Sheila Karrow

Sheila Karrow

Active Member

Preferred Medium: 

Acrylic and watercolour

Sheila Karrow
Artist Bio:

Sheila Karrow has recently moved from on Haida Gwaii, British Columbia to the Cowichan Valley. With over 35 years of teaching experience in community programs and in the classroom, Karrow uses her art practice to inform her teaching philosophies. After earning an Honours degree in Fine Arts and her teaching certificate, Karrow spent several years teaching high school Visual Art and English. Soon after the birth of her first child, she redirected her life, focusing on creating art and parenting. Karrow decided to continue her academic pursuits by completing a Masters in Art Education at the University of Victoria and returned to the classroom on Haida Gwaii. Currently working on her PhD, Karrow has begun a new journey of research in Art Education and Curriculum Studies informed by classroom teaching, studio practice, and place-based art experiences on the West Coast. She is now teaching and painting in the Cowchan Valley on Vancovuer Island.

Artist Statement:

Karrow's paintings communicate both a literal and metaphorical understanding of the natural world. She strives for an intimate connection with the subject yet also reveals the unknowable reality of such a form. Karrow’s carefully rendered images in acrylic and watercolour express a didactic blend of extreme detail with narrative, combining realism, symbolism, and abstraction.


“The first inspirations are always sketches followed by careful realistic renderings in watercolour. Some say realism is like taking a photograph. For me, realism is an exercise of knowing. It requires acquainting oneself with all the subtle nuances of the subject before you. Successful realism requires a strong abstract composition under the surface detail.  And involves a careful and slow observation of light, shadow, colour, and form. Looking and creating becomes a meditative process. As I paint what I see, I feel part of it, responding emotionally to the subject. This connection is the beginning of a relationship, and through relationship building we can begin to care for and protect the natural world around us. I am never satisfied with this stage and later move into another art form that is both symbolic and abstract, carrying the essence of the realistic form.


I am interested in the invisible line between land and sea. The soil, rocks, plants  and  animals that originate in forest loam, share their existence with the life below the water surface. The space between land and sea tells us about ourselves. Our  forests and oceans mirror the place of society; they tell us about the impacts of climate change.”


It was paintings communicate both a literal and metaphorical understanding of the natural world. She strives for an intimate connection with the subject it also reveals the unknowable reality of such a form.

Sheila Karrow