Black Water

June 20, 2019
by Karen Phillips Curran
For many years I have been painting images of water. It began at a stressful juncture of my life and I have used the images as a continuing challenge for creativity as well as mindfullness. Creating rythmic imagery has a calming effect on me, the artist. I can tell from feedback about the works, that they create that same calm feeling when looked upon. I am grateful for that. These three acrylics are called ‘Black Water’. They are for sale on Artbomb …or from me here 560$ plus shipping and taxes  
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I awaken. I’m in the country. The sound of fog is in the air. I know it before I open my eyes, it is a quiet like no other. An early morning fisherman appears then disappears. His orange vest glows eerily until he is gone. Silently, I wish him luck. Later the sun starts to break through the mists, and green is everywhere, the shoreline, the rising stand of cedar and spruce, the water’s reflections, and if I use my artistic insight I can get the foggy air to feel green too. Here are two new pieces I’ve been working on lately. They are acrylic and graphite on canvas and board. the larger one is 43″ x 5.5″ and the smaller one is 33″ x 5.5.
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I love this time of year. When the shackles of winter are removed. When winter’s icy veil is lifted from our eyes life can renew itself. Going past the front door requires no coat, no mitts, no scarf, sigh. Green creeps into view slowly at first, then jogs along at a clip, like a happy pony will on its way homeward. The scent of lilac pervades the air right now. It is a distinctive aroma, and quite dear to me. It has a romantic sense to it.  I breathe it in deeply as I pass by the bushes to my rural mailbox. It soothes the chill deep inside me, this winter past was a difficult one. The verdant green this time of year is a balm to the soul. I,  like may artists throughout history, have struggled with the colour green. Its a delicate balance making that colour reveal the sense you want it to impart….it is spring,full on summer, the waning days before the leaves change? Different plants have a genetic tendency towards different greens. Some green for you   Summer Fantasy 20×16 1801 I recall my early days of painting in Bermuda. By chance I was in the gallery […]
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Recently I was commissioned to paint a landscape in my Local Colour series. Landscapes have long been a series of mine, first in watercolour and now I do more acrylic landscapes. This one is called Summer Breezes and I do hope the reason is obvious. It is in what we call landscape format, a long thin one, designed to fit in a specific area of the clients beautiful rural home. It gently reminds the viewer of the hills and trees seen from their windows. I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge, appreciating the input the client gave me during the process. They were happy to receive their piece and had the hammer and hanging hooks at ready! So If you see something you like here on my website but want to commission me to do another in a different size or format to fit a specific wall, get in touch! i would be more than happy to talk to you about it! It’s as easy as that!
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Winter tales

December 16, 2017
by Karen Phillips Curran
It is a wintry day here in Springtown and nowhere near that time when thoughts of spring appear, unbidden. I have several of my paintings here in the house that can remind me of the promise of spring. The bright blue light of a mid-winter day outside is blinding in contrast to the warm enfolding colours of spring. My patience wanes as the weather intimidates us with its burden of, yet again, more fresh fallen snow and ice. Winter will run its course like it always does. This year my partner’s newly built studio is a short walk through the woods. It means will be in touch with winter walks on a daily basis, back and forth through the woods like little red riding hood, except my coat is a plum colour. So I remind myself to be patient, that spring will appear one day. The maple bush will come alive with activity. Snow will be tramped down to mud and old maples will lovingly be bled of sap. The smell of wood smoke and the distant call of returning geese will once again reign. A new cycle of growth and rejuvenation will begin. I can’t wait.
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I am most inspired by light. My subject matter may change and shift, but light remains the constant. Sometimes it’s the light through the trees, or on a path, in a puddle. Other times it is the dappled light on a wall, a gate, a shutter, or a door. The contrast of a blackbird in a snow-covered field holds the same attraction. Light and contrast are visual candy. It is sweet, occasionally bittersweet. I choose a medium to suit the flavour and the intensity that I want to impart. Sometimes I use my tried-and-true watercolour, but my facility with acrylic, pastel, collage, alternative photography, or a mix of any of these, can satisfy the muse. Part of the journey is to tactilely manage the medium, with the message. I always ask myself which is the best voice to use for this . . . Unlike many other professional artists, I tend to move around my media, asking them to play with me, to capture even more of the essence required, to create the message.
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Hope

August 10, 2017
by Karen Phillips Curran
“Hope is the thing with feathers…” The first stanza of the Elizabeth Browning poem first came to save me when my father died in a plane crash. The feather began earlier as a symbol in my work but was cemented into my psyche by this poem. The painting, “Hope”, is part of a long journey, dealing with past abuse in my life. I have paired the many coloured bruise, with the rainbow. Yellows, greens, purples and such, all appear while your most painful bruises heal. The connection fascinated me and a series of work was born. When we are in the midst of an abusive situation it can be hard to find hope, I found it in colour. I hope you find hope here too. This piece was auctioned by Lanark County Interval House as a fundraising effort. I was happy to offer it to them. Years ago I was the on the team for fundraising.  It remains one of the more daunting parts of the effort to make women and children safe from abuse. Strangely enough, when I was at the end of my second abusive relationship, their assistance was not forthcoming. I had been arrested by the police in a domestic […]
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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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The smell of ice is still in the air. The nearby stream rustles and rumbles, as water passes from place to place, not unlike my thoughts. It feels like spring, but it is only a teaser. What else is spring, but a teaser? She shows her face beside a winters day,  flashing her warm smile on our expectant faces, then she disappears behind a bank of new fallen snow. Then one day, some green appears. A group of small leaves appear, who have had their heads resting under the whorls of dead grasses that lay recumbent. The weight of winter lay upon their collective shoulders and they fell to embrace the earth in a bruised dance. But crocus and snowdrops, trout lilies, and my favourite, scilla, all vy for their showplace in the forest floor. One at a time and in scattered groups they open their tiny flower faces to the spring show. A gentle wave of birdsong accompanies their appearance, calling out “its spring” in no uncertain terms. A chorus will soon join the chicadees, the distinct scree of the red winged blackbird alongside the distant honk of incoming geese while careening towards the wet fields. More will follow in […]
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