January presentation....

Karen Sako

“Soulful marks, energetic colors and multiple complex transparent layers of oil and cold wax medium allow me to achieve depth in my paintings.”

Karen Sako is going to demonstrate the use of cold wax medium in our January general meeting. That will be Monday January 18, starting at 7:00pm on Zoom, and a link to the meeting will be sent to members. Jeff Harold interviewed Karen for this notice, and the 5-minute Zoom result is posted at LCAL Karen Sako Promo. More specifically, Karen is going to talk about cold wax medium and how to use it for multiple effects with oils from thick texture to thin glazes. See the results to the right. She is an award-winning mixed media artist, graphic designer, and art instructor with a BFA in Visual Communications from The Illinois Institute of Art. “Constantly conflicted between being a graphic designer or a painter, I realized I could fuse the two together and found each discipline complimenting the other. ...soulful marks, energetic colors and multiple complex transparent layers of oil and cold wax medium allow me to achieve depth in my paintings. Elements are then revealed that push and pull the viewer through the composition…”

Karen teaches at Mainstreet Art Center in Lake Zurich, and her Sako Studios has a new 1500 square foot studio in a business park in Wheeling. “After a whirlwind month of moving and unpacking, everything is finally organized and ready to go! I have eight paintings in a growing new series up on the walls…”


Like many of us she is a dedicated plein air painter, and laments that “this year many of the plein air events were cancelled and it seemed like every day I had planned to head out with my painting buddies mother nature decided to serve up a storm. I managed to get out a few times for practice but not as much as I wanted.” She feels unbiased by historical stereotypes, free to explore her surroundings in their present raw form with an unending curiosity. It is these life experiences that are transformed into visual works of art.

Chris Tanner recalls that Karen once painted with the Lake County Art League plein air group at the Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve. “She does experiment. That day she disappeared into the tall grass and later shared paintings that used pigments mixed with glitter to represent the textured trunks of trees. It was strikingly successful.”

“Having members do a little project along with me would be cool! What they will need is: Oil paint black, white and a color of their choice, gamblin cold wax medium, any small painting substrate like canvas, arches oil paper or a geesobord, paper towels, paint thinner, a toothpick and a palette knife.”

Karen primarily shows her work at Epilogue in Long Grove, a place of unexpected and rewarding shopping, gifting and learning, and the Aeon Gallery in Richmond, currently a dark art exhibition exploring the tumultuous path to a new stage of existence. Her work hangs in private collections around the world, and she is a member of the Midwest Collage Society and the National Collage Society.