PaperCity Magazine

March 2016 - Houston

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MARCH | PAGE 67 | 2016 Clockwise from above: Droll little paintings by Donald Roller Wilson, a gift to the artist. Karll and Wilson collaborated on a line of clothing, that never took off. The pair was ahead of their time: "We were very enthusiastic about these fun designs, but evidently [investors] found them a bit outlandish," she says. Karll and her beloved English setter, Hudson, in the bedroom's alcove. She wears a Rosetta Getty top from Sloan/Hall. A seating nook in the serene master bedroom. The space, a study in white and cream, echoes the palette from the front of the house. highly sought-after Estée Lauder campaign ads. Wilhelmina was thrilled, but I grew impatient, cut my hair after a Clairol advertisement, signed with a French agency and left for Paris." Another big break followed — and a revelation. "I was approached by John Frieda while walking down Baker Street in London, and he asked me to be his model for hair advertisements." John Frieda ads followed. While in Europe, Karll says, "I discovered I preferred being on the other side of the lens. Photography!" Today her artistic practice frequently includes photos as subtle underpinning for works on paper. Eventually she touched down in Houston and returned to college for a degree in art. Her sister, Susie, who died young in a car accident, had been an artist; making art was a way to stay close to her memory. In 1999, Karll graduated from the University of Houston, where she studied with British painter Derek Boshier, Houston legend Gael Stack and Brit art historian David Brauer; she credits them all with setting her firmly on the art track. Her career began when a charcoal drawing was included in a prestigious Blaffer Art Museum exhibition. Collectors took notice, including staunch supporter Jane Blaffer Owen and her daughter, Annie Owen Pontez, who both acquired large- scale works. F lash forward. The house has played a transformative role in Karll's ongoing journey as a visual artist. When she and husband Hal McWhorter moved here as newlyweds 24 years ago, the enchanting property, built in 1927, manifested itself and fast became a muse for the budding painter and sculptor. It was serendipity, Karll says. "When searching for a house, I decided I wanted to be near the museums. I found myself often driving down this quiet little street with a lovely canopy of oak trees … Then one day I received a call from friend Bill Hill, telling me about a house for sale there. As we drove up, a friend, Cathy Echols came running out. She, and then-husband Andrew Echols owned the property." It was love at first sight. "As soon as I walked in, I knew it was the perfect house for Hal and me, filled with this wonderful energy," she says. "It's a happy house, open and airy. Sunlight spilling into all the rooms. On special days, you can hear a dove cooing atop Soft, nacreous light fills the front sitting room. Many of the furnishings came from the shop of Houston antiquarian Kay O'Toole, a dear friend. On the wall, one of Karll's striking canvases from 2015. Antique Baccarat chandelier once hung in her family's dining room in Mexico City. Chinese cabinet topped by a painted bronze Buddha head wearing a birthday gift: an antique necklace given to Karll by fellow artist Salle Werner-Vaughn. Terrell James oil on paper from Hiram Butler Gallery.

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