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. https://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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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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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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Hope

August 10, 2017
by Karen Phillips Curran
“Hope is the thing with feathers…” The first stanza of the Elizabeth Browning poem first came to save me when my father died in a plane crash. The feather began earlier as a symbol in my work but was cemented into my psyche by this poem. The painting, “Hope”, is part of a long journey, dealing with past abuse in my life. I have paired the many coloured bruise, with the rainbow. Yellows, greens, purples and such, all appear while your most painful bruises heal. The connection fascinated me and a series of work was born. When we are in the midst of an abusive situation it can be hard to find hope, I found it in colour. I hope you find hope here too. This piece was auctioned by Lanark County Interval House as a fundraising effort. I was happy to offer it to them. Years ago I was the on the team for fundraising.  It remains one of the more daunting parts of the effort to make women and children safe from abuse. Strangely enough, when I was at the end of my second abusive relationship, their assistance was not forthcoming. I had been arrested by the police in a domestic […]
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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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The Importance of Art in Home Décor

March 19, 2017
by Karen Phillips Curran
The importance of art in home décor cannot be underestimated. Art has the power to transform a space from drab to fab, instantly. Long ago, cavemen decorated their cave walls with artistic paintings. It’s human nature to want to express ourselves through art, and to have it surround us wherever we may be. Think of all the places you’ve visited that came alive because of the art on the walls. Without art, life would be so depressingly boring. Art in home décor says something about the people who live in that home. Art tells a story without saying words. If you were to go into a home and see paintings of race cars on the wall, it’s likely a man who likes sports and energetic races lives there. Or if you visited a home with paintings of pretty flowers on the wall, all in pink, you’re likely to find a lady who likes delicate, beautiful things around her to enliven her life. Art helps define a space. It provides a focal point for each room it’s in. When you enter a room, your eye typically goes to the dominant piece of art hanging on the wall right away. This is […]
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ARTIST : definition of

November 29, 2016
by Karen Phillips Curran
artist- ar-tist = a person who creates, as in; painting with watercolours, or acrylics, drawing and sketching in pencil or pen and ink, photography, sketching, charcoal, or pastels on paper or board, sculpture, metalsmithing, clay, plastics, glass, weaving and sewing, printmaking…and more than you can alone imagine I’ve painted and drawn most of my life now. For the past 20 years my monumental artistic endeavours were with the English and French Theatre and Governor General Awards sets at Canada’s National Arts Centre in Ottawa. It was there that I enthusiastically helped create some marvellous and wonderful imagined spaces, with some of Canada’s top designers. That part of my life is over now, I’ve retired from theatre and turn my heart directly towards my watercolours and paintings and my alternative photography. I’ve been selling my Canadiana and Riverstones watercolours here at home, my Bermudian architectural pieces in my second home of Bermuda, and the southern USA. My undulating piano key series appeals to music lovers worldwide. My website has been redesigned, for your pleasure, take a peek here : HYPERLINK “https://www.phillipscurran.ca/”www.phillipscurran.ca If you see something you like call or write… Karen
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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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