Though Karen was unfamiliar with her family's Hawaiian legacy until she was in her early twenties, she recalls a love for the islands, even before her first visit. A longing to see and experience it first hand was constant. Living in Alaska is just about as far from warm trade winds and topical-anything as you can get, it's hard to say if her surroundings in this rugged north state fostered her strong hunger for the islands, or perhaps it was a deep-rooted part of her from the beginning.
When she visited the islands for the first time in the fall of 2008 it was an incredible experience. As an artist, immediately she was enamored with the light, color, atmosphere, and aura of the islands. Her encounter was something stonger than just a tropical escape. It changed her and her art. While this experience was life changing and new, there was also an element that brought immense comfort and peace. Some part of her was home, a feeling and passion she strives to capture in each of her works.