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Karen Hoepting grew up on a farm in rural Ontario just south of Owen Sound, a small port city on Georgian Bay. Growing up in the country usually meant having a lot of nothing to do, so Hoepting and her siblings would often draw and paint to amuse themselves. Animals were always an important part of her life and these were her favorite subjects. She remembers drawing them as carefully and as realistically as possible. This activity was a particular source of happiness for the young girl.
After high school, Hoepting enrolled in the liberal arts program at the University of Waterloo. She majored in Fine Arts graduating in 1997 with an Honors BA in Fine Arts. Her early studio work followed along traditional lines, drawing with pencils and pastels on paper while painting in oils and acrylic on canvas. Today she combines these media working them together on both canvas and paper.