Karin Olah

View Work by Karin Olah

A beach lover with dreams of being a boat-owner, artist Karin Olah explores the coastal landscape, hunting for the perfect spot that is peaceful in setting and vibrant in color.

Back in her studio on James Island, and working from photographs, Karin sketches an underpainting with acrylic and gouache (opaque watercolor). She hand-dyes cotton, linen, silk, and vintage fabrics to create a one-of-a-kind palette of colors. Then the fabric is carefully cut, layered, and applied to the painting using an archival rice starch. Each painting is finished with additional layers of paint, fabric, and drawn lines of watercolor crayons, pastels, and pencils.

Born and raised in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Karin combines her interest in quilt making, a BFA in Fiber Art from Maryland Institute College of Art, a background in fashion design in NYC, and an ever-growing fabric collection to add layers of texture, depth, and color to her work.

Her work has been featured in House & Garden Magazine, Elements of Style Blog, Furbish StudioOne Kings Lane, on the cover of Charleston Magazine, and in American Contemporary Art Magazine, Charleston Style & Design, and Coastal Isles Magazine. Karin is the 2015 recipient of the Griffith/Reyburn Lowcountry Artist of the Year Award. Corporate Collections include pieces in the Carolina Contemporary Collection of MUSC Ashley River Towers, Citadel College, City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs, and Shoestring Publishing Company. She is a former board member of Redux Contemporary Art Center.

Karin has lived in Boulder Colorado, Brooklyn New York, Hilo Hawaii, Baltimore Maryland, Lititz Pennsylvania, and Manasquan, New Jersey, and has called Charleston home since 2003. When not painting in her cottage studio on James Island, Karin is at the beach with her 2 young daughters, chasing after Joby the Labradoodle, and dancing to funky music with her husband Craig Knowlton.