Freshwater Roots: A Homecoming

An exhibition of the latest surf-inspired watercolor paintings by Kara Sparkman

This body of work explores the intimate human connection to water through the craft of surfing. Kara addresses her lifelong love-affair with water, beginning in her childhood at Lake Michigan and continuing into her present day pursuit of surfing ocean waves. She approaches painting and surfing with a playful curiosity that allows her to make beautiful art with the freedom of making mistakes, drawing new lines, and discovering deeper gratitude. Kara welcomes the shared challenges of painting and surfing—there is a lot of hard work, laughs, splashes, wipe-outs, and ultimately giant smiles for those “toes-on-the-nose” moments. 

Kara believes in the inherent goodness and transformative power surfing can have on women’s lives. She is inspired by the global community of diverse and like-minded women that travel the world promoting art and surfing. She is fortunate to be a part of the movement of encouraging the cultivation of women’s personal and physical power via the conduit of art and surfing. Kara extends an invitation for everyone to join her in experiencing the rush and wildness of the present moment that can be found in gliding down the face of a wave. 

The exhibition opens on September 29th and will be on display at Surf the Greats until October 29th, 2017. Tickets for the opening party are free, but registration is required.

Friday, September 29th 7–11PM
at Surf the Greats



Experiential Watercolor Workshop


Join us in an exploration into the fluid medium of watercolor painting during this unique and playful workshop. We will be learning basic watercolor techniques in an intuitive manner that encourages the painter to engage in process-orientated painting. This method allows one to gain an understanding of the properties of watercolor and how the pigments and water interact. We also will be playing with control; when and how to exert control, and when and how to let go of control.
Kara uses her distinguished background as a working artist, art/wilderness therapist, and surf coach to facilitate this workshop. She believes that play and creativity can promote personal growth and healing in an increasingly over-stimulated and digital world. She incorporates this philosophy in her own artwork and surfing. She loves playing with the fluidity of water and finding her edges though play and experimentation.
All art abilities / watercolor experience welcome.

Saturday, September 30th 9AM–12PM
at Surf the Greats

All materials provided, limited spots.
$55 per person



Kara Sparkman

Kara’s lifelong dedication to the practice of painting and drawing has been instrumental in the navigation of her life. She received her BFA in Fine Art Painting from Pacific Northwest College of Art, and a MA in Art Therapy Counseling from Marylhurst University, both in the lovely state of Oregon. After practicing as a counselor, working with women and with adolescents in the disciplines of wilderness and art therapies, she moved on to work outside of the clinical environment into other creative endeavors. She currently combines surf coaching with creativity workshops around the world to encourage her clients to engage in creative play both in the water – surfing, and on land – in the pursuit of visual artwork. 

Kara resides in both the Columbia River Gorge of the Pacific Northwest and the Pacific Coast of Central America. In these wonderfully diverse places she finds community, inspiration, and an expansive playground in the natural world. Kara delights in longboarding and is happiest when she can spend hours practicing noseriding on a right-hand pointbreak or pushing her comfort zone in adrenaline-inducing beach-break. She loves surfing with women from around the world, which inspires her surfing and her art.

Kara Sparkman