Karl Mårtens was born in San Francisco in 1956, and grew up in Drottningholm in the outskirts of Stockholm, Sweden. Since childhood Karl has moved between North America and Europe: from Sweden to Canada, back to San Francisco and, most recently, returning to Stockholm where he now resides.

The main preoccupation of Karl’s work is the study of the natural world, and birds in particular. His fascination with nature stems from childhood. He has been drawing and painting birds from earliest memory, moving from precise, detailed studies to the more fluid and free style as practised today. Over the years he has accumulated extensive knowledge of birds, and he paints from memory.

Karl’s process is a challenge to the need for artistic control, promoting intuition and experiment, and his exquisitely rendered studies capture something of the vital essence and character of their subjects. He takes influence from both Eastern and Western philosophies, especially his study of Zen Buddhist meditation and Japanese archery. Using Japanese and Chinese paintbrushes, watercolour, charcoal and handmade paper, Karl is also inspired by the unpredictable reactions between his materials.

Karl’s work is well known among collectors in Europe, and is gaining increasing interest from an international audience of collectors.

In painting and calligraphy, the first stroke is the most important. It comes from nothing and manifests something.

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