morning

April 1, 2015
by Karen Phillips Curran
The kiskadee sounds his morning wake-up call and the sun’s eastern rays begin their journey towards me. My window here faces north so the morning light traverses across the rooflines just outside the window. They highlight the neighbour’s stepped roof. Each morning, the light is slightly different and I awaken, eager to see the difference. The last time I was here I did this small series of roofline paintings…          
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First Shamrock, then Clover

March 17, 2015
by Karen Phillips Curran
A few years ago I painted two steel doors for a magnificent, historic, local movie theatre, in Renfrew, The O’Brien. The building has  a long history and is a real gem. The owner has kept the place up,  and currently uses a digital projector for his nightly, and matinee, screenings. But this is about  painting.  The first O’Brien commission involved painting two steel doors, here, in my then newly built studio. It was a vast place then, unencumbered by clutter. There was room to house the two doors readily.  But it was summer, and for the initial background painting I housed the doors on sawhorses, under a tent in the gravel driveway. This was ideal.  One afternoon, as the process continued, tsp, wipe, sand, fill, sand, prime, paint, turn, tsp, sand, fill, sand, wash, prime, paint, turn. Two doors, four sides, all to appear the same. They were heavy steel doors to turn on my own, so the owner would appear at just the right moment to help me flip them over. One afternoon the wind started to pick up, and a sudden freak microburst came and tore the tent apart, along with half the countryside. After that, the doors came inside, […]
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Its the dead of winter  here at home, and a bitingly cold one this year. I ponder my days to come, not soon enough,  when I will grace the shores in Bermuda. The pink coral laced shorelines will cover my toes with the tiniest of shells, the breeze will ruffle my hair and the sun will come to me, spilling its golden whim in my direction. I will breathe, be calm and wash in the glory of my much loved landscape. I love winter light, those purple laced shades. The low slung shadows gracefully bending around shapes, caressing the corners and peeking out at the most unlikely moments. 
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the art of war

January 11, 2015
by Karen Phillips Curran
Artists are flesh and blood. They are born with an undeniable passion. Without that passion, they would not bother to create, to strive to put down their message… what ever it is. The general population does not understand this very well. There is a pervading premise that the artist does it for the love of it. Half true, for the love and the war it creates with their breast. It is true that many artists paint beautiful things, so where does war come in? For some it’s the struggle to get it down., to find the time, the funds and the strength of conviction to go in one direction. The artist fights within themselves to get down to it on a regular basis, to create what is in their heart their mind and their soul, to say it flamboyantly, succinctly, lyrically, brashly and so many other adjectives, I would need all the pages of Websters’ to reiterate  them all. As such, disappointment and struggle are the name of the game, none of it is easily won. There are no overnight successes, only people who dedicate their life to the struggle to be called an artist. As age creeps up on me, that struggle intensifies, wanes, and becomes just…life. […]
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Turn on a Dime

December 4, 2014
by Karen Phillips Curran
Creativity demands flexibility. Today that flexibility is tested. Let’s pass this test, I say. A large commission was cancelled today. One I had spent a considerable amount of time on. Where to go from here…I find myself drawn inexorably towards a 4×4 foot painting that has been in stasis on my painting wall for some months now. I find myself arranging the space, turning on the lights, I have indeed spent several hours over the past few months, days even, working on the piece, ….in my mind….this is about what I think it will look like…..  
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Its November and the darkening sky speaks to me of weight. No more basking in the sun, it is the dark time. Moods are affected by this time of transition, for it is only a period between the dark and the coming light. We who live in the northern latitudes are subject to it, regardless. Regardless of anything….Nature is a force. I start my day slowly for a change. The past few months have been full of large painting. Two sets for the stage are produced, ready for entertaining, teaching us about ourselves, reiterating well-loved stories to those who will listen willingly. I relish my part in it, I take the vision of another and manifest it with as much gusto as I can manage, it keeps bread on my table.    All that industry and joy of production are done now and I am left feeling empty…until opening night where the manifestation is then complete.    It’s not about recognition, I know how good or bad a job I have done, where I could have worked better faster cleaner sharper brighter smoother…but in the end, it is what it is and no more, then, equally magically, it is gone, poof!
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mothers day Its a warm sunny spring day perfect, daffodils and soon there will be trilliums. It is the nature of an unpredictable force of nature that decrees what is blooming on Mothers day each year. Alone this morning I prepare my best breakfast yesterday’s oatmeal with a cinnamon stick, almond milk to make it creamy, plump raisins and a whole apple cut up. All warmed together in the little orange iron pot I have used for years, just like the one I used for years before it….. My thoughts turn to the gentle wonder of my life. Just coming off 6 weeks of physical labour at the NAC to a stupendous finale that is the Governor General Awards Gala, black tie and all but I didn’t go..not sure exactly why I didn’t, but I didn’t, so there is no remedy for that. This is the brass scumbled back wall of the orchestra risers for the Governor General Awards for the Performing Arts held at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa May 10th 2014. So spring has sprung and outside work has begun. I should go out and pick up sticks this morning before the grass gets too high, and […]
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  Spring is late this year. But today it is raining. The trees are dark, wet; stark against the remaining snow. They are burgeoning, their sap is running, silently. Signs of spring will soon become apparent, but not quite yet. Silence reigns. The rain reveals patches of grass at the ditch. Those blades rise up like a morning yawn and stretch. Finally they are being released from the burden of months of heavy snow. The fields remain covered, still asleep, waiting for their time. It won’t be long now. This rain will help. Soon the water will be rushing to find the river. Its well worn path familiar , changeable, and soon to be surging with life, action, release, towards the flow. I cross the bridge and the river below shows signs of breakup. A dark, meandering streak insinuates itself down the river’s centre. It wandering from side to side, like a drunk. Spring breakup is on its way. Patterns in the ice will emerge like maps of our frozen country, intricate and full of promise. winter dusk 12×24″
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Still Waiting

March 24, 2014
by Karen Phillips Curran
We Canadians are a weather hardy lot, for the most part…but we are all, each of us, wailing, where is spring, when will it get here…despondent voices of otherwise hardy friends wail at the end of the phone line. I am in my bright warm studio for the day, I scamper about in it moving things from one place to another, pen to paper, paint to canvas…..idea from spark to notation
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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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