My creative process begins long before it ‘appears’ in ‘real’ life. They say it takes 10,000 hours to become masterful at a skill. Some multitude of those hours are encoded in the thought processes that go on in the beginning, middle and end of creation. My studio is part of my home, I’ve worked like that all my creative life. When I did murals, museum work and stage sets, I would immerse myself in that place, creating the environment by being in and of it. I would live waking and dreaming of this monumental art I was creating, until it was finished. At times, the ordinary moments of life- doing the dishes, folding laundry, sweeping a floor- the kinds of activities that hardly need a lot of attention (having done them all my 60+ years), are exactly the formula for creative thought. I can go places in my mind and create pieces there. I can solve issues, imagine new colours or old colours, and explore new ideas. This exploration and extrapolation are where the creative process begins, only then does the actual, physical painting process begin. Like Life, paintings rarely turn out as planned. No matter, I don’t think they are supposed to. They […]
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Those words appeared in my morning digest of information. They stopped in in my tracks. I’m just waking up, and they just woke me up. They woke me up to my mission, my like as an artist. Currently, I am working on a largish (64×20) landscape commission ( yes! I do commissions!). I have a series I call ‘Local Colour’, landscapes from the region I live in, the upper Ottawa Valley. 99% of them are impressions, only once in a while are they of a specific place. There is much about this part of Ontario I love, the rolling hills, trees galore, mixed woods, rivers lakes and rocks and sky. The fall colours are astonishing, spring and summer too. I adore the gently sloping shadow studded vistas of winter. The client hasn’t seen the painting yet so i can’t show you, but i can show you from whence it came…
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The art of life I’ve learned that life is lived in stages, sometimes one slips into the next unnoticed, other times the changes are abrupt. One’s circumstance can dictate your progress. One’s will helps define your limitations. Some blame their life events upon circumstance, but it has been shown to me over the 6 decades of my life, that our will can clearly overcome circumstance. Some folks appear to have been handed life on a silver platter. Those platters are, in some ways, deceitful. If you could walk a mile in their shoes one would discover the cost of those apparent gifts. The one thing I’ve been all my life, (apart from female), is an artist. As such, over the years, many hundreds of well-meaning folks have told me how lucky I am to have talent. Yet, talent alone is not nearly enough to succeed as an artist. Determination and a will to pursue art making are mandatory to be able to call oneself an artist. You cannot chase something while standing still. You cannot be an artist without an artistic practice. So that is why I say, Life is an art and art is my life.  
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mothers day Its a warm sunny spring day perfect, daffodils and soon there will be trilliums. It is the nature of an unpredictable force of nature that decrees what is blooming on Mothers day each year. Alone this morning I prepare my best breakfast yesterday’s oatmeal with a cinnamon stick, almond milk to make it creamy, plump raisins and a whole apple cut up. All warmed together in the little orange iron pot I have used for years, just like the one I used for years before it….. My thoughts turn to the gentle wonder of my life. Just coming off 6 weeks of physical labour at the NAC to a stupendous finale that is the Governor General Awards Gala, black tie and all but I didn’t go..not sure exactly why I didn’t, but I didn’t, so there is no remedy for that. This is the brass scumbled back wall of the orchestra risers for the Governor General Awards for the Performing Arts held at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa May 10th 2014. So spring has sprung and outside work has begun. I should go out and pick up sticks this morning before the grass gets too high, and […]
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A Somerset Afternoon

February 25, 2012
by Karen Phillips Curran
A Somerset Afternoon an artist enhanced serigraph  image size is 20″ x 30″ This is a favourite image of mine from Bermuda, the Somerset rectory building. One year I would go by it on the bus most days, and the sun streaming though the shutters would catch my eye every time. I chose it for my silkscreen print image done in conjunction with Viki Ball a fabulous printmaker in Ottawa Canada. It is a REAL limited edition print and I hope to have it in Bermuda for my 25th anniversary show there at the Bermuda Society of the Arts in City Hall and Arts Centre in Hamilton Bermuda March 23-April 9…….
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in the Bermuda studio

February 15, 2012
by Karen Phillips Curran
Featherbed Studio is in St Georges Bermuda, it is my favourite place to paint. Here I am starting on some small pieces for the members’ show at Bermuda Arts Centre at Dockyard, which opens this Sunday. You can see the finished pieces there… Now that these are done I can begin in earnest on my new work for my 25th anniversary exhibit here in March.
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summer light

December 9, 2009
by Karen Phillips Curran
Ahh, summer is in full swing. I find myself entranced once again, by light. Dancing shadows on walls, windows, shutters, gates and columns capture my imagination. Large watercolours veer towards the abstract, as light and colour dance together on the paper. Monumentalism embeds itself as my vision creeps closer to the subject. Colour rages vibrantly, as my lost sight returns and the joy of pure rich colour is like a prodigal son returning from far away. I revel in the rush of dense layers of colour on the paper. I work in two studios at once, upstairs and down. Watercolours in one area and acrylics in another. Right now I have four separate series on the go, a sense of exploration is pushing me ahead. Rich landscapes, in bold acrylic, and a collage series using gold and red oxide take up the space upstairs. As well, I am working on a series depicting yoga poses related to chakras…..it is pure joy.
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Seoul

May 10, 2009
by Karen Phillips Curran
Life slips by with such speed these days…its hard to keep up! My time in Korea seems the distant past, I’ve painted two theatre productions since my return. (The Governor General Awards in the Southam Hall opera stage, as well and a most wonderful production of a Norse tale called The Changeling, for the Studio stage at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.) I want to hold the images from Korea in my heart and mind a bit longer. While I was there in the midst of it, the astounding largeness of it all was overwhelming, my muse got drowned out by sheer volume of it all. Upon my return, the images of it all repeat unexpectedly, like an unfortunate pickle, abrupt, and full of the aroma of the pleasure it gave upon ingestion. The forms I recall, haunt me, their simplicity, their complexity, secured embedded by centuries of time.
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