Inspired People – Karin Zeller

Inspired People

Artists are inspired people. But what makes them create what they create? What lights the fire that produces such wonderful work? Here are a few questions that will hopefully inspire some answers.

This week I am excited to feature Karin Zeller. I stumbled across Karin’s work a few months back and instantly fell in love with her use of colour and vibrant subjects.  I was stunned at both her skill in realism and abstract, and everything in between. Her work is a must see, so I’m really happy to have her here today. Thankyou for sharing your inspirations, Karin!


The Artist

Karin ZellerWho are you? What factors in your life have led you to create? Was it an epiphany moment or something that has always been?

I’ve loved to draw, ever since I started school, while still living in Germany.  My mother always encouraged me by saving any scrap of paper for me to draw on.  Early drawings were inspired by fairytales, nature and imagination.

I grew up in a large family (7 kids), and when I was 11, my family moved to Ontario, Canada, where we lived on a farm for many years.  At 20, I met Karl, who later became my husband. We had two children, a boy and a girl. In 1993 we decided to move to Melbourne, Australia, where Karl’s three sisters and their families live.

I’ve always wanted to be an artist. In 1990, while still living in Canada, I started my own portrait business.  In the beginning I found it hard to believe that people would be willing to pay me for my drawings , but over time, and after doing hundreds of portrait commissions, I felt confident about calling myself an artist.

Although creating portraits for people was rewarding, eventually I felt there was still something missing. The joy I had always felt when drawing as a child, just wasn’t there. It was still my dream to earn a living doing what I loved, although I wasn’t quite sure what that was at the time.Love at first bite by Karin Zeller

I’ve recently completed a small business course at RMIT, through the NEIS program.  I learned how to turn my skill and experience as an artist into a business venture, earning an income through  exhibitions, commissions and teaching art workshops and weekly classes.

I experiment with a variety of styles and subjects, but especially enjoy  painting colourful abstracts, in particular cats and other animals.  I regularly participate in art workshops and life drawing in the hope of improving my artistic skills, and I’m very much enjoying the journey.

I work in watercolour and acrylics as well as mixed media, and love to experiment with different techniques, media and styles. I also enjoy  sharing with my students, by teaching weekly classes and hope to do many all day workshops throughout the year.

Karin Zeller at work

Where are you from, where do you live, and how does your location influence your art?

I was born and lived in Germany for my first 11 years, then lived in Ontario, Canada for 25 years. I’ve lived in Melbourne, Australia  for the past 18 years.  I live near the beach, and there is plenty of parkland nearby. I live in the western suburbs, close to the city.

Frangipanis dream by Karin ZellerI love living here. It is very stimulating to live here.  Living near the water is lovely, and I think that over time I want to paint more local scenes, as well as urban life.  Melbourne is very modern and we are very fortunate that there is a lovely mix of the old traditional as well as the modern. This is reflected in the people, the architecture and the art scene.

Were you ever distracted away from your art and creating by the need to make a living? Have you ever stopped creating?

Yes, of course, there was a time I felt I just wasn’t good enough to make a living with my art. Art was just a hobby, and it was low on the priority list.  Family and work took priority.

I dabbled in many other things as well.  There were times when I struggled with a lot of depression, where I lost my motivation to create. Probably the most profound example of that was when my mother died, after suffering from Alzheimer’s for many years. She died a couple of months after September 11. It took me a long time to recover from that.



The Art

What do you create? Do you have a niche or do you spread your creativity across several disciplines? Do you have a preferred subject?

Geometricats by Karin Zeller

I paint, I draw, I paint big or small.  I don’t stick with just one thing. For instance, I have found that a lot of people loved my cats, so naturally I would paint more cats. Of course if I didn’t like painting cats, I would not force it.  I fell in love with Laurel Burch cats, and after that I was intrigued by the idea that cats can be colourful and creative, so they cropped up in many of my works.  Sometimes a playful experiment can also turn into something worthwhile.  I love drawing and painting mandalas, and fish, but also cats. I like doodling, and often my doodles of stylized women can turn into ideas for painting. I like abstract art, but the subject always has to be recognisable.

