Art Gallery

A ministry of Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids

Art Gallery

Mis-shapened Tree

Mis-shapened Tree

Dominican Center at Marywood Gallery

Donald Leigh Karel

Exhibiting March – April 2015

The Artist’s reception, which is open to the public, will be
on the lower level of Dominican Center at Marywood on April 12th from 1-4pm

Out of the Past

Out of the Past

Portrait

A lifelong resident of the Grand Rapids, Michigan area, Donald Leigh Karel has had a love of art of all types. As soon as he could hold a pencil, crayon or paintbrush, he would try to depict everything that he saw. A favorite “toy” was an antique stereoscope and the pictures on the stereo cards.The first occasion in which he made a photograph, was when he was three years of age, using his mother’s Argus twin lens reflex camera, loaded with black and white film. The picture was of his mother holding his sister, as they were sitting on the front lawn of their home.

On the occasion of his seventh birthday, his parents gave him a gift of a Brownie Starflash camera. From that moment, it became his constant traveling companion. The job of taking family photos fell mostly to Don.

Throughout the years, he had hoped to become a painter. Daily life got in the way and he had to postpone his plans. Later, there was no place to use as a studio, so he lost the discipline of painting as the years passed by.After buying a 35mm camera in 1969, Don started making artistic photos. Wanting to find a means of improving his pictures and hoping to meet other photographers, he enrolled in the photography classes at Grand Rapids Community College starting in 1986.As he had found his niche, black and white film photography became Don’s passion.

Blank
Don built a darkroom, the “Sanctuary of Darkness”, where he would spend many long hours, printing images, listening to music and leaving the world outside the closed door. There is much enjoyment in working with film – printing black and white, hand-coloring photos and creating images with Alternative Processes such as cyanotypes and Van Dyke Brown prints. Even after many years of photographic work, it still seems like magic when the image appears on the paper.Reflecting his many other interests, such as a love of history, nature, animals and travel, he has made different types of photos with different cameras. Besides 35mm SLRs, he shoots a medium format Mamiya C220 twin lens reflex, and two 4×5 view cameras, one of which is an old Speed Graphic press camera. These draw a lot of questions and remarks from passersby. Don enjoys spending time talking to people about them.

Over the years, Don has had the privilege to meet many interesting people. After a very serious auto crash in 1996, he decided to travel. First to Egypt and Israel in 1998 and then in the year 2000 the destinations were Italy, Switzerland and Greece.

Since becoming a photographic artist in 1986, Don’s work has been exhibited in many places. These include the Festival of the Arts, exhibits at the Muskegon Museum of Art, the Kalamazoo Institute of Art, many galleries around Michigan, as well as being published in magazines and books. There have also been awards for his art and some of his images are hanging in a few locations around Michigan and the world.

Mud Girls

Mud Girls

A Spring Day in Holland

A Spring Day in Holland

Yad Vashem. Jerusalem

Yad Vashem – Jerusalem