Karli has a delicate, detailed art style that explores the intersection of faith and nature.
It's a perfect combination, and no one does it better than Karli Corr.
Let's talk to her a little bit.
Karli, can you talk a little bit about your background? How did you get started painting?
It’s always been a part of my life. My mom’s an artist. She was an art teacher and our house had every craft and supply I could ever want. That’s how I got started, then all through school I took formal lessons and then got an art degree in college.
How do you feel about getting an art degree? Was it beneficial? Did you enjoy it?
There are pros and cons. I learned so much about color and composition, and it taught me to be a critical thinker. It opened up a whole new world for what art can be and opened my mind to the possibilities of my work and how it relates to art history.
As far as my practice and personal style, it took a toll. I ended up with burnout that lasted a few years after college. It took me a while to get my professors' opinions out of my head and just create with my new knowledge. I learned how to create good artwork and my art would not be the same without it, but I didn’t learn how to be a professional artist. It took me a while to create for myself instead of just trying to please my art professors.
“It took me a while to create for myself.”
How did the burnout end?
I kept painting through the burnout and even professionally, but I could never find fulfilment. In 2016, I challenged myself to paint a little bit every day and not think about the result. I started making these little wildflower abstracts, and I was loving them. I started sharing them on IG and had a gallery reach out to me and ask me to do a show – that helped. I kind of found my style and it got me back into painting.
I was searching and trying new mediums for a long time. Maybe I'll keep searching for the rest of my life – I didn’t find the style I have now until last year, and it took a lot of play and exploration for it to settle in a place where I feel really satisfied with my art for the first time.
What kind of artist would you say you are?
On the surface level, I am a landscape artist. A little deeper than that, I’m a Christian landscape artist. Deeper than that, I try to capture the beauty of God in creation.
A lot of people describe my style as impressionistic, but I don't like that word. I don’t mind when people describe it that way, it's just not how I would describe it.
How would you describe it?
Peaceful, colorful, and soft.
I used to call them abstracted landscapes. I used to be a full abstract artist, but my work is way more realistic now.
This style is still new to me, and I'm still trying to figure it out. It's painterly, but I’m not using paint.
“Peaceful, colorful, and soft.”
How have your subjects changed over the years?
All through college I painted people, whether it was figures, painting, or drawing them. I used a lot of architecture in my work, but I always loved landscapes. I fought it for so long, when that was my favorite thing. I have no idea why. Then I moved from figures to abstract work.
For a while, I just tried to create – to compose with colors and shapes and composition. Taking out what it’s supposed to look like and just feeling the depth, choosing my colors was really fun for me. Then I focused on mark making and started doing really simple landscapes – just a horizon line with a sun, that kind of thing. That kind of stayed with me. Then I picked up a different medium altogether: chalk pastels.
“For a while, I just tried to create.”
Getting out of painting forced me to make marks differently and from there I was able to take the landscape subject that I really liked and the mark making, colors, depth, and composition I loved and combined it all to make landscapes the way I wanted to. The medium change was a big part of moving into landscapes.
I tried landscapes with acrylic and I didn’t like how I was capturing it. The paint wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do. Then I realized I was trying to get acrylic to mimic what I could do with chalk pastels. I wasn’t feeling satisfied with the acrylic medium at the time. Once I made the switch I could create what I was envisioning.
What are chalk pastels and how are they different from oil pastels?
Chalk pastels are like adult chalk – it’s a dusty, powdered pigment with a little bit of binder. Just enough to make it so you can hold it. They break so easily. I work with sanded paper, and the unique texture of the paper will pull and hold layers of the chalk.
Do you work in collections?
Right now, yes. Every now and then I might do a couple and do a mini release, but right now I work in collections with about 6-10 pieces.
I came up with this idea last year. For me going to the the holy lands was one of those experiences that will always stay in your life. How many people wish they could travel to the holy land but can’t.
For people that love to decorate their homes with landscapes, it adds a special layer to the work. It’s not just a beautiful landscape; it has meaning to a lot of people. The work has ancient and historical moments attached to it.
That’s what led me to creating this series, not just for myself, not just to capture the beauty or a moment I personally loved. I wanted to do this for others. That’s what got me started.
A lot of people, when they think of the holy lands, they think of the buildings and churches, but I’ve been focused on the actual landscapes and the stories associated with them. You can look at these places, and they would look the same as two thousand years ago or ten thousand years ago.
I experience God a lot through the landscape. Combining the two has been an interesting take on Christian art.
What's coming up that you're excited about?
My new collection release! It's going to be a whole experience. I wanted people to benefit from it whether you buy a painting or not. It will be a virtual experience where you can go online, read more about the places, some of the stories and meditations, and use an interactive map. You can see where some of these events really happened and you can experience it through short videos I took while I was there. Then you can experience the artwork the traditional way by ordering prints in various sizes or purchasing an original to have in your home.
Have you always made Christian art?
I recently shifted that way. To me art has always been a part of my faith. I’ve been given a talent and I create because I feel like creation is taking part in the creator that made us.
I’ve always had a Christian understanding of my creativity and why I create.
No matter what I’m making – all of it has been with the understanding that I’m participating in something bigger than myself.
What’s coming after this collection?
Moving somewhere a little greener this summer – wink wink.
Any final words you'd like to leave us with?
While I want my art to have a Christian theme, they don’t have to be just for Christians. I want everyone who loves peace and beauty to be able to find that joy and experience of peace throughout. I hope they can experience God through my art.
Whether you’re Christian or not, we all need love. My goal will always be to bring people to Him and if that’s through my art, how cool is that? I want people to experience His love.
Karli Corr is a pastel artist based in Louisiana. She has a Bachelor of Arts, and you can see more of her work on her website. Follow her on Instagram @karlicorr