Karl Martens was born in San Francisco in 1956 but grew up near Drottningholm, on the outskirts of Stockholm.  Karl then lived in both Switzerland and Canada before returning to his place of birth, San Francisco.  Finally, after an absence of 24 years, he returned to Sweden at the age of 40 and continues to reside there.


The study of nature, with a particular passion for birds, has been Karl’s main interest since childhood. Karl Marten’s birds have a keen attention to detail that brings out the beauty of these majestic animals.  Having initially painted very exact, detailed pictures, he has more recently developed a freer and more fluid style when painting watercolour. 


Karl is influenced by both Western and Eastern philosophies and he is very interested in the forms of meditation found in Zen Buddhism.  This discipline is clearly reflected in the approach to his painting – “The best result is achieved when no thought is given to it; when the mind rests in emptiness and intuition takes over”.  Karl is also a very keen and successful practitioner of Japanese archery and he travels the world in his pursuit of excellence.


In his painting, Karl strives to capture the emotional essence of the subject rather than seeking a perfect depiction. In so doing he challenges his own perceptions and allows the image to develop.  He paints from memory using watercolour and charcoal on hand-made paper. 


Karl’s paintings are held in collections around the world.



The Wykeham Gallery
High Street
SO20 6HE

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