Karen Woods was born in 1963 in Seattle, Washington. After a brief study of architecture, she transferred to and graduated from the California College of the Arts.

The span of time between the end of college and the beginning of full-time studio practice lasted about twenty years. This allowed her to reconsider some of her (self-imposed) restrictions about what and how to paint, and to develop an appreciation for the visual abundance of her ordinary life.

She paints rain-soaked streetscapes as seen from the inside of a car, often framed by a windshield. In 2016 she had a solo exhibition at the Boise Art Museum entitled “The Way to Wilder”. Since then she has expanded her subject matter to include the sea, often through the “windshield” of a ferry window or a looking glass. She is represented by Stewart Gallery in Boise, George Billis Gallery in New York and Los Angeles, and Quidley & Company Fine Art in Boston and on Nantucket.