Karel Lek was born in Antwerp in 1929 but moved with his parents to North Wales as refugees when he was a boy. Karel studied at Liverpool College of Art and was a Member of the Royal Cambrian Academy since 1954.
He exhibited mainly in North Wales, where he lived, but he also showed his work his work in London, Amsterdam and Chicago.
His work can be found in numerous public and private collections.
Karel regarded the streets as his studio and always kept a sketchbook with him. The main subject matter of his drawings was people going about their business and, unobserved, he looked to capture the immediacy of the fleeting impressions they created. Jazz musicians were another favourite subject and “Lovers” were a recurring theme.
“I feel compelled to paint my fellow men and women in their environment – whether urban or rural – whatever they may be doing at that time. My landscape subjects are painted at any time of the year with a preference, perhaps, for the seasons of autumn and winter. Painters express themselves visually, and my tubes of paint and bottles of ink contain my words. If, however, others were trying to sum up my work, I hope that somewhere the words ‘compassion and honesty’ might appear.”