Do you ever wonder who takes all the pictures featured on the Renee’s Garden Seeds online catalog? With hundreds of trial varieties to shoot, it’s certainly a challenge, but it’s a dream job for our seasoned photographer Karen Bailey, who has worked for Renee’s Garden Seeds for the past five years. She sat down with me one recent sunny fall afternoon to share a little bit about her life and art.
Not only does Karen take great pictures, but she also is a painter and musician who plays the ukulele and the banjo in a Bluegrass/Cajun/Celtic/Jazz/Pop band called Relative Insanity. “We sound a lot like the music from the film ‘O Brother Where Art Thou’,” she says, describing the band which includes her brother-in-law, sister and cousin.
"I never met an instrument I didn’t like, except for the piano. That’s just one I don’t play,” she added. “All I ever wanted to do growing up was to play music with my sister, and now the whole family gets together to jam -- it's great.” Karen's husband Bob is an accomplished amateur luthier who makes the instruments she plays as well as fine custom instruments for other musicians.
Karen graduated from San Jose State with a B.S. in Graphic Design and has been painting for over 30 years. Her first career was as a biological illustrator and her work was published in numerous biology texts and professional journals. Then, in the 1990’s, Karen turned her attention to fine art and plein-air painting and her work appeared in diverse galleries, in both Southern California and as far north as Mendocino, California.
In recent years, she has developed a strong interest in digital photography and has taken a lot of courses in digital effects. This started her in a new direction, combining oil paintings with photography to create mixed media paintings and handmade books.
We're proud that Karen brings these considerable and diverse artistic talents to Renee's Garden as our trial garden and web photographer, enabling her to incorporate a unique artistic aesthetic into her photographic style.