dramitic light on a tree trunk painting by karen PhillipsCurran

Life Is An Art and Mary’s Tree

Karen Phillips~curran

Life is the art!

Tales from the studio

A painting of a t
Mary’s Tree


Mornings here in Nova Scotia are different. The difference? I’m retired…!

What? Do artists retire?

I don’t think so. It’s a ruse…

I’ve been creating colourful imagery all my life. Some evenings I spent an hour with my grandson drawing a face, or a dragon… all the while we were drawing I’m talking about the process, shading, shape, proportions, adjustments…It’s often the highlight of my week as we chat about his day, his life and mine, and about drawing. I digress.

Each day I rise and shine, first thing I get water and fresh food for my little flock of hens, Buffy, Henny Penny, and Elvira. I’m usually received with clucks of thanks…

Then I settle in for the morning with a coffee. I have a 180 view of the river valley here in my perch on the hill by Chisholm Brook. My house was built by a Chisholm on the old Chisholm farmhouse. “White” folks came to this area in the 1700s. It feels like a place one could make roots. 

Each day a simple question comes up…what’s up today? Like I said I’m retired, so I never make an appointment before ten am. I have a LOT to do in the morning. It is my most creative time, that liminal period of the day when my mind roams the vast grasslands of creativity. Small thoughts become larger ones, some scream for attention, and some whisper in my ear like a ghost from a past life. In this period that ideas visit me, some ill-formed and fleeting, and some are hardcore ideas that I must rush to write down. The clouds, the trees, the wind, whatever is happening in the way of precipitation all combine to facilitate a wandering mind. I think of the people in my life, what was said and what wasn’t, those too are part of my creative index. The light in the sky as I look across the valley, the vast cloud formations, their speed or lack of all go towards the design of my life.

Some days I nip over to the studio end of the house with my coffee in hand, to annotate a fleeting idea. It is a dangerous activity, but welcome nonetheless. Dangerous, because it often means that breakfast gets skipped for later in the day. My hands instinctively reach for the brush, the pencil or whatever I need to lay down what I’m feeling, hearing even.

Once I’m there, it’s a great time to touch up or find that final touch on a piece I’ve been working on. I can see it with a kind of new eye, a fresh morning eye that discerns the path to progress on that particular piece. 

Watching the sun catch the last of the winter ice on the far fields and make it glow this particular morning. I study the colour combinations for future reference. In spite of my landscape work appearing benign (just another beautiful field hill tree…), it is full of significance. As an expression of my love, loss, strife, and achievements within the realm of my interaction with life. 

So I cannot retire, I am imbued with a sense of purpose. 

I do have a lot of art waiting for someone to take it home. They are like kittens that need to find a forever home. They’ve been conceived and birthed and are ready and waiting for you.

Take a trip to my website

My plan is to start to photograph and collate some of my wonderful smaller pieces on paper. I’ll be featuring them in a future newsletter, once I get them catalogued for you.

Feel free to share my newsletter with someone you think might enjoy it. 

Love to all


Windy Treeline 

Windy Sprin
Windy Spring Treeline

This large acrylic painting (64” x 20”) was submitted to Teichert Gallery in Halifax and hopes to be part of next month’s show there. I’ve been selling my art through them for a year now. Teichert is a non-profit gallery and is part of the Nova Scotia Museum of Art in Halifax. You can check out the gallery here…Nova Scotia artists have their work for sale and for rent.. (renting is an easy way to have art integrated into your life and the rental fees go towards your purchase price.

Teichert Galley website

Spring is on its way

I welcome studio visits whether in person or virtually. If you would like to schedule a visit, let me know, drop me a hint and we can set something up. I’ve 40-minute zoom visits or we can see each other on one of the various video message systems available these days…

 Life is an art

Karen Phillipscurran 


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