Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Building wide show this FRIDAY NIGHT! Santaella Studios for the ARTS EVENT, 6-10PM Food, Wine, Live Music!

     It's that time of year again. The Santaella Studios for the Arts is holding an art event this Friday, 6-10 p.m. It's our Winter Open House and Art Sale. Stop by my studio suite #314 (3rd floor) and say hello. Hope you can make it!

 Santaella Studios for the ARTs
Winter Open House, Art Sale 
& Fund Raiser 2015
Santaella Winter Art Show 2015
Santaella Winter Art Show 2015
 This year the Santaella Studios for the Arts partners with
    Special  Operations Warrior Foundation
This organization cares for the families of fallen and wounded Special Operations Forces.  This foundation has been awarded its 8th annual consecutive four-star rating by the nation's leading charity watchdog group, Charity Navigator.    
Half of each entry fee will go to this important foundation.  
 Santaella Studios 
for the ARTS
 Sponsored by:
Platinum Bank     
Friday, February 13, 2015
1906 North Armenia, West Tampa, Florida 33607
Free Parking 
6:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Suggested Admission
$10 per person at door
Cuban Art Exhibit
From the private Collection of Tampa City Council member and chair, Charlie Miranda.
Lecture at 7:00 PM in Suite #212, Debra Radke's Studio
The Santaella venue has fast become the magnet for serious artists who work, exhibit, and sell their art.  The forty resident artists have revitalized their local community through a cooperative enviornment within the old Santaella Cigar Factory.  An enclave of talented professional emerging and seasoned artists have studios within the walls of the historic Santaella Cigar Factory which dates from circa 1904.  Come see their beautiful works of art, mingle with the artists and add to your art collection.
Over 26,000 square feet of studios & galleries make up the Santaella Studios for the ARTs.  Since their branding in 2010 the Santaella Studios for the Arts has attracted national and International collectors and is now a major destination for collectors passing through the Gulf Coast.  
New Artists! Emerging, National & Internationally known artists.
Come and experience forty studios of creative professionals and emerging artists who include; Inde Film Companies, ceramic artists, architects, jewelry designers, Shell designer, master print makers, award winning master photographers, contemporary realist classical painters & contemporary modern artists, graphic designers, Vosler Young Artists' Studio, Specialty linens company and a American Civil War and historical artist.  
The Santaella Studios for the ARTS is a creative learning center for classical art classes, landscape painting, jewelry classes, photography classes workshops and more. 
For information contact:  813-417-5867
The inspiration for our logo, designed by Art Fyvolent, came from an old Optimo Cigar Box.   Visit: IDEAS4
Like us on Facebook    
Santaella Studios

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Just a brief update on what's happening...

 Where does the time go?  How many times do you read a blog with an apology about someone not having the time to keep up with updating social media sites and blogs?  I suppose that I am now one of them...sorry about being absent for so long.

On a good note I have been really busy with work, therefore I come by a great excuse honestly.  I'm working with a few new companies so you will see several new products with my art early in 2015. I've also been doing some freelance work not to mention exhibiting at the weekend markets locally. It's been crazy busy!

My new schedule is posted below for the local Tampa Bay Markets, so if you happen to be in the area - please do stop by and say hello!


                                 I have also added a couple of fun Halloween items into my Etsy shop...

As I leave you with this brief update, I promise to keep you informed more frequently on the latest happenings of Karen Embry Designs. Because my work schedule has been so hectic lately, I would like to share with you a favorite quote of mine that currently seems appropriate:
"Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did."  Newt Gingrich

How true is that?

Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Finished! My new website   is up and running! ...WOO HOO! I feel a certain amount of satisfaction knowing that I accomplished this using the Adobe Muse program.

Muse, was released a few years back, but for me it was a NEW learning experience. Although technically it was relatively simple once I learned the tools, it was a somewhat time consuming project.   In the process, I learned way more that I wanted to about DNS servers, MX records, redirecting e-mail, etc. One bit of advice, don't shut down one hosting company before the other is completely active. (For those of you that may have made this mistake, you would totally understand).

My new website, is simple and to the point. Not a lot of fluff. You can find out the basics about me, my art, my studio and what I am up to currently... without having to read a book. Of course, it still needs a little tweaking, but the Muse program makes it SO easy. Hope you like my new website!

I would love to hear your comments... 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Outdoor Fresh Markets

It's nice living in Florida. I LOVE the weather. It's the perfect environment for these popular weekend markets that have popped up everywhere around here.

You can find beautiful produce, unique items and a community of artists selling their wares all in one venue.  It appears people enjoy venturing out to the "Fresh Markets" to shop and connect with local vendors. A nice switch from ordering on Amazon.


