Romantic Light in Concept Art

Send Us Smokes: Character design, World War 1 Father

Send Us Smokes: Character design, World War 1 Father

Karen Lorena Parker

How do directors influence mood? It's not only our eyes that follow light, it affects our emotional relationship to the scene. The soft edges, the glow around a subject that directs your eye. The color scripting that tells us we are in a different location. I love cinematography that directs my mood. Although I'm big fan of backlighting, It can't always be hazy smoky orange halos around people's heads. How to create tension on a sunny day?

Send Us Smokes: Trenches concept

Send Us Smokes: Trenches concept

Send Us Smokes, a World War 1 short was recently awarded the grant from Hot Shots Shorts Contest. Some visual preparation took us to Port Moody Station museum to walk in a trench (built by hand, by volunteers --talk about authentic!) Send Us Smokes, written by Anaisa Visser, produced by Jon Warne, to be directed by Michelle Gwendolyn Kee touched me because it was about people.

Send Us Smokes: short film concept art for Adelaide with her Dog.

Send Us Smokes: short film concept art for Adelaide with her Dog.

In helping illustrate the director's vision, I wasn't romanticizing war in my concepts. I wanted to capture feeling we have for our family. Hoping they are ok, just wanting their life normalized, to be safe, with friends, laughter and belonging. Even if that life is in a war zone.


Send Us Smokes: Winner of the Hot Shots Shorts Contest, written by #anaisavisser, Directed by #michellegwendolynlee Produced by #jonwarne

Send Us Smokes: Winner of the Hot Shots Shorts Contest, written by #anaisavisser, Directed by #michellegwendolynlee Produced by #jonwarne

If you'd like to support the film in any way, please repost, tag or share! The film will be in production January 2017.

If you'd like to contact me regarding concept art, or illustrations, please connect.

Follow me, view images, timelapse illustrations on:

instagram@bremerpark  |  facebook@KarenParkerArt  |  Linkedin:KarenLorenaParker

Why Artists should voice their concerns.

N.R.A. Question Period | Directory of Illustration  2015 post on LinkedIN

N.R.A. Question Period | Directory of Illustration 2015 post on LinkedIN

NRA Question Period illustrates the ludicrous view that to solve gun violence, everyone should have a gun. American values, the fight for liberty somehow equals the freedom to own a gun. My work shows a twist on Rockwell’s American dream. I chose to illustrate a romanticized style of a dystopian future.

Artists have the ability to be imaginative activists, discussing ideas in a fresh direct way. It's 2015, shouldn’t we take on intellectual discussion responsibly ? Human rights, environment (an incredible artist discussing pollution in Asia) or Amy Schumer andSofia Vergara are putting their voice to #endgunviolence in #everytown.  TedTalks open great discussion and debate about how to tackle public opinion on guns. 330 Mass shootings in 365 days this year -- over 50,000 violent incidents in in the USA and rising. Gun violence was something I wanted to approach in a visual manner.

      “Avoid Religion or Political talk at Parties" is what I was taught. One social evening overseas, our party conversation was about the upcoming US election. We agreed the world should contribute their vote to the American Presidency. Giggling, “Why not?” If Superpowers directly affected the world – shouldn’t the global community contribute a tiny vote to foreign policy? Does the world need the divisiveness of #Trump? Will Trump #feeltheBern!!

      Naïve, or idealistic? We didn’t feel judged. International news, witty banter, evocative ideas and real concern were enjoyable. Sure, we were solving the world problems with a martini – but one more voice means one more vote, a little push of political momentum. Expats from countries so far away from Canada politically and culturally, were connected. Voicing concerns feels so good, better than political apathy.  

Everyone’s voice can start a dialogue.
Believing that corporations win, and the hearts of people don’t -- is debilitating, soul numbing. My digital pen is only as mighty as public opinion. Maybe I didn’t think of every angle, maybe I need more practice. Maybe more activists out there will inform my ideas. Why do so few people illuminate their concerns? Fear that you can’t stop? Can’t change your mind? Can’t do it well so don’t try?

Taking a risk for positive change is admirable.Jim Jefferies keeps his cool with paying guests. An entertaining take on gun control starting with The Port Arthur massacre in Australia, he tackles a difficult subject to an audience that paid for a lighthearted approach. What Australia could do, and America couldn’t. Comedic timing for a great cause. #artprotest  

We all have leadership qualities. International galleries show more human strife than Canadian ones. One gallerist in South Africa told me, “Canadian art is so boring! All Landscapes!” #WhatdoCanadiansthink? Do I agree with Harper selling the Canadian Wheat Board to Saudi Arabia? Are my children safe at school? Canadian first world values were admired when I was abroad. #Trudeau seems to re-establish Canadian's inclusive voice.

We are a considerate nation with concerns.
A Canadian ‘Sorry’ is not apologetic, it is empathetic. I’m sorry you hurt yourself, because it was painful – not because I was to blame. Provocative and evocative are different things. An image you can’t un-see because your soul engaged in dialogue, doesn’t have to be aggressive, repulsive. You’re accountable only to informing your concern. A sad laugh, a happy tear, a scene that touched you, stirs up important self-discussion.

