Karen LeQuia lives in southeastern Minnesota and is married to her husband of 20 years. Her art form is called Sumi-e (pronounced sue-me-eh) which is an ancient Asian brush art. True Sumi-e traditionalists will tell you that the primary colors to Sumi-e are black and white. LeQuia believes that the main idea is to try and capture the spirit or essence of the subject matter. LeQuia puts an American and contemporary twist into her paintings – an idea of Asian art, American heart. She tells people, "The moment I picked up a brush, and experienced the life of the ink on rice paper – I was hooked."
LeQuia has studied with many teachers from all around the world – everywhere from Minnesota to Japan to China, and all the way down in Australia, that are supportive and inspirational to her journey. In the Spring of 2008, she was one of the artists selected to participate in the ‘Art in the sky’ project commissioned by the Rochester Downtown Alliance. The ‘Art in the sky project’ was a project for artists to paint various skyways in downtown Rochester. She was awarded an entire skyway with her theme of ‘Walking through a bamboo forest’, and won the popular vote for the best skyway. LeQuia's work has been displayed in many galleries throughout Minnesota. She currently has a number of paintings on permanent display in the ballroom of the Plummer House in Rochester MN. This collection is themed ‘The body moves, but the soul dances’. LeQuia is a member of the Minnesota Ming Chiao Chapter, National Sumi-e Organization and the Rochester Art Center.