Karen Jobe Templeton

Artist Statement

I believe that the primary function of our eyes is not to see, but to be seen.

Since I was a small child, I have been fascinated by faces—by their infinite variety, their myriad of expressions and by the fact that the surface often hides more than it reveals. As a portrait artist I study faces all. the. time. Even during day-to-day conversations, I am studying the other person’s features, noting their shapes, color and symmetry–or lack thereof. Over the years I have learned that if I don’t get the eyes right, the portrait will fail. Not only are the eyes important to get the person’s likeness, the eyes reflect that flitting essence of a person. Whatever that essence is, be it soul or spirit, when I capture it, there is an immediate connection with the viewer. A recent visitor to my studio described it: “It’s like walking into a room full of best friends I haven’t met yet.”

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