Karen Leslie Hall: Artist, Musician, and Wordsmith

Karen Leslie Hall has been an artist of one kind or another all of her life. In her childhood she wrote poetry and loved to sing, and at age 10 acquired her first guitar and began writing songs. She became an accomplished guitarist, singer and songwriter, and in 1994 independently released a CD, On the Dream Road, to critical acclaim.

Her first forays into the visual arts came when she travelled in Europe after graduating from Queens University. She had never really owned or used a camera before then, and found that she had a knack for taking “artsy” photographs. This she did on all her subsequent travels, including a six-month solo road trip across North America.

When Karen got married and had children, her pursuits in music and photography fell by the wayside, but her creative spirit could not be suppressed. She taught herself to draw using the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards, doing the exercises while the baby napped. She was hooked, and started taking classes and workshops in watercolour, acrylics, and especially pastel. She discovered that she had a natural talent for painting.

As her skills improved, Karen started to join art groups and participate in shows. She was soon winning awards in juried shows, and achieved the Master Pastel Artist of Canada designation. Then she became involved with local studio tours and a co-op gallery in downtown Toronto, allowing her to present solo shows.

Upheaval in her personal life caused Karen to withdraw from art for several years. In 2016 she decided to throw herself back into it with a project she called “2016: A Year of Living Artfully,” which involved making some kind of art every day for a year and posting it online. This established an art-making habit that helped her get back into the art scene.

Karen paints in soft pastel, watercolour, and acrylic, and also enjoys drawing and collage. She has explored still life (pears being a favourite subject), landscape, figures, and abstraction. Among her most unique offerings is a series of semi-abstract watercolour paintings of nature (trees, the forest floor, and wildflowers); for these she developed a technique involving many layers of paint and resistance to the paint (masking tape and fluid) applied in a somewhat random fashion, reflecting the randomness of the subject matter.

Toronto, Canada
August 2017


Karen has enjoyed singing all her life and has played guitar since the age of 10. In 1994 she released a critically acclaimed CD of her own songs, entitled On the Dream Road. To learn more about Karen's music, click here.


To learn about Karen's copy-editing, writing, and proofreading services, click here.

Photo by  Donna Griffith