In addition to his 90th birthday, 2019 marks the 65th anniversary of Karel’s membership of the RCA.
Karel Lek was born in Antwerp in 1929 but moved with his parents to North Wales as refugees when he was a boy. Karel studied at Liverpool College of Art and has been a Member of the Royal Cambrian Academy since 1954.
He has exhibited mainly in North Wales, where he still lives, but has also shown his work in London, Amsterdam and Chicago.
Karel regards the streets as his studio and always keeps a sketchbookwith him. The main subject matter of his drawings is people going about their business and, unobserved, he looks to capture the immediacy of the
fleeting impressions they create. Jazz musicians are another favourite subject and “Lovers” are a recurring theme.
“I feel compelled to paint my fellow men and women in their environment – whether urban or rural – whatever they may be doing at that time. My landscape subjects are painted at any time of the year with a preference, perhaps, for the seasons of autumn and winter. Painters express themselves visually, and my tubes of paint and bottles of ink contain my words. If, however, others were trying to sum up my work, I hope that somewhere the words ‘compassion and honesty’ might appear.”