Karen Berisford

Newbiggin-by-the-sea, Northumberland

I am a professional artist & art Tutor, born and raised in Chesterfield, Derbyshire in the Midlands and now living in the small town of Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, in Northumberland with my partner and fellow artist John Graham. I have always had a passion for art. From a very early age I enjoyed creating pictures as most children do and one Christmas when I received a box of Caran Dache coloured pencils, I was hooked! Self-taught, my subject interests began with Birds having been a keen birdwatcher as a child and regularly visiting Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire. My art style always leaned towards realism, more a portrayal rather than photorealism. The need to add lots of detail is because I have always enjoyed the challenge. As art played such a huge part in my life, turning professional was always the aim, but the Internet was not commonplace when I first left school in 1990 and so I took myself off to college and trained as a Beauty Therapist before going into self employment for 5 years. I then went into ful time employment for 11 years in a department store mainly for the experience and learnt a lot from this but it was the death of my Mum in 2010 from Bowel Cancer that made me take that leap of faith finally into my dream business.
Coloured pencils were the first medium I began my art journey with because of that Xmas gift and they allowed a lot of control in my work with no mess. I branched out with graphite pencils in the late 80's whilst at school and was fascinated to see the tonal effects that could be achieved with them. In the 2000's I also started working with both soft pastels & acrylic paints but it was the acrylics that I found the most interesting due to their fast-drying nature and the ability to achieve extremely fine details. The importance of working with high quality, professional products was of the utmost importance and I began my online research to choosing the best products available. Secondary to these quality requirements were ensuring any art products I used were also environmentally & animal friendly too. There are always new art products appearing on the market and both the Caran Dache Luminance Coloured pencils & the GOLDEN Acrylic paints were the only choice for me. The surface I use for my acrylic portraits is a very fine Gessobord by Ampersand that allowed me to create even finer detail in my paintings than any weaved canvas would allow. I only have a small range of art products these days, quality over quantity for me everytime.
I spend every day in the studio, not only creating art but working on the websites. I also write articles and create tutorials for my Step by Step Art website too (see below for details). My preferred way of working is mostly web based in the daytime and creating art in the evening when I find it much quieter. For me the studio is not simply a place of work but a place of artistic passion & creativity and I always have lots of artworks in progress as I will swap between portraits to ensure I keep each piece 'fresh' so to speak. I have thousands of digital images, mostly wildlife which I use to create compositions for both my own art and sometimes for commissions too.
Although the main part of my work is commission based, I also have a dedicated website for artists with articles on art products and mini Step by Step Art tutorials too. As well as writing articles & tutorials, I also tutor art workshops on a part time basis offering 1 day workshops in my old home town in Chesterfield, Derbyshire  - these cover a range of subjects and offer tutoring for both budding artists and also at an intermediate level too. I enjoy helping people to create something that they can be proud of, and my workshops always include demonstrations as well as 1 to 1 tuition throughout so everyone goes home feeling they have learnt something useful that they can use in future projects. If you are an artist or interested in attending a workshop of mine, visit my official website and click on the 'tutoring' tab (below the 'About') or visit direct at www.stepbystepart.co.uk


Acrylics, Coloured pencils


Animal, Bird, Landscape, Portraiture, Wildlife

Favoured Products & Brands

Caran Dache Luminance, Golden Heavy body, Derwent Lightfast, Ampersand bords, strathmore 500 vellum surface