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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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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“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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                A hay wagon rattles past me, again. Its dust settles on us here, country roads in the summer…that smell, the dust, the sounds… I spend a fair amount of time on country roads, I have to in order to get anywhere from here. the sights I pass are iconic in a purely Canadian way. They reflect my environment. Here I’ve created some interesting pairs. They are acrylic painted on canvas that is attached to wooden ovals. They are ready to hang.                     Some of these are favourite fields, all are places that made an impression on me each time I saw them. They are familiar to me.                 These are all summer images, they feel hot, sultry and dreamlike. Let me know if you want them for your wall…$350 to 450 for the pairs…shipping would be extra.  
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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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