   Your character shows. We can’t hide our response to the power of the image. Even dismissive politeness says something. If art doesn’t engage you on some lasting level – powerful, engaging, cathartic, meditative -- why bother make it, why own it?

NRA Question Period is romanticized image that can be beautiful and repulsive. I wanted to create an insightful, editorial that speaks of my concern. Artists can create intensity and beauty. Graceful emotional dialogue makes a very entertaining dinner guest.

Thank you #JoAnneMiller for having me in the Directory of Illustration, page 499.
Commissions available.

#IDSwest Inspiring Moments

Inspiring moments included #HCMA, an architect design group that is focusing on “What’s Possible?” vs “This is what we do” mindset. Starting with community, they are using their expertise to connect people, engage and activate sites in Vancouver (HCMA day). Isn’t that what architects are supposed to do? Seems they are one of the rare few.

#TiltMoments, when you can change your perspective to a problem or help others see things differently. HCMA has a different approach to playtime – a serious approach. The work is getting done, and getting noticed. Multidisciplinary design including artists in residence, interior and graphic designers. The world is finally catching up instead of trying to label the talents of renaissance artists. Join @MarkBusse creativemornings

@VanArtRental  Donna Partridge compared the feeling when seeing art as the same physical emotional response seeing someone we love. Rapid heartbeat, dizziness, The Stendhal syndrome or Florence syndrome sparks in countries where people visit galleries in the summer. The value of art in a space is an emotional one. Building a relationship with artists adds to that emotional investment.

Speaking with @upwardconstruct owner Michael, I felt another kindred professional who speaks of using a green living wall on large sites - -as a gift to your neighbor vs a large concrete structure. Ways that we can build our homes and structures --  not just for us but for community benefit. What better way to make our home a treasure, when it is surrounded by a community of happiness.

A Painting Every Day


Excellence is a habit, and so I have had a career, painting every day. As I now want to work as a Concept Artist/ Matte Painter -- my speed has to be up there with the best. Most people ask me how long my paintings (fine art) take, and my answer is more than a month. But Daily-ies require me to work faster. Concepts in minutes, and reiterate for my lead, to show clients, directors, and start over again. As my speed increases for Matte painting, my photo-realistic work will be back to the enjoyable months of perfection.

Portraiture is an interesting challenge to not only capture resemblance, but expression, tonality and the psychology of what we think is beautiful, what we accept as ourselves. These are digital illustrations in photoshop. No mess, no paint to mix. Although I tried to keep them to an hour time limit -- they usually took about 2-4 hours.

Proud to be in a Ted Talk #TEDxRCW

Like many, I have admired This is what the internet was made for: to bring forth great ideas that could be shared. (Their tagline is better!) I admire speakers that share insight in a funny or engaging way. In October, I was very honored and thankful that my visual expertise could help support experienced speaker Ranbir Puar at TEDxRCW.

Ranbir speaks to children about breathing in sunshine, to feel within you the magical light that can create, make your dreams come true, and exhaling that which interferes. To know that this light is your true being. It starts from your breath, at a cellular level. To know your life is to create and grow what you choose. To weed out what stops you from your life purpose. To keep breathing and nourishing yourself with your inner light. 

I understood this message. Being a creator, and also being someone with childhood fears. Could my style of paintings, my illustrations be suitable for a Ted talk? I have never been a great cartoonist as I have always given into the lusciousness of the medium. The dialogue you have with watercolor seeping into the paper, or the thick paint that is creamy, or moves where you didn’t expect it to. The smudges, the smears. My work has always been about the failure. Listening to it, and accepting it, so that it can inform your next stroke. Yet it is the layers of mistakes that give 70sNonchalance and Ucluelet dimension, atmosphere.

Yes, one breath at a time, I think I have moved on. I enjoy my own process. I now appreciate my mistakes, very very much. Thank you Ranbir for making a dream come true -- to contribute to a Ted talk -- a dream I didn't realize I had until today. If you had 18  minutes to inspire a community, What would be your idea worth sharing?

Tonal Studies for DMP Concepts.

Lenses, camera angles are new to me--so much visual language to learn in film! But tonal studies, I can definitely relate to being a landscape painter. Tones change dramatically as you move from foreground to mid-ground to background. Tonal studies in black and white simplify atmospheric perspective where colours relate to their surroundings. Like driving the TransCanada, our tree lined mountains are bluer in the distance, but the same mountains become green when becoming a foreground element. The contrast also changes, as the foreground trees show dark shadows (blackpoint) where the distant trees have less contrast, and the black never gets darker than a grey.

As always, the artist directs the viewer, sets the tone and mood depending on how you choose these tonalities. Start with a strong sense of light, an intention. Depth is just another tool to help direct focus. Consider areas of contrast, and how tones relate to one another to achieve a strong composition with purpose.


Tofino: New Work

Happy to finish this 79"x59" painting for a Vancouver client. Colorful but dramatic Tofino. Always inspiring. New work will be shown during October Exhibition. Please rsvp for private invitation.

Happy to finish this 79"x59" painting for a Vancouver client. Colorful but dramatic Tofino. Always inspiring. New work will be shown during October Exhibition. Please rsvp for private invitation.