Santa Barbara based artist, Karen Bezuidenhout, was born and raised in the wine country of Stellenbosch, South Africa. It was there that her lifelong love of nature, riding horses and sense of adventure began.
One rainy night in 1996 in Stellenbosh, Karen attended an art exhibition. “I walked in, looked around, and literally knew with every atom of my being that I wanted to paint”. The next day, she joined the art school, which was situated in an old wine cellar and run by artist, Pieter Vermaak. In 1999, Karen relocated with her husband and two small children to San Francisco. It was a challenging transition. “After leaving the autumn drenched wine lands of South Africa, it felt like someone had turned the lights off..” Painting every night on the floor of their small kitchen helped soothe her homesickness. “Painting saved me. I would go into a different world”. She attended a short course in color and painting at the College of Marin, and soon after, moved to Santa Barbara.
In Santa Barbara, she was introduced to a wonderful painter in his 80’s, by the name of Bill Woolway. They became firm friends and Karen was highly influenced by Bill’s work. A few years later, a close friend sent Karen’s portfolio to the buyer of Robert Redford’s Sundance Catalog. Three of her paintings were featured on the cover of the catalog, and thereafter, many doors opened.