Karen Berman-Mulligan


I am a painter and use my brushes to share the dance of the sea, portraying the feeling of the day. Try as I might to hold onto what pleases me, and what is familiar, I find myself constantly adapting to the transitory nature of life. Ocean water must do the same. It reflects the effects of sun, moon, wind, currents, and clouds, and what is hidden below the surface. Skirting the line between realism and abstraction, indicating enough to recognize, but allowing plenty of room for interpretation. I might color a rock violet, pink, or Hansa yellow light. The sea has gold highlights, only when the sun puts them there; willing to disappear when the sun moves. Yellow light can turn the water green. Grey skies darken the water. My brush dabs into bright manganese blue over a dark, exploring everchanging, unpredictable movement. It reminds me of trying to "catch" a wave when I was young and loved my surfboard.

I first work on site, quickly capturing the feeling and energy of the scene with broad brush strokes. Brush marks change, and colors shift, where the highest points of interest are for me. Bundled in a rain jacket or down coat, wearing latex gloves over winter gloves, you'll see me out in the open, even in winter. Back in my studio, videos and photographs remind me of the experience of being there. I find that the more familiar I am with a place, the more I see it in new ways, allowing new details to be seen. The whole composition is a distillation of my memories.

Painting is my calling. In my youth, time spent at Maine and Massachusetts beaches were the best. Lessons of the ocean, how to play in it, swimming, surfing, sailing, appreciating it s strength, run deeply inside me. Capturing the mood, whether calm, or feisty, on canvas. is a challenge I love to meet. My favorite locations are the North Shore area of Massachusetts and southern Maine.


My work can be found in many private collections.

2019 Caldwell Banker show
2018 Gallery Twist "Illumination" show
2009-2018 Lexington Open Studios
2018 Brookhaven Senior Living solo show
2017 Cambridge Art Association "Scapes" show
2016 Bedford Arts & Crafts Society - won First Place in Juried show
2016 Grace Chapel Lexington Juried Show "Be Still"
2016 Cambridge Art Association Mary Schein Show
2016 Grace Chapel Lexington Juried Show "Collaborations"
2016 Kitchen on the Common restaurant solo show
2016 Topsfield Library group show - juried
2016 Tufts Health Plan Administration, Watertown, Ma solo show
2015 Grace Chapel Lexington Juried Show - 'eats/shoots/leaves'.
2015 Cary Memorial Library group exhibit - juried
2014 Grace Chapel Lexington Juried Show - "untitled"
2014 Grace Chapel Lexington Juried Show "Noah's Ark"
2012 Cary Memorial Library solo exhibit - juried
2010 Cambridge Art Association Blue Show University Place - juried
2009 Grace Chapel, Lexington juried show
2009 De Cordova Museum student show
2009 Lexington Arts and Crafts Society Painter's Show
2008 Brookline Bank Lexington Ma solo exhibit
2008 Lexington Arts and Crafts Society Painter's Show
2007 Lexington Arts and Crafts Society Painter's Show
2006 Lexington Arts and Crafts Society Painter's Show
2005 Eclectic Treasures Medway, MA -juried
2002-2005 Newton Open Studios
2002 2007 Sign of the Dove Artist's Co-op - juried
2002-2010 pet portraits on commission
2001 Bodhi Cafe Newbury St. Boston solo exhibit


DeCordova Museum School 2000 – 2010 various studio classes
Massachusetts College of Art
Museum School at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston
Newport Art Museum, Newport, RI

Boston University BA – Math, Computer Science 1980
University of Michigan



updated August 31, 2020
Copyright 2011-2020 Karen Berman-Mulligan, All Rights Reserved.