petrichor

April 17, 2019
by Karen Phillips Curran
petrichor PRONUNCIATION: (PET-ri-kuhr)    MEANING: noun: The pleasant smell that accompanies the first rain after a dry spell.
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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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why do i paint?

December 18, 2018
by Karen Phillips Curran
“Stones”  This long-term series, done in watercolours is one of the mainstays of my art practice. There are endless permutations of the imagery I see when at watersides in my Ontario home. I strive to bring to you, the magic of these river and lakesides. I could go on and on…but just take a look….
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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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Passing Time – a series of historic family collages I never met my grandfather, yet the “Passing Time” series of historic family collages begins with his photo album. The photographs depict candid and posed shots of the places and people he knew and loved. He finds them at their homesteads, out camping, picnicking, in the city, or out in their fields. Their names are lost in the mist of time. The more I looked at his album, the more his, and their, stories began to emerge. Once we are gone, our story, as we would tell it, is lost. Passing time takes over. I felt I needed a more complex medium to depict the stories apparent in the photos. I turned to using my favourite kind of charcoal drawing, for spontaneity, Polaroid image transfers for their intensity, and collage, for a mixed media approach. These three mediums, combined with healthy layers of shellac give the historic family collages an amber like finish. Just like amber, they are caught in a golden glow of the past, recorded for us all to see, even years from now, when we have passed. As the bulk of the population ages, our past and family ties […]
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Riverstones

February 15, 2018
by Karen Phillips Curran
Water is my most prevalent muse. I must admit even puddles entrance me…  Like my life, it flows, rages, trickles, stagnates, surrounds any obstacle then continues on its journey.  “Stones and Lilies” is a 22x 30 watercolour on paper mounted on 1.5″ deep cradleboard, ready to hang in your home. $975 plus shipping. The accumulation of water-washed stones tells us of time and the irrefutable strength and magnetic power of stones. These basic elements struggle to live in harmony, soothing, rubbing and, to us, timeless. They share a dimension. They seem immortal, yet, each stone’s individuality can be examined. Who has not felt compelled to pick up and examine a washed stone? They all call out, they speak to us. The water laughs, menaces, pleads, caresses and more. It can entice us to fall under its hypnotic spell. We fall into it. We are lulled. We can dream our dreams See more of Karen’s work soon at The Riverstones Studio in Springtown, Ontario. http://www.phillipscurran.ca/ Images of the Madawaska  
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Butterflies

December 20, 2017
by Karen Phillips Curran
Butterflies are beautiful. Their life cycle is amazing and not as yet completely understood… I painted the walls recently for the new butterfly exhibit at the Museum of Nature in Ottawa (Canada). It is a joyful design done by Jennifer Kwong . It was a pleasure to re-create onto the walls of the museum. In addition to her design, I was asked to add bugs and small creatures near ground level to entertain young ones as they waited their turn to go into the solarium where all the butterflies live. Its a magical place in there, lush growth, humid air, sunlit, and lots and lots of butterflies flitting about. If you wear colourful clothes they will land on you! The last time I was in, I dressed in brown, but a huge brown butterfly with wings resembling an owl eye landed on me. I watched with wonder as its probiscious searched for something yummy to eat. I had plenty of time to look at the wonderful pattern on its wing back… It is well worth the visit folks, closes April 2, so make a date and bring your childlike sense of wonder along with you….its worth the trip!
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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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