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M.A.R.S. Reviews

Karen Sperling Wonderful Instructor

I attended Karen’s class at the PPA affiliate schools (MARS) in Cape May, NJ this year.

Karen is a wonderful instructor.

She knows her work, and conveys her instructions in a manner that is structured but not overwhelming.

My very first painting that I created to show at a bridal show received rave reviews from potential brides.

In fact - I told the subjects of that print that I had a surprise for them when they picked up their previews from their wedding.

When they walked in the studio, their first response was WOW - that’s cool - WOW that’s us!! They bought a framed 16x20 on the spot!!

I think that Karen Sperling would be a fine addition to the list of PPA instructors, and I would highly recommend her talents.

Theresa Terilli

PPA Certified

Karen Sperling Excellent Artist; Outstanding Communicator

To whom it may concern;

I am writing this letter on behalf of Karen Sperling, who was the instructor for the Painter workshop at the recent MARS workshop in Cape May, New Jersey.

I am a photographer of over 30 years who, two years ago, switched to a digital workflow with the intention of producing archival giclees of my library of photographs.

At that time I had no computer savy and knew nothing of Photoshop, Painter, software rips, color management, Raw files or any other aspects of a digital workflow.

I embarked on an extensive 18 month series of studies at various centers around the country.

In my opinion, Karen Sperling exhibits the wonderful trait of being more than an excellent artist, but is an outstanding communicator as well. She is both patient and informative to whatever depth required by the individuals in her class. She can see the individual needs and attend to them while keeping the group moving at a pace that is exciting to everyone.

In my opinion, another of her best qualities is an engaging personality and a great sense of humor that is liberally applied through the workshop.

I would highly recommend Karen to any group or individual that is considering taking advantage of her multi-faceted talents.

Sincerely yours,

Bruce Keyes

Artistry Academy of Painting for Photographers Reviews


I joined Karen Sperling’s Artistry Academy in late August 2023.

Her new Rembrandt class was my first painting video lesson.

Learning art theory and color theory helped with the new video lessons that were sent to me on YouTube to watch by email.

Karen explains how to paint the next step and also how to set up in Corel Painter and Photoshop.

She sends you her brushes with each lesson and demonstrates how to use them on that class video. The videos are clear and the brushes are easy to paint with in Photoshop or Corel Painter.

Questions I needed answering I just simply sent off an email, and Karen promptly replied back to me.

I’m very interested in learning how to paint portraits, landscapes, flowers, pets and more.

Since finishing the Rembrandt class I now have purchased the 2023 Corel Painter Software.

Karen’s webinars are fun, we all laugh together and Karen suggests what she would do with our paintings and how to correct them by demonstrating how to do it.

Having so much fun learning, and wanting to learn more from Karen,  I’m glad I took her 12-month subscription.

Thank you Karen!


Karen Sperling is An Einstein

You are exciting!
One more: you are an Einstein! 
Asleep and awake at all times.
Smartest, and an Einstein. 
Compliment given, and deserved!

Highly Recommended

I found Karen Sperling’s class on “How to Paint in the Style of Rembrandt,” and decided to purchase the class.
It was an absolute pleasure.
She beautifully explained how Rembrandt painted and intermingled art theory and history in her YouTube videos, which were just the perfect length.

Everything was so well-organized and so easy to access. I feel it was a perfect class for the beginner as well as intermediate person in Corel Painter.
I highly recommend this class for anyone with a love of Rembrandt and his style of painting.
Diana Carey

The Artistry Academy of Painting for Photographers Is Magic

I had a picture of my owl a long time and wanted to paint it for my class with Karen Sperling. In an early class of Artistry Academy her recommendation was to expand the canvas, so he was not dead center. So, I expanded, and centered left as she indicated. Then in Corel Painter 2023 I painted eyes, feathers, branches, and a lovely background with many brushes, including the ones from The Artistry Academy Rembrandt class. I sent it to Karen to critique at our painting webinar, and Karen thought it was a keeper. I presented it to a client who loved owls and she said she had to have it. So, after a discussion whether on canvas or metal or print, she wanted it on canvas, but signed. I had it printed and the client has received it—in rural Rapid City, South Dakota.
The Artistry Academy classes with art theory and painting steps and brushes taught me how to learn to paint better. Further, what we had learned was exactly what I used to paint my owl, which was like a portrait, but was an owl—a keeper! With Karen’s classes, I took notes, transposed to  3 X 5 cards and then used them to paint the owl. And it worked!
Karen Sperling’s Artistry Academy is magic, and I highly recommend it for anyone starting to paint OR anyone who wants to become a real digital artist. Art theory, steps, helping to learn, and then paint. Of course, then a critique... and improve with confidence. 

