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Betsy Karasik

Betsy KarasikAs a child, I was captivated by the paintings of the French naïve painter, Henri Rousseau. Although I was known as the "class artist" throughout grade school, concerns about social justice and the environment caused me to pursue a legal career. I practiced law until 1998 and learned first hand from litigating insurance unfair claims practices and medical negligence cases how badly this country needs health care reform. I also deeply regret the negative impact humans have had on the environment, and support many causes dedicated to conservation and humane treatment of animals. I have donated dozens of pieces to charity fundraisers and am happy to consider requests.

People often ask me how I would describe my style, and I can only say that the majority of my work does not fit neatly into a single genre. One influence that is quite apparent in some pieces is Asian art; my parents lived in Japan and I grew up surrounded by the glorious screens, woodblock prints and ceramics they had brought back.

I have always felt the pull of nature, and sought to conjure the natural world in my paintings. While my fascination with biodiversity and the minute details of natural forms, such as flowers, insects, reptiles, and seashells, is the starting point for most of my pieces, I do not aspire to be a scientific illustrator. Instead, my interests include expanding the traditional notion of trompe l'oeil (a French term describing a realistic style of painting that creates the optical illusion of three dimensionality), and creating unusual still life compositions informed by trompe l'oeil, fantasy, and surrealism.

I am largely self taught, although I have studied with several very gifted Washington area artists including Annette Polan (portraiture), Patrick Kirwin (realism and illusion), and Mary del Popolo (color). I work in my Dupont Circle studio, and also enjoy spending time in the Blue Ridge Mountains at the farm of my partner of fifteen years, Bob Fener. We have been adopted by eight cats.

I accept commissions, including portraits and pet portraits. For more information please visit