Karen Dolan is an artist, teacher and arts advocate in Kingston, Ontario Canada.
Karen developed an interest in visual arts as an adolescent, studied fine art at St Lawrence College and York University, graduating from Queen’s University with Bachelor of Fine Art and Education degrees.
Retired from a 31-year career as a secondary school art, photography and physical education teacher in 2010.
2011 to 2015 served as the Kingston Arts Council’s Executive Director, supporting and promoting the creation and presentation of all artistic expression.
2018 to 2022 facilitated H’art Centre’s MixAbilities Inclusive Arts Training program designed to enhance access to the arts, ensuring artists and art educators are best equipped to provide accessible and inclusive art experiences.
Karen's passion is photography. A long time black and white film photographer, in 2005 Karen discovered digital photography and the joy of post processing. Imagining the potential of a composition, beyond what is visible through the viewfinder is as important as the initial capture. Designing a photograph is an essential part of Karen’s creative process.
Karen is inspired by the world around her, searching out design elements in her environment. Through her lens Karen strives to unearth the remarkable from the unremarkable. Imagery fills the space creating a sense of monumentality. Karen is drawn to the long shadows created by morning or evening light, when tonal contrasts and textural details are intensified. Karen is attracted to vibrant colours, asymmetry and reflective surfaces. By playing with different points of view Karen creates dynamic connections between the subject and surrounding space. While retaining fundamental elements of the original composition the final photographs are expressive and abstract interpretations.
Since 2005 Karen has participated in many photography workshops and tours, working alongside other photographers, sharing ideas and the love of taking pictures. Karen has traveled to Cuba, India, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, New York City, Sedona, Switzerland and across Canada on independent and group tours. Vacations offer endless opportunities to capture the beauty of new surroundings.
Karen’s love of teaching, design and photography led to establishing karendolanart.
As facilitator of photography workshops Karen leads walking tours in Kingston Ontario and enjoys sharing her knowledge about art, composition and image-making.
Karen surrounds herself with art and continues work as an arts champion.
Karen values nurturing creativity within oneself as well as supporting arts in the community.