About the Artist, Karen L. Dortschy

How I Became a Professional Artist

Karen L. Dortschy, Pet Portrait Artist

After more than 25 years in a marketing career in the corporate world, and the last eight in my own marketing consulting business, I picked up a paintbrush at a "wine and paint" party and resumed my love of painting with acrylics on canvas. My Dad, a talented and accomplished woodcarver and painter, now 90 years old, inspired me to continue, and then gave me his old wood easel, art supplies and a few vintage art instruction books.

For more than two years, I studied art technique with a well-known professional artist and teacher, Stephen Lursen, to improve my proficiency and skills. I was also an active member of the Huntersville, NC Open Art Studio from 2013 - 2017. I currently take painting lessons at Studio Elie in Davidson, NC.

I started Haute Dauge Portraits in late 2016, after attending a life-changing weekend workshop hosted by Oprah Winfrey, called "The Life You Want".

For almost two years, I taught painting classes at Wine & Design in Huntersville, NC, and currently teach through Lessons.com. I really enjoy helping others discover and expand their creativity. I'm convinced that everyone has an inner artist ready to emerge!

I truly am grateful that I am able to share my artistic talent with others. I love that I can recreate pets' spirits and energy on canvas, and that my work is so appreciated by so many. Thank you to all!

Places to See My Art

While most of my works are in private homes and collections, you can see several displayed in public spaces:

  • "Mickey" - Lake Norman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, Cornelius, NC - main lobby
  • "Caesar" - Main Street Veterinary Hospital, Cornelius, NC - reception area
  • "Angus" - Pet Pilgrimage, Mooresville, NC - reception room
  • "Ella" - Registered Therapy Dog and  Officer with Mooresville Police Department, Mooresville, NC - UPCOMING

Press Coverage

In the News

Here's a link to my blog.

Check out these magazine and

newspaper articles about me, and awards I have received!

Lake Norman Currents - February 2019 Page 42

Lake Norman Citizen/Mooresville Citizen – May 16, 2018

Mooresville Tribune: December 13, 2017 (no link)

Lake Norman Citizen: March 2016 – Annual Awards - Choice Award for “Most Creative Business Name” (no link)

Charlotte Observer – January 31, 2015

Herald Citizen – December 11, 2014

A Glimpse of My Studio


My art studio is just perfect for me. It's a large converted bedroom in my home, filled with natural light. I have surrounded my workspace with some of my favorite belongings, including my Dad's old wood easel, hanging antique printer type drawers filled with memorabilia and a wonderful red wall. My three furbabies keep me company in the studio when I'm painting. Life is great!

If you are ever in the area and would like to visit my studio, please let me know. Little Miss Macie, Tully and Jamie love visitors!

How I'm Involved in the Community


The Mooresville Arts (Artist Guild) Mooresville, NC - Member

2017 - current

HeARTS Speak (national non-profit organization focusing on Artists Helping Animals). As an Ambassador, I donate a percentage of all sales to local animal rescues and non-profit shelters in my area.

Lake Norman Humane (non-profit no-kill animal shelter and rescue organization), Mooresville, NC - Social Media Advisor.

2016 - 2018

PuppyUp (National non-profit organization focusing on canine cancer), Lake Norman, NC - Donate portraits for silent auction fundraisers and lead walking teams.

Give Back Boutique (Non-profit consignment store), Mooresville, NC - Social Media Advisor and Personal Shopping Stylist.

2017 - 2018

Mooresville Chamber of Commerce, Mooresville, NC - Member

2016 - current

WSIC 100.7 FM/1400 AM/TV212, Statesville, NC - "Around the Lake" Weekly Show Co-Host 2016 - 2017

Toastmasters International (International public speaking and leadership organization) - Member 2008 - 2016

My Family and Pets


I've lived in the Charlotte, NC metro area since 1989 (almost 30 years) and in the Lake Norman area since 2003. I grew up in Wayne, NJ and graduated from Montclair State University. 

Since 2006, I'm happily married to Peter, who is originally from Germany. I have one adult daughter, Hayley, who lives in Asheville, NC (and is also very artistic). One of my stepdaughters, Krissy, lives in Salzburg, Austria. Her twin sister Mandy, as well as my stepson Alex, live nearby in Charlotte, NC.

Peter and I love to go on road trips and day hikes with our three beloved dogs - a rescued ShihTzu named Little Miss Macie, and two gorgeous Wheaten Terriers, Tully and Jamie. I have done extensive training with all three, and Tully is an AKC Canine Good Citizen. Jamie is on her way to become one. They are truly our furbabies!

My parents, sister and other family live in New Jersey, and my husband's family is in Europe (Germany, Austria and England), so we travel often to visit them.

I'm grateful for my beloved family and friends, and their continued love and support of all I do.