The Artistry Academy of Painting for Photographers Right Path to Achieve Artistic Vision

When I finally retired from the information technology industry 14 years ago, I finally had time to pursue my artistic muse through digital photography.

I’ve been quite successful with my photographic art, exhibiting in several local art shows every year since then.

However, I felt some images needed more “artistry” — they seemed more suited to becoming painted art than remaining as photographs.

But I couldn’t paint a barn door with a brush if my life depended on it. I did try a number of “automatic” painting programs, each promising to turn my photographs into fabulous digital “paintings” in the style of Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Monet … whatever I wanted.

While they made the effort, each program fell short of what I had in mind — they just didn’t look like real paintings.

And any attempt to paint digitally by hand with Photoshop or Painter fell even shorter — I just didn’t understand the “basics” of how painted art is created.

Then I discovered Karen Sperling’s Artistry Academy.

It offered to teach me how to turn a digital photograph into

a hand-painted digital artwork, from initial preparation to final brushstroke.

Karen is a master of both traditional and digital painting — it felt like the right path to achieve my vision.

Furthermore, the cost wasn’t going to break the bank.

So, I decided to try it for a year, just to see if it could get me closer to my goal.

I must say that after these first few months, I have learned quite a lot from Karen. She broke things down, and presented them in simple, easy-to-follow steps that allowed me to understand both the “why” and the “how” of each step in the process.

She is also a master of painting in Photoshop (where I am comfortable) and Corel Painter (where my learning curve is steep). And Karen is also very responsive when I email her a question about something — she replies, usually within a few hours, or at least by the next day.

The Academy also includes a monthly member get-together over Zoom, where we discuss the “State of Our Art” and talk about our work and progress.

We also get to see the work by other members, and receive feedback about it from Karen. Interacting with Karen in a live session is an important part of my learning process.

The sessions are recorded and made available to Academy members a few days later, so there is no need to spend time note-taking, leaving more time to focus on the discussions.

I am working on my first “masterpiece,” a Rembrandt-style portrait based on the first set of Karen’s Academy lessons. I feel that I am making better progress towards my goal than before, and I’m confident that I will have at least one finished digital painting to show at my photography exhibitions in the next year, thanks to Karen’s help and the Artistry Academy.

There is so much to learn that I have a feeling my one year Artistry Academy trial will turn into something much longer. And I’m really looking forward to it.

Thank you, Karen, for your help and support.

Martin M.

Pleased with Results

Hi Karen,

I just worked this up today after watching your Rembrandt video and was rather pleased with the results and wanted to share it with you.

Far from perfect, but I was surprised at how, I don’t know, dramatic (?) this turned out, trying to make this coopers hawk photo look sort of like a Rembrandt. Most of the difference between the two was done in editing the photo, not what I did in Corel Painter 2023, but still.

I took the photo April 15 of this year at Deer Grove Forest Preserve in Palatine, about 3 miles from our house. Frankly I had walked right past the hawk when my wife said, “What’s that?” and pointed off to the left of the trail. As luck would have it I ended up getting a better shot of it from where I happened to be than she did, but I’d never have known it was there without her.

Interestingly enough, it never, ever would have occurred to me to try something like this if not for your Rembrandt video. And for how well this came out, well, probably a combination of your excellent instruction and my own beginner’s luck! Something for me to build on with other subjects, anyway.

Take care! Thanks for all the work you’re doing on our behalf!

Terry Mills

Thank you for putting on such an ambitious webinar!

I found it very helpful creating the layer to separate the subject from the background then use content aware  to fill background, and then lock transparency. It would have saved me a lot of grief on a family portrait where I had to cut out an individual and realign the subjects. It took me a lot of time to work out logistics of getting it into Corel Painter. The background has been an issue since I initially made it white, replacing the setting they were in, but not realizing I could have locked the top subject pixels and protected them from the background when the brush is close to the edge.

I never know what gem it is I’m going to pick up, each webinar, but there is always a number of things—often just little gems that I may have heard before, but then it falls into place.

If I ever finish the above painting I talked about I’ll share it with you.

