Coming from a family of artists, Karen Holt carried on the tradition, when she turned from her biological science career of fourteen years, towards that of art. A native of Texas, fourth born in a family of five children, Karen's twin brother's life and death were the inspiration for her change in career direction.

Painter, poet, author, and teacher, Karen is nationally recognized and honored for her artistic excellence. Her work has been described as classical in its nature and composition, and yet the contents remain very much of today. Her compelling art creates a space for pause and reflection, depicting quiet, unguarded moments in our everyday lives.   Paintings talk to us—they engage and encourage dialogue.  Be it her distinctive, insightful Portraiture, or Classical Fine Art oils, they invite us to another level of knowing. 

Karen’s poetry, written in parallel with her paintings, may offer guidance in this conversation between viewer and art.  By sharing the lessons she learned and embraced during her creation of the painting, she shares yet another perspective, another way of seeing.
The artist passionately believes we each possess innate and abundant creativity, and strives to encourage others to step into their own creative space, ” to see” at many different levels.   DiscoveryShop, a customized, progressive outdoor leaning event, facilitates accessing and unlocking our creativity while experiencing nature, environmental journaling, and innovative exploration with a "playful, colorful twist".

A glimpse into how this happens for Karen can be experienced in the intimate format of her exquisitely designed gift book, CAN YOU SEE ME? An Unveiling of the Human Spirit. It demonstrates the deep connection between hope, healing, and creativity, and serves as a reminder that we are not alone on this journey.

Her life work is about opening to possibility, discovered and expressed through the painted image, the poetic verse, or the environmental journal.  She translates feeling into form, value of light into shape, bridging the old with the new, the classical with the contemporary, producing timeless works of art--celebrating the individual and the value of life.  

  • Elected Full Signature Member of the Oil Painters of America; she was one of 26 at the time of her election. President and Founder of OPA, the late Shirl Smithson, said of Holt, "I consider her an artist's artist. She received an Award of Excellence at OPA's premiere exhibition at Prince Galleries in Chicago. The show consisted of 187 of the country's top oil painters. Karen was juried in like a snap of the finger. There is no doubt of her quality."
  • Exhibits work nationwide, including: the National Arts Club, New York; the Graham Center Museum, IL; the Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives, Washington DC; University of Texas, Dallas; and Palette and Chisel Academy, Chicago, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, OKC, the Myerson Symphony Center, Dallas, and Dallas Women's Museum, TX.
  • Dedicated to portrait painting and the exhibition of fine art that embrace the value of life and the individual, Holt strives to connect with others. After seeing the work, a viewer said, "It took my breath away, for it was like looking at myself. I was so moved and thankful that God gifted someone with the talent to put that in front of me." Another remarked, "Her work breaks through the boundaries of language, communicating the universal feelings common to all."
  • Holt has had numerous One-Person Exhibitions and many private receptions hosted by collectors from Seattle, Dallas, Houston and Chicago. One such collector was quoted in a Chicago Tribune article, which featured Holt and her work, "Karen's portrait paintings do more than just look like the person. They really grab the person's soul. I am not sure how she does it. It may have a lot to do with her incredible ability to understand people."


Oil Painters of America, Full Signature Member
Chicago Society of Artists, Inc, Juried Selection
Portrait Society of America, Inc
The National League of American Pen Women, Inc, Juried Selection

Knickerbocker Society, Full Signature Member
The Salmagundi Club, New York
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
University of Texas, Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, TX

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, OK
The Charles Sumner School & Museum, Washington, DC
Museum of the Billy Graham Center, Wheaton, IL
The Myerson Symphony Center, Dallas, TX

Dallas Women's Museum, Dallas TX
Texas Christian University, Wright Boardroom, Sadler Hall, Ft. Worth, TX
The Norris Cultural Arts Center, St Charles, IL
Joan Cawley Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ

The National Arts Club, New York
Indianapolis Art Center, Indianapolis, IN
Dee J. Kelly Alumni & Visitors Center, TCU, Ft. Worth, TX
New Masters Gallery, Carmel, CA

Winthrop Rockefeller Building, Ranch Management Program, TCU, Ft. Worth, TX
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, Oklahoma City, OK
University of North Texas, Murchison Performing Arts Center, Denton, TX
The Palette & Chisel Academy, Chicago