New Art Gallery & Teaching Studio opened by a Local Artist

Karen Wride in her Gallery

First Class Art, an Art Gallery by Karen Wride, showcases oil paintings from Nature to Figure studies

– December 6, 2021

Karen Wride fulfils her life-long dream of opening her own art gallery featuring her work alongside her talented daughters, opening her First Class Art Gallery, which is a bright and airy artwork space in Guia featuring eclectic pieces by Karen Wride, from oil paintings depicting scenes from around the Algarve to figure studies from her travels.

Aside from her own work, she also showcases the work of her two daughters, who are artists themselves. Previously, she had used this space to teach others with her popular art classes.

How it all started, with Portugal on the map

Whilst studying Fine Art, Karen soon realised how tough it was to make a living as an artist. She decided to change her degree to the more lucrative sector of Graphic Design and worked in London for many years as a freelance designer before being promoted to creative director and then going on to set up her own design studio.

Ten years ago, she moved to Portugal. On a holiday in Madeira, she met a fellow Welsh artist who had been teaching art classes in the Algarve. Insistent that she wasn’t a teacher, Karen initially turned down the offer to take over his art classes, but she was soon convinced otherwise. Much to her surprise, she came to realise how much she enjoyed sharing her passion with others.

Seven Geishas painting by Karen Wride

Seven Geishas

The art of Teaching

During her classes, she teaches a maximum of three people at a time to ensure that there is plenty of space and so she can concentrate on developing her students’ skills. Her classes are open to all painting abilities, genre and everyone is free to work at their own pace.

Karen believes that anyone can make art, as she explains: “You have to just build the confidence to do it. We are all born with the same ability, but some are less scared than others.”

Over the years, she has watched students pick up their first paintbrush and then transform into professional artists, even selling their own pieces.

“Nothing gives me more of a rush than when one of my students starts selling their own work.”

Children at the Beach painting by Karen Wride

Children at the Beach

Lockdowns changed the lives of everyone, making Karen’s life-long dream a reality

Throughout the series of COVID-19 lockdowns, Karen’s classes were forced to close which encouraged her to create more pieces to sell. One piece she created was “depicting the joy of life here in the Algarve”. She donated this work to Hospital Particular in Alvor, with the hope of giving patients something to ponder whilst waiting.

Horse Power painting by Karen Wride

Horse Power

But dealing with galleries and selling on social media became tedious for Karen. In early 2021, she took the plunge to open her own gallery in the same premises as her art classes.

Today, First Class Art presents many of her works, including her signature contemporary, impressionist pieces featuring expressive human form.

Surfers on the West Coast painting by Karen Wride

Surfers on the West Coast

Card Cheat painting by Karen Wride

Card Cheat

Although her favourite medium is oil painting, she loves “the spontaneity of a small pen and wash sketches”, and she explains that she is drawn to the unusual, the ironic and the nostalgic. Her creative flair seems to have ‘brushed off’ on her daughters as well. Lidija, a musician, and Bianca, a tattoo artist, also have their own pieces within the gallery.

Cockermouth painting by Karen Wride


“Painting makes you see the world differently,” Karen says. “People come to realise how many more colours there are in the world and that helps you see the world in more depth.” After inspiring so many students to create pieces they are proud to show others, it is only right that Karen Wride continues to do so herself, now in her own space.


First Class Art  is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 2pm.

Visit Karen’s website here:

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Author: Inside Magazines

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