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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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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Bermuda

March 24, 2017
by Karen Phillips Curran
Wandering I lift my head and open my eyes. My second-hand camera hangs heavily around my neck. I walk, setting out in a direction that matters not. I will find my muse, she awaits me just up ahead. I follow the warmth of Bermuda’s winter light, well below the 49th parallel. This is the light that will permeate my paintings for years to come. That first day, I fell in love, and began my life long affair with light and shadow I am a studio artist, so I take the colour from here the texture from there and shapes and light from somewhere else. A new world is created from my experience.
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I’m painting again. It’s been some time now. For one reason or another I’ve not been in touch with my watercolour brushes. Making art is like that, sometimes your life experience, its ebbs and flows are what needs attention, they are in fact, my muse. I’ve learned to go with the flow on these days, recognize their significance and store them for fodder when the brushes are in your hand. But enough of me – Our disappearing iconic rural architecture that’s what these new full sheet watercolours (22”x30”) works are. So – why rural architecture? I live in the country, have for most of my life. Cities are cool, I like cities, but I prefer to live in the country. I see these structures as a bit nostalgic, a bit grande, a bit spooky sometimes and a big part of our history as Canadians, and… a big part of the visual landscape of my life. I don’t profess to know much about agriculture, but I know what I like in a tiny out of the way church, the meeting halls, barns of all sorts, century homes long abandoned, one room schoolhouses and oh my, backs of sheds, barnyards…enough for a […]
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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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The Bermuda journey

September 17, 2015
by Karen Phillips Curran
I’ve a few hours before I leave Bermuda, yet again. I am packed and ready to go. I have come and gone too many times to count, though I have made it a mission to count when I get home…passport stamps will tell me the exact number of visits to this fair isle. Its colours and texture have been a source of inspiration and a dedication to a purpose since 1986, when I first visited. Bermuda opened my eyes to a new world of colour, texture, form,  and drama of the skies. The turquoise waters enthralled me and my artistic journey began. Many visions repeat themselves and, the expanded new me, on each visit, relishes its connection with my past. Goodbye bermuda, until we meet again
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Viridian

September 15, 2015
by Karen Phillips Curran
Everywhere I look, there is that colour, viridian. It is used extensively in maritime areas all over the word. Its a much loved, old fashioned colour here in Bermuda too. All of Bermuda is maritime, it is a small country, an island,  (or rather, a series of connected islands) situated mid altantic. It has no near neighbours, but enjoys the company of many visitors, all of whom have come to shape the history of this idyllic  place. The architecture here has fascinated me since the first moment I set eyes on it. I began my artistic journey here in 1986. In those days the color range of the homes,  cottages, was more limited to traditional white, pink, coral, brick red, blue and viridian. The pink came from mixing whitewash with local rich red soil. The coral colour replicated the beaches,  who’s peach coloured sand is actually a mix of tiny broken pieces of the magnificent coral reef that surrounds the island.  The blue and viridian have origins I am not aware of. All the rooves here are made of stepped flat stone, historically limestone slabs cut from the island structure. They are laid upon cedar rafters and sealed with whitewash. […]
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morning

April 1, 2015
by Karen Phillips Curran
The kiskadee sounds his morning wake-up call and the sun’s eastern rays begin their journey towards me. My window here faces north so the morning light traverses across the rooflines just outside the window. They highlight the neighbour’s stepped roof. Each morning, the light is slightly different and I awaken, eager to see the difference. The last time I was here I did this small series of roofline paintings…          
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Its November and the darkening sky speaks to me of weight. No more basking in the sun, it is the dark time. Moods are affected by this time of transition, for it is only a period between the dark and the coming light. We who live in the northern latitudes are subject to it, regardless. Regardless of anything….Nature is a force. I start my day slowly for a change. The past few months have been full of large painting. Two sets for the stage are produced, ready for entertaining, teaching us about ourselves, reiterating well-loved stories to those who will listen willingly. I relish my part in it, I take the vision of another and manifest it with as much gusto as I can manage, it keeps bread on my table.    All that industry and joy of production are done now and I am left feeling empty…until opening night where the manifestation is then complete.    It’s not about recognition, I know how good or bad a job I have done, where I could have worked better faster cleaner sharper brighter smoother…but in the end, it is what it is and no more, then, equally magically, it is gone, poof!
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culminination

March 24, 2012
by Karen Phillips Curran
CULMINATION…’The reaching of the meridian by a celestial body’. My body is made of stars. Bermuda is my constellation. I reach out, and it is there touchable ..yet….intangible
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