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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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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                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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I awaken. I’m in the country. The sound of fog is in the air. I know it before I open my eyes, it is a quiet like no other. An early morning fisherman appears then disappears. His orange vest glows eerily until he is gone. Silently, I wish him luck. Later the sun starts to break through the mists, and green is everywhere, the shoreline, the rising stand of cedar and spruce, the water’s reflections, and if I use my artistic insight I can get the foggy air to feel green too. Here are two new pieces I’ve been working on lately. They are acrylic and graphite on canvas and board. the larger one is 43″ x 5.5″ and the smaller one is 33″ x 5.5.
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