. I am a member of the National Sculpture Society. I love the wide variety of dolls in our doll world! Although my work is included in the world of dolls it is not really a doll. It has no moving parts. What I sculpt is realistic, figurative art. The people in my art world – sculptors, shop owners, and collectors – are warm and interesting. That is an advantage of being included in the doll world I think. It means a lot to me to have a positive environment for my work. I try very hard to make my art uplifting even though I sometimes my subject matter is sensitive in nature. I hope you enjoy my work and they touch your heart.

Warmly, Karen Williams Smith