It's been a bazillion years since I participated in an outdoor show.  But alas, I did it again. These shows are a little different than the old traditional shows and most are held once a month. A community of regular visitors makes it a nice atmosphere.

I enjoy the face to face connection with customers.  The shows can also be a great test market for new product concept ideas for licensing. Definitely a good 
place to get feedback.

I'm pretty sure that this is only the beginning of my "Fresh Market" adventure.  Follow me on Facebook to keep current of my schedule of where I'll be exhibiting next. Hope to see you there!

If you aren't local to Tampa and want to purchase some of my items on line, you can visit my Etsy shop, where I'll be adding more new items shortly. 

Have a great day!!!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Studio Happenings at the Santaella Studios for the Arts - Karen Embry Designs

I can hardly believe it's been almost three years since I moved into the Santaella Studios. Initially it was to simply be a working studio, but I have been pleasantly surprised to see the changes since I arrived.

A big thanks to Kerry Vosler  for being the workhorse behind organizing the tenant artists to team up and put on the wonderful resident art shows in our building. Someone mentioned that trying to organize these events with such a large group of creative individuals was something like trying to herd cats. Sometimes it seems impossible, but Kerry always manages to accomplish it with the help of our artists.

                                         Our next big event is this November 8th, 2013. 

With more new artists than ever in our building, it will be our best show yet.  I'll also be coordinating the grand opening of my new studio in suite #314 for this event on November 8th. I have been working diligently on finalizing the studio d├ęcor as well as creating many new pieces that will debut at the show.

Our last building event was organized by a private group, The Krewe of St. Brigit. They held a wine tasting and social along with our a tour of our open studios. We have an awesome gallery in the building, the "J.D. Van Pelt Gallery", that can be rented for private events. This brings in a wonderful variety of guests.

This is the brochure from the Krewe of St. Brigit that listed the tenant studios that were open for the event. 

I had a chance to step out of my studio before this event began to visit with some of my third story neighbors and snap their photos in their creative spaces.  

                                       Rick Reeves  -
                                        and Sharon Dixon with a  "New Leaf Floral Designs"
                                        ( are in studio #313


Lorrie Mason - Suite #300

Laszlo Horvath Suite #315

Marilyn Silverman

 Suite #305 I am in my studio #312.  This is the last photo in my old studio...lots of new things happening in my new studio #314!!

The eclectic mix of artists makes the "Santaella Studios for the Arts" a unique venue in Tampa, Florida.  I hope you can make it to our next show!

Do what you love, love what you do!!!!!!!!!

To stay current on on all of my creative activity you may also follow me on:



Saturday, June 8, 2013

HERE WE GO AGAIN... but change is always good!

Almost three years ago I moved into a really cool art studio. It was in a renovated cigar factory that was over 100 years old. I put a lot of work into my studio, making it just perfect. The only problem seemed to be that I was outgrowing my space. What I had intended to be just a working studio had evolved into a gallery as well. So when the space next door opened up (which was more than twice the size of my original space), I jumped at the opportunity.   
I spend so much time at my studio it's sort of a "home away from home". I am working toward designing an environment that is welcoming as well as an inspiring place to create. Here's the studio progress so far. 
           Here is what it looked like when I first acquired the space (looking in from the entry door). 
This is now.

                                                      Facing the entry door...

                                   A little brighter and happier...don't you think?

It's a little messy and I am not anywhere near finished organizing the space or with this project. I still have the old studio next door and I am very tempted to just make a doorway through to connect them. I am not sure yet if it will be cost effective to maintain both spaces. For now I'll see how it goes for the coming months as I try to get this new place organized and keep up with my licensing work.

Yes, "CHANGE" is always good. It's what keeps life interesting and keeps this artist motivated.  I think Winston Churchill said it best, - "To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often".

What do you think about change?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


I recently found a couple of my first drawing and craft books my parents gave me as a child. I loved these books. I drew every animal and made almost every project in them. As you can see by the $1.00 price on the "Drawing Animals" book that dinosaurs had probably just finished roaming the earth...well maybe not that far back but who can remember when any drawing book was only a $1.00??? 

As a child, I was always encouraged to draw and create. Having a father that was (and still is) an artist certainly had its benefits as a kid. He was an art director and commercial artist for an advertising agency. He designed the newspaper ads and produced television commercials. Occasionally my sister and I were extras in commercials.  My father's skills still amaze me to this day. I am still learning from him... and I continue to draw animals....

