Born and raised in California, Karl Brenner was first introduced to fine art painting in Chicago. His parents took him to The Art Institute for his eleventh birthday and from that time on he drew everything he saw He took all the art courses offered in high school and college, and was tempted to try for a career in fine art. However, he didn't know what such a career looked like, nor how to approach it. Instead he chose a career in medicine and surgery.
Brenner's love for painting never left, and he returned to it via a Ted Goershner painting workshop in 1987. Subsequent workshops with Ray Vinella, Ovanes Berbarian, Jim Wilcox, Scott Christensen, and Frank LaLumia have helped hone his painting skills. The work of Nicolai Fechin, Richard Schmid, and Edgar Payne have inspired and challenged him.
Retirement from General Surgery sent Brenner to the four corners region where plein air painting has absorbed most of his time. The changing seasons and the varied terrain make this part of God's creation a landscape painter's paradise. Plein air painting (landscape painting on location) is so much more rewarding than painting from photos. The subject is there before you, with all its varied patterns, harmonious colors, and delightful sounds and smells. But nature does "impose tasks when she presents opportunities", such as when your easel is blown down by a gust of wind, or when the oil paints are submerged on the tray palette by freezing rain.
Brenner paints mainly for himself to remember what he sees. If and when he is satisfied with a painting - nothing in it which offends its harmony, nothing to add or subtract - the painting is finished. As Constable said, "I imagine myself driving a nail; I have driven it some way and by persevering, I may drive it home---"