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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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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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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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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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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Every artist experiences change. It is that which can either compel creativity, or thwart it. I am in the midst of an artistic change right now. After 17 seasons as the head scenic artist for Canada’s National Arts Centre,  I am moving on. I have called it ‘retiring’, mostly to signify it’s job like status. I was, have been, contracted each season since the 1999-2000 season, to paint all the English Theatre productions as well as various Theatre Francais sets, the Governor General Awards sets, as well as other special projects around the building. It has been a rewarding experience. I was renumerated for the work I did on an hourly basis. The workshop is a large well equipped studio to work in, it has its faults, but we worked within those boundaries.  It has a typical 70-s building issue, poor ventilation,  and so I have been spared many of the toxic chemicals I may have been seconded to use. I learned to paint with what I call the ‘30 foot eye’, seeing the images from that distance, when you are actually only 5 feet away. (I am 5’4” and that is as far away as I can be holding […]
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