Girlfriends by Karin Zeller

What inspires you to create? Do you have any techniques to find inspiration?

Early inspirations were Picasso, Paul Klee ( fish on a platter) , Henry Rousseau, and other artists.

I love flower close-ups, such as were painted by Georgia O’Keeffe. I get inspired by drawing. I agree with Picasso’s statement, “Inspiration comes, but it must find you Fancy fish by Karin Zellerworking…”

Music inspires me, especially classical or new age. I especially find inspiration by the work of other artists.

How often do you create? Do you procrastinate? How do you balance between the things that have to be done versus the things you want to do?

I have something artsy planned for most days.  For instance, I teach art on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and go to watercolour classes on Wednesday, Life drawing on Saturdays. Most days in between I will do some painting in the studio.

Yes, I do procrastinate occasionally.

Art now has priority over other things, such as housework for instance. As a result, I get lots of artwork done, but my house is usually a mess, lol. It doesn’t worry me. When company comes, I usually make an effort to clean up.  I try to get my husband to help more with housework.Karin Zeller's studio

Where do you create?

I have a studio in my back yard.  We had it built about 10 years ago. It has everything I need, even a toilet, and lots of table space, music, good lighting. It’s away from the house.  I also teach my classes in there.  It is a great studio, but at times I wish it was bigger, especially for teaching classes. It would be nice to have more storage space, more room for classes, and perhaps a kitchen area. But I still love it and think I’m very lucky to have a studio.

I try to get out of the studio, when I go to watercolour class and live drawing. We sometimes paint out doors (en plein air).

What do you enjoy doing the most?

I enjoy variety in my life. For instance I love to paint on my own, but also need to paint and be with other artists. I love to get out and about. I go to exhibitions. I love going out for lunch with my husband or friends.  I love good coffee and good food.

Cat family by Karin Zeller

I love the simple things, like an early morning walk on the beach…or watching the sun set.   I enjoy life drawing, and drawing/painting directly from life.

Rainbow cat by Karin ZellerDo you have any advice for other artists?

As an art tutor, I’m always sharing what I’ve learned with my students.  I tell them not to give up.  Draw every day, paint every day if you can. Use quality materials. Just have fun!

Do you have any questions for other artists?

I love to read about other artists, and what inspires them to paint.  There is one particular artist, Del Katherine Barton, whose work really amazes me. I would love to know how she creates her amazing paintings.

Where can you and your art be found?

I currently have some of my work at Sassi Bar, Williamstown, May- June 2011, and an exhibition at the One Hundredth Gallery.

My work can be found online at or


29 responses to “Inspired People – Karin Zeller”



    1. Karin Zeller Avatar
      Karin Zeller

      Thank you, Jenny! That is so nice…I think I’m gonna cry…:)


    really nice to see my tutor on another site her work is really something.

  3. steve hall Avatar
    steve hall

    Awesome gallery of work aunty Karin. Keep up the great ya.


    1. Karin Zeller Avatar
      Karin Zeller

      Thank you, Steve! I appreciate the lovely comment!

  4. Jackie Avatar

    Beautiful, intriguing, energizing, inspiring! Karin’s artwork draws me in and holds me captive. I can’t help but find my own imagination engaged after spending time absorbed in these colourful pieces. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Elizabeth Avatar

    Well done Karin!!
    Enjoyed reading the interview and viewing the pics. Keep up the good work!

    1. Karin Zeller Avatar
      Karin Zeller

      Thank you, Elizabeth! So nice of you to have a look and the kind words.

  6. Elizabeth C Avatar
    Elizabeth C

    Well done Karin!
    Enjoyed both reading the interview and viewing the pics.
    Keep up the good work!!

    1. Karin Zeller Avatar
      Karin Zeller

      Thank you, Elizabeth! I appreciate that you had a look,and your kind feedback.