I really appreciate your teaching style and how careful you are to emphasize we each have our own style and don’t need to copy you. Your approach is never intimidating and always encouraging.

Again, thank you for the courses you’re developing and for checking in to see if we’re going in the right direction!

Monty Wiseman

Victoria BC

Appreciates teaching style

Clear, Easy-to-Digest Information

There are people who teach‚ and then there are teachers. Karen Sperling is a natural born teacher.

She presents her Corel Painter information in a clear, easy-to-digest manner. She provides the information that you need to be successful with Painter, without burying you in a ton of unnecessary techno talk.
Her lessons are very well planned, and are recorded and presented with a professionalism seldom seen in online lessons.
Karen is wonderfully generous in sharing her knowledge, experience and talents. She holds nothing back--and her many years of experience are presented in a way that allows the viewer to experience success from the very beginning.
After watching nearly 100 different videos on Painter by a vast number of different instructors/masters/teachers, I chose to invest in Karen’s courses. While each instructor brings something unique to the table, I felt that Karen’s approach was the one that I wanted to use to learn. She does not dictate rules and methods, or intimidate by over complicating the software. Instead, she empowers the user with knowledge, confidence and the personal freedom to make their own artistic statement.
- Cynthia Howe

Videos Just Right

This is a great video. It gives me the key points I need to get started, out of all the options there are in Painter, and it moves slowly enough for me to be able to grasp what is going on. It is long enough for me to have learned things, but not so long that it gets overwhelming.

I had gotten so frustrated with videos that move so fast that I can't quite grasp them. You are pacing these just right for a beginner. Thank you so much!

Kind regards,

Webinar Engaging
I really enjoyed watching the webinar—I found it engaging. It went by fast for me—I got very absorbed in it and the comments and participant comments. I hope to make the next one. Thanks for the feedback on the 3 photos. It’s amazing to see the range of photo subjects and it was helpful for you to go through what you’d do or the steps you’d take with turning the photo into a painting. - C. F.

Karen Sperling Is a Gifted Teacher

Karen Sperling’s Artistry Academy is a wonderful, efficient, and effective way to learn to paint in both Photoshop and Corel Painter. Karen’s approach using the style and techniques of the Old Masters makes learning fun, interesting, and easy. She provides the brushes needed for the various lessons, too. She is the most experienced artist with Corel Painter on the planet and is totally focused on student success. She is approachable and available, placing her students first. A gifted artist and teacher, I highly recommend her Artistry Academy.
Bob Harper
Hampton, VA

Super excited!

I signed up for Karen Sperling’s Artistry Academy of Painting for Photographers. I have studied with Karen for several years now and she knows how to do anything you want in Painter. And now, she is teaching painting in Photoshop too, so that’s a major plus for me. Super excited!

- Katie Katsenis

Videos Perfect Length

I have managed to watch all the vids so far and am really enjoying them. They are like opening a box of chocolates - I can opt to consume one small piece (one vid) or the whole box at once. They are the perfect length to keep my attention, and to squeeze into spare moments.

Thank you for including me in this journey!

- Martha Bauder

New Ideas to Explore

Excited to increase my skill in turning more of my many photos into paintings using Corel Painter- and Karen Sperling is an expert in doing this. I’ve also been asked to do paintings from photos for my fans and clients as commissions —so this will give me new ideas to explore. Along the way, I hope to pick up some tips on painting in Photoshop. - N.J.

Karen Sperling Is Helpful and Expert

Compliment is due, is time to give it: I have found a VERY helpful and expert teacher. Thank you. - Paul Naber

Painting Adventure

I’m so excited to finally embark on my “learning to paint adventure.” I will be learning from the original Corel Painter Master! I have spent several years learning to make beautiful portraits with my camera, and now Karen Sperling will teach me how to turn those images into one of a kind artwork. - L.T.

Thank You Karen Sperling for Your Contribution to Digital Art


I just wanted to get the word out on your new Artistry #21 brushes for painting in the style of Rembrandt in Corel Painter and Adobe Photoshop. I have found that the texture and blending with color texture has really put some life into my paintings. I am enclosing my last painting of this year (above, painted from a photo by Tamara TamTam Photography), and it was done largely with brushes from your #21 brush group. Thanks for your contribution to digital art. Some of these brushes are in my main “Go-To’s” now. This was a good year for your brush design, because your #20 brushes were excellent as well.


Tim Tompkins

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