Originally from Ukiah, California as a child Karena took art classes at the Mendocino Art Center. After attending Goddard College in Vermont, California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, and Temple University, Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, graduated from there with a Bachelor of Fine Art in 1975.
Immigrating to Canada Karena worked as an artist receiving numerous grants exhibiting her work and creating public art projects. Being paid by the Canadian government while training as a welder-fitter at George Brown College she worked alongside convicted felons seeking a job on the pipeline while her goal was to be the female David Smith!
She continued to work as a professional artist on large-scale public art projects as a welder fitter. At the University of Toronto Karena earned a Bachelor in Art Education and Industrial Technology in 1983. She married her Australian husband in Canada before moving to Long Beach, California in 1986.
In 1993 she graduated with Master of Fine Art in Sculpture from California State University at Fullerton.
Her public art experience includes indoor, outdoor, painted and fabricated murals, and sculptures. Working with governmental and private agencies she loves the challenges each bring. She was the statewide winner of the public art competition: Rosie Dog Beach in Long Beach and was also selected to create artwork for the Gateway to Downey.
Recently she has been experimenting with multimedia sound, video, and sculptural installations, while addressing political issues such as climate change.