  7. Hi Karin,

    Magnificent article – congratulations.


  8. Fantastic work, Karin.



    1. Karin Zeller Avatar
      Karin Zeller

      Thank you, Michelle! I appreciate the lovely comment!

  9. Jutta White Avatar
    Jutta White

    Hello Karin,

    Loved the interview,Love your art, and the effort that you put into eveything, that you do,very proud of you, keep up the inspiration you inspire into your students….I only wish I was in your class…..

    Love always ….Jutta …

    1. Gumnut Avatar

      I know I’d love to check out her work/classes next time I’m in Melbourne 😀


      1. Karin Zeller Avatar
        Karin Zeller

        Thanks, Liz! It would be lovely to meet you in person. Hugs xox

    2. Karin Zeller Avatar
      Karin Zeller

      Thank you, Jutta! Wish you lived closer as well. Hope you come visit again soon. Thanks for the kind words… Love and hugs!

  10. Hi Karin

    Great interview, I really enjoyed reading it. I a am familiar with all your works and I really love them all. Great gallery!

    1. Karin Zeller Avatar
      Karin Zeller

      Hi Mary! Thank you for reading my interview, and for your kind words and feedback. See you on redbubble!
      Karin xox

  11. Dennis Szalay Avatar
    Dennis Szalay

    Great story Karin! Love the work on display and it was nice to gain some insight into your creative motivations.Wish I had such talent!

    1. Karin Zeller Avatar
      Karin Zeller

      Thank you, Dennis! I appreciate you checking out my interview, and your kind words. Some people think that art is only for the talented. I disagree. Anyone can tap into the artist within, and allow him/her to come out and play. If you enjoy reading, have a look at Drawing on the Right side of the Brain, or The Artist way. Everyone has some kind of talent…it might be in music, or writing or something else. I think talent can also be discovered later in life…good example is Grandma Moses.
      Karin xox

  12. Ingrid Avatar

    As always you are truly amazing. You make my heart sing.


    1. Karin Zeller Avatar
      Karin Zeller

      Ingrid, my dear friend! Your lovely comment makes my heart sing.:) Haven’t heard from you in ages. So nice to know you are still there, keeping in touch. Hope to catch up with you soon. We’ll call you! Much love….Karin xox

  13. Sue Dollin Avatar
    Sue Dollin

    Wow, this is terrific exposure! A very interesting read and quite inspiring. And those paintings :faint:, wish I could buy them all, although I consider myself very lucky to own a few, which by the way are on my bedroom wall. A bright and invigorating way to wake up in the morning.

    Congratulations and hope this brings you sales and famousness!!!!

    Love and hugs from Sue

    1. Karin Zeller Avatar
      Karin Zeller

      Hi Sue! Thanks so much for the lovely words. I am glad that my paintings have pride of place and that you still like them.
      I’m also a big fan of your art, and might I add, I’m fortunate to own some of your beautiful creations. Lover your gorgeous fiber art.
      Thanks for the kind wishes, and your friendship.
      Much love,
      Karin xox

  14. ivana pinaffo Avatar
    ivana pinaffo

    Great article and inspiring works Karin, well done.
    Love Ivana

  15. Lee R. Avatar

    Wow! Absolutely beautiful Karin! Hello from Canada.

    I’m so happy for you!

  16. Eve [you met on the TGV to St.Pierre des Corps!) Avatar
    Eve [you met on the TGV to St.Pierre des Corps!)

    Hi Karin

    Been sharing your talent with a French cousin (also an artist from Nimes)
    Love your work. So vibrant colourful and humourous. There is a primitive life affirming quality about it which is lovely and brings a ray of much needed Australian sunshine to blank canvass. Now that you are in the skies when do we see you on the seas?


  17. […] can’t see them, definitely drop by one of these links to gaze at her gorgeous art. Oh, and I interviewed her some years ago as part of my Inspired people […]