Karen Musgraves is a down-to-earth, good-natured country girl and gifted artist from Golden, Texas. She co-owns a small print and graphic design shop — MPrints Printing, Inc., — in Mineola and she and her husband Craig live happily on their 40 acres where they care for their four dogs, cat and 28 chickens. She is also mom to two talented daughters, photographer Kelly Sutton and country music artist Kacey Musgraves.
Musgraves’ humble and genuine personality only make this talented artist — whose work shines a spotlight on things rural and ravishing — seem more appealing. With an artistic style with blends of Fauvism, Spontaneous Realism and Pop Art, her brand is bold, colorful and country at heart. Her portraits of Mick Jagger and Willie Nelson are reminiscent of Matisse’s Green Stripe, while synchronously nostalgic of Andy Warhol’s Technicolor portraiture.
Musgraves’ all-time favorite piece she’s composed is her depiction of Willie Nelson. Her daughter, Kacey, gave Nelson a replica of her mother’s painting, to which he offered, "Sometimes when I wake up in the mornings, I look just like this."
Preferring to paint whatever is inspiring to her at the time, much of Musgraves’ art features wildlife, such as longhorns, moose and elk. Other paintings celebrate the simple elegance of a pair of cowboy boots acting as a vase for wildflowers. One work in particular highlights the way the sun gleams off the coats of a herd of wild horses, from a seemingly weightless, floating, proximal prospective. She seems to know just how to utilize wispy, romantic lines, contrasting tone and shadow to cause a longhorn’s tail to swish from the corner of your eye.
Interestingly, much of Musgraves art is featured on pillow prints, which can add a pop of color to a couch or chair, while simultaneously serving as a conversation piece.
"Red is my favorite color," Musgraves said. "I use it in all of my paintings."
When it comes to canvas size, bigger is better and time is on her side.
"I work on my paintings a little at a time," she said. "I have pieces I started years ago but haven’t finished," she admitted. "I just enjoy every one of them."
Musgraves credits her mother and aunts’ creative ability for her gift, and her second grade teacher for igniting her passion for painting. Henri Matisse, Bogdan and Voka are among her favorite artists and when she’s drawing an artistic blank she heads to the Dallas Museum of Art and the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth. There is a certain bench she likes to sit on to draw inspiration from, which is positioned in front of Frederic Edwin Church’s iceberg painting.
Much like the iceberg paintings she admires, there is more to Musgraves’ preferred art modality than what meets the eye.
"I also love sculpture and have been working toward a big show. So far I have about 20 sculptures; I’m working toward a goal of 50 pieces."
Constructed of bits and pieces of discarded metal items and assembled in ways that speak symbolism to the eye of the beholder, these sculptures are scheduled to make their debut at her upcoming solo art show, "Stars Night Out" April 7 at Lott Interior Design in Tyler, with proceeds to benefit local charities.
Fans of her work can purchase paintings, prints and/or pillows at the Golden Homestead in downtown Golden near Mineola, on-line at www.karenmusgraves.com, and at her booth at Dallas Market.