Born in Sale Victoria .
Father Ron was a talented photographer and cartoonist,mother Eleanor worked as a florist.
Left home at 17 to live with Peregrine Smith, son of Joy Hester and Gray Smith.
Absorbed huge amounts of information from mixing with Melbourne art scene which included sunday lunches at Heide with Sun and John Reid, and visiting the homes of artists such as John Perceval and Mirka Mora.
Moved to Sydney and joined Group 20 filmmakers where she was taught film by Phil Noyce, Chris Tillam and Albie Thoms and became one of the founding members of the Sydney Filmmakers Co-operative Cinema.
Together with partner Peter Moylan and Matt Butler ran the 'Blinky Bill FIlm Workshop' for the Australian Film and TV School.
After making several documentaries and independent films moved to the North Coast of NSW.
Held first one woman show in 1980 at the Stokers Siding Pottery ( founded by master lustre ceramicist Bob Connery).
Specialised in developing a new approach to watercolour for a number of years then included acrylics, oils and pastels and mixed media.
In 1989 , in conjunction with Byron Shire Council, published 'Byron Portfolio', a book of own paintings of the Byron Shire. This was launched in Paris with an exhibition of the work.
For a number of years balanced constant exhibitiing with community projects such as the Murwillumbah BiCentennial festival 'Event in a Tent', the Byron Shire 'Kicking Arts' displays and many other festivals, theatre productions and workshops.
Every Thursday Karena presents the arts show 'Arts Canvass' on Bay FM community radio a lively mix of interviews, artsnews and music.
In 2000 stepped back from full time exhibiting to concentrate on writing music and acquiring multi media skills . Music and songs are curently represented by Pump Audio New York/Getty Music and have been used extensively throughout the world in Film and Television.
The years 2003-2006 were spent working on a multi media commission which involved over 100 fantasy paintings and drawings .
Karena lives with her partner Peter a Phd. currently lecturing in Events Management at Southern cross University. in the heart of the village of Bangalow in 'Studio 3' which is open to the public one day a month on Bangalow Market days.
She gives private tuition in all media and conducts regular workshops at Studio 3 and locally and interstate.
Represented in private, corporate and local govt. collections in Australia and overseas.
Karena is currently working on private commissions and competition entries.