April Artist of the Month Caryn Owen HouseOfBoysArt

How does your background in Marine Biology inform your work (outside of its content)? In my mind many aspects of the biological sciences are concerned with minutiae- is there a reason you turn to abstraction in your artistic practice?

I think my background in marine biology serves as a major source of pure inspiration for my subject matter. As a marine biologist, I was a field scientist studying dolphins and I spent years out on a boat. My eyeline in all of my paintings is almost from a boat, looking ashore. I definitely think it inspired my field of view.

Your paintings evidence a deep love and reverence for the California coast. Since you are based in Santa Cruz, is there a particular area locally that you find yourself turning to for inspiration?

I love ending the day at 4 Mile Beach up the coast and I think many of my seascape pieces are inspired by that beach.

As a self described colorist, what is your process from identifying a paintable landscape to translating the scene to canvas? Do you primarily work from memory, imagination, photograph, or en plein air? 

I always begin with a color palette and intention. I don't use one specific location in mind, but rather just features from memory of mostly the California coast. My process is very intuitive and not literal at all. When I am creating a seascape, I usually think of coastal bluffs overlooking the Pacific but not in one particular form.

What is your favorite piece on display at Stripe this month? Why?

I am very excited about the pieces at Stripe because they showcase my newer muted series of paintings. While I love bright colors, I just felt the need to shift to more subdued color palette. My favorite piece is "Tidepools" because it was one of the first in the series.


My vibrant abstract landscapes evoke the lovely shades of Northern California seascapes and beaches. I consider myself a colorist, focusing more on featuring intense colors rather than forms. My abstract paintings are modern, bold and colorful. As I layer colors on the canvas, my pictures tend to evolve, with each layer adding texture and depth.


As a passionate artist and scientist, I have devoted my life to studying both marine biology and artistic expression. Although these topics may seem mutually exclusive, I have spent years blending both of my passions. Over the past decade, I created abstract art while simultaneously balancing motherhood and my career as a marine biology professor.

In 2014, I chose to leave marine biology behind to predominately focus on my art, design and my house full of boys (my husband, two sons, and our male pit bull!) In 2015, I launched House of Boys Art + Design to sell my abstract contemporary art inspired by the beachy modern vibe of Santa Cruz.

Visit her website here.

Pieces are for sale - please call Stripe (831) 421-9252 to purchase.

Photos by Anne Martinete

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