Its autumn now and the colours here in Ontario are at their best right now, today this afternoon! The people who are supposed to stay home are following each other down the road. I wonder at it all. Fall has been the subject of not a few of my pieces, its fun to play with the vibrant tones of this season. If you have never seen fall in Eastern Canada, you should treat yourself! I love to watch as I wander the backroads to here and there, (the dump, the grocery). Its all a sight for sore eyes’ as they say, and only lasts a while. Some autumns are shorter than pthers, some drag on for weeks gradually lifting the veil of green to yellow, orange read rust and then grey…  is it the transitory nature of the days in fall that make it as attractive as spring? What is your opinion on that.  The sun is lower in the sky here in my part of the world. At about 45 degrees north our daylight hours grow smaller each day, culminating in December where once again the light begins to return. We all breathe a sigh of relief and wait […]
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a new vision

July 28, 2020
by Karen Phillips Curran
Being alone is not a new thing for many artists. Lots of us spend solitary days inside our minds, inside our studios. It is a bit of a dichotomy, since we are the monitors of our society, expressing its beauty, its angst, its troubles and its joys. We are the canary of the veritable coal mine of our planet, our population, our culture, our gender, our creed, our environment, did I miss anything? Many artists are simply here to predictably render the surroundings they find beauty in, a mountain, a stream, a field, a backyard lane and much more, gets rendered in a style that represents it but doesn’t necessarily define it photographically. We then are treated to an enhanced version of what is seen by one’s naked eye. Their efforts enhance and itemize the beauty of the scene. I’ve been an artist who appears to be of that ilk, for many years, refining techniques that I learned early in life. As I have aged I have sought to minimalize my style, bring it down to bare bones, and leave out the distracting details. In 2004 I was diagnosed with cancer in my eye and faced the all too real […]
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Some of us are deep into our isolation.  We are about to break free from the chrysalis of our time alone. Our world begins to open up after quarentine. My life has had self isolation as a theme for many years. I moved into a boarding house while I was in high school. I kept a lot to myself. I got through art school by scrimping and saving. I have lived  in the country  since 1979, most of my adult life. I do well being alone, expecially now. I have had great mentors for it and have taken my cues from them and how they coped. It is my creativity that saves me. We all may have internal dialogue and I have always revelled in what i call ‘head painting’. I carefully imagine a scene, or use the one in front of me. I begin to imagine painting it, lay down the initial colours. I then define the colours, add strength and character, light and dark…its an internal activity that then gets acted out when the canvas/paper and paint are within reach. Here is one of my stones watercolours.  I have spent many hours watching water… What we do in […]
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The Time it Takes

June 8, 2019
by Karen Phillips Curran
People often ask me how long a piece takes to create. these days I tell them almost 50 years, as long as I have been practicing my art. There is no clock in my studio. time takes on a different value here. It moves to its own drummer. I often put an album on repeat when I am here. That way no change in atmosphere can break my paint spell. Sometimes the day passes in a flash- other times each second is experienced, recorded, with full awareness. The scratching of the brush whilst laying on a scumble often attracts my attention. The sound tells me something I need to know about the paint. The tug or the pull or glide of the brush tells me a tale that I, as the artist, only knows.
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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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why do i paint?

December 18, 2018
by Karen Phillips Curran
“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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