I paint, I paint what I like.  My goal is to get a smile from you, the viewer.  As a viewer out in the world you are exposed to endless bad news (good news just doesn’t sell as well). 
So, my plan for me as well as you is to keep a special place within that we can go to – where we can smile again, a place to remember what it was like to just jump rope, play with the other kids, remember grandma’s house, school – and yes, the fun WE DID have there, especially at recess. I still remember and often paint the Nuns jumping rope with us!

Truly there is no place like home.  The home we choose to remember or choose to create as a refuge within each of us

We all have rememberings that are special. Maybe it was on a farm and the cows? Maybe in a city like on the 4th of July.  Oh, what about the zoo?  Remember how fun that was and still is?  How about the first time you saw a MANATEE?  Or an ELEPHANT?  Oh, I love the GIRAFFE too!  Maybe it was a favorite vacation to the shore?  There’s just so many places that are dear the reside within our souls.  So that’s my job – to touch a chord within and take you there, once more.

Things I Make, Paint or DO:

Gentle paintings created more often than not, through imagination, or placement of “real” buildings, homes, etc. in settings that I wish existed. GOURDS – I prefer to create funny little people, I.e. Santas, Babushka ladies, men of the woods, dogs, cats, animals, etc., etc. FLOORCLOTHS – I just plain enjoy seeing what happens on a floorcloth. PAINTED WOOD ITEMS – I never tire of taking some wood piece and making something more interesting to look at. MAIL BOXES – can be fun too ! PAINTING is just a pleasure and I never know what I will find to paint on…. And of course, frequently you will find in my very busy paintings, The Old English Sheepdog. I’ve always gotten a smile out of watching people search for the Sheepie in the painting.


WHY FOLK ART? Here’s the long and short of it.

The Folk Art Tradition is a focus of our times – values, ideas, a statement of how an artist interprets life as seen from his/her point of view. It would be easy to paint quaint scenes with horses and buggies; however, that is not a true statement of our time. My mind seems to focus on memories of little girls in dresses and white socks; kids playing on sidewalks. I grew up in a city, so frequently, my paintings are of city streets and the way I paint is what I appear to want to remember. I like color, so my paintings and items tend to be bright. There are enough people painting sad things, monotone things; I paint happy things. I prefer to get a smile out of the viewer than have them ponder the deep meaning of what I have created. Yes, sometimes I paint something with a hidden meaning, but isn’t it just more fun to create your own story when viewing a folk art piece.

Karen Dittman lives on a gentle mountain top where she paints as much as the day allows. Brevard NC just off Scenic 276. She has taught folk art classes throughout the years. Karen is a self-taught artist. “I have not learned my work through education. As Einstein has said, “Imagination is more important than genius.” This is not to say I do not value education. It was just not available for me.”

5 Responses

  1. Karen –
    I am co-chairing this year’s NEOESR Online Auction (www.neoesr.org), which runs on ebay 11/1 – 11/13/2011. A number of your wonderful pieces have been generously donated to our auction by people who have purchased them in the past. I absolutely adore your whimsical interpretations of sheepdogs. I was trying to learn a little more about you, the artist, and I came across your website. Thank you for putting a smile on so many faces!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comments –I really love and miss painting those Sheepie things and am very hopeful that I will be able to do so again in the near future. Wish I could do some more right now for your auction but am a little “time tied” at this point- soon very soon I hope to be freed up to do more of those special pieces. And please don’t ever hesitate to ask for donations of Sheepie items. If I have something ready or the time to do it I always have donated –

  2. Years ago I was given a piece of art, that I think she got in an antique shop in dallas. i think it’s done in pen. It’s a face coming out of the moon and stars. Anyways, after all these years I looked at the signature and it says Karen Dittman 75′ and decided to google that name. Wonder if it’s one of yours!

    1. There is a Karen Dittman who was from Texas and I believe she’s in Northern California now. There are several “Karen Dittman’s” involved in the art world.

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