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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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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“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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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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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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Open studio

August 5, 2015
by Karen Phillips Curran
This week is my open studio. It has been a labour of love …a few years ago I built my studio, on the foundation of 45 years of making art. This past year I joined my cold water cabin to it….literally. it was lifted from its place in the lowlands of my  property here in Springtown, and transported to its new position, almost ajacent to my studio. Then, a place I call the new room,  was constructed between the two. Heaven on earth I have created here for myself. It has become a rambling telescoping structure. I have lived in a 14′ X 19’space for several years now, and so, just about anything is rambling from my perspective. ….  
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                                                                                                         Wherever I am I paint, draw and see….I am setting a new studio space in a place far from home. Love drives me there, is my motivation, that, and a thirst for new experiences, new visions, new warmth, new trust, new work….
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Birch

September 4, 2013
by Karen Phillips Curran
A few years ago now, I painted the set for King Lear at our National Arts Centre in Ottawa. The director, Peter Hinton, had set the play in Canada at the appropriate time period. It was a wonderful rendition of the classic. It was a simple set and included a large faux birch tree. When the production was finished the tree was destined for the dump. With the help of  a few friends I managed to get it out to my property in Springtown. A few days ago it finally found its resting place, alongside my studio! Here it is……it is made of sona tube, foam, and paint, and a little theatrical ingenuity….. 21 feet long/high…      
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