Just a few weeks ago I mentioned to my dad that I was working on drawing three dimensional animals (dogs and cats). Since most of my designs are whimsical, the images don't require exact realistic anatomy, but they have to  portray an accurate representation of the the subject.  My father always said this about drawing, "you have to know the rules before you can break them". If I am going to draw a whimsical dog, then I need to know the realistic anatomy and form of the animal.  Drawing from the front perspective is generally simple but sometimes designing the dimensional animal/characters is a bit more challenging.

This past Sunday when I visited my parents house for a family dinner, I was surprised by some new things my dad was designing and working on in his studio. How cool are these?????????????????

Three dimensional prototype models of a dog and cat! 

They are still a work in progress and you can see from the sketches below that dad has it all planned out. 

These are great perspective models showing different angles for sketching dogs and cats. The dog's nose is attached with a magnet and comes off to show how it can be viewed from different sides.  He designed these for me so that drawing different perspectives of dogs and cats would be simpler. These started out as just round paper mache balls. He's added all of the details (eyes, cheeks, noses) and elements.  AMAZING!

There are always amazing things when I look around my dad's studio.

 Funny sketches...he draws on anything. 
Artwork by Gene Howell

Lobsters with personality too!
Artwork by Gene Howell

And this guy has been around longer than I have...

Oh and this is really cool. Not sure where he is going with this but it's made from copper and epoxy - unusual, but I wonder what it will look like when finished?

A couple of his paintings around the house...
Painting by Gene Howell

Painting by Gene Howell

I am lucky to have grown up in this creative home. I would have probably learned a little more had I not been a bit stubborn growing up. On the other hand, I believe that with the artistic talent, I also inherited the stubbornness. My dad and I still laugh about it - like father - like daughter?  

I am lucky...thanks DAD! 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Be Careful What you Wish For...

I've heard the saying, "be careful what you wish for", as there is always the possibility that it might come true. I can only be happy that my wishes have been coming true and I have been blessed to be so busy doing what I love to do ... design, create and paint (and getting paid for it).

Here's a little about what I've been up to lately...

Here are a couple of new pieces I designed for a client.  Her name is Robin and it was very nice of her to send me photos of my finished art on display in her living room.   It kind of looks like a picture from a magazine. Robin has some great decorating skills!
I guess you can notice that the theme of these paintings is "birds" which is probably my favorite thing to include in my most recent designs. Robin had first seen a painting similar to these displayed in my studio and asked me to create some to match her decor. If you look closely on the painting on the left (near the bottom) you will see a "Robin" painted in with the other colorful birds. This of course was by design and requested by the client which adds a personal touch to the designs.

I've also been buried in deadlines creating new designs for my licensing partners. Sometimes I'm not sure where one day ends and the other begins.  I have been working with some very nice clients which really helps me survive in this crazy business. Lots of new stuff coming to market in 2013! Woo Hoo!

Things at the studio have been going well too!  Our big grand-opening show last February was a huge success so we, (the resident artists), are planning our second big OPEN HOUSE AND ART SALE of the year. Our fall show is scheduled for Friday, November 9th, 2012 from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. with a $5.00 entry fee that includes one drink ticket.

We'll also have Cork and Olive Wine Bar at our event as well as live music and endless art fthat fills the halls and studios. If you live in Tampa or the surrounding areas, it's a night you won't want to miss! 

Here's a  little video of our last event:

So mark it on your calendar and be sure to stop by studio #312 and say hello!

Oh, by the way, be sure to "LIKE" our facebook page to keep up to date with all the happenings at the Santaella Studios:!/pages/Santaella-Studios-for-the-Arts/279568738732594


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Give Your Imagination Wings

      I've always been a fan of the saying "Give Your Imagination Wings". The wings of your imagination can take you just about anywhere if you leave yourself open to the possibilities of your dreams. Imagination helps you visualize what could be, and make it real. 

   I am happy to share with you part of my new collection "Seize The Moment" recently released from Evergreen Enterprises. The tumbler features my art with a nice reminder to remember to "Give Your Imagination Wings". More new pieces debuting soon... 
Insulated Cup w/Straw 17oz, Seize the Moment

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


It's hard to believe how quickly time passes. I have been absent from my blog for a bit but that's only because there has been quite a buzz around my studio lately. I have been working and painting like crazy on all sorts of wonderful new product designs! So I promise that you will be pleasantly pleased to see all sorts of wonderful new items that will be available soon with my art on them.  So far this year I have been to Atlanta's Gift Mart, the CHA (Craft and Hobby Association) show in Anaheim and later this week I will be attending the Surtex Show/National Stationery Show (NSS) in New York. It's been amazing! I look forward to connecting with my creative peeps and checking out the trends in the NSS. Have a great day!