Painting American Beauties: Karen Noles

Karen Noles was born in Nebraska in 1947. She attended the Omaha School of Commercial Art. After graduation, she worked as an artist for the Hallmark Card Company. She then moved to Montana and lives near the Flathead Indian Reservation.

The Flatheads call themselves “Salish” in their native language. Neighboring tribes formerly bound the heads of infants so they would develop a pointed skull. The Flathead people did not bind the infant’s heads, so neighboring tribes called them “Flatheads”. Karen Noles’ models are from the Flathead Tribe.

She writes, “I love painting children because of their innocence, their genuine, honest, and spontaneous response to life.”

The first image is of a girl with hair in traditional braids holding a basket.

Karen Noles "Little White Dove"

Karen Noles – Little White Dove

The next painting, of a girl in front of a teepee, is titled Little Bare Feet.

Karen Noles - "Little Bare Feet"

Karen Noles – Little Bare Feet

Safe and Serene is the title of the painting of an Indian girl holding a young fox.

Karen Noles - Safe and Serene

Karen Noles – Safe and Serene

The next portrait is called Little Bear.  Perhaps it is the girl’s name.

Karen Noles - Little Bear

Karen Noles – Little Bear

The painting of the girl with a cat is Feathers and Fur.

Karen Noles - Feathers and Fur

Karen Noles – Feathers and Fur

The flowers in this painting appear quite large; Little Wildflower may be the name of the girl.

Karen Noles - Little Wildflower

Karen Noles – Little Wildflower

One of my favorites is this cute girl holding a doll.

Karen Noles - Shy One

Karen Noles – Shy One

The girl and the pup both seem happy.

Karen Noles - Innocent Delight

Karen Noles – Innocent Delight

The last painting I will post is Kiowa Babysitter.  Although most of the models are of the Salish or Flathead tribe, the artist sometimes references other Indian Nations in her work.  Most Kiowa live in Oklahoma.

Karen Noles - Kiowa Babysitter

Karen Noles – Kiowa Babysitter

Unfortunately, I was not able to find the dates each painting was completed.

Karen Noles’ web page